Brexit

Telegraph
Boris Johnson promised a “bright, exciting future” after history was made with the passing of his Brexit Bill by both houses of Parliament last night. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will become law when it receives royal assent today or tomorrow, confirming Britain’s exit from the EU on Jan 31. The Prime Minister said: “At times, it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.” Having cleared Parliament, the new law will have to be ratified by the European Parliament in a vote that will take place on Jan 29, thought a formality. The Bill cleared its final Parliamentary hurdle at 6.17pm when the House of Lords bowed to the will of the Commons, which had overturned every amendment by peers this week. After three years of high drama, which cost Theresa May her premiership and changed the political land- scape of Britain, the Brexit Bill was passed in a moment of silence as peers were asked if they were “content” or “not content”. With no one saying “not content”, the Bill was nodded through.

Mail
The Prime Minister will vow to ‘mobilise the full breadth of our new freedoms’ on Brexit night – as his Bill paving the way for Britain to leave the EU was finally passed by Parliament yesterday.   A leaked Downing Street memo, setting out how the Government will mark January 31, reveals Boris Johnson will use the occasion to call for national healing and unity. But he will also make clear that after the UK’s exit it will ‘maximise all the freedoms the British people voted to grasp’, including on trade, immigration and fishing.

Express
BRITAIN is on course for a smooth Brexit next week after Boris Johnson’s Brussels deal was finally approved by Parliament. After years of Westminster wrangling, the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected to be enshrined in law by gaining the Royal Assent on Thursday. MPs on Wednesday rejected five last-ditch amendments to the legislation made by the House of Lords. And peers shied away from a constitutional clash by accepting the verdict of the Commons and dropping the amendments. Their climbdown meant the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels was formally ratified and the UK’s departure from the EU a week today is set to become law.

Guardian
Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill has cleared its last hurdle after the government overturned five House of Lords amendments to it, including one that would have restored the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK. The legislation is expected to gain royal assent within days after peers agreed to end the parliamentary “ping-pong” phase where it moves between the two houses until agreement is reached. While the passage of the withdrawal agreement bill (Wab), which puts the deal into legislation, became a formality after Johnson won a significant majority in December’s election, it is nonetheless a symbolically significant moment after Theresa May’s plan was rejected by MPs three times.

Guido
The Government has already announced its official plans to commemorate Britain leaving the EU at 11pm on 31st January, however a new victory has been won after minister Nigel Adams signed off on the Union Jack being flown down the Mall to celebrate Brexit. Her Majesty will be delighted given her support for the cause… In addition to the Union Jack flying in Parliament Square, a light display in Downing Street and a countdown clock being projected against No. 10, new intake Tory MP, Dehenna Davison, has spoken of her delight at securing the victory, saying “After discussing this with the Minister multiple times over the past few weeks, I am delighted that he has today instructed officials to ensure the Union Jack is flown down the Mall on Brexit Day”, also highlighting the minimal cost to the taxpayer from the move.

EU

Independent
The EU has warned Boris Johnson of “sanctions” if he fails to implement controversial goods checks in the Irish Sea after  Brexit, opening up a fresh potential clash with the UK. Brussels will “not tolerate any backsliding or half measures”, the senior adviser to chief negotiator Michel Barnier said – after the prime minister repeatedly claimed checks would not be necessary. Stefaan De Rynck insisted the inspections were a joint legal agreement, as the price for Britain – but not Northern Ireland – breaking free of the single market and  customs union. “2020 will not just be about the future relationship, but also about implementing the withdrawal agreement – notably the Northern Irish protocol,” he told an event in London.

Huffington Post
Boris Johnson has been warned he must break his promise not to impose trade checks in the Irish Sea after Brexit or face legal action from the EU. The prime minister was warned by a senior aide to Brussels chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that the EU “will not tolerate any backsliding or half measures”. Johnson has repeatedly claimed there will be no checks on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a result of his Brexit deal, insisting on Wednesday that the province would “emphatically” still have “unfettered” access to the rest of the UK after Brexit.

Express
THE EU is “terrified” of the prospect of London turning into a kind of deregulated “Singapore-on-Thames” after Brexit and thriving on trade, Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe has said. Mr Lowe slammed the bloc after a report suggested Eurocrats were plotting to take a tough line in post-Brexit negotiations with Britain and offer Boris Johnson a trade deal which falls short of the bloc’s agreement with Canada. In a series of angry tweets, Mr Lowe accused the bloc of acting in a “bitter, twisted” way when dealing with British negotiators. He said: “The EU‘s mission in the Brexit negotiations is to clip the UK’s wings to ensure no-one else follows. “They’re terrified of a ‘Singapore-on Thames’.

International trade

Times
Boris Johnson is risking a post-Brexit rift with President Trump as he prepares to clash with the United States over tax, trade and foreign affairs. The prime minister is planning to push ahead with a levy on large technology companies despite the threat of a trade war with Washington. Downing Street says that it will introduce a 2 per cent sales duty on companies such as Facebook and Google from April amid concerns that they are “undermining trust and confidence in our international system”.

Mail
Washington today raised the prospect of starting a trade war with the UK if the British government goes ahead with plans to impose a tax on US tech giants. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Donald Trump will personally heap pressure on Boris Johnson to drop the proposed levy as Sajid Javid insisted it will go ahead. Mr Javid said the digital services tax will be introduced from April but will only be a temporary measure until an international agreement is in place on how to deal with big online companies like Google and Facebook. But Mr Mnuchin was clear the White House remains ardently against the move as he hinted retaliatory tariffs could be imposed on the UK’s car industry if the tax is rolled out.

Express
BRITAIN and America were embroiled in a transatlantic trade spat last night after the government vowed to press ahead with plans for a levy on US tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Washington immediately hit back by warning that it will impose tariffs on UK car manufacturers unless the plan is ditched. In an escalation of tensions US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Donald Trump will personally heap pressure on Boris Johnson to drop the proposed levy. But Chancellor Sajid Javid insisted it will go ahead as planned in April.

BBC News
Trade tensions with the US have spiralled after the chancellor, Sajid Javid, took a defiant stance at Davos. US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin has threatened new tariffs on UK carmakers after the chancellor defied pressure to cancel a new tax on tech firms. Mr Javid said the UK would not back down over the tax which will hit US firms like Apple, Amazon and Facebook. A trade deal with the EU would take priority over one with the US after the UK leaves the EU this month, he added.

Bercow

Times
John Bercow’s hopes of a peerage have suffered a potentially fatal blow after his most senior former official filed a formal bullying complaint. Lord Lisvane, who served as the chief clerk of the House of Commons for the early part of Mr Bercow’s time as Speaker, has passed a dossier of allegations to the parliamentary commissioner for standards. It is understood to detail incidents in which Mr Bercow was alleged to have bullied and humiliated staff, including some in which he was said to have used inappropriate language.

Mail
John Bercow was last night accused by his most senior official of bullying staff when he was Speaker. In a damning intervention which could scupper Mr Bercow’s chances of gaining a peerage, former chief Commons clerk Lord Lisvane filed a formal complaint against his old boss. Lord Lisvane, who served as Mr Bercow’s chief aide in the early part of his time as Speaker, passed a dossier of allegations to the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

Evening Standard
John Bercow has hit back at accusations of bullying made by a peer who served as his most senior official.​ The former Commons speaker said Lord Lisvane had “ample time” to raise such claims during their five years working together. Lord Lisvane, who was Clerk of the House, reportedly handed allegations to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Mr Bercow, addressing the complaint that was reported by The Times on Thursday night, said: “The timing of this intervention is curious.”

Immigration

Times
Low-skilled workers in sectors such as construction and social care will not be exempt from new immigration rules after  Brexit despite staff shortages, Priti Patel has told ministers. The home secretary made clear at cabinet on Tuesday that there would be no “carve-outs” under the points-based system. Although people in “shortage occupations” may be given more points under the Australian-style system, there will be no guarantee that they will be able to enter the UK. There have been warnings that Britain will face a shortage of social care workers if care homes are unable to recruit enough staff from overseas.

Times
Belgium is to use drones to stop migrants heading to Britain across the North Sea from its Flemish coast. The decision comes after a small motor vessel carrying 14 migrants capsized on Tuesday in the first known case of an attempted crossing to the UK by a boat from Belgium. The country’s authorities fear that migrants are heading from northern France and the region around Calais to the Flemish coast. Carl Decaluwé, the governor of west Flanders, said: “The problem is moving from northern France to here.

Virus

Telegraph
Security forces guarded entrances to Wuhan’s train station on Thursday and cars queued to leave the city as a lockdown of the city of 11 million people came into effect in a bid to stop the spread of a deadly new virus. Travellers were arriving up to the last minute, with only those holding tickets for the last trains allowed to enter. Virtually everyone at the scene was wearing masks, news website The Paper’s live broadcast showed. With police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops standing guard outside Wuhan’s train station, metal barriers were placed over entrances at 10am while helpless would-be travellers milled in front.

Times
The Chinese city at the centre of the viral outbreak that has claimed 17 lives and prompted a global health emergency was effectively under quarantine last night, with all outbound flights and trains suspended and public transport halted. The People’s Daily newspaper said no one would be allowed to leave Wuhan, a city of 11 million in northeast China. The transport hub has 60 international air connections, including direct flights to London, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as more than a hundred domestic destinations.

Mail
The deadly coronavirus that is sweeping across Asia and has now killed 17 people may already be in Britain, health experts admitted as China was set to ban anyone leaving the city where the outbreak started.  Wuhan, which has a population of 11 million, is being quarantined, with authorities shutting down outbound flights and trains, ordering citizens not to leave except in the case of special circumstances.  Chinese health authorities urged people in the city to avoid crowds and public gatherings after confirmed 571 total cases of the new coronavirus outbreak Health chiefs have now raised the threat level in the UK, and one professor said this morning the outbreak currently has a death rate similar to the global Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, which went on to kill more than 50million people.

Sun
A DEADLY global virus could already have spread to Britain — with up to 10,000 people now infected in China alone. Ministers ordered a clampdown on flights from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the coronavirus epidemic. Chinese authorities ordered the 11million residents of Wuhan to stay put, with public transport shut down yesterday. Heathrow also stepped up checks as the death toll doubled in a day to 17, with more than 550 confirmed cases in six countries.

Climate change

Telegraph
Air travel should be taxed more and EU funds redirected to pay for a dramatic reforesting of Britain’s countryside, the government’s climate change advisers have recommended. Farmers should be incentivised to plant 100 million new trees a year and consumers encouraged to eat a fifth less lamb, beef and dairy to cut sheep and cattle grazing by 10 per cent, the Committee on Climate Change has said. Leaving the European Union presents an opportunity to fundamentally reshape agricultural practices in favour of the environment, says the body’s new report on land use.

Social care

Mail
Care home fees hit an annual average of £34,000 last year – the biggest jump in nearly a decade, according to latest figures. The price of a place for the frail and vulnerable in England rose by 4.7 per cent in the year to last March, the greatest increase since 2010. The rise is more than three times the level of inflation. The squeeze on the elderly and their families emerged amid growing pressure on Boris Johnson and ministers to deliver on their promise to build a cross-party consensus for social care reform.

Police

Telegraph
Police chiefs need to “bring an end” to street violence and improve their performance in return for the biggest rise in funding for a decade, the policing minister has declared. In an exclusive article for The Daily Telegraph, Kit Malthouse who helped Boris Johnson slash knife crime in London said the public “need to see results” for the £1.1 billion extra that police have been awarded for 2020/21. He also demanded that they slash their backroom staff to put more officers on the frontline and improve their use of technology to combat the surge in violent crime.

Times
Police forces will receive their biggest cash injection in a decade with an increase in funding of more than £1 billion paid for in part by tax rises. Priti Patel, the home secretary, said that forces would get nearly £900 million from the government to hire 6,000 officers, tackle violence and combat organised crime. Ms Patel also said that elected  police commissioners would be free to increase the policing element of council tax to raise up to an additional £248 million nationally.

Education

Times
Grammar schools do nothing to boost the chances of their pupils getting into a top university, research suggests. However, private schools do bring some advantage, increasing the chances of youngsters taking a degree at an elite Russell Group institution. The findings come in a series of essays on grammar schools, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, which examine the results of academic selection both on those who went to one and those who did not. Alice Sullivan, professor of sociology at the UCL Institute of Education, said the vast British Cohort Study, which follows the lives of more than 17,000 children born in 1970 who went to university around 1990, made it possible to look at all sorts of factors affecting children’s educational outcomes.

Health

Telegraph
An entire city is to take part in NHS experiment in Artificial Intelligence to ease pressure on GPs and hospitals, under new plans. Patients will be able to Skype medics via smartphones, or receive a diagnosis by chatbots, under the deal agreed by one of the largest hospital trusts in the West Midlands. Everyone living in Wolverhampton will be given access to an app – created by private firm Babylon – allowing them to book GP and hospital appointments, with some offered remotely.

Times
Patients have been told that half of hospital appointments can be conducted online as an NHS trust sets up a “digital first” system to manage care. Royal Wolverhampton has signed a deal with the technology company Babylon Health to adapt its “virtual GP” programme used by the NHS to work across all its services, including hospitals. An app would share information between GPs and specialists as well as allow patients to consult online and see test results. The trust hopes to sell the technology to the rest of the NHS if it proves successful.

Telegraph
A soft robotic heart which would end the need for donor transplants, could be available within a decade, after scientists set out plans to build a hybrid organ from stem cells and biotech. The cyber-heart has been shortlisted for £30 million in funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for ‘radical new approaches’ to curing major heart conditions. It is the brainchild of a team of Dutch scientists who are hoping it will solve the organ shortage crisis.

Times
A robotic heart that combines soft artificial muscles with a patient’s cells could end the need for transplants within the decade, scientists vying for a £30 million research grant say. The British Heart Foundation is offering its largest single grant to the winner of its “big beat challenge” aimed at reducing heart-related deaths. All four shortlisted ideas announced today are under development. They include the robot heart, a potential “vaccine” for heart attacks, a genetic cure for inherited heart diseases and a new generation of wearable sensors to monitor patients.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email