News review – Friday 8 December 2018

News review – Friday 8 December 2018

Conservative Party

Sun
THERESA MAY yesterday dropped a hint she could be off if she loses her Brexit vote – saying a Plan B wasn’t a “question for me”. Asked by the BBC if she had an alternative Brexit plan given the scale of opposition she said: “That question is not for me. That question is for those why say that they want to oppose this deal.” The comments reflect a feeling in Downing Street that critics lining up to pan the deal haven’t brought forward a plan of their own. But just two weeks ago the PM refused to rule out three times whether she’d resign if she loses the December 11 vote. The DUP piled on the pressure on Wednesday by warning they’d back a No Confidence vote in the PM if her vote DID go through.

Express
THERESA May has rejected pleas from jittery senior Tories for a delay in the crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal. 
A string of ministers and backbenchers pressed the Prime Minister to postpone the so-called “meaningful vote” in Parliament scheduled for next Tuesday on the agreement with Brussels in the face of a mass rebellion. But Mrs May and her allies insisted the division will go ahead next week and vowed to continue their attempt to win over dozens of rebel Tory MPs. A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The vote is happening on Tuesday.” 

Telegraph (by Fraser Nelson)
What happens if Theresa May loses the vote next week? “That question is not for me,” she said yesterday, and a great many people in her party agree. If she suffers a landslide defeat on a deal in which she has vested what remains of her authority, it ought to be the end for her. What happens next should be a question for her successor. And given that we could be just days away from a leadership bid, the Tories have already started to plot. The Prime Minister is expected to suffer the largest defeat in political history

Brexit

Westmonster
The most pro-Remain, pro-EU Ministers in government are now doing absolutely everything they can to stop a No Deal Brexit. Proper independence and full autonomy for the UK isn’t popular among those who want to keep the country sucked into the EU’s orbit indefinitely. This morning we had Business Secretary Greg Clark describe No Deal as “crazy”. This Project Fear Remain mentality is why Brussels have run roughshod in the negotiations. 

Westmonster
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis sought to put the record straight on a World Trade, No Deal Brexit today in Parliament. Outlining his opposition to Theresa May’s deal, he laid out how there would be a “whole spectrum” of possible outcomes on No Deal depending on individual arrangements made on aviation, data and other areas. When it comes to the ludicrous Project Fear doom-mongering, Davis pointed out that: “There has been enormous amounts of black propaganda about this proposal about World Trade Organisation outcome.” Addressing scare stories about drugs running out, the Brexiteer revealed how the department he previously headed up had already “talked to pharmaceutical companies, we talked to the NHS, did their checks”. “No drugs will dry up. Full stop.”

Huffington Post
Theresa May is facing a fresh backlash from Tory MPs after her chief whip declared “there is no plan” for what happens next if her Brexit deal is rejected by the Commons. Backbenchers reacted with a mixture of ridicule and dismay as No.10 rejected calls to postpone the crunch vote due next Tuesday and insisted there was no alternative to the controversial EU proposals. Just five days before the most important parliamentary showdown in decades, Chief Whip Julian Smith claimed that there was no ‘Plan B’ prepared for the aftermath of a heavy defeat by MPs.

Mirror
Theresa May has confirmed that she is trying to win round wavering MPs by promising them a veto on the Irish backstop. The Prime Minister insisted she has no plans to quit despite facing a crushing defeat on her Brexit deal next week. The backstop keeps Northern Ireland in a customs union to avoid a hard border on the 310-mile frontier with EU member Ireland. Mrs May said that, while there is “no unilateral right” to pull out of the backstop, the UK would have a choice over whether or not to enter into it. 

Express
PRIME Minister Theresa May has been given a lifeline over her controversial withdrawal agreement after a group of Tory backbenchers tabled an amendment that would give MPs control over the Irish backstop. 
The alteration would mean Parliament would have to approve a decision to trigger the Northern Ireland backstop arrangement or extend the transition period beyond December 2020.  

BBC News
A government bid to find a compromise to win over rebels before the Commons Brexit vote has run into criticism. A Tory backbench amendment – understood to have No 10’s backing – offers MPs more of a say over the contentious issue of the Northern Ireland backstop. DUP leader Arlene Foster dismissed it as “legislative tinkering” while Tory Brexiteers said it was “desperate”. Many MPs have expressed concerns about the backstop, aimed at preventing a “hard border” on the island of Ireland.

ITV News
Theresa May faces an appalling choice on Thursday night – press ahead with the vote on her Brexit plan on Tuesday, and risk a massive, crushing defeat, or postpone the vote and return to Brussels on Thursday, to beg EU leaders to amend the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU. The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, has minutes ago poured buckets of cold water on Downing Street’s preferred third way.

Independent
Downing Street has dismissed calls to delay the critical vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plans following a series of meetings with cabinet members and senior Tories. Key ministers were called in to No 10 for discussions during which pushing back next Tuesday’s vote was raised, but the prime minister’s officials insisted they would plough on despite the expected defeat. 

Mail
Theresa May again vowed to press on with her Brexit plan today, insisting it is the only option on the table that delivers on the result of the EU referendum.  But the PM looks to be on track for a catastrophic defeat, with more than a hundred Tory MPs, the DUP, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems all lined up against her. 
Minds at Westminster have increasingly been turning to where relations with the EU could end up if Mrs May’s deal falls. 

Times
The leader of the Tory back benches last night told Theresa May to go back to Brussels for further talks rather than see her Brexit deal defeated heavily next week. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, who relays backbench opinion to Downing Street, broke cover to appeal for her to consider a delay to the vote on Tuesday. Downing Street remains adamant that Mrs May is pressing ahead with the vote as scheduled despite growing cabinet unease. The prime minister yesterday called a group of supportive senior ministers to a meeting in No 10.

Telegraph
The size of the task facing Theresa May over her Brexit vote became clear last night as footage emerged of the chief whip trying and failing to get a Conservative MP to back her deal.  Julian Smith said getting MP support before Tuesday is an “uphill challenge”. In an unusual move, he agreed to allow a camera crew to film his meetings over the past three weeks. 

Times
Any attempt to reverse Brexit or give up control of immigration will lead to social unrest, Jeremy Hunt has said, warning that people would lose faith in democracy if the referendum result were overturned. The foreign secretary said Theresa May’s “hawkish” approach to curbing migration meant she was more in tune with voters than her four predecessors as prime minister, insisting that Britain could not accept freedom of movement as the price of a deal with the EU. 

Labour Party

Times
A former civil servant in the Department for Exiting the EU who advises Jeremy Corbyn is telling Labour MPs that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit is a “political hoax”. Mike Hatchett, who was a middle-ranking official when he left Whitehall in May, is Labour’s policy chief. He is said to have convinced Mr Corbyn that there is no prospect that a Conservative government will allow the UK to leave the EU without a deal. 

Morning Star
LEFTWINGERS across the country were celebrating today as Corbyn supporter Mark Drakeford won the race for the new leader of the Welsh Labour party and is set to become the next First Minister of Wales. His election means that England, Scotland and Wales now all have socialist Labour leaders. The Finance Secretary beat Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan in the leadership election that was held to appoint a successor to Carwyn Jones.

EU

Independent
Any attempt by Theresa May to give her MPs a veto on the controversial Brexit backstop for Northern Ireland would amount to “ripping up the withdrawal agreement”, EU officials have warned. Brussels sources told The Independent that the move, designed to convince wavering Tory rebels to vote for the treaty next week, would start a new row with the bloc and potentially jeopardise the whole deal. 

Times
European leaders are preparing to give Theresa May a chance at Thursday’s EU summit to request further concessions from Brussels to get the withdrawal agreement through parliament. A slot has been set aside for her to address the 27 member states two days after the Commons vote. 

Independent
The European Court of Justice will formally rule on whether Britain can unilaterally cancel Brexit ahead of the MPs vote on Theresa May’s deal next week. The EU’s top court confirmed it will deliver its judgment at 8am UK time on Monday – with the landmark Commons vote scheduled for the next day. Campaigners had asked the ECJ to rule on whether Article 50, which legally started the Brexit process, can be revoked by the country that triggered it. The text of the treaty clause is unclear and subject to dispute. 

Sun
EURO judges will decide whether Britain can cancel Brexit by itself just a DAY before MPs vote on Theresa May’s deal. In a staggering fast-track move, Brussels’ top court will rule if the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU at a hearing on Monday. They have pushed the case through the court through in just two months – EIGHT TIMES shorter than the average of 16. An official admitted it could be the fastest ever. One of the court’s top law officers last week delivered a legal opinion advising judges to state that Brexit can be cancelled purely by the UK

Paris

Breitbart
Paris’s Eiffel Tower and a number of other monuments will be closed on Saturday due to the Yellow Vest protests. The Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE) said in a statement, “The demonstrations announced Saturday, December 8, in Paris do not allow us to welcome visitors in safe conditions. SETE has made the decision to close the Eiffel Tower,” reports Europe 1. Police have ordered several other prominent tourist attractions to be closed over a fear of violence, including the Grand Palais museum.

Mail
The Eiffel Tower will be closed on Saturday due to planned protests in the French capital, the site’s operator said. ‘The demonstrations in Paris do not allow us to welcome visitors in safe conditions,’ SETE said in a statement. About a dozen museums, including the Grand Palais, cultural sites such as the Opera and shops in central Paris have also been ordered by police to close over fears of violence. 

Breitbart
With France brought to its knees by the country’s worst unrest in half a century, as citizens protested Emmanuel Macron, there will be increasing concern amongst the globalist establishment over the future of the French president they hailed as the saviour of Europe. Reports have showed a country in chaos over the past three weeks, with hundreds of people wounded and a number killed in anti-government protests which, despite disruption and violence, enjoy wide support from a large majority of the population.  

O2

Times
Tens of millions of Britons were affected when the O2 data network crashed yesterday, leaving them unable to use the internet on their phones or in some cases to make calls. The operator, which also provides data services for customers of Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile, Giff Gaff and Lycamobile and serves 32 million Britons, said that the disruption — which began at 5am and continued into last night — was the result of a software glitch at one of its suppliers, the Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson. 

ITV News
Mobile network O2 says its services have been restored after a technical fault left millions of customers unable to get online. The company said it would be closely monitoring data services over the coming days and promised to carry out a review to understand what went wrong. British customers reported not being able to use mobile data to access the internet and the operator’s network on Thursday after disruption began at about 5am. On Thursday evening, O2 said 3G data service had started returning and was expected to be fully restored by 9.30pm, while the company reported at 3.30am on Friday that the 4G network had been restored. 

Sun
WHEN your network goes down, it’s your mobile provider’s responsibility to fix the problem – and that means O2 has a lot of work to do after it went down today. If you feel the outage caused you significant problems or you waited a long time for the repairs to take place, it’s worth complaining and asking for a refund on your bill or compensation. To complain, you need to follow your provider’s formal complaints procedure. Details should be available on its website or from its customer services. 

Neo-nazis

Times
Police investigating a neo-Nazi group in Britain have arrested three men on suspicion of terrorism offences. A 17-year-old youth from London, a 21-year-old man from Bath and an 18-year-old man from Portsmouth were held yesterday as part of an investigation into right-wing extremism. 

NHS

Times
Five million patients a month are waiting more than three weeks for a GP appointment, according to official figures that reveal the scale of the pressure on surgeries. A further million people are waiting four weeks between booking an appointment and seeing the doctor, according to data released by the NHS for the first time. The figures will pile further pressure on health chiefs to deal with the chronic shortage of GPs. 

Guardian
The head of the NHS and the government are at loggerheads over how much the health service can be improved for the £20.5bn extra Theresa May has pledged to give it, the Guardian can reveal. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has been having major disagreements behind the scenes in recent weeks with Downing Street, the Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care about how much the forthcoming NHS long-term plan can promise to boost care. “Tension” and “difficulties” have emerged during detailed horsetrading between the two sides amid sharp differences of opinion over the extent of the document’s ambitions.

Mail
More than one million GP appointments are missed each month because patients don’t bother to turn up,  NHS figures have revealed. Shock data released today has shown patients didn’t attend nearly six million consultations in the first five months of 2018. And one in 10 patients are kept waiting for three weeks or more before they can see their doctor. In October, 2.8million patients didn’t see a doctor until 21 days after first trying to make an appointment, and half of those people waited more than a month.  

Times
Caesareans and other routine operations will be done by nurses as the rise of robots means common procedures do not need a hands-on surgeon, according to an expert review. Nanorobots will fix the body from the inside, augmented reality headsets will allow surgeons to “see through” the body and 3-D printed organs will offer a ready supply of spare parts, a commission on surgery over the next 20 years predicts.  Hundreds of thousands of patients with conditions such as cancer could also be spared surgery altogether.

Mail
Hospitals with well-run volunteer schemes are more likely to be given a top rating by inspectors, the health watchdog has said. Professor Ted Baker, of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said the presence of trained helpers usually indicates that patients are receiving excellent care. He said volunteering programmes at some hospitals have been so successful they have even helped to boost their rankings to ‘outstanding’. 

Rail travel

Times
Travellers are suffering the worst rail delays in almost two decades with a fifth of all trains cancelled or severely delayed in the first nine months of this year. Millions of commuters endured significant disruptions as networks across the country struggled with chaotic timetabling changes over the summer. One in seven trains ran late to some degree. 

Burglary

Telegraph
Half of burglaries in Britain now take place while householders are inside their homes, as thieves become emboldened by police inaction. Figures show 58 per cent of burglaries happen at occupied properties, as campaigners said criminals no longer fear being caught in the act. The findings come after  Maureen Whale, 77, collapsed and later died as she phoned 999 to report a break-in at her home on Tuesday night. Police were accused of ignoring repeated warnings about gangs operating in the neighbourhood of Barnet, north London. 

AI

Telegraph
DeepMind’s artificial intelligence programme AlphaZero is now showing signs of human-like intuition and creativity, in what developers have hailed as ‘turning point’ in  history.  The computer system amazed the world last year when it mastered the game of chess from scratch within just four hours, despite not being programmed how to win. But now, after a year of testing and analysis by chess grandmasters, the machine has developed a new style of play unlike anything ever seen before, suggesting the programme is now improvising like a human.

House building

Mail
Hundreds of new-build homes are in danger of crumbling after they were built with sub-standard concrete, a damning investigation has found. Weak mortar that does not meet the recommended industry standards has been used on at least 13 estates in the UK, leaving the homes at risk of disintegrating.   The shocking revelation comes amid a housing crisis in the UK, with developers accused of cutting corners to finish homes in a bid to meet government targets. 

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