Brexit

Express
MORE than half of grassroots Tories want Theresa May’s Brexit plan to be dropped in favour of a no-deal departure from the EU, a survey revealed last night. Research by university academics found that 57% of Conservative Party members think leaving the European bloc with no withdrawal agreement would be preferable to the Prime Minister’s proposals. Less than a quarter (23%) of those quizzed in the survey would vote for her deal in a referendum offering a three-way choice between the deal, no deal and remaining in the EU. The findings of the poll, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will come as a fresh blow to Mrs May ahead of the crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal scheduled for the week beginning January 14.

Telegraph
Theresa May’s hopes of persuading Tory MPs to back her Brexit deal were dealt a bitter blow as a poll of Conservative Party members showed more than half would prefer to leave the EU with no deal. Mrs May believed opposition to her deal might soften after the Christmas break, but new research shows the Tory grassroots would overwhelmingly prefer to leave the EU without a deal than stick with the agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister. MPs return to Parliament on Monday and are due to vote on the deal the following week, when they will come under pressure from their core supporters to vote it down.

Independent
A majority of Conservative Party members do not support Theresa May’s agreement with Brussels and want the UK to quit the EU in a no-deal Brexit, a new study has found. The poll of more than 1,200 rank-and-file Tory members revealed overwhelming opposition to the deal the prime minister has painstakingly tried to salvage over Christmas in talks with European leaders. It also lays waste to hopes in Downing Street that local party associations may have put pressure on MPs over the break to back her deal.

Sky News
More than half of Conservative Party members would prefer to leave the EU without a deal rather than under the prime minister’s Brexit plan, according to a poll. In a two-way choice, 64% of grassroots members would opt for a “no-deal” Brexit on 29 March, with just 29% preferring the plan Theresa May has negotiated. In a three-way choice, 57% said they would support leaving under the potentially chaotic no-deal scenario. Under a quarter – 23% – would back Theresa May’s deal, and 15% said they would prefer to remain in the EU. Five percent had no preference.

Times
Conservative Party members have resoundingly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal and will support a “no deal” departure from the EU, according to a new poll.The prime minister made a sustained effort to sell her withdrawal agreement and her plans for the EU-UK future relationship to grassroots Tories before Christmas. She had hoped that rebellious MPs would return to their constituencies over the festive period and spend time with activists, who would talk them into backing the agreement before the meaningful vote the week after next. However, a YouGov poll of paying Tory members suggests that the activists strongly dislike Mrs May’s deal.

Telegraph
Theresa May has been accused of trying to pressure MPs into backing her Brexit deal by launching an information blitz about the disruption no deal would cause. From Tuesday January 8, people planning to travel to the EU will be warned they may need to renew passports and small businesses will be told how to prepare for no deal as part of a new public service campaign. The drive will include adverts on commercial radio, and posters and billboards across the country. The campaign will also raise awareness of what the Government is doing to prepare for no deal, including setting aside money for extra border staff and funding to ensure food safety.

Westmonster
A clear majority of Conservative grassroot members now back a No Deal Brexit over Theresa May’s proposed deal. That is the verdict delivered in a new bombshell YouGov poll carried out for the Party Members Project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. When given the choice of leaving the EU with No Deal or May’s deal, 64% of Conservatives back leaving without an agreement compared to 29% who support what the PM has brought back from Brussels. Mainstream Tory opinion is now backing a No Deal Brexit.

Guardian
More than half of Conservative party members want Theresa May’s Brexit deal to be rejected in favour of leaving the EU with no deal, according to a survey. The poll, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), found a majority of the Tory rank and file are convinced that leaving the EU without a deal is better than the prime minister’s Brexit plan. In a three-way referendum, with the options of leaving without a deal, staying in the EU or leaving with May’s deal, 57% preferred leaving without a deal.

Mail
Ministers are launching a no-deal Brexit publicity blitz ahead of the crunch Commons vote on Theresa May‘s deal due in two weeks’ time. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay today said Whitehall departments and the health regulator will begin publishing guidance on how the public can get ready.  The information campaign, which will also see broadcasts on radio and social media, comes after the Government sought to advise businesses on how they might best prepare for no deal.

Sun
THERESA May is today under fresh pressure to scrap the Commons vote on her Brexit deal. Critics are calling on the PM to delay the vote, scheduled for later this month, to put the squeeze on the EU. Ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis today claimed putting the vote back would make it more likely Brussels will offer us a better deal. He said leaving a decision to the “eleventh hour” would convince Europe the UK is serious about quitting no matter what. Today Mrs May returned to Westminster after spending Christmas and New Year at her Berkshire home.

Express
PRIME Minister Theresa May’s team believes she will lose the looming Brexit withdrawal agreement vote and is pondering over her next move. A Downing Street insider said Mrs May is failing to win over Conservative Party rebels and the DUP in the 12 days before her so-called meaningful vote on the controversial deal she managed to scoop from the EU. The source told BuzzFeed she is prepared to put the vote to MPs time and time again in an attempt to get it through Parliament. The source said: “If we have to have the vote 30 times, we will.”

Morning Star
HAVING been proved wrong in their predictions about an immediate recession after the Brexit vote in 2016, the pro-EU camp has nevertheless stuck doggedly to its daily mission every day since June 23, 2016. According to reports in the Guardian and elsewhere of a survey of 6,000 companies by the British Chambers of Commerce, there is bad news on the sales, orders, employment and prices fronts. Yet, like so many other scare stories peddled by that newspaper and by the Treasury, the Bank of England and sections of big business, the real position turns out to be a little different behind the smoke and mirrors.

Westmonster
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the British government have been issuing advice on what is set to happen. Like or not, diehard Remoaners need to start accepting reality. The government have confirmed that from 30th March, new passports printed won’t include the words “European Union” on the front cover. This is a hugely symbolic move, with Nigel Farage having highlighted the issue of the UK passport effectively becoming an EU passport during the Brexit referendum.

EU

Times
Cabinet ministers have been told that EU countries are likely to provide assurances to Theresa May over her Brexit deal, but these have been referred to as “operation figleaf” by Whitehall officials. Downing Street hopes that the clarifications from the EU over the Northern Ireland backstop will come in the week before a vote on her withdrawal agreement, which will be either on January 15 or 16. These could include a promise that the EU does not want to keep Britain in the backstop permanently and that it is “not the desired outcome” or that it will be “only for a short period”.

Mail
The EU today insisted Brexit negotiations are over – despite Theresa May pleading for more concessions to help get her deal through the Commons. Brussels said no more talks were planned as the two sides had ‘concluded’ a deal, again stressing that the package would not be reopened.  The hard line from Jean-Claude Juncker’s commission comes as the PM launches another desperate scramble to persuade fellow leaders to break the deadlock.

Sun
EU leaders have insisted Brexit negotiations are OVER despite Theresa May pleading for more concessions. The PM – back at work today after the Christmas break – came under fresh pressure to scrap the Commons vote on her Brexit deal as critics claimed that putting it back further would make Brussels offer the UK a better deal. Ex Brexit-secretary David Davis said leaving the decision to the “eleventh hour” could force Europe into opening fresh negotiations on May’s withdrawal deal – that has so far won backing from the EU but has been blasted on all sides back in Britain.

Express
GIBRALTAR has been ordered to cough up more than €100million by the EU after the Rock was found to have given illegal tax advantages to multinational companies. The European Commission has deemed Gibraltar’s corporate tax exemption regime for interest and royalties illegal after a five-year probe and has now demanded the British territory hand over the eye-watering sum as punishment. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who spearheaded the investigation, said in a statement: “Our investigation has found that Gibraltar gave unfair and selective tax benefits to several multinational companies, through a corporate tax exemption scheme and through five tax rulings

Scotland

Telegraph
Scottish NHS patients have been forced to wait more than two years for their treatment despite Nicola Sturgeon’s legally binding guarantee promising them help within 12 weeks, it has emerged. The Liberal Democrats published official statistics obtained using the Freedom of Information Act showing more than 12,000 people have had to wait more than six months and 450 at least a year until their treatment started. In two cases, both recorded in troubled NHS Tayside, patients have been forced to wait more than 800 days for help – far in excess of two years.

Ireland

Mail
Almost 1,000 police officers are being trained up for deployment in Northern Ireland in case of violence stemming from a no-deal Brexit.  Chiefs from the Police Service of Northern Ireland had asked for the reinforcements to handle any problems that may arise from a hard border. It is thought large numbers of officers from Britain on the streets could anger Irish republicans. But additional officers are thought to be necessary to cover the possibility of violence with a no-deal Brexit.

Mail
Ireland will demand hundreds of millions of euros in aid from the EU if the UK crashes out of the bloc, the country’s agriculture minister warned today. Michael Creed said it would take ‘mega money’ to ease the impact of a no-deal Brexit – with beef, dairy and fishing among the most vulnerable sectors. The warning came as Brussels again appeared to dismiss Theresa May‘s plea for fresh concessions to help her get the Brexit package through the Commons later this month.

Independent
Ireland has said it will demand hundreds of millions of euros from Brussels if there is a no-deal Brexit, amid growing fears Britain is set to crash out of the European Union without an agreement. Ministers in Dublin announced that, if there is a hard Brexit, they will ask the European Commission for “mega money” to help the country cope with the economic fallout. Ireland is likely to be hit particularly hard by a no-deal outcome, with the country’s farming industry heavily reliant on trade with the UK.

Order-Order
Any illusions Ireland might have had that the EU is going to reward them in some way for being its Brexit patsy have evaporated today with the news that the European Commission is pressing ahead with its plan to abolish national vetoes over a swathe of taxation issues. Removing one of the last major hurdles towards an EU-wide tax policy… Ireland will be particularly hard hit by the changes as their competitive corporation tax rate is central to their impressive growth rates.

Mirror
Embattled Theresa May’s hopes of winning support for her Brexit plan were dashed over lunch with the DUP tonight. The Prime Minister’s bid to shore-up backing for her Brussels pact was looking increasingly fruitless after she hosted the party’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds in No10. Downing Street had hoped for a breakthrough, but he emerged saying: “The withdrawal agreement, as currently proposed, flies in the face of the government’s commitments on Northern Ireland as we leave the EU.”

UKIP

Mirror
UKIP’s leader has denied claims he is behind a “secret plot” to install far-right Tommy Robinson as his successor. Gerard Batten wants to lift a ban on the EDL founder, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, joining the anti-EU party by holding a postal ballot of all UKIP members. That’s prompted speculation Robinson could go for the top job – with the next leadership election due in April. Sources told The Sun that was the hard-right leader’s “ultimate plan” because he and Robinson are “best buddies” after he hired him as an aide, shared several platforms with him, and took him for lunch in the House of Lords.

Migration

Sun
SAJID Javid faced fresh humiliation as a think tank branded his post-Brexit immigration strategy the “longest suicide note” in the history of the Tory Party. Migration Watch said the incendiary proposals to allow any migrant from around the world to come to Britain for at least five years to look for a job – regardless of their ability – was bound to send sky-high migration levels even higher. Lord Green – the think tank’s founder – added there were no measures to reduce the sheer scale of immigration into the UK and little means of ensuring those coming to take up a job in post-Brexit Britain actually leave when their visa expires.

Telegraph
Sajid Javid is in talks with his French counterpart to send migrants crossing the Channel by boat back to France rather than allowing them to seek asylum in Britain. The Home Secretary is expected to discuss the proposal with the French interior minister Christophe Castaner at a meeting pencilled in for next week. Border Force officials aim to exploit a clause in the Dublin agreement that allows the UK to send migrants back if it can be shown they have previously been in an EU state for more than three months.

Times
Theresa May left Britain ‘naked’ after scrapping aerial surveillance designed to stop migrants crossing the Channel, a former security minister has claimed. Baroness Neville-Jones yesterday shifted the blame for the migrant crisis on to the Prime Minister as two vessels ordered to patrol the British coastline still remained in the Mediterranean. She said she warned Mrs May in 2016, when she was home secretary, that cancelling a £4million surveillance contract with aviation services firm Cobham was a risk to border security.

Mail
The HMS Mersey has begun patrolling the English Channel for illegal migrants as Britain steps up its response to the migrant crisis.  Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on Thursday night the HMS Mersey had been deployed to the channel to assist with policing the waters between Britain and France.  Williamson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid were said to be wrangling on Wednesday over who will foot the £20,000 a day cost of deploying HMS Mersey on patrol

Foreign aid

Sun
BRITAIN’S foreign aid department could be scrapped under a massive Whitehall shake-up, it emerged today. The Department for International Development may be rolled into a beefed-up Foreign Office. The Brexit and trade departments might also become part of Jeremy Hunt’s office as part of the proposed overhaul. And another plan revealed by The Sun today would see the departments for business, culture and transport wrapped into one Ministry of Infrastructure.

Drones

Times
Gatwick and Heathrow airports have ordered military-grade equipment worth millions of pounds to try to prevent a repeat of the travel chaos caused by drones at Gatwick. The technology will track unmanned aerial systems after the armed forces withdrew their detection equipment from the airport this week. The military was called in last month after drones spotted round the perimeter of Gatwick — Britain’s second busiest airport — led to it closing from December 19 for three days, with 1,000 flights cancelled and the travel plans of 140,000 people disrupted.

Reuters
London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports have ordered military-grade anti-drone defences worth “several million pounds” after drones caused three days of disruption at Gatwick last month, the airports confirmed late on Thursday.  “While I can’t go into detail about exactly what we have, I can confirm this was an investment of several million pounds to ensure we are at an equivalent level to that provided by the Armed Forces”, a Gatwick spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Road travel

Telegraph
Congestion charges, car bans and speed bumps should be introduced across the country in a bid to persuade more people to travel by foot, NHS watchdogs say. Local authorities are being asked to introduce a slew of changes, in order to price motorists off the roads, and persuade more people to walk, cycle or use public transport. The guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says the needs of pedestrians and cyclists should be prioritised over drivers, whenever roads are being planned or upgraded.

Times
Motorists could be hit in the pocket if supermarkets continue to scale down their fuel price war. The RAC says that over the past three months the big four supermarkets have been retreating from a level of competition that has led to savings. Prices could soon be at least 8p a litre too high if the fall in wholesale oil prices is not passed on to drivers, according to a study by the motoring group. While a litre of petrol fell by an average of 2.75p to 120.92p last month, the price of oil dropped sharply by 14.5 per cent.

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