Brexit

Express
INTERNATIONAL economic forecasters admit they were “too pessimistic” about the immediate impact of Brexit on Britain and the world. The experts said the effects on the UK have been less than feared and we will bounce back in economic league tables inside two years.  But emerging powerhouses will make strong challenges in the 2020s, with China expected to overtake the US at No1 and Britain and France left behind by India and Brazil.  The findings come in the ninth edition of the annual World Economic League Table, which analyses the likely performance of 192 nations over the next 15 years.  The research, compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research in partnership with Global Construction Perspectives, predicted technology and cheap energy will now drive a stronger period of growth.  The experts conceded the world economy did “a fair bit better than most commentators expected” in 2017.  Their report said: “We were too pessimistic about the initial impacts of Brexit on the UK economy.

Telegraph
Project Fear was wrong about Brexit, a major new economic report has concluded today, as it revealed the UK will bounce back to overtake the French economy in 2020. The World Economic League Table revealed that Britain has recovered from an initial economic blip after the vote to leave and now looks set to maintain its position in the rankings and even improve by 2020.  But the data, compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, also shows that India will leapfrog Britain and France to become the world’s fifth largest economy in dollar terms by 2018 as it grows at a faster rate.  The table tracks different economies around the world and projects forward fifteen years.  It shows that despite warnings of a “significant” effect on the UK’s fortunes after the decision to back Brexit,“fears were exaggerated”.

Mail
Britain’s economy is now predicted to overtake France‘s in 2020 as experts admitted they had been too gloomy over Brexit. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) had claimed the economy would slow down because of a drop in consumer spending and investment. But last night the think-tank admitted it had got this wrong, saying: ‘In practice this has not happened.’ Its economists accepted the fears they expressed last year that Brexit would leave the UK behind the French economy for five years were exaggerated. They concluded that, despite fears of a ‘Brexodus’ of financiers, the City has actually increased its lead as the world’s financial centre since the referendum. The CEBR said that a trade deal with Brussels looked more likely after Theresa May agreed a transitional deal with the EU earlier this month.

Sun
BRITAIN’S place in the world’s economic rankings won’t be hit by Brexit and we will even soon leapfrog France. Experts today predict the UK will overhaul our Gallic neighbours and closest rivals by 2020 to retake sixth place when our EU exit’s effect proves to be not as bad as feared. But emerging giant India will overtake both Britain and France next year to become the world’s fifth largest economy. The positive predictions for the nation’s wealth come in the respected Centre for Economics and Business Research’s annual World Economic League Table for 2018. Judging on the trajectory set by this year’s national performances, it projects that soaring Asian powerhouse India’s ascent will push Britain down to seventh in the world league table in 2018, but only for two years. Our closest economic rival France leapfrogged Britain to take fifth place five years ago after the UK was hit harder by the financial crash.

Russian navy

Mail
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday said he would ‘not hesitate’ to defend Britain following an upsurge in the number of Russian warships in our waters. Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans was yesterday tracking the Russian vessel Admiral Gorshkov as it made its way across the North Sea menacingly close to Britain.  Although such crossings are fairly routine, there has been a rise in the number of Russian ships passing close to British territorial waters in recent days. On Christmas Eve, HMS Tyne was dispatched to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and the England Channel. A Wildcat helicopter was then dispatched to monitor two further Russian vessels.

Telegraph
The Royal Navy monitored a series of Russian warships around Britain over Christmas, as the Defence Secretary said Britain would not be intimidated. HMS St Albans escorted the frigate Admiral Gorshkov off the north coast of Scotland, while HMS Tyne shadowed a spy ship through the North Sea. The Ministry of Defence reported “an upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters” with the Navy monitoring four different vessels. Gavin Williamson said: “I will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression. “Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.” Russia is entitled to sail through UK and international waters around Britain according to the law of the sea, but Naval sources said the visits are often considered deliberately provocative at a time of frosty relations with Nato.

Foxhunting

Telegraph
The anti-hunting lobby is about a “hatred of people”, not preventing cruelty, the president of the Countryside Alliance warns today as she calls for a vote so Government can move on to ensuring Brexit is a success for countryside. Writing in The Daily Telegraph Baroness Ann Mallalieu QC says banning the traditional Boxing Day sport is about class, as animal rights experts have accepted that hunting is not cruel.  It follows reports that Theresa May has shelved plans for a vote in the House of Commons on the future of hunting in Britain, after pledging in her election manifesto to allow MPs the chance to repeal it.  But the Conservatives are split over the issue and Labour is strongly opposed, as both sides move to support animal rights causes in a bid to win young voters.

Times
Theresa May has been told to expect a backlash from rural communities if she scraps a pledge to give MPs a free vote on overturning the hunting ban. Yesterday Downing Street downplayed but did not deny a Sunday Times report that Mrs May was preparing to drop the longstanding commitment in a speech early next year. Labour is demanding that Michael Gove, the environment secretary, clarify whether the government still intends to give parliamentary time for a free vote. Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, warned Mrs May that she risked alienating rural communities — and powerful lobbying groups.

Independent
Opposition to fox hunting remains at an all-time high, a new survey has revealed, with 85 per cent in support of maintaining the current ban. The poll, commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and carried out by Ipos Mori, also found that 90 per cent were opposed to hare hunting and coursing.  The law, introduced by Labour in 2004, bans the use of dogs to hunt foxes and other wild mammals in England and Wales.   The League Against Cruel Sports adds that opposition to fox hunting has steadily grown in Britain. In 2008, just over 70 per cent were opposed. And in rural areas support for the ban remains high, at 81 per cent. It comes ahead of the annual Boxing Day hunts that tend to draw thousands across the country. Last year the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance said there were “at least 250,000” gathering in “huge crowds from Cumbria to Cornwall”.

Universities

Telegraph
Students must not be shielded from views they disagree with under the banner of “safe spaces”, the universities minister has said, as he warns that the practise is “closing minds”. The “worrying” trend of students seeking to “stifle” opinions that are counter to their own has swept across American campuses and is now gathering pace at British universities,  Jo Johnson will say on Tuesday. In a speech at the Limmud Festival in Birmingham, a celebration of Jewish learning and culture, he will warn that free speech is a key part of university life. “Universities should be places that open minds, not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged,” Mr Johnson will say. “In universities in America and worryingly in the UK, we have seen examples of groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them.

Times
Universities must “open minds, not close them” and face tough new penalties if they do not promote freedom of speech, Jo Johnson will warn today. Students should expect to encounter controversial opinions and “frank and rigorous discussions”, the universities minister will argue. His defence of open debate comes amid a row at Oxford University, where dozens of academics have criticised a professor for arguing that Britain’s imperial history was not entirely shameful. Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral and pastoral theology at the university, has been criticised by colleagues and students after writing an article in The Times calling for a more nuanced appraisal.

Mail
Universities have four months to clamp down on student zealots who restrict free speech on campuses, Jo Johnson will warn today. The universities minister is expected to say he has seen too many ‘worrying’ incidents of groups trying to ‘stifle those who do not agree with them’. He will warn institutions that they have a duty to intervene and ensure differing points of view can be heard – however controversial. A new regulator, the Office for Students, will come into being in April 2018 and will have the power to punish universities which do not adequately safeguard free speech. Those falling short could be fined or even deregistered – rendering them effectively unable to operate. It follows incidents in which student unions and societies have banned speakers because they deemed their views ‘offensive’.

Express
UNIVERSITIES must maintain the right to free speech and open debate in the face of efforts to stifle them, a Government minister will say today. In a keynote speech, Universities Minister Jo Johnson will say they must be places that “open minds, not close them”, where ideas can be challenged.  His call comes amid concerns that universities and student groups have become too accustomed to banning controversial speakers under “safe space” policies to avoid causing offence. Some campuses have reported rises in anti-Semitism and tensions over issues such as Brexit. There have also been campaigns to remove statues and names commemorating unpopular figures including British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Mr Johnson, younger brother of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, today addresses the Limmud festival of Jewish learning and culture, taking place at Pendigo Lake, Birmingham.

Sky News
Universities should promote free speech in order to become places that “open minds, not close them”, the Universities Minister has warned. Jo Johnson believes students must be able to challenge controversial opinions because there are dangers to shielding students from differing views under the banner of “no-platforming” or “safe spaces”. Mr Johnson will warn that free speech is a key part of university life when he speaks at the Limmud Festival in Birmingham, a celebration of Jewish learning and culture. “Universities should be places that open minds, not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged,” he will say. “In universities in America and worryingly in the UK, we have seen examples of groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them. “We must not allow this to happen.”

Independent
Universities must be places that “open minds, not close them”, Jo Johnson is to warn as he argues that students must be able to challenge controversial opinions.  The universities minister will add that there are dangers to shielding students from differing views under the banner of “no-platforming” in British institutions.  During a Boxing Day speech at the Limmud Festival in Birmingham – a celebration of Jewish learning and culture – Mr Johnson will say: “Universities should be place that open minds, not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged”. It comes after the minister unveiled proposals earlier this year that mean universities could face fines for failing to uphold free speech under a new higher education regulator – the Office for Students (OfS). The proposals – currently open for consultation – could also see universities facing action including suspension and deregulation.  Mr Johnson will add: “In universities in America and, worryingly, in the UK, we have seen examples of groups seeking to stifle those who do not agree with them.

Cancer

Times
Thousands of people with common cancers stand to gain access to a “revolutionary” personalised treatment that has been restricted to a tiny number of cases until now. Patients with breast or pancreatic cancer, which together kill more than 20,000 people a year in Britain, could be among those to benefit. Genetically modified immune cells that are programmed to hunt down tumours have been hailed as one of the most promising medical developments of the past decade. In some trials the white blood cell therapy has put more than nine out of ten patients into remission after they had been failed by all conventional medicines.

White Christmas

ITV News
Those dreaming of a white Christmas had their wishes granted, as parts of Cumbria saw snow fall for a couple of hours. The Met Office did say there was a slim chance of wintry showers on Christmas Day – and Spadeadam in Cumbria and parts of southern Scotland saw rain turn into snow late on December 25. Despite a largely mild Christmas Day – the highest temperature recorded was 12.6C (54.6F) in Bude, Cornwall – weather warnings for snow and ice are in place on Boxing Day for southern, central and eastern Scotland, and the most northern parts of England. A further warning for rain and snow is in place for the Midlands and Wales running from 6pm on Tuesday until 11am on Wednesday. Forecaster Mark Wilson said: “To be a white Christmas, we only need to see one flake but we have reported snowfall in Spadeadam for the last couple of hours.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email