Brexit

Express
UP to a million more EU citizens could get the right to settle in Britain if Theresa May gives in to the EU’s latest negotiation demands, a report warned last night. Research from the population pressure group Migration Watch estimated that accepting a Brussels demand for unlimited free movement to continue for a transitional period of up two year after Brexit could lead to a significant increase in the numbers allowed to come into the country before new border controls are imposed. A draft document leaked from Brussels earlier this week showed that EU negotiators will make the demand in the next phase of talks about the UK’s departure from the bloc. They want EU citizens to continue to be able to claims full permanent residency rights in Britain throughout the transition period. The status would give European migrants the right to be joined by direct family members, including elderly dependent relatives, future children and partners who were not EU citizens.

Sun
UP to a million new EU migrants could still get permanent residency rights here after Brexit. They would qualify if  Theresa May accepts the EU’s fresh conditions for a transition period deal, a report warns. New Brussels demands call for post—Brexit arrivals up to 2021 to be given the option. Leaving our borders open an extra two years could trigger a rush of half a million EU nationals a year, Migration Watch UK claims. Its forecast is based on the amount who have applied for National Insurance numbers. Not all of them try for permanent residency as EU rules allow them to come and go. However, the think tank says: “A larger proportion of them might well stay on if the prize was a right to permanent settlement in the UK.” The plans contradict No10’s aim to end the rights on Brexit Day, March 29 next year. Migration Watch UK head Lord Green said: “This EU demand is absolutely absurd. We will have left the EU.”

Westmonster
Nigel Farage has today expressed his belief that an EU ploy to dish out a bad deal to the UK in the hope that it will stop Brexit is now well underway. Referring to the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as a “European Unionist”, Farage pointed out how he was currently “important and useful” because he was helping with the “obstructionism and delay of Brexit”. With close economic ties to the UK, Farage pointed out how Varadkar should be fighting for a free trade deal, with the Brexiteer insisting that it instead appeared that Varadkar was putting his “devotion to the European project above the interest of Irish farmers and other companies too”. Nigel reminded the chamber of the Lisbon Treaty farce where Ireland was made to vote again until it gave the correct answer, insisting that “you are part of course of a big attempt here and elsewhere to frustrate and to attempt to overturn Brexit. “You don’t want Britain to leave cause you know if they do, others will leave too.”

Independent
Flagship Brexit legislation was passed through parliament, although Theresa May was warned that it could be undone by future generations. MPs approved the key European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by 324 votes to 295 – majority 29 – at third reading, with the government also seeing off a series of proposed amendments during a marathon two-hour voting period. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the Bill, which transfers European law into UK law, is essential for “preparing the country for the historic milestone” of withdrawing from the EU. 
His remarks came after an earlier warning from Tory former Cabinet minister Justine Greening, whose first major intervention since returning to the backbenches saw her claim Brexit will “not be sustainable” if it does not work for young people. Ms Greening, who left the Cabinet after declining a move from her role as education secretary during Theresa May’s recent reshuffle, added that future generations of MPs could seek to “improve or undo” what the current cohort implements.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn has suffered another Labour revolt over  Brexit as nearly 50 of his MPs backed calls for the UK to stay in the single market and customs union. 
While the party’s frontbench abstained on the amendment, 48 Labour MPs voted for the proposals tabled by the SNP. They were joined by one Conservative MP, the Europhile ex-chancellor Ken Clarke. Amendment 59, which was supported by Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and Green MPs, sought confirmation of continued membership of the single market and customs union before ministers could implement any withdrawal agreement. It was defeated by 322 votes to 99 – majority 223. Labour has faced a number of Commons rebellions over the issue of the UK remaining in the single market and customs union after Brexit.  

Telegraph
British hopes of securing an early Brexit transition agreement this March have been thrown into fresh doubt after EU sources warned that an early deal was “not a foregone conclusion” as France tries to drive home its Brexit advantage, the Telegraph can reveal. The December Brexit deal between the UK and the EU promised “an agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangements” with UK officials clear that this meant the March 22-23 European Council. However, EU sources have warned of bureaucratic delays, legal questions and political opposition from France, which wants to drive home its Brexit business advantage, delaying an early deal. “It is absolutely not a foregone conclusion there will be a deal on transition in March,” said a senior EU diplomat.

Calais

Telegraph
Britain will on Thursday agree to pay France £44.5 million to continue to police the border at Channel ports as Theresa May bowed to pressure from Emmanuel Macron. The French president had threatened to abandon the Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border guards to patrol on French soil, after Brexit. Such a move would have risked tens of thousands more migrants arriving illegally every year, rather than be stopped in France before they can board ferries or enter the Channel Tunnel. On Thursday, France will renew the Le Touquet deal and the Prime Minister will agree to take more of the unaccompanied child migrants who flock to France in hope of reaching the UK. Leading Brexiteers on the Conservative back-benches have said that giving more money to France is “absurd” since policing the Channel ports is a matter for the French.

Times
President Macron will demand cash today to boost the Calais economy as he arrives for a meeting with Theresa May. The prime minister will announce an extra £44.5 million to improve border security but the French president believes that Britain has a responsibility to help to repair damage to the port’s business caused by efforts to stop migrants crossing the Channel. Mr Macron will also ask Mrs May to take more child migrants with family ties to Britain and speed up asylum claims. Last night the Home Office confirmed that it had agreed significant extra funds to ensure the continuation of the 2003 Le Touquet accords, which allow for UK border checks on French soil.

Guardian
Britain will pay £44.5m for extra security measures in  France to prevent another refugee camp forming in Calais or any other Channel port, Theresa May is to announce. The extra cash will go towards fencing, CCTV and other detection technology in Calais and other ports, possibly including Dunkirk. It will also be used to help relocate migrants from the port towns to other parts of France. To be announced as part of the Anglo-French summit at Sandhurst military academy on Thursday, the money brings total British funding for security and policing in Calais since the “Jungle” camp was bulldozed in 2016 to more than £150m. The measures have included building a 1km-long concrete wall designed to prevent migrants and refugees getting close to the roads used by trucks approaching the port. As well as pressing for an increased contribution to such costs, the French government has been urging the UK to set up a joint operation to process asylum seeker claims in Calais.

Mail
Britain yesterday submitted to French demands for another £45million to stop migrants sneaking across the Channel. UK taxpayers will foot the bill for extra measures to target stowaways using cross-Channel lorries, trains and ferries. In what is being seen as a sweetener to ease the deal, the French have offered Britain the loan of the Bayeux Tapestry. But even that prospect is in doubt after the mayor of the Normandy town where the artwork is currently on display imposed a series of conditions. He suggested that he might oppose the loan, or ask Britain to cover the cost of restoring the 11th century tapestry. French president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to stop Calais being a ‘back door to Britain’ – as long the UK stumps up more cash. The £45million will pay for security fencing, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners to find stowaways.

Sky News
Britain will spend close to £45m into extra security measures at Channel ports in a bid to stem migrants’ attempts to enter the UK. The increased funding will be announced as part of a major UK-France summit at Sandhurst military academy on Thursday, which will also focus on greater defence cooperation. French president Emmanuel Macron will head a delegation of his country’s ministers during talks with British counterparts at the famous Berkshire training centre. It is Mr Macron’s first visit to the UK since being elected last year, during which he is expected to announce the 
loan of the historic Bayeux Tapestry. The boost in UK funding for border security will be spent on fencing, CCTV and detection technology at Calais and other ports. Ahead of Thursday’s summit, French interior minister Gerard Collomb had called on Britain to pay more towards the costs of dealing with people illegally trying to cross the Channel, as well as accept more refugees and unaccompanied child migrants from France.

PFI

Times
Taxpayers are spending billions of pounds extra on hospitals and schools funded by private finance deals with little evidence of any benefit, the government’s spending watchdog has said. In a report today that lays bare the scale of waste under private finance initiative (PFI) schemes, the National Audit Office reveals that a group of schools costs 40 per cent more than those funded by government borrowing and cites research showing privately financed hospitals costing 70 per cent more. The NAO disputes Treasury claims that the scheme has advantages. 
The PFI model of paying for public projects using private capital began under Sir John Major’s administration in 1992 and was enhanced by New Labour.

Mail
Taxpayers will be on the hook for £199billion of debt from public-private contracts until the 2040s. Whitehall and local councils are tied into at least 700 Private Finance Initiative deals, according to the National Audit Office. Under the contracts, firms receive long-term payments for financing and building public facilities such as schools and hospitals.  The NAO says taxpayers doled out £10.3billion over the past 12 months – and face similar charges for years even if no new deals are struck. The report from the NAO comes amid the fallout over the collapse of the construction and outsourcing giant Carillion. Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday that PFI was a ‘racket’.

Guardian
Taxpayers will be forced to hand over nearly £200bn to contractors under private finance deals for at least 25 years, according to a report by Whitehall’s spending watchdog. In the wake of the collapse of public service provider Carillion, the National Audit Office found little evidence that government investment in more than 700 existing public-private projects has delivered financial benefits. The cost of privately financing public projects can be 40% higher than relying solely upon government money, auditors found. They also disclosed that the government has a £35m equity stake in one of Carillion’s major projects – public money that is now at risk.

NHS

Telegraph
Attempts by health officials to cut costs on flu vaccines have fuelled the NHS winter crisis, senior doctors have warned. Health service documents suggest GPs were put under pressure to save around £3 per jab by buying vaccines which do not protect against one of the key strains in circulation. Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society of Acute Medicine, said around half of flu cases being treated in hospital might have been avoided, if a more comprensive jab had been chosen. It comes amid rising levels of influenza across the country, which could reach epidemic levels if current trends continue. Half of cases in hospital are suffering from A strains, the most deadly of which is a strain dubbed “Aussie flu”, because it fuelled Australia’s worst flu season in two decades. But half are B strains – and the vast majority of cases this year involve a strain called B-Yamagata – known as “Japanese flu” – which is not covered by the vaccines most patients have received.

Sun
HALF of all hospital admissions for flu could have been prevented this winter if health chiefs had not told GPs to use a cheaper jab, it is claimed. NHS England advised GPs to order a vaccine that protects against three strains of influenza – rather than a pricier one that protects against four. But a strain used only in the quadrivalent jab – B-Yamagata or “Japanese Flu” – has emerged as the most prevalent B strain this winter. The trivalent vaccine costs the NHS around £5.25 a dose and the quadrivalent £8 per dose. Hospitals have cancelled thousands of non-urgent operations as they struggle to cope with an influx of patients and the worst winter crisis on record.

Bolton

Telegraph
To his critics it was a three-week fling with a 25-year-old glamour model that left both his future and that of his political party in doubt. But Henry Bolton, Ukip’s leader, said his romance with Jo Marney had made him “the happiest I have been in years” and hinted that he could rekindle it. In an interview with The Telegraph he said that he was in love with Ms Marney and talked openly about the “strength of feeling” between them. He said that he “bitterly regrets” the anguish he caused his wife after deserting her and their two children at Christmas following his meeting with Ms Marney. However asked if he rules out getting back together with Ms Marney, he replied: “I don’t rule it out, not at all.” Asked if he still loves her, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely.

Times
The leader of Ukip has said that his relationship with a model banned from the party for racist remarks was “on hold” after the pair were spotted on a London Tube train last night. Speaking days after he said that they had split up, Henry Bolton, 54, said that he was returning from dinner with Jo Marney, 25, at the National Liberal Club in Westminster. He said they had met to discuss death threats made against her and a Daily Telegraph interview in which he had said that the three weeks they spent together were the happiest he had been in years. “The affection is still there, of course, it doesn’t switch off.

Huffington Post
Under-fire Ukip leader Henry Bolton claimed his ex-girlfriend’s racist texts about Megan Markle were “doctored”, after being spotted having an intimate dinner with her just days after claiming their relationship was over. The anti-Brexit campaigner was seen giving kisses on the cheeks to Jo Marney while the pair dined in the exclusive National Liberal Club in the heart of Westminster. In leaked text messages published by the Mail on Sunday, Marney reportedly said Markle would “taint” the Royal Family, that she had a “tiny brain” and that black people were ugly. She was also reported to have made comments about the sexual abuse of babies while discussing animal rights. As the pair left the club on Wednesday evening, Bolton launched a staunch defence of Marney, telling HuffPost UK she had been “exploited by my political enemies” and the controversy over her remarks was being to “fade away.” 

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