The last British commissioner

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For candidate European commissioners, a few guiding principles can help them survive confirmation hearings at the European Parliament: know something about your policy area, don t have a dodgy past, and say lots of nice things about MEPs. But Sir Julian King, Britain s candidate to join the commission, had no precedents to draw on for his hearing with parliament s civil liberties committee on Monday evening. His aim: to become the first EU commissioner from a country planning to leave the EU.

The Last British Commissioner

If you d told me a few months ago that I d be sitting here I d probably not have believed you, he told the hearing in Strasbourg. It is a particular situation. He came through it well.

On policy issues, he confidently tackled a barrage of technical questions on his new brief as security commissioner with queries on everything from counter-terrorism to data encryption. Sir Julian also benefited from the fact that his new responsibilities are in area where many in the parliament believe that the European Commission needs to be more active, meaning they welcome the impetus that could come from the creation of a security commissioner post. That thirst for more policymaking may help explain why, in the end, Sir Julian did not face many direct questions about the large elephant in the room.

Those that did come did so mainly from pro-Brexit MEPs from Britain itself. UKIP s Gerard Batten asked: which master you will cleave to? London, or Brussels. He got a clear answer: I don t think that you should read anything into my nomination to do with the wider issues of Brexit, Sir Julian said. I m not here as a representative of the British government.

He now looks a shoo in to be formally confirmed later this week as Britain s new, and very possibly last, EU commissioner. But that Brexit elephant will still be hanging around.

Email: Twitter: @jimbrunsden

Hungary row Luxembourg s foreign minister demanded that Hungary beexcluded from the EU3 for its mistreatment of refugees. Jean Asselborn argues that exclusion is the the only way to preserve the cohesion and values of the European Union . Other countries (cough) Poland should watch out, said Asselborn, who also argued that it should be possible to suspend someone from the EU without unanimity.

Warsaw Discount Holidays © holiday tour Poland s Law and Justice party s parliamentary leader underlined how little Warsaw cares about international scrutiny. The visit of the Venice Commission in Warsaw is very much a Discount Holidays © holiday tour, said Ryszard Terlecki, referring to a visit of the human rights watchdog4. We do not attach particular importance to it. All that we had to tell the Commission, we already have.

The Rachman plan The FT s Gideon Rachman comes up with a two-tier solution5 for the EU s woes: a tight federalist bloc with Germany and (probably) France at its centre and a periphery of those who are sceptical of further political integration, including the Visegrad group, the Irish, the Dutch, the Swedes and the Danes. The euro awkwardly bestrides both. But an EU with a defined tertiary bloc would rather appeal to the Brits, giving the UK the option of staying.

Voila! Full piece6.

The Last British Commissioner

Not an EU army The push for tighter defence strategy in the EU continues: France and Germany have put out another paper7 spelling out how it should work. Some historically neutral countries such as Ireland and Austria are nervy, while others are concerned about diminishing Nato s role, which was not just a British concern.

TTIP is alive Or so says Washington s chief negotiator8.

The clear message we are getting from EU member states is that, notwithstanding these recent comments there is a clear desire to keep moving forward, he said. And the closer you are to negotiations the more confident you are that in fact negotiations are moving forward.

Facebook legal woes Facebook faces another day at the European Court of Justice, after the court was asked to rule9 whether a class action against the social network in Austria was valid10. The case is being run by Max Schrems, an Austrian student who has almost single handedly made life very difficult for the $360bn company over the past five years.

Brits do quit Mere months after declaring Brits don t quit , David Cameron has resigned for a second time this time as an MP. It marks aninauspicious end11 for the former prime minister, who pledged to continue as a backbench MP. The reaction has been unkind. This Daily Telegraph piece12 David Cameron s petulant resignation as an MP shows why he leaves no lasting legacy and that he doesn t care – was typical.

Secret talks Brexit minister David Davis warned his fellow MPs13 that they should not expect to be 100 per cent in the loop during negotiations.

Clearly there is a need for parliament to be informed without giving away our negotiating position.

I may not be able to tell you everything, even in private hearings.

The comments came during a hearing in which there was some levity, according to MLex s Matthew Holehouse14:

David Davis met Irish ministers for talks in Dublin, and told them of Irish heritage.

They assumed I was applying for a passport.

Email: Twitter: @duncanrobinson16


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Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater laughed off England snub for Euro …

Time, and a lads tour of some world famous Discount Holidays © holiday hotspots, have been healers for Danny Drinkwater1. Three months on, Drinkwater has found a silver lining to the heartbreak of being left out of Roy Hodgson s Euro 2016 squad2 in the final cut-down to 23. And after a well-earned summer break, reigning Premier League champion Drinkwater is eyeing a fresh start under new England3 boss Sam Allardyce.

The 26-year-old Leicester4 midfielder said: It is probably best I didn t finish on just winning the title, because I might have got sloppy this season and settled with what I have done.

Ending the season on a bit of a low might have kicked me back into gear to get going again this season.

Action Images via Reuters Leicester's Danny Drinkwater Laughed Off England Snub For Euro ... Drinkwater was all smiles on May 7 as champions Leicester got their trophy… The FA via Getty Leicester's Danny Drinkwater Laughed Off England Snub For Euro ... …but despite being part of the warm-up friendlies Hodgson did not take him to France

I just tried focusing on getting it out of my head as soon as I could and enjoying my summer ahead of the new season.

I ve got the same mates I have had since when I was four or five years old.

“It was a bit last-minute, but we had a good time. I went all over – Ibiza, Portugal, Vegas, LA, then back to Ibiza. I didn t complain about my summer.

I watched the tournament in pubs with my mates, mainly. I just enjoyed it like a fan.

The weirdest place I watched a game? In Portugal, I came off the golf course and because I d had a few pints I didn t realise the time difference so we had to go straight to the clubhouse to watch the Wales game which was a mid-afternoon kickoff.

Getty Leicester's Danny Drinkwater Laughed Off England Snub For Euro ... Drinkwater watched the dramatic fightback to beat Wales at a golf club in Portugal

As tough as it was to watch, I would love to have been involved just to see if I could have made a difference. Drinkwater kept on top of his fitness while he was away ahead of the new season. His road runs and gym work got him ready to hit the ground running and play his way straight back into the England fold.

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He said: I can treat it like a fresh start. I would love to lock down a first-choice position under Allardyce. But it is not going to be easy, I know that.

A pre-season ticking off from Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, designed to spark his champions back into life as they defend the title, has also helped.

Getty Leicester's Danny Drinkwater Laughed Off England Snub For Euro ... Drinkwater and co started their title defence with a loss to promoted, managerless Hull… Getty Leicester's Danny Drinkwater Laughed Off England Snub For Euro ... …but after a draw with Arsenal, they looked more their old selves beating Swansea on Saturday

He can be as angry as he wants, I will still like him, former Manchester United youngster Drinkwater chuckled.

He is like a granddad figure.

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“I was young when Fergie fearsome then-Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson would have been mad at me, so I s**t myself.

“I have matured a lot now, so it is a bit different when the manager gets angry, you accept it and learn from it.

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Tour operator blames Brexit after returning to customers to demand more cash

A tour operator has asked its customers for more money for their holiday, even though they had already paid, citing the fall in the value of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Jasmine Holidays, a small company that specialises in long-haul, tailor-made trips, has applied a surcharge to the holidays of about 20 customers, asking for as much as 185 per person extra. Travel operators are allowed by law to apply surcharges if the cost of the package has gone up due to currency fluctuations, rising fuel costs or higher taxes, as long as it is mentioned in the terms and conditions of booking and it is at least 30 days before the date of departure.

what is a Discount Holidays © holiday surcharge1

One traveller who gave his name only as Martin said that he had been asked for 370 from the company for his safari honeymoon to Kenya and Zanzibar. He said that as the request was on the cusp of the 30 days he negotiated it down to 190. In an email to Martin seen by Telegraph Travel, Phil Hodges, director of Jasmine Holidays, said: In the fallout of the EU referendum result and the subsequent fall in sterling, it is with much regret that I am sending you the attached, regarding your upcoming trip to Africa.

I appreciate this will not be welcome news, but in the light of the decline in the currency following the referendum result we are unfortunately required to increase the cost of your trip.

Tour Operator Blames Brexit After Returning To Customers To Demand More Cash Martin is set to go on a safari honeymoon to Kenya Credit: Fotolia/AP

The surcharge amount is 185 per person, which is detailed in the attached. I can guarantee that there will be no further surcharges and it is already with much reluctance that we are having to increase our costs in these circumstances.

Speaking to Telegraph Travel, Mr Hodges said that Jasmine Holidays regretted having to apply the surcharge but any customers affected would be offered an equivalent discount off a future trip.

I started the business eight years ago and we re now a small team who work really hard to put together great trips for our customers, he said.

UK cheapest city breaks2

Sadly, we ve had to surcharge a few customers – because of the drop in sterling after Brexit. The value of sterling was hit after the UK voted to leave the EU, with 1 now worth ‘ 1.15 compared to ‘ 1.30 in June. Jasmine Holidays is not the only operator to have applied a surcharge.

Tour operator Just America has also asked for additional money, citing currency fluctuations.

Tour Operator Blames Brexit After Returning To Customers To Demand More CashHow leaving the EU could affect travellers Play! 01:09

In 2011, Thomson and Thomas Cook added supplements due to the price of oil soaring to $114 a barrel.

It is, however, rare as tour operators are usually reluctant to go back to customers to increase the cost of their holiday.


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