Brexit day

Westmonster
Last night, British MPs disgracefully voted to delay Brexit and change the date of departure – promised by Theresa May countless times – from 29th March, this Friday. Gee, wonder why no one trusts a word politicians say anymore?  It comes after May bottled a No Deal Brexit and instead asked the European Union for an extension to Article 50 which was granted (of course). The new date for No Deal or a further extension is April 12th, or 22nd May if MPs back the dreadful deal on offer. Though that still seems unlikely. The extension and change in date was already agreed in EU law, but a Statutory Instrument was laid in the British Parliament to change the date in UK law as well. It passed overwhelmingly, with 441 MPs voting to change the date from 29th March and 105 voting against. 95 Conservative MPs voted against (including two tellers) as did the 10 DUP MPs and 2 from Labour including staunch pro-Brexit hero Kate Hoey.

Indicative votes

Telegraph
MPs on Wednesday failed to secure a majority for any alternative to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal as a backbench bid to seize control ended in deadlock. The Commons held indicative votes on eight alternatives to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal but failed to reach a consensus on any of them. Under the plans MPs will now hold further votes on Monday as a cross-bench group of MPs try to force the Prime Minister to pursue a softer Brexit.

Independent
MPs have failed to unite around any Brexit strategy after a series of indicative votes revealed no majority in the Commons for any plan. Attempts to break the Brexit impasse floundered when MPs rejected eight different options, including a fresh referendum, a customs union and a no-deal exit. In a dramatic day in Westminster, Theresa May told Tory MPs she will resign before the next phase of Brexit talks, in an attempt to secure support for her deal.

Mail
MPs rejected every alternative Brexit voted on tonight as Brexit descended into a new level of chaos.  Tonight, MPs held a series of votes in the Commons on Brexit alternatives to Theresa May’s deal just hours after Mrs May said she would quit once her Brexit deal is delivered – in an attempt to cajole rebel hardline Brexiteer MPs in her own party to support her. But in a fresh blow to the Prime Minister’s plans, the DUP indicated they were still unable to back the deal because it ‘poses a threat to the integrity of the UK.’

DUP

Independent
Theresa May’s Northern Irish DUP partners in government have said they will not support her Brexit deal if it is put to a vote again in the House of Commons. The announcement deals a devastating blow to Ms May’s hopes of getting her Brexit deal through the House of Commons at the third time of asking, with her government relying on DUP MPs for its majority.

Mirror
Theresa May’s DUP allies dealt her a final savage blow tonight as they REFUSED to back her Brexit deal – despite the PM pledging to resign. Mrs May played her last card tonight, promising to quit if her deal gets through by Friday, in a desperate bid to ensure Brexit. It tipped a tide of Tory Brexiteers including Boris Johnson into finally backing the Brexit deal that Parliament twice voted down. But around 30 Tory Brexiteers refused to budge in a furious meeting where one, Steve Baker, said he was “consumed with ferocious rage”.

Express
THE DUP announced they were to make a last-minute statement just one hour after Prime Minister Theresa May addresses warring MPs over Britain’s Brexit crisis. The Northern Ireland party, which props up Mrs May’s Conservative Government, have just announced however that they are holding off following Mrs May’s announcement she will step down as Prime Minister should her deal be voted through Parliament.

BBC News
The DUP has confirmed it will not back Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite the prime minister’s promise to step down if MPs backed it. The party said the changes it wants to see to the backstop have not been achieved. Theresa May told Tory MPs that she would stand down if they voted for her withdrawal deal. DUP leader Arlene Foster said that the party “cannot sign up to something that would damage the union”.  She added that the prime minister had decided to go ahead with the withdrawal agreement despite warnings by her party.

Sky News
DUP leader Arlene Foster has told Sky News her party is unable to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal while it “poses a threat to the integrity of the UK”. Ms Foster paid tribute to Mrs May and her team for engaging with the DUP during negotiations. But she said there were still too many problems to allow her party to support the deal. In a statement, the DUP said they had had “good discussions” with the government and that “some progress” had been made on domestic legislation.

ITV News
Prominent Tory Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that he will vote against Theresa May’s deal if it is brought back – unless the DUP are on board. Earlier Mr Rees-Mogg had said he would back May’s deal in a third meaningful vote, but qualified his decision on ITV’s Peston. He said it would be “very surprised” if the vote got brought back unless the government were confident it could be passed, which would mean addressing the DUP’s concerns about the backstop.

Theresa May

Telegraph
Theresa May on Wednesday offered to resign in a last ditch attempt to persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister said she had “heard very clearly” the mood of the Conservative party and would not “stand in the way” of a new leader taking charge of the next phase of Brexit negotiations. Senior Tory rebels including Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith responded by promising to back Mrs May’s Brexit deal, which could now be put to a vote for a third time on Friday.

Times
Theresa May offered last night to quit to get her EU divorce deal over the line as Brexit looked set to claim a second Conservative prime minister in three years. In a highly charged address, Mrs May told Tory MPs that she accepted they wanted new leadership to negotiate Britain’s future relationship with the bloc. She did not name a departure date but No 10 said later that she would call a leadership contest within weeks of the withdrawal agreement’s ratification.

Mail
Theresa May’s Brexit plan was hanging by a thread last night despite her dramatic offer to quit. In a highly-charged speech, she told Tory MPs she would quit ‘earlier than intended’ if Parliament backed her withdrawal agreement. There were initial signs that her gamble might pay off when a string of Eurosceptic MPs, led by Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith, said they would now swing behind her. But, in a bombshell announcement shortly before 9pm, the DUP said it would not support the agreement because it posed ‘an unacceptable risk to the integrity of the UK’.

Bercow

Telegraph
John Bercow stunned Westminster when he unexpectedly announced he would block a third meaningful vote on Theresa May’s deal. The Commons Speaker cited a parliamentary convention dating back to 1604 as he said he would only allow another vote if the Prime Minister changed her deal because MPs had already rejected it. On Wednesday, Mr Bercow issued a fresh warning that substantial changes were required to allow a third meaningful vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Times
The prime minister’s plan to put her Brexit deal to a third meaningful vote hit a fresh obstacle in the shape of John Bercow yesterday. The Speaker angered No 10 when he reiterated that he would not allow a tactical ruse to be used to enable the same plan to be brought before the House again and that the only circumstances in which he would allow another vote on Theresa May’s deal would be if it were “substantially” changed.

Guardian
Theresa May’s hopes of putting her Brexit deal to a third meaningful vote have hit another obstacle after John Bercow said parliamentary procedures could not be used to present it unchanged, even as more senior Eurosceptics seem to be getting behind the agreement. Amid speculation the prime minister is making a private pact to set a date to stand down when the deal goes through, more than 20 Conservative Eurosceptics have publicly suggested they will change their minds because they do not want a softer Brexit.

Vote Leave

BBC News
Dominic Cummings has issued a rallying call to former Vote Leave activists to start building a new political party or campaign to fight for Brexit. The former director of the campaign that won the 2016 EU referendum urges supporters to “start rebuilding our network now” in a post on his blog. He says winning another EU referendum would be “easier than in 2016”. It comes as he was found “in contempt of Parliament” by the Commons Privileges Committee.

Second referendum

Express
MARK FRANCOIS delivered a stunningly powerful speech to the House of Commons moments after the latest Brexit vote. Cheers erupted after Mark Francois stunned the House of Commons by dismissing the hopes of a second referendum or Article 50 revocation. Members of Parliament took part in a series of indicative votes that allowed them to choose a multitude of Brexit options on Wednesday night. MPs were unable to come to a majority however as all eight alternative Brexit options were rejected.

Mirror
People’s Vote campaigners were left furious tonight after it emerged a second referendum would have got a majority if Labour MPs hadn’t voted against it. The Indicative Vote motion on a second referendum was just 27 votes short of a majority – exactly the same number as Labour MPs who voted against it. At least five Labour frontbenchers were spared the sack for defying orders and failing to vote for a second referendum option. Jeremy Corbyn ’s top team were whipped to support the motion tabled by Dame Margaret Beckett, which requires any Brexit deal to face a public vote.

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn was forced to defend his decision to whip his MPs behind a motion for a second referendum on any Brexit deal after threats of frontbench resignations over the move. The Labour leader sent a letter to all MPs in which he acknowledged the motion for a “confirmatory referendum” could be read as “going beyond” party policy. But he claimed it was necessary to support it to keep the option of a public vote on the table as a way to block a no deal or stop Theresa May’s deal.

Independent
A key ally of Jeremy Corbyn says Labour does not back a motion to deliver a fresh Brexit referendum – just moments after its supporters insisted the leader was on board. The party’s confused position was plunged into fresh disarray, hours before MPs will vote on a plan for any deal passed by parliament to be put to a public vote. Peter Kyle, one of the Labour MPs who has drawn it up, insisted Mr Corbyn had given his full support, saying: “He will order MPs to vote for this.”

Norway option

Guardian
Concern is growing in Norway and Iceland about how to respond if the UK’s House of Commons votes to apply to join Efta, the four-nation European free-trade association of which both countries are members. While the plan appeals to a growing cross-party lobby of British MPs, who see Efta membership as a compromise solution to leaving the EU yet keeping the UK’s close economic ties with the European single market, it has divided opinion within Efta member states.

Express
THE Norway Plus deal could have just secured a massive boost ahead of a vote tonight, as the SNP’s Ian Blackford has confirmed the SNP “will not oppose” it. Mr Blackford wrote on Twitter the SNP “will seek compromise” on the Common Market 2.0 amendment. The amendment, otherwise known as Nowary Plus, is an alternative model for the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit. The MPs backing it say it would mean going back to the kind of economic relationship the UK had with the European Economic Community in the 1970s and 80s, without needing to be involved with closer political union or the direct involvement of the European Court of Justice.

EU

Sun
BRUSSELS bosses openly mocked Britain today for being unable to make up our minds on Brexit – and they threatened to keep us tied to them until April Fool’s Day 2020. Leaked documents showed that if the PM is forced into a long delay by hapless MPs who refuse to rubber stamp Brexit, they will make us stay in for another year. Mrs May asked them for an extension to Article 50 until June 30, but they only offered us one until May 22 at the latest. If the deal doesn’t pass then we can only stay in the bloc until April 12, by which time we need another plan in place or to leave without a deal at all.

Times
The European Union must stand up for Britons who want to scrap Brexit, Donald Tusk said yesterday. The president of the European Council urged MEPs to permit a long delay to Brexit, if it is asked for, to allow the 2016 referendum decision to be overturned. “We should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European parliament elections,” he said.

Breitbart
President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that it would be “unacceptable” to “betray” the people who signed an online petition and marched in London to stop Brexit. Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday morning the Polish progressive said that he maintains the European Council should be “open” to a long Article 50 delay “if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would, of course, mean the UK’s participation in the European Parliament elections.

Independent
Anti-Brexit British voters who want to remain in the EU must not be “betrayed”, the president of the European Council has warned. Donald Tusk said many of the millions of people who had signed a petition to revoke Article 50 or who had marched against Brexit at the weekend might feel that they “are not sufficiently represented by the UK parliament”. He said it was the duty of the European Parliament to represent people who disagreed with Brexit, “because they are Europeans”.

Westmonster
The European Union’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has today confirmed that there would not need to be a hard border on the island of Ireland after a No Deal Brexit. So why the hell does the British government want the UK to surrender to the hated backstop trap, paying £39 billion for the privilege? In comments picked up by The Sun’s Nick Gutteridge among others, Barnier said this morning: “In the case of No Deal in all scenarios the Good Friday Agreement will continue to apply. The UK will remain a co-guarantor. “There will be no hard border. We have to respect the Single Market but also out of respect for UK internal market there are going to have to be checks carried out somewhere.”

Speed limiters

Mail
‘Big Brother’ fears emerged yesterday about EU plans to fit speed-limiting technology in new cars. A European Commission blueprint to stop drivers going over the limit also involves an aircraft-style ‘black box’ to record speed plus driving and location data. Campaigners fear these tracking devices will allow police, insurers and even hackers to spy on people and monitor all their movements. ‘Intelligent speed assistance’ is at the centre of a European road-safety shake-up.

Mail
Plans for all new cars to be fitted with speed limiters from 2022 under tough EU safety rules could cause a spike in some crashes, a major insurer has today warned.  All new models will have Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) black boxes that use GPS to work out what the speed limit is and rein in engine performance so the driver can’t break it.  An ISA will be fitted in new models as standard from 2022 under the European Commission-approved legislation – and the rules will be mirrored in the UK even if Brexit happens.

NHS

Mail
A fifth of NHS bodies are not revealing how much they’re being paid by private drug companies, an investigation has found. Researchers discovered 35 hospital trusts in England would not give details of joint working arrangements they had formed. These relationships are trials or schemes in which the health service works alongside private pharmaceutical companies, which help to fund them in return. Private firms paid more than £7.5million to the NHS through these projects in 2016 and 2017, the investigation found.

Cancer

Mail
Having one bottle of wine each week raises the risk of cancer by the same amount as smoking up to 10 cigarettes, scientists claim. In the first study of its kind, academics managed to compare the known dangers of smoking to that of drinking too much. They found the ‘cigarette equivalent’ of one bottle of wine – roughly 10 units – is five cigarettes for men or ten for women each week.  And the risk of cancer from downing three bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher.

Migrants

Telegraph
Maltese armed forces have boarded a merchant vessel that was allegedly hijacked by migrants after they were rescued off the coast of Libya. Maltese authorities established communications with the captain of the oil tanker El Hibru 1 when it was about 30 nautical miles away from Malta and proceeding towards the island. “The captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta.”

Sun
MIGRANTS have hijacked a merchant ship which rescued them off the coast of Libya and it is now sailing towards Malta. Nationalist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini branded the migrants as “pirates” after it was announced they were heading towards Malta. Mr Salvini said: “These are not migrants in distress, they are pirates, they will only see Italy through a telescope.

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