WTO deal

Westmonster
Many more Brits support membership of the likes of the World Trade Organisation and the Commonwealth than the European Union, according to a new report for the British Foreign Policy Group. In a new paper entitled ‘Behind Global Britain: Public Opinion on the UK’s role in the World’, the British public were asked whether they wanted to stay in or leave a range of organisations and the results were stark. 76% support staying in the United Nations, 73% support staying part of the Commonwealth and 71% are supportive of the WTO. 69% also back staying in NATO. That compares to just 46% who back remaining in the European Union, according to the poll.

Customs union

Express
CHIEF whip Julian Smith has warned cabinet that the only way to get a Brexit deal through Parliament is to agree a referendum of commit to a customs union. It seems the only way Theresa May will succeed in passing a withdrawal agreement is to succumb to the cries of Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour Party, warned the chief whip. He said the deal will not pass without support from the opposition and warned that the Government could be ‘sunk’ if it tried.

Times
Theresa May is preparing to accept that Britain will remain in lockstep with EU customs rules for years after Brexit in a deal with Labour. Under the terms of a tentative agreement Mrs May is close to signing up to a long-term customs union with the EU in all but name in return for Labour supporting her withdrawal agreement. Details of internal discussions began to leak as Mrs May gave her strongest hint yet that she was prepared to give ground.

BBC News
Theresa May has said she hopes the UK will leave the EU well before the new 31 October Brexit deadline. She told MPs there was no reason the UK could not leave in a matter of weeks once MPs backed an agreement, which they have so far rejected three times. She signalled she hoped to get Labour backing for any new customs proposal before putting it to Parliament again. She said their aims were “very similar” and “sometimes people use different terms to mean the same thing”.

Mirror
Theresa May fuelled hopes of a Brexit breakthrough today as she appeared to edge closer to a customs union. The Prime Minister insisted she was willing to compromise with Labour , which has demanded a customs union as the price of its support for her Withdrawal Agreement. Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn ’s spokesman said: “We believe a sensible compromise is available and can win the support of Parliament.”

Independent
Theresa May has admitted she could agree to stay in a customs union in a bid to rescue Brexit, saying she “can’t pre-empt” the result of the talks with Labour. The prime minister’s spokesperson refused – four times – to rule out the concession, which would enrage many Conservative MPs and almost certainly trigger cabinet resignations. “I can’t pre-empt what will come out of talks,” he said, asked if Ms May was prepared to agree to the central demand made by Jeremy Corbyn.

Gavin Williamson

Telegraph
If Theresa May thought Gavin Williamson was going to go quietly when she summoned him to her office in Parliament, it would not have been the first time she had made a serious miscalculation. In a half-hour meeting almost without precedent in recent political history, the Prime Minister asked Mr Williamson to resign as defence secretary after confronting him with “compelling evidence” that he had leaked information from a National Security Council (NSC) meeting.

Sky News
Former defence secretary Gavin Williamson has told Sky News he denies leaking information from the National Security Council and says his sacking was a politically motivated decision. A Downing Street spokesperson said Theresa May had “lost confidence in his ability to serve”. Penny Mordaunt, the current international development secretary, will replace Mr Williamson.

Mail
A defiant Gavin Williamson launched an astonishing attack on Theresa May last night after he was fired over the Huawei leak, saying she has made an enemy of an ally who had ‘kept her as PM’ in the past. The sacked former defence secretary claimed the PM had ‘just sacked someone who is not guilty’ and in a blistering counter-attack said he had ‘dug her out of a few holes in the past.’

Independent
Theresa May has endured a day of intense scrutiny over her Brexit strategy ahead of an anticipated mauling in the local elections over delays to the UK’s departure from the EU. Ms May and Jeremy Corbyn held their last prime minister’s questions clash ahead of Thursday’s poll, as the Labour leader accused Ms May of failing to tackle the “burning injustices” she pledged to combat during her first day in office. Amid mounting speculation that the prime minister could cave in to opposition demands, Ms May told senior backbenchers she hopes “a deal can be done” with Labour to find a consensus which can command a majority in parliament.

Times
Gavin Williamson blamed a vendetta by Britain’s most senior civil servant for his dismissal as defence secretary yesterday. Mr Williamson became the first cabinet minister to be sacked for leaking in more than 30 years after he was accused of disclosing secret discussions about the Chinese telecoms company Huawei. Theresa May said a formal leak inquiry had found “compelling evidence” pointing to his responsibility and that he had failed to co-operate fully with the investigation.

Morning Star
GAVIN WILLIAMSON has been sacked as Defence Secretary. A Downing Street statement said: “The Prime Minister has this evening asked Gavin Williamson to leave the government, having lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of Defence Secretary and as a member of her cabinet.” The minister was fired over a leak from the National Security Council concerning Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network.

Local elections

Express
THERESA MAY is facing “catastrophic” election losses in tomorrow’s local elections, and one political analyst has predicted the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs may finally lose patience as a result. Ben Harris-Quincey, chairman of right-wing think tank the Bow Group, said: “The thing is the Tories have already set the bar pretty low by saying they could lose between 800 and 1,000 seats.”

Mail
The Tories might escape a hammering in today’s local elections because of a lack of options for Leave supporters, a polling expert said last night. Sir John Curtice said the night would be a disaster for Theresa May only if Conservatives stayed at home. He said the absence of Nigel Farage‘s Brexit Party and a shortage of Ukip candidates was a ‘silver lining’ for the Prime Minister.

Euro elections

Express
THE European elections are less than a month away and the Brexit Party has already leapfrogged over all the parties and seen a staggering surge in support lately. Here’s why the Brexit Party will win in the forthcoming EU elections. The European elections take place every five years and will commence between May 23 and 26 this year. As Britain is still a member state of the EU, the UK is also preparing for a vote – while at the same time trying to leave the bloc.

Breitbart
More than half of Britons who voted Conservative in 2017 have said they would vote for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in this month’s European Parliament election. The YouGov survey of 5,412 adults found that 53 per cent of people who voted Tory at the last General Election would abandon the party, while just 27 per cent said they would vote Tory again. An astonishingly low 13 per cent of those who voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 said they would vote for Prime Minister Theresa May’s party, compared to 58 per cent who said they would vote for the Brexit Party.

Express
THE EU is under pressure after it emerged anti-Brussels parties are set to destroy the “grand coalition” of centre-right and centre-left parties that has run the European Parliament for four decades. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) and centre-left Social & Democrat (S&D) are set to lose its majority for the first time in the upcoming May elections after dominating the EU parliament for 40 years.

Parliament

Express
Parliament is set for a furious showdown as £4billion revamp plans forcing MPs to move out of the building will finally be introduced in the Commons. The decision to push ahead with the long-delayed restoration bill comes in the wake of the catastrophic Notre Dame blaze. It will allow the next phase of the overhaul of the crumbling building, which experts have warned is at risk of a “catastrophic event” like a major fire, to be triggered.

Corbyn

Mail
Jewish activists called on Jeremy Corbyn to consider his position after it emerged he had endorsed a book containing anti-Semitic ideas. The Labour leader wrote the foreword for a new edition of JA Hobson’s 1902 book Imperialism: A Study while he was a backbencher in 2011. He described it as a ‘great tome’ – even though it spread conspiracy theories about the Rothschild banking family and said finance was controlled ‘by men of a single and peculiar race’ who in turn controlled ‘the policy of nations’.

Independent
A Labour frontbencher has defended Jeremy Corbyn over allegations of antisemitism after it emerged he had endorsed a century-old book that suggested banks were controlled by the Jews. In a fresh row about anti-Jewish sentiment, the Labour leader wrote the foreword for a new edition of JA Hobson’s Imperialism: A Study, in which the author argues European finance was controlled “by men of a single and peculiar race”.

By-election

Westmonster
There will be a by-election in Peterborough on 6th June in a constituency that voted heavily to Leave the European Union. This will be interesting. It comes after 19,261 (27%) of constituents signed a petition to recall Fiona Onasanya, who had been jailed. The recall petition required 10% of constituents to sign it. The former Labour MP received a three month sentence for perverting the course of justice.

ITV News
A petition to recall Independent MP Fiona Onasanya has secured the signatures of more than 10% of registered voters in her Peterborough constituency, forcing a by-election in which the former Labour MP may stand. Some 19,261 people signed the petition – 27.64% of those eligible to take part and well above the 10% threshold for a recall. The 35-year-old lawyer, who was jailed for perverting the course of justice, becomes the first MP ever to be removed by the recall process, introduced by David Cameron in 2015.

Guardian
Fiona Onasanya, the MP found guilty of lying to avoid a speeding ticket, has become the first parliamentarian to be removed from office after a recall petition, triggering a byelection in her Peterborough seat. Nigel Farage’s Brexit party will field its first parliamentary candidate in the seat, which voted 60-40 to leave the EU. The bellwether constituency usually swings behind the party that wins a general election. More than one in four registered voters – 27.64% – signed an official notice calling for the removal of Onasanya, according to a spokesperson for Peterborough city council. This was well above the 10% threshold.

Independent
Nigel Farage‘s newly formed Brexit Party will contest the Peterborough by-election after Fiona Onasanya became the first MP ever to be removed following a recall petition.  Ms Onasanya, who was disowned by Labour after being jailed for lying over speeding ticket, lost her seat on Wednesday evening after thousands of constituents backed a move to unseat the independent MP. A spokeswoman for Peterborough City Council said that 19,261 people signed the recall petition – triggered after her prison sentence – amounting to 27.64 per cent of those eligible to sign.

Mail
Criminal former Labour MP Fiona Onasanya has become the first politician to be booted out of the Commons by voters using a recall petition. Almost 20,000 people in Peterborough signed the petition to kick her out of the seat after less than two years. It came after she was jailed in January for perverting the course of justice after lying to police over a speeding charge.  A spokeswoman for Peterborough Council, which ran the petition, said that it had been signed by 19,261 people, far above the 7,000 signatures required to get rid of her.

Times
Fiona Onasanya, the former Labour MP jailed for perverting the course of justice, has become the first parliamentarian in British history to be stripped of her role after more than 25 per cent of her constituents called for a by-election. Onasanya, 35, was found guilty in December of colluding with her brother, Festus, to avoid driving penalty points. On January 29 she was sentenced at the Old Bailey to three months and spent four weeks in Bronzefield prison in Ashford, Surrey.

Ferry contract

Times
Chris Grayling faced fresh calls to resign today after the government wasted £83 million on no-deal Brexit ferries that have been running half-empty for more than a month. The transport secretary was criticised over his handling of contracts signed to create extra freight capacity across the Channel in the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. It was announced that contracts with two ferry companies were being scrapped five weeks into a six-month deal, costing the taxpayer about £50 million.

Guardian
The ferry contracts signed to ensure critical imports could reach the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit have been cancelled, costing taxpayers a further £50m. Questioned in parliament, transport ministers confirmed similar contracts could be signed again later this year should a Brexit deal not be agreed well before the new 31 October departure date. Contracts worth £89m with Brittany Ferries and DFDS to secure ferry space for vital goods across the Channel have been cancelled with a termination payout of £43.8m to the firms, along with costs taking the final bill over £50m.

Mail
A multi-million pound deal to run emergency ferries under a No Deal Brexit was scrapped today at an estimated £50million cost to the taxpayer. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling cancelled contracts with three firms designed to kick in on March 29, after Brexit was twice delayed. The move will fuel speculation a No deal Brexit is now impossible – as MPs have refused to back any more which might let the UK quit without an agreement.

Paris

Mail
A mob of rioters linked to France’s Yellow Vest movement tried to storm the intensive care unit of the hospital where Princess Diana died. In unprecedented scenes that have caused shock and outrage, agitators wearing black masks and carrying improvised weapons attacked the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris today. Rioting broke out in Paris earlier on Wednesday afternoon as thousands gathered for May Day protests dubbed ‘Armageddon’ by extremist demonstrators.

Global warming

Times
Almost three billion trees must be planted by 2050 to end Britain’s contribution to global warming, the government’s climate advisers have said. The landscape needs to be transformed and peoples’ habits will have to change drastically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by the middle of the century, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says. Consumption of beef, lamb and dairy will need to fall by a fifth, while flying is likely to become more expensive.

Times
Britain should cease to contribute to global warming by 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero”, the government’s official climate change advisers have recommended. In a 275-page report published today, the Committee on Climate Change sets out how this can be achieved. Britain must accelerate the switch away from petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric vehicles, the committee recommends. Two years ago the government pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040.

Sun
BRITS were on Wednesday night ordered to turn down the central heating, ditch the car and fly less in an £80 billion plan to save the planet. A Committee on Climate Change called for a dramatic upheaval of daily life as it urged Ministers to lead the world – and make the UK ‘net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. Committee chair Lord Deben said people should limit thermostats to 19 degrees and they should be forced to buy electric cars from 2030 – ten years ahead of current Government plans.

Mail
Britons should turn the heating thermostat down and make sweeping changes to their daily lives to beat climate change, an official report warned yesterday. The stark warnings came in a report from the influential Committee on Climate Change, calling for the UK to slash the amount of greenhouse gases it produces completely by 2050. Along with knocking the heating down to 19°C, households were urged to ditch gas boilers, cut their meat consumption, shun air travel and get out and walk more.

Cancer

Telegraph
Record numbers of patients told they may have cancer have been forced to wait weeks before seeing a specialist, NHS data shows. Doctors’ leaders have condemned the “shameful” state of cancer services this winter, as it emerged the number of patients waiting to see an oncologist for more than three weeks jumped 73 per cent compared to the year before to more than 8,800. The analysis by the British Medical Association (BMA) also shows that more than a third of hospitals and cancer clinics missed the two-week GP-to-specialist target in January, up 15 per cent on the same period in 2018.

Venezuela

Sun
RUSSIA has secretly installed nuclear missiles in Venezuela a US politician has sensationally claimed in a chilling echo of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said he believes Vladimir Putin’s hidden nukes are now a direct threat to the “national security” of the United States. He made his astonishing allegations hours after Venezuela was pushed to the brink of civil war when opposition leader Juan Guaido called for rival Nicolas Maduro to be ousted from office

Mail
Russia could secretly install nuclear missiles in Venezuela if the Maduro regime is allowed to continue, a US Republican congressman claimed – hours after the country nearly descended into civil war. Mario Diaz-Balart made the claims after Venezuela’s US-backed opposition leader, Juan Guaido, called for his rival President Nicolas Maduro to be expelled from office.

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