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.

GE

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.

Columnists

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.

Ireland

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.

EU

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.”

Fisheries

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.

Police

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.

NHS

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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