Archive for the ‘Corbyn’ Category

News review – Tuesday 19 February 2019

News review – Tuesday 19 February 2019

Independent MPs

Telegraph

A Tory minister and four Conservative backbenchers appear poised to defect to the new Independent Group set up by disgruntled Labour MPs, it has been claimed. Describing the breakaway group as “remarkably sensible people”, the minister told the Telegraph he was prepared to join the new party if the Government presses ahead with a no-deal Brexit. It came as Anna Soubry sparked speculation she is preparing to jump ship after removing a Conservative Party slogan from her social media profile. The Tory Remainer removed all reference to her party from her Twitter biography, referring to herself simply as ‘MP for Broxtowe’ having previously described herself as a ‘lifelong One Nation Tory’.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn was told to prepare for more resignations last night as Labour was blown apart by the biggest split in British politics in 40 years. Seven MPs officially quit the party yesterday, branding it institutionally anti-Semitic, racist – and led by a man who’s a threat to national security. One said it would be ‘irresponsible’ to allow Mr Corbyn to become Prime Minister. But, on the eve of his party’s greatest crisis, the Labour leader spent hours on Sunday down at his allotment in north London.

Times
Jeremy Corbyn was warned by his deputy last night that more MPs would resign from Labour unless he brought the party back into the mainstream. Tom Watson issued the challenge after seven MPs quit the party yesterday.  He told Mr Corbyn to reshuffle his top team and said that he and other Labour MPs would in any case develop a policy programme in the party’s “social democratic” tradition. Mr Watson’s move, which threatens a schism in the opposition, came after Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna led the most significant party split in a generation.

Mail
A senior Tory refused to rule out joining a new ‘Independent Group’ of MPs today after Labour’s ‘gang of seven’ set off an earthquake in British politics. Nick Boles, who has led cross-party efforts to secure the softest possible Brexit, stopped short of saying he would stay in the Tories and insisted he was fully focused on stopping a no deal on March 29 when asked if he would defect from the Conservatives. Other Tory MPs such as Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston will also be the focus of attention with just 39 days until Brexit day.

Sun
SENIOR Tories fear that at least six Conservatives will quit the party to join Chuka Umunna and the ‘Independents’. Anti-Brexiteer MPs Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston are under ‘resignation watch’. And insiders are convinced Anna Soubry will also walk despite her long career in the Tory party. Others thought to be considering their future are Antoinette Sandbach, Philip Lee and ex-Education Secretary Justine Greening. Both Ms Allen and Dr Wollaston have faced a fury from local activists over their strong support for a People’s Vote.

Sun
TEN more Labour MPs are ready to quit the red rose party and join a new group of “Independents” created on Monday, sources claim. Up to six Tories could join them before next week’s key Brexit vote. Labour was rocked by a devastating historic split on Monday as seven anti-Brexit MPs quit the party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s hard left revolution. In the biggest shake-up to British politics for nearly 40 years, arch Remainer Chuka Umunna and other backbenchers tore into the hard-left leader over his stance on Brexit and failure to tackle anti-Semitism.

Morning Star
A SMALL clique of Blairite MPs rebuffed pressure today to do the “honourable thing” and stand in by-elections following their resignation from the Labour Party. The seven MPs from the party’s right wing, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna finally left to form a new Independent Group following months of speculation. Yet despite their calls for a second referendum — a “People’s Vote” — they are refusing to stand in by-elections, with Ms Berger allegedly telling a Sky News reporter that “one thing voters don’t want now is more elections.”

Independent
The website run by former Labour MPs who have resigned from the party   has completely broken just moments after it was announced. The politicians, calling themselves The Independent Group, established a new website as part of a plan to split from the Labour Party that was announced at a press conference this morning. The website was referenced on a podium that the MPs stood in front of as they made the announcement. But while the launch was still happening, the website stopped working

Guardian
BBC viewers watching the defection of seven MPs from the Labour party on Monday morning overheard a stark warning from an unknown voice: “We are actually fu**ed.” The commentary was inadvertently broadcast to the nation on the BBC Two and BBC News channels, giving the unnamed commentator’s views on the decision of Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and other MPs to leave Jeremy Corbyn’s party and sit in parliament as an independent group. “Between this and Brexit we are actually fu**ed,” said the man in a live broadcast.

Labour Party

Express
THE Labour Party has been plunged into crisis as it was revealed nearly 100 Labour MPs face being ousted by their constituency parties ahead of the next general election at the same time as a breakaway group announced they are quitting the party today. A group of seven MPs angry with Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit leadership announced their split at an event in Westminsiter this morning. Those MPs, including outspoken Remainer and former Labour leadership candidate Chuka Umunna, are furious Mr Corbyn has not committed to a policy of holding a second Brexit referendum with the option of staying in the European Union.

Times
Derek Hatton, the firebrand former deputy leader of Liverpool council, has been readmitted to Labour three decades after being expelled for being part of the left-wing Militant Tendency group. Seen by many as one of the most divisive figures in Labour history, Mr Hatton has praised Jeremy Corbyn and said that the Labour leader prompted his decision to apply to rejoin the party. In the mid-1980s he was criticised for running an illegal budget at the council in protest at cuts by the government of Mrs Thatcher, and for stunts such as sending redundancy notices to council workers by taxi.

Mail
Left-wing hardliner Derek Hatton has been readmitted to the Labour Party more than 30 years after he was expelled.  Hatton was the ringleader of the Trotskyist Militant tendency in the 1980s which set an illegal budget in Liverpool – causing ‘grotesque chaos’ in the city – and brought about bitter divisions in the party. He was thrown out in 1986 but the party’s disputes panel is said to have readmitted him last week after he was ‘inspired’ to return by Jeremy Corbyn‘s leadership. The news of Hatton’s return comes on the same day that seven Labour moderates quit the party in protest at Mr Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism.

Sun
DEREK Hatton has been let back into the Labour Party 33 years after being kicked out for belonging to the hard-left Militant group. The ex-deputy leader of Liverpool’s “loony left” council in the 1980s was kicked out by Neil Kinnock.  Leading Labour moderate MPs lashed the move with Ian Austin branding it “disgraceful” and Ian Murray saying it is a “slap in the face”’. News of his membership emerged tonight after the “gang of seven” announced they were splitting from Labour because it has been hijacked by the far-Left.

Brexit

Express
THERESA May faces a fresh battle with Brexiteers after it emerged a compromise plan on how to take Britain out of the EU has been sidelined. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay took details of “Plan C”, drawn up by Brexiteers and Remainers, to talks with his counterpart in Brussels. But the call for “alternative arrangements” to a backstop preventing a hard Irish border was sidelined in favour of legal assurances. Mr Barclay and Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox will return to Brussels on Wednesday to present EU officials with a “legal way forward”.

Guardian
Four cabinet ministers have demanded the prime minister stop using the threat of a no-deal Brexit as a negotiating tactic, telling Theresa May that businesses and manufacturers now needed to be given certainty. The demand was made in a meeting with the prime minister on Monday by the justice secretary, David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, the business secretary, Greg Clark, and the Scottish secretary, David Mundell.

Reuters
The British government will use tools including tariffs and quotas to make sure its farmers are not left at a competitive disadvantage by Brexit, environment minister Michael Gove will say on Tuesday. With just six weeks to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to win parliament’s backing for an exit agreement. It is due to set out later this month the tariffs it plans to levy if Britain leaves without a deal on March 29. Trade minister Liam Fox has denied media reports that he supports slashing tariffs on all imports to zero in order to keep prices low for consumers. Farmers say this could price them out of the market.

Politico
The emergency sirens are whirring for a no-deal Brexit — only this time it’s not a drill. In European capitals there is now mounting alarm that Theresa May has set Britain on course for a diplomatic disaster, by fundamentally misjudging how far EU leaders are prepared to bend at the last minute in their summit just a week before Britain’s EU departure date. A month after suffering the biggest parliamentary defeat in British history, May is doubling down on her strategy of winning her Brexiteer backbenchers and the Democratic Unionist Party over to supporting her deal by securing legally binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement she finalized with the EU in November.

Ireland

Times
The Irish foreign minister has accused Theresa May of trying to drive a wedge between Dublin and other EU states and force his government to make concessions on the backstop. In an angry riposte to lobbying by British ministers in European capitals for a time limit to the Irish backstop, Simon Coveney said that Dublin would not be “steamrollered” into backing down. At a private meeting with Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, yesterday Mr Coveney told him that any attempts to “isolate” Dublin would backfire.

Guardian
Jeremy Hunt was confronted over alleged British attempts to isolate Ireland from its EU partners by the country’s deputy prime minister during a meeting in Brussels on Monday, as tensions over the continuing Brexit impasse bubbled to the surface. Ireland’s tánaiste, Simon Coveney raised “negative briefings” in a private meeting with the foreign secretary before later publicly expressing his frustration over a lack of progress, with fewer than 40 days to go until Brexit. Warning that Ireland would not be “steamrolled” in the last weeks of the Brexit talks, Coveney told reporters: “Yes, there is frustration in Ireland.

EU

Telegraph
Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s most senior official, declared that Brexit was “in God’s hands” on Monday, as he said Brussels would be open to delaying Brexit if it avoided a ‘no deal’ scenario. In an interview with German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, the eccentric European Commission president said that Brexit was now being dictated by higher forces. “When it comes to Brexit, it is like being before the courts or on the high seas; we are in God’s hands. And we can never quite be sure when God will take the matter in hand,” Mr Juncker said.

Mail
Major banks on the Continent will be able to carry on using London for £60 trillion of crucial trading activity even if there is a No Deal Brexit. Large lenders inside the European Union have been given permission by Brussels to continue accessing so-called clearing houses in the City for a year after we leave. These clearing houses allow banks to trade complicated derivatives which underpin vital lending to households and businesses.  Banks based inside the EU are legally only allowed to use clearing houses within the bloc – and it was feared a No Deal Brexit would cut them off from London, the main hub for clearing, causing chaos.

Breitbart
The EU has hailed a large rise in the number of migrants, many South American, who have been flying direct to Europe to file their asylum claims, with visa-free travel rules. While the bloc saw an overall decrease in asylum applications of 10 per cent over the last year, claims lodged by third world migrants who traveled to EU nations through regular channels rose by almost a third in the period, to around 115,000. The figure, which included 22,200 Venezuelans and 10,200 Colombians amongst applicants from South America, and 20,000 Georgians along with 21,900 Albanians amongst those from European countries outside the bloc, outstripped the total number of claims from Iraqi and Syrian nationals in the last year.

Jihadi bride

Sun
JIHADI bride Shamima Begum says the murder of 22 music  fans in the Manchester Arena suicide bombing was “fair justification” for air raids on IS in Syria. Begum, 19, who is pleading to be allowed back into the UK with her newborn baby, dismissed the atrocity at the 2017 Ariana Grande ­concert as “retaliation.” The mum of a Manchester Arena victim said yesterday she was horrified that jihadi bride Shamima Begum may be let back into the UK.

Migrants

Times
There were fresh calls for planes to  monitor the south coast night and day after more migrants were rescued from a packed boat off Dover yesterday. Two lifeboats took 34 migrants off a small vessel after its engine apparently failed. They were transferred to a Border Force ship that had been redeployed from overseas to patrol the Channel. More than 200 migrants have tried to make the perilous Channel crossing since November. Many started their journey in Iran and Afghanistan and had paid people-smugglers hundreds of pounds each to cross the Channel.

Mail
A group of 34 migrants have been picked up off the Kent coast today after being found on one boat. A lifeboat crew and a Border Force patrol vessel were called out to intercept the large rigid hulled inflatable with an enclosed cabin at the back of it. One witness said he saw at least one child, a boy who looked about six years old and was accompanied by a woman. According to local reports, the boat could have contained as many as 35 migrants.   Border Force was alerted to the boat heading to the UK coast at a 06:30pm.

Sky News
A group of 34 men, women and children have been detained by Border Force officials after crossing the Channel in a small boat. Two Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel intercepted the small rigid-hulled inflatable boat at around 6.30am on Monday. The Home Office said the suspected migrants, whose nationalities have yet to be confirmed, have been taken to Dover for immigration officials to interview them. Kent Police said its officers attended the Port of Dover at around 11am on Monday to assist Border Force with the incident. Three men have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.

Manufacturing

Times
The Japanese car giant Honda is to shut its only British factory, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs in an industry already struggling with Brexit-related uncertainty. The company is expected to announce tomorrow that its plant in Swindon will shut in 2022, affecting 3,500 people directly employed by the company and many others in the carmaker’s supply chain. The closure, first reported by Sky News, will be the biggest blow to car manufacturing in the UK since the collapse of Rover 14 years ago.

Trade

Times
Ministers have been accused of “desperate and high handed” attempts at tying up trade deals with Japan. As Brexit day looms, the government is keen to roll over dozens of commercial agreements. However, it is understood that Tokyo reacted with dismay over a letter from Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, that was interpreted in Japan as an accusation of foot-dragging. The UK “is engaging in a fire sale of trade agreements,” Angus MacNeil, chairman of parliament’s international trade select committee, said.

Westmonster
The Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, has hinted at a quick trade deal with Brexit Britain that could be concluded by the end of the year, if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal. Birmingham told the pro-EU Financial Times that: “If we face a No Deal scenario then we would be urging and encouraging the UK to negotiate and finalise an agreement as quickly as possible. “I would absolutely hope that we would conclude negotiations this year.”

Sun
EUROPE and America were on the brink of a trade war last night as Brussels vowed to hit back at plans by Donald Trump to clobber EU car exports. Eurocrats said they would “react in a swift and adequate manner” if the US President brands sales of European cars a threat to national security. Washington’s trade department is set to issue report this week after being asked to investigate the issue by Mr Trump. EU diplomats expect US officials to conclude the bloc’s car exports are a security threat, allowing the White House to hit them with sky-high tariffs.

Breitbart
The European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday said that President Donald Trump would be breaking his word if he imposes tariffs on European cars. The U.S. Commerce Department said it has delivered its report on whether auto imports endanger U.S. national security. President Trump now has 90 days to consider the report and decided whether to impose import taxes. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that during a summit in Washington last summer, Trump promised not to damage trans-Atlantic trade with such measures.

Health

Times
Complain about your doctor and you will get better care, the health and social care watchdog has said. About seven million people who used NHS, private health or social care services in the past five years had concerns about their treatment but had never raised them, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said. A survey had shown that patients and their carers often worried about being seen as troublemakers or feared that complaining would make matters worse, it added.

The post News review – Tuesday 19 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Monday 18 February 2019

News review – Monday 18 February 2019

‘Purple momentum’

Express
TWO more senior Conservative MPs are at risk of deselection votes at the party’s annual meeting as hardline Eurosceptics gain momentum. Sir Alan Duncan is facing a motion of no confidence at the meeting while chair of the health select committee, Sarah Wollaston, will have an extraordinary meeting, according to The Daily Telegraph. The news comes as Nigel Farage announced recently that more than 100,000 people have signed up to support his new Brexit party in just eight days which is almost as many as the 124,000 members of the Conservative party. The new party is claimed to have 201 members in Dr Wollaston’s constituency association and another 16 supporters in Dominic Grieve’s association. Arron Banks, the former Ukip donor behind the campaign, said: “In the coming weeks these new members will have a direct say in adoption of these MPs or not – stop Brexit and we will do everything to stop you, now or at the next General Election.” Sir Alan, a senior foreign office minister, has been critical of Eurosceptic Tories. He is facing a vote of no confidence at the party’s AGM on March 15. While in Dr Wollaston’s constituency, 50 members have signed a letter calling for an extraordinary meeting to deselect the MP.

Breitbart
Pro-EU Tory MPs are panicking over a grassroots campaign for their local constituency associations to deselect them as parliamentary candidates. Some EU loyalists within the Tory parliamentary party, effectively led by former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve MP, have gone a step further than their largely Remain-voting colleagues by openly repudiating the British people’s vote to Leave the European Union and calling for a second referendum. They could now face the axe at the hands of ordinary party members in annual local association meetings which must be held by the end of March, when the United Kingdom is scheduled to formally leave the European Union — at least for now.

Telegraph
Two more senior moderate Conservative MPs are facing deselection votes at their annual meetings as the “purple momentum” assault on them by hardline Eurosceptics gathers pace. Sir Alan Duncan is facing a motion of no confidence at his annual meeting, while Sarah Wollaston, chairman of the Health select committee, is facing a challenge at either an extraordinary meeting in the next fortnight or an AGM. The news came as Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, is due in Brussels on Monday for talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, ahead of a key speech on Mrs May’s Brexit deal by Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, on Tuesday.

WTO trade

Times
Theresa May is braced for “howls of rage” as ministers finalise tariffs that would apply if there is no Brexit deal. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, wants a move to zero tariffs in as many areas as possible, but other ministers are demanding protection for producers, including farmers, who would struggle to compete with cheaper imports from outside the EU. The row will come to a head this week after attempts by Mrs May to win concessions from the EU over the Irish backstop.

Brexit

Express
HARDLINE Brexiteers from the Conservative Party’s European Research Group (ERG) want Theresa May to stand down as Prime Minister as the price for backing her Brexit divorce deal, with Boris Johnson being lined up to replace her. And one MP has said many of his colleagues in the Eurosceptic Tory faction were ready to act as a result of being deeply opposed to Mrs May taking charge of the next phase of negotiations, to thrash out a workable trade deal with the bloc, if and when her withdrawal agreement does get through the Commons.

Guardian
Theresa May is facing a fresh showdown with Eurosceptic Conservative MPs after a cabinet minister suggested she may put her Brexit deal to parliament again without having secured a change to the withdrawal text. Before talks between May and EU leaders, the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, said the prime minister’s aim was to solve the Northern Ireland backstop issue but the “mechanism” of the change did not matter. His words caused alarm among some Eurosceptic Tory MPs, who have repeatedly made clear they would not vote for a deal that did not remove an indefinite Northern Ireland backstop – a clause that could bind the UK into a permanent customs union with the EU.

Express
A CABINET minister angered Tory Eurosceptics by suggesting Theresa May had given up on her attempt to reopen her Brexit deal in her negotiations with EU leaders. In a BBC interview, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright indicated that the Prime Minister was looking at adding a time limit to the so-called “backstop” border proposal by attaching a legal supplement to her EU Withdrawal Agreement. Such a move is likely to be seen as falling short of the redrafting of key passages in the 585-page document to rip out the backstop demanded by Brexiteers in his party.

Express
THERESA May is planning a Brexit crusade across Europe where the Prime Minister will speak to every EU leader in her bid to seek changes to her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The Tory leader will also meet EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker where she will seek changes to the Irish backstop, one of the most contentious parts of the withdrawal agreement she agreed in November. Theresa May has told EU leaders she could pass her deal with concessions primarily around the backstop – a guarantee that there can be no return to border controls between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

Sun
BREXITEERS have reacted with fury at claims that Theresa May could backtrack on her Brexit promises to MPs and might NOT seek to re-open the deal with Brussels. Jeremy Wright said today that the PM might u-turn and simply accept legal changes to the deal instead, which has angered Leavers in the Tory party yet again. They have demanded that the hated Northern Ireland backstop be ripped out entirely, and refuse to accept any moderate tweaks to the deal. The Culture Secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning: “I don’t think it’s the mechanism that matters, it’s the objective.

Express
REMAINER Tony Blair has demanded a new Brexit referendum during a speech in Munich that saw the former Labour Prime Minister call Britain’s exit from the EU a “terrible mistake”. In a two-day EU conference that saw the subject of Brexit absorb most of the agenda, Mr Blair warned that should the UK leave the EU, Britons would be powerless on its own against “giants” the US and China. In a special segment of the conference, the 65-year-old addressed Germany as part of the ‘Speakers Series’ that saw him call Brexit a “terrible historical mistake” before condemning the promises of Brexit advocates as being “100 percent wrong”. He added: “If I were Prime Minister, I would try to make it clear to the British that they only have the choice between a futile and a painful Brexit.”

Labour Party

Times
Labour MPs considering a breakaway party risk keeping the Conservatives in power for another decade, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor also backed activists’ calls for Labour MPs to sign a loyalty pledge to Jeremy Corbyn. Mr McDonnell was criticised this month for urging Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, to rule out joining a new party after her local party tabled a motion of no confidence in her. He retreated after a backlash among other MPs and activists. Ms Berger, 37, who is heavily pregnant, is a persistent critic of Mr Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism in Labour.

BBC News
A small group of Labour MPs look set to announce their resignations from the party, senior party sources have said. Several backbenchers, who disagree with the Labour leadership over its handling of Brexit and the anti-Semitism row, are expected to break away. But Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, a vocal critic of leader Jeremy Corbyn, has urged them to “stay in and fight”. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on Sunday he did not see “any need for anybody to split from the party”. “Those saying we’ll split if we don’t get a ‘People’s Vote’ [another referendum on the final Brexit deal] – well, we’ve still kept that option on the table and it might come about,” he said.

Mail
Labour is edging towards a bitter split as up to a hundred MPs face the threat of a deselection battle. Plans for a breakaway group have been accelerated by fears of a mass wave of challenges to sitting MPs. Moderates believe party grandees including Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Yvette Cooper and Dame Margaret Beckett will all face attempts to oust them, along with Labour frontbenchers Diane Abbott and Dan Carden. It is anticipated that around a quarter of the 100 MPs expected to be subject to a contest will lose, removing them as Labour candidates for the next election.

Guardian
John McDonnell has warned Labour MPs on the verge of quitting they could cause a decade of Thatcherite Tory rule, adding there was no need for a split over Brexit because the party may still back a second referendum. The shadow chancellor said MPs thinking of leaving could be responsible for losing seats to the Conservatives, as happened in the 1980s when four senior party figures quit to form the Social Democratic party (SDP). “It would be like the 1980s. In my constituency in Hayes and Harlington we had a Labour MP join the SDP and we lost the seat to the Conservatives,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Mirror
John McDonnell has warned that splitting the Labour Party could keep the Tories in power for a decade. The Shadow Chancellor said those who stand against  Labour MPs at the next general election would split the vote like those who joined the SDP did in the 1980s. “It basically installed Mrs Thatcher in power for that decade,” he said Mr McDonnell appealed to MPs considering quitting telling them there was no need to do so over Brexit . “I don’t see why there’s a need to because on all the issues that people have raised where there’s potential for a split we’re dealing with.

Independent
Former Labour vice chairman Michael Dugher has said he is intending to leave the party, saying he now regards it as “institutionally antisemitic”. Mr Dugher, who was elected as MP for Barnsley East in 2010 and left Parliament in May 2017, claimed the party he joined nearly three decades ago “no longer exists”. He served as vice chairman of the party under Ed Miliband between 2011 and 2014 and later became shadow secretary for transport and culture. Labour disclosed this week it had received 673 allegations of antisemitism by its members over the past 10 months, leading to 12 individuals being expelled.

EU

Express
GERMANY has vowed to block British requests to arrest German nationals after Brexit. In a move that undermines challenges for Britain and Brussels to maintain a joint security cooperation, Berlin vowed to snub the mission regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a trade deal with the bloc. The European Commission received the decision from Germany last week, the Financial Times reports, adding it is a slap in the face for European Arrest Warrant maintained by the EU and UK. An EU official familiar with the case said that the German notification on extradition was “not a surprise” before adding it was a “sign of things to come” when Prime Minister Theresa May is relentlessly battling to secure an agreement with Brussels.

Breitbart
European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker has changed the rules governing the political activity of European Union Commissioners, allowing them to actively campaign in the upcoming EU Parliament elections. Formerly the EU Commission, an unelected body which acts as the bloc’s executive and is the sole initiator of EU-level laws, was regarded as technocratic rather than overtly political, and not supposed to take partisan political stances of its own volition — at least in theory. But the new rules will allow the Commission to campaign with, endorse, and support candidates and parties ahead of the European Parliament elections set to be held in May, Il Giornale reports.

Gibraltar

Telegraph
A Spanish warship with its guns manned ordered commercial ships to leave British Gibraltar waters on Sunday, the territory’s government said. The warship’s crew can be heard in an audio recording of a radio exchange telling vessels anchored at the Rock to “leave Spanish territorial waters”. Royal Navy boats were deployed in response to the incident. Boats which were ordered to leave remained at the port during the incident, which was branded “foolish” by a spokesman for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar.

Times
A Spanish navy warship ordered two commercial ships to leave British waters off Gibraltar yesterday, the territory’s government has said. The crew of the Spanish patrol boat Tornado can be heard in a recording of a radio exchange telling the vessels to “leave Spanish territorial waters”, even though they were anchored well inside British waters. The two merchant vessels, the Ivor Accord and the Great Victory, had been awaiting orders in waters under the control of the Gibraltar Port Authority. They did not leave the area during the incident. Two Royal Navy boats were deployed in response.

Sun
A SPANISH warship ordered commercial ships to leave Gibraltar’s British waters on Sunday – with its guns primed for action. The Tornado’s crew can be heard in an audio recording of a radio exchange telling vessels anchored at the Rock to “leave Spanish territorial waters”. Royal Navy boats were quickly deployed in response to the incident – the latest in a string of stand-offs involving Spanish and British ships. Boats which were ordered to leave – including the Ivor Accord and the Great Victory – remained at the port during the incident, which was branded “foolish” by the Government of Gibraltar. “There is only nuisance value to these foolish games being played by those who don’t accept unimpeachable British sovereignty over the waters around Gibraltar as recognised by the whole world in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” a spokesman said.

Electoral law

Telegraph
Britain’s electoral law is “not fit for purpose” and should be updated to tackle the growing use of social media and online micro-targeting of voters by political campaigners, the Culture Committee recommends. The committee pointed to warnings by the Information Commissioner of a “disturbing disregard for voters’ personal privacy” in the way their personal information was being used in political campaigns. It also follows the scandal over Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that worked for Donald Trump, which improperly obtained the personal data of 50m Facebook users.

Property

Times
The affordability of housing in Britain is improving at the fastest rate since 2011, according to analysis. The latest monthly index by Rightmove, the property website, showed that houses were being newly advertised at prices that on average were 0.2 per cent higher than 12 months earlier. This is the weakest growth at this time of year since 2009, as sellers price homes cautiously in a slow market. However, Rightmove also said that the UK’s average annual wage growth of 3.4 per cent was outstripping asking prices by its fastest rate in eight years, suggesting that incomes are slowly starting to catch up with home values.

Rail travel

Telegraph
Passengers may no longer have to buy split tickets to get the cheapest fares for some journeys under an overhaul proposed by the rail companies. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents the companies, has advanced a new system under which travellers would be charged the best value fare. It would end the practice where passengers have to buy multiple tickets for different portions of their route often from different companies in order to guarantee the cheapest option

Mail
Rail bosses plan to replace peak and off-peak fares with ticket prices that change throughout the day. In a bid to end the crush at rush hours and encourage more passengers to travel during quiet periods, rail companies have called for the two tiers to be scrapped – but critics claim that it could make the ticket system even more confusing. As peak tickets are much more expensive than off-peak – for example, a rush-hour ticket from London to Manchester can cost £175 compared to £88 off-peak – trains just outside peak hours are often overcrowded as passengers try to save money

Times
Traditional peak-time rail fares face the axe under the biggest reform of the ticketing system in more than 20 years. A report published today recommends that the present “cliff edge” between peak and off-peak fares be abolished in favour of more regular pricing throughout the day. It says that slightly cheaper peak-time fares would slash demand for the first subsequent off-peak service, reducing overcrowding by up to a third on very busy trains. Some passengers would pay more, the report says, but up to 80 per cent of trains at quieter times would have lower walk-on fares to encourage more to travel without the need to book weeks in advance.

Telegraph
Eurostar trains to Paris were cancelled, a motorway closed and nearly 2,000 people evacuated from their homes on Sunday as police detonated a huge unexploded bomb believed to have been dropped by the RAF in 1944. The 1000 lb bomb, initially thought to be harmless, was discovered earlier this month by workmen at a construction site at Porte de la Chapelle, near the Gare du Nord. It was then found to be still at risk of exploding despite having lain dormant for 75 years.  The railway station, which houses the Eurostar terminal, was shut for several hours and people within a two mile radius were told to leave the area. Sections of the nearby A1 motorway and the Paris ring road were closed, and Métro and other train services were also halted.

Air travel

Mail
Air passengers could be forced to pay a £2.50 surcharge to enable collapsed airlines to carry on flying, after frustrated customers were left stranded across Europe following the collapse of British carrier Flybmi.  The charge, which currently applies to ATOL-protected package holidays, could be extended to individual flights to prevent passengers being stuck overseas.   The budget airline went into administration yesterday blaming rising fuel costs and Britain’s uncertain future after Brexit, throwing holiday plans into chaos as schools break up for the February half term.

The post News review – Monday 18 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

Sunday papers – 17 February 2019

Sunday papers – 17 February 2019

Project Fear

The EU is getting desperate.  Its plan to send us food aid is revealed in the Express.

THE EU is planning to send food aid to feed Britain’s poor in the event of a no deal Brexit, sources in Brussels have revealed.
The bizarre European Commission plan involves sending food parcels to British food banks for the needy from the EU’s wine lakes and food mountains of surpluses produced by the protective measures in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Tory Brexiteers last night branded the proposal “the last throw of the dice of Project Fear by EU blackmailers” hoping to scare Britons’ into changing their minds and remaining. There was also a warning that it indicates that the EU might try to illegally block food being sold to Britain if it leaves without a formal deal.
The revelation came as a major new report by leading economists has attacked the “misleading” UK Treasury economic models which are at the heart of many of the Project Fear claims.
Meanwhile, tourism chiefs pointed out the potential benefits of Brexit and said that the end of EU rules could provide the industry with a massive boost.
The revelation about food parcels from the EU emerged at an event in Brussels last week where EU bureaucrats working for the Commission’s international development department were present.

Deals in a number of areas post-Brexit have been agreed, reports the Mail.

BREXIT scaremongers were exposed as hoaxers last night after their warnings of No Deal chaos were finally demolished.
EU chiefs have secretly agreed measures to ensure transport links with Britain are maintained, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.
British planes will continue to fly into Europe and lorries can drive on the continent, even if we leave without an agreement on March 29.
Two announcements slipped out by Brussels late on Friday expose “Project Fear” predictions of pandemonium as myths.
One will allow UK-based airlines to continue providing scheduled flights. The other will let road hauliers, coach and bus firms carry goods and passengers across the EU.
The contingency plan drawn up by the European Commission is on the condition that the UK offers the same rights to the EU.
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said: “It is welcome that the EU wants to agree reciprocal arrangements for a No Deal.
“This pierces the Project Fear myths and shows that the UK and EU can work sensibly together.”

But civic serpents are still trying to overturn the referendum decision reports the Express.

TODAY, we see the efforts of supposedly neutral civil servants issuing anti-Brexit propaganda, still hoping to reverse the referendum decision.
We have had the Treasury and ‘Cross-Whitehall’ report, arguing that any Brexit at all, including the government’s proposed deal, would be worse than Remaining. Then the Bank released its ‘Brexit crisis scenario’, an implied forecast of how bad No Deal would be. It has since reiterated that No Deal would likely cause a recession. These are deceitful propaganda efforts and terrible economics.
Contrary to Project Fear, Brexit means big gains for the economy, from free trade with rest of the world, reducing prices and boosting competition; better regulation, in technology, energy, and financial services – all key to our future growth prospects; an end to subsidised unskilled immigration which costs £3500 pa for each unskilled worker; ending paying large amounts into the EU budget.
Together, these will add about 0.5 percent a year to our growth rate, totalling a 7 percent boost to GDP by 2035.

Even the neutral Reuters  is reporting there will be no problem with security following our withdrawal.

Britain’s exit from the European Union will not affect security cooperation with its NATO allies France and Germany, given the growing external threats to the continent’s stability, the intelligence chiefs of the three countries said on Friday.
“The chiefs … said that all three services would continue to be close allies in jointly protecting Europe from threats such as Islamism, terrorism, organised crime or cyber-attacks,” the heads of Germany’s BND, France’s DGSE and Britain’s MI6 said in a rare joint statement.
“This would also hold true… in view of Brexit,” they said after meeting at the Munich Security Conference.

EU

Meanwhile, it seems the bloc is facing problems when we leave.  The Telegraph says:

EU leaders are threatening their economies and risking defeats in forthcoming elections by edging the UK ­toward a no-deal Brexit, says Liam Fox.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the International Trade Secretary says the “very reasonable” change MPs had requested to Theresa May’s Brexit deal was a “strange thing on which to hang much of the economic well-being of the people of Europe”.
A rejection of Britain’s demands would risk recession across the continent, following the shrinking of Italy’s economy last year, he claims. Ministers warn a no-deal exit will cause disruption on both sides of the Channel.

And the Times says:

Dark economic clouds gathering over the EU are raising the stakes for European leaders as they prepare to negotiate with Britain over Brexit plans.
While Ireland and Holland have already reported an influx of companies relocating away from the UK, both are highly exposed to a no-deal Brexit that threatens to wipe out any gains from relocations.
The Dutch government unveiled a furry blue mascot dubbed the “Brexit Muppet” last week to inform businesses how to prepare for Brexit. Yet even with careful planning and information campaigns, Holland faces a €10bn decline in trade, according to an analysis by the country’s Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

Politically, Westmonster claims that Italy is on the verge of leaving the EU.

The Economic Spokesman of the governing Lega party has stated that Italy should quit the European Union unless it does not reform. An argument some Brits made for years, before realising the only way out is to exit the bloc. Anti-EU sentiment is rising across Europe.
Claudio Borghi, who is also Chairman of the Budget Committee, said of reform after May’s European Elections: “I think this is the last opportunity.”
He also said: “Either we succeed in changing (EU) now or we will have to Leave.”

And the Yellow Vest movement is ready to start a revolution, says Breitbart.

Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement member Christophe Chalençon announced that the anti-establishment movement has “paramilitaries” ready to overthrow the French government.
Mr Chalençon made the claim following an interview with Italian media this week after being asked about his meeting with Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio earlier this month BFMTV reports.
Despite the interview being over, the cameras kept recording and published the remarks of Chalençon who said, “I know I’m risking a lot, I can get shot in the head anytime, but I’ll be at the end of my convictions, because if they put a bullet in my head, Macron will be placed in the guillotine.”
“We have come to such a point of confrontation, that if they kill me, he is dead too because the people come back to the Elysée and they will dismantle everything… There are many of us like that,” he said, and added: “We have paramilitaries who are ready to intervene because they also want to bring down the government.”

Ireland

In the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard claims he has heard whispers from Brussels about the Irish backstop.

The leaks from Brussels have begun. Unnamed EU “diplomats and officials” have floated the subject of a temporary opt-out for Ireland in a no-deal Brexit.
Dublin will not have to erect customs infrastructure or police the outer limits of the single market immediately. There will be a transition.
Officials told Reuters that Ireland will ultimately face checks on its own exports to Europe or face being kicked out of the EU customs union if it refuses to put up a trade border against Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal.
“If there is no physical border, the customs checks would have to take place on all goods coming from Ireland,” said one.

The economy

The Mail reports that the chancellor is preparing for talks with the EU to fail.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has set up a secret bailout fund in an operation codenamed Project Kingfisher – so the British economy can be jump-started if talks with Brussels collapse, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Plans seen by this newspaper disclose the establishment of a short-term fiscal stimulus package designed to prop up the UK’s manufacturing and industrial sectors in the event of a No Deal departure from the EU and the disruption that would follow.
Ministers have been ordered to draw up top-secret lists of specific firms and sectors they believe will most need the cash and submit them on paper to the Treasury to avoid embarrassing leaks.

And the retail market is strong, reports Westmonster.

Retail sales for January bounced back strongly in 2019, following a fall in December. As Westminster obsesses over Project Fear, businesses and the public are getting on with it.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that retail sales grew by 1%, which equates to year-on-year growth of 4.2%. This way above the 0.2% and 3.6% forecasts from a Reuters poll of economists.
Year-on-year prices also slowed to 0.4%, the slowest pace of growth since November 2016.
As Rhian Murphy, from the ONS, explains: “Clothing stores saw strong sales, luring consumers with price reductions, with food sales also growing after a slight dip after Christmas.
This follows on from inflation dipping down to 1.8% and the highest wage growth since 2008. What are hardline Remainers and many pundits so grumpy about?

The Brexit Party

Nigel’s new party claims an influx of members, reports the Mail.

NIGEL Farage’s new Brexit Party has signed up 100,000 members – just a week after it was formally registered.
The former Ukip leader admits to being astounded by the race to join before he has staged an official launch or opened an office.
More than 35,000 people applied for membership in the first 24 hours after the new organisation was recognised by the Electoral Commission. And about 10,000 people a day have been flocking to get involved ever since.
Mr Farage is ready to lead the party if Theresa May decides to delay Brexit by extending Article 50 beyond departure day on March 29.

Conservative Party

Theresa’s desperate, says the Times.

Theresa May made a desperate appeal for unity this weekend as a leader of the party’s hardline Eurosceptic wing warned that continuing with her Brexit deal risked splitting the Conservative Party.
The prime minister wrote to all 317 Tory MPs yesterday urging them to back her deal by sacrificing “personal preferences” to unite in the “higher service of the national interest”.
The letter was sent hours after The Sunday Times received leaked WhatsApp messages revealing that Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the 100-strong European Research Group (ERG), told colleagues that May’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels were a “complete waste of time”.

BBC News claims her letter says the hand of history will be on all their shoulders.

Theresa May has urged Conservative MPs to put aside “personal preferences” and support a Brexit deal in the Commons.
In a letter to all 317 Tory members of Parliament, the prime minister said “history will judge us all” over the handling of Brexit.
It comes after the government suffered a defeat in a vote on its strategy.
Mrs May says in the letter she will return to Brussels to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next week.
She will also speak to the leaders of every EU member state over the coming days, she says.

The Sun calls the letter ‘desperate’.

THERESA May last night told her warring party to unite and deliver Brexit and warned: “History will judge us.”
The PM issued a dramatic appeal for Tories to bury their differences and put the national interest first.
She cautioned that the split in their ranks risked stopping Brexit  altogether or wrecking people’s lives with a “no deal” departure.
Mrs May’s plea for unity came in a letter sent to all 317 of her MPs as Britain’s future rests on a knife-edge.
In it, she admitted being disappointed at last week’s Commons defeat  but stressed she is determined to secure a deal that can win the day.

The Mail claims the letter speaks about the ‘national interest’.

Theresa May has issued a desperate plea to Conservative MPs to unite and deliver on Brexit, urging her party to ‘move beyond what divides us’ and sacrifice ‘personal preferences’ for the national interest.
The Prime Minister’s rallying cry follows another tumultuous week in Westminster which saw tensions in the party reach boiling point, with one minister accusing Eurosceptic colleagues of ‘treachery’.
Mrs May, in a letter to all 317 Conservative MPs after her Brexit plans suffered a humiliating Commons defeat on Valentine’s Day, said the result was ‘disappointing’ but vowed that the Government would continue its work to secure changes to the Irish border backstop.

The Telegraph reports that two ministers who might succeed Mrs May will be going to the US.

Two cabinet ministers touted as front runners to succeed Theresa May are planning a joint trip to the US, to attend a conference previously addressed by Margaret Thatcher.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, are due to speak at the annual AEI World Forum, run by the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based group that champions free markets.
The trip has prompted colleagues to speculate that the pair have formed a new alliance ahead of Mrs May’s departure.
A Tory source said: “It’s curious that at a critical time for Brexit negotiations, two Cabinet Ministers are spending their time shmoozing with the US.

With the Telegraph’s ‘cash for access’ story, one wonders if the Tory Party is getting a bit short of money.

The Conservatives are ­facing new “cash-for-access” claims after offering ­business figures private meetings with the Chancellor and other finance ministers in return for substantial donations to the party.
Individuals working in the City were being offered membership of a “Chancellor’s Group” that Tories said had the “overt patronage of the Chancellor” and offered the chance to “discuss topical issues” with key finance ministers, go to post-budget briefings and get “monthly updates on the economy.”
The price of the donor club was set at £25,000 a year and came weeks after the party was reportedly placed on an election footing by its chief executive.

Labour Party

Corbyn is under fire in the Mail.

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of betraying the party’s Brexit policy by the delegates who wrote it, as they demand he finally backs a Final Say referendum on Brexit.
The delegates from around the country have sent a letter to the Labour leader, directly charging him with failing to implement the plan carefully formed and approved by conference last year.
In a stinging rebuke they remind him that he promised “policy will be made by Labour members, not the leader”, but then go on to say, “the complete opposite now appears to be happening”.

Education

Private school fees could rise, reports the Telegraph.

Private schools are facing a £100million “stealth raid” by the Government to fund teacher pensions in a move which could lead to significant rises in fees.
The Department for Education has revealed that from September employer’s contribution for teachers’ pensions will rise from 16.48 per cent of their salaries to 23.6 per cent.
The change, which comes into force in September, will cost private schools an extra £110million from 2019-20 and nearly £200million the following year.
Private schools are now faced with either pulling out of the teachers’ pension scheme, making them less attractive to new teachers, or raising fees.

Waste collection

Monthly rubbish collections could be a thing of the past, reports the Times.

Every household in England is to benefit from a weekly food-waste collection, under government plans to be revealed this week. The proposals include plans for free collection of garden waste, which many families pay to have taken away.
The standard rubbish collection, the so-called “black bags”, will remain the same.
The move comes after a poll by the research company YouGov last year found that 69% of people in the UK supported the idea of councils offering a separate caddy for food waste to be collected weekly. At present, large amounts of the waste put into black bags is old food and vegetable peelings.

HS2

Properties compulsorily purchased for the high speed rail track may have been significantly undervalued, reports the Mail.

A couple who believe their home has been grossly undervalued by HS2 are launching a landmark legal case against the company running the controversial rail scheme.
Trevor and Justine Palin say their house is worth at least £60,000 more than HS2 has offered to pay for it under a compulsory purchase order for the proposed line.
The couple are planning to take the company to the High Court in a case which could pave the way for hundreds of other homeowners in a similar situation to take legal action.

Inheritance tax

ITV News reports on the prospect of changes to inheritance rules.

Ministers are considering a shake-up of inheritance rules to reflect changes in society, such as fewer marriages and an increase in step-families.
A consultation has been launched asking for the public’s view on how the law can be made fairer when it comes to dividing an estate on someone’s death.
It asks what rights cohabitants should have and whether step-children should have the same inheritance rights as biological or adopted children.
Opinions are also being sought on whether anyone convicted of murder should be removed as executor for their victim’s will.

Skripal

It seems the Russian who spied for the UK has not quite got over his poisoning, reports the Times.

The former MI6 spy who was poisoned in a botched assassination attempt by Russian agents in Salisbury has suffered a deterioration in his health and is being treated by doctors, The Sunday Times can reveal.
Sergei Skripal, 67, who along with his daughter, Yulia, 33, was poisoned with the nerve agent novichok last March, is under medical supervision amid concerns that he is unlikely ever to recover fully from the chemical attack which assaults the nervous system.
The former colonel in the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, and his daughter were in a critical condition when they were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital after the attack.

The post Sunday papers – 17 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Friday 15 February 2019

News review – Friday 15 February 2019

For readers looking forward to Viv Evans’
Daily Brexit piece, she has asked me to say
it won’t be appearing as she is unwell.

Brexit

Mail
Theresa May suffered another Brexit humiliation tonight as she was brutally savaged by Tory MPs from both wings of her party. The PM had tabled an apparently bland motion that was designed to give her a mandate to push on with her plan to return to the EU and get more concessions on the Irish border backstop.  But it was interpreted in wildly different ways by the warring factions in Parliament, and Mrs May crashed to defeat by a huge margin of 303 to 258. Furious Eurosceptics abstained claiming she was sneakily trying to take no deal off the table.  As any hopes of a Tory love-in for Valentine’s Day were shattered, Remainers also snubbed her for the opposite reason, that she was not dismissing the idea of crashing out. In total 66 Tories went missing for the showdown, while five actively opposed her.    Summing up the pincer movement Mrs May found herself caught in, both arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson and his pro-EU brother Jo abstained.

Guardian
Theresa May has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of hardline Eurosceptics, plunging her hopes of uniting the Conservatives around a renegotiated Brexit deal into chaos. The prime minister failed to win support for her EU strategy after the European Research Group (ERG), led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, abstained on a government motion because it appeared to rule out a no-deal Brexit. The defeat marks the end of a temporary truce over Brexit among Conservative MPs, who had voted last month in favour of May’s strategy if she could obtain some concessions from Brussels on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

Telegraph
Theresa May has said a no-deal Brexit is “more likely” after Tory Eurosceptics condemned her to another humiliating Commons defeat. The brief Tory truce over Brexit was shattered as 66 Conservatives – including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab – abstained in a vote over the Government’s way forward, which Mrs May lost by 303 votes to 258.

Mirror
Theresa May has been dealt a major defeat over her Brexit strategy after 71 Tory Leavers openly rebelled in a Commons vote. MPs voted 303-258 not to “reiterate” backing for her strategy to secure changes to the ‘backstop’ in the 585-page Brexit deal. It’s not legally binding – but leaves Mrs May weakened just as she had to put up a united front against Brussels. Mrs May hoped tonight’s vote would give her more time and a mandate return renegotiate parts of her deal, 43 days before we leave the EU on March 29. But rebels led by Jacob Rees-Mogg abstained on tonight’s motion, because they said it effectively endorsed a promise to “reject” no-deal Brexit.

Huffington Post
MPs racing to stop a no-deal Brexit could force Theresa May to hand back control to parliament in mid-March if the UK is still on course to crash out.  Labour MP Yvette Cooper, with a cross-party alliance that includes Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, is aiming to carve out parliamentary time for a Brexit plan B, which could see Article 50 suspended and leaving the bloc delayed. The government is due to table a motion by February 25 setting out the next steps on Brexit, with the PM trying to renegotiate her Brexit deal with the EU so that it will be acceptable to Tory hardliners and the DUP. Cooper has said if May fails to present a viable plan then she and others will try to amend that motion and ask MPs to back her private members’ bill plan.

Huffington Post
A cross-party attempt to take control of Brexit and rule out no deal is a “Trojan horse” for stopping Britain’s exit from the EU, a senior Labour MP has said. Caroline Flint said the Yvette Cooper-led move could open the door to “game playing” by politicians who want to overturn the 2016 referendum result, and criticised the Labour leadership’s “high handed” decision to back it in the February 27 ‘high noon’ Brexit votes without consulting MPs. Appearing on HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast, Flint said the so-called “Cooper 2” amendment was “even worse” than her party colleague’s first attempt, which was rejected by a majority of 23 last month after a Labour rebellion led by the Don Valley MP.  Flint, who backed Remain but has been holding talks with government ministers about supporting the Brexit deal, also urged Jeremy Corbyn to give Labour a free vote on EU withdrawal to keep hold of MPs who are “hellbent” on leaving the party.

Independent
The majority of the country’s Brexit experts believe Theresa May will get her deal through the House of Commons, a new poll seen by The Independent reveals. The Brexit policy panel, a cross-disciplinary group of some of the 100 most prominent academics on the issue, were asked to forecast what would happen in the coming months as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.  A total of 60 per cent of respondents said they believed Ms May was likely to get her deal approved by MPs, the survey by The UK in a Changing Europe initiative found, a significant increase from previous polls. Interestingly only 40 per cent of the panel believed the prime minister would be able to secure support by 29 March – the date Britain is set to the leave the European Union – indicating a significant proportion believe an extension to Article 50 might be required.

Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May will continue to seek changes to her Brexit deal, a spokesman for her office said, after she suffered a symbolic defeat in parliament on her strategy. “The government will continue to pursue this with the EU to ensure we leave on time on 29th March,” the spokesman said. The spokesman said May believed her Conservative lawmakers still wanted her to renegotiate the deal, but had voted against her on Thursday because they were concerned about the prospect of taking a ‘no deal’ off the table at this stage.

‘Project Fear’

Star
BREXIT may lead to a military confrontation in Europe, warned a top Labour politician. Britain’s future generations could be forced into battle due to mistakes by politicians today, claimed Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis. He said: “My fear is this, if we walk away from Europe now my children, your children, or possibly our grandchildren but probably our children could be back in Europe in a few years’ time – but in uniform. “And I don’t want to see that happen.” Speaking at a “Love socialism, hate Brexit” event, he said Labour were at risk of being “utterly and comprehensively destroyed” at the next general election if they allow Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass. While refusing to turn on Jeremy Corbyn he did say that the party are “sending some mixed messages out there and that is truly dangerous.”

Irish backstop

Times
Britain will soften its demand that the EU reopen the Brexit withdrawal agreement to solve the Irish backstop issue, The Times has learnt. The Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay suggested to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier during talks this week that the government could accept legal guarantees that fell short of renegotiating the draft withdrawal treaty. The revelation will enrage Brexiteers, who inflicted another defeat on Theresa May last night before she has further talks in Brussels next week. MPs rejected a motion supporting the government’s EU negotiating strategy by a majority of 45. There was a coordinated show of strength by the Tory Brexiteer European Research Group that meant more than 50 Brexiteers withheld their support.

EU

Independent
Brussels is to move forward with plans for a new European Labour Agency that would police work standards for immigrants across the bloc. The new EU authority will help crack down on undeclared work by EU migrants – a practice sometimes accused of driving down conditions and wages for foreign and domestic workers alike. The authority will also help member states resolve cross-border disputes, provide information for workers and employees alike about cross-border working, and help enforce EU law. There are estimated around 17 million EU nationals working in EU countries other than their own. Under the proposals agreed by negotiators for the European Parliament and European Council participation in the authority will be voluntary. The plan must be formally signed off by member states and MEPs.

Express
A GERMAN European Commissioner has criticised Angela Merkel’s government for not committing enough to the EU. Günther Oettinger has accused his country, which is the EU’s largest economy, of a lack of commitment to funding for Brussels which the ruling coalition had pledged in 2018. Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is sharing power with the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) and the left wing Social Democrats (SPD). Mr Oettinger told Austrian finance news website he feels “relatively little” about the German government’s promises on a new beginning for Europe laid out in the coalition contract.

Westmonster
The economic outlook in Germany continues to look pretty dismal, with the country only narrowly avoiding a fall into recession. The German economy dipped by -0.2% in the third quarter of 2018, and flatlined at 0.0% by the end of the year. The country is now teetering on the brink of a recession, with German industry desperately anxious about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal. Italy is in recession and European economies need a deal with Britain. The UK government must hold its nerve, demand changes to any deal and be prepared to walk away.

Labour Party

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn will visit Brussels next week for talks in a bid to circumvent the Brexit deadlock in Westminster. The Labour leader is expected to meet EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier and European Parliament Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt. The visit – far from Mr Corbyn’s first to the EU capital – comes after senior EU figures have spoken out to welcome Labour’s proposals for a softer Brexit than the one planned by Theresa May. Mr Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand said earlier this week that Labour’s plans deserved to be examined, while European Council president Donald Tusk is said to have spoken well of the proposals in a private meeting with Theresa May.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn will hold talks in Brussels next week with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, as he seeks to break the Brexit impasse and persuade Theresa May to sign up to a customs union. The visit is likely to be highly unwelcome in Downing Street, and risks accusations that Labour is pursuing its own shadow negotiations, undermining the prime minister’s hopes of fresh EU concessions. May will be in Brussels in the same week to meet the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker. The UK attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, is expected to travel with her.

Express
Labour is braced for a walkout of eight Remainer MPs as early as Monday after the party was plunged into fresh conflict over Brexit. Rebels are gearing up to form a breakaway group as tensions flare over Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Britain’s departure from the EU. It comes as up to ten shadow ministers are reportedly planning to resign from the frontbench if the Labour leader refuses to back a second referendum. Party splits boiled over in a heated outburst in the Commons from Chris Leslie, one of the backbenchers believed to be involved in planning a new party. In a public attack on Mr Corbyn, he claimed “we are being played for fools by the leadership of the Labour Party” and told MPs the divisions over Brexit were “heartbreaking.” Mr Leslie criticised the wording of his party leadership’s proposals to change Theresa May’s next steps Brexit plan because it did not include the option of another Brexit referendum.

Times
Fears of a split in the Labour Party grew yesterday as a shadow minister predicted retribution from voters if the party facilitated a Conservative Brexit deal. Clive Lewis, a shadow Treasury minister who is on the left of the party, said that Labour could suffer severe ramifications if it helped pass Theresa May’s agreement in the Commons. Labour MPs who support another EU referendum said that the chances of a split had risen after growing antagonism between backbenchers and the leadership over Brexit and the handling of antisemitism claims. Last night more than 40 Labour MPs rebelled to support an SNP amendment to extend the Article 50 process, which commits Britain to leaving the European Union by March 29.

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn suffered a major revolt when 41 Labour MPs backed an SNP call for an “immediate” move to delay Brexit by extending Article 50. The Labour leader ordered his MPs to abstain – but he was defied by the 41 who voted with the Scottish Nationalists for a suspension of “no fewer than three months”, past 29 March. The revolt came after fresh confusion about Mr Corbyn’s stance on seeking an Article 50 extension, which would have to be agreed by all other 27 EU countries. It came moments before Theresa May was hit by another humiliating defeat, when hardline anti-EU Tories refused to back her “approach to leaving the EU”. The European Research Group (ERG) sparked a fresh crisis for the prime minister, refusing to “reiterate” support because they feared she would use it to rule out a no-deal Brexit.  It left her unable to claim she has a Commons mandate for her attempt to renegotiate the Irish backstop – something the EU has refused to do so far.

Mail
Theresa May hit back at Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell last night after he refused to apologise for calling Winston Churchill a ‘villain’. The Prime Minister, who has a portrait of Churchill on the wall of her study, hailed Britain’s wartime PM for his ‘leadership and determination’. She argued his ‘unwavering personality’ had ‘inspired our country through our darkest hour’. Mr McDonnell had branded Sir Winston a ‘villain’ on Wednesday night and blamed him for sending troops to deal with rioting Welsh miners in Tonypandy in 1910 when he was home secretary. Mr McDonnell appeared to argue that the incident eclipsed Churchill’s World War II heroics in saving Britain — and Europe — from Nazism.

Times
John McDonnell has defended his description of Winston Churchill as a villain over his role on the Tonypandy riots, saying he was just being honest. Mr McDonnell did acknowledge that Churchill was a war hero but said there was “another side” to him that should be taught more often. Chris Williamson, another Labour MP, agreed that Churchill was a “villain” who had been “in the right place at the right time” during the Second World War. Mr McDonnell has come under pressure to withdraw comments he made on Wednesday when he was asked at an event hosted by the Politico website whether Churchill was a hero or villain. “Tonypandy: villain,” he replied.

Health

Times
NHS staff suffer from “learned helplessness” in a dysfunctional system, the chairman of NHS England has said in an attack on 25 years of flawed health policies. As accident and emergency units reported their worst waiting times on record, Lord Prior of Brampton gave a scathing assessment of the system over which he presides. He said that such targets had “had their day” and that they contributed to the erosion of the vocational culture of the NHS. He said that targets, competition and reliance on inspectors had all led to a disjointed system and demoralised staff. A series of NHS reforms that have broken up the health service into autonomous hospitals “makes driving an integrated strategy across the NHS almost impossible”, he added.

Mirror
A&E waiting times in England have reached their worst level since records began, data shows. Figures from NHS England show that, during January, just 84.4% of patients were treated or admitted in four hours, against a 95% target. This means nearly 330,000 patients waited longer than they should, and comes despite lower levels of flu and norovirus than last year. The data shows that 83,519 people in January endured very long waits – often called trolley waits – to be admitted to hospital. After a decision had been taken to admit them, this group waited four hours or more before a ward bed was found for them. The last time the 95% target – which was introduced in 2004 – was hit was in July 2015.

Sun
HALF of dementia sufferers may be helped by a cannabis-based mouth spray, experts claim. British researchers want to test whether the peppermint-flavoured treatment can reduce agitation experienced by many with the disease.  Around 850,000 Brits currently have dementia – and the figure is expected to hit one million within a decade. There is currently no cure, although some drugs can limit the symptoms. As well as memory problems and confusion, half of dementia  victims experience challenging behaviour, such as raised aggression. Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding a £300,000 trial into whether the drug Sativex can help ease these changes. The cannabis-based drug is currently licensed for use in the UK for treating patients with MS. Scientists from King’s College London are now recruiting volunteers with Alzheimer’s who are living in care homes and have symptoms of agitation.

Education

Times
Less than 5 per cent of students at most universities are poor and white, according to a report that says only Gypsies are less likely to get a place. There would be almost 10,000 more students in higher education if all universities ensured that at least 5 per cent of their intake was white and from a “low-participation neighbourhood”, the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon) said. These are students from areas with little history of university entrance and are usually economically deprived. The network suggested that 54 per cent of institutions met the 5 per cent figure. Further education colleges are a more common destination for young people from poor backgrounds taking higher education courses.

Jihadi bride

Times
Shamima Begum will be viewed as a security threat, a target for right-wing extremists and a magnet for Islamist hardliners if she is able to return to Britain, counterterrorism officials said yesterday. Police and security agencies are assessing how best to deal with the jihadi bride should she achieve her wish to return home and live a quiet life with the child she is expecting imminently. The initial reaction of the authorities would be to decide whether to prosecute her for terrorism offences. Scotland Yard has conducted an assessment of the activities of all those known to have travelled to join Islamic State and whether they can bring charges.

The post News review – Friday 15 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Thursday 13 February 2019

News review – Thursday 13 February 2019

Brexit

Express
THERESA May faces a revolt by Tory Brexiteers tonight following growing concerns the UK’s withdrawal from the EU could be delayed. Up to 80 Tory backbenchers are threatening to refuse to back the Prime Minister in tonight’s Commons vote on a Government motion endorsing her push for a revamped Brexit deal. The MPs allied to the European Research Group, chaired by senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg, claim the motion effectively rules out a no-deal Brexit. Several Cabinet ministers were also understood to be considering quitting if a lengthy delay in the withdrawal process is agreed.

Sky News
The government could be facing another embarrassing parliamentary defeat, after a group of Tory Eurosceptics suggested they were ready to rebel in a Brexit vote later today.  The motion asks the House of Commons to “reiterate its support” for what was agreed in a previous set of votes two weeks ago. In that vote MPs passed an amendment requiring the Prime Minister to seek changes to the Irish backstop in fresh negotiations with Brussels, but also saw a majority for an amendment that ruled out leaving the EU without a deal.

Telegraph
Theresa May is braced for another damaging defeat in the Commons on Thursday after Tory Eurosceptics accused her of ruling out a no deal Brexit. The European Research Group of Conservative Brexiteers says it cannot support a Government motion being put to a vote on Thursday after describing Mrs May’s position as “madness”. Senior sources within the ERG said the group would abstain, and with Labour expected to vote against the motion, it will mean yet another Brexit defeat for Mrs May just 43 days before Britain is due to leave the EU.

Reuters
A pro-Brexit faction of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will not back her motion in parliament on Thursday that seeks renewed backing for her Brexit plan, the BBC’s political editor reported without citing sources. The government refused to alter the motion to meet the demands of the European Research Group (ERG) of pro-Brexit hardliners, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said. “Brexiteer group haven’t decided yet if they will abstain or vote against but they won’t back govt – either way, another reminder May just can’t rely on her backbenches,” Kuenssberg tweeted.

Brexit Central
A big row is brewing this morning over the motion that the Government has tabled for tomorrow’s full day of debate on Brexit in the Commons, which the eurosceptic MPs in the European Research Group have told government whips they cannot support. With MPs having expected a neutral, anodyne (albeit amendable) motion to be tabled, instead the Government yesterday tabled a motion that endorses the approach to Brexit as agreed by amendments passed by the Commons on 29th January.

BBC News
MPs are to debate and vote on the next steps in the Brexit process later, as Theresa May continues to try to get a deal through Parliament. A series of amendments – designed to change the direction of Brexit – will be considered in the debate, which is expected to be a routine procedure. But BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the PM could be facing another defeat. Some Tory Brexiteers are refusing to back the government, she said. No 10 insists

Guardian
Hardline Brexit supporters are threatening to inflict yet another Commons defeat on Theresa May because they fear the government is effectively ruling out leaving the EU with no deal. Members of the Tory European Research Group are unhappy with the wording of a No 10 motion because it endorses parliament’s vote against any Brexit without a withdrawal agreement. The motion for debate on Thursday simply affirms “the approach to leaving the EU” backed by the Commons on 29 January, when an amendment was passed in favour of an attempt to replace the Northern Ireland backstop with “alternative arrangements”.

Mirror
The Tory truce over Brexit stands on the brink of falling apart tonight as Theresa May faced another bruising Commons defeat by hardline Brexiteers. Eurosceptic MPs were furious they are being forced to vote on a Government motion that they claimed would commit her to avoiding a no-deal Brexit. The vote, while not legally binding, gives MPs another chance to have their say on the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. They will be asked to confirm they still back the approach to leaving the EU that was passed by a stormy Commons on January 29.

Yahoo News
Theresa May is facing a fresh attempt by a cross-party groups of MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit if she fails to reach an agreement with Brussels by mid-March. Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin are among the group, which have said they are ready to table an amendment enabling Parliament to force ministers to seek a delay if there is no deal in place.

Independent
Theresa May has dismissed the row over her chief negotiator saying she plans to threaten MPs with a “long” delay to Brexit as something “overheard in a bar”. However, the prime minister again failed to rule out extending Article 50 – which Olly Robbins is alleged to have floated, if MPs still refuse to back her deal by the end of March. The SNP said it showed Ms May’s claim she is ready to crash out of the EU if necessary had reached the “end of the road” because she had been “rumbled by your own loose-lipped Brexit adviser”. Brexiteer Tories are furious after Mr Robbins was quoted as saying: “Extension [of Article 50] is possible but if they don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one.”

Sun
THERESA May has today been forced to deny that she’s secretly planning to delay Brexit after a bombshell ‘leak’ revealing the PM wants to run the clock down. Last night Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator was overheard in a bar saying she will threaten MPs with a huge delay if they don’t back her deal next month.  Olly Robbins said he expected the PM to take Brexit talks right down to the wire next month, ITV revealed. And then she would present MPs with a simple choice between backing a revised deal or extending the Article 50 process for a significant period of time beyond March 29.

EU

Express
THE EU is colluding with Theresa May’s Government to carry out “delay tactics” to put pressure on the UK Parliament and force MPs to accept the Withdrawal Agreement out of fear of a no-deal Brexit, it has been claimed. Chances of seeing the changes to the backstop wanted by the MPs and the UK leaving the EU on time are getting slimmer by the hour, as Whitehall and Brussels are collaborating on running down the clock, according to EU officials. The EU looks is poised to add small concessions on the Irish border backstop only on the summit taking place on March 21, days before March 29, Brexit day.

Guardian
The British government is “pretending to negotiate” with the European Union and has not presented any new proposals to break the Brexit deadlock, according to EU officials. Theresa May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, and the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, met senior EU officials and MEPs in Brussels and Strasbourg this week, but the talks yielded no obvious results. The British side thinks a crucial process has begun and hopes progress will have been made by 27 February when MPs are expected to have another crunch Brexit vote. However, on Wednesday night European council president Donald Tusk said the EU27 was still waiting for proposals.

Breitbart
Guy Verhofstadt has called Italy’s President Giuseppe Conte a “puppet” of the populist deputy prime ministers and said the country was suffering from “political degeneration.” The remarks came during a heated exchange in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday after President Conte, an independent, gave a speech where he said that the EU had “lost contact” with Europe’s people and demanded Brussels come to a permanent solution to the migrant crisis, according to Politico. Leftist and progressive MEPs launched attacks on Conte, with socialist grouping leader Udo Bullmann saying that Italy was heading “into political and economic isolation.”

Huffington Post
European governments are being warned that Britain may in future hold back military help for EU countries if there is a no-deal Brexit, HuffPost UK understands. Officials have told foreign diplomats that while Theresa May is fully committed to maintaining strong defence and security ties, future governments could be less willing to support new missions in the EU like the current deployment of troops to Estonia, on Russia’s border.

Ireland

Guardian
Sinn Féin has urged Theresa May and Ireland’s taoiseach Leo Varadkar to plan for a referendum on a united Ireland in event the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal. Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Féin leader, which has seven seats in Westminster, made the same call in an hour-long meeting on Wednesday with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as part of a campaign to lay the grounds for a border poll to decide the future of the island. “In the event there is a no-deal Brexit then the Irish question looms very large, because if that happens there will be an absolute imperative, a democratic imperative, to put the issue of Irish unity to the people by way of referendum,” McDonald said.

Labour Party

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn is facing up to 10 resignations from Labour’s top team if he fails to push the case for a new Brexit referendum, it has been reported.   Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has insisted that the option of a new Brexit poll remains on the table as he admitted that Labour’s preferred scenario of a snap general election is looking unlikely. Labour has tabled an amendment to the Government motion requiring Mrs May to either put her deal to a Commons vote by February 27 or allow Parliament to take control of the process. And now anti-Brexit Labour MPs, junior shadow ministers and grassroots members have told The Guardian they are prepared to resign if Mr Corbyn does not also lend his support to a pro-referendum amendment later this month.

Independent
Labour discord over Brexit has re-emerged after Jeremy Corbyn’s office and senior shadow minister Sir Keir Starmer took different positions on the best next steps for the party. The leader’s spokesman was forced to reiterate that pushing for a new election is the party’s preference after Sir Keir indicated that a compromise deal or a new referendum were the “only credible options now left”. It follows claims that Sir Keir was left angry when the leader’s office removed a line from a Labour letter to Theresa May giving support to a people’s vote.

Express
A SHOCK poll has revealed trust in Jeremy Corbyn has dramatically dropped from 40 percent to 11 percent. Following the poll results, Prime Minister Theresa May launched a scathing attack against Mr Corbyn today – saying he has destroyed his reputation with Brexit failures. In Wednesday’s PMQs Mrs May accused Mr Corbyn of “playing politics” and being unable to decide if he wants Brexit or a second referendum. Mrs May said: “People used to say he was a conviction politician – not anymore.” The Tory poll revealed 40 percent of the UK used to think the leader of the Opposition was a man of his word.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn faces up to 10 resignations from the Labour frontbench if he fails to throw his party’s weight behind a fresh attempt to force Theresa May to submit her Brexit deal to a referendum in a fortnight’s time, frustrated MPs are warning. With tension mounting among anti-Brexit Labour MPs and grassroots members, several junior shadow ministers have told the Guardian they are prepared to resign their posts if Corbyn doesn’t whip his MPs to vote for a pro-referendum amendment at the end of the month. Corbyn has been struggling to balance the conflicting forces in his party over Brexit, as the clock ticks down towards exit day on 29 March.

Guardian
The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, has called for tough rules to swiftly kick out antisemitic Labour members, following rows at a shadow cabinet meeting over the party’s backlog of complaints. The deputy leader, Tom Watson, clashed with the party’s chair, Ian Lavery, at a shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday which was entirely dedicated to the subject. Watson accused the Liverpool Wavertree branch of “bullying” its MP, Luciana Berger, who has also been subjected to antisemitic abuse. Lavery criticised Watson for calling for the branch to be suspended, sources said. Labour’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, revealed on Monday that 673 complaints alleging antisemitism against party members had been made in the past 10 months, resulting in 12 expulsions.

Ferry contract

Mirror
Theresa May’s bid to defend a £14m Brexit ferries contract fell apart spectacularly today after she was accused of misleading PMQs. The Prime Minister claimed “proper due diligence” was carried out on Seaborne Freight  – the firm dropped at the weekend after signing a deal to provide ferries, despite having no ferries. But her evidence involved naming three firms behind the checks – without mentioning what those firms actually did. People instantly started quoting the respected and independent National Audit Office, which confirmed Deloitte “did not make a formal assessment of Seaborne financial stability.”

Independent
Theresa May has come under renewed pressure over a botched no-deal ferry contract handed to a firm which had no ships. The decision to award the £13.8m deal to Seaborne Freight was widely mocked at the time, and transport secretary Chris Grayling faced calls to resign over the matter amid claims that he misled MPs about whether taxpayers’ money had been spent on the contract.  The prime minister also faced anger from MPs after her top Brexit aide was overheard describing plans to offer MPs with a last-minute choice between her deal and a “long” delay.

Guido
Much to everyone’s surprise, Jeremy Corbyn actually asked a vaguely coherent set of questions on a big issue of the day at PMQs today, going on the attack over Seaborne Freight. However, in his excitement it appears that Corbyn may have actually got his facts seriously wrong, with Craig Mackinlay writing to Corbyn to challenge him over whether he misled the House with his claim that the Government’s decision had increased Thanet Council’s budget deficit by “nearly two million pounds”. Bizarrely, the Mirror decided to make an underwhelming ‘Thug Life’ meme purely on the basis of Corbyn’s facial reaction when Mackinlay challenged him at PMQs.

Council tax

Guardian
Almost all councils in England plan to increase council tax from April and three-quarters intend to raise it above 2.75%, research reveals. The maximum rise allowed without a local referendum is 2.99%. Similar proportions plan to raise charges and fees. Despite council tax bills soaring, many residents face further cuts in services. Most councils warned that they would be reducing a range of services, from adult social care to libraries and recycling. The annual survey by the Local Government Information Unit thinktank found that cuts were increasingly visible and that after eight years of austerity – which has cost English councils 40% of their central funding – half of councils felt cuts were now “negatively affecting relationships with citizens”.

ITV News
Almost all local councils in England will increase council tax over the next year as a new survey seen by ITV News shows local government finances reaching breaking point. In a sign that some councils can no longer protect core services for the vulnerable from cuts, nearly a third of councils intend to reduce adult social care and a quarter to reduce children’s services. Last year Northamptonshire council declared bankruptcy and a number of other councils threatened collapse as local councils of all political colours struggled with a reduction in funds from central government and rising demands for social care.

FGM

Sun
THERESA May personally pledged to bring back a draft law to crackdown on female genital mutilation as she slammed the veteran Tory MP who blocked it last week. Sir Christopher Chope last week used parliamentary procedure to halt the draft law sponsored by fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith passing through Parliament.  The bill proposed a change to child welfare laws that would have allowed courts to protect children at risk of FGM. It was intended to stop young kids being taken abroad by their parents to undergo the horrific and permanently damaging procedure.

Churchill

Mail
John McDonnell provoked a furious backlash last night when he described Winston Churchill as a ‘villain’. The Shadow Chancellor was accused of ‘blackening the name’ of the country’s ‘greatest hero’ in comments made during an interview in Westminster. Asked at the event hosted by the Politico website whether Sir Winston was a ‘hero or villain’, he replied: ‘Villain. Tonypandy.’ This was a reference to the Welsh mining village where Churchill ordered in troops to help police quell riots in 1910.

Independent
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has branded Winston Churchill a “villain”. The Labour heavyweight made the comment in reference to the the way Britain’s wartime leader dealt with striking Welsh miners while home secretary in 1910. Mr Churchill’s decision to send troops to support police quelling riots in Tonypandy has long been a subject of historical debate. In a question and answer session with the Politico website, Mr McDonnell was asked: “Winston Churchill, hero or villain?”

Health

Mail
Doctors have accused the Government of neglecting heart failure patients after a study found survival rates have barely improved in nearly 20 years. The terminal condition – which is often mistaken for asthma or mere old age – currently affects more than 920,000 people in the UK. But despite medical advances in treating many serious conditions, including cancer, experts at the universities of Oxford and Birmingham warned that the chances of dying from heart failure have hardly changed since 2000 as it ‘has not been a priority area in Government policy or funding’.

Mozzarella

Telegraph
Italian mozzarella producers are challenging their British counterparts to a grand taste-off after being stung by claims that British-made cheese is better than their own. There is a small but growing band of buffalo mozzarella farmers in the UK, who stand to benefit if a no-deal Brexit strangles the import of food from the continent. The gauntlet was thrown down by the Italians after one proud producer of buffalo mozzarella in Hampshire claimed that his cheese was not just equal to the iconic Italian original, but superior.

The post News review – Thursday 13 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

News review – Tuesday 12 February 2019

News review – Tuesday 12 February 2019

Brexit

Breitbart
Theresa May and her Remainer civil servants secretly sabotaged an offer made by the EU Council President Donald Tusk of a free trade deal exit from the EU because all they ever really wanted was Brexit In Name Only. Of the many things I’ve heard about the Establishment’s outrageous scheming to scupper Brexit this is by far the most damning – and it deserves much wider coverage. It was Martin Durkin (director of Brexit: the Movie) who drew my attention to it. Steve Baker MP is a member of the (ardently pro-Brexit) European Research Group. He was also – till he resigned in protest at Mrs May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations – a minister in the government’s Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXU). Baker made his revelation at the end of last month while appearing before an MP committee, in which he criticised the “governing class” for its deliberate attempts to thwart Brexit in defiance of the Referendum vote.

Guardian
Theresa May hopes to convince the House of Commons on Tuesday to give her another fortnight’s grace to keep pushing for changes to the Irish backstop – despite the insistence of Michel Barnier that it is Britain that must compromise. With 45 days to go until Britain is due by law to leave the EU, with or without a deal, the prime minister will address MPs about progress in the Brexit talks, No 10 announced on Monday. She is unlikely to signal any shift towards a closer future relationship with the EU.

Mail
Michel Barnier today vowed that the EU will not make any more concessions on the Brexit deal – insisting the UK must give ground. The chief negotiator launched a combative attack on the ‘negative’ British stance ahead of a meeting with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.   Meanwhile, Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel jibed that the UK was actually a ‘disunited kingdom’, accusing Eurosceptics of only being willing to say ‘no, no, no’. The intervention came as Theresa May desperately battles to find a way through the political deadlock, with less than seven weeks to go until the exit date.

Guardian
Michel Barnier has said “something has to give” on the British side of the negotiations if the Brexit impasse is to be broken. The EU’s chief negotiator insisted there was no question of Brussels giving in to Downing Street’s demands on the Irish backstop. “We’re waiting for clarity and movement from the United Kingdom,” Barnier told reporters after talks in Luxembourg with the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.

Express
THE UK will fork out the full amount of the Brexit divorce bill if it doesn’t want to lose its face, an EU chief shockingly claimed. European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said Britain’s credibility would be dealt a massive blow if it “reneged” on its promise of paying the £39bn divorce bill. When asked about the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal and without paying the exit bill, Mr Hogan told Politico: “Well that’s actually part of the divorce settlement, and I haven’t seen any divorce settlement actually ratified by the courts without actually observing or implementing the commitments already made.

Customs union

Telegraph
Theresa May has said she will not allow Britain to be part of the Customs Union  after Brexit following a backlash by Eurosceptic MPs and ministers. Downing Street attempted to defuse the row after the Prime Minister failed to rule out further talks on a customs union in a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, described Labour’s plan as a “dangerous delusion”, while Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, accused Mr Corbyn of trying to trap Mrs May into a “toxic” Brexit.

Express
THERESA May has hit back at Jeremy Corbyn’s demands for a soft Brexit, criticising Labour’s plan for a customs union and questioning the party’s commitment to ending free movement. The Prime Minister said she was “not clear” why the Labour leader was pushing for a continued customs union which would block Britain from striking its own trade deals. And she questioned whether Mr Corbyn’s call for “frictionless” trade would mean remaining in the single market and reneging on Labour’s commitment to end free movement.

Times
Senior Conservative Brexiteers warned Theresa May today that she must never negotiate with Labour on the party’s proposal for Britain to remain in a customs union with the European Union. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, described Labour’s plan as a dangerous delusion and warned that it was “not workable”, while Boris Johnson accused Jeremy Corbyn of trying to trap the government in a toxic Brexit. The comments reflect concern among Brexiteers that Mrs May is preparing to concede too much ground to Labour in an attempt to win cross-party backing for her deal with Brussels.

Independent
Labour has called for MPs to be given a vote on a customs union with the EU, warning that Theresa May must be willing to shift her red lines if she wants her   Brexit deal ratified. The call by shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer came as the EU said there could be no progress until Britain moved its position, as UK ministers headed to Brussels on a mission to convince the bloc otherwise. Speaking on a visit to Dublin to meet with the Irish government, Mr Starmer said there was a majority for a close economic relationship “if you are prepared to try and find it”.

Guardian
Theresa May is to update MPs on her Brexit progress on Tuesday, a day earlier than previously announced, No 10 has said, while stressing the prime minister had completely ruled out Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal of a departure deal involving customs union membership. “We are absolutely clear on this: we’re not considering Jeremy Corbyn’s customs proposals; we’re not considering any proposals to remain in the customs union. We must have our own, independent trade policy,” May’s spokesman said.

Reuters
European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday British Prime Minister Theresa May should endorse a permanent customs union with the bloc – as proposed by the opposition Labour party – to break the impasse over their looming divorce. Barnier told a news conference in Luxembourg that time was “extremely short” to conclude a deal before Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29.  He then met UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay for what both sides said were “constructive” talks in Brussels late on Monday.

Conservative Party

Sun
THERESA May is preparing to resign as PM this summer so she can influence who succeeds her, Cabinet ministers now believe. Under the suspected plan, Mrs May would call time on her Premiership shortly after finally delivering Brexit.  She will then set out a timetable for a new Tory leadership contest to end at the party’s annual conference in October. At least two senior figures in the Cabinet have come to that conclusion from hints the PM has personally given them, The Sun has been told. Mrs May’s suspected  thinking is that by going at a time of her own choosing and in a position of relative strength, she will be able to have some say over who the next Tory leader will be.

Mail
The Prime Minister will quit her job in the summer – just weeks after Brexit – according to members of her inner circle. The Conservative leader will call the leadership contest shortly after leaving the European UnionThe Sun reports, but remains hopeful she can pick her replacement to prevent a successful Boris Johnson bid. According to Cabinet ministers the Prime Minister has hinted to them personally she will trigger a Tory leadership race to end at the party’s annual conference in October.

Express
THERESA May is likely to resign as Prime Minister this summer, Cabinet ministers believe. Sources revealed that Mrs May will duck out after delivering Brexit and hopes to influence who succeeds her. The two senior figures suspect the resignation after the PM dropped them subtle hints, The Sun has been told. It is thought Mrs May’s chosen departure will give her the power to have some say over who the new Conservative leader will be. The plan is to spark a new Tory leadership contest which will end at the party’s annual conference in October.

Times
Theresa May would win a working majority if a general election were held today, according to YouGov modelling for The Times that correctly predicted the 2017 hung parliament. Labour is pushing for a general election but the new research suggests that this would backfire, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party losing 12 seats and the Tories gaining four. The shift would take the Tories to 321 seats, just enough for a working majority. There are 650 seats in the Commons but Sinn Fein’s seven MPs do not take their seats and the Speaker is not counted.

Mail
Theresa May would stay in power and win more seats if a general election was held today, a new poll shows. Labour’s push for an election would backfire because the Tories would win a working majority despite Brexit chaos, the research suggests. According to YouGov modelling that correctly predicted the 2017 hung parliament, Jeremy Corbyn’s party would lose 12 seats and the Tories would gain four. Such a result would take the Tories from 317 seats at the last general election to 321 – just enough for a working majority. Labour would drop from 262 to 250 seats.

Labour Party

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn vowed to “defeat” the European Union after accusing it of suppressing the British economy in a tub-thumping rally speech before he became party leader. The Labour MP claimed the EU had worked in cahoots with “the world’s bankers” in creating unemployment and called on all those campaigning for “peace, justice and socialism” to oppose the bloc. The emergence of the film follows that of another last week, in which Mr Corbyn warned of the EU becoming a “European Empire” which was creating a “military Frankenstein”.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn called for the European Union to be ‘defeated’ in an explosive rally speech, it was revealed last night in previously unseen footage. The Labour leader lumped the EU in with bankers, describing them as ‘united in suppressing the economy and creating unemployment’. In comments which may give an insight into his real views, he told a Left-wing rally in 2010 that he would not be ‘silenced by these people’ but would ‘defeat them’.

Anti-semitism

Times
Almost 700 Labour members have been reported for antisemitism in the past ten months, with 12 expelled from the party. Another 44 quit when presented with evidence of the allegations against them, Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, said last night. Dame Margaret Hodge, a senior Labour MP who has been a victim of antisemitism, said that she did not believe the figures and that she had submitted nearly 200 complaints of serious abuse by party members since October.

Telegraph
Labour has received nearly 700 complaints of anti-Semitism in the past nine months but has expelled just 12 party activists, it was revealed on Monday.    Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, has bowed to the demands of MPs and published data which for the first time exposes the true extent of Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis. The disclosure has prompted a furious backlash among MPs, who have accused the Labour leadership of “shocking cowardice” after they failed to turn up to a meeting in Parliament to address their concerns.

Mail
Labour has expelled just 12 members for anti-Semitism after almost 700 accusations against party members it emerged tonight. Party general secretary Jennie Formby released the figures to MPs tonight a week after infuriating them by saying racism was impossible to eradicate entirely. Labour insisted the number of anti-Semites found equate to less than 0.1 per cent of members. But the figures are likely to fuel claims amid some Labour MPs that leader Jeremy Corbyn has been too slow to react to the anti-Semitism crisis.

BBC News
The Labour Party has received 673 complaints in 10 months alleging acts of anti-Semitism by its members. A letter from the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, revealed the figures after she was pushed by MPs for specific details. She said 96 members were immediately suspended from the party for their conduct between April 2018 and January 2019, and 12 were expelled. But in a letter, a group of MPs said there was still a lack of information. Labour has struggled to contain a long-running row over anti-Semitism.

Independent
Labour MPs have attacked the party leadership’s response to antisemitism after senior officials admitted that only 12 of almost 700 reports of alleged anti-Jewish abuse had resulted in members being expelled. MPs and peers used their weekly meeting to condemn Jeremy Corbyn and party bosses after Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary, emailed MPs with data on investigations into antisemitism. The figures revealed that of 673 cases of members reported for alleged antisemitism between April 2018 and January 2019, almost a third were dropped without further action.

EU

Westmonster
Anti-EU and Eurosceptic forces are set to make up a chunky bloc of the next European Parliament after May’s EU elections, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations. In a new report, they claim that “anti-Europeans on their way to winning more than one-third of seats in the next European Parliament” meaning that “the stakes in the May 2019 election are unusually high”. In a breakdown of the projected results, the study finds that 132 ‘far-right’ MEPs are set to be elected which would be 19% of the chamber overall. This group includes 29 MEPs elected representing Italy’s Lega plus a further 24 for the Five Star Movement.

Telegraph
Eurosceptic parties are on course to take a third of seats in May’s European Parliament elections and could form alliances to destroy the EU from within, new research has claimed. Anti-establishment parties from across the EU could band together to block or curb EU legislation if they win 33 percent of the 751 seats, the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank warned in a report published on Monday. The surge for anti-EU and anti-globalist parties could wreak havoc with the bloc’s foreign and trade policy, as well as paralyse migration policy and efforts to prevent an illiberal drift in some EU countries.

Independent
The growth of anti-EU parties in the European Parliament elections in May could “paralyse” the bloc in a range of policy areas, a stark report seen by The Independent has warned. Nationalist, eurosceptic, and far-right parties could bring about a “qualitative change” in the union after winning a third of seats, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pro-EU think tank. The result would give the populists significant influence in the union and the ability to block some legislation, says the study, which is set to be released on Tuesday.

Mail
George Soros has called for pro-Europe voters to wake up before the continent ‘sleepwalks into oblivion’ ahead of the looming European elections. Writing in an article for business website MarketWatch, billionaire businessman Soros said the EU faced going the way of the Soviet Union if people didn’t act to save it.  ‘Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late,’ Soros wrote. ‘If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Another new party

Express
JUST days after Nigel Farage unveiled his new Brexit Party, vowing to put up candidates in future European elections in the event of any delays to Article 50, a campaign group bankrolled by multimillionaire financier Jeremy Hosking is planning to launch a separate political party of its own in a bid to ensure Britain’s smooth departure from the bloc. Mr Hosking confirmed his intentions as Brexit Express launched a nationwide billboard advertising campaign urging the public and politicians to back no deal as the only way to get a good deal from the EU.

Universal credit

ITV News
Food bank use has increased due to the universal credit roll-out, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted. Ms Rudd said it was “absolutely clear” there had been issues with the roll-out and said people being unable to access money “led to an increase in food bank use”. Labour MP Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) had asked about the impact of the roll-out during Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) questions in the Commons.

Mirror
Universal Credit HAS pushed people to food banks, the Tory welfare chief admitted today. Amber Rudd accepted a link between soaring food bank use and the hated benefit shake-up in a House of Commons statement. But she insisted things had improved since the “initial rollout” of the six-in-one welfare system. The number of emergency food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust charity has soared from 61,000 in 2010/11 to 1.3million last year. It marks a change in tune from the DWP.

Sky News
People placed on the government’s flagship benefits scheme have been driven to food banks because of it, the work and pensions secretary has suggested for the first time. Amber Rudd said it was “absolutely clear” there were “challenges” with the rollout of Universal Credit. She added that the “main issue” behind a spike in reliance on food banks may have been claimants not being able to access welfare support quickly enough.

HS2

Mail
Andrea Leadsom has ratcheted up pressure on the Prime Minister to ditch HS2, expressing fears that the business case for the rail link ‘may no longer exist’. In the latest sign of mounting opposition to the scheme at the heart of government, the House of Commons leader revealed growing concerns about spiralling costs. Downing Street yesterday insisted HS2 is on track and on budget. But a letter written by Mrs Leadsom to HS2’s boss Mark Thurston outlined the ‘absolute dismay’ felt by some of her constituents in South Northamptonshire.

Armed forces

Times
The ministry of Defence is to procure two civilian passenger ferries or cargo vessels and convert them into warships, the defence secretary has announced. Gavin Williamson also revealed today that he would buy off-the-shelf drones to create swarm fleets that can interact with the military’s highly sophisticated F-35 multirole stealth fighter jets. The budget assets will be the first items bought from his department’s multimillion-pound transformation fund that aims to modernise the armed forces.

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YOUR DAILY BREXIT – Monday 11th February 2019

YOUR DAILY BREXIT – Monday 11th February 2019

46 days until B-Day – that’s Brexit Day – and today the confusion is as great as ever. Everyone I spoke to over the weekend is united: there’s no way to predict how March 29th will play out. Even Boris Johnson (DT, paywalled) writes not about Brexit today but about Twitter’s crusade against ‘transphobes’ rather than knife crime. Our ‘betters’ look to be as clueless as we are.

The one issue which has attracted the MSM’s attention is that Ms May will talk to Corbyn again (here, here, and paywalled here and here). What the papers are agreed on is that the talk will be about a ‘Soft Brexit’ – along the lines of Corbyn’s proposals, the main points of which were to stay in some sort of customs union and accommodating some sort of common market access.

The Times writes:

“Theresa May opened the door last night to a soft Brexit by engaging with Jeremy Corbyn on a customs union in a move that puts her at risk of losing the support of members of her cabinet. In a letter to the Labour leader, the prime minister suggested that their parties hold further talks on the issue of a permanent customs union in an attempt to win support from Labour MPs for her Brexit plan.”,

while the DT has this to say:

“Theresa May has agreed to hold fresh talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s over his plans for a soft Brexit that would keep Britain tied to the Single Market after Brexit and locked in a customs union with the EU. In a letter to the Labour leader, the Prime Minister did not rule out Mr Corbyn’s demand for a “permanent” customs union although she said it would present a “negotiating challenge”. She also agreed to talks on Mr Corbyn’s call for “close alignment” with the Single Market, as well as committing to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow EU rules on workers’ rights and environment standards​.​The letter alarmed Tory Eurosceptics, who fear the Prime Minister ​could ultimately change tack and back keeping Britain in a Customs Union with the EU. Jacob Rees-Mogg, a senior Eurosceptic Tory MP, said: “As the 2017 Conservative manifesto promised to leave the Customs Union it would be more consistent for the Prime Minister simply to rule one out.”​

The DT reports further:

“She said the “fundamental negotiating challenge” is that Mr Corbyn’s proposal will require the UK to stay in the Single Market and accept free movement,​ a ​breach of Labour’s own manifesto. ​​However in a move that surprised Tory MPs and some ministers, she did not explicitly rule out keeping the UK in a customs union with the EU. ​Mrs May also said she wanted discussions between Tory and Labour teams to consider “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop and said cross-party support for security co-operation sends a “powerful signal” to Brussels.”

​That is the only time the Backstop gets mentioned today! And obviously, her much-vaunted ‘alternative arrangements’ are still non-existent … But note that Ms May has apparently not ruled out staying in a Customs Union – and we all know, or ought to by now, what that means: staying IN, and under the boot of the ECJ.

Of course, given the disarray the Labour Party is in at the moment, with some Labour MPs demanding a 2nd Referendum but not the Corbyn Plan, I can’t help but think that this is yet another indication of Ms May being ‘handled’ by her Remain civil servants: she ‘performs’ what looks like ‘political consultations’ while the real work is done by them ‘en coulisse’, leading one to the question if there’s now a split in Whitehall as well. See for example this report, by the famed “Brussels sources”:

“Secret talks have begun between the UK and EU to prepare the way for a managed no-deal Brexit, sources in Brussels have claimed. It is also understood that the World Trade Organisation has opened the door to a route for the EU and UK to continue trading on an interim basis in the event of no deal being reached by March 29. The revelations come as leading pro-Brexit lawyers have warned that extending Article 50 would be a “blackmailer’s charter” for the EU. Senior figures in Brussels have said that officials at UK Rep – the British embassy in Brussels – have been “putting out feelers” for extending Article 50, but “only to deliver a managed no-deal”.(my bold)

Is this yet another hint that B-Day will be our No-Deal Brexit? Mind you, the German car industry is up in arms about that because it would-could-might mean huge job losses for them (see here) – and that at a time when world recession looms and when the EU economy is sliding into recession as well. It’s nothing to do with Brexit, and even the Remainers haven’t dared to claim that – yet! Italy seems to have seen the writing on the wall and is working towards alleviating a no-deal Brexit, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes in the (paywalled) DT:

“Italy is drawing up emergency plans to safeguard financial stability and keep trade with the UK flowing even if there is a no-deal Brexit, if necessary through a bilateral deal between Rome and London.”

Some countries are apparently taking the No-Deal-Brexit outcome so seriously that they are preparing for it, and why not if even the EU is doing it! Keeping the looming world recession in mind, AEP concludes with this warning:

“A developed economy with full sovereign policy instruments in such a downturn would typically launch a fiscal stimulus of ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure and investment projects worth 1pc to 2pc of GDP. It would restart quantitative easing. It would engineer a sharp slide in the currency. All three together would right the ship. Italy can do none of these things within the constraints of the euro. It is essentially defenceless.”

Reading between the lines: this is exactly what we’d have to face up to if we get BRINO! I simply do not understand why Remainers are incapable of grasping that simple truth. But I forget – for them, especially the young’uns whose ‘future is wrecked’ when we leave, the economy is only about roaming charges …

I close yet again with a quote from the inevitable Sir John Redwood, whose Diary entry today is titled “Brexit End Game”. Do read it – you won’t find a better dissection of the current parliamentary confusion. If you don’t have the time, here’s his conclusion:

“Worse still is why would the UK want delay? It prolongs business uncertainty. It makes the UK look feeble and indecisive. It delays new trade deals and stops us spending the money saved on exit. It fails to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders. I do not see how there are things we can get the EU to agree in April and May that we cannot get them to agree in February and March against the pressure of the deadline of our departure. The public want government and Parliament to just get on with it. That is also the best negotiating strategy.I still want a managed WTO exit with a UK offer of a free trade agreement which could avoid tariffs and other new barriers to our EU trade.” (my bold)

Indeed, Sir John – so do we all!

It’s a scandal that he is still being disregarded, his expertise not used by Ms May. You draw your own conclusions as to why that is …

 

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