• The Liberal Democrats have criticised Theresa May as "cold and heartless," following the shock revelation she blocked attempts to guarantee the right to stay for EU nationals immediately after the referendum. In a scathing editorial in the Evening Standard today, George Osborne revealed that "in the days immediately after the referendum, David Cameron wanted to reassure EU citizens they would be allowed to stay. All his Cabinet agreed with that unilateral offer, except his Home Secretary, Mrs May, who insisted on blocking it." It comes as the Liberal Democrats have set out a list of four demands that must be addressed in the government's paper on the rights of EU nationals on Monday, including ending the "bureaucratic nightmare" faced by EU citizens applying for permanent residency. A recent report revealed that at the Home Office’s current workrate, it will take around 11 years to process the millions of expected residency requests from EU nationals. Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said: "It is a badge of shame that Theresa May blocked attempts to guarantee the rights of EU nationals after the referendum. It shows how cold and heartless she is. "Now that mean-spirited decision is coming back to haunt her as we see an exodus of skilled EU workers, from nurses to academics. "Simply setting out vague assurances without giving a clear guarantee or sufficient resources for the Home Office is not good enough. "People who have made their lives here shouldn't have to face a bureaucratic nightmare to apply to stay, or see their applications arbitrarily rejected. "We urgently need a new, streamlined process that gives all EU nationals who have made the UK their home an easy route to permanent residency."

    13 hours ago

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    One year on from the referendum result, Vince Cable has warned that the country is facing a "Brexit crunch" unless Theresa May changes course. The Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, who is widely credited with predicting the 2008 financial crisis, has issued a stark warning that an extreme Brexit outside the Single Market and Customs Union would lead to heavy job losses and a slump in growth and living standards. Vince Cable said: “A decade ago, the country faced a credit crunch from which we are only just starting to recover. "We are now faced with the threat of a Brexit crunch, but which this time would be entirely self-imposed. “Immediately after the referendum, Brexiteers smugly observed that the economy had not caved in, despite the accusations of so-called “Project Fear." This totally misses the point. “The warnings from experts including the IMF, OECD and the Treasury were about the long-term health of our economy, not short-term fluctuations. And just a year after the vote to leave, their predictions are coming true. “We have seen a collapse in the pound, dwindling consumer confidence and a stagnating economy. Even the Brexiteers’ much hoped-for exporting boom has failed to materialise, with our trade deficit the same size as it was a year ago. “An extreme, UKIP-style hard Brexit that tears up our membership of the Single Market and Customs Union would almost inevitably result in heavy job losses and a slump in growth and living standards. “It isn’t too late to change course. Instead of embarking on a reckless and damaging extreme Brexit, we should be addressing the underlying economic challenges the country faces, from crumbling infrastructure to poor productivity. "Theresa May needs to accept that the public mood has changed, and work with other parties towards a Brexit deal that puts people's jobs and living standards first."

    14 hours ago

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