Blair

Telegraph
Sir John Chilcot has said he does not believe Tony Blair was “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run-up to the Iraq War. The chairman of the public inquiry into the 2003 conflict said the former prime minister had been “emotionally truthful” in his account of events leading up to the war. In an interview with the BBC Sir John was then asked if Mr Blair was as truthful with him and the public as he should have been during the seven-year inquiry.

Westmonster
Two of Britain’s most senior judges, Lord Chief Justice Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and Justice Duncan Ouseley, will review whether or not former Prime Minister Tony Blair can be prosecuted over his role in the Iraq war. Westminster magistrates court ruled in late 2016 that Blair wouldn’t face criminal charges as it could involve details being disclosed that were covered under the Official Secrets Act. However, a recently unreported ruling from the High Court declared that the former Prime Minister could be prosecuted if those seeking justice over the war were able to obtain a court order allowing the case to progress to the next stage. The current Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, wants the block on proceedings upheld. According to The Guardian, he will have a barrister in court to try to stop the attempted private prosecution. If the case were to go to trial, it would be a huge event in both British and international politics, with potentially history-altering ramifications.

Guardian
Sir John Chilcot has said he does not believe Tony Blair was “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run-up to the Iraq war. The chairman of the public inquiry into the 2003 conflict said the former prime minister had however been “emotionally truthful” in his account of events leading up to the war, meaning he relied on both emotion and fact. Breaking his long silence on the matter with an interview with the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, Sir John said: “Tony Blair is always and ever an advocate. He makes the most persuasive case he can. Not departing from the truth but persuasion is everything.” Chilcot was later asked if Blair was as truthful with him and the public as he should have been during the seven-year inquiry.

Mirror
Tony Blair was not “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run-up to the Iraq War, Sir John Chilcot claimed. The chairman of the public inquiry into the 2003 conflict told the BBC the former prime minister had been “emotionally truthful” in his account of events leading up to the war. He was asked if Mr Blair was as truthful with him and the public as he should have been during the seven-year inquiry. And he replied: “Can I slightly reword that to say I think any prime minister taking a country into war has got to be straight with the nation and carry it, so far as possible, with him or her.

BBC News
Tony Blair was not “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run up to the Iraq War, the chairman of the inquiry into the war has told the BBC. Speaking for the first time since publishing his report a year ago, Sir John Chilcot discussed why he thinks the former PM made those decisions. He said the evidence Mr Blair gave the inquiry was “emotionally truthful” but he relied on beliefs rather than facts. A spokesman for Mr Blair said “all these issues” had been dealt with. In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Sir John also talked about Mr Blair’s state of mind during the inquiry and his relationship with the then US President George W Bush in the build-up to the 2003 conflict.

Brexit

UKIP
The European Parliament has voted down several UKIP amendments which explicitly called for the protection of UK fishing waters, scrapping the Brexit bill and ending ECJ jurisdiction in the UK. Conservative and Labour MEPs joined forces to vote down these proposals along with the rest of the Parliament. Gerard Batten MEP and UKIP Brexit spokesman commented: “The Conservative government is making some encouraging noises but their MEPs gave the game away today. As usual, the Tories say one thing in the UK but vote for the opposite in the European Parliament. They are fully prepared to allow European courts to have power over us for years and years to come and submit to EU blackmail over the Brexit bill.”

Independent
New minister Steve Baker has slapped down colleagues trying to avert a hard Brexit, insisting there will be no compromise on Theresa May’s plans. It would be fatal show of weakness – “like putting blood in the water” – to let Brussels believe Britain is stepping back from the Prime Minister’s hardline proposals, set out in January, he warned. Mr Baker admitted to Cabinet divisions on the terms of Brexit since the election weakened Ms May, saying: “It is the case that some people would like to reinvent things.”But, the junior Brexit minister insisted: “We have taken a major strategic decision to leave the European Union.

Express
DAVID Cameron has risked widening the Tory rift over Europe by privately pressing MPs to support a watered-down Brexit deal that would keep Britain firmly tied to Brussels, party sources revealed last night. In a major intervention that will infuriate Theresa May, the former prime minister is said to have telephoned a string of Tory MPs in recent days to argue that Government should seek the so-called “Norway option” for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. His proposal – which directly conflicts with Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint – would mean Britain staying in the European Economic Area (EEA), a free trade zone that includes the 28 current EU member nations along with non-EU countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The intervention has angered Euro-sceptic Tories, who point out that EEA membership entails keeping an open-door to EU migrants and remaining within the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. It could also mean British taxpayers continuing to pay a substantial membership fee.

Breitbart
Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Brexit Secretary is demanding that Theresa May drop her “unhelpful” commitment to ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over Britain once it leaves the EU. Brussels officials are insisting that the ECJ or another external court should remain the supreme court for EU migrants in Britain even after Brexit, without powers to demand “a lump sum or a penalty payment” from the British Government. With respect to the ECJ in particular, critics are suggesting that this is like Britain demanding that British courts have the final say on the affairs of British nationals in the EU, with even former ECJ justices criticising the EU’s stance as “imperialism“.

Times
The lord chief justice hit back last night at “the lie” that Brexit would damage London’s standing as a global legal centre. Lord Thomas of Cymgiedd said that leaving the European Union did not “affect the quality or certainty of English law or the standing of our courts or London’s arbitration centres”. However, there was a perception — “fuelled by our competitors for their own advantage” — that this was not the case, Lord Thomas said. “Rumour may insinuate that English law is no longer certain; that London is no longer a safe forum to bring disputes. Such rumours are wrong and unequivocally so,” he added.

Independent
There could be a “technical flaw” in the way Article 50 was triggered which could make it vulnerable to a challenge in court, the National Assembly for Wales has been told. In a plenary session, Baroness Eluned Morgan, the shadow minister for Wales in the House of Lords, said that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawl) Act did not actually notify the EU of the UK’s decision to leave the union. Following the passage of the act in Parliament, Theresa May sent a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk telling him of the UK’s intention to leave, which is widely believed to have triggered Article 50. But lawyers have pointed out that even if Parliament voted to trigger Article 50 and start the exit process, the wording of the Act did not have the desired effect. 

EU

Express
EUROPEAN politicians this evening once more called for an end to the EU parliament’s farcical travelling circus which costs taxpayers £100 million every year. MEPs from across the political and national divide slammed the current ridiculous situation, where the entire Brussels bureaucracy decamps once a month to Strasbourg for four days worth of sittings.  They tore into Strasbourg’s £410 million white elephant as “a symbol of all that is wrong with the European Union” and said it is bad for taxpayers and the environment. MEPs have repeatedly voted to ditch their second chamber in Strasbourg, which is unpopular with many officials due to the tiresome travelling and lack of facilities in the small city like hotels. Most of the member states are also in favour of ending the fiasco, which is hugely damaging to the EU’s reputation, but all efforts have been furiously rebuffed by the French. 

Telegraph
Jean-Claude Juncker’s deputy has mocked Britain’s ambitions to forge new global trading relationships after Brexit by comparing eurosceptic politicians to a character from Monty Python. Frans Timmermans is the powerful First Vice-President of the European Commission, which is leading the Brexit negotiations on behalf of the bloc’s 27 remaining member states. Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Timmermans likened UKIP MEP Raymond Finch to the Black Knight in the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Express
A TOP eurocrat today mocked Britain’s trade ambitions and compared the country’s post-Brexit economy to a Monty Python sketch. Frans Timmermans, the second-in-command to EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, said the UK reminds him of the Black Knight in the legendary comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In the movie the character, clad all in black armour, is a symbol of hopeless optimism as he loses all of his limbs in a sword fight – at one point famously declaring “tis but a scratch!” as an arm falls off – before calling the contest a draw. The Dutch eurocrat’s scathing remarks were made in response to a speech by Ukip MEP Ray Finch, who predicted the EU would suffer while Britain strikes new trade deals around the world.

Express
BRUSSELS should be given the power to raise taxes directly from citizens and companies to foster a sense of loyalty to the bloc, an arch proponent of a European superstate said today. Brexit negotiator and liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt said allowing eurocrats to employ its own continent-wide levies would “create a direct link between the EU and its citizens”. He claimed most people would not mind coughing up their hard earned wages to Brussels rather than their own countries so long as the payments came to the same amount as before. During a press conference in Strasbourg this morning the former Belgian PM also called for the EU to assume increased “capabilities on intelligence and investigation” to fight the terror threat. And he delivered a veiled criticism of Theresa May’s offer on citizens’ rights, saying that it was unacceptable that the proposed new system would treat EU nationals through the prism of the immigration system. 

BBC News
Amnesty International has blamed “failing EU policies” for the soaring death toll among refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean. In a report, it said “cynical deals” with Libya consigned thousands to the risk of drowning, rape and torture. It said the EU was turning a blind eye to abuses in Libyan detention centres, and was mostly leaving it up to sea rescue charities to save migrants. More than 2,000 people have died in 2017 trying to get to Europe, it said. The EU has so far made no public comments on Amnesty’s report. It comes as interior ministers from the 28-member bloc are meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss the migrant crisis. They will review a $92m (£71m) action plan unveiled by the European Commission to deal with the issue.

Elderly care

Mail
One in four care services are failing to meet basic safety standards, a damning major report reveals today. Elderly residents are ignored if struggling to eat, left ‘doing nothing’ for most of the day and allowed to wander outside at night. The Care Quality Commission has rated 25 per cent of the 24,000 adult social care services in England as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ for safety. These include all residential care homes, nursing homes for more dependent patients and home visiting services. The biggest concerns were within the 4,042 nursing homes of which 37 per cent were rated either requires improvement or inadequate.

ITV News
One in three nursing homes are failing on safety, the care regulator has found. Inspectors saw residents being washed and dressed and then put back to bed to make it easier for staff. Other residents did not get enough to eat or were not helped to go to the toilet in time. Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission, said it was “completely and utterly unacceptable” in the modern age. “These are things you do not want to be happening to your loved one or mum,” she added.

Times
One in three nursing homes is inadequate, condemning tens of thousands of elderly people to substandard care, an overview of inspections has found. Elderly care is “precarious” with homes deteriorating as qualified staff leave over poor pay and conditions, inspectors say. Families face a “Russian roulette” with one in four social care services, including home care, not safe enough, campaigners warned. 
Inspectors found residents going weeks without showers, falling repeatedly, missing medicines and being woken at dawn for the convenience of staff. After inspecting all 24,000 social care services looking after a million people in the UK, the Care Quality Commission said the system risked tipping into disaster.

Sky News
One in four care services are “insufficiently safe” and one in five offer inadequate treatment, according to the largest ever survey of adult social care in the UK. The findings of the Care Quality Commission survey of 24,000 providers have prompted charity Age UK to warn that older people are facing a “Russian roulette” choice over care. The CQC report found 22% of providers were rated as “requiring improvement” or “inadequate” overall, and judged on safety 25% were rated in the lowest two categories. The most serious problems were in the UK’s 4,000 nursing homes, 37% of which were found to be failing on safety.

Sun
APPLICATIONS from EU citizens to work in UK care homes have drastically slumped amid uncertainty around Theresa May’s offer for them to stay after Brexit. New figures show a sharp fall since the referendum result, and the numbers last month were around half what they were last year. As leaders continue to scrap what will happen to EU nationals living in Britain, and Brits living abroad in the EU, the number of applications from across the channel slumped. Compared to the 12 months before the referendum, carehome.co.uk jobs website said the numbers from EU nationals had dropped by 26 per cent to 2.41 per cent of all applications, showing many workers have been put off coming work in the UK.

Rail fares

Mail
Millions of commuters face the biggest hike in rail fares for five years as the cost of living rises. The increase is expected to be almost four per cent, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of many season tickets. Regulated rail fares rise each January in line with the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation for the previous July. This will be announced next month and is expected to rise from its current level of 3.7 per cent to as high as 3.9 per cent.
The prospect of another jump in fares in January will be a bitter blow for families who are already facing a squeeze on wages as the headline rate of inflation – the Consumer Prices Index – has hit 2.9 per cent, the highest in just under four years. It will also be hard to stomach for commuters on poorly performing rail services across the country including Southern, which has been blighted by disruption and a long campaign of strike action.

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