HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!

Brexit

Mail
Boris Johnson will deliver a plea for the country to move on from Brexit as the UK finally leaves the EU tonight. In an address to be broadcast shortly before Britain’s departure at 11pm, the Prime Minister will insist that Brexit marks ‘not an end but a beginning’. And in a sign of the new Government’s changed approach, he will convene a symbolic Cabinet meeting this afternoon in Sunderland, the first city to declare for Brexit when the 2016 referendum results came out.

Sun
BORIS Johnson will declare “the dawn of a new era” for Britain as the nation leaves the EU at 11pm tonight. In an address to the nation from No10, the PM will describe the historic moment as the beginning of “real national renewal”. And he will pledge to dedicate his Premiership to ending the country’s stark geographical divides once and for all. Boris will insist: “We no longer accept that your life chances – your family’s life chances – should depend on which part of the country you grow up in.

Evening Standard
The Friday closest to the EU referendum date should be made a bank holiday, a Brexiteer has said. Tory Peter Bone told MPs he plans to introduce a Bill calling for a “United Kingdom Day” on the Friday closest to June 23 every year. Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg described Mr Bone’s proposed UK Day as “republican sounding”, and suggested that a June bank holiday to mark the Queen’s birthday would “be nicer”. Raising the idea during business questions, Mr Bone said: “Next week I intend to introduce a private members’ Bill to create a bank holiday on the Friday closest to June 23 every year to be called United Kingdom Day so that a country can celebrate sovereignty and the Union of our four great nations.

Telegraph
In a broadcast to the nation at 11pm on Friday – the moment the UK finally breaks free of the EU – the Prime Minister will urge the country to look forward, not back, saying “this is not an end, but a beginning…a moment of real national renewal and change”. Mr Johnson will hold a special Cabinet meeting on Friday morning in Sunderland, which was first to declare a Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum, where he will tell ministers they must focus on delivering the benefits that come from Britain’s new found freedom from Brussels.

Times
It has been the most divisive issue in modern British political history. So it is perhaps no surprise that cabinet ministers cannot agree on the best way to mark the moment that Britain leaves the European Union tonight. At 11pm some will be partying with Dominic Cummings in Downing Street. Others are hoping for an early night. Ministers have been wrestling with the dilemma of how to acknowledge the point at which four decades of EU membership comes to an end without alienating Remain voters.

Trade

Sun
BRUSSELS has dealt Boris Johnson’s hopes of carving out a rapid-fire trade deal by the end of the year a blow with new plans to push Britain into an all-encompassing pact. Michel Barnier briefed EU ambassadors yesterday that an FTA with the UK will have to be built into a wider partnership rather than sewn up separately. He is pushing an Association Agreement, which the bloc has with countries like Ukraine, that would have to be approved by all 27 capitals and the EU Parliament. It would also mean all aspects of the future relationship, from trade to security, are covered by a single system of rules and governance.

Express
EU member states are divided on what matters should be prioritised in the upcoming trade talks, with France insistent that the UK should continue to follow EU rules and regulations after Brexit. Britain will officially leave the EU at 11pm tomorrow (midnight in Brussels) and enter into a transition period with the bloc which ends on December 31, 2020. During this time the two sides will enter negotiations to discuss the future relationship, with the two sides attempting to reach agreement on matters such as trade, security and fishing. With the talks expected to begin on March 3, it has emerged the EU27 are unable to reach agreement on whether they should take a hardline approach.

Mail
Dominic Raab raised eyebrows today as he insisted that the UK could get a post-Brexit US free trade deal done by the start of November. The Foreign Secretary said he was ‘confident’ that an agreement was possible in just nine months before Donald Trump stands for re-election, as he hosted Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo in London. The US politician said he agreed that such a deal was possible as he said that Washington would put Britain ‘at the front of the line’.

Telegraph
Michel Barnier will issue a stern rebuke to Boris Johnson after The Telegraph revealed the prime minister will tell Brussels he would rather accept post-Brexit border checks than lose the freedom to diverge from EU rules.  The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator is expected to warn Mr Johnson that there is no chance of striking a zero-quota, zero-tariff trade deal unless Britain promises to stick to EU standards after the transition period finishes at the end of 2020. Mr Barnier will set out the European Commission’s draft negotiating mandate for the trade talks in Brussels on Monday, the very day that Mr Johnson is expected to make a major speech setting out his red lines for the UK-EU relationship.

EU

Telegraph
European fugitives could escape British justice by fleeing home after three EU countries refused to extradite their nationals to the UK during the 11-month Brexit transition period. The news comes as it emerged Michel Barnier will issue a stern rebuke to Boris Johnson after The Telegraph revealed the prime minister will tell Brussels he would rather accept post-Brexit border checks than lose the freedom to diverge from EU rules.  The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator is expected to warn Mr Johnson on Monday that there is no chance of striking a zero-quota, zero-tariff trade deal unless Britain promises to stick to EU standards after the transition period finishes at the end of 2020.

Express
BREXITEERS are furious with former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for attempting to lure the UK back into the clutches of the EU 24 hours before Britain leaves. Britons hit back at the ex-EU figurehead for speaking of how it was “possible” the UK would change its mind over Brexit and rejoin the EU regardless of the referendum result in 2016 – and three-and-a-half years of negotiations. Mr Juncker also said in the interview it would be “great” for the UK to join in 20-30 years’ time. Express.co.uk readers trashed the suggestion on social media.

Huffington Post
The Remain cause is lost. Brexit is happening. The UK will leave the EU at 11pm on Friday evening. While Brexiteers will spend the evening rejoicing after their long battle to extract the UK from the European Union, the future appears more bleak for die hard Remainers.   “Face up to one simple point: we lost,” Tony Blair conceded this week. Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Lib Dems, the most pro-EU party, said on Thursday: “Our campaign to stop Brexit is over.” But is it all over?

Independent
A few weeks ago, the outspoken Labour MP Jess Phillips, at the time a leadership candidate, was asked by Andrew Marr about the possibility of Britain rejoining the European Union in a few years’ time. She said this: “You would have to look at what is going on at the time … so if we are living in an absolute paradise of trade, and we’re totally safe in the world, and we’re not going to worry about having to constantly look to America for our safety and security, then maybe I’ll be proven wrong.

Fox News
Greece announced a plan Thursday to install a “floating wall” in the Aegean Sea to help curb a recent resurgence in the flow of migrants arriving on its islands’ shores from Turkey,  according to reports. The Defense Ministry based in Athens called on vendors for offers to build an about 1.6-mile-long floating barrier to be placed in the waters off the island of Lesbos to separate some of Greece’s most eastern islands from the Turkish mainland. The net-like structure would peak about 1.64 feet above sea level and include lights to make it visible at night, officials said, according to Reuters.

Tax

Sun
SAJID Javid has formally announced 31 million Brits will get a tax cut worth an average of more than £100 later this year. The move will raise National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from £8,632 to £9,500 on April 6. It will cut the annual tax bill for the average full-time worker by £104 and by £78 for the average self-employed worker. The tax giveaway was central to Boris Johnson’s election manifesto. The Chancellor had hoped to save the formal announcement of the tax cut for his first Budget on March 11.

Farage

Mail
Nigel Farage is at his desk in his Brexit Party office in London, surrounded by broken blinds, empty fag packets, cans of sugar-free tonic water (‘only 15 calories a go!’), scattered memos, a china bulldog sporting a Union Jack vest and a couple of badly framed pictures of him beaming next to his great pal President Donald Trump. Everything he has been yearning for, campaigning for, obsessing over (‘it wasn’t a bit of an obsession — it’s been a total obsession!’) and working towards for nearly three decades is about to come to fruition. ‘This is a huge, huge week for me,’ he says. ‘It’s amazing, isn’t it? I was thinking this morning about that Newbury by-election in June 1992, when the Anti-Federalist League [a cross-party alliance to campaign against the Maastricht Treaty] put up their first ever candidate and I spent seven days of my life campaigning for it.’

Express
Nigel Farage says that as the clock hits 11pm tonight he will know that the huge personal price he has paid to help deliver Brexit has been worth it. The triumphant political visionary will complete a lifetime’s work when the curtain finally falls on the UK’s 47-year membership. He realised a 25-year dream when Britain voted “out” in the 2016 referendum, but admitted that victory had taken an enormous private toll. Mr Farage, 55, divorced, remarried, split from his second wife, beat cancer, survived a plane crash and an attempt on his life – all while campaigning for the UK to quit the bloc.

Coronavirus

Telegraph
The coronavirus outbreak was declared an international public health emergency last night by the World Health Organisation as more than 80 British nationals headed home from the virus-hit city of Wuhan. The announcement, after a meeting of the WHO emergency committee in Geneva, prompted the four chief medical officers of the UK to increase the risk level of coronavirus here from low to moderate. While they do not think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed, the government should “plan for all eventualities”, they said.

Mail
Britons have today caught a flight out of Wuhan as they are evacuated from coronavirus ground-zero and headed for a two-week quarantine – but others have been left behind. Pictures on social media showed Britons Patrick Graham and Ben Kavanagh, both wearing face masks, preparing to board the aircraft back the UK, which is due to arrive at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, at around 12.50pm.  Irishman Mr Kavanagh, who was one of the first to board the plane, compiled a video diary showing his journey to Wuhan Tianhe Airport, which started at the toll bridge preparing to leave the city, while masked Chinese authorities kept a close watch on proceedings.

ITV News
China’s coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Health experts made the announcement on Thursday evening following a meeting of the WHO emergency committee in Geneva. Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom said “a previously unknown pathogen” has “escalated into an unprecedented outbreak.” “The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries,” he said.

Times
The coronavirus outbreak was declared a global emergency last night, prompting Britain to raise the risk level posed by the deadly infection. Health leaders in Britain ordered an escalation in planning for a significant outbreak of the flu-like illness that originated in China and has continued to spread around the world. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, which made the declaration, said: “We are all in this together and we can only stop it together.” He urged the world to unite to stop the virus taking hold in more countries.

Mail
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Thursday that it was declaring the deadly coronavirus outbreak spreading from China to be a global health emergency. The warning, officially known as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ and defined as an ‘extraordinary event’, is the highest alert the UN health agency can issue. Just one week ago, the organization decided to hold off the declaration as there was no evidence of human-to-human evidence outside of China. However, in the week since, the number of cases surged ten-fold.

Scotland

Mail
Scots would vote to break up the UK if a fresh referendum was held today, according to a shock poll. YouGov research found 51 per cent north of the border would support independence – the first time the firm has recorded a majority in favour since 2015. The figures – which were hailed by the SNP as evidence momentum is on their side – emerged as Nicola Sturgeon and  Boris Johnson do battle over whether to hold another national vote.  The First Minister has demanded one immediately saying circumstances have been changed by Brexit.

Yahoo News
The prospect of an independent Scotland has received a boost after a survey showed a lead for a ‘Yes’ vote for the first time in five years. According to a YouGov poll, 51% of the 1,039 Scots surveyed supported Scottish independence, compared to 49% who opted for the ‘No’ vote. The narrow lead nearly echoes the 52/48 split in the EU referendum in 2016 that will see  Britain leaving the EU on 31 January. According to YouGov, the shift towards independence comes from Remainers in Scotland moving towards Yes.

Independent
MSPs have backed Nicola Sturgeon‘s calls for a second Scottish independence referendum later this year in a vote at Holyrood. The Scottish parliament passed a motion demanding that Boris Johnson allow another referendum on Scotland’s place in the UK, pointing to Brexit as a “material change in circumstances” since the 2014 vote. The motion, backed by 64 votes to 54, now calls on the UK government to “reach an agreement with the Scottish government on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish Parliament”.

BBC News
Nicola Sturgeon is to set out her “next steps” towards holding a new referendum on Scottish independence, on the day the UK formally leaves the EU. The Scottish first minister says she wants to hold indyref2 later this year, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already rejected her request. Ms Sturgeon has previously said she will not hold an unofficial referendum similar to the one in Catalonia. She will, however, set out plans to step up the campaign for independence.

Education

Independent
Teachers and unions have warned the “crisis is not over” as they criticised the prime minister’s school funding announcement. Local authorities will now be required by law to make sure all schools across England receive their minimum funding entitlements from next year, Boris Johnson announced. It comes after schools were forced to close at lunchtime and parents were asked to pay for essential resources amid funding cuts. Every secondary school will receive at least £5,000 per pupil next year and every primary school will receive at least £3,750 per pupil as part of the government’s funding package.

Health

Guardian
People with lung cancer are dying after being diagnosed late in A&E because their GP missed signs of the disease despite often repeated visits, experts have revealed. As many as 56% of people in some parts of England who get lung cancer are only diagnosed when they visit A&E, according to a report by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition. They are five times more likely to die within a year than those whose condition has been identified either by their GP or through the NHS cancer screening programme. Family doctors often fail to diagnose cases of lung cancer until it is too late to treat effectively or miss them altogether, leading patients to seek help at A&E, the report says.

HS2

Times
Boris Johnson faces a rebellion from up to 30 Tory MPs as he prepares to give HS2 the green light. The prime minister will meet this evening with Sajid Javid, the chancellor, and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, to discuss the future of the project. Mr Johnson is expected to announce within days that the project should go ahead but make significant cost savings amid concerns that the final bill will exceed £100 billion. Mr Javid now backs the project after a Treasury analysis concluded that no alternative could provide the same regional benefits in the same timeframe.

Mail
Transport chiefs believe the government could decide to split the planned HS2 rail network into three separate projects in a bid to save money and win over opponents.  Such a move would reduce the headline figure of the £106 billion infrastructure project and potentially make it more acceptable to its critics. The suggestion came as Boris Johnson was reportedly set to give the green light to the high speed railway line despite the opposition of his most senior aide Dominic Cummings and a growing Tory backlash.

Independent
Sajid Javid is expected to throw his support behind the contentious HS2 high-speed rail project, suggesting it could be given the green light by No 10 in a matter of days. Despite considerable concerns about the spiralling cost of HS2 and opposition from Tory MPs, the chancellor will reportedly urge colleagues today to approve the infrastructure scheme. It comes as Mr Javid prepares to meet with Boris Johnson and  Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, on Thursday to discuss the high-speed line from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

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