Brexit

Sun
BRITAIN should hand over millions to the EU so we can stay tied to Brussels after Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn said today. The Labour leader confirmed that he wants Britain to remain close to the EU by entering a customs union with Europe – even though that would stop the UK cutting our own trade deals. And he said Britain should keep most EU rules and regulations even when we have the freedom to pass our own laws instead. But Mr Corbyn’s plans for a customs union were shot down by Theresa May today, as she vowed Britain would set its own trade policy in future. Speaking in Coventry, Mr Corbyn insisted the UK must contribute to the Brussels budget after Brexit – saying we should “support individual EU agencies” with cash so we can continue to benefit from their work. 
He said: “It makes no sense for the UK to abandon EU agencies and tariff-free trading rules that have served us well, supporting our industrial sectors, protecting workers and consumers and safeguarding the environment.

Times
Jeremy Corbyn has appealed to Tory rebels to defy Theresa May and side with Labour in a parliamentary vote to stay in a customs union with the EU. Unveiling his party’s new Brexit policy Mr Corbyn said that Labour would continue to accept European regulations after Brexit in return for “tariff free access”to European markets. Labour would try to negotiate membership of a new customs union that allowed the country to “have a say” in future pan-European trade deals after Brexit, he added. He called for pro-European Conservative MPs to put the “people’s interests” before the “ideological fantasies” of right-wing Tory Brexiteers and vote with Labour in Westminster.

BBC News
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has backed the UK being in a permanent customs union with the EU in a speech setting out his approach to Brexit. He said this would avoid the need for a “hard border” in Northern Ireland and ensure free-flowing trade for business. The policy shift could lead to Labour siding with Tory rebels to defeat Theresa May on her Brexit strategy. The Tories said it was “a cynical attempt” to frustrate Brexit “and play politics with our country’s future”. The prime minister has insisted the UK will leave both the single market and the customs union, allowing it to negotiate its own post-Brexit trade deals. Mrs May will give details in a speech on Friday of how her plan for a “managed diversion” from the EU will work in practice, after first briefing the cabinet. Mr Corbyn said Labour backed customs union membership during a planned two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. But in a shift from the party’s policy at last year’s general election, he said the UK should strike a new customs deal with the EU at the end of transition.

Westmonster
Jeremy Corbyn has just confirmed that Labour want a “new, comprehensive UK-EU Customs Union” deal that would stop Brexit Britain from negotiating global trade deals. Corbyn also insisted that Labour “would seek to remain in a Customs Union and within the Single Market” during the Brexit transition period set to last into the 2020s and that it was “an option” to remain in other EU agencies. Laughably, the Labour Leader is insisting that his party still “respects the result of the referendum”.

ITV News
Jeremy Corbyn has called on MPs from all parties to support Labour plans for a new customs union with the European Union after Brexit. Labour’s vision for Brexit is one in which there is tariff-free trade with Europe which would also help avoid any need for a hard border in Northern Ireland, he said. And at a speech in Coventry, the Labour leader rejected any “race to the bottom” on issues such as workers’ rights, environmental safeguards, consumer protections or food safety standards. He accused the Conservatives of leaving the country “in the dark” about their plans for Brexit, as he called on MPs who are “prepared to put the people’s interests before ideological fantasies” to support plans for a customs union.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn was accused of playing politics with Brexit today as he set out plans that would keep Britain tied to the EU. In his biggest speech on Brexit since the referendum, the Labour leader made clear he is ready to sacrifice the UK’s ability to strike new trade deals in return for staying in a customs union with the EU. Laying down the gauntlet to Theresa May ahead of her own keynote intervention on Friday, Mr Corbyn also warned that failure to strike such an arrangement could put the Good Friday Agreement at risk in Northern Ireland. Tories branded the dramatic shift by Labour a cynical ploy to derail the Brexit process that would mean the UK being a ‘colony’ of the EU. Meanwhile, Leave supporters in the party’s own ranks said he was betraying millions of voters.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn was today warned that keeping the UK ties to an EU customs union would mean ‘ratting’ on Leave voters in the party’s heartlands. Labour MP and Brexiteer Frank Field said staying tied to the arrangement would be a ‘deceit’ and betrayal of the referendum vote. It comes after Labour’s Brexit chief Sir Keir Starmer said Labour will change its policy to back staying in a customs union with the EU. Sir Keir said Labour frontbenchers agreed ‘unanimously’ to change their policy at a meeting on Monday and Jeremy Corbyn will spell out the details on a major speech tomorrow. But the change in policy sparked an immediate backlash with Mr Field saying the move is a bid to keep the UK tied to Brussels. 

Conservative Party

Mail
Theresa May has been warned that her Government could collapse this year amid fears Tory rebels will join with Labour to try to thwart her Brexit plans. Three different ministers warned the Prime Minister that her tenure in No10 is under threat as they met at  Chequers on Thursday to finalise their Brexit plans. The PM was warned she faces a three-pronged threat – from hardline Brexiteers, vocal Remainers and from the DUP who are propping her up in Downing Street.  Tory rebel Anna Soubry has tabled an amendment to a Government Bill calling for the UK to stay in a customs union with the EU. And chief whip Julian Smith told Mrs May there is a ‘very real threat’ that 15 to 20 Tory MPs could unite with Labour to back it and inflict a humiliating defeat on the PM.

Mail
Boris Johnson considered quitting during Theresa May‘s crucial  Brexit war Cabinet meeting at Chequers.  The Prime Minister gathered her most senior ministers to thrash out the details of the Government’s Brexit position at her country retreat. But the crucial meeting nearly hit the skids amid a row over how much the UK should diverge from EU laws  after we quit. The Foreign Secretary – a leading Brexiteer – at one point feared that the PM was opting for a softer Brexit which would muzzle the UK’s ability to draw up its own laws and innovate.  Allies of Mr Johnson reportedly said he was considering resigning from the Cabinet over the row during the course of the marathon discussions.

Labour Party

Telegraph
​Jeremy Corbyn is selling “snake oil” over Brexit, David Davis has warned as the Labour leader pledges to keep Britain tied to the EU indefinitely. Mr Corbyn is expected to use a major speech on Monday to announce that he wants to keep Britain in the customs union, which would mean that Britain could not sign its own trade deals with non-EU countries after Brexit. It comes amid a deep split within the Conservative Party over the issue after five pro-European Tory “mutineers” tabled an amendment which could force Theresa May into accepting a post-Brexit customs union. Labour on Sunday indicated that it is prepared to back the amendment, meaning that the Government is facing the prospect of defeat.

Northern Ireland

Express
BRITAIN is heading towards another clash with the European Union over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status after it emerged Brussels bosses have refused to include alternative options to avoid a hard border in a draft of Britain’s exit treaty. EU chiefs have left out crucial compromise language, as secured by Theresa May, from the draft legal text of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, which will be published on Wednesday. The exit treaty omits wording by Britain promising that “no new regulatory barriers” will be developed between UK mainland and Northern Ireland. A UK government official told the Financial Times: “It is no surprise that the EU will continue to produce documents that push their negotiating position. “However it is important they accurately reflect the December divorce deal and include the full scope of the agreement, rather than simply the bits which best suit one side.”

Budget

Telegraph
The Office for Budget Responsibility is set for an embarrassing U-turn as it prepares to dramatically hike forecasts for UK growth just months after they were suddenly downgraded.  The OBR slashed assumptions in November, reining in expected productivity growth and warning that the deficit would rise in this financial year. However, strong numbers in the intervening period mean economists expect the watchdog to reverse some of that gloom, a move that would shrink the deficit and deliver a £15bn windfall to the Chancellor. Growth in the UK’s dominant services industry has  surged in the last three months with profits rising at the fastest pace since November 2015, according to a new CBI survey. Meanwhile, confidence among businesses and professional services is growing with a further pick-up anticipated in the coming three months. “I expect the OBR will have to upgrade its growth forecasts by 0.3 percentage points in each year, so around 1pc over the next three years,” said Martin Beck at the EY Item Club.

Breitbart
Economic forecasters in Britain have suffered another blow to their credibility, being set to reverse a sharp growth downgrade and admit the country is in line for a £15 billion windfall. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) downgraded Britain’s prospects abruptly in November 2017, to the delight of EU loyalists who have been seizing on any economic bad news since the recession and mass job losses they threatened in the event of a Leave vote failed to materialise. But the OBR is now expected to reverse its predictions after a surging services sector posted its fastest-rising profit gains since November 2015, the 
Telegraph reports.

Education

Times
Universities will be forced to act on high pay, grade inflation and support for disadvantaged students under regulations that will challenge their fiercely guarded independence for the first time. The new Office for Students will tackle not only management issues such as vice-chancellors’ salaries and governance but also academic matters, including the increase in first-class degrees and the number of contact hours that students have with staff. Dropout rates, teaching quality and the financial stability of institutions will also be tightly monitored, according to documents on the OfS’s powers seen by The Times. There will be a focus on disadvantaged students, with the OfS measuring the proportion that get into university each year as well as which institutions they attend.

Child abuse

Mail
The biggest investigation into child sexual exploitation needs 100 more officers to tackle the ‘unprecedented scale of abuse’ in Rotherham. More than 1,500 potential victims and 110 suspects have been identified by the National Crime Agency, and figures are expected to rise further. Paul Williamson, the senior investigating officer on Operation Stovewood, told the Guardian his team so far had only been able to contact 17 percent of the of the 1,510 possible victims due to a shortage of specially trained detectives. Mr Williamson also said the investigation needed to be as big as Operation Resolve, the investigation into the Hillsborough disaster, as it was comparable in terms of complexity and scale. ‘It’s a really specialist area, engaging and interviewing vulnerable victims’ he said. 

Earthquake

Star
A HUGE 7.5 magnitude earthquake has rocked Papua New Guinea – just moments after a smaller quake struck Japan. The second quake will only increase fears of a natural disaster impacting the dangerous region dubbed the ‘Ring of Fire’. The earthquake in Papua New Guinea struck the heart of the island near the Southern Highlands area. It had a depth of 21 miles and issued a yellow pager alert, according to the US Geological Survey. This level of alert means fatalities and damages are possible, and the temblor’s impact is likely more localised. A 5.5 magnitude aftershock struck near Porgera, according to USGS. 
There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

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