Brexit

Telegraph
Theresa May has been urged to delay the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal for a second time after Government whips failed over Christmas to persuade enough MPs to back it. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, says time is Mrs May’s “friend” as Brexit day looms, because “the more we prepare to leave the EU without a deal, the more likely a good deal becomes”. Writing in The Telegraph, he insists a deal will be reached “at the eleventh hour” because the EU is worried about losing the £39bn “divorce payment” that would come with a Brexit deal. The vote, which was delayed at the last minute in December, is currently scheduled for the week beginning January 14.

Mail
Jeremy Hunt insisted Theresa May can still salvage her Brexit deal today – despite Tory MPs branding her hopes of getting it through Parliament ‘wishful thinking’. The Foreign Secretary said he believed the PM will ‘find a way’ to win the looming Commons vote by getting assurances with ‘legal force’ that the Irish border backstop is only temporary.   But senior Conservatives said they were detecting no sign of a shift in opinion over the Christmas break, warning that ‘nothing has changed’.

Express
MINISTERS are to dramatically accelerate preparations for a no-deal Brexit as the crunch Commons vote on Theresa May’s EU withdrawal plan looms, a senior Tory frontbencher will reveal on Thursday. In an exclusive article for the Daily Express, EU Exit Secretary Stephen Barclay reveals that a new publicity blitz urging the public to be ready for a sudden break with Brussels will be launched next week. He also warns MPs the Prime Minister’s plan is “the only workable deal that delivers on the democratic choice of the British people”.

Huffington Post
The DUP has held out an olive branch to Theresa May over Brexit, offering to work with her to get changes to the deal with the EU to get it passed by MPs. Officials have been locked in talks with the EU over Christmas in an effort to get legally enforceable changes to the so-called Irish border backstop which has sparked fierce opposition to the deal from the DUP and Tory Brexiteers. DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds held talks with Chief Whip Julian Smith on Wednesday morning with the prime minister under pressure to secure the necessary changes before MPs start debating the deal next week. The support of the Northern Irish party is seen as key in avoiding a crushing defeat for the deal in a Commons vote the following week, with one Tory former cabinet minister telling HuffPost UK “she will have to persuade the DUP” by “really moving the dial” on the backstop.

Times
Downing Street last night downplayed expectations that Theresa May had won EU concessions on her Brexit deal. Jeremy Hunt had raised hopes of a breakthrough, saying that the prime minister would update MPs on the outcome of talks with other EU leaders. The foreign secretary said that “clearer language” on the temporary nature of the Irish backstop would help to get the divorce deal through the Commons. The Democratic Unionist Party, Mrs May’s estranged parliamentary allies, stepped up their demands for changes to the withdrawal agreement after a meeting between their Westminster leader and the chief whip yesterday.

Guardian
Theresa May will present MPs with new “clearer language” on the nature of the backstop agreement, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has claimed, as the prime minister held telephone talks with the German chancellor and other EU leaders. Talks with the heads of EU countries and the DUP have been quietly going on during the festive period, Whitehall sources have confirmed, as May prepares to face mutinous MPs when she returns to the Commons having promised legally binding concessions.

EU

Express
PRIME Minister Theresa May is set for a Brexit showdown with Donald Tusk, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte as her fight to avoid a no-deal EU exit reaches its climax. Mrs May will travel to the EU headquarters in Brussels with the aim of putting a time limit on the Northern Ireland backstop. In Mrs May’s first crunch Brexit talks since the start of 2019, she will this week seek assurances that the backstop, aimed at avoiding a hard Irish border, will have a cut-off date, the Financial Times reports.

Westmonster
There is more chatter of the Eurozone breaking up as we kick off 2019, with the internal pressures growing. Italian politicians have just signed off on a budget after the European Commission outrageously vetoed what was originally put on the table by the Eurosceptic, anti-establishment government there. EU sanctions were being threatened. Not hard to see then why the Centre for Economics and Business Research have made the following call on the Euro for 2019 then: “The year when the internal contradictions of the Euro force the EU either to integrate economically or to risk the break up of the Eurozone is coming up – it is possible to defer the confrontation for a year or two but the boil will have to be lanced at some point since the Italians have clearly reached the point of austerity fatigue.”

Labour Party

Guardian
Labour members are significantly more opposed to Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn is, with 72% of them thinking their leader should fully support a second referendum, according to a study of attitudes in the party. The polling, part of an ongoing wider academic study into attitudes in various parties, found that only 18% opposed Labour campaigning for a second referendum, while 88% would then opt for remain if such a vote was held. Official Labour policy is that a second referendum could potentially be considered if there is not a general election.

Independent
Labour members overwhelmingly back a fresh Brexit referendum, a new study has found, piling further pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to do the same. As many as 72 per cent of card-carrying party loyalists want the Labour leader to throw his weight behind a Final Say public vote – and 88 per cent would back Remain if it takes place. The researchers warned Mr Corbyn his own supporters would turn against him if he continued to oppose another referendum, as he did a few days before Christmas. Around 16 per cent said they had considered quitting Labour because of its pro-Brexit stance – a proportion equivalent to around 88,000 members, according to the analysis.

Mail
Pressure is mounting on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second Brexit referendum after polling showed huge support among Labour members – and many ready to quit if he ignores them. The Labour leader has been desperately resisting calls from within his own ranks to endorse another national vote, keeping the option open while insisting he prefers an election. Mr Corbyn again dodged today as he was challenged on why he was defying the views of Labour activists.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn will defy calls to change course on the party’s Brexit policy ahead of parliament’s vote on the deal, insisting that the government should secure a new deal with the EU if MPs reject Theresa May’s agreement. Under increasing pressure from Labour members and MPs to reconsider his approach as preparations for the delayed “meaningful vote” ramp up over the next week, Corbyn said on Wednesday that the party’s policy remained “sequential” and that no decision could be made on a second referendum until parliament voted down the deal on offer.

Migrants

Telegraph
Sajid Javid has asked the Royal Navy to help deal with the English Channel migrant crisis as he warned that desperate families trying to make the crossing could drown. The Home Secretary has written to Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, requesting a military patrol vessel, dozens of sailors and aerial surveillance to help save lives and stop the crossings. Mr Javid is understood to have made a “broad” request for support after Mr Williamson said on Sunday that the Navy, Air Force and Army “stand ready to assist

Mail
Sajid Javid suggested migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats are not ‘genuine’ asylum seekers today. In remarks that provoked a furious backlash, the Home Secretary vowed to do everything necessary to stop people attempting the perilous crossing after a surge over the past three months.  Mr Javid said Britain would also try to block asylum requests wherever possible in a bid to try and break the link between people getting here and being allowed to stay. He warned those who tried to leave France and get to Britain illegally may not be real refugees because they were already ‘perfectly safe in France’.

ITV News
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of arranging the illegal movement of migrants across the English Channel. The National Crime Agency (NCA) said a 33-year-old Iranian and a 24-year-old British man had been arrested in Manchester. The arrests come just days after the Home Secretary branded a “major incident”, after almost 100 migrant made the dangerous crossing over the Christmas period. Speaking on Wednesday, Sajid Javid added that 539 people had crossed the Channel in 2018, with 80% making the journey in the last three months of the year.

Independent
The home secretary has been condemned for suggesting that officials will hamper asylum claims made by migrants crossing the English Channel. After declaring a dramatic increase in dinghy crossings from France a “major incident”, Sajid Javid claimed that those attempting the journey may not be “genuine asylum seekers”. “People shouldn’t be taking this very dangerous journey and if they do we need to send a very strong message that you won’t succeed,” he said during a visit to Dover. “You’re coming from France, which is a safe country, you’re coming to the UK in almost every case you’re claiming asylum in the UK, but if you were a real genuine asylum seeker then you could have done that in another safe country.

Times
The Royal Navy has been sent to help counter the surge of migrants crossing the Channel after Sajid Javid made a formal request for military assistance. HMS Mersey, an offshore patrol vessel, is ready to begin work as soon as today with other assets, including aerial surveillance, set to follow. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, dispatched the vessel within hours of receiving a letter from Mr Javid, the home secretary. However, the Whitehall departments are squabbling over who should pay for the deployment. The River-class vessel, launched in 2003, has two rigid inflatable boats and a radar system to help it to spot small craft that may be carrying asylum seekers across the Channel.

Mail
Sajid Javid last night called in the military as he tried to get a grip on the Channel migrant crisis. In a major escalation, a Royal Naval vessel will today be sent to patrol the Straits of Dover and the Royal Air Force will provide aerial surveillance. The deployment is yet another U-turn for the Home Secretary, who refused an offer of military assistance from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the weekend but last night changed his mind and wrote to him requesting support.

Guardian
Lawyers and campaigners have criticised Sajid Javid after the home secretary appeared to suggest asylum seekers should be deterred from crossing the Channel in small boats by making it harder to gain asylum, a right enshrined in international law. The Refugee Council called the comments “deeply concerning” and said the suggestion of denying asylum was unlawful. The criticism was echoed by the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, who called the comments “a disgrace”. Speaking on a visit to Dover, Javid questioned why people making the journey had not sought asylum in the first safe country they entered.

Sun
TWO men have been arrested on suspicion of arranging the illegal movement of migrants across the English Channel into the UK. A 33-year-old Iranian national and a 24-year-old British man were arrested in Manchester on Wednesday evening. A National Crime Agency spokesperson said: “NCA officers have tonight arrested a 33-year-old Iranian national and a 24-year-old British man in Manchester, on suspicion of arranging the illegal movement of migrants across the English Channel into the UK.  “As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

Mirror
Desperate people who travel from France to Britain are not “genuine asylum seekers”, the Home Secretary has suggested. Sajid Javid was branded “utterly disgusting” by charities and Labour after he claimed if people were fleeing war or persecution, they would settle in the “first safe country” they arrive in.  By his definition, that would suggest not one refugee who has crossed the English Channel whether in a boat, truck or train is “genuine” – even if they fled persecution – simply because they were in France first. And he warned once people reach the UK and claim asylum, “we will do everything we can to make sure that you are often not successful” – which prompted Labour to accuse him of breaking Geneva Convention.

Train travel

Telegraph
The top 10 busiest peak train services in England and Wales are carrying almost twice as many passengers as they are designed to. New analysis published by the Labour Party revealed the worst rail routes are now on average 187 per cent over capacity – an increase of more than 25 per cent since 2011. The situation is predicted to get worse with the top 10 most overcrowded train routes expected to carry more than twice as many passengers as they should by the end of 2022. Labour sought to capitalise amid commuter fury after fares went up across the board by an average of 3.1 per cent despite widespread rail misery in 2018.

Mail
The astonishing hypocrisy of militant unions and Labour activists over rising rail fares was laid bare yesterday. As Jeremy Corbyn branded the latest hike a ‘national disgrace’, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said unions had driven up prices by demanding inflation-busting pay rises for rail workers. This includes a staggering pay deal which will see drivers on one of the most disrupted services paid more than £63,000 a year for a four-day week. Walkouts by the hardline Rail Maritime and Transport union, supported by Labour, have caused chaos, with more than 60 days of protests on Northern and South Western last year.

UKIP

Sun
FAR-right hot-head Tommy Robinson is secretly being lined up to become Ukip leader, it has been claimed. Multiple sources inside the party have separately told this newspaper of behind-the-scenes plans to install the English Defence League (EDL) founder as leader when current boss Gerard Batten quits.  Mr Batten  sparked an exodus of Ukip big-hitters including ex-leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall by appointing Robinson as an adviser in November. He is trying to change party rules to allow the anti-Islam campaigner to join Ukip as a member.

Mail
Ukip leader Gerard Batten has denied reports that Tommy Robinson is being lined up to take over as Ukip leader. Multiple sources inside the party have reportedly claimed there are secret plans by Mr Batten to install the English Defence League (EDL) founder as leader when he stands down.  However when the reports were put to Mr Batten by MailOnline, he dismissed the reports as ‘completely untrue’ and ‘fake news’.  One senior source was reported as saying: ‘This is Gerard’s ultimate plan.’ Another said: ‘Gerard only listens to Tommy Robinson. They’re best buddies.’ And a prominent figure told The Sun: ‘It would explain why Gerard is so keen to get Tommy Robinson in as a member before next leadership contest, due in April.’

Education

Times
Universities have been warned that they are on the brink of a “credit crunch” after embarking on a record borrowing spree despite deep uncertainty over their financial future. The sector’s debts have risen over the past year to £10.8 billion, three times more than before the financial crash, figures compiled by The Times show. Five universities, including Southampton, UCL and Imperial College London, have more than doubled their borrowing in the past year to compete in the ever-tougher battle to attract more students from home and abroad.

Health

Telegraph
Cancer could soon be picked up through a simple breath test, after researchers launched a clinical trial to see if molecules in the mouth could identify disease. In tests run by Cancer Research UK, breath samples from 1,500 people will be collected in the hope that odorous molecules called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be detected. All cells produce VOCs through their normal day-to-day operation, but if their metabolism changes, such as in cancer, they release a different pattern. If the trial is successful, it would mean that cancer could be spotted quickly before it has spread, when it is easier to treat and when chances of survival are greatest.

Mail
A breathalyser test being developed by British scientists could revolutionise cancer diagnosis. The test is designed to pick up early signs of the disease which enter the breath and become airborne – slashing the need for biopsies. Doctors say it could save thousands of lives each year. The technique relies on a pioneering device that can detect chemicals given off by cancerous tumours.  A major trial of the technology – involving 1,500 patients over two years – is now being launched.  The test could replace current screening programmes within a decade.

Mail
Scientists have discovered a drinkable drug cocktail that shows promise for blocking Alzheimer’s-related decline and even restoring memory.  For the 44 million people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, there is nothing to cure the devastating illness, and little more available to treat its symptoms. Researchers at Yale University are among many scientists the world over who are searching for some solution to this growing problem as the population ages. The Yale team discovered a way to retool an old antibiotic – known as Suprax, or cefixime – to treat the devastating form of dementia in mice and soon plan to test it in a larger sample of human Alzheimer’s patients.

Holocaust

Telegraph
The Nazi murder rate during the height of the Holocaust was almost three times higher than previously thought, and only declined because there was “no one left to kill”, a disturbing new study has found. At the regime’s murderous peak, around 15,000 Jews were slaughtered every day in the death camps of German-occupied Poland under Operation Reinhard, new research shows. Previous estimates suggested that maximum Holocaust death rate was around 6,000 victims each day at Auschwitz, but evidence of exact figures has proved difficult to find because the killings were covered up by the Nazis

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