Article 50

Sun
BREXIT talks’ first three months will be crucial in ensuring they are a success, the Chancellor has warned. Brussels bosses have announced that the remaining 27 EU members will meet at a special summit after Theresa May triggers the Article 50 exit talks by the end of March. The PM will then be presented with their list of ‘divorce’ demands. But if the other leaders insist Britain first must settle a huge bill for future liabilities in excess of £50bn, Mrs May might refuse to pay – creating a crisis. Speaking at the Davos gathering of the world’s elite, Philip Hammond said yesterday: “I think six months from now we’ll have a much clearer idea of where we collectively feel we can go. Speaking at the Davos gathering, Philip Hammond claimed Brexit will be much better understood six months from now. “Where the political imperatives on both sides allow us to find a meeting of minds that will work for our economy and work for the European economy”.In a sign of how high the stakes are, ratings agency Moody’s also yesterday warned Britain faced a credit downgrade if negotiations struggle as growth would then be hit.

Labour Party

Express
LABOUR have been branded “too incompetent” to respect the wishes of British voters amid claims Jeremy Corbyn’s top MPs could try and block Brexit in the House of Commons. Several members of Labour’s shadow cabinet reportedly might refuse to vote in favour of a parliamentary bill invoking Article 50 in defiance of the EU referendum result. The Prime Minister will discover next Tuesday whether she needs the prior approval of Parliament before triggering divorce talks with the EU. If Theresa May is defeated in the Supreme Court, the Government is believed to be preparing legislation to table as early as Wednesday to gain the consent of MPs and peers for Brexit. But the Prime Minister may not be able to count on the support of leading Labour MPs in a vote on Article 50, it has emerged.

Sky News
The Labour leader says he will order party MPs to vote to trigger Brexit negotiations after suggestions some may seek to block it. Jeremy Corbyn said the party “respects the decision of the British people” to leave the European Union and “we will not block Article 50”. He said his MPs would be asked to vote to officially trigger Article 50, which will start Brexit negotiations with the EU and set the clock ticking on the two-year departure deadline.

Telegraph
Labour is in chaos over Brexit as Jeremy Corbyn appeared to back down after telling MPs they would be forced to vote in favour of triggering Article 50. The party descended deeper into a row over how to respond to the Prime Minister’s speech on leaving the EU after the Labour leader warned that all MPs would be expected to back the Government instead of taking a stand against leaving the EU. But the decision came as one of Mr Corbyn’s most senior shadow cabinet allies publicly warned he will not vote for Article 50, while a further group of his most senior team threatened to do the same. And just hours after suggesting MPs will be subjected to a three-line whip on the vote, meaning they would have no choice but to back Mrs May, aides close to the leader said no decision on the party’s stance had been made.

Express
LABOUR will lose seats at the next election if it fails to produce a “credible” immigration policy, a leading MP warned has warned. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn‘s muddle over migration and refusal to back limiting numbers has put him at odds with many of his own MPs who say the Labour Party must address its supporters’ genuine concerns. The party is seen at risk of losing former safe seat Stoke-on-Trent to the UK Independence Party in the by-election caused by Labour MP Tristram Hunt’s resignation. Former soldier Dan Jarvis, who has been tipped as a potential future party leader, told The House magazine: “There has been a view among many people who traditionally supported Labour that we didn’t understand or care about the concerns that they had, and worse than that, that we looked down upon then for having those concerns.

Mail
Labour was in chaos last night after frontbenchers threatened to defy Jeremy Corbyn by voting against Article 50 in the Commons. The party leader insisted yesterday that if Theresa May is forced to seek Parliament’s approval before beginning the Brexit process, his MPs would back her. But shadow business secretary Clive Lewis, said he was not certain to obey Mr Corbyn – and could vote against. He said Labour should be demanding ‘assurances and guarantees’ before agreeing to back Article 50, which he said was not in the best interests of the country. In a bid to head off a rebellion, Mr Corbyn dropped plans to impose a three-line whip – saying he would merely ‘ask’ MPs to vote in favour of Article 50.

Mirror
Jeremy Corbyn will order Labour frontbenchers to back Brexit, he vowed today. The Labour leader confirmed he would tell his MPs to support the Government if, as expected the Commons votes, on triggering Article 50. The Supreme Court rules on Tuesday whether Theresa May needs Parliament’s backing before starting the formal Leave mechanism. Pro-EU shadow ministers are said to be agonising over whether to vote with the Tories. Shadow Business Secretary Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, told the Eastern Daily Press: “It is safe to say that I am deeply concerned at the direction that Theresa May and the Conservative government is taking these negotiations, and the developments that are taking place.

Independent
Labour MPs will be told to vote for a Bill to start Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has said for the first time. The Labour leader confirmed he would expect his MPs to back Theresa May when she triggers Article 50 and starts the two-year exit process.
However, Mr Corbyn said Labour MPs would only be “asked” – rather than strongly whipped – to do so, suggesting any rebels will escape punishment. About five have said publicly they will vote against Article 50 and four Shadow Cabinet members are rumoured to be considering revolt. Until now, Labour had said only that it would not block the legislation, leaving open the possibility that it would abstain in the Commons vote. But Mr Corbyn, speaking to Sky News, said: “It’s very clear, the referendum made a decision that Britain is to leave the European Union.

Sun
LABOUR will lose seats at the next election unless it comes up with a “credible” immigration policy that addresses Brits’ concerns, a top MP has said. Dan Jarvis, who is tipped by some to be a future leadership candidate, said there could be “significant consequences” if the party continues to shy away from talking about immigration. The former frontbencher hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s chaotic position on immigration after a week of muddled messages last week. Mr Corbyn was due to say Labour was “no longer wedded” to the idea of freedom of movement, but ended up saying he wouldn’t rule it out either. Mr Jarvis told the House magazine that the party has “shied away for too long from listening to, talking about and seeking to address the concerns of people who were worried about the impact that unskilled migration has had on many of our communities.

Guardian
The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has accused Jeremy Corbyn of “lamely giving up” while Britain “drives off a cliff” towards Brexit, and said future generations will not forgive Labour for failing to stand up to Theresa May’s plans. In an overt attempt to steal votes from Labour in pro-remain constituencies, Farron said he believed Corbyn had put his party on the wrong side of the biggest political issue in a generation and was struggling because his MPs were increasingly split on how to respond. “I think what Labour has done is to believe this is too difficult for them politically, let’s just wait for it to go away, and the meeker we are, the quicker it will go away. I think that’s the calculation they’ve made, and this and future generations are not going to forgive them for that,” he said. “We are saying that Jeremy Corbyn and now Keir Starmer [the shadow Brexit secretary] as well – you have a Labour party from top to bottom that is failing.”

Mirror
Labour has “shied away” from tackling immigration, creating “a toxic mix” with “significant consequences” at the next election, a senior MP has warned. Former frontbencher Dan Jarvis, tipped as a future party leader, became the latest MP to raise fears over Labour’s direction under Jeremy Corbyn‘s migration stance. Mr Corbyn has been criticised for defending high levels of immigration and accused of “a muddled message” over party policy. Immigration is set to dominate the Stoke-on-Trent by election, where Labour is defending a 5,179 majority. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall is expected to announce on Saturday that he will stand in the poll. Barnsley Central MP Mr Jarvis warned: “The Labour Party has shied away for too long from listening to, talking about and seeking to address the concerns of people who were worried about the impact that unskilled migration has had on many of our communities.

Brexit

Express
MOST British people think Theresa May’s clean Brexit blueprint will be good for the UK – but are more doubtful about the European Union’s willingness to play ball, a new poll found today. The YouGov survey was carried out after the Prime Minister‘s speech on Tuesday in which she confirmed Britain will leave the EU single market and that although she wants an ambitious new partnership with Europe, she will walk away without a deal rather than take a bad one. More than half, 55 per cent, of voters think Mrs May’s plan will be good for Britain. Just 19 per cent thought it was bad news for the country and 26 per cent had no opinion. Britons also have confidence in her negotiating skills, with 47 per cent thinking she can secure the kind of outcome she set out against 38 per cent thinking she cannot. Nearly half, 48 per cent, agreed with her that “no deal is better than a bad deal” and 55 per cent that she should be prepared to walk away, while just 17 per cent would rather take a poor agreement than have none at all.

EU

Westmonster
The Euro has finally dropped! Pro-EU think tank the Jacques Delors Institute has published a report highlighting the by now well-known fact that Britain will leave a huge black hole in the European Union’s budget after exiting the struggling bloc. Using figures taken directly from the EU statistics office and dressed up in tidy graphs, the Jacques Delors Institute, named after the architect of the Euro and the treacherous Maastricht Treaty, reveals that Britain will leave the EU facing a budget gap of between €5bn and €17bn. “Although much is still uncertain, it is clear that Brexit will deal a shock to the EU budget,” warns the paper. Without the UK cash cow pouring in contributions, logically the EU will surely have to downsize.

Express
HOLLAND today declared any lingering hopes for the creation of a European superstate “buried” and called for curbs to the principle of ever-closer union and hinted at reform to controversial freedom of movement rules. In a highly-charged intervention Dutch PM Mark Rutte said the troubled bloc cannot go on as it is and accused eurocrats who still hope to morph the continent into one United States of Europe of “accelerating its dismantling”. Instead he called for a new “pragmatic” settlement between member states and Brussels with more respect for national sovereignty, whilst also suggesting that some of the EU’s most ideologically precious principles need rapidly overhauling. But his proposals were met with a robust response from former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, who mounted a passionate defence of “the biggest cultural achievement” the continent has seen in centuries and said more Europe is needed to solve its problems.

Independent
Germany’s finance minister has warned Theresa May she will not be taken seriously by world leaders if she breaks a G20 agreement by slashing taxes to attract business after Brexit. The Prime Minister has made clear she is ready to walk away from negotiations if the European Union only offers the UK a “punitive” trade deal. Setting out her strategy on Tuesday, she warned that Britain would respond to any attempted punishment for Brexit by changing the basis of its economic model and reducing corporate taxes to attract investment. But Wolfgang Schäuble said Mrs May’s claim that the country will emerge from Brexit as a “truly global Britain” would be undermined if she followed through on her warning. She would be breaking an agreement reached by world leaders at 2015’s G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, not to use corporate taxes to compete with other countries, he said.

Express
A TOP economist has painted a bleak picture of the eurozone despite deluded Brussels bureaucrats insisting it can bounce back. The current situation for many countries in the EU has been labelled “bleak” as they remain in huge debts and cannot find a way out, according to Joseph Stiglitz. The renowned economist and professor was speaking on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. Mr Stiglitz said in a meeting titled ‘Fixing Europe’s Disunion’ the Euro was not created against a backdrop of institutions which could support it. And as a result, he said, it is failing.

Breitbart
One of the key principles and flagship developments of the European Union (EU), open borders, has taken another significant blow as Germany and Austria held a joint press conference to announce the new border controls between their countries were going to continue indefinitely. Under EU Schengen zone rules the free movement of people and open borders can be suspended unilaterally by member states for short periods of time in the case of national emergency. However with Europe in its third calendar year of dealing with the fallout of the migrant crisis while attempting to prevent transnational terrorism, the short, revolvable crisis the rules were designed to accommodate is stretching the open borders system beyond its limits.

Independent
One of the most senior figures in the European Commission has warned that Brexit will be damaging for both the EU and Britain. Pierre Moscovici said forecasts in both Europe and the UK predicted as much, but that a deal could be struck that would re-invent the relationship with the UK. He was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos where International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde also warned that Brexit will not be without “pain”. Mr Moscovici said: “I’m convinced that [Brexit] is not an example to follow, that it is not positive, neither for us, neither for the UK. “When I presented as European Commissioner for Economics the forecasts for 2017, the growth of the UK might be, or is to be, divided by two, from two to one per cent.” Speaking to the BBC he added: “[UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s] forecasts showed that there would be, as he said ‘ups and downs’.”

Express
GLOBAL banker Christine Lagarde was savaged by Brexit backers today after refusing to abandon her referendum Project Fear doom-mongering. The head of the International Monetary Fund warned of “pain” ahead for the UK as it left the European Union and claimed Britain was unlikely to secure arrangements as good as its current membership. She also stood by the IMF’s recent decision to downgrade its British growth forecast for next year, to 1.4 per cent, although it upgraded it to 1.5 per cent for 2017 after the UK economy performed much better after last June’s Brexit vote than people like her had predicted. During last year’s referendum campaign she was a willing participant in then Chancellor George Osborne’s bid to scare voters out of backing Brexit and she summed up the likely economic consequences of a vote to leave as wholly negative, ranging from “pretty bad to very, very bad”.

NHS

Times
Thousands of lives will be saved after a landmark study found that MRI scans are twice as effective at spotting prostate cancer as biopsies. The NHS watchdog is now reviewing whether diagnosis guidelines for the condition should be changed. Up to 100,000 men a year are suspected of having Britain’s most common cancer to affect males. The breakthrough, described as the biggest advance for decades in diagnosing the disease, will also spare men from gruelling and invasive biopsies that they do not need. Many other cancers are diagnosed using scans, but men who are suspected after a blood test of having prostate cancer are usually given biopsies, in which a needle is inserted into the gland.

Telegraph
Prostate cancer could be ruled out with a simple MRI scan and prevent one in four men needing an invasive biopsy, a new study shows. Around 100,000 men are sent for a biopsy each year in Britain following blood tests which suggest prostate cancer might be present. But many will not have an aggressive tumour – or cancer at all – and run the risk of developing sepsis or urinary problems through the unnecessary exploratory surgery. Biopsies are also notoriously poor at detecting aggressive cancer, missing half of deadly cases and over-diagnosing in 25 per cent of cases. Now a new study by University College London (UCL) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) has shown around 25,000 men could be spared a biopsy and needless treatment, if they were scanned first. A trial of 576 men across 11 NHS hospitals found that scans could help one in four men avoid further treatment.

Times
Almost every NHS hospital has dangerously few nurses on wards and staff shortages are worsening, analysis of official figures shows. Healthcare assistants are filling in for qualified nurses in a trend that experts warned would put people at risk. Nurses have cautioned that patients are going unwashed because hospitals are short of staff. Understaffing has worsened since the government capped pay for agency nurses, the figures suggest. Analysis of official data by the Health Service Journal finds 96 per cent of 214 hospitals failed to meet their planned level of nurses on wards during the day in October, up from about 85 per cent two years ago.

Mail
Nearly every hospital in England is failing to hire enough nurses to ensure patients are safe, new figures reveal today. Some 96 per cent of hospitals are not meeting their own ‘safe staffing’ targets on wards – and the situation is deteriorating. The ‘worrying’ analysis, based on data from 224 NHS hospitals, also suggests nurses are being increasingly replaced by cheaper, unqualified healthcare assistants. And it paints a damning picture of the crisis on hospital wards – with one nurse warning that conditions are ‘desperately unsafe’. The study by the Health Service Journal revealed that 214 hospitals – or 96 per cent – failed to meet their own safe nurse-staffing levels for daytime shifts in October 2016. Some 190 – 85 per cent – did not hit their targets for night-time shifts.

Strikes

Morning Star
BRITISH AIRWAYS cabin crew began a three-day strike against poverty pay yesterday. The walkout by Unite members follows a 48-hour strike last week. Around 100 flights were cancelled due to the strike and the airline confirmed that it would have to axe a “small number” of short-haul flights this time around. Both Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and shadow chancellor John McDonnell, whose constituency covers Heathrow, joined yesterday’s picket line. The union says the mixed fleet crew are on “poverty” pay rates, with many forced to take on second jobs or turn up for shifts when unwell because they cannot afford to take sick leave. Unite national officer Oliver Richardson pointed out that BA’s parent company is forecasting “massive annual profits” of around £2.3 billion. “It is clear the airline can afford to recognise the hard work of its mixed fleet cabin crew by paying a proper decent wage,” he said.

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