Cross-party talks

Express
THERESA MAY is planning on making three major Brexit concessions to “suck up” to Jeremy Corbyn in a last-ditch attempt to woo Labour. On Tuesday when the Prime Minister and her team meet with the opposition for the next round of cross party discussions, she will make a “big, bold” offer which is likely to be seen by Brexiteers as a slap in the face. According to The Sunday Times, Mrs May will tell Mr Corbyn she will meet one of his key Brexit demands for a customs union by offering a comprehensive but temporary customs arrangement with the EU. She will tell the Labour leader the arrangement will be in place until the next general election.  Her second compromise will come in the form of an offer for Britain to remain closely aligned with EU single market regulations on goods after it has departed the bloc.  And in what could be seen as another victory for Mr Corbyn, Mrs May will agree to have the UK’s rules on workers’ rights to be mirrored to those laid down by Brussels.

Mail
Theresa May is set to offer Labour a three-pronged Brexit deal in a bid to break the deadlock at Westminster, it has been claimed.  The PM’s negotiating team will reportedly give ground to Jeremy Corbyn on customs, goods and workers’ rights.    Conservatives were warned they will have to ‘suck up concessions’ after Mrs May acknowledged there was ‘no sign’ of her MPs uniting behind her deal.

Express
THERESA May and Jeremy Corbyn are just “a quarter of an inch” away from agreeing a cross-party Brexit plan, a Cabinet minister revealed yesterday. International Development Secretary Rory Stewart said Government and Opposition negotiating teams had agreed “99 per cent” of a blueprint for the way forward based on close customs links between the UK and Brussels. Speaking ahead of crunch talks tomorrow aimed at finally breaking the parliamentary deadlock over the departure from the EU, Mr Stewart said: “We are keen to get a good Brexit deal done as soon as possible.”

iNews
Theresa May’s hopes of a breakthrough in Tuesday’s crunch all-party Brexit talks were dashed as Labour accused her of failing to negotiate in good faith. She appealed to Jeremy Corbyn to “do a deal” after both parties lost ground in last week’s local elections as voters appeared to take revenge on them for the Brexit impasse. In a move that would infuriate Eurosceptic Conservatives, the Tory negotiating team is set to unveil proposals for Britain to remain in a post-Brexit customs union until the next election.

Mirror
A desperate Theresa May is set to beg Jeremy Corbyn to deliver Brexit this week after suffering a brutal defeat in the local elections. The PM is reportedly planning to okay her negotiators to make big concessions to the Labour leader when the meetings between the parties resume on Tuesday. It comes after voters across the country delivered a decisive verdict on her government – with the Conservatives losing over 1,300 councillors in Thursday’s election.

Independent
Last-ditch efforts by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to strike a compromise on Brexit looked doomed on Saturday as the party leaders faced mounting revolts from their own MPs and activists. Following Thursday’s local elections, in which both the Conservatives and Labour were punished severely by voters for failing to break the political deadlock, May and Corbyn have insisted their parties must now urgently agree a way forward in cross-party talks which will resume on Tuesday.

Reuters
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday stepped up calls for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a cross-party deal to leave the European Union, following poor results for both parties in local elections on Thursday. The parties have been in negotiations for over a month to try to broker a Brexit deal that can secure majority support in parliament, after May’s minority government suffered three heavy defeats on her preferred deal this year and was forced to delay Britain’s departure. “To the leader of the opposition I say this: Let’s listen to what the voters said in the local elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal,” she wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Westmonster
Prime Minister Theresa May has now seemingly abandoned any pretence of trying to deliver the kind of Brexit millions want to see, instead pleading with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to do a deal with her. Dear oh dear. With increasing desperation from May, who now seems keen on any EU deal that she can try and get through Parliament with the support of Labour MPs, she writes in the Mail on Sunday today: “To the Leader of the Opposition, I say this: let’s listen to what the voters said in the local elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal.”

Labour Party

Independent
A fierce Labour backlash has hit Theresa May’s hopes of quickly striking a deal to rescue Brexit. A host of senior Labour figures poured cold water on the chances of a breakthrough – even as a Tory source called Tuesday a make-or-break day. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the prime minister was inflating the prospects to try to save her job – meanwhile, Tories are piling on fresh pressure for her to quit. Ms May was also accused of refusing to shift ground on a customs union and of risking the NHS going “up for sale”.

Independent
A senior Labour figure has stamped on talk of an early deal with Theresa May to rescue Brexit, warning her proposals would see private US health giants “getting their hands” on the NHS. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said ministers “haven’t really shifted” in the long-running negotiations – despite speculation that a cross-party agreement could be struck as early as this week. He criticised Tory “spin doctors” for briefing that a deal was close, saying: “The problem is that, although the government is trying to redress their customs union offer, they haven’t really shifted.”

Mirror
Labour accused Theresa May of betraying the party’s trust on crunch Brexit talks as they prepared for a fresh round of negotiations on Tuesday. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he did not trust the Prime Minister after details of potential compromises emerged. He hit out after the Prime Minister issued a desperate last-ditch plea to Jeremy Corbyn for help in delivering Brexit. The Tories are expected to cave into Labour demands for a customs union, as long as it is called something else. A temporary customs arrangement would last until the next general election when parties can put forward their alternatives.

Conservative Party

Telegraph
A Conservative Party split would be a price worth paying if it meant delivering Brexit and allowing Britain to “move on”, a Cabinet minister has suggested. Rory Stewart, the newly-appointed International Development Secretary, said the Conservatives needed to be willing to accept the “short term pain” of agreeing a Brexit compromise with Labour. His comments provoked an angry response from Tory Brexiteers who believe striking a softer Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn will spell electoral doom for their party.

Sun
SPLITTING the Tory party by doing a deal with Labour would be a price worth paying to get Brexit over the line, Theresa May’s newest Cabinet minister has said. New Aid Secretary Rory Stewart warned that the Conservatives will have to endure “short-term pain” to get Brexit sorted but faced losing four million votes if it tried to “outdo” Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party by going for a hard Brexit. And he also publicly clashed with the PM yesterday by saying any deal struck with Labour must last for 30 years.

Mail
A cabinet minister last night said it would be worth splitting the Tory party to get Brexit passed. Rory Stewart, who was promoted to International Development Secretary last week, suggested that the Conservatives should accept ‘short-term pain’ in order to settle the issue. Theresa May is thought to be on the brink of offering significant concessions to Labour to win backing for her plan – including offering some form of customs union. But her Tory critics yesterday warned the party would face a tidal wave of anger from voters if she ‘diluted’ Brexit.

EU

Telegraph
The eurozone economy is sliding toward “Japanisation”, an extended period of inescapable stagnant growth, subdued inflation and ultra-low interest rates, economists have warned. The troubled region is “vulnerable to catching the same disease” that has plagued the Japanese economy since the Nineties, BNP Paribas claimed. The bank’s “Japanisation index” indicated that the eurozone is in a “prolonged trend of low inflation and ageing populations with significant similarities to Japan in the Nineties”.

Customs arrangement

Times
Theresa May was warned yesterday that more than 100 of her MPs would try to block a softer Brexit as Labour prepared to reject her offer of a temporary customs arrangement to seek further concessions. Cross-party talks between the Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn’s party, aimed at breaking the deadlock in parliament over the prime minister’s deal, are due to resume tomorrow. In what would be the first formal offer from the government to the opposition, the Tories are expected to propose a temporary customs deal.

Second referendum

Telegraph
Theresa May has held secret discussions over a three-way second referendum ahead of a crunch meeting with Labour this week to agree a cross-party Brexit deal. The Prime Minister has carried out “scenario planning” with aides and ministers in case the Government cannot prevent a Parliamentary vote on a second referendum. John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, said it “may well” be the case that any deal would have to be put to a second referendum.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn will not be able to get enough of his MPs to back a Brexit deal without the promise of a second referendum, even if Theresa May makes a big offer on a customs union and workers’ rights this week, senior Labour figures believe.  Senior party sources said they believe two-thirds of Labour MPs, including several shadow cabinet ministers and many more frontbenchers, would refuse to back a deal without a people’s vote attached.

Labour Party

Express
THERESA MAY has “jeopardised” the cross-party Brexit talks and hasn’t signalled the desire to move from her red lines, a number of Labour Party’s senior figures said pouring cold water on the chances to find a compromise on the withdrawal agreement. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he doesn’t “trust” the Prime Minister after she “blown the confidentiality” of the ongoing talks between Labour and Tory to cast a better light on her work.

Scotland

iNews
Radical plans to hold back tens of millions of pounds from Holyrood and allow UK ministers instead to spend the cash directly north of the Border have been set out by Environment Secretary Michael Gove. The Scots-born MP is among the front-runners to replace Prime Minister Theresa May when she stands down. He insists his plan for Westminster to be allowed to spend Treasury funding in traditionally devolved areas would strengthen the Union.

Tory leadership

Mail
As the heat on Theresa May intensified over the weekend, her would-be successors were quick to show their leadership credentials. Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab yesterday stepped up his campaign with a glossy magazine interview. On Saturday, Environment Secretary Michael Gove gave an interview in which he posed with his parents Christine and Ernest, in Aberdeen, before he went to speak at the Scottish Tory conference. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a keen rider, burnished his credentials by posing with a horse in photographs to accompany a newspaper interview.

Williamson

Times
Gavin Williamson says he is the victim of a smear campaign led by Theresa May after he was accused of spreading false allegations that her health was failing. Reports emerged yesterday that he had suggested the prime minister’s diabetes meant she was unfit to serve. It is understood that a Tory official reported him to Downing Street after allegedly overhearing him making the remarks during a private dinner in Mayfair before Christmas. Mr Williamson denied the comments, telling The Times: “I have no knowledge of the prime minister’s health, I have never spoken about the prime minister’s health, and I have no real interest in terms of the prime minister’s health.”

Mail
Gavin Williamson has declared he was ‘hanged for something he didn’t do’ in a furious blast at Theresa May after she sacked him as Defence Secretary.   The Conservative MP said he was the victim of a ‘slapdash witch-hunt’ after he was blamed for leaking from a top-secret meeting of the National Security Council, where ministers had discussed the possible security threat from Huawei.  Insisting he ‘didn’t say anything inappropriate to anyone’, Mr Williamson said the leak inquiry had been a ‘game of politics’ intended to ‘prove the PM’s political strength’.

Sky News
Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson has accused the prime minister of smearing him with claims he made derogatory comments about her diabetes. Theresa May also reportedly blocked Mr Williamson from sending British troops “to invade Africa”. Mr Williamson told Sky’s defence and security correspondent Alistair Bunkall: “It is absolutely crazy, on both counts. “Of course no one has ever suggested it. Classic PM/Sedwill smear because they don’t have any evidence.”

Telegraph
Gavin Williamson could try to force the Prime Minister to hold an independent judge-led inquiry into the Huawei affair as he steps up his fight to clear his name. The former defence secretary is being urged by friends to table a Parliamentary motion demanding a new investigation, which would almost certainly be backed by opposition parties and a number of Tory MPs. He is also weighing up whether to engineer his own “Geoffrey Howe moment” by making a speech in the Commons that could hasten Theresa May’s downfall.

Minimum wage

Times
Philip Hammond is in talks with trade unions as he weighs up proposals for a rise in the minimum wage. The chancellor is understood to be examining plans to increase Britain’s legal base for low pay so that it stands among the world’s highest. He has invited senior representatives from trade unions to Downing Street on Thursday and met Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, last week.

Mail
Philip Hammond could make the UK’s minimum wage the highest in the world by raising it to £9.61 per hour, it has been claimed.   Under the Chancellor’s plans the rate would be increased to 66 per cent of median earnings – an international definition of ‘low pay’.  Mr Hammond is considering the move as he hopes to build a legacy of tackling low wages, sources told the Observer.   At current rates the National Living Wage is not expected to pass £9.50 until 2024 at the earliest.

NHS

Times
Just one in 11 NHS staff think that scrapping the four-hour A&E target will shorten waits for patients, a survey has shown. The YouGov poll also finds that more than half of frontline staff believe that greater use of online consultations will either increase pressure on the NHS or make no difference. NHS England set out a ten-year plan this year that aims for a third of outpatient appointments to be done over Skype. It is also intended to improve cancer, mental health and GP care.

Telegraph
All expectant mothers are to be given the same midwife throughout their pregnancy in a £40 million NHS promise. Maternity deaths are expected to fall by 50 per cent after thousands more expectant mothers will be offered a named midwife to guide them through pregnancy.   To coincide with International Day of the Midwife 2019 on Sunday, the NHS has said that funding to transform maternity services will be doubled this year to £40 million.

Police

Mail
Suspected criminals are reportedly avoiding arrest because mammoth drives to police stations are too much of a hassle and often make pressing charges impossible. Officers are having to let drink-drivers go free because their blood alcohol level drops below the legal limit by the time they are taken into custody, meaning they cannot be prosecuted. Offenders in Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland have to be hauled a staggering 63 miles to Newcastle upon Tyne or 65 miles to Wallsend to have DNA swabs taken or be charged.

Star
DRINK-DRIVERS are going free because police are having to take them 60 miles to a nick. It can take four hours to charge them and they have sobered up. Most offenders who are held at Berwick-upon-Tweed – which is on the Scottish border – end up being taken to Newcastle or Wallsend. And offenders from Tywyn in Gwynedd are ferried 60 miles to Caernarfon or Wrexham.

Education

Telegraph
Children are finding foreign languages so stressful that they are being medically signed off from the classes, a conference heard. Pupils are coming to school with a GP’s note explaining that they must be excused from learning languages because it is causing them extreme anxiety, delegates at the National Association of Headteachers’ (NAHT) annual conference were told.

Mail
Children are using doctors’ notes to excuse them from French, German and Spanish because language lessons apparently damage their mental health.  Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference were told yesterday pupils are being ‘wholesale’ signed off because the subjects are making them ‘unwell’. Marijke Miles, a member of the union’s executive, said schools reporting the problem were ‘high achieving’ in leafy, expensive catchment areas.

Falklands

Times
Argentine nationalists have been accused of travelling to the Falklands dressed in combat gear and intimidating residents. Politicians in the British overseas territory are considering introducing a blacklisting system to halt the “intimidation” as the problem has escalated. Groups of up to a dozen men, sometimes clad in camouflage, arrive in the territory once a month on the sole inward flight that stops off in Argentina en route to the islands from Chile. They stay for a week until the outward flight via Argentina leaves again.

Crossrail

Times
Almost 500 train drivers are employed by Crossrail on salaries of up to £59,000, even though a fraction of the line’s services are running. The troubled line has been delayed by two years, with full passenger services not expected to run until 2021. The cost to the taxpayer of the 479 drivers’ salaries is believed to be up to £25 million a year. The majority of drivers were employed before the decision was taken last summer to delay the opening of the main part of the 73-mile line.

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