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News review – Thursday 21 February 2019

News review – Thursday 21 February 2019

Brexit

Reuters
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is considering plans for a unilateral exit mechanism to the Irish backstop with a notice period of 12 months, the Telegraph newspaper reported bit.ly/2E0XHql late on Wednesday. The “backstop” provision in Britain’s European Union divorce deal aims at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. Earlier on Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the backstop provision is temporary.

Mail
Theresa May insisted she had made progress on the Brexit backstop last night amid signs that her deal could be put back before MPs next week. The Prime Minister spoke after flying to Brussels for talks on the legal assurances she believes she needs to secure parliamentary approval for her withdrawal agreement. She was even pictured sharing a rare laugh with Jean-Claude Juncker – when the EU Commission head showed her his plaster-covered shaving wound on his cheek. Mrs May’s official spokesman said she wanted to bring the deal back before Parliament ‘as soon as possible’.

Express
EUROPEAN Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has dampened Theresa May’s hopes of a deal with the EU after he let slip he doubts “that we will get anywhere” at a meeting in Germany. The Eurocrat spoke at an event at Stuttgart late last night and hours before Mrs May makes her way to Brussels for tense negotiations on the hated Irish backstop which could see her win Parliament support should it be scrapped or amended. Mr Juncker added: “There isn’t enough movement for me to be able to expect this to be a discussion with a concrete outcome. “I don’t know what Mrs May will communicate to me tomorrow.”

Independent
The president of the European Commission has poured cold water on the possibility of a breakthrough in Brexit talks as he met with Theresa May in Brussels. The prime minister travelled to the EU capital on Wednesday night to meet Jean-Claude Juncker and try to convince the bloc to change the agreement to make it more palatable to Tory MPs. Senior Tories were reportedly upbeat ahead of the meeting, trailing the prospect of the prime minister returning to London with concessions, but the message was not matched by officials in Brussels.

Guardian
Theresa May has told the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, she needed “legally binding changes” to the Irish backstop if MPs were to back her Brexit deal, during a high-stakes meeting in Brussels that yielded no obvious breakthrough. With only 37 days until the UK leaves the European Union, EU expectations were low when May arrived in Brussels. Shortly before meeting the prime minister, Juncker predicted there would be no breakthrough. A joint statement on Wednesday appeared to live up to that promise, but the two leaders promised to talk again before the end of the month and described talks as “constructive”.

Independent
The European Union has a shared responsibility to prevent a “deeply damaging” no-deal Brexit for Britain, the Foreign Secretary has said. Speaking in Berlin on Wednesday morning Jeremy Hunt said historians of the future would puzzle at how “Europe failed to achieve an amicable change in its relationship with Britain”. “None of us should have any doubt that failing to secure a ratified Withdrawal Agreement between Britain and the EU would be deeply damaging, economically and politically,” he said in a speech at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Spain

Times
Spain has derailed emergency European Union plans to enable Britons to travel to the EU without a visa in the event of a no-deal Brexit next month. The plan has been blocked by Madrid, which is demanding Gibraltar be described as a “colony” in the Brussels statute book. Earlier this month, Spain refused to back the visa legislation unless the other 26 EU member states added a footnote to the legal text with a reference to Gibraltar as a “colony of the British Crown”.

Mail
Spain has threatened to block British citizens from having visa-free travel throughout the EU after Brexit as the row over Gibraltar resurfaced.  Legislation to give British travellers a visa-exemption was being discussed by the European parliament, after it was agreed in principle by negotiators on both sides. If agreed the deal would mean that until 2021 there would be no need for a visa to visit any EU member state, even if the UK left the bloc without a deal.

Conservative Party

Sun
REMAIN Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May she must agree to delay Brexit if there is no EU deal to halt their Commons rebellion next week. Four of the PM’s top table confronted her during a No10 meeting on Monday to insist she must take No Deal off the table. Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell named a new pledge from Mrs May to extend Article 50 talks as their price not to side with backbench rebels during a new showdown with MPs in seven days time.

Express
DEFIANT Theresa May insisted she is “doing the right thing” for Britain after three anti-Brexit Tories quit the party and called on others to follow them.  Remainer rebels Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, and Sarah Wollaston joined forces with Labour defectors railing against the Prime Minister’s EU exit strategy. The Tory turncoats timed their exit from the party to cause maximum damage on Mrs May, issuing a joint statement shortly before the Prime Minister faced questions in the Commons and then headed to Brussels for crucial talks with Eurocrats.

The Independent Group

Express
THE newly-formed Independent Group is already polling ahead of the Lib Dems and appears to be taking support from Labour, a shock new poll suggests. Results from a snap survey carried out this week show the breakaway group would be backed by 14 percent of voters in the next general election – despite it having no manifesto and not being registered as a political party. The results of the YouGov study carried out for The Times will come as a major blow for the Liberal Democrats who would receive just seven percent of the vote, the poll suggests.

Times
“We know what we’re doing until the weekend,” one of the Independent Group MPs said over a plate of curry from one of the Commons canteens late on Monday night. “After that . . . ” For a project months, if not years, in the making, the effort to kick-start a new centrist movement is strikingly short of a detailed plan. It won’t be until Monday that a meeting in the Commons will decide whether the group will have a leader, let alone who it should be. Although it has received thousands of donations, several over the £7,500 registration limit, the Independent Group doesn’t yet offer membership to anyone not already a member of parliament.

Mail
Three Tory defectors faced a backlash last night as one of them threatened to destroy the Conservative Party. Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen yesterday crossed the floor to join eight former Labour MPs in a new group demanding a second Brexit referendum. The trio announced their bombshell resignations just as Theresa May prepared to enter a critical period that will determine whether she gets her Brexit deal over the line.

Westmonster
Defecting anti-Brexit MPs today hit out at Leave.EU’s recruitment drive for Brexiteers to join the Conservative Party. Why are they so against Leave voters joining? Sarah Wollaston told a press conference today that Leave.EU are “are changing the Associations and turning the party into a Blukip”. Meanwhile Anna Soubry highlighted Leave.EU’s Facebook page and attempt to “name and shame” Remainer MPs seeking to hold up and kill off Brexit. These MPs were elected on a manifesto honour the referendum result but all too often want to simply dismiss that statement of fact

Sun
EX-TORY and Labour Remainers are to be ‘dropped’ by anti-Brexit campaigners for fears they could WRECK the chances of another referendum. Pro-EU rebels who want to wreck our exit from the bloc are trying to get Jeremy Corbyn to back a fresh plan to force through another divisive Brexit vote – and they don’t want to put him off.  The splitters humiliated the Labour boss by leaving the party earlier this week to form a new group, and Labour has distanced from them completely

Mirror
Chris Leslie said a general election would not be “right for the country” despite the group supposedly opposing Theresa May’s Brexit . It suggests  Jeremy Corbyn will not be able to rely on the 11 MPs, including 3 ex-Tories, to help unseat the government if he forces another no confidence vote. If enough Tories came on board, it is possible the group could team up with other opposition parties and force Theresa May from office. But today Heidi Allen, one of three MPs who quit the Tories for the group, admitted the new group “are not ready” to face an election – which would be triggered if the government lost a no confidence vote – and it would “crush us”.

Labour Party

Huffington Post
Labour MPs who have defected to The Independent Group will be targeted by Momentum in the coming weeks. The grassroots organisation that helped propel Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership will stage events with “celebrities” in the constituencies of those who have split. Laura Parker, Momentum’s national coordinator, slammed the defectors, including Chuka Umunna, for “working hand-in-hand with the Tories”. On Wednesday the eight Labour MPs who have already quit were joined by Conservatives Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen. Momentum claims to have raised more than £15,000 in small donations from members in the hours after the Labour MPs quit on Monday.

Mail
Ex-Militant leader Derek Hatton has been suspended from the Labour Party just a day after he was readmitted for the first time in decades. The left-wing hardliner is understood to have been notified of his suspension today, pending an investigation into a tweet from 2012, in which he criticized the Israeli government and urged British Jews to publicly condemn its actions.   The tweet, which has now been deleted, said: ‘Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel.’

Independent
Since the referendum result in 2016, Labour’s political strategy has been to walk a middle line between Leavers and Remainers: it has neither embraced Brexit nor taken steps to prevent Britain leaving the EU. It opposes the extremism of no-deal but is not prepared to support ‘no Brexit’.  Its position is for soft Brexit, triangulating between the instruction to Leave and the economic concerns of those who voted to Remain. That means a permanent customs union, alignment with the single market, and compromise on freedom of movement. Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the prime minister of 6th February set out Labour’s Brexit plan clearly and coherently.

Times
Jeremy Corbyn appeared increasingly isolated last night as tensions rose over his reaction to the Labour breakaway and the readmission of Derek Hatton, the former Militant firebrand. After intense criticism from even the Labour leader’s allies, Mr Hatton was suspended last night 48 hours after he was let back into the party. A tweet Mr Hatton sent in 2012 in which he appeared to blame all Jews for the actions of the Israeli government had been recirculated.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn was last night branded ‘Stalinist’ in his response to MPs quitting Labour as he faced the threat of more resignations. Labour yesterday blocked MPs and local party officials from accessing its databases, claiming one of the defectors had tried to steal members’ data. Meanwhile, the party announced plans to force by-elections in the constituencies of those leaving by allowing voters to stage recall petitions. And Corbyn-backing Momentum said it would canvass in the defectors’ constituencies to warn voters they had ‘joined a Blairite-Tory coalition’ after Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston joined their ranks yesterday.

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have launched a series of attacks on the new political grouping in the commons, mainly made up of former Labour MPs. The Labour leader’s spokesperson accused the new Independent Group of being an “establishment coalition” that backed “austerity, corporate tax cuts [and] privatisation”. As three Conservative MPs also left their party to join the new centre-ground set, the Corbyn-backing Momentum activist group branded them a “Blairite-Tory coalition” that would represent the “super rich”.

LibDems

Times
Rebel MPs from the Independent Group will formally meet the Liberal Democrats to discuss Brexit. The talks will raise the prospect of the two groups joining forces in the House of Commons as it takes a series of crucial votes on Britain’s departure from the EU. A party source confirmed the Lib Dems, with 11 MPs, will stage weekly meetings with the Independent Group, which is formed of 11 ex-Tory and ex-Labour MPs. If the 22 MPs were to secure an agreement to frustrate Brexit – for example, by demanding another referendum – it could cause huge problems for Theresa May as she attempts to win backing for her deal.

Asylum seekers

Telegraph
Council spending on care for child asylum-seekers has almost doubled in four years despite authorities being forced to cut services and raise council tax, new figures show. The Local Government Association (LGA) said it had risen from  £77.8 million in 2014/15 to £152.4 million in England. It warned a sharp increase in unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) after the international migration crisis in 2015 had contributed to “soaring” demand on councils’ children’s services.

High streets

Mail
Unfair business rates must be reformed and thousands of empty shops converted if Britain is to avoid becoming a country of ghost towns, MPs will warn today. The call for radical action and ‘large-scale structural change’ comes from the Commons housing, communities and local government committee. It argues the ‘high street heyday’ is over and it is vital to redefine the purpose of town centres. In a stark report, the committee concluded: ‘With online sales currently at 20 per cent, and changing consumer behaviour meaning this is likely to continue growing, the future for high streets and town centres will become increasingly bleak.

Education

Times
Teachers should be paid more in schools with lots of poor children, MPs say as they warn that the attainment gap for five-year-olds will take 40 years to close. A report by the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility criticises government austerity for depriving schools and children’s centres of funding. It identifies social mobility “coldspots” that could fall further behind the rest of the country. These include parts of Somerset, Norfolk and Blackpool

Health

Times
More than 2,000 people across Britain have needed treatment in intensive care for flu this winter, despite the virus circulating at lower than usual levels. Doctors said that the statistics could point to an unusually virulent strain and urged people in vulnerable groups, including pregnant women and over-65s, to make sure that they had received their flu jab, with the unvaccinated appearing at greatest risk. Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said that a low level of GP consultations and hospital admissions for flu, coupled with higher levels of patients needing emergency care, “could point to this year’s strain being particularly virulent and causing more extreme reactions in infected patients”.

Sun
THOUSANDS of flu victims have been rushed to hospital for lifesaving treatment this winter – despite far fewer cases being seen by GPs. Medics warn this year’s bug is proving much more lethal than previous years.  It has claimed almost 200 lives in the past four months, with younger adults and pregnant women worst affected. Experts said unvaccinated patients seem to be most at risk. Officials claim the flu jab has worked this year – and warn vulnerable Brits can still get treated.

Mail
Up to 200,000 patients will be given their own NHS allowances to spend on care – including dogs. Ministers want to massively expand the ‘personal health budgets’ scheme for patients with long-term illnesses. They will be given allowances of approximately £3,000 a year to spend on care and equipment to manage their condition. This includes ‘assistant dogs’ who warn patients they are about to have a diabetes attack as well as new equipment for the home. But the scheme has proved controversial in the past and patients have previously spent the money on horse riding, vacuum cleaners and head massages.

Star
A DRUG dubbed a “magic bullet” has the potential to change the way women are treated for one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer, an expert claims.  Sacituzumab is an antibody that zeroes-in on cancer cells. Like a homing missile, it delivers a “warhead” in the form of a potent chemotherapy drug. Since it directly targets tumours while avoiding healthy cells, side effects are kept to a minimum. In a clinical trial involving 108 women with triple-negative breast cancer that had spread around the body, the infused drug caused “significant” tumour shrinkage, researchers reported

Energy

Telegraph
Gas hobs could be banned from being installed in new homes within seven years over fears that they are harming the environment. Under new plans unveiled on Thursday by climate watchdogs no new homes will be connected to the gas grid after 2025 at the latest, in order for the UK to meet its legally binding climate targets.  The proposals, from Government’s official climate advisers, would call time on new gas radiators, boilers and cooking hobs.

Times
Gas boilers and cookers should be banned in new homes within six years to meet Britain’s legally binding emissions targets, the government’s climate change advisory body recommends today. Developers must be forbidden from connecting homes to the gas grid and should instead be forced to install low-carbon heating systems, according to a report by the Committee on Climate Change. The move would mean that newly built homes would not be able to have gas stoves and would need to be fitted with alternatives such as induction hobs.

Mail
Gas hobs and boilers could be banned from new homes within six years to meet carbon emissions targets. Property developers would not be allowed to connect new-builds to the gas grid after 2025, official guidance says. The proposals, unveiled today, would put an end to new gas radiators, boilers and cooking hobs. Instead, the Committee on Climate Change said newly-built properties should rely on low-carbon heating and cooking equipment such as induction hobs. The Home Builders Federation said the proposed ban would make new-builds a harder sell, as gas boilers are often cheaper and preferred by buyers.

The post News review – Thursday 21 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

The Brief – The Independent Eleven

Leaving the party that got you elected is very rare in Britain. So, too, is the emergence of a new party. That makes the joining of eight ex-Labour MPs with three ex-Conservatives in the Independent Group the most significant since the launch of the Social Democrat Party in 1981.

News review – Wednesday 20 February 2019

News review – Wednesday 20 February 2019

Brexit

Express
A NO-DEAL BREXIT will turn Britain into the “largest tax haven” in Europe, helping the country’s finance recover from the strains it will experience in the short term, two top economists said. Economists Marc Friedrich and Matthiaas Welk believe the UK will become a tax haven “soon” after Brexit if the country leaves the EU without a deal. Speaking to Focus in Germany, the experts said: “In the case of a hard Brexit, we expect to soon have the largest tax haven in the middle of Europe – Britain. Attractive tax rates will attract private and commercial capital from around the world in the tax optimisation competition, and the UK will prosper.”  This transformation of Brexit Britain from Europe’s financial hub to tax paradise with convenient tax rates will compensate the disruption and damage to the British economy will experience in the immediate aftermath in case of a no-deal, Mr Friedrich and Mr Welk said.

Telegraph
Theresa May is considering plans to bring forward a vote on her Brexit deal to next week in a bid to see off the threat of resignations by pro-European ministers. The Prime Minister will travel to Brussels on Wednesday to meet Jean Claude-Juncker, the President of the European Commission, where she hopes to secure a breakthrough on a new Brexit deal.  Downing Street is now concentrating efforts on agreeing a new legal text stating that the backstop, which would tie Britain to a Customs Union with the EU, cannot be “indefinite”.

Independent
Theresa May will fly to Brussels on Wednesday with new plans to change Britain’s EU withdrawal agreement, as she desperately tries to save her Brexit strategy. The prime minister arrives in Belgium with a stack of legal papers setting out how she believes negotiators can tweak the “Irish backstop” hated by Tory backbenchers. Ms May also managed to maintain the support of Brexiteers in her own party by promising to make some of their proposals the basis for future discussions on trade with the EU.

Express
THERESA May will hold crunch talks with top Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels tonight amid growing expectations of a breakthrough in her push for a revamped Brexit deal. The Prime Minister and the European Commission president are expected to thrash out the framework for a legally-binding declaration seeking to guarantee that the UK cannot be indefinitely trapped into an EU customs union. Whitehall sources said she could even put a revamped deal to the Commons for approval in a fresh “meaningful vote” as early as next week. Ahead of her trip, Mrs May last night sought to reassure Tory Eurosceptics including senior backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Brexit minister Steve Baker that their plan for “alternative arrangements” to replace the so-called “backstop” clause in the Withdrawal Agreement was still on the table.

Sky News
Theresa May is returning to Brussels to seek legal assurances on the Brexit backstop, amid signs she has persuaded key Tory eurosceptics to consider backing her Withdrawal Agreement. Chancellor Philip Hammond indicated on Tuesday night that the Government has accepted the EU will not agree to replace the backstop arrangements for the Irish border with technological alternatives in time for the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29. But he said he hopes the technological solution contained in the so-called Malthouse Compromise will form part of negotiations over the following 21 months on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Guardian
Theresa May will present the EU with new legal proposals to solve the Irish backstop issue on Wednesday, which Downing Street hopes will be enough to convince Eurosceptics to back her Brexit deal. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed late on Tuesday that the government no longer intended to pursue alternative arrangements for the backstop in the withdrawal agreement, which had been championed by cross-factional MPs including Eurosceptic Steve Baker and soft Brexiter Nicky Morgan. Instead, the prime minister is travelling to Brussels to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, with a plan to secure legal assurances that the backstop would not permanently bind the UK into a customs union.

Reuters
British Finance Minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday it was clear the European Union will not now consider alternatives to the Irish backstop to help the UK government win support for its Brexit withdrawal deal, but that such options could be valuable in the future. “The so-called ‘Malthouse’ initiative to explore possible alternative arrangements to the backstop is a valuable effort …” he said at a dinner in London to an association of manufacturers, but added, “It is clear that the EU will not consider replacing the backstop with such an alternative arrangement now in order to address our immediate challenge.”

Euro-Guido
The key message emanating from Cabinet today is that the Government has predictably abandoned any attempts to press ahead with the Malthouse Compromise, instead pinning their hopes on a tweak to the backstop being enough to get a deal through instead. This is not going down well with Tory MPs…  Nonetheless speculation is mounting that Geoffrey Cox has come up with concrete proposals to take to Brussels, with talk that a deal could even be agreed in Sharm-el-Sheikh this weekend, although a legal ‘codicil’ has already been dismissed as “Cox’s Codpiece” by unimpressed Brexiteers.

Euro-Guido
The key message emanating from Cabinet today is that the Government has predictably abandoned any attempts to press ahead with the Malthouse Compromise, instead pinning their hopes on a tweak to the backstop being enough to get a deal through instead. This is not going down well with Tory MPs… Nonetheless speculation is mounting that Geoffrey Cox has come up with concrete proposals to take to Brussels, with talk that a deal could even be agreed in Sharm-el-Sheikh this weekend, although a legal ‘codicil’ has already been dismissed as “Cox’s Codpiece” by unimpressed Brexiteers.

Times
Conservative Brexiteers have backed away from a full-scale confrontation with No 10 over the fate of their plan to replace the Irish backstop. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, told the cabinet yesterday that the Malthouse compromise could not be negotiated with the EU in time for March 29, when Britain is due to leave. Last night, at the annual dinner of the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said it was clear the EU would not replace the backstop with the arrangements set out in Malthouse.

Mail
Tory Brexiteers insisted their favoured solution to the Brexit backstop problem remained ‘alive and kicking’ last night – despite it apparently being killed off. Following talks with Theresa May, the European Research Group said the so-called ‘Malthouse compromise’ to solve the Irish border issue was still under consideration by Downing Street. And it emerged yesterday that Mrs May was considering holding another meaningful vote on her EU deal next week in a bid to avoid resignations.

Express
THERESA May is facing a furious Brexiteer backlash after reportedly ditching a compromise aimed at breaking the Parliamentary impasse over her floundering Brexit deal. The Malthouse Compromise had the backing of MPs from both the Leave and Remain wings of the Tory party, including Iain Duncan Smith, Nicky Morgan and Steve Baker. It had been under consideration by Downing Street and was raised by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay during talks in Brussels this week.

Sun
THERESA MAY last night dumped hi-tech plans to solve the Brexit deadlock amid hopes of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels. The PM told Cabinet it was not plausible to pursue the so-called Malthouse Compromise pushing for alternative arrangements to the hated Irish backstop by March 29. Ministers were told the Government would instead seek to tweak the backstop to get her Brexit deal through the Commons. Sources claimed a new agreement on the backstop such as a time-limit could even be struck with the EU this weekend following talks between Theresa May and Commission boss Jean Claude Juncker on Wednesday night.

The Independent Group

Telegraph
An eighth Labour MP has quit the Labour Party to join a breakaway group after accusing Jeremy Corbyn of presiding over a “culture of anti-Semitism”.  Joan Ryan said under Mr Corbyn’s leadership Labour had become a party that “allows racism to flourish” alongside a “hatred of Israel” and she would be joining the Independent Group. She said that she felt she had a “duty” to resign after seven Labour MPs quit the party on Monday including Luciana Berger, who said that under Mr Corbyn anti-Semitism had become “institutional”. She said that Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, had introduced anti-Semitism to the party and was a “danger”.

Express
A LABOUR MP and chair of the Labour Friends of Israel left “horrified, appalled and angered” by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has decided to quit the party to join the Independent Group created on Monday. Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North since 2015, marked the eight resignation from the Labour Party in two days. Upon quitting the party she had been a member of since 1983, Mrs Ryan branded Mr Corbyn a “danger” who had introduced antisemitism within the left-wing party. Speaking about her heavy-hearted decision to leave Labour, she told The Times: “It’s obviously not a delight, it’s painful.”

Telegraph
Tory peer and former minister has become the first to say publicly that she is prepared to join the new Independent Group over Brexit. Baroness Altmann, the former pensions minister, told the Telegraph she is “disillusioned with the Ukip-isation of the Tory party” and would join a moderate splinter party if a no-deal Brexit became the likely outcome. She warned about the risks of a no deal Brexit to the British economy and said her party is being “infiltrated by Ukip”. “I want to cry, I want to weep at what we are doing,” she said.

Times
An eighth Labour MP has quit the party to join an independent breakaway group, accusing Jeremy Corbyn of “presiding over a culture of antisemitism and hatred of Israel”. Joan Ryan said that she could not “be part of a party that allows racism to flourish”. In an interview with The Times she said that Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, had introduced antisemitism to the party and was “a danger”, comparing him to President Trump. Shortly before submitting her formal notice of resignation last night Ms Ryan, 63, who joined Labour in 1983 and was first elected the MP for Enfield North in 1997, said she considered the move to be a duty.

Morning Star
THOUSANDS of voters challenged Labour’s deserters today to fight for their seats, demanding electoral reform to force MPs who are sacked or resign to contest a by-election. Following the resignations of the “gang of seven” — Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna — many Labour voters insisted they were returned in the last election because of the party they stood for and should therefore stand in a by-election now they have left it. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “disappointed” by the resignations.

Spectator
When seven MPs announced yesterday that they were leaving Labour to form a new centrist faction called The Independent Group, talk soon turned to what impact it could have on the other parties’ electoral chances. Corbyn’s allies were quick to warn that it could lead to ten years of Tory rule, while Conservative MPs were rumoured to be considering joining. New polling conducted yesterday though by Survation for the Daily Mail suggests that it is Labour who should be most worried by the new party’s success. When asked in the survey who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, 8 per cent of the respondents opted for ‘A new centrist party opposed to Brexit’ if one existed.

Labour Party

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn has issued a defiant message to the seven MPs who resigned from his party on Monday, reminding them they stood in the 2017 general election on Labour’s manifesto, and “were elected to carry out those policies”. The Labour leader was speaking on Tuesday at the annual Make UK manufacturers’ conference, in his first public appearance since the breakaway MPs announced they would sit as independents in parliament.

Star
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned a 99-year-old group for Jewish Labour members could disaffiliate, something which would be a “nail in the coffin” for the party. The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) is considering splitting following the departure of its chair, Luciana Berger, to become an independent MP. Members were emailed just after midnight on Tuesday inviting them to an emergency meeting next month to “decide collectively where we go from here”.

The Brexit Party

Times
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has had to look for new headquarters after the guesthouse it was based in received hundreds of negative reviews online. The party had registered its address on February 5 at the Annapurna Guesthouse, a bed and breakfast in Lingwood, Norfolk, run by the husband of Catherine Blaiklock, the party’s leader. Trolls repeatedly left one-star reviews on the B&B’s listing on TripAdvisor, bringing the average rating down from 4.5 to three out of five stars. TripAdvisor has since deleted those reviews and suspended comments. One fake reviewer pretended to be Gerard Batten, the leader of Ukip, and posted about what time to check in: “Any time before 1945 is acceptable, post-1970 becomes too inconvenient.”

EU

Mail
Britain and the EU can still find a compromise on Brexit if both sides make concessions, a former EU Commission president said today. Ex- Portuguese prime minister Jose Manuel Barroso said the negotiations appeared to be at a dead end but that the EU had a record for last minute breakthroughs. Britain is demanding changes to the controversial Irish border backstop part of the Brexit deal amid Eurosceptic fears it will be permanent. The EU has so far rejected all three of the possible solutions proposed by Britain – a time limit, unilateral exit mechanism or an alternative backstop arrangement.

Independent
Britain is likely to delay Brexit because of the lack of a deal, former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said. Mr Barroso, who ran the bloc’s executive from 2004 to 2014, said it would be right for the EU27 to accept any request for an extension. Theresa May has repeatedly said she would not extend the Article 50 period – which expires on 29 March – and that “no-deal is better than a bad deal”. MPs have however voted in principle. When the date arrives, Britain will crash out of all EU institutions without anything to replace them – with widespread predictions of chaos and economic damage.

Mail
The European Parliament’s ‘grand coalition’ of centre left and centre right parties could lose its majority for the first time in 40 years, it has been reported. The centre-left Socialists and Democrats and the centre-right European People’s party look set to win just 45 per cent of seats at upcoming elections – down from 53 per cent – an internal parliament forecast has predicted. It comes as opinion polls suggested Eurosceptic populists will make gains in the European Parliamentary elections in May – but mainstream political groups still ought to be able to maintain a working majority, albeit with increasing signs of fragmentation.

Westmonster
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed that a lengthy delay to Brexit – and the UK participating in European Elections – cannot be ruled out. In an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung that Politico have picked up, Juncker said of a Brexit delay beyond May: “That to my mind would be an irony of history. Yet I cannot rule it out.” He insists that “any decision to ask for more time lies with the UK. If such a request were to be made, no one in Europe would oppose it.”

May Day

Times
It was the day that Nazi tyranny in Europe officially came to an end. But there has been no formal holiday for Britons to commemorate Victory in Europe Day. However, The Times can reveal that ministers are poised to move the May Day bank holiday next year so that it falls on Friday, May 8 — the 75th anniversary of Germany’s unconditional surrender in Europe. Greg Clark, the business secretary, has asked the chancellor for permission to move the date from Monday, May 4. VE Day marked the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender in the Second World War.

Jihadi bride

Times
A teenage Islamic State bride who wants to return home to the UK has had her British citizenship revoked after a public backlash. Shamima Begum, 19, has appeared unrepentant in a series of interviews despite announcing her desire to return to her family home in Bethnal Green, east London. Her mother received a letter from Sajid Javid, the home secretary, yesterday afternoon stating that the teenager was being stripped of her citizenship and urging the family to inform her.

Mail
ISIS bride Shamima Begum’s family today vowed to take Home Secretary Sajid Javid to court to stop him taking away her British citizenship for joining the terror group in Syria. The remorseless 19-year-old is in a refugee camp with her newborn son but Mr Javid has moved to ensure she will never allowed back into Britain after she fled to join Islamic State. The Home Office appears to believe that because Begum’s mother was born in Bangladesh her daughter would qualify for dual citizenship and would not be left stateless, which is illegal under international law.

Sun
ISIS bride Shamima Begum has been stripped of her British citizenship after showing no remorse for joining the terror group. An official Home Office letter breaking the shock news was delivered to Begum’s “disappointed” family earlier today. “Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship,” the letter read. “In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary’s decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made.”

Drones

Sun
BRITAIN will slap a three-mile “drone exclusion zone” around major airports next month, ministers will declare. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will announce new legislation to extend the ‘no-fly zone’ to ban drones and model aircraft from coming close to runways. Anyone caught doing so faces a sliding scale of sanctions – from fines to life imprisonment if they endanger life.

The post News review – Wednesday 20 February 2019 appeared first on Independence Daily.

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.

Supporters Direct: how the Co-operative Party influenced government policy

The Co-operative Party, institutionally linked to Labour, is the third largest party in the House of Commons. But does it influence public policy? Sean Kippin uses the case of Supporters Direct – an organisation created by the New Labour government in 1998 – to argue that it did so in this case by acting more like a ‘think tank’ than a political party, and that this marked the beginning of the party’s return to relevance.

Despite the claims of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s third party – at least in terms of seats in the House of Commons – is the Co-operative Party. Since 1917, it has been in an unusual electoral partnership with Labour, with a number of the latter’s MPs serving as ‘dual nationality’ Labour and Co-operative MPs. In practice, the arrangement allows the Co-operative Party – who retain a direct institutional link to the wider cooperative movement of member-owned businesses – a degree of input and visibility in the political realm.

During the long years of Labour opposition (1979-1997), the Co-operative Party experienced a difficult period, with the cooperative and member-owned sector (particularly in finance) struggling economically, organisationally, and politically. In the early 1990s it experienced leadership problems, and in a broader sense struggled to define a role for itself in the ‘Project’ of New Labour. From 1997 onwards, the Co-operative Party sought to remedy this through the enaction of the “New Mutualism” project which sought to expressly link those cooperative values and principles to Third Way politics, mimick its language, and more overtly orientat itself towards policy development. This approach harvested some early fruit in the form of the creation of the organisation Supporters Direct.

Supporters Direct seeks to support football fans in influencing and potentially owning their football clubs. In its nearly 20 years in existence, it has become a fixture of the professional football world, helping to organise football fans into supporters’ trusts. Its origin was in a pamphlet authored by Jonathan Michie, who made the case for mutual (specifically fan) ownership of football clubs, and suggested a means by which this could be realistically achieved: the formation of football supporters trusts. Crucially, it came at a time in which the Labour government was paying attention to football’s  social and cultural facets, as evidenced through the Football Taskforce, which had been asked to make recommendations about the future of the sport. One of its key participants had been a young Andy Burnham (today, the Mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority).

Burnham, a football fan, had since the publication of the report been hired as a Government Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Media, Culture, and Sport, Chris Smith. Following some machinations, Smith announced the creation of Supporters Direct to the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth in 1999. The organisation was to assist and advise in the formation and activities of Supporters Trusts, and would go on to help facilitate the takeover of several clubs by groups of fans. Although it has never quite achieved what its most idealistic advocates would hope – the creation of a fan owned Premier League superpower in the mould of FC Barcelona – it has nonetheless increased the voice and influence of organised football fans. While the Co-operative Party would go on to influence government policy in a more high-profile way (most notably through its influence in helping to design NHS Foundation Trusts and Hospitals, and Co-operative Schools), this nonetheless represents the success of the party in influencing government policy.

My recent article in British Politics seeks to use the Multiple Streams Approach to break-down the features of this influence. Drawing on elite stakeholder interviews and secondary sources, it argues that the Co-operative Party and associated ‘policy entrepreneurs’ used the opportunity of the publication of the Football Taskforce report to present a solution of sorts to the problem of the perceived ‘over-commercialisation’ of the professional game in the nascent Premier League era. It further argues that this overt linkage of its own aims to that of New Labour through the New Mutualism project allowed its policy agenda to be seen in a new light, rather than something imposed outwith that of the Labour Party leadership. It also did so at a time in which captured – to the extent that this was necessary given the relatively small scale of the change – the national mood, which had become influenced by news stories relating to the excesses of footballers’ wages and iniquitous behaviour by the ownership of certain clubs.

The most interesting element of this case study is the way in which policy change was achieved. Despite having 30 or so MPs, change was achieved through the direct engagement of (non Co-op) Government ministers through what can be described as a ‘think tank’ (and particularly ‘advocacy tank’) style of influence: hosting events, recruiting sympathetic and influential ministers, and generally acting as a bridge between ideas, policy, and decisionmakers. Indeed, this is perhaps symptomatic of a broader shift towards think tanks as sites of policy influence, which occurred concurrently with the sidelining of the traditional organs of the Labour Party, such as conference and the unions. Undoubtedly, this shift placed the Co-operative Party at an organisational disadvantage, despite its institutional separateness.

Ultimately, the Co-operative Party would go on to play a modest but notable role in the public policy output of the Labour government, with its role in packaging the set of ideas known as ‘mutualism’. Beyond this, its practical role in placing the cooperative structure into secondary education (with 900 Co-operative Schools) now in operation across England, and the membership elements of NHS Foundation Trusts and Hospitals, also left a mark on public policy. Supporters Direct represented the first step on this journey, with the party showing that it was capable of creating credible policy initiatives that appealed to key decisionmakers within government.

Today, the Co-operative Party is enjoying one of its strongest periods to date. With a left-wing Labour leadership looking like credible contenders for power, the shift towards a new institutional politics of public ownership and aggressive market intervention may see the likewise return to its roots of advocating, straightforwardly, for cooperatives as a bulwark against exploitative capitalism. Crucially, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn seem receptive to such a role for the party and for the institutional form they represent. Again, this shows that the Co-operative Party has become capable of placing itself within Labour’s dominant ideological paradigm and presenting a version of its idea that fits the current zeitgeist. Supporters Direct was, in some ways, the beginning of the Co-op Party’s return to relevance. If, and when, Labour return to power, it will be worth keeping an eye on.

_____________

Note: the above draws on the author’s published work in British Politics.

About the Author

Sean Kippin is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of the West of Scotland and Lecturer in Politics at the University of Stirling.

 

 

 

All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image credit: Pixabay (Public Domain).

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.

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