Brexit

Express
PHILIP Hammond is set to declare that post-Brexit Britain is a “great place” to do business in a speech in Davos later today. In his address to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Chancellor will call on businesses to continue to invest in Britain after Brexit. And Mr Hammond will announce a £100 million investment to create 1,000 new PhD places across the UK for the next generation of Artificial Intelligence. It comes after International Development Secretary Liam Fox revealed yesterday he had agreed Britain’s first post-Brexit trade deal “in principle” with Israel. Addressing the WEF today, the Chancellor is expected to say: “Britain is a great place to do business. “And we are determined, as we leave the European Union, to make sure it remains that way.

Express
THERESA May is preparing for a second vote on her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement next Tuesday, but will she get her deal through Parliament or will it be voted down again? Theresa May is focusing on altering the backstop of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in order to get her plan through Parliament. MPs will vote on Mrs May’s proposals for Brexit on January 29. Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay warned if MPs do not back Mrs May’s agreement, they will have to choose between a no-deal exit or revoking the decision to quit the bloc.

Art50

Telegraph
The prospect of Brexit being delayed moved a step closer last night after Jeremy Corbyn signalled Labour will join Remain Tory ministers and MPs  in blocking no deal. Mr Corbyn is expected to give his support to a backbench bill that will force the Government to request an extension of Article 50 after meeting its backers. The Telegraph has learned an alliance of 19 Tory ministers, including five members of the Cabinet, has also been holding secret meetings to discuss plans to stop a no-deal Brexit. Several of them are prepared to quit over the issue.

Mirror
A delay to Brexit Day looks more likely than ever after senior Labour  figures indicated the party would formally would support backbench plans to block a no deal departure. Two of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies said Labour was “highly likely” to support an amendment led by Labour MP Yvette Cooper to prevent the UK crashing out. The Labour leader met Ms Cooper and fellow backbencher Rachel Reeves for what were described by the MPs as “productive and useful” talks. The pound rallied amid growing speculation that Brexit could be delayed.

Independent
cross-party bid for parliament to “take control” to block a no-deal Brexit has received a big boost after Labour said it is “highly likely” to back it. Opposition support would all-but guarantee that the plan – to force Theresa May to seek an extension to the Article 50 process until the end of 2019, unless her deal passes by the end of February – will win Commons approval. John McDonnell described the backbench bill, put forward by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Conservative Nick Boles as “sensible”, ahead of a crucial vote next Tuesday.

Mail
Jeremy Corbyn met with Yvette Cooper for Brexit talks this afternoon amid mounting speculation he will back her plot to extend Article 50 and delay the UK’s exit.  Labour sources said the meeting in Mr Corbyn’s parliamentary office this afternoon was ‘positive’ ahead of the crucial vote on a so-called Brexit Plan B on Tuesday.  Ms Cooper has teamed up with Tory Remainers to table an amendment to seize control of parliamentary business so legislation can be passed extending Article 50 until the end of the year.

Sky News
Theresa May’s ministers are bracing for a delay to Brexit – if the UK leaves the EU with a deal or even without a deal – in an admission there might not be enough time to get necessary legislation through. A senior government source told Sky News both options could require delaying Brexit day beyond 29 March because of the weight of legislation that needs to pass through the House of Commons to facilitate either option.

Mail
Theresa May is privately resigned to having to delay Brexit if MPs vote for it next week, allies said last night. In public yesterday the Prime Minister hit out at Remainer MPs seeking to extend Article 50, saying postponement ‘does not solve the issue’ and would simply put off vital decisions on Brexit. Downing Street has refused to say whether the Government would be duty bound to accept a cross-party bid led by Yvette Cooper to delay Brexit for up to nine months – while International Development Secretary Liam Fox said the backbenchers’ plot was ‘impossible’.

No deal

Times
Theresa May is preparing a last-gasp push to get her deal through the Commons if MPs vote to seize control of the Brexit timetable next week. The prime minister privately accepts that she is powerless to prevent legislation removing the immediate threat of a no-deal exit proposed by Yvette Cooper of Labour. Downing Street has identified a week between MPs backing the measure in principle on Tuesday and the legislation being introduced on February 5 and intends to confront Brexiteers with a choice between voting for her deal or facing an all-but certain delay. Mrs May refuses to accept that Ms Cooper’s amendment is legally binding but allies acknowledge that it differs from others due to be debated on January 29.

Westmonster
A group of Ministers who opposed leaving the European Union during the referendum are now seeking to stop the UK leaving without a deal. With support for a No Deal Brexit surging outside of the Westminster bubble, Tory Remainers have been meeting to discuss whether they will resign to back an amendment put down by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Nick Boles which would mean delaying Brexit and blocking No Deal.  Business Minister, Richard Harrington, told The Telegraph: “My clear objective is to stop the nonsense of a hard Brexit.

Express
BREXITEERS warned of “mayhem” yesterday as plotting Remainers unleashed plans to sabotage Brexit by seizing power from the Government. More than half a dozen attempts to derail departure from the European Union were formally launched by Labour and Tory MPs. They included demands for quitting without a deal to be ruled out, delaying exit day and giving MPs the chance to force a second referendum. Europhiles want control over parliamentary business to allow them to make fresh demands just days before the UK is due to leave on March 29.

Telegraph
Nearly 20 ministers have been secretly meeting in Parliament to discuss plans to stop a no-deal Brexit, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The group of ministers, which includes five members of the Cabinet, has held discussions on the best way to avoid the economic damage of a no deal Brexit. One member of the group jokingly referred to it as the “hairshirt club” because there is no “pizza or alcohol” at the meetings. The group last met on Tuesday last week for discussions on an amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper, a senior Labour MP, to take no deal off the table by extending Article 50.

Independent
Nineteen ministers have been meeting in secret to discuss plans to stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal, it has been reported.  Senior figures in the cabinet, including Amber RuddPhilip Hammond, Greg Clark and David Gauke, are all believed to be among the ministers who have been attending the fortnightly meetings aimed at  formulating  the best approach to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Discussions included the best strategy in dealing with the amendments that attempt to block the scenario where the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal, The Telegraph reports.

Independent
Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged Theresa May to suspend parliament if attempts to thwart a no-deal Brexit are successful. The hardline Brexiteer suggested Ms May could “prorogue” parliament if a backbench bill tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Nick Boles to block a disorderly Brexit is backed by MPs. Mr Rees-Mogg also dismissed speculation that his Eurosceptic cabal of Tory backbenchers were softening their stance towards the prime minister’s deal, insisting: “As long as the backstop is there, I won’t vote for this deal.”

Independent
Theresa May has repeatedly refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit ahead of a critical vote next week, as MPs ramp up the pressure on the prime minister to change course. Jeremy Corbyn has urged the prime minister to take a “devastating” no-deal exit off the table during a tense prime minister’s questions clash, where Ms May accused the Labour leader of being prepared to “meet Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA” but declining to meet her to discuss Brexit.

GE

Mail
Tory chiefs have warned Theresa May that Jeremy Corbyn is on track to end up as PM if she calls a snap general election. Some Cabinet ministers are understood to be braced for an election ‘sooner rather than later’ as the political crisis over Brexit gathers pace. But internal Conservative polling suggests the party could lose its grip on power if there was a national vote now – with Labour instead best placed to head up a ‘rainbow coalition’ with the SNP and Lib Dems.  Senior figures have also reportedly voiced alarm that the Tories are totally unprepared for a contest, with no up-to-date voting register, activists badly demoralised, and a backlash from middle-class Remainers putting heartlands at risk.

Ireland

Order-Order
Jacob Rees-Mogg has dropped some strong hints that he may be prepared to soften his stance on Theresa May’s Brexit deal if the backstop is taken out. The ERG Chairman told a packed Bruges Group event that “as long as the backstop is there, I will not vote for the deal,” but added that “there is hope that there could be reformation of this deal to make it more acceptable.” The Moggster added that he felt things were “going our way” with EU splits beginning to open up with Poland and, significantly  Ireland, while insisting that he was not going soft: “I like reading the papers that I’ve become a soft touch. I do whatever my children tell me. And they’re all staunch Eurosceptics.” 

Order-order
Irish PM Leo Varadkar and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney are expected to offer to meet a DUP delegation this week. The penny is dropping in Dublin that despite Tony Blair’s assurances the British could be about to leave the EU on WTO terms. Despite all the public bluster the reality of the situation is shifting and the Irish government is getting more flexible and creative. To avoid the imposition of a hard border in Ireland the Irish press is reporting that Varadkar is privately telling opposition leaders that they may have to accept EU border checks being imposed on the continent in Calais and other EU entrepôt.

Sun
BRUSSELS yesterday backtracked on threats of a Hard Border in Ireland – saying “new ways” could be found to carry out customs checks. The EU’s Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier performed a screeching U-turn and vowed the EU would look at ways to check goods away from the frontier. The comments were seized upon by Tory Eurosceptics who have argued for months that technology could be used to avoid a Hard Border. Mr Barnier said: “If we’re facing a no deal…we’ll have to find an operational way of carrying out checks and controls without putting back in place a border.”

Fisheries

Times
Michael Gove was accused of ditching legal commitments to stop overfishing in British waters after Brexit. Ministers are signed up to European Union rules, due to come into force in 2020, that would prevent fishing quotas being set at levels judged by scientists to be unsustainable. Despite pledges by Mr Gove, the environment secretary, and Theresa May to incorporate EU environmental regulations into domestic law, the commitment does not appear in the current fisheries bill in parliament. Yesterday the environmental group Greenpeace, whose investigative arm Unearthed analysed the bill, accused the government of deliberately watering down their pledge.

EU

Independent
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has ruled out ever accepting Theresa May’s Brexit plan B, in a major blow to the prime minister’s bid to get MPs to back her plan. Michel Barnier said repeated requests for a time limit on the controversial backstop had already been discussed and rejected twice by EU leaders. But he also signalled there could be a way to avoid a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no deal, telling an EU committee on Wednesday: “We will have to find an operational way of carrying out checks and controls without putting back in place a border.”

Express
MICHEL Barnier has warned Theresa May the EU will not accept a time-limit on the Irish backstop as the Prime Minister tries to salvage her Brexit deal ahead of next week’s Commons vote. Mrs May has made it clear concessions on the backstop are central to her hopes of overturning last week’s crushing 230-vote rejection of her Withdrawal Agreement. But Mr Barnier made clear that a time-limited backstop is regarded by the EU as “useless”. The EU chief Brexit negotiator said: “The question of limiting the backstop in time has already been discussed twice by the European leaders, in November and in December 2018.”

Guardian
Michel Barnier has warned that the move led by Labour MP Yvette Cooper to block the prime minister from delivering a no-deal Brexit is doomed to fail unless a majority for an alternative agreement is found. The EU’s chief negotiator, in a speech in Brussels, said the “default” for the UK was still crashing out if MPs could not coalesce around a new vision of its future outside the bloc. “There appears to be a majority in the Commons to oppose a no-deal but opposing a no-deal will not stop a no-deal from happening at the end of March”, he said.

Mail
Michel Barnier today warned that the EU will not sign off any Brexit delays unless MPs can agree on a way forward. The bloc’s chief negotiator insisted an extension to Article 50 will only be approved if there is a ‘stable majority’ in Parliament for how to proceed. He also delivered a tough message on the £39billion divorce bill – saying the UK will still have to pay up even if there is no deal. The intervention from Mr Barnier could throw an obstacle in the way of Remainer MPs who have been plotting to force the government to push back the Brexit date.

Breitbart
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator says if Britain withdraws without a deal with the EU, he still wants to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Michel Barnier said at a conference on Wednesday the EU will have to protect consumers and businesses with checks on British goods if Brexit takes place on March 29th without an agreement. Barnier said: “We will still have to do checks and controls somewhere.”

Times
Europe’s chief Brexit negotiator has said that MPs opposed to a no-deal exit will only be able to stop it if they put aside their differences and agree what they want. In a tacit criticism of supporters of a second referendum and a Norway-style Brexit, Michel Barnier said that Europe was waiting for a “positive majority” to emerge in parliament. He added, though, that Brussels was “ready to be more ambitious” if a majority could be assembled for a closer relationship than that envisaged by Theresa May.

Westmonster
Those in France’s agriculture sector are the latest to voice their concerns over the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. Britain still has significant leverage in these negotiations, European business wants a UK trade deal. Christiane Lambert, President of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions (FNSEA) has warned that: “The most affected agricultural sector would be wines and spirits. “The second victim would be dairy products, with a positive balance of 100 million Euros, for example the British are very fond of pie charts and brie.

Express
SPAIN is attempting to leverage the threat of no-deal Brexit to force the European Union into supporting its claims to sovereignty over Gibraltar according to a leaked EU document.  Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is demanding EU officials insert a specific footnote on all no-deal preparation documents that references his country’s dispute with the UK over who governs The Rock. The provocative footnote also backs up his accusation that Gibraltar is a colony of the UK and has been perceived as yet another way Madrid is attempting to use Brexit to further its claim to the British Overseas Territory, despite ceding control more than 300 years ago.

Migrants

Telegraph
Britain is to pay the French £6m for drones, CCTV cameras and night-vision equipment to mount 24/7 surveillance of the North France coast in a new bid to prevent migrants crossing the Channel. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, will unveil the extra measures on Thursday after a meeting in London with his French counterpart interior minister Christophe Castaner. They will also agree to coordinate and step up patrols by Border Force and French boats to ensure there is round-the-clock coverage of key areas in the Channel at any given time.

Antibiotics

Telegraph
Medics will be ordered to cut use of antibiotics by 15 per cent by using electronic prescribing. Health chiefs have drawn up the plans amid warnings that antibiotic resistance now poses as great a threat as climate change. Matt Hancock will on Thursday tell the World Economic Forum in Davos that “we are on the cusp of a world where a simple graze could be deadly”.

Times
Drug companies will be paid millions for developing antibiotics to fight a superbug threat described as more dangerous than terrorism or climate change. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will introduce a “subscription model” to encourage the creation of medicines to fight antibiotic-resistant infections. No new class of antibiotic has been discovered since 1980, with the pharmaceutical industry reluctant to carry out costly research into the area.

ITV News
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is such a threat that “we are on the cusp of a world where a simple graze could be deadly”, the Health and Social Care Secretary will warn. Matt Hancock will say AMR is as big a threat to humanity as climate change and will call for immediate action to cut the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Hancock will say resistance needs to be treated as a global health emergency.

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