Posts Tagged ‘DUP’

Saturday papers – 17 November 2018

Saturday papers – 17 November 2018

What a week! I know they say that a week is a long time in politics, but this week must be one of the most interesting in a long time.


The Telegraph is one of the papers covering the revolt to the Prime Minister’s plans.

Michael Gove and four other Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers will try to force Theresa May into a last-minute change to the Brexit deal as the price for withdrawing their threats to resign.
The “gang of five” believes it is not too late for Mrs May to go back to Brussels and demand a unilateral exit mechanism from the so-called “backstop” arrangement over Northern Ireland.
The Environment Secretary, who stepped back from the brink of resignation on Friday, will meet Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt and Liam Fox over the next two days to agree the terms of their ultimatum.

Westmonster claims the ‘gang of five’ will hope to change the PM’s mind.

Those Cabinet Brexiteers not resigning now plan to somehow re-write Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
That’s according to Bloomberg, who were told today that Andrea Leadsom will bring together the likes of Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling.
It is hard to see how this would be anything other than a gigantic waste of time given that May stood steadfastly by her plan despite months of warnings from the like of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg that she should change course.

The Times says the renegotiation is the price of their loyalty.

Theresa May’s remaining Brexiteer cabinet ministers are to demand that she pushes Brussels for further concessions as the price of their loyalty.
The Times understands that the ministers are to meet early next week in an attempt to agree a joint strategy. They intend to present it to the prime minister before a summit of EU leaders that is due to sign off on the deal.
The group includes Michael Gove, who handed the prime minister a lifeline yesterday by remaining as environment secretary. Other members include Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, and Liam Fox, the trade secretary.

And the Mail points out that these five will stay and fight from within the Cabinet.

Michael Gove and other leading Brexiteer ministers have today decided to stay in the Cabinet – but entered a pact to fight to change Theresa May’s controversial deal.
He had been put on resignation watch alongside Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling as the PM’s Brexit deal plunged the Tories into civil war.
Number Ten had been on red alert for any of them to walk the plank as they have all voiced major concerns about the PM’s hugely controversial Brexit plan.

BBC News covers the plotting.

A group of five ministers in Theresa May’s top team are hoping to persuade her to make changes to her draft Brexit deal, the BBC understands.
Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom is believed to be coordinating the group.
The five ministers include Michael Gove and Liam Fox – who on Friday publicly threw their support behind the PM – plus Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling.
Mrs May published her draft withdrawal agreement with the EU on Wednesday, and has vowed to “see it through”.

Westmonster claims WTO rules predominate among its readers.

An unscientific poll Westmonster carried out this morning, that saw more than 8,000 of Westmonster’s readers and followers vote, has shown significant support for a No Deal Brexit.
More than 90% of our followers now back a No Deal over what Theresa May has put on the table, flying in the face of claims from the Remainstream media that the British people didn’t vote for and don’t want to exit fully without a deal. As ever, they are massively out of touch.
As now former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has previously explained there would be short-term issues to overcome, but the benefits of a No Deal would be:
Immediate recovery of full legislative and regulatory control including over immigration policy; Lower tariffs to bring into effect new trade deals straight away; Swifter end to financial contributions to the EU.
No Deal? No problem.

The Telegraph claims business leaders have also slated the plan.

More than 200 chief executives and entrepreneurs have called on Conservative MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, describing it as “the worst of all worlds”.
In a letter, seen by the Telegraph, business leaders who run medium sized companies say Mrs May’s deal represents “the greatest act of national humiliation in this proud nation’s recent history”.

The letter, organised by John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chamber of Commerce, is signed by members of the Alliance of British Entrepreneurs including Tim Martin, the boss of pub giant Wetherspoon and veteran venture capitalist John Moulton and will be delivered to all Tory MPs next week.


But the DUP will not support the plan, says the Mail.

The DUP could tear up their deal to prop the Tories up in No10 unless Theresa May is ousted as the party leader.
The party wields an enormous amount of power as its 10 MPs have agreed to support the Conservative Government in a confidence agreement.
But they are seething at the Brexit deal – accusing the PM of having ‘sold out’
Northern Ireland and breaking her own promises.

And the Mail points out that no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic could cause problems.

Ireland is set to become a gateway to the UK after Brexit, with citizens being able to move freely between the two countries.
The Emerald Isle would remain an open door to the UK under the withdrawal agreement and EU citizens not settled in the UK would be subject to immigration rules but would be able to travel to the UK via Ireland uninhibited.
This would mean no passport checks for EU citizens on flights or ferries between the two countries and would even ensure that EU citizens could travel to major cities such as Dublin or Belfast and take a flight or ferry over to the UK without the usual passport checks.


But it seems the bloc will demand more concessions on fishing and the customs union, says the Telegraph.

European Union governments will try to railroad Britain into a permanent customs union and extract more UK concessions in fishing, heaping yet more pressure on an embattled Theresa May.
The EU-27 is looking to hard-wire British commitments on fishing, tax, the environment, social standards, security, transport and foreign policy into the negotiating boundaries of the future UK-EU trade agreement.
EU-27 governments are seeking “dynamic alignment” on those standards to ensure they keep up with Brussels over time, ensuring the UK is shackled to its red tape and preventing it from being more competitive than the bloc.

The Times claims Barnier has been told to extract more from the UK.

A group of European countries rounded on Michel Barnier this week to demand that the chief EU negotiator squeeze more concessions out of Britain in talks next week.
Some EU nations believe that the UK would have an economic advantage after Brexit if it were able to diverge from European laws and regulations while still having access to the single market. They are also demanding greater powers for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and greater fishing rights in British waters.

The Guardian claims EU leaders will be asked to agree the deal.

European leaders have launched a campaign to sell the Brexit deal struck with Theresa May on a “take it or leave it” basis as EU ambassadors in Brussels collectively agreed it would be impossible to make major changes.
Putting aside the anxieties of some about the 585-page withdrawal text, the 27 member states collectively ruled out a redrafting of the agreement by either side during a meeting with Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator.
Barnier had told the EU ambassadors they should not engage in “bargaining”, despite the political situation in the UK. A number of British cabinet ministers are said to have chosen to stay in their posts purely to engineer a change in the agreement.

But Breitbart reports the German Chancellor’s views that no further negotiations will be held.

There is “no question” of renegotiating the super-soft Brexit deal agreed with Theresa May, Angela Merkel has warned, as Eurocrats voiced hope that the divorce could be called off altogether.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Potsdam, the German Chancellor said: “We have a document on the table that Britain and the remaining 27 EU states have agreed. There is, as far as I am concerned, no question of further bargaining at present.”
With German industry bodies set to be hit particularly hard in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Merkel stated this would be the “worst and most chaotic scenario”, but signalled there would be no room for compromise with Britain.


The Guardian claims there’s a possibility that Article 50 could be reversed.

The UK supreme court is to reconsider the terms of article 50 of the treaty on European Union, which formally triggered Brexit, amid mounting political pressure for the procedure to be reversed.
The government has applied for permission to appeal against a ruling by the Scottish courts that the question of whether the UK can reverse the clause should be referred to the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.
A date has been set for 27 November for an emergency hearing by ECJ judges of an application brought by a cross-party group of six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Jolyon Maugham QC, the director of the Good Law Project.

Conservative Party

But the PM is also facing a revolt from within her own party, says the Times.

Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have accused Theresa May of going over their heads to stave off the attempt to oust her through a vote of confidence.
A row erupted after Brexiteer MPs found that Mrs May had a conference call with local Conservative Party chairmen and women. MPs said that the prime minister should talk to her parliamentarians, not local associations, if she wanted them to back her Brexit plan.

Huffington Post turns its attention to the 48 letters of no confidence needed to trigger a leadership election.

Tory Brexiteer rebels have claimed they are “not far off” reaching the number of MPs needed to trigger a no confidence vote in Theresa May’s leadership.
Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, said on Friday afternoon it was “imminent”.
The leading member of the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteer Tory MPs told BBC’s Politics Live programme that by his count the number was “over 48 with another almost dozen probably on top”.

The Guardian says numbers are rising.

Theresa May is battling to halt a growing revolt from the Tory right after half a dozen more backbenchers came out in favour of a no-confidence vote and the organiser of the rebellion publicly predicted more MPs would follow next week.
The prime minister held a conference call with local association chairmen on Friday afternoon as she fought to head off a coup and sell her hard-won Brexit deal to a sceptical and partially hostile party.
Her efforts came after the number of backbenchers calling publicly for a no-confidence vote in May’s leadership increased to 23. Rebellious MPs said they were confident of reaching the required threshold of 48 letters to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee.

The latest Brexit secretary will not be able to negotiate with the EU, reports ITV News.

Theresa May has appointed former health minister Stephen Barclay as her new Brexit Secretary as Amber Rudd made a dramatic return to the Cabinet.
The appointments follow a backlash against Mrs May’s proposed
Brexit deal with the EU, including the resignations of several ministers and the threat of a leadership challenge.
The reshuffle came just hours after Mrs May was buoyed by declarations of support from pro-Leave ministers Michael Gove and Liam Fox.
Leave-supporting Mr Barclay will not have negotiation powers with the EU, which Mrs May will now take sole charge of.


Away from Westminster, the Telegraph reports on a surge in illegal immigration.

Seven men are huddled, cold and wet, in a car park at Samphire Hoe near Dover talking to a Coastguard Search and Rescue officer. Four have turquoise blankets wrapped tightly around their shoulders by the time an ambulance arrives on Friday lunchtime to check if they have any injuries or hypothermia.
On the rocks of a beach below, a dinghy with a small engine is deflating. Two lifejackets and a red fuel tank float limply inside it. A black glove and coat have been abandoned nearby on the pebble beach, which is overlooked by Dover’s white cliffs.
The men are Iranian, and have travelled overnight in their inflatable craft through thick fog across the English Channel, the latest migrants to arrive during an unprecedented week which has seen 55 caught by border patrol, in what is thought to be a rush ahead of the March Brexit deadline.


And the Times reports on the UN ‘expert’ who has criticised the UK.

A United Nations expert has compared Britain’s benefits system to China’s former one-child policy because it punishes mothers for having children.
Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, accused the government of ignoring the “damage to the fabric of British society” caused by changes in benefits.
After a 12-day tour of Britain, the Australian-born academic said that the universal credit system had plunged people into misery and despair and condemned the government’s policy of restricting benefits to a family’s first two children.

His report is a scathing indictment on our benefits system says the Guardian.

The UK government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity, the United Nations poverty envoy has found.
Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that levels of child poverty were “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”, even though the UK is the world’s fifth largest economy,

The report compares the UK to China in the Mail

The UN’s poverty envoy today blasted Britain as ‘mean-spirited and callous’ and compared its benefits rules to China’s cruel one-child policy.
Special rapporteur Philip Alston’s controversial new report follows a two-week ‘human rights fact-finding visit’ to the UK.
Today he said 14million people – a fifth of the UK population – now live in poverty and 1.5million of them are destitute because they are unable to afford basic essentials.

The Telegraph says the system is ‘sexist’.

Britain’s welfare system is so sexist it may as well have been compiled by “a group of misogynists in a room,” a UN expert has claimed.
Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, warned that poverty in the UK is a “political choice” and that compassion and concern had been “outsourced” in favour of tax cuts for the rich.
In a damning 24-page report he brands levels of child poverty “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster” and said that limiting benefit payments to two children was as “forced and physical” as China’s one-child policy.
Critics of the UN’s involvement in UK politics suggested that the organisation should spend its time and money studying poverty in third world countries rather than the world’s fifth largest economy.

And the Mirror claims it’s all the Tory government’s fault.

The Tory Government has inflicted “great misery” with its “punitive and mean-spirited” welfare reforms, the United Nations have said.
A damning report said ministers were “in denial” about how the Universal Credit
 had  pushed people into poverty.
“Government policies have inflicted great misery unnecessarily, especially on the working poor, on single mothers struggling against mighty odds, on people with disabilities who are already marginalised, and on millions of children who are locked into a cycle of poverty from which many will have great difficulty escaping,” the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said.

Child grooming

Still more men of Asian origin have been found guilty of sexually exploiting girls, reports the Mail.

A gang of six men has been jailed for a total of 101 years after sexually exploiting five vulnerable teenage girls in Rotherham.
The men targeted girls who were ‘easy to exploit because they wanted to be loved’ – sexually abusing them in parks, abandoned buildings and secluded locations.
The offences were committed against five girls under 16 in the Rotherham area between 1998 and 2005.
Their abusers – all Asian men from Sheffield and Rotherham – were convicted of offences including rape and indecent assault.
The girls said in statements how the men had ‘destroyed’ them and that their childhood had been taken from them.

Breitbart also has the story.

Six men of Pakistani heritage have been handed jail sentences for sexually abusing five underage girls in Rotherham following an eight-week trial, during which jurors heard the men had “destroyed” their victims’ childhoods.
Mohammed Imran Akhtar, Nabeel Kurshid, Asif Ali, Iqlak Yousaf, Salah El-Hakam, and Tanweer Ali were sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, after they were convicted at the end of last month of 22 child sexual exploitation (CSE) offences which took place in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005.
According to local media, the men failed to show any remorse for the string of offences they committed, which included indecent assault, rape, and false imprisonment.

The Sun has a personal story about the abuse.

A GROOMING victim has opened about the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of an Asian sex gang in Rotherham as they were caged for 101 years.
The men – who were found guilty last month – lured the young girls into joining them, then plied them with alcohol and drugs before passing them around men in the town for sex.
Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 37, Nabeel Kurshid, 35, Iqlak Yousaf, 34, Tanweer Ali, 37, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, and Asif Ali, 33, were jailed for the string of sex offences.
The gang forced one girl to have sex with at least 100 Asian men before she turned 16 as the gang “perpetrated, facilitated and encouraged” the abuse of five “vulnerable” girls.

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News review – Wednesday 14 November 2018

News review – Wednesday 14 November 2018


Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has described a “moment of truth” as Theresa May prepares to put forward her EU deal to the Cabinet and MPs in Parliament. The deal, set to keep the UK inside the EU Customs Union for years come and at the mercy of Brussels, has already been savaged by the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, with the latter describing such an arrangement as a “slave state”. Davis has issued a rallying call, writing on Twitter: “This is the moment of truth. This is the fork in the road.

Theresa May has agreed a draft divorce agreement with the EU and will today present it to her Cabinet in a three-hour ‘make or break’ meeting. Last night, leaked details of the agreement included that EU chiefs have conceded Britons will not need visas to travel to Europe after Brexit. The other leaks surrounded the issue of the backstop, the terms Britain will automatically adopt if a trade deal is not agreed by 2020. The EU dropped its demand for Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union without the rest of the UK, which would create a border in the Irish Sea. Instead the customs union would apply indefinitely to the whole of the UK.

The Prime Minister has betrayed the principles of Brexit and is subjecting the United Kingdom to political slavery at the hands of Brussels, Brexiteers have said as the details of the Prime Minister’s deal leaked to Irish media Tuesday afternoon. Brexiteers within the Conservative party met Tuesday as the news emerged of a “technical level” agreement emerged — apparently leaked to Irish journalists sympathetic to the European Union but not to figures within the United Kingdom — and spoke of launching a “coup” against the Prime Minister, Britain’s
The Times reported in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Theresa May will put her future in the hands of senior ministers today as she asks them to sign off a Brexit deal in the face of accusations of betrayal. The prime minister was trying to sell the divorce deal and pact on the future relationship with Europe last night to a reluctant cabinet, which is due to meet at 2pm to agree it. Leave-supporting cabinet ministers were coming under intense pressure to reject the deal as senior Brexiteers and the DUP launched a pre-emptive strike on what they claimed was an abject surrender.

IAIN Duncan Smith has said the government are in “real trouble” after Theresa May summoned her Cabinet to consider a draft following a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations. The UK and EU officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement with ministers currently meeting the Prime Minister for one-on-one talks. The Brexiteer warned that if reports of the deal’s contents were true the Government was “breaking their own agreed position and will be bringing back something that is untenable”.

Senior Eurosceptics have been tearing into Theresa May’s Brexit deal following reports that a draft text has been agreed, with Boris Johnson describing it as
“vassal state stuff” and “utterly unacceptable”. Jacob Rees-Mogg has called it a “failure of the Government’s negotiating position and a failure to deliver on Brexit”. The DUP have warned May that there will be “consequences” if she does not keep her Brexit promises to them, with Sammy Wilson stressing that their confidence and supply deal is with the Conservative Party, not May herself. May is going to have some job getting this through Parliament…

Sky News
Ministers have been summoned to Downing Street to go through the draft of a Brexit withdrawal agreement, as Leave-supporting MPs reacted with fury to reported details of the text. In what is a breakthrough in the Brexit process, an agreement on the terms of Britain’s EU exit has been reached at a “technical level” by negotiators in Brussels. But Theresa May now needs to win over her top team and get them to back the proposals. Ministers were seen coming and going on Tuesday evening, with the talks a chance for them to scrutinise the detail and for the PM to try and get them on side.

D-Day for Brexit has finally arrived after the UK agreed a draft deal with the EU. Tory Cabinet ministers were tonight hauled one-by-one into Downing Street to learn how negotiators won a dramatic race against time in Brussels. After they have been briefed, Theresa May will summon her Cabinet to an emergency meeting at 2pm tomorrow to sign off the deal – which was “agreed at a technical level” today. Tonight’s development, which sent the pound to a seven-month high, was a breakthrough for the PM just hours before the deadline to call a special EU summit – where 27 EU leaders would sign the deal off.

BBC News
UK and EU officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement after months of negotiations. A cabinet source told the BBC that the document has been agreed at a technical level by officials from both sides after intensive discussions this week. A special cabinet meeting will be held at 14:00 GMT on Wednesday as Theresa May seeks ministers’ backing. The PM has been meeting ministers in Downing Street for one-to-one talks on the draft agreement. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the agreement contained a UK-wide customs “backstop” aimed at preventing new border checks in Northern Ireland.

Theresa May summoned her cabinet to an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon to sign off her long awaited final Brexit deal, prompting hard-Brexit Tories to call for senior ministers to stand up and block it. The critical meeting is the culmination of months of negotiations and will see May’s senior ministers consider whether they can personally endorse the agreement that the prime minister has been able to reach. Ministers were summoned to No 10 in the early evening and some met individually with May or her chief of staff, Gavin Barwell. They were given the chance to read the key documents, although they were not trusted to take any papers home.

Theresa May is facing ‘judgment day’ on Brexit after securing a withdrawal agreement with Brussels. At an emergency three-hour Cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon, she will warn ministers it is now ‘make or break’ for avoiding a chaotic exit. Downing Street believes it has headed off plans that could have led to Northern Ireland being ‘annexed’ by the EU after Brexit and insists it has laid the groundwork for a ‘good deal’. But No 10 is on alert for possible resignations tomorrow, with Eurosceptic ministers under intense pressure from hardliners not to approve a ‘Brexit in name only’.


THE Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement, threatening to vote it down and saying it crosses a “fundamental red line.” The Northern Ireland party props up the Conservative minority government and the Prime Minister will be relying on DUP support to get the deal she is presenting to ministers tonight through Parliament. However DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said his party will not support the agreement “on constitutional grounds” as it would leave Northern Ireland subject to rules and regulations set “in Brussels with no democratic input” from Belfast.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster has insisted that the “desire for a deal will not be superseded by a willingness to accept any deal” as Theresa May gets set to reveal her plan. Without the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs, the deal has even less chance of getting through Parliament. In a statement, Foster has made clear that “an agreement which places new trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain will fundamentally undermine the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom. That is not acceptable”.

Legal advice

The government will be forced to publish the full legal advice on the final Brexit deal after it was defeated in the Commons by Labour, backed by the DUP. Ministers conceded defeat by ordering Conservative MPs to abstain in a Commons vote, after it became clear they would lose any attempt to stop the disclosure when the DUP said it would support the move. Ministers will now be required to to publish the advice covering the legally binding withdrawal agreement, including the Irish backstop plan, before any Brexit deal is put before parliament.

Ministers will publish up to 5,000 pieces of legal advice on the Brexit deal after losing a parliamentary battle. In a bad omen for Theresa May in getting the agreement through the Commons, Brexiteers and the DUP joined with Labour to force the concession. Labour used the niche parliamentary procedure of a “humble address” to force a vote on the Queen requiring ministers to let MPs see “any legal advice in full”. Despite last-ditch concessions from David Lidington, the prime minister’s effective deputy, the DUP made clear that they would vote against the government.


NICOLA Sturgeon has called on campaigners pushing to keep Britain tied to the EU through its single market and customs union to seize the opportunity if Theresa May is unable to get her Brexit deal through the Commons. The Scottish First Minister said MPs voting down Mrs May’s agreement would offer an opening “to get better options back on the table”. Ms Sturgeon, a staunch Remainer, has demanded Westminster negotiate terms which includes staying inside the EU’s single market and customs union – and warned the SNP will vote against any deal which does not offer this.

Conservative Party

THERESA May will hold a special Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to approve the draft Brexit bill she has negotiated with the EU. So who could block the plan? Downing Street confirmed the news with a statement on Tuesday evening which said: “Cabinet will meet at 2pm tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps. Cabinet ministers have been invited to read documentation ahead of that meeting.” No details of the withdrawal agreement have yet been released, but a cabinet source told the BBC the document has been agreed at a technical level by officials from both the EU and UK.

Former minister Jo Johnson said that the future of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party would be in peril if Prime Minister Theresa May proceeded with Brexit, hours after Britain agreed the draft text for leaving the European Union. The former junior transport minister, who is the younger brother of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, issued a searing critique of May’s Brexit deal last week when he unexpectedly quit and called for a second referendum. “The future of the Conservative Party will be gravely imperilled if we are held responsible for taking the country into this absurd new relationship with the EU where vast swathes of our economy will be governed by rules that we have no hand at all in shaping,” Jo Johnson told a political rally in London.

PENNY MORDAUNT has demanded Theresa May waive the fundamental Parliamentary convention of Collective Cabinet Responsibility so MPs can have a free vote on the draft Brexit deal thrashed out this week. The International Development Secretary staged the astonishing intervention on Tuesday. Ms Mordaunt is thought to have called for Tory MPs and ministers to act with their consciences when the deal is brought before the Commons. The constitutional convention of Collective Ministerial Responsibility is a cornerstone of the UK system.

Senior cabinet ministers led by Brexit secretary Dominic Raab will tell Theresa May that the current deal on offer from the EU is unacceptable and she should prepare for the UK to leave with no deal if she cannot secure further concessions. In a significant raising of the pressure on May from inside her own cabinet, the group of senior ministers will make clear to the prime minister that they could not support a deal that breaches their two red lines. They are doubling down on their demands that the EU drops its Northern Ireland-only “backstop to the backstop” and that the deal must include a “break clause” mechanism that would allow the UK to unilaterally leave a UK-wide customs arrangement.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has today echoed French President Macron’s call for an EU Army. Speaking in the European Parliament, she said: “This is really important…we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European Army”. Going even further than that, Merkel called for the EU to develop its foreign policy including a European Security Council and a “European intervention force so that we can tackle issues immediately on the ground”. This is the disturbing direction the European Union is now heading in. Brexit Britain must leave – and fast.

GERMAN leader Angela Merkel has joined the French President in calling for a “real, true” European army. Merkel declared there should be an “integrated European Union military”, recalling the lessons of the First World War and the divisions that led to the conflict. Speaking to MEPs today about the future of Europe, Merkel said the continent should take its “fate fully into its own hands”. Echoing comments made by French leader Emmanuel Macron last week, she said: “We should work on a vision of one day establishing a real, true European army.”

Angela Merkel called for the creation of a ‘real, true’ European army during a speech to EU ministers on Tuesday in a rebuke to President Trump. The German Chancellor also called for a European Security Council that would be responsible for coordinating defence policy across the continent. Merkel spoke out after French President Emmanuel Macron floated the same idea last week, and hours after Donald Trump lambasted him for it on Twitter. Meanwhile, Trump joked that Parisians ‘were starting to learn German before the U.S. came along’ and liberated France during the Second World War – and told EU leaders to pay their fair share to NATO.

The EU has ratcheted up the pressure on Theresa May by publishing a fresh batch of no-deal plans including the warning that it will only allow UK nationals to make short visa-free visits to EU destinations if the policy is reciprocated by the British government. With the Brexit negotiations at their most intense, and Downing Street pushing to make make decisive progress within the next 24 hours to secure a November summit, the commission made public its emergency preparations. They range from residency and visa-related issues to financial services, air transport, customs, the transfer of personal data, and climate policy.

THE European Union has five years to overhaul the bloc’s financial system, the vice president of the European Banking Federation (EBF) has warned. José María Roldán said the EBF has made progress since it was set up but called on the bloc to step up efforts to make it “perfect.” The EBF, headquartered in Frankfurt, comprises all 19 eurozone countries who participate in the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) and the single resolution mechanism (SRM). Speaking to American financial news network CNBC, Mr Roldan said the system still has a lot of progress to make and he put a five year deadline on how long the European Union has to ensure it is “perfect.”

Labour Party

Labour MPs are to be presented with personalised polling evidence showing that their constituents “silently” back a second Brexit referendum. In an attempt to shift Labour’s opposition to a second vote, each of the party’s MPs is being sent an individual breakdown of voter sentiment in their area based on a poll of 25,000 people. The survey by YouGov used the technique that correctly predicted the result of the 2017 general election while other polls indicated a Tory landslide. It found that of the 159 Leave constituencies that elected a Labour MP last year a majority of voters in every seat now supported a public vote on the outcome of the negotiations.


Morning Star
UNIONS and Labour warned today that the government is planning millions of pounds of “back door cuts” to colleges and universities. The University and College Union (UCU) has warned that workers are worried that possible cuts to pension funding could see institutions footing a £300 million bill. The concerns come from employers having to raise their contributions to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) from 16.48 per cent to 23.6 per cent, following the government’s announcement that it would be reducing the rate which it pays.

ITV News
School buildings need to be properly maintained to protect children, the Scottish Conservatives have said. New figures reveal at least 150 building safety incidents were recorded at Scottish schools in the last two years. A freedom of information request was made to local authorities in Scotland asking them to detail incidents involving either the collapse or partial collapse of a wall or structure, or a child or teacher being struck by a falling object.

Rail travel

ITV News
Proposals to ensure disabled passengers can “travel with confidence consistently” have been published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Planned measures include improving training for railway staff in how to deal with disabled passengers. Also, those who do not receive assistance that they have pre-booked as part of their journey will be eligible for compensation. Other proposals include introducing a new, standardised handover process for disabled passengers between stations and improving the information available to passengers about station facilities and what they should expect during their journey.


ITV News
The NHS will invest up to £46 million to help tens of thousands of people living with diabetes to receive life-changing treatment. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has pledged to end the postcode lottery where type 1 in some parts of the country are not able to get glucose monitors. Mr Stevens said from April next year the NHS will ensure the Freestyle Libre devices are available on prescription for all patients who qualify for them. The wearable sensor scraps the need for inconvenient and sometimes painful finger prick blood tests by relaying glucose levels to a smartphone or e-reader, making it easier to notice when sugar levels are starting to rise or drop so action can be taken quicker.


Ministers are under pressure to impose cutbacks to HS2 after a report warned that it would cost more than double that of other high-speed rail projects. The scheme would cost £81 million per kilometre compared with £32 million for 20 comparable schemes elsewhere in Europe. The report, commissioned four years ago and focusing on the second phase of the line north of Birmingham, said that the project would be “at the high end of the range of costs” for any scheme worldwide. Total costs for the whole scheme stand at £55.7 billion.


Britain could be set for snow as the ‘Beast from the East’ dramatically slashes temperatures by 27F, bringing an end to a short lived warm spell. Forecasters predict a blizzard and very cold winds will hit the country next week, bringing with it a big freeze after temperatures briefly rise to 65F on Thursday during an ‘Indian Summer’. The warm spell will be short-lived, as the mercury is due to swing in the opposite direction next week – with the chance of areas across the UK seeing snowfall and lows of 35F (2C). Cold air from Russia will cause snow to fall across the country, leaving the UK feeling ‘more like Moscow than the Mediterranean’, says one meteorologist.

A FLURRY of snow set to sweep into Britain with “the Beast from the East” next week could be the start of a month of blizzards — meaning a White Christmas may be on the cards. Forecasters predict heavy snow and very cold winds will batter the country after temperatures rise to 17C during an “Indian Summer” on Thursday. But temperatures will plunge sharply next week as cold air from Russia causes snow to fall across the country, leaving the UK feeling “more like Moscow than the Mediterranean”.

SNOW and freezing temperatures is heading to Britain this month, it has been claimed. The so-called “mini ice-age” winter blast will see snow and sub-zero temperatures before the end of November. Much of the country will grind to a halt while violent storms threaten outbreaks of the weather phenomenon thundersnow. Then the freeze may be severe disruption to roads and transport networks through Christmas. This comes as Daily Star Online revealed that snow will blanket Britain in a White Christmas. While the freeze is forecast to come after warm weather this week which could even bring the hottest November day in 177 years.

The post News review – Wednesday 14 November 2018 appeared first on UKIP Daily | UKIP News | UKIP Debate.

Sunday papers – 11 November 2018

Sunday papers – 11 November 2018


The Prime Minister’s woes escalate, reports the Telegraph.

Theresa May’s Brexit plan will be blocked by MPs even if she is able to “bounce” the Cabinet into signing it off, the Prime Minister has been warned.
Senior members of the Eurosceptic grouping of Tory backbenchers and the Democratic Unionist Party figures are publicly uniting to insist they will vote against Mrs May’s proposals unless she backs down.
Their intervention came as senior government figures warned that the deal would still fall in Parliament even if it were forced through a reluctant Cabinet this week. A defeat for Mrs May would be likely to spark a leadership challenge.

The Express lays it on the line.

THERESA May’s Brexit plans have been dealt a huge blow after DUP leader Arlene Foster vowed her party would not back her plans for an Irish backstop if they go to a Parliamentary vote.
The party’s leader raged “no unionist” could support the Prime Minister’s apparent advocacy of a Withdrawal Agreement that includes a Northern Ireland-specific backstop measure to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Theresa May relies on the support of the 10 MPs from the DUP for her to gain a crucial majority in the Commons, votes which could ultimately determine whether Mrs May gets any Brexit deal through Parliament.

The Mail claims the Irish have been joined by the ERG.

The DUP and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s group of Brexiteers have united and vowed to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Fifty-one Tories have already signed a pledge opposing Mrs May’s Brexit proposals – with concerns a no-deal insurance plan will lead to a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Now, the DUP and The European Research Group of backbenchers, chaired byMr Rees-Mogg, have released an extraordinary joint declaration that they will stop a Brexit deal getting through Parliament if the Union is threatened.
Steve Baker, the group’s deputy chairman and Sammy Wilson, the DUP Brexit spokesman, wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: ‘We share the Prime Minister’s ambition for an EU free trade agreement, but not at any price and certainly not at the price of our Union. 

And the leader of the ERG proposes an alternative solution in the Mail (by Jacob Rees-Mogg).

Jo Johnson’s resignation is the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ moment in the Brexit process.
He has stated clearly what everybody knows: that the negotiations satisfy no one and that we are hurtling towards making the UK a vassal state.
Theresa May will understandably be dismayed by his resignation and by new reports that, in any case, there can be no progress this week for her preferred Chequers solution as Brussels will not accept it.
However, it is time for the Prime Minister to be true to her mantra that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. It is also time for convinced Brexiteers like me to compromise.
So at this late hour in the negotiations, we would like to make a new, generous offer to break the deadlock, to achieve a ‘No Deal Plus’.
It would cost us money but it would finally dispel the ‘crash out’ Project Fear nightmare scenarios.
It is true that with no withdrawal agreement at all, we legally owe the EU nothing – despite misguided claims from the Chancellor that we do.

ITV News points out that Mrs May is also facing opposition across the Channel.

Theresa May is battling to keep her Brexit agenda on track as she faces growing Tory tensions and reports of opposition from Brussels to a key part of withdrawal plans.
With the shock resignation of pro-Europe transport minister Jo Johnson continuing to cause ructions in Tory ranks, the Prime Minister is running out of time to seal an EU exit deal.
Hope of getting the Cabinet to sign off on Brexit deal proposals this week appeared to be rapidly receding as it was reported the EU had rejected UK plans for an independent arbitration clause that could allow the UK to quit a backstop deal on the Northern Ireland border.
With both pro and anti-withdrawal Tories becoming more vocal in their opposition to Mrs May’s stance, arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg called on the PM to change tack.
He urged Mrs May to end the deadlock by paying the EU £20 billion to secure a “no deal plus” arrangement with the bloc after withdrawal.

But is a ‘Norway-style’ deal the answer? The Express reports:

GROWING calls for Theresa May to pursue a ‘Norway-style’ Brexit would force Britain to accept continued freedom of movement for years after the split, Migration Watch UK has warned.
The Norway option would involve seeking European Economic Area (EEA) access and is favoured by a growing number of voters, according to recent research. And the prospect of temporary EEA membership has been floated by politicians from all sides in both the Commons and Lords as a way to avoid a hard Brexit until a long-term UK/EU trade deal can be agreed. Members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – like Norway – are granted EEA access which includes the single market but are required to sign up to the EU’s freedom of movement rules.
However members are allowed to make use of some safeguards – a so-called ‘emergency brake’ – to limit migration in certain circumstances.
These provisions have been touted by supporters of EEA access, including Nick Clegg, as a way to limit mass migration while still remaining part of the single market.
But the ‘emergency brake’ is “most unlikely to be effective” in the UK and would effectively mean “continued free movement for a number of years”, according to Migration Watch UK.

Reuters reports that more ‘remain’ ministers are on the verge of quitting.

Four British ministers who back remaining in the European Union are on the verge of quitting Theresa May’s government over Brexit, the Sunday Times reported, as pressures built on the prime minister from all sides.
The newspaper also said that the European Union had rejected May’s plan for an independent mechanism to oversee Britain’s departure from any temporary customs arrangement it agrees. The newspaper sourced the development to British sources, and not sources in the EU team.
May is trying to hammer out the final details of the British divorce deal but the talks have become stuck over how the two sides can prevent a hard border from being required in Ireland.


The Times lays out the bloc’s reaction to Mrs May’s proposals.

Theresa May has been plunged into a deeper crisis after Brussels rejected her key Brexit proposal, which was intended to avoid the UK being trapped in an indefinite customs union.
The prime minister had hoped to unite her cabinet and overcome the final hurdle in negotiations with the EU by offering to create an “independent mechanism” to oversee how the UK might leave a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapsed.
But this weekend senior EU officials sent shockwaves through No 10 by rejecting May’s plan, sparking fears that negotiations have broken down days before “no-deal” preparations costing billions need to be implemented.

The Mail also reports Brussels’ rejection of the plans.

EU leaders have thrown Theresa May’s hopes of a Brexit deal this month into fresh jeopardy, after warning that crucial obstacles remain.
A meeting in Brussels was told there had been no significant progress on how to settle future disputes over the Irish border, with the two sides also still far apart on fishing rights.
The verdict, delivered at a briefing of EU27 ambassadors by the Brussels negotiating team, cast fresh doubt on the prime minister’s hopes of agreeing an outline deal by the middle of next week.
If that deadline is missed, it is unlikely that an emergency summit to sign it off can be held in November – throwing back a final agreement until the middle of December.

Sky News reports EU demands that the ECJ must become involved.

Theresa May is facing a battle to save her Brexit plan amid claims the European Union has rejected a key proposal.
Talks with Brussels have reportedly broken down over the PM’s solution to the Irish backstop.
current proposal would see the whole of the UK remaining in a temporary customs arrangement to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
To allay fears this would leave the UK trapped indefinitely in a customs union – Mrs May had drawn up a mechanism which would allow the UK to leave the backstop.
Using the legal expertise of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, it proposed using an independent arbitration panel.
But the EU has reportedly dismissed this plan, dubbed the “Cox compromise”, insisting any arbitration must come from the European Court of Justice.

Breitbart reports a new group openly demanding the creation of an EU superstate.

Artists and intellectuals across Europe are calling for the founding of a continentwide republic to replace its many nation-states.
Activists planned to proclaim a ‘European Republic’ in dozens of cities at 4 p.m. (1500 GMT) Saturday, almost exactly 100 years after the end of World War I.
The event is being organized by a group calling itself the European Balcony Project. Its listed supporters include political scientists, philosophers and writers such as Austrian literature Nobel prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek.
A manifesto on the group’s website declares that “the sovereignty of states is hereby replaced by the sovereignty of citizens.”

But the EUs top man likes his status – and his booze – and is planning to stay on, reports the Times.

Jean-Claude Juncker is sizing up his chances for an extended term at the helm of the European Commission after his mandate as president ends next year.
Juncker’s commission, headed by his top aide Martin Selmayr, is due to step down in November 2019.
However, the flagging fortunes of centrist parties threaten a parliamentary stalemate in European elections next May and the EU president has privately warned leaders that an inconclusive result will complicate the task of electing his successor.

Labour Party

Back home, the Times has a column by Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Kier Starmer.

Jo Johnson’s resignation exposes a fundamental truth: this government is broken. The divisions in the Conservative Party run deep. The three-decade-long argument about Europe isn’t over. And the government is in a state of permanent paralysis over the biggest task facing this country in a generation.
No 10 will tell us that a breakthrough is just around the corner. But that’s delusion, not reality. There is no hiding the fact that this government is incapable of negotiating the right Brexit deal for this country.
Sooner or later, parliament will have to decide whether to approve the Brexit deal the prime minister has negotiated with the EU (assuming she has been able to reach an agreement).

BBC News claims he has said that ‘no deal’ is a hoax.

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said the government’s threat of leaving the EU without a deal is a “political hoax”.
He said Parliament must “take back control” instead if the government’s plan is rejected by MPs.
“There is no duty on MPs to surrender to a bad deal,” he writes in the Sunday Times.
A Downing Street source said the government aimed to secure an agreement with the EU soon, but not at any cost.
Any deal reached between the government and the EU is likely to have to rely on the 10 votes from MPs in the Democratic Unionist Party for a majority in Parliament.
Labour confirmed its willingness to vote down the agreement and a key DUP MP also sounded a warning.

And a former Labour leader could be preparing to return to front-line politics to lead a new party, says the Times.

David Miliband is poised to return to the UK amid growing speculation that a new centrist party could be launched within months.
Labour MPs who have been involved in talks about a new party believe Miliband and his family will move back to London next year.
The former foreign secretary, who runs the International Rescue Committee in New York, fuelled speculation about his return in June when he said he missed Britain and took Marmite and PG Tips to America with him, adding: “Of course I’ll come back. It’s my home. I’m British.”


The leader of the House of Commons will not let the bullying allegations drop, says the Times.

Andrea Leadsom has launched an attack on the House of Commons authorities, accusing them of failing to get a grip on the bullying and harassment scandal that has rocked Westminster.
The leader of the Commons has waged a year-long campaign to stamp out misconduct of this kind after a series of scandals. In an unprecedented move, she has accused the Commons leadership of burying their heads in the sand and has urged them to either “stand up and be counted — or consider their positions”.
Leadsom’s intervention comes weeks after an independent inquiry led by Dame Laura Cox found that parliament’s leadership was incapable of changing the widespread culture of abuse.

Westmonster calls the decision ‘disgusting’.

In a truly disgusting state of affairs, it has been claimed that persecuted Christian Pakistani Asia Bibi won’t be given asylum in Britain because of concerns for her safety if she came to the country.
Bibi has been released from death row after 8 years for blasphemy after the Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Her supposed crime? ‘Insulting the Prophet Mohammed’.
Her husband Ashiq Masih now fears for his family’s safety and has said: “I am requesting the Prime Minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom.”

Social care

The vexed question of who pays as we all get older is addressed in the Telegraph.

A new levy targeted at the over-40s is being considered by ministers to help solve the social care funding crisis.
Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, told the Telegraph he was “attracted to” a cross-party plan for a compulsory premium deducted from the earnings of the
middle-aged and over-65s to fund the cost of their care in later life.
The proposals, set out by two Commons committees, are based on the system in Germany under which all workers over 40 pay 2.5 per cent of their wages into a pot formally earmarked for social care.


We’re still throwing away too much rubbish, says the ITV News.

Government targets for household recycling will be “significantly” missed if current trends continue, according to opposition analysis.
The Scottish Conservatives said the percentage of recycled household waste has only risen from 40.1% to 45.6% between 2011 and 2017, with a national target set at 60% by 2020.
If annual increases continue in the same trend, it will take until 2032 to meet the target, the Tories said.
The figures come as the opposition party plans to use next week in the Scottish Parliament to highlight environmental issues.
Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative environment spokesman, said: “The SNP appear to have no ability to substantially improve household recycling and would rather bury waste in the ground, export to China or burn it.

Drugs gangs

The Times claims children are being targeted by drugs gangs.

Gangs are slipping knives into children’s bags to get them expelled from school so they can be recruited to carry drugs, school inspectors warn today in a hard-hitting report.
Today head teachers in London are told not to exclude too readily pupils with weapons, making them easy prey. Some are also accused of a culture of secrecy on knife crime.
The warning from Ofsted comes as the children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, called for schools that expel children to be fined by the government.
Longfield said such children were being left “at the mercy of unscrupulous and highly professional organised criminals. The recent tragic murders of young boys in London show just how urgently we need to take on the scourge of gang violence”.


Could some companies be seriously preparing to implant microchips into their staff as one would do with a pet? The Telegraph reports.

British companies are planning to microchip some of their staff in order to boost security and stop them accessing sensitive areas.
Biohax, a Swedish company that provides human chip implants, told the Telegraph it was in talks with a number of UK legal and financial firms to implant staff with the devices.
One prospective client, which cannot be named, is a major financial services firm with “hundreds of thousands of employees.”
”These companies have sensitive documents they are dealing with,” said Jowan Österlund, the founder of Biohax and a former professional body piercer. “[The chips] would allow them to set restrictions for whoever.”

Climate change

It seems the animals we are eating are producing too much carbon dioxide, says the Times.

Britons must eat less red meat — and more vegetables — if the UK is to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the government’s climate change watchdog will warn this week.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has calculated that “enteric fermentation” in Britain’s sheep and cattle, which causes them to fart and burp, produces the equivalent of 23m tons of CO2 a year.
This is so high that it would undermine any chance of the UK achieving its target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, the committee will warn.
Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, has written to Michael Gove, the environment secretary, saying government policy should be changed.

The post Sunday papers – 11 November 2018 appeared first on UKIP Daily | UKIP News | UKIP Debate.

Saturday papers – 10 November 2018

Saturday papers – 10 November 2018

Conservative Party

The Prime Minister is facing a further revolt within her party. The Telegraph says:

Theresa May’s hopes of getting a Brexit deal through Parliament were dealt a major blow on Friday after the transport minister Jo Johnson resigned so he can vote against the Prime Minister’s “terrible mistake”.
The Remain-supporting brother of Boris Johnson said Britain now “stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War” with Mrs May about to present MPs with a choice between “vassalage and chaos”.
He said he and Boris – who led the Leave campaign – were now “united in dismay”.

The Times reports:

Theresa May’s domestic woes deepened last night after Jo Johnson resigned as a transport minister, declaring her approach to Brexit a failure on a scale not seen since Suez.
Mr Johnson, who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum and is the brother of Boris Johnson, stunned colleagues by walking out of government while Mrs May’s plan was still being finalised.
In an uncompromising statement he called the proposed withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms for Britain’s departure from the European Union, a “terrible mistake” that leaves the country in a far worse negotiating position than at present.

And the Guardian claims the resignation will damage the PM’s hopes of getting her deal through Parliament. 

Theresa May’s hopes of winning parliament’s backing for her Brexit deal have been plunged into fresh doubt after Jo Johnson resigned from the government and accused her of offering MPs a choice between “vassalage and chaos”.
Four months after his Brexiter brother Boris quit as foreign secretary, the remainer MP for Orpington, and erstwhile transport minister, said he could not vote for the deal that May is expected to bring back to parliament within weeks, and instead would throw his weight behind a second referendum.

The Mail reports a call for other Tories to follow suit.

Jo Johnson’s resignation as Theresa May tries to strike a Brexit deal tonight has sparked a call for other Tories to do the same. The Orpington MP, brother of Boris Johnson, said that the emerging package – which the PM hopes to finalise within days – was a massive failure in British statecraft on the scale of Suez.
It comes as the DUP said it won’t back Theresa May’s apparent advocacy of a Northern Ireland backstop measure to avoid a hard border on Ireland.
If the DUP and Mrs May fail to agree, her government – which relies on the Northern Irish party for a majority – could collapse. 

No deal

It seems some members of Mrs May’s cabinet have already drawn up plans for ‘no deal’, the Sun reports.

CABINET Ministers have drawn up a secret No Deal “Plan B” in case Parliament votes down Theresa May’s deal, The Sun can reveal.
The Prime Minister has been confronted with a plan that would see the UK leave with No Deal in March next year but pay £18billion to delay the pain by two years.
The alternative brainchild of Cabinet Brexiteers would see the UK continue to pay the same amount as membership fees up until 2021 and follow EU rules to avoid a cliff edge exit.
But crucially it would mean the UK would be able to negotiate with Brussels as a “third country” for two years, which they believe would make hammering out a new Free Trade agreement easier.

Sky News claims the plans are necessary because the deal will not get through the House.

Cabinet ministers have presented Theresa May with a detailed plan for a “no-deal” Brexit amid increasing fears MPs will vote down her deal in the House of Commons.
The plan emerged after Jo Johnson, a transport minister, resigned from the government over Brexit and vowed to vote against Mrs May’s deal in the Commons.
A group of senior ministers briefed the prime minister on the secret plan earlier this month.
It could be deployed in a bid to avoid a chaotic exit if no agreement can be reached or if a deal is voted down.

But we can expect a relaunch of fears that the UK could fall apart in the event of no deal says the Telegraph.

Trade barriers will bring exports grinding to a halt. Just-in-time supply chains will freeze up. Foreign investment will collapse, the pound will be turned into charred toast and we’ll lose access to the skilled European workers we need to keep the economy growing. When a new group called “Business For a People’s Vote” is launched later this week we can expect to hear a lot of arguments against leaving the European Union and for a referendum on the final deal that emerges.
A wide range of senior industrialists have already thrown their weight behind that and a lot more will be tempted to do so in the next few weeks. After all, most business leaders wanted to remain inside the EU.


But could we have a second referendum or perhaps a General Election? In an exclusive report, the Telegraph claims the Labour leader has been meeting top spooks.

Jeremy Corbyn has met with the head of MI6 for the first time in anticipation of a snap election triggered by the collapse of the Brexit negotiations, The Telegraph has learnt.
The Labour leader recently met with Alex Younger, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, during which the importance of the agency’s work and the severity of the threats facing Britain were made clear to him.
A Whitehall official with knowledge of the meeting said: “The feeling was that the time had come for Mr Corbyn to become acquainted with the workings of the intelligence establishment.”

The Mail also has the report.

Jeremy Corbyn has met the boss of MI6 for the first time amid concerns there could be another snap general election.
The Labour leader was given a briefing by the intelligence chief on potential threats to the nation.
It comes as the potential for another election has been predicted if Theresa May‘s Brexit negotiations fail.


The columnists have been expounding their views. In the Telegraph Juliet Samuel says:

The whole map of Europe has been changed,” said Winston Churchill after the end of World War One, “but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall, we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.”
When even supposed arch-loyalists like Jo Johnson are resigning, modern Tories will know how Churchill and his contemporaries felt. A hundred years after the Irish question threatened to tear British politics apart, it’s back, and, thanks to the almost incredible parliamentary maths generated by last year’s election, which handed the balance of power to the DUP, it’s as intractable as ever.

Matthew Paris in the Times says:

Who killed Cock Robin? Brexit has failed and the only question now is about the ownership of failure. Who wants the blame? In the end few will. Bravely, Jo Johnson yesterday joined those with the principle (and foresight) to say so. But the day is coming when it is those who did not jump ship who will look “brave”. That’s why I doubt Theresa May will get her deal through parliament.
Hands up who wants their names printed under aye in the division list in Hansard after the “meaningful vote” on her deal? Who in two years’ time, as we look back on Britain’s ignominious humbling by the European Union, and the battle rages on about our future relationship.

And the Mails Andrew Pierce lauds the retiring minister.

Jo Johnson, modest, reticent and something of a loner, has long been regarded by Westminster watchers as a paler version of his flamboyant older brother Boris.
He’s the Bobby Ewing to Boris’s ‘charismatic, naughty JR in Dallas’, according to one political commentator.
There was, however, nothing pale about the full-blooded assault Jo launched on the Prime Minister yesterday as he blatantly borrowed from his sibling’s playbook.

In the Mail, Peter Oborne says:

For the past two years, Brexit has advanced at a snail’s pace. There have been frequent reports that negotiations had broken down, and that Theresa May was finished.
I never gave them any credence. The truth, as I have reported regularly in this column, is that talks have advanced much more smoothly than was widely understood.
Hundreds of civil servants — the unsung heroes of the Brexit process — on both sides of the Channel have quietly been working to negotiate an outcome which they hope will succeed, both for Britain and Europe.


But there are still questions over the Irish border. The Independent reports:

Theresa May has warned her DUP allies that a customs border in the Irish sea may be written into the UK’s Brexit divorce deal, according to reports.
In a leaked letter, the prime minister tells unionist leader Arlene Foster that Brussels is pushing for the measure as a so-called “backstop to the backstop” on Northern Ireland’s customs status in case negotiations break down.
Ms May wants a deal containing a backstop measure creating a temporary “joint customs territory” with the EU for the whole of the UK.
But the bloc appears to be insisting on a fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the UK.

The Mirror claims this is a betrayal.

Theresa May was accused of a “total betrayal” amid claims she is set to back a Brexit border in the Irish Sea.
The Prime Minister has written to the DUP , triggering fears she will cave into Brussels’ demands for a Northern Ireland-only “backstop to the backstop” in case of a no-deal exit.
In the letter, obtained by The Times, Mrs May said: “I am clear that I could not accept there being any circumstances or conditions in which that ‘backstop to the backstop’, which would break up the UK customs territory, could come in to force.”

The DUP leader is not happy, reports BBC News

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said her party will “not be able to support” Theresa May’s latest proposals aimed at resolving the Brexit deadlock.
The party accused the PM of breaking promises over plans to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The plans were revealed in a letter from Theresa May to Mrs Foster, leaked to the Times.
Downing Street reiterated the PM’s commitment to avoiding a hard border.

And the DUP leader has written for the Telegraph.

In any negotiation process all participants need to be conscious of an inherent risk, namely, that their own participation creates a sense of ownership and attachment.
The long hours, the focus on one new draft after another can cloud the original objective. The desire to produce the right deal can be superseded by the perceived need to produce a deal.
This is why all negotiations need measures to prevent this, a check mechanism and preferably multiple ones.

Former Ireland minister Peter Hain has written for the Guardian.

It comes as no surprise that the EU withdrawal negotiations are going to the wire on the Irish border. That’s because hardline Tories are actually demanding Theresa May ignore legal commitments she has already made – and that even they went along with. This issue has flared up again today because Democratic Unionist party leader Arlene Foster has claimed the prime minister is “wedded to a border down the Irish Sea”.
Neither Jacob Rees-Mogg nor the DUP have ever had a workable alternative plan for the Irish border.

The Sun says the plans are on the verge of failure due to the intransigence of the EU.

THERESA May’s hopes for a November Brexit deal were hanging by a thread last night after a fresh row with Brussels over how a temporary customs “backstop” with the EU will end.
The Sun can reveal stubborn Eurocrats are refusing to agree to a mechanism which would allow the UK to walk away from the pact if Brussels “acts in bad faith” during future trade talks.
UK negotiators have all but abandoned plans for a specific time limit on the backstop, but want the insurance plan to be automatically terminated if Brussels try to use it to keep Britain tied to their red tape forever.


But even if May can get the deal through her own parliament, it seems the EU members may not be happy says the Huffington Post.

Theresa May’s hopes of securing a Brexit deal have suffered a major setback after the EU signalled it could not accept a key plank of the UK’s plans, HuffPost has been told.
The EU27 have rejected Britain’s proposed model for independent arbitration of a temporary customs partnership with the bloc, senior Whitehall sources have revealed.
The fresh diplomatic roadblock emerged as rumours swirled that at least one Cabinet minister was on the edge of quitting in the wake o
f the resignation of transport minister Jo Johnson.

Westmonster calls them ‘bullies’.

EU chiefs are continuing with their bully boy tactics, not only steadfastly refusing to negotiate over their ejection of the Italian government’s budget but also insisting that the country has “no future” outside of the Eurozone.
The EU’s Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has said that he is “concerned about the word compromise” and “there cannot be a sort of negotiation on this”.
Moscovici also warned against Quitaly exiting the Eurozone: “We would like Italy to remain what it is, a major country within the Eurozone, there is no future for Italy outside the Eurozone, there is no future for Europe without Italy.”


Yet another demand from Brussels could cause problems, says Sky News.

Theresa May could face fresh a fresh rebellion of Tory MPs over reported EU demands for access to UK fishing waters after Brexit.
Senior Brussels diplomats were quoted in The Telegraph saying EU fishing fleets must be granted access in exchange for a UK-wide customs union forming part of the backstop deal.
They reportedly want to “extract a high price” for the concession if a trade deal is not reached before the expected transition period ends in December 2020.

Breitbart also has the story.

The European Union is demanding it retain control of Britain’s ravaged fisheries as the price of approving Theresa May’s plan to keep the country in the EU Customs Union, according to reports.
The Prime Minister’s proposals for Britain to duplicate EU rules and regulations through a ‘common rulebook’ managed by EU judges and to remain within the bloc’s Customs Union — effectively preventing the country from reestablishing an independent trade policy — were originally seen as heavy concessions, but there is now a sense in Westminster that entering into such an arrangement would be some sort of victory, as Brussels has been resisting it.

In an exclusive report that UKIP Daily does not entirely dismiss as fake news, the Sun claims the ‘final solution’ could be revived. Surely not.

A SECRET army of 200 elite soldiers planned to slaughter politicians and immigrants in Germany, it is revealed today.
Authorities have smashed the plot by serving and former neo-Nazi members of the country’s special forces to wreak havoc on “Day X”.
The sensational conspiracy is uncovered in a seven-page report by Berlin news weekly Focus.
The breakaway group of the Bundeswehr’s KSK — the equivalent to the SAS — aimed to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, foreign minister Heiko Mass and former president Joachim Gauck.
Death squads planned to lure them and other left-wingers to remote locations and assassinate them.
Leaders of asylum seeker groups blamed for terrorism, rapes and social unrest were also in their sights.


Away from front line politics, the country’s top cop is criticised in the Telegraph.

Britain’s most senior police officer says the Government is leaving police “hamstrung” in the fight against violent crime.
Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, says the Home Office has “stepped back a lot” and needs to show “greater leadership”.
Ms Dick says the failure to introduce laws which allow officers to use facial recognition technology to catch “bad guys” has left her officers “hamstrung”. She adds that the battle against violent crime would be easier with funding for more officers.

The Mail says she is unable to control crime.

The nation’s top police officer has accused the Government of leaving police unable to stop violent crime.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said officers ‘hamstrung’ and called on the Home Office to show ‘greater leadership’.
She slammed a failure to introduce laws allowing police to use facial recognition and said more funding is needed.


Flu jabs have run out and there’s a blame game over who is responsible in the Mail.

NHS bosses and GPs are blaming each other for failing to provide enough flu jabs for the over-65s.
Thousands of elderly patients have not yet been vaccinated after surgeries and chemists ran out of stock.
One pharmacist in Bristol said he was turning away 15 elderly patients a day and shortages have also been reported in Surrey, Kent, Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Bolton. The problems were triggered by the rollout of a new jab.

Train travel

Is HS2 worth the effort? The Times reports:

HS2 plans to eradicate delays caused by track failures by installing scanners on the front of trains to detect faults before they cause chaos for passengers.
Lasers, acoustic sensors and rapid-frame cameras would survey tracks and overhead cables at up to 225mph and the technology will give a real-time picture of the 140-mile line between London and Birmingham.
Up to 18 trains an hour running in each direction will survey the route, taking 300 frames a second to enable engineers to find faults when they develop.

ITV News claims there will be no delays on the new track.

There will be no unplanned delays due to HS2 track problems, the company building the high speed railway has claimed.
In a UK first, infrastructure monitoring equipment such as video, lasers and acoustic sensors will be fitted to passenger trains to assess the condition of rail and overhead power cables.
Engineers will analyse the data in real time, meaning they can identify any problems and carry out maintenance before a fault affects punctuality on the £55.7 billion railway, according to HS2 Ltd.

And train drivers have been told to reduce pollution, says the Telegraph.

Train operators have been told that their drivers must switch off diesel engines in major stations amid fears that passengers on platforms are exposed to dangerously high levels of pollution.
The Department for Transport says that companies will be expected to introduce technology to reduce pollution from “idling” diesel trains. This includes using engine “stop-start” systems at platforms and drawing power from trackside sources.

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News review – Friday 9 November 2018

News review – Friday 9 November 2018


European Union fishing fleets must be given wide-ranging access to British coastal waters as the price of agreeing an all-UK Brexit divorce deal, the Telegraph can reveal. Senior EU diplomats have warned that any plan to grant the UK a temporary customs union to solve the Irish backstop problem must come with cast-iron guarantees that EU boats will be free to fish in UK waters. 
The EU demands threaten to re-open a fierce row inside the Tory party over the potential size of the Brexit dividend for coastal and fishing communities. Fishermen warned Mrs May that she must not “squander” the chance to claw back valuable quotas for British fleets.


THERESA May is expected to have further Brexit discussions with key European leaders today as speculation intensifies that a breakthrough will be made within days. Donald Tusk, who chairs the EU leaders’ group, added to hopes that talks on a deal between Britain and Brussels will reach a decisive point in the coming week. But senior UK Government sources and others sought to play down expectations. The Prime Minister will meet her Belgian counterpart and hold a private working lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron today when she takes part in ceremonies in Belgium and France to mark the end of the First World War 100 years ago.

Speculation is mounting that a Brexit deal will be unveiled on Monday – with a summit to seal the agreement at the end of the month. The EU commission is said to be planning for negotiations to conclude within days, despite bitter wrangling within the Cabinet over Irish border concessions. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also insisted he is confident a package will be finalised over the next three weeks, potentially coinciding with the November 25 summit date circulating in Brussels – although he admitted the situation was ‘incredibly complicated’.

BBC News
Theresa May will probably lose a Commons vote on her Brexit deal, former Brexit Secretary David Davis has said. But Mr Davis – who quit his cabinet role over the Brexit plan in July said he believed defeat would prompt the UK and EU to agree a “better deal”. He also said the UK had hundreds of plans ready in case the country leaves the EU without any agreed Brexit deal. Mr Davis said there might be “some hiccups” but the UK was “a big country” and “we can look after ourselves”. Brexit is due to happen on 29 March 2019, as a result of the referendum in June 2016 in which people voted by 51.9% to 48.1% for the UK to leave the European Union.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4 this morning, former Brexit Secretary David Davis said that Theresa May will probably lose a Commons vote on her Brexit deal. UKIP Leader Gerard Batten said:
“Mrs May sidelined Mr Davis when he was Brexit Secretary because she never had any intention of achieving a real Brexit. “I would not be surprised if the House of Commons voted against Mrs May’s plan – it angers both Leavers and Remainers. I suspect that this is a deliberate ploy so that the government will be forced to leave on WTO terms but then call for an emergency extension of Article 50 in order to extend ‘negotiations’ and the transition period. This should be seen for what it is – a plan for transitioning Britain back into the European Union in a few years time.

THERESA May’s Cabinet was plunged into fresh turmoil after pals of the Brexit Secretary launched an astonishing attack on the Prime Minister’s right hand man. Dominic Raab feels Cabinet Office boss David Lidington is “going behind his back” when dealing with the Irish government, allies say. Mr Lidington has been tasked with “hand holding” the Irish boss Leo Varadkar and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney through the final phases of negotiations, but Brexiteers believe he is using the role to push a softer agenda than the Exit Secretary. They point to a change in tone from the Dublin for Britain being able to stay in a customs union as part of the controversial “backstop” plan. The Sun understands tensions came to a head last week when Mr Lidington travelled to Dublin for meetings, while Mr Raab was dispatched to Northern Ireland.


Ireland has warned against assuming a breakthrough on the Brexit border row is imminent. Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said that even if the UK Cabinet agrees exit plans in the coming days, the rest of the European Union must also back them. Senior ministers were invited to review the text of the withdrawal agreement that has so far been secured in negotiations with Brussels.The cabinet is poised to meet as soon as a deal is ready to be signed off. But Mr Coveney told the Irish Canada Business Association conference in Dublin: “I would urge caution that an imminent breakthrough is not necessarily to be taken for granted, not by a long shot.

A Brussels plan to put a customs border in the Irish Sea if there is no Brexit agreement will be included in a divorce deal, a leaked letter from Theresa May suggests. The prime minister was accused last night of breaking her promise to the Democratic Unionist Party that she would never sign up to a deal that could allow Northern Ireland to be divided from the rest of the United Kingdom. The European plan, known as the “backstop to the backstop”, would leave Northern Ireland tied to the single market and customs union if Brexit talks collapse. Brussels wants this insurance policy to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

Theresa May has warned her DUP allies that a customs border in the Irish sea may be written into the UK’s Brexit divorce deal, according to reports. In a leaked letter, the prime minister tells unionist leader Arlene Foster that Brussels is pushing for the measure as a so-called “backstop to the backstop” on Northern Ireland’s customs status in case negotiations break down. Ms May wants a deal containing a backstop measure creating a temporary “joint customs territory” with the EU for the whole of the UK. But the bloc appears to be insisting on a fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard border between Ireland and the UK.

The DUP have warned Theresa May that any backstop which involves Northern Ireland being closer to the EU economically will not be acceptable. DUP MP and Brexit spokesperson Sammy Wilson said: “We don’t regard it as palatable, it would be totally unacceptable and breach any promise that was made of not breaking up the UK. “She knows the consequences.” The DUP’s Cheif Whip Sir Jeffery Donaldson also weighed in saying: “If we think a Brexit deal is not good for the UK, we will say so. We have been very clear of that. “We want the deal to be in the best interests of the UK. Let’s see what the deal is – we’re not afraid of a General Election.”

Sky News
A senior DUP MP has accused Theresa May of a “total betrayal” amid suggestions a plan for a customs border down the Irish Sea could yet be included in a Brexit divorce deal. East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson attacked the prime minister following the emergence of leaked letter from Mrs May to DUP leader Arlene Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds. In extracts published by The Times, the prime minister’s letter refers to EU demands for the proposed Brexit backstop arrangement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. This would apply if a future EU-UK trade relationship failed to avert a hardening of the frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

IRELAND has poured cold water on speculation of an imminent breakthrough in the Brexit talks and insisted a no deal divorce is still a very real possibility. Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney warned against assuming a withdrawal agreement will be signed off by the European Union just because the deal receives the backing of Theresa May’s Cabinet. Yesterday the Prime Minister’s inner circle were invited to review parts of the draft text which have already been agreed with Brussels and reports suggest EU leaders will meet at the end of November for an emergency Brexit summit. The divorce deal is said to be 95 percent complete and the Irish border conundrum is the final hurdle to overcome.

BBC News
The UK must have the power to end any post-Brexit “backstop” customs accord with the EU on its own, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said. The Brexiteer said the UK had voted to leave the EU and “that decision can’t be subcontracted to somebody else”. The UK and EU want to avoid a hard Irish border after Brexit but cannot agree on how to do so. The EU has said it cannot agree to any arrangements which could be left unilaterally by the UK. Prime Minister Theresa May is keen to reach a withdrawal agreement with the EU this month.

Eurosceptic Conservative MPs will still vote down the government’s Brexit deal even if Theresa May negotiates an exit clause from the Irish backstop, the former minister Steve Baker has insisted. May’s cabinet has been locked in a bitter internal wrangle about whether, and how, the government could extricate itself from the backstop, with some ministers concerned her plans could leave the UK in a permanent limbo. The prime minister hopes to win the backing of her ministers for a draft withdrawal agreement at a special cabinet meeting likely to take place early next week. But Baker, a leading figure in the backbench European Research Group (ERG), said Conservative MPs would be closely scrutinising the accompanying political declaration setting out the framework for the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU27.


Telegraph (by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
The EU has no legal means to force the capitulation of Italy’s rebel government and the budget showdown is likely to escalate until there is a market crisis, warned a veteran euro fire-fighter. Vitor Constancio, the European Central Bank’s former financial stability chief, said the high-stakes clash with Italy is extremely difficult to handle and Brussels is effectively powerless against a net contributor to the EU budget. There is no mechanism to compel compliance by the Lega-Five Star insurgents other than a blow-up in the bond markets.

Cap X
During Britain’s EU referendum, Remain campaigners liked to claim that the case for Leaving didn’t just depend on false promises about life after the EU, but also on outlandish claims about the ambitions of EU federalists. The biggest lie was apparently that there would ever be a European army. The most trenchant dismissal of that idea came from Nick Clegg, who in 2014 described the idea as “a dangerous fantasy”. The notion was, according to the then Deputy Prime Minister, was so far-fetched it was on a par with the idea that “the moonlanding was faked, that Barack Obama wasn’t American and that Elvis isn’t dead”. If it is a far-fetched idea, it is now also one that has the backing of the President of France. “We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army,” Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

Brussels has released data showing it expects Britain to have the weakest growth in the EU over the next two years, heaping pressure on Theresa May as she seeks their agreement for a Brexit deal. European Commission officials warned that the UK’s economy will slump even if Brexit is smooth, while a disordered withdrawal would pull the country’s forecasts down even more severely. The move to highlight the dire consequences of a messy Brexit come just as British negotiators try to convince their counterparts in Brussels that they are ready to strike both a withdrawal deal and come to an agreement on a future relationship.


Scotland’s highest court has refused the UK government leave to appeal its referral of a case to the European court of justice that seeks to establish whether the UK can unilaterally stop Brexit. This paves the way for the case to be heard in Luxembourg later this month. The case has been brought by a cross-party group of six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Jolyon Maugham QC, the director of the Good Law Project, who helped arrange the case after a crowdfunding appeal. They want the ECJ to offer a definitive ruling on whether the UK can halt the article 50 process without needing the approval of the 27 other EU member states.

Labour Party

Theresa May is “bluffing” about leaving the EU without a deal and would not take Britain over the cliff edge if her agreement with Brussels was rejected by MPs, Labour’s Brexit chief has said. Speaking to
The Independent on a visit to Brussels Keir Starmer said no deal was simply not a “viable” option for any British prime minister and that he simply did not believe Ms May would lead the UK into such a catastrophe. “I have never accepted that no deal is a viable option. The consequences of no deal would be catastrophic for jobs, the economy and for the border in Northern Ireland,” he said while visiting EU officials in the Belgian capital. “I honestly don’t believe any prime minister would seriously consider taking the decision to crash the UK out of the EU without an agreement.

A LEADING Corbyn supporter has sparked fury by mocking the poppy appeal – calling for the Royal British Legion to be binned. Aaron Bastani, a far-left commentator known as one of Jeremy Corbyn’s “attack dogs”, even claimed that commemorating dead soldiers is RACIST. Labour moderates including deputy leader Tom Watson hit back and accused him of deliberately trying to offend voters. Mr Bastani runs a website called Novara Media where he pumps out aggressive videos pushing Mr Corbyn’s message. He used the run-up to Armistice Day this week to criticise the poppy appeal and the Royal British Legion.

Senior Labour figures have called for a far-left journalist dubbed Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘attack dog’ to be thrown out of the party after he condemned the Poppy Appeal as ‘racist’. Aaron Bastani, whose site Novara Media has been key in galvanising youth support among Corbyn’s Labour, labelled the Royal British Legion appeal ‘grotesque’ and called for the charity to be shut down. His views were quickly denounced by leading Labour figures, including deputy leader Tom Watson, who called the comments ‘disrespectful’. The scathing attack against the Poppy Appeal, which raises millions for military veterans and their loved ones, comes on the centenary anniversary of the First World War which claimed the lives of more than one million Britons.

Labour is in talks with a former Conservative peer to lead an inquiry into a four-day week as it explores radical ways to win over voters. Lord Skidelsky, 79, an economist, has been approached by John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, to lead the inquiry. The peer sits on the crossbenches in the House of Lords and has also been a member of Labour and the Social Democratic Party. Supporters of a four-day week argue that advances in technology mean staff should be able to work less without a cut in pay as technology improves workplace efficiency. They say that workers should reap the benefits of greater automation and the increased use of artificial intelligence, not just bosses and shareholders.

Labour has defended inviting a notorious Islamist preacher to appear at a party event, claiming that collaboration with “faith groups” is an “essential part of the fight against the scourge of racism”. Shakeel Begg was listed as a speaker along with two of the party’s MPs, Janet Daby and Vicky Foxcroft at a Lewisham Labour Against Racism event Tuesday night, where activists discussed plans to “oppose Islamophobia and anti-Semitism”, “stop Tommy Robinson”, and to “challenge” government policies which make it harder for illegal immigrants to thrive in Britain. An imam at the Lewisham Islamic Centre, which was attended by the terrorist killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, Begg lost a libel case against the BBC in 2016 when a judge ruled he “clearly promotes and encourages violence in support of Islam and espouses a series of extremist Islamic positions”.


Face-to-face hospital appointments will be axed to save the environment, amid warnings that five per cent of all traffic is now caused by the NHS. Health officials said the current model of hospital care is “no longer fit for purpose” – warning of “potentially painful, uncomfortable or disruptive” changes ahead to bring the service into the 21st century. Prof Stephen Powis, medical director of the NHS said it was time to “grasp the nettle” and cut thousands of needless hospital appointments, instead offfering patients a slot via methods like Skype. He backed a report by the Royal College of Physicians which today suggests that face-to-face consultations should no longer be the default option.

High Streets

High street shops closed at a rate of around 14 a day in the first half of the year, while openings were down a third, a report suggests. Retailers are battling the worst trading conditions for five years, with the growth of internet shopping and business rates blamed for the challenging climate. The rise of “in-home leisure” – people preferring to spend free time and entertain at home rather than go out and about – is also suspected of taking a bite out of earnings. Italian restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s chain are said to have been particularly badly hit by the change, while retailers such as Toys R Us and Maplin have gone to the wall as more people shop online.

ITV News
High street shops closed at a rate of around 14 a day in the first half of the year, while openings were down a third, a report suggests. Retailers are battling the worst trading conditions for five years, with the growth of internet shopping and business rates blamed for the challenging climate. The rise of “in-home leisure” – people preferring to spend free time and entertain at home rather than go out and about – is also suspected of taking a bite out of earnings. Italian restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s chain are said to have been particularly badly hit by the change, while retailers such as Toys R Us and Maplin have gone to the wall as more people shop online.

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News review – Thursday 8 November 2018

News review – Thursday 8 November 2018


THERESA May was warned she cannot rely on backing from a potentially crucial group of MPs when she puts her Brexit deal to a vote in the House of Commons. The Democratic Unionist Party said it was “not afraid” to defeat a deal if it was not in Northern Ireland’s interests – even if that paved the way for a general election. The party’s chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson rejected suggestions his party would never do anything to hasten an election because it could let Jeremy Corbyn – who has a history of past closeness with Irish republicans – into power. Since Mrs May lost the Tories’ Commons majority in last year’s election, she has depended on a “confidence and supply” agreement that the DUP’s 10 MPs support her in key votes.

Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May that her Brexit deal must not mean that Britain remains in the single market “by the backdoor” by signing up to last-minute concessions to the EU. Ministers are increasingly concerned that Mrs May is about to announce that Britain will be forced to stick with EU rules on state aid, workers’ rights and the environment. Whitehall sources said that this was the price the EU was understood to be seeking to allow a customs agreement as part of the Northern Ireland backstop, the insurance policy to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Cabinet ministers are pushing Mrs May to clarify the position.

SENIOR Brexiteers have claimed Theresa May’s plan to farm out a decision on when Britain can leave the customs union is swelling a backbench rebellion against her. A joint arbitration mechanism on how to end the UK’s participation in the Irish backstop is being drawn up by No10 and EU officials in Brussels to break a talks deadlock. Ireland and the EU refused the PM’s initial demand that the UK be allowed to walk out of the arrangement to keep the border open after a set period of time if no trade deal is done. But Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the compromise mechanism – that is likely to involve a joint committee – “a betrayal of the Brexit vote”. And as word of it spreads among backbench Tory MPs, the boss of the hardline European Research Group said it was acting as a recruiting tool to bolster his 40-strong alliance of backbenchers who have vowed to vote down Mrs May’s softer Brexit deal.

Theresa May appears to be edging closer to a Brexit deal after she showed Cabinet ministers a draft of a withdrawal agreement she intends to put to Brussels. Mrs May hopes they will rubber-stamp the proposal at a special Cabinet meeting in the next few days, but her plans have been delayed by ministers demanding to see the full legal advice on which it is based. Michael Gove and other ministers have insisted they cannot make an informed decision without seeing the full legal advice drawn up by Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, which underpins the proposal. Ministers were invited to the Cabinet Office on Wednesday to read a copy of the proposed withdrawal agreement.

Theresa May has invited ministers in to start reading the text of a proposed Brexit agreement ahead of a crunch cabinet meeting. Members of her top team will have the chance to view the almost complete draft withdrawal agreement, but it will not include the crucial section on how Ms May will address the highly contentious issue of the Irish border. The prime minister is likely to focus on this final element at a critical cabinet get-together, which is likely to be held next week, as she pushes to get the Brexit deal locked in. The Independent reported on Tuesday that the cabinet is edging towards an agreed position on the withdrawal deal, with Downing Street confident that if the final issue holding it – the so-called Irish backstop – can be solved, then a deal including outline future trading relations could be sealed with the EU and voted on by MPs before the Christmas break.

BBC News
Cabinet ministers have been invited to read the UK’s draft deal with the EU although it’s not yet complete. Theresa May has said the withdrawal deal is 95% done – but there is no agreement yet on how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland. This is proving to be the most contentious area, with the UK prime minister under pressure from her own party as well as the EU. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. But as yet there is no withdrawal deal in place, and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said it was “clear that more work is needed”.

Pressure on the government to provide details of legal advice about a possible Brexit deal is growing, with the DUP, Labour and Lib Dems demanding it be published, following calls from cabinet ministers to see the full document. One option could be for Labour to seek to force publication via a Commons motion, as the party did with the government’s Brexit impact assessments. Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP’s chief whip at Westminster, said the party, which supports Theresa May in government, would like to see the full document published, allowing not only ministers but MPs and the public to assess it. The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said the advice must be released to MPs so they can scrutinise the document, while the Lib Dems called for the advice to be published in full.

Theresa May is under increasing pressure to share the legal advice behind her Brexit plans with her Cabinet and Democratic Unionist Party allies. The Cabinet is on stand-by for fresh talks to agree a Brexit deal amid claims by Tory Leavers that the Prime Minister has already reached an agreement. But Brexiteers, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, want to see the full legal advice setting out how any customs arrangement to avoid a hard Irish border could be ended to avoid it becoming a permanent settlement. This would severely curtail the UK’s ability to strike free trade deals with nations around the world – a key prize for Brexiteers.

LABOUR tonight allied with Tory rebels to force Theresa May to publish key Brexit legal advice as she pleaded with EU leaders for more time to cut a deal. Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said his party will use “parliamentary procedures” if the PM withholds the dossier on the Irish backstop, demanded by MPs across the Brexit divide. The fresh headache for the PM came as she rang German leader Angela Merkel and EU Council boss Donald Tusk today. Mrs May pleaded with them to keep the chance of a deal this month alive as she admitted she still needs more time to work up a compromise plan to allow the UK to one day escape the Irish backstop that keeps us in the customs union.

The convention that legal advice to the cabinet is never published is enforced by the ministerial code. That ban has not halted successive demands for greater political openness. Theresa May’s decision to prevent cabinet ministers from seeing the full text of the Brexit guidance provided by the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox QC, appears, however, to introduce an additional restriction on the circulation of information at the highest levels of government. Section 2.12 of the ministerial code explicitly declares that if law officers, such as the attorney general, provide legal advice then cabinet ministers should expect to see the entire text. According to reports the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has asked to see the full advice. It reads: “When advice from the law officers is included in correspondence between ministers, or in papers for the cabinet or ministerial committees, the conclusions may if necessary be summarised but, if this is done, the complete text of the advice should be attached.”

ITV News
A senior Cabinet minister has insisted it is “not normal” for the Government to publish full legal advice amid mounting pressure to release documents linked to Brexit. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the Government’s chief legal adviser, could answer questions in the Commons and added a decision to release legal advice would be one in “exceptional circumstances” by the Prime Minister. Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG), suggested the information should “certainly be made available” to Cabinet ministers to ensure they know what they are signing up to.


SINN Fein has accused Irish leader Leo Varadkar of a Brexit “cock-up” after he said he was open to considering a review clause to the backstop. The Republican party’s leader Mary Lou McDonald lashed out at the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) over plans for a backstop to resolve the Irish border deadlock. She claimed Mr Varadkar is shifting the Irish government’s position as Brexit negotiations enter their most crucial stage after comments made in the Republic’s Dáil government. Theresa May’s British government wants a backstop – which could see the UK remain under EU-customs rules until a final deal is thrashed out – to have a time limit. But the EU has demanded something legally binding and permanent, although a review clause to monitor how the backstop is progressing has been suggested.


DAVID CAMERON has broken his silence on Theresa May’s Brexit plans after a turbulent few months for the Prime Minister as she grapples with the most significant constitutional decision the country has made since the end of the Second World War. The former Tory leader was seen walking past No10 on Wednesday where he was stopped and questioned by reporters on his support of Theresa May. Speaking to Sky News, he insisted he “fully supports” the Prime Minister as he denied he was visiting Westminster to advise his successor. Mr Cameron has remained tight-lipped on Brexit and his successor’s handling of negotiations since he resigned and his offer of support for Mrs May was a rare – if brief- comment on her leadership.

Sky News
Former prime minister David Cameron has told Sky News he is in full support of Theresa May as she battles to get a Brexit deal. Spotted walking past 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, the ex-Tory leader denied he was in Westminster to advise his successor. He said: “I’m on my way to the Treasury. I fully support what she’s doing and want to let her get on with the job.” The former premier added: “I’m doing some work on my book. You’re able to go in and see that papers that you saw, so I’m doing some research on my book, that’s what I’m doing.”


Journalists will be prevented from investigating bullying claims against Keith Vaz after the Commons Speaker invoked ancient parliamentary rules. John Bercow declared that the same privilege that allows MPs and peers to speak freely in parliament should apply to documentation relating to official trips abroad made by the Labour MP. The exemption to the freedom of information laws that were used cannot be appealed against because it would require a judge to review the decisions of the Commons Speaker, which are themselves covered by privilege.

John Bercow has used his official powers to hush up information about the behaviour of disgraced Labour MP Keith Vaz. The Commons Speaker used parliamentary privilege to block a freedom of information request from the BBC
The corporation’s journalists were trying to find out information about Mr Vaz’s behaviour on official trips abroad, during which he was accused of breaking parliamentary rules and bullying staff. An initial request was refused, but the rules allow appeals to be referred to the Information Commissioner, and then to the courts. Mr Bercow used privilege to block the request under section 34(3) of the Freedom of Information Act. This allows the Speaker to issue a ‘certificate’ to prevent the request to avoid ‘infringement of the privileges of either House of Parliament’.


A leaked email from the European Parliament confirms what many of us have suspected for some time: there is a palpable level of collusion between the British political class and the EU to stop Brexit. The email in question was sent yesterday by an SNP MEP called Alyn Smith to all 751 MEPs who sit in the parliament. In it, Smyth pushed for “an extension of the Article 50 timetable”. Smith’s missive, signed by 13 other British MEPs, stated: “Despite our political differences, as U.K. MEPs we are united around one fact: if you wish to allow the U.K. to remain within our EU family, then all ways to do so will necessitate an extension of the Article 50 timetable.

SPAIN is deeply worried by the “negative consequences” Brexit could have on the nation’s fishing industry, one of the country’s minister conceded after revealing the government is taking “measures” to protect Spain’s fishermen. Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, spoke to senators in Madrid about Brexit and the consequences the UK withdrawal from the EU could have on his country. The lack of an agreement between Britain and the European Union just five months ahead of Brexit day is raising concerns in Spain about the knock-on effect it will have on the Spanish fishing industry.

Emmanuel Macron is “in panic” over next year’s EU Parliament elections, Marine Le Pen has said, after the President issued an urgent warning against voting for populists. The globalist French leader’s comments in an interview with Europe 1 Tuesday morning, when he likened anti-mass migration conservative movements in EU countries to 1930s national socialism, were “utterly corny”, according to Le Pen. Noting Macron’s remarks were “nothing new in French political discourse”, the Rassemblement National (RN, formerly Front National) leader said: “I have the impression that all my life I have been hearing Europe is peace, nation states are war.”

Knife crime

SAJID Javid opened the door to greater powers for the police – as he urged cops to do more to tackle the bloodletting on Britain’s streets. The Home Secretary insisted police “step up” their response to the knife crime attacks “to get the situation under control” in a phone call with Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. And he urged Britain’s top cop to “make full use” of stop and search powers they already have in their armoury. But he added he was determined to “make sure the police have the powers and tools they need” – and would do everything in his power to support them.

Sky News
The home secretary has told Sky News the police need more funding to help tackle knife crime as he hinted the chancellor would be stumping up the cash in the coming weeks. Speaking exclusively to Sky News in the wake of five fatal stabbings in the capital in just seven days, Sajid Javid said he was “deeply worried” about the spiralling violence and said he was in discussions with the chancellor to make sure the police had the financial resources they needed. “I think resources is part of the issue, making sure that police as they deal with more of these complex situations that they have the resource they need,” he told Sky News.


Tens of thousands of patients with type 1 diabetes are being denied a modern glucose monitoring device that Theresa May uses and has said is available on the NHS, a report says. A flash glucose monitoring device gauges blood sugar levels via a sensor attached to the skin. It can be paired with a smartphone app so users can track their blood glucose levels without having to draw blood. One model is offered on prescription, the Freestyle Libre, which Mrs May recently said was available on the NHS. However, an investigation by activists, reported in The BMJ, suggested that about one in four clinical commissioning groups in England was not recommending it even when patients met the criteria.


Theresa May is warned by senior Tories today to end the benefit freeze for seven million people or see her party suffer at the next election. The freeze, introduced by George Osborne in 2015, means a real-terms cut in income for millions of people and is due to continue until April 2020. Five former cabinet ministers, including Justine Greening and David Davis, are leading the call for benefits to be raised now, in line with inflation. The £1.4 billion move is also backed by Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and the former universities minister Lord Willetts.

As the plans for universal credit were being finalised a senior official at the Treasury picked up the phone to the Department for Work and Pensions. He was shouting so loudly that Iain Duncan Smith could hear him from the other side of the room in which the call was taken. “He was saying, ‘Your boss is mad, you’re all completely mad, we’re not going to have this’,” recalls the former work and pensions secretary. When the tirade ended the “quiet man” of politics was so furious that he turned to his official and said: “Next time he calls tell him that if he ever speaks to anybody in this department like that again, he’ll be eating his own balls for breakfast.”


An estimated 90,000 Britons will die by 2050 from infections that are treatable unless effective action is taken to deal with drug-resistant microbes, researchers say. A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also said that over the next 30 years superbugs could kill 1.1 million people in North America and Australia and 1.3 million in Europe. However, the authors of the report added that simply by implementing sensible policies on handwashing and by cutting down on the overprescription of antibiotics the figure could be reduced by a million, even without the development of new drugs.

LETHAL superbugs will kill more than 90,000 Brits over the next three decades, a report warns. Experts claim drug-resistant infections could spell the “death of modern medicine” – making routine operations and minor injuries deadly. But three in four superbug deaths could be prevented with basic measures such as better handwashing and doling out fewer antibiotics. Research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates drug-resistant infections could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia over the next 30 years. It includes 90,045 deaths in the UK by 2050.

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One country? No: Northern Ireland has always been treated differently

duncan morrowThe DUP’s struggle to prevent special status for Northern Ireland has shaped Brexit negotiations for months, writes Duncan Morrow (Ulster University). At the heart of the DUP’s position is a single, apparently obvious demand: ‘We joined as one country and we will leave as one country’. On the surface, the logic seems impeccable: different treatment within the UK as a result of Brexit is both novel and dangerous for British sovereignty in Northern Ireland. Except that it has no basis in precedent.

Since the foundation of Northern Ireland in 1920, British sovereignty has been characterised less by institutional or political uniformity than by endless adaptation to manage Northern Ireland’s unique challenges. While membership of the European Institutions was a decision taken for the whole UK, the administration and implementation of this, as so many other things, has repeatedly been qualified by special circumstances. Anyone wanting to be historically consistent would have to say that: ‘We joined as one state making special arrangements for Northern Ireland, and we shall leave doing much the same.’

At its most immediate, the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community in 1973 took place in the context of the UK’s most serious civil war – probably ever – which the governments of two countries were determined to contain within six counties. Certainly, nobody questioned Northern Ireland’s distinctiveness. Only months earlier, the Northern Ireland Parliament, a unique devolved institution in the UK, was abolished in an atmosphere of panic and crisis, and replaced by an improvised form of ‘Direct Rule’ from Westminster via the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act. Nothing in this ‘specialness’ formally breached the condition of sovereignty: but both the way it was imposed (in the face of vigorous opposition of Northern Ireland’s Unionist parliament) and the determination to keep Northern Ireland special in the aftermath were without any parallel in Great Britain.


British soldiers manning a barrier at Conway Street, Belfast, 1970. Photo: Kaspar C via a CC-BY-NC-A 2.0 licence

The 1972 Act made clear that the intention of the British government was to immediately negotiate new special arrangements for Northern Ireland. This they duly attempted at Sunningdale in the autumn of 1973 in an unusual partnership with the government of the Irish Republic. Although the Sunningdale system collapsed within months, the ‘special’ nature of Northern Ireland was built into every important aspect, including internal power-sharing, proportional representation and a reinvigorated commitment to a cross-border ‘Council of Ireland’. But in a deeper sense, almost nobody questioned the need to sustain the presumed pattern of ‘normal abnormality’ which was central to Northern Ireland.

It is true that the Unionists threatened armed insurrection against constitutional separation in the early 20th century, although that too arguably only underlined specific challenges. But when the UK government introduced the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, with its subdivision of Home Rule into Northern and Southern Ireland, Unionists accepted the revised offer, however reluctantly. Once established, Westminster retained direct authority over only trade, foreign affairs, defence, major taxation and customs and excise.

But internally, Northern Ireland never escaped the deep divisions of its birth and the unique security crisis which now drove its identity. Significantly, law and order was devolved. Faced with an endemic ’crisis of legitimacy’, the Unionist government introduced the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act in 1922, aka Homeland Security, enabling an armed Royal Ulster Constabulary to “take all such steps and issue all such orders as may be necessary for preserving the peace and maintaining order” including censorship, curfew and internment without trial. Initially intended as a one-year emergency measure, the Act, and the polarisation into unionist and nationalist identity politics that it now regulated, became the defining feature of Northern Ireland until the 1970s.

The question was not ‘if’ Northern Ireland was different, but ‘what to do about it?’ During the second world war, Northern Ireland’s divisions forced the British government to conclude that introducing conscription was “more trouble than it was worth”, although the threat to the future of the UK was clearly existential. Democratic basics like voting regulations were allowed to diverge. Proportional representation introduced with devolution was abolished in 1929 and reintroduced in 1973 for everything – except Westminster. Political inheritances which distorted the franchise, such as the business and University votes in Stormont elections were retained in Northern Ireland until 1968. Even more contentiously, voting in local government elections was based on the ‘ratepayer franchise’ where only owners and renting tenants of a house and their spouses were eligible, fuelling the demand for civil rights reform in the 1960s.

Despite Direct Rule, the crisis of the 1970s and 1980s only further isolated Northern Ireland within the UK. The Prevention of Terrorism Act – introduced in the wake of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 and revised and annually renewed until 2000 – specifically proscribed Northern Irish terrorist groups, enabled special powers of search and arrest in Northern Ireland and introduced exclusion orders restricting travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland on security grounds. Even more radically, the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 established special meetings and special measures and introduced a unique “Intergovernmental conference” including a cross-border Secretariat, under which the UK government accepted that the Irish government would proactively “put forward views and proposals on matters relating to Northern Ireland.”

In 1994, the EU introduced the first of four ‘PEACE’ programmes which channelled billions of euros into inter-community, inter-cultural and cross-border reconstruction and reconciliation. In 1998, and the Good Friday Agreement, the unique nature of Northern Ireland became a fundamental building block of political stability. Not only was the Agreement an international peace treaty, many of whose core provisions only applied in Northern Ireland but, almost unnoticed, it made significant changes to the UK constitution. In this one part of the UK, globally unique agreements of mutual recognition for both British and Irish citizenship were to apply.

Even more radically, the UK set aside or qualified parliamentary sovereignty in Ireland by declaring that it was “for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South” to determine their constitutional future and specifically acknowledged the “Irish government’s special interest in Northern Ireland.” Above all, the special nature of Ireland’s relationship to Northern Ireland within the UK was acknowledged in word, in culture and in North-South institutions ‘joined at the hip’ with the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Under these arrangements, Northern Ireland’s particularity was a constant. The DUP above all championed the demand for independent corporation tax powers and used the unique veto provisions of the Agreement to assert the specific the right for Northern Ireland to retain a distinctive conservative social policy. The Assembly collapsed twice on the question of the extension of welfare reform – specifically the bedroom tax- to Northern Ireland. No other part of the UK required Prime Ministers to fly in to mediate, armed its police service or collapsed over every emergent cultural dispute.

But little to date has underlined the distinctiveness of Northern Ireland than its treatment since the Brexit referendum. As Brexit has gradually dissolved the international basis of the Agreement, so the combination of toxic sectarianism and the exposure of systemic malfunction in the post-St Andrews devolution arrangements has destroyed the viability of devolution. The consequence has been the absence of any formal government in Northern Ireland for almost 650 days. But instead of action, the British government has exercised sovereignty by inactivity on a truly historic, and undoubtedly ‘special’, scale. Like a child suspended from school but never expelled, Northern Ireland has in effect been left to ‘roam the streets’, presumably in the hope that something in this state of affairs would motivate local elected representatives to take responsibility.

This state of affairs – utterly impossible to imagine elsewhere in the United Kingdom – has continued almost without comment. Meanwhile, it has resulted in the absence of any consensus voice on Northern Ireland affairs and the domination by the DUP of the government’s majority in Westminster.

Special needs require special measures, and nothing in Northern Ireland’s history suggests differently. Worse, pretending that the circumstances of Northern Ireland do not require creativity and innovation flies in the face of experience. Fairly or not, the real question confronting the United Kingdom in Brexit is not whether Northern Ireland can be treated as the same as Great Britain, but whether Great Britain wants to be treated the same as Northern Ireland? Will only Northern Ireland stay in the Customs Union, or will the whole country? Trying to impose internal British consistency may look logical, and for ideological reasons the attempt may be made. But it flies in the face of historical precedent – and it is fraught with old dangers which special treatment has always sought to manage.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Brexit blog, nor the LSE.

Duncan Morrow is a Professor in Politics at Ulster University and has published widely in the fields of conflict resolution, Northern Ireland politics and the relationship between religion and politics.

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