Sunday papers – 16 September 2018

Sunday papers – 16 September 2018

Brexit

Who will ‘blink first’ in the negotiations? The Express claims Raab says he won’t.

BREXIT Minister Dominic Raab’s claims that he and Michel Barnier are “closing in” on a deal setting out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and future relationship with the bloc have raised eyebrows in Brussels – with EU sources warning: “We won’t blink first.”
The remarks come after Mr Raab’s revelation that he had had an “extended” phone call on Friday with EU chief negotiator Mr Barnier to review progress in the Brexit talks.
But his suggestion that an agreement could be in the pipeline offering a workable “backstop” solution to prevent the need for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic prompted scepticism.

Westmonster criticises the Chancellor.

It doesn’t fill you with much faith when one of the government’s chief figures, Chancellor Philip Hammond, is apparently still floating the idea of delaying Brexit altogether.
The Sun report that his suggestion came during a Cabinet discussion on leaving the European Union without a deal.
Hammond has just pushed for Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s tenure to be extended – and he immediately got back on Project Fear duty, warning of a crash in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

No deal

The Telegraph reports a claim by the Home Secretary that Britain will thrive if no deal is reached.

Britain should respond to a no-deal Brexit with tax cuts, increased spending on infrastructure and policies that will draw “global talent” to the country, Sajid Javid has suggested.
The Home Secretary told a specially convened Cabinet meeting last week that the Government should introduce new “tax incentives”, thought to include ­targeted cuts, to help the economy withstand the effects of leaving the EU without an agreement.
The intervention, seen as a rebuke of Philip Hammond’s insistence the Treasury could not afford tax cuts, will be welcomed by senior Brexiteers who have urged the Chancellor to prepare radical reforms of the economy to take advantage of the “opportunities” of Brexit.

EU

The PM will go to a meeting with EU bosses next week, reports the Independent.

One running joke of the Brexit talks has been that they are like climbing a mountain. Negotiators have tried to publicly one-up each other with jaunty gifts of walking poles and mountaineering guides, adding a bit of colour to an otherwise dry saga.
It is in that spirit that Theresa May will travel to Salzburg in the Austrian Alps next week to meet EU leaders in search of a breakthrough. In Westminster, the meeting has been much hyped. But she may leave on Thursday feeling like she has hit another false summit.
The PM will arrive with the fundamental principles of her Chequers plan having already been put to the sword by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Davidson

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has made her position clear in the Times.

Ruth Davidson has ruled out ever running for the Tory leadership, revealing that she values her mental health too highly to seek the role of prime minister.
In an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, the head of the Scottish Conservatives today reveals that her teenage years were plagued by self-harm, suicidal thoughts and bouts of depression that resembled a “smothering black blanket over my head”.
During the interview, she pulled up her sleeve to reveal her arms were crisscrossed with a lattice of self-harm scars.

The Mail has picked up the story.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson stunned the Tory faithful last night by ruling out ever running for the party leadership.
Ms Davidson revealed that she suffered from suicidal thoughts as a teenager, and that she would not risk her mental health by running for Prime Minister.
Asked if she had her eye on No 10, the 39-year-old replied: ‘No. I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it. I will not be a candidate.’

Sky News reports that she ‘values her mental health’.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said she never wants to be prime minister because she values her “mental health too much”.
In an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine,  she revealed her struggles with self-harm, suicidal thoughts and depression as a teenager.
The MSP, who is expecting her first child, also ruled out a peerage or becoming an MP at Westminster.
She said the idea of leaving her child in Edinburgh was “actually offensive”.
Ms Davidson announced she and her partner Jen Wilson were expecting a baby in April, after undergoing IVF treatment.

Second referendum

It seems the Mayor of London thinks he speaks for the whole country, says the Sun.

SADIQ Khan has dramatically called for another EU referendum because he believes the people must be given the chance to reject Brexit.
The Mayor of London, who is an avowed remainer, argues Britain is facing either a bad deal or “no deal”, which he says will hit jobs and living standards.
Referring to the worst case scenerios, Mr Khan said: “They are both incredibly risky and I don’t believe Theresa May has the mandate to gamble so flagrantly with the British economy and people’s livelihoods.”

Sky News says he calls for a ‘fresh say’.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for another Brexit vote, saying the British public should get a “fresh say on our future”.
Mr Khan said the referendum should offer voters the choice of staying in the EU against any deal the government manages to strike – or against a “no-deal” Brexit if an agreement cannot not reached.
“I’ve become increasingly alarmed as the chaotic approach to the negotiations has become mired in confusion and deadlock, leading us down a path that could be hugely damaging – not only to London, but the whole country,” said Mr Khan.

Ireland

Ireland’s top politicians are in thrall to the EU, says the Express.

IRELAND’s “slavish” devotion to the European Union is effectively blinding it to the inherent risks of remaining tethered to Brussels, as well as the importance of restoring good relations with Britain after Brexit, a former diplomat has warned.
Dr Ray Bassett, writing for London-based think tank Politea, warned Dublin the entire future of the bloc was “in doubt” and urged leaders to put his country’s interests first.
Concerns about the future of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are arguably the biggest headache for Brexit negotiators, with both sides keen to avoid the reimposition of a hard border which would be seen as a threat to 1999’s landmark Good Friday Agreement.

And it seems that the comments of an Irish MEP have upset Juncker, reports the Express.

JEAN-Claude Juncker has ruffled the feathers of an Irish MEP who warned the president of the European Commission against proposed changes to EU voting rules on tax due to catastrophic effect it would have on the nation.
Brian Hayes demanded comments made by Mr Juncker be “blocked” after he suggested scrapping unanimous voting on EU tax matters to majority voting, adding the Republic of Ireland would end up being “sidelined” by bigger member states.

Conservative Party

All this talk about the PM being replaced has irritated her, reports the Express.

THERESA May has condemned rival Boris Johnson for being “inappropriate” in a scathing rant where she warned Tory rebels accused of plotting to oust her to “focus on Brexit” instead.
The Prime Minister admitted she gets “irritated” by the debate over her leadership as she insisted she was focused on the country’s future rather than her own.
Theresa May was also keen to defend herself against Brexiteer and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who recently described her Brexit  strategy as putting the UK in a “suicide vest”.

And she criticised Boris in the Independent.

Theresa May has admitted she gets “irritated” over the ongoing debate regarding her leadership of the Conservative Party, as she lashed out at Boris Johnson’s “completely inappropriate” suicide vest remarks.
The intervention from the prime minister comes after it was reported dozens of Tory MPs openly discussed how to topple Ms May, with some present at a meeting in Westminster suggesting “she is a disaster” and “this can’t go on”.
Ms May’s leadership of the Tories has been increasingly precarious since the resignation of Boris Johnson from cabinet over her Chequers blueprint for Brexit, but it has been fragile ever since the 2017 snap election at which she gambled away the party’s majority. 

The interview with the BBC was to mark just six months until we leave the EU, says Sky News.

Theresa May has said she gets “irritated” by the ongoing speculation over her position as prime minister.
In an interview to mark the six-month countdown to Brexit, Mrs May told the BBC the debate should be about the country’s future rather than her own.
The prime minister’s comments came days after Conservative MPs opposed to her Brexit plan met to discuss how and when they could force her to stand down.
The PM also criticised ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

But the Express reports an offer to Mrs May to ‘call off their mutiny’ if she tells them when she’s going to quit.

DISSIDENT MPs have revealed they are willing to call off their mutiny against the Prime Minister if she sets out her intentions to step down before the next General Election.
The MPs say they will cancel their coup as soon as Mrs May clarifies her Number 10 exit plan.
They insist they will not rebel against the Prime Minister if she agrees to indicate that she will step aside and leave Number 10 before the next election.
One Tory MP told The Sun: “She needs to chuck Chequers first and then throw us a bone about her own future.

Budget

The Chancellor is at odds with his civil servants … again … says the Mail.

Philip Hammond is battling with civil servants to hold the Autumn Budget as early as possible – because he fears that Brexiteers could use it as an opportunity to bring down the Government in protest at Theresa May’s Chequers plan.
Senior Government sources say that the Chancellor wants to hold the Budget in early October, to allow the resulting legislation to clear the Commons before a crunch Brussels summit on Brexit at the end of that month.
But officials are trying to force him into a late November slot –when debate will be raging in the party over the nature of the deal Mrs May has signed up to.

Labour Party

Meanwhile, across the House, the Labour Party is not united either, reports the Times.

Allies of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, have been secretly sounding out senior Labour figures about whether to ditch Jeremy Corbyn as the party’s leader.
According to sources who have spoken to The Sunday Times, people close to McDonnell have been floating the idea with supportive members of the shadow cabinet and senior trade union figures.

The Mail says the Co-operative Party may break away.

The prospect of an anti-Corbyn split in the Labour Party mounted last night after moderate MPs admitted plotting to form a ‘breakaway’ faction at Westminster.
Members of the 37-strong Co-Operative Party, who jointly sit as Labour MPs, privately drew up plans to win the right to sponsor their own Commons debates separately from Labour.
The Mail on Sunday understands they secretly consulted Commons clerks to see if Speaker John Bercow would grant them a new special status at Westminster.
The move was quietly shelved after the group – which includes arch-Corbyn critics such as Chris Leslie as well as Jewish MP Luciana Berger, who has slammed Mr Corbyn for inaction over anti-Semitism – were told they would have to form a whole new party to qualify for the new position.

And the Morning Star reports how the shadow chancellor plans to reform the City of London.

SHADOW chancellor John McDonnell has outlined Labour’s plans to reform the City today that include a financial transactions tax (FTT) expected to raise around £5 billion a year for public services.
His speech outside the Royal Exchange marked exactly 10 years since Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and triggered the biggest global financial mess since the Great Depression.
A rally in support of the “Robin Hood tax” is organised by groups including Unite, the Robin Hood Tax campaign, Christian Aid, War on Want, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Tax Justice Network.

The anti-semitic row rumbles on in the party, says the Mail.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing calls to block the selection of an ‘anti-Semitic’ candidate as Labour’s hopeful to unseat Boris Johnson.
The Labour leader was urged to intervene to prevent local party members picking Ali Milani for the coveted job of fighting Mr Johnson in his Uxbridge seat.
The row erupted after Mr Milani won through to the shortlist for the Labour nomination despite a record of anti-Semitic remarks made when he was a teenager.
Mr Milani, a vice-president of the National Union of Students, has previously sparked outrage by saying ‘Israel has no right to exist’.

New party

There is still talk of a new centrist party. A poll in the Independent claims it’s viable.

A majority of Britons would now consider voting for a new centre-ground political movement amid soaring dismay at the state of the main parties, an exclusive poll has revealed.
The exclusive research for 
The Independent found the number of those ready to back a new party has leapt in just four months after a summer in which Labour’s antisemitism crisis raged and the Tories tore themselves apart over Brexit.
In a particularly worrying development for Jeremy Corbyn, the BMG Research survey showed that a third of voters – including a third of those who backed him at the 2017 election – would support Labour splitting up as a party.  

The Guardian also reports the poll.

About two in five voters would be highly likely to vote for a new party in the political centre ground at a future election, a new poll for the Observer has revealed.
Just over a third (35%) also say they felt unrepresented by the existing main parties on offer, according to the latest Opinium poll.
It suggests there is appetite for a new party, with both Labour and the Tories suffering from long-running internal strife. While there is regular talk of new parties and splits, many possible supporters are put off by the difficulties of making a new project work under Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system.

NHS

The service is in trouble – nothing new there. The Guardian reports:

Thousands of nurses, therapists and psychiatrists are quitting NHS mental health services, raising serious doubts about ministerial pledges to dramatically expand the workforce.
Two thousand mental health staff a month are leaving their posts in the NHS in England, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The news comes as services are already seriously understaffed and struggling to cope with a surge in patients seeking help for anxiety, depression and other disorders.

Prisons

It seems Muslims have taken over religious classes, says the Mail.

Islamic militants hijacked a prison chaplain’s Bible classes and physically assaulted and abused him because of his Christian faith.
Pastor Paul Song today describes how he was left in a state of near- constant fear after Muslim gangs, acting with impunity, came to dominate Brixton Prison in South London. He tells The Mail on Sunday of one chilling incident when a small group stormed his gathering in the prison chapel and began loudly praising the jihadis who hacked soldier Lee Rigby to death in the street.
‘It was obscene,’ he said.

The Sun has picked up the story.

ISLAMIC militants have reportedly taken over a prison chaplain’s Bible classes and assaulted and abused him because of his Christian faith.
Pastor Paul Song today said he was constantly in fear of Muslim gangs who have come to dominate Brixton Prison in London.
During one incident a small group burst into his gathering in the prison chapel and began praising the jihadis Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who hacked soldier Lee Rigby to death, reports Mail On Sunday.
He told the newspaper: “It was obscene. My colleagues couldn’t take any more.
“At times inmates openly spoke in the chapel in support of Islamic State and suicide bombers.

Autism

A warning has been issued that girls can be autistic too, says the Mail.

Hundreds of thousands of girls with autism are going diagnosed as it’s viewed as ‘a male condition’ a leading neuroscientist has said.
Prof Francesca Happé, director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London, said the failure to correctly diagnose women was affecting their mental health and there could be up to 200,000 girls and women in the UK with autism that have remain undiagnosed.
Until recently, Asperger’s Syndrome was thought to be more prevalent in men, without around one woman diagnosed for every ten men.
However, growing evidence suggests that ratio is more like three to one.

Novichok

The Salisbury poisoning is still in the news, says the Telegraph.

The Russian secret services are in crisis over the fallout from the “botched” chemical weapons attack in Salisbury, British intelligence officers believe.
The GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, is being accused by rival agencies of “crossing the line” over the way the attempted killing of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was carried out, senior Whitehall sources claimed last night.
British officials told 
The Telegraph they believe the two suspects accused by Scotland Yard of the attack were wheeled out on Russian state-sponsored television as punishment for leaving a trail of evidence during the operation to target Col Skripal.

And the Mail reports the good time the Russians had before the attack.

The Kremlin assassins who attempted to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal with the Novichok nerve agent allegedly enjoyed a drug-fuelled night with a prostitute just hours before the Salisbury attack.
Russian agents Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov – who gave an astonishing interview last week claiming to be sightseers – reportedly kept guests awake at their £75-a-night hotel.
Witnesses say cannabis wafted from their twin room in the two-star City Stay Hotel in Bow, East London, as they partied through the night. 

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