International trade secretary Dr Liam Fox has announced agreements that will boost trade if we leave the EU under WTO rules, reports the Express.
THE UK’s Trade Secretary boosted no deal Brexit plans by announcing a new trade agreement with the two nations as the Government fights to replicate around 40 current EU trade deals before Brexit day.
The new agreement means the UK will be able to trade freely with the two nations if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Dr Liam Fox tweeted on Monday evening: “BREAKING: Our negotiators have just initialled a trade agreement with Iceland & Norway for the European Economic Area. “This is the 2nd biggest agreement we’re rolling over and trade with EEA is worth nearly £30bn.
“This is on top of the agreement we’ve signed with Liechtenstein.”
The announcement follows Dr Fox issuing a thinly veiled warning to MPs who are threatening to vote down Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.
Discussing a third meaningful vote with Sky News’ Sophie Ridge on Sunday, the trade secretary said: “If we get a deal we will actually get all those deals rolled over. It will all happen if the Prime Minister’s deal is accepted.
“That’s one of the great bonuses that we get. It’s one of the things my colleagues in the House of Commons on both sides should be thinking about. If we want to get continuity in that, then the deal is on the table. We simply have to vote for it.”
She’s going to try again with her WA, reports the Express.
THERESA MAY will embark on another desperate scramble to get her deal through Parliament this week, with Brexit just 11 days away. Here are the latest odds and news on a no deal Brexit.
Last week, MPs voted to rule out a no deal Brexit at any time. While it’s clear the direction Parliament wants to take, the results of that vote are not legally binding. And unless something happens between now and 11pm on March 29, the default position of the UK is to leave the EU without a deal. You’d be forgiven for being a little confused as to exactly what went on in Parliament last week – if so, head HERE to catch up on what went on.
But the Telegraph reports she could be in for a new vote of no confidence.
Theresa May could face a new confidence vote in the wake of the European elections under plans that will be considered by senior Tory MPs this week, The Telegraph can disclose.
On Tuesday the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs will meet to discuss whether the rules should be changed to allow a new bid to remove the Prime Minister.
Alan Mabbutt, a senior Conservative Party official, has confirmed that the rules surrounding leadership challenges are not determined by the party’s constitution but by backbench MPs themselves.
And the Mirror reports that canvassers are avoiding mentioning her on the stump.
Tory canvassers are refusing to mention “toxic” Theresa May as they try to woo people ahead of next month’s local elections.
The Conservatives are braced for a bruising as angry voters switch to either Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party or Remain-supporting groups.
And unhappy activists reckon the PM’s Brexit performance has made her a liability as they campaign.
Grassroots Conservatives chair Ed Costelloe said: “Campaigners are only talking about what’s happening at a local level, because the frustration they are hearing about what’s going on at a national level is virtually universal.
“Most people canvassing are saying this is worse than anything before.
The Express reports she could upset her MPs by making arrangements to continue in post – despite her promises to stand down (sound like Bercow!).
THERESA MAY could enrage Tory MPs by asking for new legislative plans for the re-opening of Parliament after the Easter break – despite pledging she would stand down as party leader before the “next phase” of Brexit talks.
Government officials have been told to prepare final plans for legislation to be included in the Queens Speech, which opens Parliament annual after the Easter recess. But the Times reports the Prime Minister told Government departments she will “actively consider” ideas for the speech, which details the Government’s legislative programme. But the move will anger Tory MPs, following Mrs May pledging to stand down from office before the next phase of Brexit talks begin.
Any attempt by Mrs May to open a new session of Parliament will enrage Tory MPs asking for her to stand down.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph has an exclusive report about senior Tories losing their seats in any forthcoming General Election.
Prominent Leavers including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith face losing their seats at the next general election as Brexiteers prepare to punish the Conservatives at the ballot box with voters threatening to boycott the local and European elections over the UK’s delayed departure from the EU.
New analysis by ComRes suggests the Tories stand to lose 41 seats, with 29 Leave MPs set to be ousted as voters switch to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and SNP following a public backlash against Theresa May in Conservative heartlands.
The Express reports that grassroots Brexiteers are furious.
FURIOUS Brexiteers are set to punish the Conservatives in the next General Election, with poll data indicating they could lose 41 seats, including 29 Leave MPs.
New analysis from ComRes shows voters could shift their allegiances to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP in the backlash. Tory MPs told the Telegraph the future of their party is “diabolical” and that voters had described the Westminster elite as “w*****s’. Local election officers have allegedly received calls asking what the point of voting is after Brexit was delayed again.
If a vote was held tomorrow, the poll suggests Labour would win 290 seats versus the Conservative’s 277.
The Express also claims the Tory party has selected anti-Brexiteers as prospective MEPs.
THE CONSERVATIVE Party has selected two MEP candidates who support a second referendum for the EU elections and have demanded Brexit is cancelled.
Theresa May has faced increasing pressure to support a second referendum as she remains in a bitter struggle to get her Withdrawal Agreement passed in the House of Commons. The UK was granted a Brexit delay until October 31, meaning MEPs will take part in the European elections. Sajjad Karim, who has described Brexit as ‘madness’, will be top of the party’s MEP candidates list in the North West of England.
His selection comes as Charles Tannock, who co-founded the Conservatives for a People’s Vote campaign, will be on the ballot paper in London for the EU elections.
Labour has also selected Leavers to run in the Euros, reports Westmonster.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have selected hardline anti-Brexit candidates high up on their lists for the European Elections. Anyone who respects the 2016 referendum result cannot possibly vote Labour.
The party itself clearly doesn’t think an EU deal with Theresa May to stop the elections going through is likely, saying on their website: “It now looks increasingly likely the UK will be required to participate in the European Elections on 23 May 2019.”
It emerged yesterday that Lord Adonis has been selected as number two on the Labour list for the South West of England. Adonis has been about about his desire to overturn the referendum result and kill off the UK’s exit from the European Union, describing the upcoming EU Election as a chance to “make them a campaign to stop Brexit”.
Also standing for Labour is Eloise Todd, who is number two on the list for Yorkshire and the Humber. Todd was CEO for ‘Best for Britain’, an anti-Brexit group that is said to have received at least £800,000 from foreign billionaire George Soros.
Best for Britain describe themselves as “a group of campaigners, businesspeople, entrepreneurs and citizens from across our country who have come together with one single mission: to oppose and stop Brexit”.
Nigel’s new party is hardening attitudes against the Tories, reports the Times.
The resurgence of Nigel Farage has left hardline Conservative Brexiteers even more determined not to vote for Theresa May’s deal.
Two polls this week put the former Ukip leader’s new Brexit Party in front of Labour and the Conservatives for the European parliament elections, due to take place on May 23.
“Whatever happens we cannot have these European parliament elections,” one senior Conservative toldThe Times. “The referendum was supposed to kill Ukip — what May’s done over the last two weeks has dug up the corpse and put Farage’s face on it.”
The Telegraph reports a comment by an EU boss saying that any resulting economic problems would be the fault of the UK.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission chief, has warned that the UK would be “100 per cent” responsible if its decision to leave the EU caused economic turmoil, as he urged MPs to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
In an interview with a German newspaper, Mr Juncker urged the UK not to waste its six month extension to the Article 50 process and added that he did not have hopes of the UK eventually reversing Brexit.
“We need to be prepared for a soft and a hard Brexit. In any event, the UK’s withdrawal will have a negative impact – more for the British than for the EU,” he told Funke.
ITV News also has the story.
Any kind of Brexit will have “negative consequences” which will be worse for Britain than the EU and be entirely the UK’s responsibility, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said.
Mr Juncker said the “ball was in Britain’s court” and urged the House of Commons to support the deal negotiated by Theresa May.
A second extension to Brexit was granted to the UK following talks in Brussels earlier this month, with the so-called flextension meaning the departure date will be October 31 this year, or sooner if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed.
In an interview with the German Funke Media Groupe, Mr Juncker repeated the words of European Council president Donald Tusk and urged the UK “not to waste time”.
Juncker may be worried about no deal, but … Reuters reports:
There is a still a concern that Britain may leave the European Union without a deal to smooth the way, the bloc’s chief executive said on Saturday, urging Britain to take advantage of a six-month delay to work out the details of its departure.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made the comments in an interview with German newspaper FUNKE Mediengruppe, a week after EU leaders gave Britain six months more to exit the EU.
“Nobody knows how Brexit will end. This is creating great uncertainty. There is still a fear that there will be a hard Brexit without any withdrawal treaty arrangements,” Juncker said, citing the long-term negative impact on Europe’s economy.
Even though the extension to Oct. 31 offers little clarity on when, how or even if Brexit will happen, Britain should use the time wisely, he said.
“I hope that the British will make use of this time and not waste it again. We cannot keep on putting off the withdrawal date indefinitely. The best solution would be for the British to adopt the Withdrawal Agreement during the extra time that has been agreed,” Juncker said.
But the US could take a hand if any agreement Is detrimental to Northern Ireland, says the Express.
THE US has warned the European Union it will oppose any Brexit deal that undermines the Northern Ireland 1997 peace agreement that could endanger a proposed trade deal.
The warning comes from US Democratic congressman Richard Neal and is the latest threat to the UK that a future trade deal with the US will not happen should Brexit put the Belfast Agreement at risk. Mr Neal is chairman of the influential House of Representatives oversight committee which scrutinises trade deals. Speaking to The Irish Times ahead of a US delegation’s visit to Ireland this week, he said: “If America wants a trade agreement with the European Union, which I think is very desirable – I want it – at the same time you are back to the same issue on the Border if you do anything that dampens or softens the Good Friday Agreement.”
The Speaker could be forced to allow the President to speak to MPs, says the Telegraph.
John Bercow must allow President Donald Trump to address Parliament this summer or risk damaging Britain’s special relationship with the US, ministers have suggested.
Preparations are underway for President Trump to make a full State visit to the UK in June to coincide with D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations.
But the Speaker is refusing to extend the traditional courtesy of asking the visiting President to address both Houses of Parliament.
US officials have made it clear that they are angered by Mr Bercow’s snub, which has become an embarrassment to the Government as it tries to make the State visit happen three years after it was first offered by Theresa May.
The Independent also has the story.
Donald Trump should be allowed by Commons speaker John Bercow to address parliament if he makes a state visit to the UK this summer, defence minister Tobias Ellwood has said.
His comments came amid mounting speculation that the US president will travel to Britain in June to coincide with the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Mr Bercow sparked controversy in 2017 by saying Mr Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament on his visit to the UK.
He said that it was “not an automatic right, it is an earned honour”.
However, Mr Ellwood said the UK should “leverage” Mr Trump’s visit.
Climate change protest
Meanwhile, across London, the police have taken action to open the roads, reports the Independent.
Police have cleared climate activists from part of the Oxford Circus demonstration as the Extinction Rebellion protests entered their fifth day.
London’s busiest shopping street remained blocked despite although police manage to move the pink boat which had been used to block the junction with Regent Street.
The vessel was attached to a lorry and taken away up Regent Street followed by a number of jogging uniformed officers. Regent Street is still cordoned off by officers.
Sky News reports the arrests.
Police have arrested more than 680 climate change protesters as they say they aim to give businesses on London’s Oxford Street a chance to return to “business as usual”.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Officers have made a number of arrests, mainly focused at Oxford Circus, as we are trying our best to give the businesses a chance to return to ‘business as usual’.
“One thing that is unusual about this demonstration is the willingness of those participating to be arrested and also their lack of resistance to the arrests.
“To date (since Monday 15 April), we have made over 680 arrests and of course that places a logistical problem on, and not just, the police service for cell space but also the wider criminal justice system.”
And ITV News reports that the protesters pink boat has been removed.
A pink boat used by Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists to blockade Oxford Circus has been towed away by police after five days at the heart of the climate demonstrations in London.
The boat, which became a symbol for the ongoing disruption, was dismantled on Friday afternoon, several hours after Dame Emma Thompson used it as a stage to rally protesters.
Dame Emma Thompson has rallied cheering Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists blocking London’s busiest shopping street and declared “our planet is in serious trouble”.
Assaults on NHS staff have risen, says the Mirror.
The number of assaults on NHS staff has hit a record high, with 63 being attacked every day.
Figures show 23,009 were reported at hospital trusts across England in 2017/18 – up from 13,417 in 2010/11.
But the number is likely to be higher as not every NHS trust responded to the Freedom of Information request for details.
The chances of staff being attacked on over stretched wards has increased by half since the Tories came to power.
And violence in schools is also on the increase, reports the Times.
Almost a quarter of teachers are suffering violence at least once a week at the hands of their pupils, according to a union survey.
Evidence gathered from 4,912 teachers found that 89 per cent had been subjected to physical or verbal abuse over the past year and 24 per cent said they had been physically attacked by pupils at least once a week. About 5 per cent said this happened every day.
The poll by the NASUWT teaching union, published before its annual conference in Belfast, also found that 86 per cent of teachers had been sworn at and 42 per cent verbally threatened.
And ITV News reports that pupils are misbehaving.
More than two-thirds of teachers responding to a union survey have said they believe poor pupil behaviour is a widespread problem at their school.
Almost 700 teachers responded to the survey teaching union NASUWT carried out in Scotland between February and this month.
A total of 67% of the 673 respondents said poor pupil behaviour was a widespread problem at their school.
No one should go to work with the expectation of being physically or verbally abused.
NASUWT believes ways of dealing with the disruptive pupils in schools such as restorative behaviour strategies have left teachers “increasingly vulnerable to verbal and physical abuse”.
Hundreds of thousands of new homes could be built on land held by developers, reports the Telegraph.
Housebuilders are sitting on enough land to build more than 800,000 homes, analysis by The Telegraph has found, raising new questions about efforts to increase the supply of new properties and reverse the decline in home ownership.
The total number of plots in the top nine housebuilders’ land banks has risen by 25pc in the past five years to around 838,000. That is despite a series of Government reviews and policies meant to increase the rate of building.
Campaigners claim it is in the companies’ interest to hold on to land for as long as possible and cash in after it rises in value, but housebuilders insist they are held back by the planning system.
An international court is called for in the Independent.
The challenges posed by webs of corruption spreading across borders – fuelled by fraud, money laundering and illicit offshore funding schemes – has raised the urgent need for an international court, and a restitution fund which can fairly redistribute the money and assets seized back from illegal ownership, say the organisers of a newly launched petition.
More than $40 trillion of suspected “dirty money” secreted in offshore financial jurisdictions, and $30bn spent anonymously on luxury properties and goods are some of the estimated examples of this hugely bountiful and egregious trade.