Brexit

Independent
Britain should leave the EU without a deal if the only alternative is remaining in the bloc, Jeremy Hunt has said. The foreign secretary said he would be willing to deliver a no-deal Brexit if he is prime minister because the “democratic risk” of not leaving the EU is greater than the economic damage of leaving without an agreement. He insisted the UK would “make a success” of a no-deal outcome despite the “very significant” disruption it would cause.  Mr Hunt is tipped as a frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as prime minister. He backed Remain in 2016 but has since emphasised the need to deliver Brexit and often sided with Eurosceptic colleagues in cabinet. Asked if he would be willing as prime minister to take Britain out of the EU without a deal, the foreign secretary told a Westminster lunch: “If there was a binary choice between no deal or no Brexit I would choose no deal because I think the democratic risk of no Brexit ultimately is higher than the economic risk of no deal.”

Sky News
Pro-Brexit convert Jeremy Hunt has claimed no-deal would be better than no Brexit, as he all but confirmed he will run for Tory leader. In a speech to political journalists in Westminster, the formerly pro-Remain foreign secretary spelled out his new pro-Brexit credentials. Quizzed about the Tory succession, in which he is expected to be a candidate, he said the next leader should support Brexit, “as I do”, even if they failed to vote Leave in the past.

WA

Express
THERESA May is planning to give MPs another vote on the Withdrawal Bill as early as next week and will use the promise of her quitting even sooner than planned in a bid to get her deal passed by the House of Commons, it has been claimed. And she will attempt to take a definite answer on the Northern Ireland back-stop out of the bill in a bid to ease its path. This comes amid growing discontent at Mrs May’s leadership with MPs from the 1922 committee only narrowly voting against a rule change to allow an early confidence vote on the Prime Minister.

Mail
Ministers today piled pressure on Theresa May to bring back her Brexit deal within days as it was claimed she could tear out the Irish backstop torn out to swing the vote. The Prime Minister could decide to remove the controversial border clause in the hope MPs vote for it and send a new message to Brussels that it must be axed or changed if Britain is to leave the EU.

Sun
THE Tories’ most powerful backbencher has called on Theresa May to support a fresh Commons bid by Brexiteers to strip the Irish backstop from her EU deal. The Sun can reveal that senior Tory Eurosceptics are planning to table an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to remove the controversial insurance plan that keeps Britain tied to the EU indefinitely.

Independent
Theresa May is said to be considering forcing MPs to vote on her Brexit deal for a fourth time next week after she saw off the latest attempt to oust her from office. The prime minister is planning to bring forward a law to enact her withdrawal agreement, even though it has been rejected by MPs three times, reports suggest. The law is expected to include new guarantees that the government hopes will entice both Tory Eurosceptics and wavering Labour MPs to vote for the deal.

Theresa May

Mail
Theresa May‘s stay of execution is being seized on by enemies of Boris Johnson – but his supporters claim Tory MPs have ‘bottled it’, it was revealed today. The Prime Minister has been given some breathing space after senior Tories rejected plans that could have seen her forced from office within weeks. In a significant setback for Mrs May’s Brexiteer critics, the ruling executive of the 1922 Committee of MPs blocked a bid to change the leadership rules to allow a fresh vote of confidence in her.

Sun
TORY would-be leaders were today urged to get behind Theresa May’s Brexit plan – because it’s the best way to get her out. Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned the country won’t be able to move on until Brexit is put to bed. And he blasted rebel MPs who refuse to back the PM – putting our EU departure at risk.

Express
THERESA MAY was spared a new no confidence vote by Tory backbenchers only to block the election of Boris Johnson as next leader of the Conservative Party, it has been claimed. The Prime Minister was given the chance to quit in a few weeks rather than being abruptly cast out by a vote called by the powerful 1922 Committee in an attempt by the former Foreign Secretary’s enemies to quash Mr Johnson’s rise to power, according to a source.

Express
THERESA MAY has set herself a new Brexit deadline of June 30 to ensure that British MEPs elected next month never take up their seats, Whitehall sources revealed last night. Government insiders say the Prime Minister given up hope of cancelling UK participation in the European Parliament poll by securing Commons approval for her withdrawal deal within the next three weeks.

TBP

Telegraph (by Nigel Farage)
If there is a more arrogant and dishonest national political figure at the moment than Lord Adonis of Camden Town, I am not aware of them.  This Labour peer and pro-EU obsessive (I do not use the term lightly) has spent the last 34 months lobbying for a second EU referendum because he doesn’t like the result of the first one.

Sun
THE Brexit Party is planning to take on the Tories and Labour in the next General Election, Sun Online can reveal. Nigel Farage has confirmed he wants to run candidates for Parliament in future to stop Remainer MPs blocking Brexit. His new party is on course to come top in next month’s EU elections just months after it was founded.

Express
NIGEL FARAGE’S Brexit Party could be heading for victory in the forthcoming European elections, the latest polls have revealed. Who will win the European Elections 2019? Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party could storm ahead of their opponents in the upcoming European Parliament elections next month. The elections will be held between May 23 and 26 where a total of 751 MEPs will be chosen to represent the EU’s member states.

Change UK

Westmonster
Just two days into the fledgling Change UK – The Independent Group – Remain Alliance Euro-election campaign and it is facing big teething problems. Beyond the confusing three names, bland managerial logo, and dismal poll numbers, two candidates have already been expelled from the list. Since then more comments have been emerging that have made it hard to tell the ChUKas apart from the pre-Batten Kippers… Now Guido can bring you the quiz we’ve all been waiting for… ‘Who Said It? ChUK 2019 or UKIP 2014?’ Can you guess which are comments from 2019 ChUK MEP candidates and which are from the heady days of UKIP councillors and candidates back in 2014..?

Tommy Robinson

Mirror
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has announced he is standing to be an MEP in the forthcoming EU elections. The far-right extremist, who calls himself Tommy Robinson, launched his website today, the final day of nominations to stand in the Europe-wide poll. Despite his role as an advisor to Ukip leader Gerard Batten, he’s still barred from joining the party, and will stand in the North West region as an independent. In a message on the website, he took a swipe at Nigel Farage, calling him “just another millionaire stockbroker who looks down at the working classes”.

BBC News
English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson has announced he will stand in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is expected to stand as an MEP candidate in the North West England constituency. He pledged to represent “the working class of England” if elected as an Independent MEP.

Sun
FORMER English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson is going to run to be an MEP in next month’s EU elections. The far-right hot head – known also as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – will stand as an independent in the North West, if they end up taking place. Bookies Paddy Power had his chances at 3/1 to be elected. He hit out at Brexit Party boss Nigel Farage, calling him “just another millionaire stockbroker who looks down at the working classes”.

EU

Independent
The government is facing a legal challenge over its preparations for the upcoming European parliament elections amid fears that millions of EU citizens in the UK could be deprived of their vote. Under current rules, EU citizens must register to vote and also sign a special form stating that they are not also voting in any other EU country, known as a “UC1”, by 7 May. But chaos surrounding the date of the UK’s departure from the EU means the form was only sent to 2 million European nationals on the electoral register a few weeks before the deadline – instead of the usual four-month period.

Breitbart
The European Parliament has approved a multi-billion euro EU Defence Fund described as “terrible and highly political” by a senior British Armed Forces veteran, as the bloc’s plans for a European Army — once dismissed as “fantasy” — plod forwards. The €13 billion EU Defence Fund was approved by 328 votes in favour to 231 against, according to Forbes, and helps move forward European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s agenda for a Defence Union.

Express
FRANCE is to elect ghost MEPs who will have absolutely no role because their seats will be occupied by British politicians hell-bent on causing EU chaos and quitting the very parliament they are part of. According to many pundits and polls, Britain is likely to elect anti-EU members of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the forthcoming farcical European elections on May 22.

Westmonster
The European Union have chosen to keep details of talks between an EU Commissioner, Tony Blair and George Soros a secret. Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, met with Blair and Soros at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The EU Observer report on the email summary that includes the line: “Soros and Blair: discussions with the two earliest backers of a ‘People’s Vote’”.

Scotland

Telegraph
Would the European Union allow a newly independent Scotland to rejoin the bloc after Brexit and what conditions would Brussels demand from Edinburgh? Nicola Sturgeon wants a Scottish independence referendum by 2021 if Brexit happens. “Independence,” she said on Wednesday in Holyrood, “would allow us to protect our place in Europe.” But as with so much to do with the European Union, things are nowhere near as simple as that.

Guardian
Nicola Sturgeon is to introduce new legislation to stage a second Scottish independence referendum, claiming one must be held by May 2021 if Brexit goes ahead. The first minister said Brexit would have such a catastrophic impact on Scotland’s economy and Westminster’s approach to it had been so chaotic that Scottish voters must have the option to choose independence. In a long-awaited statement to the Scottish parliament on her plans, Sturgeon said the proposed legislation would set out how a new referendum would be held if Holyrood were granted the powers to stage one.

Mail
Nicola Sturgeon could do a deal with Jeremy Corbyn and Labour if it secures a second referendum on Scottish independence, it was claimed today. Scotland’s First Minister said yesterday that Scots should be given the opportunity to vote again before the next Holyrood elections in 2021 – if Brexit goes ahead. Delaying a referendum for two years is a tacit admission that Theresa May will not let her have one while she is in power.

Crime

Mail
The number of killings on Britain’s streets is at its highest level in a decade, shocking crime figures revealed today. There were 732 police recorded homicides – which includes murders and manslaughter cases – in England and Wales last year, the highest since 2008 and the equivalent of two a day. The number of knife offences also rose by six per cent – with more 40,800 recorded crimes involving a blade.

Mirror
Tory Police Minister Nick Hurd has admitted that police cuts are a “factor” driving Britain’s rocketing knife crime. Less money for police forces since the Tories came to power has seen 21,000 officers taken off the beat. Labour said the admission that the government was failing it its “basic duty to keep the public safe”. It comes as official statistics revealed that 40,829 offences involving a knife or sharp object were recorded for 2018 in England and Wales – a 6% rise on the year before. Murder and manslaughter also spiked to 732 killings, up from 655 on the previous 12 months.

Sun
BRITAIN’S murder rate is at its highest level in a DECADE with two people being killed every day, shocking figures have revealed. And knife crime has soared to the highest levels in eight years too as Britain’s blade epidemic continues to spiral out of control. Cops recorded 732 homicides in 2018 – the highest since 2008 – 607 of which were murders.

Education

Times
Private schools are saving taxpayers billions of pounds a year, their head teachers have said in a forceful defence of the sector. The heads used their annual report yesterday to assert the financial benefits of fee-charging schools and the good they are doing for society. The schools bring economic benefits and taxpayer savings totalling more than £20 billion a year by educating pupils who would otherwise need state places and by providing employment, community facilities and tax contributions, an analysis for the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has found.

Huawei

Times
Jeremy Hunt and Gavin Williamson have denied leaking discussions at the National Security Council over Huawei as senior ministers refused to rule out a criminal investigation. The foreign secretary denounced as “utterly appalling” leaks from Tuesday’s most sensitive cabinet committee attended by Britain’s spy chiefs that has called into question future intelligence sharing in Whitehall. The account of the meeting that approved the Chinese telecom company’s role in a new 5G network was described as a “hit-job” by one senior figure who said it was “evidently briefed to make a leadership candidate look tough on China”.

Independent
Ministers “cannot exclude”  the possibility of a criminal investigation after an unprecedented leak of secret discussions over a decision to allow a Chinese telecommunications giant to work on the UK’s 5G mobile network. It follows demands from both Conservative MPs and the Labour Party for a full-blown leak inquiry over reports that Huawei‘s work had been approved at this week’s National Security Council (NSC) – despite opposition from some cabinet ministers.

Sky News
The culture secretary says he cannot rule out a criminal inquiry into the leak of secret talks between security chiefs and ministers about Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. It comes after ministers attacked the “outrageous” leak that the National Security Council (NSC) had approved Huawei’s bid to help build Britain’s 5G network. Jeremy Wright told the Commons: “We cannot exclude the possibility of a criminal investigation”.

Guardian
Cabinet members who were at Tuesday’s National Security Council (NSC) have been sent an ultimatum by Whitehall’s most powerful official to confess or deny whether they leaked a controversial decision to allow Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G phone network. Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill is understood to have written to those present and demanded that they tell him immediately whether they were involved.

Health

Times
More than half a million children in Britain have been left unprotected against measles in the past decade, according to a new estimate. The children’s charity Unicef has called for a renewed focus on immunisation to halve a global surge in measles cases that is killing thousands each year. An upsurge in anti-vaccine messages on social media has been blamed for promoting scepticism among parents, but Public Health England says that the bigger problem in this country is difficulty in getting a GP appointment to have the jabs.

Telegraph
Children who have not been given the MMR vaccine could be excluded from school to prevent the spread of disease, the Health Secretary has suggested. Matt Hancock said he could not “rule out” the possibility that unvaccinated children would be sent home if immunisation rates fail to improve. Teaching unions described the idea as a “non-starter”, saying it would be wrong to punish children for their parents’ decision not to vaccinate them, as well as being “unworkable”.

Mail
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out children being kept out of schools if they aren’t vaccinated against measles. Speaking on talkRADIO this morning, Mr Hancock said he ‘wouldn’t rule out anything’ when asked if he would consider the drastic step. MMR vaccinations last year dropped for the fourth year in a row in the UK, while measles cases in England more than trebled in a year in 2018.

Mail
Lung cancer is on the rise among non-smokers as experts warn that GPs are missing the symptoms. Leading health officials said last night the issue received far too little attention – despite the fact 6,000 Britons who have never smoked die of lung cancer every year. Smoking remains by far the biggest cause of lung cancer, but one in seven victims is a non-smoker, and scientists predict that within a decade, people who have never smoked will overtake smokers among lung cancer patients.

ITV News
Lung cancer among people who have never smoked is “more common than most people think”, experts have warned. An estimated 6,000 “never-smokers” – those who have had less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime – die from the disease every year in the UK, higher than deaths from other cancer types, according to a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Mail
Cancer drugs are not reaching the patients who need them, experts have warned. One in six people diagnosed with cancer have faced problems getting the drugs recommended by their doctors, according to a report by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. NHS rationing, red tape and hold-ups mean 16 per cent of patients have either faced delays getting cancer treatments or been denied them altogether, polling by the organisation has found.

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