Withdrawal Agreement

Telegraph
Theresa May will cancel plans to hold a third vote on her Brexit deal this week if she does not believe she can win it, ministers revealed on Sunday. Instead, Downing Street is understood to be discussing an alternative strategy of holding the vote the week after, cranking up the pressure on MPs to back the deal or accept the blame for a lengthy delay. Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said there would be “no point” in holding the vote “if we had no chance of winning”.

Mirror
Theresa May could pull this week’s planned Brexit vote if it looks like she is going to lose a third time, Cabinet Ministers warned. The Prime Minister wants to try for third time lucky this week before flying to a crunch Brussels summit on Thursday. Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted it was now “physically impossible” for the UK to Leave on March 29 as promised. Mrs May will ask EU chiefs to delay our departure until June, if MPs back her deal.

BBC News
Theresa May’s Brexit deal will not return to the Commons this week unless it has support from the DUP and Tory MPs, the chancellor says. The PM’s plan is expected to be voted on for a third time in the coming days. But Philip Hammond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that it would only be put to MPs if “enough of our colleagues and the DUP are prepared to support it”. He did not rule out a financial settlement for Northern Ireland if the DUP backed the deal.

Telegraph
Boris Johnson has urged Eurosceptic MPs to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time if it is put to the vote this week as he warns it gives the EU “an indefinite means of blackmail” against the UK. In a major blow to the Prime Minister’s hopes of getting her deal through Parliament before Thursday’s EU summit, the former foreign secretary paints the Government as collaborators in “the final sabotage of Brexit” just 11 days before Britain is due to leave the EU.

Express
BORIS JOHNSON has warned the EU will use the Irish backstop arrangement as a means of blackmail throughout Brexit negotiations. The former Foreign Secretary who openly opposes Theresa’s May’s Brexit deal said it would be “detrimental” to the UK and risks the country becoming an “economic colony of Brussels”. He added the UK will be in a “weak” position if the Prime Minister’s deal is voted through. The Conservative MP highlighted taxpayers’ would hand over huge sums of money to the EU for “nothing in return”.

Mail
In yet another blow for the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has urged Theresa May to postpone the Brexit deal vote. Mr Johnson last night urged MPs to vote down Mrs May’s deal for a third time if it is put to a vote this week. But the under-pressure PM, also received a string of major endorsements that will give her fresh hope the deal could pass within days. Mr Johnson warned in his Daily Telegraph column that it gives the EU an ‘indefinite means of blackmail’ against the UK.

Times
Theresa May secured the backing of some staunch Brexiteers for her deal after personally lobbying MPs but last night remained significantly short of the number she needs to win a vote this week. Esther McVey, the former work and pensions secretary who quit over Brexit, confirmed her support yesterday after hinting late last week that she could back the deal. Charlie Elphicke, a member of the European Research Group and former whip, also suggested that he could vote for the deal but linked his support to Mrs May standing down before the next stage of EU negotiations.

Reuters
The British government does not yet have the support of enough lawmakers to win a parliamentary vote on its Brexit deal but a “significant number” of colleagues are coming around to back the plan, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to bring her deal back to parliament for a third vote this week, but Hammond said it would only go ahead if the government thought it could win.

Conservative Party

Independent
Tory leadership hopefuls have “stepped up a gear” in making their pitches to replace Theresa May as pressure mounts on the prime minister to set a date for leaving Downing Street. Rivals have undertaken a flurry of activity both behind the scenes and in the media as speculation grows that Ms May will announce her departure in the coming weeks. The expectation has been fuelled by signals that Conservative MPs whose votes the prime minister desperately needs to pass her Brexit deal would back her plan if she sets out her departure schedule.

Sun
HARDLINE Brexiteers could join forces with Labour MPs to try to topple Theresa May this week. Jeremy Corbyn yesterday revealed he will table another confidence motion in the PM if her Brexit deal is defeated again this week. Tory Brexiteers desperate to see her go could break ranks and back the explosive move. Mr Corbyn told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “The government is apparently going to bring its proposals once again to Parliament this week. “I suspect they’ll be defeated again.

Telegraph
Theresa May should make a “dignified departure,” says former Cabinet Minister Esther McVey, who confirmed she was prepared to stand for the leadership. The former Work and Pensions Secretary said the collapse in Cabinet discipline had made the Prime Minister’s position “very dubious” and she should consider setting out a timetable for her departure by the Summer in order to get her Brexit deal through Parliament

Independent
Moves to topple Theresa May are gaining momentum with a string of Tories signalling her resignation could be the only way to “move the dial” and ensure her Brexit deal is passed. Several backbenchers openly said it was time for the prime minister to quit after recent votes exposed irreconcilable divisions in the Conservative Party from the cabinet down. Others reported that the PM’s lieutenants have engaged with the idea, sounding out MPs over whether they would vote for Ms May’s Brexit plan if she gave a clearer schedule for her departure.

Express
DOWNING Street officials have ordered Conservative MEPs to begin preparations for the upcoming European elections amid growing concerns that Brexit will be delayed, sources revealed today. The Conservative delegation in Brussels have been asked to reflect on whether they wish to stand again as a British MEP. Express.co.uk has obtained a note from Ashley Fox, the leader of Tory MEPs, sent to his 17 colleagues after close consultation with Downing Street officials.

DUP

Guardian
Theresa May will embark on a final desperate scramble to win the Democratic Unionist party’s backing for her Brexit deal on Monday, in the hope that it could unlock parliament’s support at the third time of asking.  With several prominent Brexiters, including the former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, now willing to switch their vote and support the deal, government sources said they hoped DUP backing could create “a sense of momentum”.

Westmonster
The DUP’s potentially critical support for Theresa May’s deal is going to be reliant on them having a big role in the negotiations moving forward. May needs the support of the 10 DUP MPs to have any chance of getting her deal through, especially as it would likely reassure Tory Brexiteer MPs on the backstop sufficiently, allowing them to back the deal as well. Jacob Rees-Mogg is one example of an influential figure who reportedly would back the deal if the DUP did so.

Independent
Philip Hammond has said he will review cash granted to Northern Ireland in the coming months, amid claims the government is trying to buy the support of DUP MPs for Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The chancellor said that current discussions with the DUP are not about money but “political assurances”, but highlighted funding for Northern Ireland would be looked at soon as part of a scheduled spending review.

Sun
ULSTER unionist MPs were yesterday given a St Patrick’s Day gift — the prospect of extra cash for Northern Ireland if they back Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Cabinet Ministers are locked in crunch talks with the DUP’s ten MPs. If they switch it would pave the way for Tory Brexiteers to finally support it too. In a dramatic intervention last night two architects of the Good Friday Agreement — Lord Trimble and Lord Bew — signalled they were ready to back the deal.

Labour Party

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he could launch a fresh bid to oust Theresa May if her Brexit deal is rejected by MPs for a third time. The Labour leader said it would be ‘appropriate’ to table another confidence motion in the Government at that point. Mr Corbyn also indicated that his party could back an amendment calling for a referendum on a Brexit deal, although he would not set out which side he would be on in another public vote.

Westmonster
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed that his party will be supporting an amendment by MPs for a truly dire referendum: Theresa May’s deal vs. not leaving the European Union at all. What an absolute disgrace. Corbyn told Ridge on Sunday that his party backs a “credible choice referendum” and will back an amendment put forward to put the bad deal against remaining in the EU in a second referendum.

Morning Star
JEREMY CORBYN is poised to launch a motion of no confidence in the government if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is rejected by MPs for a third time this week. The Labour leader said today that it would be “appropriate” to table another confidence motion in the government with the view to trigger a general election. A third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement could take place as soon as tomorrow evening. Last week the deal was rejected by a majority of 149 MPs. In January it was rejected by a majority of 230.

Independent
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he could vote to leave the EU if there is another Brexit referendum. Mr Corbyn said how he voted in any future referendum giving the British public a Final Say on Brexit would depend on the withdrawal deal which is on offer at the time. He gave a heavily caveated answer when asked if he was “enthusiastic” about the idea of a new referendum, and said that his party might back an amendment calling for one depending on its wording.

Local democracy

Times
Plans to use citizens’ assemblies and local polls to get voters more engaged with politics have been dismantled after the deadlock over Brexit prompted ministers to have second thoughts. The government came close to abandoning the scheme but instead dropped all proposals to put controversial issues to people and approved three schemes. The change of plan has caused dismay in Whitehall and angered campaigners who say that people should be given more opportunities to get involved in local decision-making.

EU

Telegraph
Italy is selling itself lock, stock, and barrel to the Chinese Communist Party, flouting the EU’s tough new line on Beijing and openly taunting the Franco-German axis. The techno-utopian Five Star Movement is chiefly responsible for this effusive embrace of Xi Jinping’s authoritarian model. Its leaders suppose there to be a pot of gold in the Middle Kingdom, available to buy Italy’s bonds and to pay for Rome’s unaffordable spending plans.   It is a way to take revenge against the EU policy elites for years of enforced austerity and their failure to deliver on ‘New Deal’ promises of an investment blitz.

Times
President Macron has faced criticism after a rampage of arson and looting at a yellow-vest protest in Paris took place while he was on a skiing break. Political opponents on both sides accused Mr Macron of weakness, the right accusing him of allowing rioting in order to strengthen his own hand after several hundred ultra-violent “wreckers” laid waste to a stretch of the Champs Elysées and hundreds of yellow-vest demonstrators smashed shops, cafés and banks.

Telegraph
Anti-government protesters hurled rocks and paving slabs at police, looted boutiques, smashed up a luxury restaurant on Paris’s famed Champs-Elysées and set a bank on fire on Saturday. A mother and her baby trapped on the second floor of the building, as flames surged up from the bank branch on the ground floor, were rescued by firefighters. The bank offices were gutted and 11 people were slightly injured, including two police officers. Smoke and tear gas shrouded the Champs-Elysées and at least 109 people were arrested in the worst outbreak of violence on the fringes of a “yellow vest” demonstration in Paris for several weeks.

Fox News
Paris is cleaning up one of the world’s most glamorous avenues after resurgent rioting by yellow vest protesters stunned the nation. Luxury stores, restaurants and banks on the Champs-Elysees assessed damage Sunday after they were ransacked or blackened by life-threatening fires.  Tourists took pictures as shop owners tried to repair broken windows and city workers scrubbed away graffiti.

Times
Germany is a prime target for Russian meddling in the European parliamentary elections in May, a spy agency has warned. The Kremlin is stirring up support for Eurosceptic parties such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the French National Rally in an effort to build a right-wing populist international bloc that would project its interests in Brussels, the Estonian foreign intelligence service (Efis) said.

Sun
EUROSTAR passengers face days more chaos as the firm warned passengers not to travel to Paris. Crowds queued for hours as four London-bound train were axed today – and another three will not run on Monday with more cancellations throughout the week. The cross-Channel chaos has now stretched into a third week as French customs officers demanding a Brexit pay rise are “working to rule” and imposing extra checks on passengers. Eurostar said on its website today: “We recommend not to travel unless absolutely necessary.”

Trade

Times
Plans to scrap tariffs on the bulk of UK imports would reduce the short-term damage of a disorderly no-deal Brexit by up to £10 billion, according to economists. Official estimates of the hit to GDP from leaving the EU without a deal or a transition have been calculated on the assumption that Britain mirrors the EU’s external tariff schedule. However, the government said last week that tariffs would be made zero on all but 5 per cent of imports.

NHS

Mail
Language used on NHS websites is being made more understandable for patients. The word nausea has been replaced by feeling sick, while a haemorrhage is to be referred to as a very heavy bleed. The move is part of a drive to make NHS literature more user-friendly by September 2020. The writing guide was created based on feedback from more than 10,000 people who were polled on word use. In a blog post on the NHS Digital website, content designer Sara Wilcox argued that using simpler language could save lives.

Sun
POO will replace the words “stools” and “faeces” on NHS websites to stop patients getting confused. Other words deemed too technical and set to be axed from health service material include “urinate” and “nausea”. As part of a plain English drive, NHS literature will instead refer to “pee” and “feeling sick”. And the word “oral” will be replaced with “mouth” for easier understanding. Research by NHS.UK Standards – the team behind the official website – found words like poo were preferred by all patients, no matter their educational level.

Telegraph
NHS bodies are risking babies’ health by accepting money from milk formula companies in breach of World Health Organization rules, an investigation has found. Nearly a third of local commissioners responsible for allocating NHS cash have breached guidelines such as by accepting payments or sponsorship over the last five years, the survey revealed. The international code of practice is intended to protect breastfeeding and regulate the often aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Mail
A third of NHS health boards have broken guidelines by accepting payments or sponsorship from baby formula companies, an investigation has revealed. The marketing of infant formula is strictly regulated to try to halt plummeting rates of breastfeeding. Companies are not allowed to advertise or promote formula designed for infants under the age of six months, and the World Health Organisation code of practice says no medical organisation or doctor should accept payments from formula firms.

Air travel

Times
Airline passengers have been banned from drinking duty-free wine and spirits on flights because of growing concerns over alcohol-fuelled air rage, The Times has learnt. Rules have been introduced that require all duty-free alcohol to be placed in sealed bags to stop travellers opening bottles until well after their aircraft has landed. The system is being employed by World Duty Free, the sole provider of duty-free shops at most large airports in Britain, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Mail
Air passengers buying duty-free alcohol at Britain’s biggest airports will have it put in sealed bags to cut drink-fuelled violence. Beers, wine and spirits will be kept in carriers marked ‘do not open’ until holidaymakers have landed’, the Times reported. Opening bottles on flights is already against most airlines’ rules. The policy will be introduced by World Duty Free, which runs 22 stores in airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Star
FLIGHT prices to EU countries are plummeting with the uncertainty over Brexit. So your Daily Star scoured the web for the best deal and discovered canny Brits can jet off to the French city of Toulouse for less than a tenner. Ryanair is offering the £9.99 deal, and a return trip stretches to just £35 on March 29 – the day Britain is due to leave the EU. Toulouse is in south-west France, a two hour flight from the UK, and has plenty to attract the thrifty Brit.

Tax scam

Mail
The conmen behind a scam robbing taxpayers of millions of pounds can be exposed by the Daily Mail today. Working from a ramshackle office in India, they pose as HMRC officials to terrorise up to 10,000 Britons a day. Victims are told they owe tax and face arrest and imprisonment if they do not pay up instantly. Some have lost as much as £20,000. HMRC staff dealt with 330 repayment fraud cases a day in the six months to January – 60,000 in all and 360 per cent up on the previous half-year.

Breaking:

Bercow

Mail
John Bercow was today accused of sabotaging Theresa May’s Brexit after banning her from forcing a new vote on the same deal and told MPs: ‘I have never been pushed around – I’m not going to start now’. The Commons Speaker cited a Commons precedent from 1604 to inflict an extraordinary blow to Mrs May’s hopes of getting her divorce through Parliament – unless it is ‘substantially’ adapted with just ten days until Britain leaves the EU.

Westmonster
Speaker John Bercow has rejected the prospect of Theresa May bringing her deal back to Parliament for a third time, unless the deal is substantially changed. This increases the prospect of a General Election considerably.

Telegraph
John Bercow has warned Theresa May he will block any attempt to schedule a third meaningful vote unless she makes substantial changes to the motion being voted on by MPs.

Guardian
The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said the government cannot bring the meaningful vote back to parliament again unless there has been substantial change to the Brexit deal. In a shock move likely to infuriate the prime minister, the Speaker said the House of Commons was “being repeatedly asked to pronounce” on the same question.

Express
JOHN Bercow has threatened to block a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal unless she change it. The speaker of the House of Commons said MPs have expressed concerns about being asked to vote on Mrs May’s controversial deal more than once. He said unless her deal is revised, he will prevent the third meaningful vote on it. He said: “It has been strongly rumoured that third and even possibly fourth meaningful vote motions will be attempted. Hence this statement is designed to signal what would be orderly and what would not. “If the Government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the House on March 12 this would be entirely in order.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email