Brexit

Express
TOP TORIES yesterday put Theresa May on notice that she faces the sack if she threatens to “sell out” by backsliding on Brexit. They urged the Prime Minister to stick to the hardline principles she set out a year ago in a major speech for a clear break from Brussels.  Battle lines were drawn amid speculation that unhappy Tory MPs are poised to trigger a leadership election by tabling formal no-confidence protests in Mrs May.  Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, who is effectively the PM’s deputy urged colleagues to unite behind her.  He also sought to reassure anxious Brexiteers that the UK will be able to “diverge” from EU laws in future, while Brexit Minister Lord Callanan insisted: “We’re not going soft”.  Brexit campaigners Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is seen as a potential future leader, both pleaded with Mrs May to stick to the ideas she set out a year ago. 

Telegraph
Brexiteers who accused the Government and MPs of “selling out” over the EU divorce bill have been branded “swivel-eyed” by a senior minister who claimed they are mostly “elderly retired men” without mortgages or young children. The Telegraph has obtained a WhatsApp mobile phone message sent by Claire Perry, the energy minister who attends Cabinet, in which she berates those accusing MPs of being “traitors” using pejorative language. It reveals the increasing acrimony over Brexit at the most senior levels of the Conservative Party, amid growing calls for Theresa May to intervene and show more leadership. The exchanges, in a private group for Tory MPs, were made last month as Theresa May agreed to pay the EU £39bn in a highly controversial move which senior Brexiteers fear may have damaged Britain’s negotiating hand.

Guardian
Theresa May is under growing pressure from both wings of her own party to offer more clarity in public about what Brexit deal Britain wants, or face the mounting risk of a no-confidence vote. Downing Street sources have confirmed that rather than setting out a fresh vision of  Brexit in the spring, as some colleagues had hoped, May will make a more limited speech focusing on security cooperation at a conference in Munich next month. With  pro-Brexit MPs in open revolt, senior Conservatives are warning that unless the prime minister exerts firmer leadership over the issue she could be deposed. “She’s as vulnerable as she’s ever been,” one backbencher told the Guardian. “She’s got to make a decision.” Pro-EU MPs were alarmed by the show of strength by Eurosceptics last week, which saw Downing Street disown remarks by Philip Hammond that the UK and EU economies should diverge only “very modestly” after Brexit.

Sky News
An influential group of peers have demanded changes to Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation a day before the House of Lords is due to begin debating it. In a damning report, the House of Lords Constitution Committee has said that the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has “fundamental flaws” in multiple ways and will need to be substantially rewritten. “We acknowledge the scale, challenge and unprecedented nature of the task of converting existing EU law into UK law, but as it stands this bill is constitutionally unacceptable,” committee chairwoman Baroness Taylor of Bolton said. The debate: Will there be blood on the floor of the Lords this week? The Government wants the bill to transpose rules and regulations from Brussels into domestic law in time for Brexit. But the group of peers said the task was complicated not only by its “scale and complexity” but also because “in many areas the final shape of that law will depend on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU”. They added: “We conclude that the bill risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty in a number of ways.”

Independent
An influential group of peers have warned Theresa May’s  flagship Brexit legislation is “constitutionally unacceptable” and will need to be substantially rewritten. The stark warning comes as peers in the upper chamber gear up to begin the lengthy process of debating the legislation – passed with a seal of approval from the Commons earlier this month. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill seeks to transpose all existing EU law onto the UK statue book in time for Britain formally leaving the bloc in March 2019. More than 180 members are already lined up to speak during the two-day debate accompanying the legislation’s second reading this Tuesday and Wednesday, and there are likely to be impassioned interventions from both prominent Leave and Remain voices.  But peers on the Lords Constitution Committee warn in a report to be released on Monday that, while the legislation is necessary to ensure legal continuity after Brexit, it has “fundamental flaws” in its current state.  The committee claims that at present the bill risks “undermining the legal certainty it seeks to provide” and gives “overly broad” powers to government ministers.

Express
THERESA May’s flagship Brexit legislation is “constitutionally unacceptable” and will need to be substantially rewritten, an influential group of peers has said. In a blow to the Prime Minister, two groups of peers hit out at Theresa May’s Brexit plan, which aimed to bringing UK laws, regulations and borders back under British control. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which will be debated by peers for the first time on Tuesday, has been heavily criticised in a damning report by the Lords Constitution Committee. The peers said the Bill was “fundamentally flawed” in multiple ways and risked “undermining legal certainty” – a damning assessment of Mrs May’s Brexit vision.  Meanwhile, a second cross-party panel of peers said the Government’s plans to leave the single market could cause energy prices to rise for households across the country. The Government wants the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – previously dubbed the Great Repeal Bill – to transpose rules and regulations from Brussels into domestic law in time for Brexit.

BBC News
Proposed legislation bringing existing EU law into UK law is “fundamentally flawed” and needs to be reworked, a Lords committee has said. The “scale and complexity” of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is complicated by the fact that much depends on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, it says. The Lords Constitutional Committee says, as it stands, the bill is “constitutionally unacceptable”. It will be debated by peers for the first time on Tuesday. The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, and the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is a key part of the government’s Brexit strategy. It aims to end the supremacy of EU law, which would be copied into UK law in order to ensure a smooth transition on Brexit day. But committee chairwoman Baroness Taylor said: “We acknowledge the scale, challenge and unprecedented nature of the task of converting existing EU law into UK law, but as it stands this bill is constitutionally unacceptable.” The bill passed through the Commons after it faced hundreds of attempts to change its wording and suffered one government defeat. It begins two days of debate in the Lords on Tuesday.

Sun
PRO-EU peers have branded Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation “fundamentally flawed” and insist it needs rewritten as they bid to put the brakes on Britain quitting the EU. The influential Lords Constitution Committee claims the EU Withdrawal Bill is “constitutionally unacceptable” and risks “undermining legal certainty”. It came as a separate panel of peers said the Government’s plans to leave the single market could spark a rise in energy bills for households across the country. The Government’s the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – previously dubbed the Great Repeal Bill – to transfer rules and regulations from Brussels into domestic law in time for Brexit. But the committee said the task was complicated by its “scale and complexity”. And it was made more difficult because “in many areas the final shape of that law will depend on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU”.

Hammond

Sun
THERESA May faces pressure to sack Philip Hammond last night as leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg warned he was “disagreeing with Government policy”. Tory MPs have urged the PM to discipline the Chancellor after last week’s gaffe when he said there should only be “modest changes” to Britain’s relationship with the EU post Brexit. Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries yesterday weighed in, blasting him for disloyalty. She said: “He needs to go. He’s not being loyal to the Prime Minister.” Calls for the Chancellor be ousted come as a leaked WhatsApp messages obtained by the Daily Telegraph revealed a senior minister dubbing Brexit supporting MPs “swivel-eyed” old men. Energy minister Claire Perry made the comment in a private group for Tory MPs when senior Brexiteers voiced concerns over the £39billion EU divorce bill.

Express
PRESSURE was mounting on Theresa May last night to sack Philip Hammond, as yet another Tory MP stood poised to formally demand a leadership contest, claiming the Chancellor’s Brexit intervention had been “the final straw”. Iain Duncan Smith has led the charge, insisting “nobody is indispensable” and urging Mrs May to put her foot down after the Chancellor called for a “soft” and “very modest Brexit”. The former party leader accused Mr Hammond of going against Government policy.  “The Prime Minister cannot govern with Philip Hammond  sniping from the sidelines,” he said.  “She has a serious negotiation on and she does not need the Chancellor contradicting Government policy. “She needs to say to him, ‘Do that again and it will be your last comment as a Cabinet minister’.”  

Times
Brexiteers have begun a co-ordinated attempt to discredit Philip Hammond and senior officials days before cabinet ministers see the first economic analysis of different options for exiting the European Union. Key members of the cabinet will be shown the government impact assessments in one-to-one meetings with officials this week, before a cabinet sub-committee discussion expected the following Wednesday. The analysis, drawn up using contributions from across Whitehall, is likely to cause a dispute since cabinet ministers expect it to show that hard Brexit options will stall the economy for years to come. “The impact analysis will put the cat among the pigeons, assuming you believe in experts,” one government source said.

EU

Times
European Union negotiators expect Britain to seek an extended exit transition period and suggest that the request will remain secret to avoid a rebellion by Eurosceptic cabinet ministers and backbench MPs. Britain will leave the EU at midnight on March 29 next year but is preparing to agree by this March the terms of a transition to help to limit the disruption for business. An extension beyond the envisaged period of 21 months is controversial because it will mean Britain paying billions more into EU budgets while remaining bound by European law, and judges, without any say in decisions. Most Brussels negotiators do not believe that a new trade agreement between Britain and the EU will be ready by the end of 2020.

Housing development

Times
England is losing an area the size of Glasgow every year because of a record number of developments on greenfield land. Forests, fields and parks are disappearing under concrete at the fastest rate for a quarter of a century, an investigation by The Times has found. On average, 170 sq km of greenfield land were built on every year from 2013 to 2016 after the government relaxed planning rules to ease the housing shortage. The rate of development is more than two-and-a-half times the 25-year average and five times higher than the rate between 2006 and 2011. If the construction of new homes, shops and infrastructure continues at the present pace, an area the size of Greater London will have been built on by 2028.

Child grooming

Times
Ministers have been urged to force social media companies to crack down on online grooming after police revealed that they have investigated more than 1,300 allegations of children being targeted in breach of a new law. Forces across England and Wales have been inundated with complaints about explicit or suggestive messages sent to children on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram that breach the new offence of sexual communication with a child. The NSPCC, the children’s charity which successfully campaigned for the law, has criticised social media companies, arguing that many of these messages could have been stopped automatically. It said that artificial intelligence already existed to target adverts at users and to detect extremist content.

Mail
The government has been urged to do more to ensure social media giants harness technology to enforce a new law banning sexual predators from contacting children online. A total of 1,316 cases were recorded in England and Wales in six months after the offence of Sexual Communication with a Child was introduced in April last year. FacebookSnapchat and Instagram were the most common sites used by offenders to target youngsters, accounting for 63 per cent of all cases where the communication method was recorded. Before the law was introduced, police could not intervene until groomers tried to meet their victims face-to-face. Now, the NSPCC is calling upon ministers to force social media companies to build upon existing technology to flag up potential abuse. The charity argues that algorithms are already used by social networks to tailor adverts to users and detect illegal content, and that an existing voluntary code of practice does not go far enough.

Blighty’ cafe

Mail
A Winston Churchill-inspired cafe that has become a target for activists has been stormed by a group of Left-wing protesters. Nine demonstrators burst into the Blighty UK Cafe in North London on Saturday and told customers to boycott the place for ‘celebrating colonialism’. They also denounced Britain’s wartime leader as a ‘racist’. The patriotic cafe, in Finsbury Park, features a life-size Churchill figure, Union Flags and model Spitfires. But a small group of young men and women stormed the diner and disrupted staff and customers. A video shows the group chanting ‘Churchill was racist’ and reading from scripts as stunned customers looked on. One of the protesters says: ‘We cannot accept the unashamed colonial and gentrifying presence of this cafe. You will never make colonialism palatable.’ She demands the owners ‘apologise to the local community for their poorly thought out and insensitive branding and promptly change it’.

Sun
LEFTIES stormed a Winston Churchill-themed diner calling Britain’s greatest wartime leader a “racist.” Nine spineless protesters burst into the Blighty Cafe and told customers they should be boycotting the place for “celebrating colonialism.” When one diner pointed out  Churchill fought for the UK’s freedom, they chanted: “Churchill was racist.” Saturday’s incident is the latest in a series involving the cafe, in Finsbury Park, North London. Owner Chris Evans, 47, had to remove a Churchill mural after it was vandalised. But he still has a sculpture of the leader, whose wartime struggles feature in movie Darkest Hour. He has also faced criticism from activists at his Cafe India restaurant in nearby Tottenham, which three women began an online petition against in a bid to make the eatery change it’s Commonwealth theme.

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