Irish border

Express
THERESA May is seriously considering a compromise plan for a Brexit deal proposed by an alliance of Brexiteer and Remainer Tory MPs, Westminster sources confirmed yesterday. Backbenchers including Eurosceptic former Brexit minister Steve Baker and pro-Brussels ex-Cabinet Nicky Morgan held a third consecutive day of talks with EU Exit Secretary Stephen Barclay at the Cabinet office to discuss the blueprint. Their plan, nicknamed the “Malthouse compromise” at Westminster, involves extending Britain’s transition out of the EU by an extra year. The added time would be used to develop alternative arrangements for the Irish border to replace the so-called “backstop” insurance policy. Alternatively, the plan puts forward proposals for minimising disruption if no deal can be agreed between the UK and EU by the official Brexit date of March 29.

Sun
BREXIT ministers are studying a secret new high tech plan to keep the Irish border open that will be ready for a road test next month, leaked documents reveal. Officials from DexEU have been quietly working on the blueprint – drawn up by Japanese firm Fujitsu – for 10 months.  But, it has been rapidly dusted down in the last week after MPs voted to replace the current Irish backstop with a different one that could involve “alternative arrangements”. An 11 page briefing on the explosive Futitsu plan has been leaked to The Sun. Named the ‘Drive Through Border Concept’, it ensures there is no need for any physical checks on the border or hard infrastructure. Instead, a tracking system monitors vehicles on designated routes as they cross from Northern Ireland to the Republic via GPS as well as number plate recognition cameras.

Westmonster
An international law firm have concluded that the hated backstop is, in its present form, “illegal as a matter of EU law”. Going through the EU’s own position, Herbert Smith Freehills say: “The backstop exposes a major inconsistency in the position of the EU which has argued that Article 50 only allows the conclusion of an agreement that deals with separation issues, not agreements setting out a future relationship. “The most that can be done, the EU has argued, is to include in the Withdrawal Agreement transition provisions towards a framework for a future relationship that could at best be defined in a political declaration of intent.”

Brexit

Sun
THERESA May will abandon a Tory unity plan for a better Brexit deal once the EU shoots it down to her face on Thursday, allies have claimed. The PM faces a barrage of abuse from Brussels bosses when she flies to Europe’s capital in a bid to renegotiate her EU exit deal.  But ministers close to No10 told The Sun that she secretly wants the EU’s help to abandon the new plan, dubbed the Malthouse Compromise. Drawn up by senior Tory Leavers and Remainers, it replaces the unpopular Irish backstop with a new system of stand-off customs checks.

Mail
Theresa May is preparing for a political punch up in Brussels today after European Union chiefs hinted they are prepared to go the distance – rather than concede on her Brexit wishlist. Last night she was spotted smiling as she left the annual Conservative Black and White Ball – but as she headed to Brussels the British PM was expected to swap her powder for war paint. The Prime Minister has the enormous task of getting massive compromises on the deal which was rejected in the House of Commons – so she can return with an agreement to win over MPs before the exit date on March 29.

Express
THERESA May will today warn EU leaders that “legally binding” changes to her Withdrawal Agreement are the only way to stop the UK quitting the bloc without a deal. In a series of face-to-face talks with EU chiefs in Brussels, the Prime Minister will insist that she will not allow the country to be “trapped” into a customs union as part of the so-called backstop measure to keep the Northern Irish border free of checks.

Independent
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Council president Donald Tusk have said they will “not gamble with peace” over Theresa May‘s demands on the Northern Ireland backstop.  In an extraordinary intervention, Mr Tusk lashed out a Brexiteers in the UK, saying: “I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.” His comments sparked a furious reactions from Eurosceptics, with the DUP’s Sammy Wilson calling Mr Tusk a “devilish, trident wielding, euro maniac”.

EU

Mirror
Brexiteers will have a ‘special place in hell’, EU chief Donald Tusk declared today in an extraordinary, furious speech. The European Council President lashed out at Tories who pushed Brexit without a plan as talks remain deadlocked just 51 days before the UK is supposed to leave. Mr Tusk – who will meet Theresa May in Brussels tomorrow – slapped down the Prime Minister’s bid to reopen talks on the ‘backstop’ in her 585-page deal. He appeared to be referring to Tory Brexiteers like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. An official later clarified they would only go to the special place in hell after they died, not immediately.

Sky News
A furious row has erupted between Brussels and British MPs, after an EU chief said there was a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned for Brexit without a plan on how to deliver it. Donald Tusk made the explosive intervention during a statement in Brussels, where he appeared to rule out any chance of Britain staying in the bloc. He tackled the “pro-Brexit” leadership of Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, admitting there was “no political force” or “effective leadership for Remain”.

Mail
EU chief Donald Tusk was under intense pressure to apologise last night after saying leading Eurosceptics deserve a ‘special place in Hell’. The European Council president hurled a grenade into today’s talks with Theresa May, saying the EU was ‘not making any new offer’ to rescue her Brexit deal. Mr Tusk, who has previously called for a second referendum, then attacked senior Brexiteers, saying: ‘I’ve been wondering what that special place in Hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.’ Incredibly, he was then caught laughing on microphone after Irish premier Leo Varadkar whispered to him that the British would give him ‘terrible trouble’ over the jibe.

Westminster
DUP Brexiteer Sammy Wilson has reacted furiously to Donald Tusk’s attack on Brexiteers after the European Council said that there is a “special place in hell” for some who promoted Brexit. Sammy Wilson responded by saying: “Donald Tusk has once again shows his contempt for the 17.4 million people who voted to escape the corruption of the EU and seek the paradise of a free and prosperous Kingdom.

Times
Theresa May is braced for a bruising encounter with European leaders today after Donald Tusk declared that there will be “a special place in hell” for the leaders of the Brexit campaign. Downing Street believes that the prime minister will receive little sympathy from Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the commission, as they meet for the first time since her Brexit plan was defeated in the Commons.

Independent
A war of words has further undermined Theresa May’s mission to Brussels to rescue her Brexit deal, after the EU warned of a “special place in hell” for politicians who botched the project. Downing Street and Tory politicians hit back angrily after the extraordinary attack by Donald Tusk on those who triumphed in the referendum “without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it safely”. The prime minister’s spokesman urged people to ask whether such language was “helpful” – before noting, sarcastically, that was impossible “because he didn’t take any questions”.

Times
Donald Tusk was accused of undermining the EU’s message of solidarity with Ireland last night after his outburst against Brexiteers. Diplomats in Brussels said that the storm created by the European Council president’s attack would distract efforts to pin the blame on the UK for the Brexit deadlock. Standing alongside Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, Mr Tusk had meant to hammer home the message that Theresa May needed to show realism, but quickly went off message.

Mail
Even by Donald Tusk’s standards, the passage in his speech yesterday about the ‘special place in Hell’ reserved for Brexiteers was deliberately unpleasant and provocative. Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, was overheard joking about the outrage it would cause in Britain. Mr Tusk, the former Polish prime minister, nodded, laughed and then, to drive home the point, tweeted the inflammatory remarks. The episode infuriated the Brexiteer Tory MPs who Theresa May is desperately trying to keep on side as her negotiations with Brussels enter a critical phase.

Independent
Guy Verhofstadt has said Brexiteers without a plan for leaving the EU “would even manage to divide hell” following similar remarks made by Donald Tusk on the eve of Theresa May‘s visit to Brussels. The incendiary remarks from the chief of the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinating group come as Theresa May prepares to head to Brussels to seek fresh concessions on her exit deal. Speaking on Wednesday, the European Council president Mr Tusk risked straining relations with Westminster as he launched a scathing attack on Brexiteer campaigners who demanded the UK leave the EU without explaining how it should happen.

Telegraph
Germany and France have accused Brussels of leaving them defenceless against Chinese competition after the European Commission blocked a mega-merger of train manufacturers. Allowing Alstom and Siemens to join forces could have created a “European champion” similar to the aviation giant Airbus, supporters of the tie-up said, but it fell foul of the EU’s competition rules. Berlin and Paris now plan to call for an overhaul “to revamp competition rules and allow us a much more ambitious industrial policy with respect to our US and Chinese competitors”, said Bruno Le Maire, the French economy minister.

Telegraph
German business is seriously worried about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Scarcely a day passes without a new warning from business leaders. The car industry trade body, the VDA, says no deal could have “fatal” consequences, while the Federation of German Industry (BDI) says it would be a disaster that could cause a “massive crisis”. But, despite the alarm, so far German business has remained solidly behind the negotiating position of Angela Merkel and the EU-27.

WA second vote

Telegraph
Theresa May is preparing to delay a second vote on her deal until the end of February, a month before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU, in a move which ministers believe means an extension of Article 50 is now inevitable. Julian Smith, the chief whip, is understood to have signalled in Cabinet on Tuesday that the vote will not be held next week, as previously expected, because the Prime Minister will not have renegotiated her deal in time.

Westmonster
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to delay the next Parliamentary vote on her EU deal until the end of February, meaning that the government could try and push back the Brexit day beyond 29th March 2019. The Telegraph are reporting that May’s Chief Whip, Julian Smith, has indicated that there will be no vote next week as was expected. The government may be hoping to buy Theresa May more time given the EU’s refusal to renegotiate, but having repeatedly promised that the UK will be leaving the EU on time, this is now a matter of trust.

Fisheries

Express
A GERMAN MEP has begged Britain to allow European countries access to North Sea fishing grounds even after Brexit. Werner Kuhn fears his Mecklenburg-Wester Pomerania state will be denied access to a 200-mile zone it currently has rights to off the coast of Scotland and north-east England. Ships from the north German state fish about 50,000 tonnes of herring from those waters but are at risk of losing access if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. Those fish are processed at the Euro-Baltic plant in Sassnitz-Mukran in Rügen, an island off Germany’s north coast.

WTO rules

Telegraph
Business Secretary Greg Clark has warned companies to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit as fears mount that the UK could crash out of the European Union in a matter of weeks. He told MPs that without an agreement, businesses that rely on international supply chains would be “sensible” to prepare for the worst. “It is a fact that we don’t know the terms of our future trading relationship with the rest of the European Union,” he told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Wednesday.

Labour Party

Times
Jeremy Corbyn put his party on course to support a Brexit deal within weeks if Theresa May makes a series of concessions. The Labour leader abandoned undeliverable pledges to deliver the “exact same benefits” as EU membership for a proposal that brings Labour much closer to voting through a Brexit deal by accepting an arrangement based on the single market. In a letter to Mrs May, Mr Corbyn said that the price of his backing a deal came in the form of five legally binding commitments: A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union.

Express
DONALD Tusk has admitted his hopes of a second referendum to keep Britain in the EU have been killed off by Jeremy Corbyn’s “pro-Brexit” views. The European council chief made the comments after outraging Brexiteers earlier today by saying there is a “special place in hell” for those who campaigned to leave the EU without having a plan. During a press conference with Irish Taoiseach Lea Varadker in Brussels today, Mr Tusk said there is no chance of a second vote to reverse Brexit because both Theresa May and Mr Corbyn are in favour of leaving the bloc.

Independent
Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May outlining the Labour party’s five Brexit demands, which he claims will bring the country together. On a day where a war of words erupted between EU leaders and Tory politicians, undermining Ms May’s Brexit position, Mr Corbyn penned a letter to the prime minister calling for a number of changes to her approach. The Labour leader said his priorities, which included being part of the customs union and protecting UK jobs, must be enshrined in the political declaration, setting out future relations with the EU, to win his party’s support.

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn has written to the prime minister, offering to throw Labour’s support behind her Brexit deal if she makes five legally binding commitments – including joining a customs union. The Labour leader held private talks with Theresa May last week for the first time since her deal was rejected by a historic margin of 230 votes in January. In a follow-up letter sent on Wednesday, he laid out in the clearest terms yet what commitments he is seeking in exchange for offering Labour support.

Mail
Donald Tusk today blamed Jeremy Corbyn‘s ‘pro-Brexit‘ stance for killing off hopes of keeping Britain in the EU. The European council chief said the political ‘facts’ in the UK meant the historic decision to leave the bloc would not be reversed. The intervention – as Mr Tusk delivered a bitter swipe about Brexiteers deserving a ‘special place in Hell’ – will cause more misery for Remainers trying to force a second referendum.

BBC

Breitbart
Brexit architect Nigel Farage has labelled the BBC the “Biased Brussels Corporation” after it was revealed the tax-payer funded broadcaster has received more than £4 million in funding from the European Union. The BBC has received €4.8 million (£4.2 million) in grants from Brussels since 2015 as part of the bloc’s Horizon 2020 programme, according to The Telegraph. The largest single dispersement was for the €1.1 million (£970,000) project SUMMA (Scalable Understanding of Multilingual Media) started in 2015 which aims to “create a platform to automate the analysis of media streams across many languages,” according to the BBC News Labs website.

Yellow vests

Breitbart
France’s yellow vest protest movement has joined ranks with a major union in a day of nationwide protests over taxes and buying power, a first for both. There were brief scuffles and police fired several rounds of tear gas at Tuesday’s Paris demonstration, clearing troublemakers from the elegant Place de la Concorde, which borders the U.S. Embassy. Tear gas was also used in Lille and elsewhere. However, tension was minimal compared with the weekly protests held since November by the yellow vest movement to demand fiscal and social justice in a major challenge to President Emmanuel Macron.

Novichok

Telegraph
A third Russian agent implicated in the Salisbury nerve agent attack aborted his planned exit from the UK, raising the prospect he remained in the country. The Russian military intelligence officer – using the false name Sergey Fedotov – travelled to the UK on the same day as two hitmen who carried out the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal. Fedotov was then booked on to the same flight back to Moscow with the assassins.

Weather

Times
A run of high annual temperatures will continue for the next five years, the Met Office has forecast. It said that the global annual average could rise to more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial level, beating the record set in 2016 of 1.11C. The decade from 2014 to 2023 was likely to be the warmest ten-year period since records began 150 years ago, it added, continuing the trend of the past four decades. Under the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, all nations agreed to try to limit the increase to 1.5C over the long term. The Met Office predicted that the average temperature increase globally over the five years from 2019 to 2023 would be between 1.03C and 1.57C.

Star
EARTH is set to experience its warmest years ever as temperatures are forecast to soar to “dangerous levels”, according to experts. Average global surface temperatures for 2019 to 2023 are forecast to be between 1.03C and 1.57C above the levels seen before the Industrial Revolution, Met Office experts predict. The next five years are likely to see temperatures of 1C or more above pre-industrial levels as the Earth experiences its warmest decade on record. If temperatures over the next five years are in line with the predictions, it will make the decade between 2014 and 2023 the hottest run of years in records reaching back to 1850.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email