Brexit delay

Express
STAUNCH Brexiteer Steve Baker last night revealed the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) has plans to ensure the UK leaves the EU on March 29. The March 29 date is currently written into UK law despite efforts by some MPs to change it. The House of Commons will today vote on whether it wants to delay the UK’s departure from the bloc. But the ERG’s deputy chair Mr Baker told ITV Peston his Eurosceptic allies have “things they could do” to ensure the original date is upheld. He said: “It is still law that we are leaving on the 29th March. “As a matter of practice unless the law is changed we are leaving on the 29th March.” To which host Robert Peston asked: “Can you stop the law being changed?” Mr Baker replied: “There are some things we could do to prevent the law going through in the time that is available, yes.” When asked if he “might do that” Mr Baker emphatically said: “Yes.”

Telegraph
A plot to delay Brexit by up to two years was underway on Wednesday night after four Cabinet ministers betrayed Theresa May by helping to kill no deal for good. Brexit will be delayed until June 30 even if MPs can be persuaded to back a deal next week. If a deal is rejected again a “much longer” delay will be inevitable, Mrs May warned. On a historic night in the Commons, Mrs May lost control of her party – and the Brexit process – as Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell defied a three-line whip by abstaining from a vote that would have kept no deal on the table if the Government had won.

Sky News
Theresa May is urging MPs to back a three-month Brexit postponement or face the threat of a much longer delay, in a desperate bid to persuade her pro-Leave rebels to back her withdrawal agreement next week. After a cabinet “gang of four” and several more ministers abstained and 17 backbenchers voted against the government in a Commons vote ruling out no deal, the prime minister has issued an ultimatum to Tory Brexiteers.

ITV News
MPs will vote whether to request an extension of Article 50 after they ruled out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit entirely. Parliamentarians voted 321 to 278 on Wednesday, a majority of 43, to rule out the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal at any time. Theresa May insisted however that no-deal remains her default option if an agreement can not be struck. It came 24 hours after Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement was rejected comprehensively for a second time. The prime minister confirmed that MPs will vote on Thursday whether to seek an extension of Article 50 until June 30.

Conservative Home
An amendment has been tabled to today’s ambiguous No Deal motion.  It puts four main proposals.  First, that the Government publish its Day One Tariff Schedules for No Deal.  Second, that to allow businesses time to prepare for the operation of any tariffs, it seeks a brief Article 50 extension to May 22.  Third, that there should be a “set of mutual standstill agreements” between the UK and EU until December 2021, during which “the UK would pay an agreed sum equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law obligations”.

WA

Independent
Commons speaker John Bercow has indicated he will rule on whether Theresa May is allowed to repeatedly make MPs vote on her Brexit deal after it was twice defeated. On Wednesday Mr Bercow said “a ruling would be made” on the matter with parliamentary convention barring a government from bringing the same motion back to the house over and again. His comments set him on course for another clash with Ms May’s administration, with government advisors believing they could “disapply” any ruling he makes if they win a Commons vote on it.

Sky News
John Bercow is an unusual speaker in that we know what he thinks. As someone uncharitably once said: “We’ve never had a speaker who has spoken quite so much.” But on Wednesday, in yet another typically mellifluous performance, something stood out. In response to a question from senior Labour backbencher Angela Eagle, about whether it is in order within the rules of the House of Commons for a motion to be brought back repeatedly even when it has been rejected, Mr Bercow had something interesting to say.

Times
Theresa May is preparing a third vote on her Brexit deal after holding secret compromise talks with the DUP and Brexiteers. Tory MPs who voted against the deal are understood to be having private discussions with Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, and Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, over possible changes to the legal advice. It is thought that these changes could allow them and the DUP to support Mrs May’s deal if another vote were held.

Mail
Theresa May has signalled she could hold a third vote on her Brexit plans as the only way to avoid a lengthy delay,  after MPs voted to reject No Deal on a dramatic night at Westminster.  The PM’s deal could be put to another vote as soon as next week – despite being defeated twice already – following Wednesday’s fresh humiliation in the Commons, where Remain MPs hijacked her plan to end the immediate risk of No Deal on March 29. Amid chaotic scenes, MPs voted twice against No Deal as a raft of pro-EU ministers abandoned the PM in a crucial vote and abstained. In the main division, MPs voted 321 to 278 to rule out No Deal.

Sun
THERESA May is set to bring her Brexit deal back from the dead – holding a third vote on it as a last-ditch bid to avoid a two-year delay. Following a night of political chaos and a shock Tory rebellion, the House of Commons is almost certain to vote to delay Brexit today – meaning the UK won’t quit the EU on March 29 as planned.  Mrs May warned that the Commons will now have to choose between a “short technical extension” to give her the chance to get her deal through at the third time of asking – or a long delay which would see Britain taking part in the next European Parliament elections.

Independent
Britain’s departure from the EU looks set to be delayed until June after Theresa May launched a desperate last-ditch bid to make MPs vote on her Brexit deal a third time. On a farcical night in Westminster, Ms May was forced to concede she would go to Brussels and ask for the short extension – but only if the Commons approves her deal next week. If MPs reject her deal at the third time of asking, she warned that a longer extension would leave Britain at the mercy of EU demands for new concessions and mean the UK must take part in European elections in May.

No deal

Breitbart
Brexiteers have reacted with anger after the House of Commons voted to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal, whilst the Tory Party is in disarray after Prime Minister Theresa May lost control of her own motion. Veteran Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said immediately after the vote, “A total disgrace, Parliament no longer represents the people,” adding, “This is a Parliament of outright liars. We will have to fight them again. And mark my words — we will beat them once more.

Telegraph
MPs have voted against a no deal Brexit as Parliament took control of Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Some 321 MPs voted to reject no deal in the main motion on leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal, while 278 voted for it.  This included 47 Conservative MPs who either voted for the main motion or didn’t vote at all – effectively opposing leaving the EU without a deal on 29 March – building a coalition with Labour, Lib Dem and Independent MPs to reject no deal.

Breitbart
A collection of pro-Remain Ministers are facing calls to resign from Conservative MPs, after they disgracefully abstained and defied a three line whip last night. This is truly a government in chaos, Theresa May has completely lost control.  The Remainer Parliament last night ran rampant, voting to rule out a No Deal Brexit despite leaving on WTO terms having increased public support. A ComRes poll at the weekend found a 14-point lead in favour of No Deal vs. ruling it out. MPs are now hopelessly out of touch with the country.

Second referendum

Sun
A CROSS-party group of Brexiteers will today try to rule out a second EU referendum for good by pushing a vote on it in Parliament. A mixture of Tory, DUP and Labour MPs are acting to try to spike the guns of the People’s Vote campaign before its MP supporters are ready to act.  The move comes as suspicions mount that the only way Parliament will be able to solve its Brexit deadlock is by ordering a re-run of the 2016 nationwide poll. The Leave-baking MPs, lead by the hardline Tory European Research Group, last night tabled an amendment that branded a second referendum “divisive and expensive”. It also demands: “The result of the 2016 EU Referendum should be respected”.

EU

Telegraph
Brussels will tell Theresa May to ask for a lengthy extension to the Brexit negotiations at an EU summit next week, as attitudes towards the weakened prime minister harden after her latest defeat. “Somebody must tell her the truth,” said one senior EU source, “asking for a short extension is simply pre-programming no deal Brexit for the summer.” After MPs voted to take no deal off the table on Wednesday night, Mrs May said she would hold another vote on her discredited deal on the eve of a crunch EU summit where leaders would decide on a British request to extend the deadline beyond 29 March 2019.

Independent
Michel Barnier has questioned whether and why the EU would grant Britain an extension to Article 50, ahead of a vote by MPs on moving back the date of Brexit. Speaking in the European Parliament the EU’s chief negotiator reiterated that negotiations were over. “Why would we extend these discussions? The discussion on Article 50, that is done and dusted. We have the withdrawal agreement, it is there. That is the question asked and we are waiting for the answer to that,” he told MEPs.

Guardian
Brussels has said a vote by UK MPs to block a no-deal Brexit in any circumstances is a meaningless move, with one senior EU negotiator describing it as “the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way”. A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a deal in place by the time of the UK’s departure. “We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening,” the spokesman said. “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both.

Telegraph
MPs are set to vote on whether to keep Britain in the EU longer than planned, but an increasingly frustrated EU has warned that an extension shouldn’t be taken for granted.  The vote on Thursday on extending Article 50 comes after MPs rejected the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in any circumstances. A cross-party amendment which seeks to rule out a no-deal Brexit was agreed by 312 to 308, a majority of just four, despite Theresa May whipping Tory MPs to vote against it.

Independent
EU leaders have begun directly urging Theresa May to hold a fresh Brexit  referendum, amid frustration on the continent at the political crisis raging in Britain. Andrej Babiš, the Czech prime minister, revealed on Wednesday that he had called Ms May at the weekend and urged her to hold another vote – with a view to staying in the EU.  It comes after French president Emmanuel Macron and other EU figures warned that they would only grant an extension to Article 50 if the UK could come up with a reason why it needed more time.

Tariffs

Westmonster
The huge opportunities of a clean break and a No Deal Brexit have been revealed today, with the government confirming plans to slash trade tariffs. That means cheaper goods for British consumers. An EU exit on WTO terms would mean the British government could act unilaterally, truly taking back control. Sadly a Remainer Parliament looks set to vote down No Deal tonight, killing the UK’s negotiating hand. Under the government’s plans, 87% of all goods would face no tariffs at all and would fall to zero.

Mail
Brexiteers today insisted that a No Deal Brexit would be ‘good news’ for Britain despite ministers revealing alarming new tariffs that would be charged on products imported from the EU. MPs will tonight vote on whether to stop Britain crashing out the EU on March 29, and this morning ministers unveiled the new tariff regime that will apply if that happens. It calls for new import taxes to be imposed on items from the continent including cars, meat and cheese – but at the same time lifts tariffs from on other goods from across the world meaning 87% of imports to the UK would not be taxed.

Independent
Tariffs will be scrapped or slashed on almost all imports after a no-deal Brexit – threatening job losses in UK firms – and there will be no checks at the Irish border, it has been announced. The government’s secret unilateral plan was finally published just hours before MPs are given the chance to veto the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. Levies will still be charged on beef, lamb, pork and poultry and some dairy products, to protect UK farmers, and on some products including finished vehicles and ceramics.

Express
BRITISH businesses will suffer as the UK becomes “flooded” by EU produce if Theresa May enacts her no deal Brexit tariff plan, Ireland has warned. A furious source in Dublin hit out at the Government’s new tariff scheme which was unveiled in the wake of Mrs May’s second crushing Brexit deal defeat. Under the scheme announced this morning, the Government has promised a “temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs” in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Westmonster
Brexit MEP Nigel Farage laid out a clear path forward for the UK’s EU exit today: for the expected request by a Remainer Parliament in Westminster to extend Article 50 to be rejected by European politicians. A Brexit delay would need the unanimous approval of the European Council, the grouping of the EU heads of state and governments. In a speech in the European Parliament today, Nigel hit out at the “snarling anger towards our country” from the EU including the “constant stream of insults” from Donald Tusk.

Probate fees

Mail
The Government admitted yesterday that a controversial increase in fees for grieving families is a tax. Probate cost increases coming in next month will hit bereaved families with bills of up to £6,000 and hand the Ministry of Justice an extra £155 million each year. Ministers were criticised after classifying the price increase as a fee and not a tax, thereby avoiding the full Commons debate and vote needed to make it law. But buried in a 200-page report published with the Chancellor’s Spring Statement yesterday was the news that the charges would in fact be classed as a tax.

Knife crime

Times
Police will get £100 million to help to fight an “epidemic” of knife crime in hotspots, the chancellor announced yesterday. Philip Hammond told MPs “we must stamp out this menace” as he said the cash would be ring-fenced to pay for extra police overtime. He said the home secretary would work with police before the next spending review to prioritise resources, including “newly funded manpower” after a reduction of 20,000 in police officer numbers since 2010.

Guardian
An extra £100m is to be made available to police forces in England and Wales over the course of the next year “to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime”, the chancellor has said. Philip Hammond’s announcement came after increased pressure from police chiefs as a spate of fatal stabbings led to renewed focus on the response to knife crime and fresh debate over police resources. Total funding for forces in England and Wales fell by 19% in real terms from 2010-11 and 2018-19, according to the National Audit Office. Officer numbers have dropped by nearly 20,000 since 2010.

Gas

Independent
Gas boilers will be banned in new homes from 2025 in a bid to tackle emissions, the government has announced. Philip Hammond said new standards “mandating the end of fossil fuel heating systems in new homes from 2025 delivering lower carbon, and lower fuel bills too”. The move was one of a series of environmental measures unveiled by the chancellor in a short Spring Statement as he sought to address one of the major concerns of young people ahead of a second school climate strike later this week

Cholesterol

Times
Hundreds of thousands of people with high cholesterol would benefit from a new drug on top of taking statins, a trial has suggested. Bempedoic acid could also be an alternative for those who suffer side effects from statins. According to the trial it brought down cholesterol by about 17 per cent. Before it is made available on the NHS, however, it will have to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and price is likely to be key.

Sun
A NEW cholesterol- busting drug could slash heart attacks and strokes in patients unable to tolerate statins. The daily pill cut levels of the artery-clogging substance by nearly a third when taken alone, researchers said.  And it did not cause side-effects, such as muscle pain, which force up to half of users to ditch statins. When it was combined with statins, the drug boosted their effect by almost a fifth within three months, a trial found. The therapies hamper different areas of the body’s ability to make cholesterol, which blocks arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes. Statins alone can reduce cholesterol by 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

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