Ireland

Sky News
Theresa May is expected to set out plans to axe the Irish backstop from her Brexit deal with the EU, as she shuns efforts to find a cross-party consensus and focuses on winning over the DUP and rebels in her own party. From her countryside retreat of Chequers on Sunday, the prime minister convened a conference call with her cabinet. She briefed them on her recent calls with EU leaders and how she plans to respond to the historic defeat of her Brexit deal in the Commons last week. Cabinet sources have told Sky News that Mrs May made clear she was ditching efforts to seek a cross-party compromise, because the level of support expected from Labour MPs was not deemed strong enough to pass the Withdrawal Agreement and the subsequent Brexit legislation required before the UK leaves the EU.

BBC News
Theresa May will try to convince Tory Brexiteers and DUP MPs to back her withdrawal deal by resolving Irish backstop concerns, cabinet sources say. Last week, Mrs May said she would focus on cross-party talks to get a Brexit deal accepted by Parliament. But it is understood she is now seeking to win approval from her own benches, with the government unlikely to win widespread Labour backing. Downing Street insisted that cross-party talks were continuing. Mrs May held a conference call with her cabinet on Sunday. It is understood she wants to show the EU that MPs could back a deal without a backstop, in the hope of encouraging Brussels to soften its position.

Telegraph
Theresa May is considering amending the Good Friday Agreement as part of a fresh attempt to unblock the Brexit logjam, The Daily Telegraph understands. The Prime Minister will on Monday update Parliament on her attempts to draw up a so-called “plan B” for Brexit following cross-party talks in Westminster – and discussions with other EU leaders. One of the proposals under consideration is rewriting the 1998 accord to assure Ireland that the UK is committed to no hard border on the island after the UK leaves the European Union in March.

Times
Theresa May halted the cross-party approach to Brexit last night as she told her cabinet that she would focus on securing changes from Brussels designed to win over rebel Conservatives and the DUP. The prime minister used an evening conference call to announce that she would seek changes to the backstop, the Northern Ireland insurance policy to avoid a hard border, or its removal despite repeated refusals by the European Union to budge on the issue.

Independent
Theresa May will launch a fresh bid to win support for her rejected Brexit deal by trying to bypass the European Union and secure a bilateral Brexit treaty with Ireland, according to reports. The move, which comes as No 10 expresses extreme concern at a backbench bid to give parliament control of Brexit, would see the UK try to convince Ireland to agree a plan for keeping the Northern Ireland border open after Britain leaves the EU. Officials are said to believe that such an agreement could remove the need for the controversial backstop part of Ms May’s Brexit deal, which is the leading cause of Tory and DUP opposition to the plan and the main reason it was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs last week.

Express
IRISH Government sources have said there is ‘not a hope’ that a bilateral treaty – with the UK omitting the need for a backstop and bypassing the EU during Brexit negotiations – could happen. Sky news reports Irish Government sources said on Sunday that there would be no hope of the UK removing the backstop and bypassing EU legislators in Brexit deal negotiations.  The latest updates to Theresa May’s Plan B agreement have been rejected by the Irish Government. The news comes as yet another blow to Mrs May, who is continuing to negotiate with cross-party leaders and seek new assurances from EU leaders. But it is becoming apparent that Ireland is likely to support Mrs May’s Plan B, which is due to be debated at the Commons on January 29.

Brexit

ITV News
Theresa May is to set out her next steps to build a Commons majority for a Brexit deal amid signs she is still unwilling to give ground on her central demands. Following the crushing defeat last week of her agreement with Brussels, the Prime Minister will make oral and written statements to the House explaining how she intends to proceed. She will also table a “neutral” motion to be debated and voted on – along with any amendments tabled by MPs – on January 29. Government sources said she would be holding further talks with MPs, as well as business leaders and trade unionists, throughout the week in an attempt to find a way forward.

Times
Senior ministers and No 10 condemned attempts by fellow Conservative MPs to rewrite the Commons rulebook as Tory infighting over Brexit  worsened yesterday. Liam Fox, the trade secretary, accused backbenchers such as Dominic Grieve and Nick Boles of trying to steal Brexit from the British people, and Downing Street said that moves to alter Commons standing orders were “extremely concerning”. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a leading Brexiteer Tory MP, went further by calling the tactic “bitter, twisted and dangerous”, in a sharp escalation of party hostilities.

WTO

Sun
EX-Cabinet minister Esther McVey will lead a campaign to calm fears over No Deal this week — as the PM launches a desperate seven- day drive to save Brexit. The former Work and Pensions Secretary will appear in videos on social media to spell out how civil servants are getting the UK ready for leaving the EU with no agreement. The PM held an emergency conference call after Irish government sources said the backstop would not be compromised. She and other leading Brexiteers also plan question and answer session to ease public anxiety. Mrs May yesterday held an emergency Cabinet conference call after Irish government sources said there was “not a hope” of a compromise on the backstop.

Westmonster
Whilst MPs in Westminster disgracefully try to hold up Brexit and Project Fear is whipped up around a No Deal Brexit, it is increasingly clear that the British public want out on 29th March on WTO terms. The Guardian  (bless them) have found themselves disturbed by an ICM poll they’ve seen that shows a WTO Brexit is now the most popular way forward. The 2,000-strong poll, carried out after Theresa May’s deal was rejected in Parliament, showed a No Deal exit to have the most support of any single option. That’s despite the constant scaremongering from those who don’t want the UK to break away from the European Union. 28% backed a No Deal as the way forward, followed by 24% for a second referendum, 11% backing a General Election and only 8% who think the PM should continue to focus on getting her deal approved.

EU

Express
GUY Verhofstadt has sparked outrage after saying that Brexit may only be temporary and admitted there is “no doubt” the UK will return to the European Union “where it belongs”. The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator said Britain’s departure from the bloc will have a “negative” affect on business, young people and EU citizens. The EU chief described Mrs May’s thumping loss in the House of Commons by 230 votes on January 15 as a “crushing defeat” but continued to defend the EU’s position as the “only possible one” available due to Mrs May’s “red lines”. With Brexit now thrust into doubt with several options remaining on the table, including even staying in the EU amid growing calls for a second referendum, which is something Mr Verhofstadt would welcome.

Westmonster
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sounded the need for “compromise” in the Brexit negotiations, as German industry grows increasingly anxious at the prospect of the UK exiting the EU with No Deal. Just recently we’ve seen the Head of the German Federation Industry (BDI), Dieter Lempf, say: “A chaotic Brexit is now in dangerous proximity. Companies are looking into the abyss these weeks. “Leaving the UK without an agreement is not an option – neither for British companies nor for companies on the continent.” And the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s chief, Eric Schweitzer, warned: “More than 750,000 jobs in Germany depend on exports to Great Britain. Just-in-time production and supply chains are at risk.”

Labour Party

Telegraph
Labour will split in two unless Jeremy Corbyn backs a second vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union,  one of the party’s senior MPs has warned. David Lammy said that some MPs could quit the party in the same way that moderate Labour MPs left in the 1980s to set up the Social Democratic Party, which eventually merged with the Liberals five years later. The news came amid reports that as many as 150,000 Labour members could quit over Mr Corbyn’s refusal to commit to a second vote that could keep the UK in the EU. Mr Lammy, the MP for Tottenham since 2000, said that for Mr Corbyn “the moment has arrived for clarity and for leadership” on the issue of a second vote.

Mail
Labour’s membership has plunged by around 150,000 amid fury at Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance it was claimed today. Senior officials have dismissed the reports in today’s Sunday Times that the number of paid-up activists stands at around 385,000 – down from a peak of more 500,000 in 2017. Party membership is constantly evolving as subscriptions lapse and people join but members are continuing to walk away Brexit. Labour’s coffers have been hit by around £6million because of the sinking numbers of members.

Independent
Labour has denied reports that more than a quarter of its members have quit in protest at Jeremy Corbyn‘s Brexit policy. The party said suggestions that up to 150,000 people had left in recent months were “just wrong”. Newspaper reports claimed the total number of paying members had slumped from 540,000 last summer to around 385,000. Labour insiders quoted in the Sunday Times said the reported fall had cost the party around £6m. However, a senior Labour source said: “We are proud of our mass and vibrant membership and claims about this drop off are just wrong.”

Huffington Post
Jeremy Corbyn’s unwillingness to back a second referendum could lead to a near-fatal split in the Labour Party, David Lammy has warned. Calling for a so-called people’s vote to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament, the influential Labour backbencher accused Corbyn of “hedging” over a second referendum, saying he was “moving the goalpost”. “Now is the time for leadership,” Lammy told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme. “There are a small group in our party who are so frustrated, who have so much grievance, the fear is they are going to go off and form another party. “I personally reject that,” he continued. “But the danger is, just like 1983, a new party built around a relationship with Europe keeps the Labour Party out of power for a generation.”

The Brexit Party

Mail
Nigel Farage has endorsed a brand new pro-Brexit political party and warned Theresa May he will ‘step back into the fray’ if exit day is delayed from March 29. The ex-Ukip leader warned of ‘betrayal’ of the Leave vote from 2016 and stepped up his vow to return to front line politics to defend it.  Mr Farage has abandoned his old party as current leader Gerard Batten cosies up to far-right activist Tommy Robinson. But he endorsed a fledgling new party called ‘The Brexit Party’ set up by another former Ukip politician that has applied to the Electoral Commission.

Guardian
Nigel Farage is being lined up as leader of a new pro-Brexit party if Britain’s departure from the European Union is delayed beyond 29 March. The former Ukip leader said he had offered his enthusiastic support to the Brexit party after being sounded out as its potential leader. Catherine Blaiklock, Ukip’s former economics spokeswoman, confirmed she had applied to register the party with the Electoral Commission on 11 January and that it would be ready to fight any snap general election or the local elections across England in May. She told the Guardian on Sunday: “I think people feel treason has been committed. It’s democracy. It wouldn’t matter whether leave had won by a single vote – it’s a first-past-the-post system.” Blaiklock said the party was aiming to attract the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU in June 2016 and to win over defectors from the Conservatives, Labour and Ukip.

Express
NIGEL Farage has warned Prime Minister Theresa May he will “step back into the fray” and defend the Leave vote as he threw his weight behind a new Brexit Party. The former Ukip leader said he would “take no prisoners” as he warned he would step back into frontline politics to fight against what he described as a “Brexit betrayal”. After abandoning Ukip over its close ties with Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage threw his weight behind the ‘Brexit Party’, set up by another former Ukip politician that has already applied to the Electoral Commission.  He said there was “huge demand” for a new party because of the “frustration welling up out there”.

Westmonster
Britain’s unofficial Brexit Leader, Nigel Farage, would come back with a new party if the British government delayed Brexit beyond March 29th this year.  urther evidence that they would be mad to do such a thing. Nigel has told the Sun on Sunday: “There is huge demand for a party that’s got real clarity on this issue. You can see and hear the frustration welling up out there. It’s clear the political elite want to stop Brexit in its tracks and the Prime Minister doesn’t have the strength or inclination to see this through. “I’ve been watching events with growing dismay – I’m not the only one. Now we are putting them on notice that if Brexit doesn’t happen on March 29th we are not prepared to stand by and do nothing.”

Bercow

Times
The Speaker of the Commons may abandon plans to step down this summer after warnings that ministers could deny him a peerage. Friends of John Bercow hit back at Tory briefing against him by revealing that he was “seriously reflecting” on whether to stay on, possibly until 2022. Last week a cabinet source told The Times: “It’s a good job that peerage nominations are in our gift — I’m sure we’ll be thinking carefully about which individuals we would choose to elevate . . . I can’t imagine we would look favourably on those who’ve cheated centuries of procedure.”

Mail
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow is considering abandoning plans to step down this summer after Cabinet ministers threatened to deny him a peerage because of his alleged Brexit ‘bias’.  Friends told The Observer that he was now ‘seriously reflecting’ on whether to stay on – possibly until 2022. It follows reported briefings last week by the government that someone who had ‘cheated centuries of procedure’ should not expect to be elevated to the House of Lords.

Retail

Mail
A total of 175,000 jobs are set to disappear from the High Street this year as the onslaught from online rivals continues. A slump in the value of retail property is expected to see 23,395 shops shut as customers shun town centres in favour of internet shopping, according to property experts. It marks a significant increase on last year when a string of retailers including Toys R Us, Poundworld and Maplin went bust, leading to the closure of 20,000 stores and the loss of 150,000 jobs.

Star
AROUND 175,000 jobs are set to be be lost on the High Street this year, new research shows. More than 23,000 shops are expected to close in 2019, according to research by real estate adviser Altus Group. The numbers mark a significant increase on 2018, when store closures and company collapses axed nearly 20,000 stores and claimed 150,000 jobs. Among the casualties were Toys R Us and Maplin, who both sunk into the retail grave last year. Altus Group boss Guillaume Fiastre said retail “survivors” would emerge from the current crash. He said: ”Retail of the future will use bricks-and-mortar spaces in a very different way mixed in with leisure and lifestyle residential spaces, for example. “The most successful retailers – the survivors – are learning to draw in their customers with the promise of a personalised experience.

Energy

Mail
The ‘Big Six’ energy firms have been accused of punishing customers with poor service on top of sky high tariffs for heating and lighting. The companies all sit in the bottom third of a league table looking at customer satisfaction, which covers how they deal with inquiries, value for money, complaints handling and the accuracy of bills.  The table is based on a survey by the consumer group Which? of some 8,000 people who are signed to 30 companies supplying gas and electricity.

Immigrants

Telegraph
Sixteen suspected migrants on three separate vessels have been picked up by British authorities after crossing the English Channel on Sunday morning, as fears mount that more people will try to reach the UK this week. Two of the dinghies made landfall on the Kent coast, at Kingsdown and Warren, with a total of eight men presenting themselves as Iranian or Iraqi. A third boat, carrying eight men was intercepted by Border Force officials heading towards Dover and was escorted by CPV Speedwell into the port. All sixteen received a medical assessment and have now been transferred to immigration officials for interview. The crossings are understood to have frustrated officials on both sides of the Channel, who have bolstered their presence in the busy waterway this year.

Mail
Sajid Javid faced renewed criticism over his handling of the migrant crisis yesterday after three more boats crossed the Channel. At least 16 suspected migrants arrived in open dinghies – raising questions about how effective Britain’s response has been. The Home Secretary declared the crossings a ‘major incident’ last month after 139 migrants were caught over Christmas. He vowed to escalate patrols in the Channel, which has the world’s busiest shipping lanes. But last night there was still no sign of the two extra Border Force patrol boats he promised, three weeks after they were ordered back from the Mediterranean.

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