Brexit Bill

Telegraph
Theresa May has defiantly insisted her timetable for triggering Brexit will not be blown off course despite suffering her first Parliamentary defeat over the Article 50 bill. The House of Lords voted to amend the Bill to force the Government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. Seven Tory peers – including the former pensions minister Baroness Altmann – backed the amendment. But the Prime Minister is confident the amendment will be rejected by the Commons later this month, and Downing Street insisted the timetable for Brexit “remains unchanged”. Lords who voted to alter the Bill were accused of “playing with fire” and critics accused them of pointless “posturing” and “doing a disservice to the national interest”. The scale of the Government’s defeat in the Lords, where the proposal to amend the Bill was passed by 358 votes to 256, prompted speculation that Mrs May could face a fresh Tory rebellion when the Bill returns to the Commons. Conservative whips are confident, however, that no more than a handful of Tory MPs will support the amendment.

Guardian
Theresa May’s government has vowed to overturn a demand by the House of Lords to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK within three months of article 50 being triggered. Ministers were said to “disappointed” by a heavy defeat in which peers voted 358 to 256 in favour of amending the Brexit bill, but made clear that their position would not change on the issue. Seven Conservatives including the former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg lined up with the Labour party, Liberal Democrats and crossbenchers to demand formal reassurances for more than 3 million Europeans already resident in Britain. There will now be intense pressure on Conservative backbench MPs to follow suit when the bill returns to the Commons for another vote in just under a fortnight.

Sky News
Ministers are confident they remain on course to trigger the start of Brexit by the end of the month, despite a defeat in the House of Lords over protections for EU citizens. Peers 
defied Theresa May and voted 358 to 256 in favour of an opposition amendment guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit. The Government described the result as “disappointing”, while sources have confirmed they intend to reverse the result when the bill comes back to the Commons. And ministers remain confident of meeting the Prime Minister’s Article 50 deadline.

BBC News
The government will seek to overturn the defeat inflicted on its Brexit bill by the House of Lords, sources say. Peers defied ministers when they voted by 358 to 256 to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK after Brexit. The government said it was “disappointed” at the first defeat for its draft legislation. MPs will have the chance to remove the Lords’ amendment when the bill returns to the House of Commons. Before then, next Tuesday, the Lords will consider backing other possible amendments to the bill, which authorises Theresa May to trigger Brexit. Government sources said the bill should simply be about invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, beginning formal negotiations.

Mail
Theresa May will not alter her date to trigger Article 50 despite a defeat by the Lords over the rights of EU nationals living in Britain. Downing Street has insisted that the target date for Brexit on March 15 ‘remains unchanged’.  The defiant announcement came after peers overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the crucial legislation that would force the PM to make a commitment before a deal is struck with Brussels. The bigger-than-expected defeat by 358 votes to 256 came at the hands of an alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrats, crossbenchers and a handful of rebel Tories – and despite a last-ditch plea from Home Secretary Amber Rudd. However, Mrs May is said to be confident that the amendment will be rejected by the Commons on March 13 and 14.

Independent
Theresa May will be forced to order MPs to throw out an immediate guarantee that 3 million EU nationals can stay in Britain, after a humiliating defeat in the House of Lords. Peers defied the Prime Minister by voting by 358 to 256 – a majority of 102 – to insert a clause in the Article 50 Bill to ensure EU citizens will have the same full rights to live and work here after Brexit.  The vote will infuriate Ms May, who had urged the Lords not to amend the Bill – even sitting on the steps of the royal throne herself last week, to pile on the pressure. It means she will have to attempt to overturn the defeat in the Commons next week, when Tory MPs will be under pressure to stage their own revolt. And it suggests Article 50 cannot be triggered for another two weeks, although the Prime Minister will still meet her deadline of the end of the month.

Mirror
Theresa May suffered an embarrassing defeat on her Brexit bill tonight at the hands of the House of Lords. Peers voted overwhelmingly in favour of an amendment that would offer guarantees to EU nationals living in Britain before negotiations begin. It was voted through by 358 votes to 256 – a margin of 102. 
It’s the first major stumble of the bill, which sailed through the House of Commons last week without a single change. Jeremy Corbyn said the result was “great news.” He added: “The government must now do the decent thing and guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.”

Times
Theresa May suffered her first significant parliamentary defeat over Brexit last night as the House of Lords endorsed a plan to guarantee the rights of existing EU workers in Britain. By a majority of more than 100, a coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench peers introduced the first amendment to the government bill officially to trigger Article 50. A total of 358 peers voted in favour of the cross-party amendment, against 256 who voted with the government. Several Tory peers, including former ministers, defied their party whip to side with the opposition.

UKIP

Mail
Senior Tories have rejected the prospect of Douglas Carswell returning to the party because they believe his feud with Nigel Farage is helping to destroy Ukip. The Clacton MP defected from the Tories three years ago, but he could now be kicked out of Ukip in a row over whether he helped stop Mr Farage getting a knighthood. Mr Carswell is thought to have had secret talks about returning to the Tories at the next election, but Conservative Party figures yesterday dismissed the idea, with one saying many would prefer Mr Carswell to remain as Ukip’s sole MP as his presence continues to provoke strife. He said: ‘Douglas is more useful where he is in Ukip than if we took him back. For the past two years he has helped Ukip remain plunged in a seemingly unending civil war. Why would we want to stop that?

BBC News
The row over whether MP Douglas Carswell blocked an attempt to get Nigel Farage a knighthood is being referred to UKIP’s National Executive Committee, the BBC understands. Mr Carswell, the party’s only MP, has denied trying to stop an honour for ex-UKIP leader Mr Farage. Mr Farage accused the MP of “working for the Conservatives” and called for him to be expelled from the party. But Mr Carswell, who defected from the Tories in 2014, said: “I’m 100% UKIP.” The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith said the decision on Mr Carswell rests with the party’s ruling 18-strong National Executive Committee. He added that he had been told the MP’s future would depend on his “attitude”.

Breitbart
Channel 4 News has seen a cache of secret emails which suggest the prime minister’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy, may have helped the Conservative Party break electoral spending rules in South Thanet during the general election in 2015. Tory candidate Craig Mackinlay saw off a strong challenge from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage in South Thanet. But the seat is now one of 29 where the Tories are under police investigation following allegations the party did not properly declare hundreds of thousands of pounds in campaign spending. The legal spending limit for the South Thanet campaign was a little over £15,000. The Tories spent a further £14,000 housing Nick Timothy, who had been a special adviser for Theresa May at the Home Office, at the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate, along with several other Tories. But the party insisted they were working on the national campaign, not the local campaign.

Sky News
UKIP donor Arron Banks has suggested he is planning to run against UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell in the next General Election. The multi-millionaire insurance executive is understood to be furious about Mr Carswell’s involvement in efforts to get a knighthood for Nigel Farage. Mr Farage has been attacking Mr Carswell over claims he played a role in blocking a knighthood for the former UKIP leader, something the Clacton MP denies. Mr Carswell, who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in 2014, put out a jokey tweet on Monday night which said “Knight night”, prompting Mr Banks to declare his intention to run. The Essex constituency contains the towns of Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze, and was held by Mr Carswell at the last General Election after he took it for UKIP in a by-election following his defection. Mr Banks said: “This Carswell tweet says it all. UKIP MP or not, I’ll stand against him in Clacton next election!”

Policing

Telegraph
Policing in Britain is in a “potentially perious” state with tens of thousands of suspects of crime roaming free in the community, a damning report has found. The policing watchdog has issued an unprecedented warning about the shortage of detectives and investigators, saying it amounted to a “national crisis”. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said victims are being let down and criminal cases shelves without proper investigation, as police fail to carry out basic functions. Nearly 46,000 wanted suspects are on the police database, including those being sought for murder, rape and terror offences, according to the latest figures from August last year.

ITV News
The state of British policing is in a “national crisis” leaving the public at “unacceptable risk”, the police watchdog has warned. Victims are being let down, suspects left untracked and cases shelved as police fail to carry out basic functions, a damning report has revealed. Suspected terrorists, rapists and murderers are among thousands wanted around the country. But they are not being caught because there is a shortage of detectives within the force, the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said.

EU

BBC News
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed his five future “pathways” for the European Union after Brexit. His white paper looks at various options, from becoming no more than a single market to forging even closer political, social and economic ties. The 27 leaders of EU countries will discuss the plans, without Britain, at a summit in Rome later this month. 
The meeting will mark the EU’s 60th anniversary. Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has already responded to dismiss the idea of the EU purely being a single market.

Express
JEAN Claude Juncker has sparked outrage as he laid out plans for an EU superstate revealing that Britain has had a narrow escape. In a major power grab the European Commission President made it clear he wants Brussels to take social policy including pensions, defence and other major areas of policy out of the hands of democratically elected national governments. The stunning revelation came as a new report by former Falklands War commander, Major General Julian Thompson, showed that EU ambitions for an EU army will undermine Nato and would see Brussels interfering with Britain’s military beyond Brexit. The Veterans for Britain report reveals that the EU wants to be autonomous in decision making and replicate the military alliance’s work. It also notes that Foreign Office minister said the UK “might want to be involved” in the new arrangement. Maj Gen Thompson said: “The UK needs to keep well clear of this threat to our national security. 

Times
Jean-Claude Juncker backed away from his preferred vision of a post-Brexit federal Europe yesterday because of his fear of “alienating” voters who feel that the European Union has become too powerful and illegitimate. The European Commission president has published a 32-page paper on “reflections and scenarios for the EU27 by 2025” after Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Noting that “last year, one of our member states voted to leave the union”, he insisted that “however painful or regrettable Brexit might be, it cannot stop the EU on its march to the future”. “It should be the moment of birth for an EU of 27 [countries],” he told MEPs in Brussels. “

Mail
Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday outlined his vision for stronger military co-operation between EU nations – in what will be interpreted as a push towards an ‘EU army’. In a blueprint on how the bloc will operate after Brexit, he envisaged a European defence union in which member states will ‘pool’ military resources and even buy equipment together. The European Commission President said in one such scenario, defence cooperation would be ‘deepened’ and more money would be poured into EU missions abroad. Joint procurement was put forward as one idea, with more integrated capabilities between member states. His white paper came just days after the German military merged one of its divisions with Czech and Romanian brigades. A UK report released yesterday warned such plans for an ‘EU army’ are a threat to Nato and to Britain’s strategic assets.

Sun
PEOPLE across the EU think it is “too distant or interfering in their day-to-day lives”, Brussels chiefs have admitted for the first time. EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled five potential options for its post-Brexit future. The long-awaited blueprint, ahead of the project’s 60th anniversary next month, is a bid to renew it amid growing unpopularity. In a startling assessment on voters views, the report also conceded that the EU “for too many, fell short of their expectations” by failing to successfully tackle the financial crisis or immigration onslaught well enough. And it adds: “Europe’s challenges show no sign of abating”. In another grim omen, officials also that the huge influx of new arrivals at the EU’s border will only “multiply” in the future as “the effects of population growth, widespread tensions and climate change take hold.” The blueprint offers up the formal scenario of a two speed Europe for the first time.

Express
EUROPE found itself at a crossroads in history today as Brussels boss Jean-Claude Juncker laid out five options to save the EU after Brexit, ranging from a loose trading alliance to a full-out superstate. Eurocrats released a much anticipated white paper this afternoon detailing the different “pathways” member states can take between now and 2025 to try and rescue the struggling bloc from imploding.  It presents EU leaders with five wildly different proposals for the future of the project, all but one of which involve the transfer of more and more powers to Brussels. 

Westmonster
Ask any EU official or fanatic about the failing bloc’s military ambitions and you’ll get a boring lecture about cooperation and ‘cost-saving resource sharing’. Ambitions towards a common EU military will not get a look in. The EU’s Soviet sounding – the name doesn’t give away its real purpose – Military Planning and Conduct Capabailities (MPCC) unit has just been set up for training missions in Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic, some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. The unit was created in rapid time, having only been sanctioned at discreet EU Council meeting in December. On condition of anonymity, several EU officials point to Germany, France and Italy’s desire for greater military integrations under EU control – under the EU treaty some Member States can push for EU military integration even if others are against it.

Scotland

Express
NICOLA STURGEON was today accused of preferring “whinge, whine & waffle” to using the Scottish Government’s powers to prove the SNP’s “competence”. Earlier this week, the First Minister continued her assault on Westminster in the wake of the EU referendum by warning the UK Government would try to use Brexit as an excuse to “rein in” her devolved administration’s powers. But Ms Sturgeon and her fellow SNP ministers came under fire in the House of Commons this morning as MPs debated the Scottish Government’s new tax-raising powers. Tory MP Edward Argar insisted Scotland already possesses “one of the most powerful devolved Parliaments in the world” with the new powers, meaning the SNP should now be “accountable” for “making Scotland the most highly-taxed part of the UK”. 
Responding for the Government, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison agreed Holyrood is “one of the most powerful and accountable devolved Parliaments in the world”,

Times
Theresa May clashed with Scottish Nationalists yesterday after refusing to commit to handing all powers exercised in Brussels over agriculture and fisheries to the Scottish parliament after Brexit. Scottish Nationalist MPs accused Mrs May of a “power grab” after she dodged the question at prime minister’s questions. Senior Tory sources told The Times that recent changes to drafts of the Great Repeal Bill put more emphasis on Westminster control of powers coming back from Brussels post-Brexit. Ruth Davidson, in an interview published in The Times Scotland edition today, fuelled speculation of a Whitehall power grab for control over Scottish farming subsidies. The Scottish Tory leader suggested that Holyrood may be denied power to decide cash handouts to farmers, despite agriculture being wholly devolved.

Express
THERESA May slapped down the SNP’s Angus Robertson as she reminded Scotland that her government will negotiate Brexit – not Holyrood. The SNP Westminster leader asked the prime minister whether decisions about agriculture and fisheries would be made at Holyrood after Brexit negotiations have begun. But Mrs May hit back – slapping down Scotland yet again as she insisted her government would control negotiations and discussions were ongoing. She said: “The Right Hon Gentleman knows very well that we are discussing with the devolved administrations the whole question of the UK framework and devolution of issues as they come back from Brussels. “The overriding aim is making sure we don’t damage the very important single market of the United Kingdom.”

NHS

Mail
NHS England has been accused of wasting resources by ordering overstretched hospitals to alter their logos. ‘Identity managers’ said the iconic blue NHS emblem should sit above the name of each trust, rather than beside it, on signs and in correspondence. The demand is the result of a two-year review of the health service logo, designed to reduce ‘confusion and concern’ for the public. Health bosses believe a lack of consistency leads some patients to inappropriately attend A&E. But yesterday critics slated the move, which came after 1,000 interviews and 28 public workshops, at the time of the biggest financial crisis in NHS history. Tory MP Peter Bone said it was an indication the NHS priorities had gone ‘completely wayward’. He said: ‘Redesigning logos is the last thing they should be thinking about. Surely they should be putting this money into care.’

Labour Party

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn’s office has accepted that Labour is heading for defeat at the 2020 general election if it cannot turn around its dismal poll ratings before then. The Labour leader’s official spokesman admitted it would  “clearly be the case” that, if things remain as they are, then the party cannot beat Theresa May’s Tories, but he also said he was confident the situation could be rescued. It comes after shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the party currently had “no prospect” of winning in 2020 and rubbished the list of explanations given by Mr Corbyn’s allies for the devastating by-election loss in Copeland.   The latest poll from YouGov put Ms May’s party up one point on 42 per cent, with Labour languishing 16 points behind on 25 per cent.

Mirror
A Tory civil war after Theresa May triggers Brexit will pave the way for a Labour revival, sources close to Jeremy Corbyn claimed today. Labour trails the Conservative by an average of 16 points in recent polls and surrendered the seat of Copeland to Mrs May’s party last week . But Mr Corbyn’s aides are plotting a route back to power based on a collapse in Conservative unity when she starts the EU exit process later this month. A senior source said: “It’s clear that once the Government’s position on Brexit – which is a kind of wish list across the board – comes into contact with reality after the invoking after Article 50, that will start to open up significant problems and internal divisions in the Tory party. “At the same time, the economy, and particularly real wages, are likely to fall back in the next few months because of rising inflation and the constant downward pressure on wages, and I think those things are going to come home to roost for the Tory Party.

Morning Star
TORIES are far from shedding their “nasty party” reputation after sneaking out a cruel proposal to deny benefits to more than 160,000 disabled people, Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday. The Labour leader condemned the Conservative government for shunting aside an employment tribunal decision that opposed cuts to the personal independence payment (PIP). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) shunned the idea of a prior consultation and chose to quietly disclose the changes in a written ministerial statement instead of announcing it in Parliament, he added. He urged Ms May to bin the proposals that would deny PIP to claimants with severe psychological complications including depression, anxiety, dementia, cognitive disorders from illnesses such as strokes, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

Islam

Times
Islam will be the largest religion in the world by 2070 and is the only faith growing faster than the global population, a US research centre has said. The Pew Research Center analysed demographic changes in major world religions and found that the population of people describing themselves as Muslim will grow by 73 per cent between 2010 and 2050, compared with 35 per cent for Christians, the next fastest-growing faith. The research centre, based in Washington, said that the world’s population will grow by 37 per cent by 2050. In 2010 there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and 2.17 billion Christians, its report said. By 2050, there will be 2.76 billion Muslims and 2.92 billion Christians.

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