Brexit

Spectator
There will be chaos at the ports. Only the occasional root vegetable will be sold in the supermarkets. The factories and farms will run out of workers, and the planes will all be grounded on the runway. We have yet to get an official warning about how the black death will ravage the land, or how cannibalism will make a comeback. But it may just be a matter of time. As we head into the New Year, and as our departure from the European Union, quite possibly without any form of deal, draws closer, the warnings will become ever more darkly apocalyptic. As 2019 starts, we still don’t have much idea what will happen with Brexit. We may grudgingly accept Theresa’s May’s deal. We might have a second referendum, possibly a third, a general election, leave with no deal, or just forget about the whole thing and pretend it never happened. Amidst all the chaos, however, one prediction is easy to make: when Brexit finally happens, it will be a massive damp squib.

Westmonster
A No Deal Brexit is now the mainstream opinion amongst members of the Tory Party in a further sign of growing support for a clean break with the EU at the end of March. In a sign that Project Fear scaremongering is being seen through as it was back in 2016, 536 Conservative members in the ConHome membership panel back No Deal as their favoured option.  That means 44% of the Tory membership back a No Deal Brexit as their first choice outcome. On top of that a further 26% back a Canada-style deal as put forward by Boris Johnson and other Brexiteers. Collectively, 70% back Canada or No Deal. This should be a serious wake-up call for those in Westminster burying their heads in the sand. By comparison, Theresa May’s deal is backed by 16% of members, whilst a Norway-style deal has the support of just 3% of members.

Mail
Tory and Labour MPs have reportedly been holding cross-party talks in a bid to push back Brexit.  Senior ministers have warned it is vital to delay the Brexit date – March 29 – until at least July to avoid a no-deal. This comes as Jean-Claude Juncker called on the UK to ‘get its act together’ over Brexit, branding some Britons ‘entirely unreasonable’ for expecting Brussels to put forward a solution. The European Commission president also rejected claims of a plot to keep the UK in the EU ‘by all possible means’ and revealed he fears the majority of MPs ‘deeply distrust’ both the EU and Theresa May. Cabinet Brexiteer Liam Fox, meanwhile, today said the chances of Britain leaving the European Union will be little more than ’50-50′ if the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected by Parliament.

Telegraph
Philip Hammond has been accused by Cabinet colleagues of failing to provide the money needed to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit, The Telegraph has learned. James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary, has written to the Treasury warning that a no-deal Brexit could put pressure on councils as they face a potential “influx” of elderly expats and the risk of civil unrest on the streets. His department was given £35million to help councils prepare for Brexit, less than half of the amount it requested. Mr Brokenshire warned that the failure to provide more funding would lead to a “significant risk of disruption”.

Fisheries

BBC News
New EU rules on fishing quotas could have a “grave” impact on the UK’s fishing industry, a House of Lords committee has said – just a day before the new policy is introduced. Under previous rules, crews often discarded, into the sea, fish that took them over their quota for that species. But under the new policy, fishers must bring the full haul back to shore. This change is to stop fish being wasted. The legislation has been called “badly designed” by UK industry bodies. The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment sub-committee heard evidence that the legislation could mean fishermen hitting their annual quotas much earlier in the year and have to stop fishing. The committee was told this would be particularly problematic in “mixed fisheries” where it would be hard for boats to avoid catching a fish species for which they have a very low quota.

EU

Telegraph
Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany will keep pushing for global solutions to challenges in 2019 and also has to take greater responsibility in the world. Closing a politically turbulent 2018 in Germany, Merkel devotes a significant part of her annual New Year’s address to the merits of bringing a multilateral approach to international problems – a style she has consistently defended in the face of  US President Donald Trump’s “America First” tactics. The fourth-term chancellor pointed to curbing climate change, managing migration and combating terrorism as the kinds of challenges that benefit from a wide view. Germany starts a two-year stint on the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 1.

Sun
GULLIBLE EU officials are costing taxpayers £1.1million a DAY by handing development funding to fraudsters and crime syndicates, a Sun Online investigation has revealed. Official documents show scams hit the Brussels budget for a staggering £420m last year – with officials identifying an eye-watering £2.7bn in stolen cash overall.  Among the dodgy schemes identified was a £26m mafia plot to claim EU subsidies for Italian farms that didn’t exist, and £37m skimmed off a project to install environmentally-friendly streetlights in Hungary. Our analysis of EU anti-fraud reports reveals there were over a THOUSAND potentially dodgy schemes flagged up in 2017 – with officials ordered to claw back over £2.69bn lost to fraud. The funds could have built eight state-of-the-art hospitals or put nearly 100,000 new police officers on the front line.

Times
Most MPs deeply distrust Theresa May’s Brexit plans, Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed, in comments that are likely to take his relationship with the prime minister to new depths. The European Commission’s president also accused the British public of being “entirely unreasonable” and told the British political class to “get their act together”. He was rebuked by Mrs May earlier this month for describing her at a summit of EU leaders as “nebulous”. Mr Juncker, the former Luxembourg prime minister, told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag: “I have the impression that the majority of British MPs deeply distrust both the EU and Mrs May. “It is being insinuated that our aim is to keep the United Kingdom in the EU by all possible means.

Guardian
Jean-Claude Juncker has told the UK to “get its act together” in the run-up to the delayed House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The European commission president said the EU could not be expected to resolve the problems that continue to make it likely the British government will suffer a heavy defeat. “I find it entirely unreasonable for parts of the British public to believe that it is for the EU alone to propose a solution for all future British problems,” Juncker said in a wide-ranging interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. “My appeal is this. Get your act together and then tell us what it is you want. Our proposed solutions have been on the table for months.” May is set to put her deal, including the contentious Irish backstop, to MPs in the week beginning 14 January, following a week of debate in the Commons.

Mail
Jean-Claude Juncker has called on the UK to ‘get your act together’ over Brexit, branding some Britons ‘entirely unreasonable’ for expecting Brussels to put forward a solution. The European Commission president also rejected claims of a plot to keep the UK in the EU ‘by all possible means’ and revealed he fears the majority of MPs ‘deeply distrust’ both the EU and Theresa May. The top Eurocrat’s comments to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag were published as Cabinet Brexiteer Liam Fox said the chances of Britain leaving the European Union will be little more than ’50-50′ if the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected by Parliament.

Mirror
Top Brussels official Jean-Claude Juncker today urged the UK to “get your act together” over Brexit as he lashed out at “entirely unreasonable” Britons. The European Commission President also rejected claims of a plot to keep the UK in the EU “by all possible means” and suggested most MPs “deeply distrust” both the EU and Theresa May.   The senior Eurocrat’s comments came as Cabinet Brexiteer Liam Fox warned the chances of Britain quitting the bloc will be little more than “50-50” if MPs vote down the Prime Minister’s deal next month. Mr Juncker told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag: “It is not us who are leaving the United Kingdom – it is the United Kingdom that is leaving the European Union.  “I find it entirely unreasonable for parts of the British public to believe that it is for the EU alone to propose a solution for all future British problems.

Sun
JEAN-Claude Juncker has infuriated Downing Street by declaring MPs no longer trust Theresa May. The EU Commission chief issued the extraordinary diplomatic breach as he also slammed the government’s handling on Brexit, telling it: “Get your act together”. His broadside came as it also emerged last night that two weeks of talks to try to improve Theresa May’s Brexit deal have failed to produce a breakthrough. The PM has just nine days to go to win enough concessions on the hated Irish backstop to persuade Tory MPs to back her when the Commons debates it again. But Whitehall sources admitted last night that while officials in Brussels are still talking, there has been “no significant progress”.

Far right

Sun
ONE in four people would vote for a far-right, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party, a shock poll revealed yesterday. As Theresa May’s Chequers deal continues to anger Brexiteers, growing numbers of people are set to back extreme parties.  More voters are feeling alienated from the two main political parties, the polling showed. 24 per cent would be prepared to support a group which harboured  anti-immigrant and anti-Islam policies. And in findings that sent a warning shot to No10, the YouGov survey found 38 per cent would vote for a new party on the right that was committed to Brexit. Meanwhile, one in three voters said they would support a new anti-Brexit centrist party that could overturn the referendum result. The findings could show the UK is following the rest of Europe in seeing a rise of far-right parties.The after effects of a migrant crisis and scepticism after the Brexit vote have seen voters veer towards the right.

Migrants

Mail
Sajid Javid was accused of ‘floundering’ last night as boats of migrants continued to cross the Channel and arrive in Britain. Fellow Tory MPs accused the Home Secretary of failing to act over the surge in people landing on the South Coast. Yesterday morning a boat carrying another six migrants landed at Kingsdown, near Deal in Kent, bringing the total to 100 in a week and 220 since November. The National Crime Agency said the French authorities prevented another attempt to cross the Channel on Saturday night.

Guardian
The home secretary, Sajid Javid, and his French counterpart have pledged to step up joint efforts to tackle cross-Channel people smuggling, as Labour accused the Tories of whipping up concern about the issue. Six Iranian men were found on a beach near Deal in Kent on Sunday morning with a small boat, the Home Office confirmed, bringing the number who have made the perilous crossing since Christmas Day to almost 100. They were handed over to be processed by immigration officers after receiving a medical assessment, the Home Office said.

Westmonster
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted that the British Armed Forces “stand ready” to assist the Home Office in dealing with the rising number of illegal migrants crossing from France to England. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Williamson was clear: “We have not had any requests as yet but if the Home Office is in need of Armed Forces support then our Navy, Air Force and Army stand ready to assist. “Our military is always willing to help civil authorities as we did in Salisbury this year and will continue to do so as and when required.” In a wide-ranging interview he also revealed that post-Brexit, Britain will open up additional military bases across the world and said: “This is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War, when we can recast ourselves in a different way, we can actually play the role on the world stage that the world expects us to play.

Telegraph
There are “no easy answers” to the English Channel migration crisis because many of the factors behind it are “outside our control”, Sajid Javid claims. In his first major intervention since breaking off his holiday to take control of the situation, the Home Secretary says he will not “stand by” and allow “reckless” criminals to exploit vulnerable migrants and put them in “grave danger”. Writing in The Telegraph after talks with his French counterpart, Mr Javid suggests there will be increased surveillance, patrols and action to disrupt criminal gangs to try to tackle the issue.

Mail
The RNLI should receive compensation from the Home Office for its rescues of migrants, an MP demanded yesterday. The lifeboat charity has been called on to save many of the people crossing the Channel at a cost of at least £1,500 every time it launches vessel, Charlie Elphicke said. More than 220 migrants have attempted to reach the UK from France in boats since November. Even though the Government has declared a ‘major incident’, the RNLI is still relied upon for many of the rescues. Its crews and staff are volunteers and it has been struggling to cope, sources said. Mr Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, said: ‘The volunteers of the RNLI always do their bit to save people at sea, but they have got to spend £1,500, at least, each time a lifeboat is launched, so it’s very important they have greater support and be compensated for the incredible work they have done over the Christmas period,’ he said.

Times
Senior Conservatives accused Sajid Javid last night of not doing enough to stop migrants crossing the Channel after he agreed an action plan with France that did not include deploying extra boats. As six more Iranian migrants reached Kent in an inflatable boat yesterday, the home secretary reached an “enhanced” agreement with his French counterpart that included raising awareness about the risks of the crossing. It pledged to increase joint patrols and surveillance and to dismantle the criminal gangs involved in trafficking. Conservative MPs criticised Mr Javid for not deploying another cutter, the high-speed patrol boats used by the Border Force, in the Channel.

Education

Guardian
The Labour party is demanding an inquiry into GCSE reforms that it says are putting state school pupils at a disadvantage by forcing them to sit harder exams than students in the private sector. The Department for Education describes the reformed GCSEs, which started to be introduced last year, as “gold standard”. But official figures show that many independent schools are opting for internationally recognised GCSEs (IGCSEs), which are being phased out of state schools at the behest of the government because it considers them less robust. The consequence, according to critics, is that private school pupils are being afforded an advantage over state school students in the race for university places.

Cancer

Times
The cancer risk from processed meat such as bacon is still not being taken seriously enough, according to a statement by doctors and politicians. The group, which includes Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, called for greater awareness of the “growing consensus” that nitrites in the meat produce carcinogens linked to bowel cancer. Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and another signatory, added that the unwillingness of the food industry to acknowledge this mirrored the tobacco industry’s behaviour in the 1990s. Other experts said, however, that the individual risk from eating processed meat remained low

Mail
A senior food scientist and top NHS doctor are urging MPs to take action and help warn the public about the cancer risk from processed meats like bacon and ham. In a joint statement, they called for Government action to raise awareness in a similar way to campaigns on the health dangers from sugar and fatty foods. They cited ‘a growing consensus of scientific opinion’ that nitrites in processed meats result in the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines which are believed to be responsible for bowel cancer.

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