EU

Express
DONALD Tusk today set out the EU’s negotiating guidelines for the next phase of Brexit talks, insisting only a Canada-style free trade agreement with no tariffs on goods was available, demanding access to fishing waters and making no mention of special treatment for the City. The European Council president was speaking at a press conference in Luxembourg this afternoon about what the EU’s future relationship with the UK could look like. Mr Tusk in
sisted he did not “want to build a wall” with the UK but  said the move to leave the single market and customs union meant “it should come as no surprise that the only remaining model is a free trade agreement” along the lines of Canada.

Independent
The EU has rejected Theresa May’s vision for a post-Brexit trade relationship, laying out its own plans and warning that her choices will have “negative economic consequences” for Britain. In draft negotiating guidelines unveiled on Wednesday, the bloc ruled out the “mutual recognition” of standards between the UK and EU as proposed by the Prime Minister in her Mansion House speech last week. The six-page document, which will instruct EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on how to deal with the UK in the next phase of talks, also rules out British membership of EU regulators such as the European Medicines Agency after Brexit – directly rebuffing the Prime Minister.

Westmonster
The European Parliament are pushing forward a hardline stance on the EU’s Brexit negotiations, demanding a “binding convergence mechanism” to EU laws in a draft document seen by Politico. Guy Verhofstadt is leading the EuroParl’s vision for the future UK-EU relationship that involves “binding common rules, common institutions and common supervisory, enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms” whilst insisting that Brexit Britain cannot have “similar benefits or market access”. They also insist that any comprehensive trade deal would include “a binding interpretation role” for the European Court of Justice. In fact MEPs want the UK to remain in Single Market and Customs Union – despite the British people having clearly voted to leave both.

Guardian
Philip Hammond has put Britain on a fresh collision course with Brussels after he warned the government could reject any Brexit trade deal not including financial services. Speaking in Canary Wharf at the headquarters of HSBC on Wednesday afternoon, the chancellor said a trade deal would only happen if it balanced the interests of both the UK and the EU. “It’s hard to see any deal that did not include financial services can look like a fair and balanced deal,” he said. The latest speech from a senior member of Theresa May’s cabinet will move talks with Brussels to yet another impasse, after the EU council president Donald Tusk warned earlier on Wednesday that the UK would not be allowed to “cherry pick” what it liked in trade talks.

Breitbart
The European Council has rejected the Prime Minister’s latest Brexit proposals — for remaining in some agencies and in line with some rules — as well as demanding continued access to the UK’s territorial fishing waters. In new negotiating guidelines, the council insisted Brexit “will have negative economic consequences”, as the bloc continues to take an uncompromising stance that will punish the British people for voting to take their sovereignty back. The six-page document insists financial services will not be part of a post-Brexit trade agreement and makes clear the UK will not be able to stay in EU agencies on chemicals, medicines, or financial services, as Theresa May proposed in her speech last week.

Westmonster
The EU wants to carry on plundering British fisheries post-Brexit and stop the UK using independence for “competitive advantage”, according to the bloc’s latest guidelines outlining what kind of trade future relationship it wants with Britain. Two key pillars of Brexit were taking back control of UK waters and choose its own rules and regulations moving forward – principles Brussels refuses to accept. The guidelines are being put forward by Donald Tusk and represent the EU’s negotiating guidelines on a future EU/UK trading partnership. Brussels are still insisting that they will only accept a free trade deal with Britain if Theresa May agrees not to seek ‘unfair competitive advantage’  and ensures a ‘level playing field’.

UKIP
Mike Hookem MEP has blasted the European Council after it demanded “reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources” in return for granting a post-Brexit, zero-tariff trade deal. The latest European Council demands came in response to Theresa May’s Mansion House speech last week, in which the Prime Minister signalled she was ready to capitulate to EU demands to keep British waters open to EU fishing vessels following the UK’s EU exit. A fuming Mr Hookem – who is campaigning for Britain to claim it’s 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and to end the hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – raged; “
This is nothing more than the EU bullyboys showing their true colours and trying to strip the UK of one of its richest natural resources.”

Independent
The leadership of the European Parliament has said it will not accept “discrimination” against EU citizens who come to Britain during the Brexit  transition period by UK immigration authorities. A motion backed by the leaderships of the main pro-EU political groups warns that the UK must keep freedom of movement in full effect until the end of the Brexit transition period – at least 2021.  The motion will be discussed in the Parliament on Tuesday next week, and then MEPs will vote on it on Wednesday – but it has already been backed by the Conference of Presidents, leaders of the political groups in the parliament.

Sun
THERESA May has called on EU chiefs to rethink a tough negotiations blueprint unveiled yesterday that would leave Britain with a poor trade deal. EU Council president Donald Tusk’s draft guidelines were seen as Brussels’ bid to turn the screw on the PM to soften her Brexit red lines. Ahead of the crucial talks’ that start later this month, they ruled out a unique relationship for just a basic Canada-style deal. While goods will remain tariff free, that will only come in return for EU fishermen’s full access to Brita
in’s waters. And access to Europe for the UK’s giant services sector – which includes the cash cow City’s banks – will be heavily restricted. But the mandate – to be agreed by the 27 EU leaders at a summit on March 23 – deliberately opens the door for Mrs May to drop some of her Brexit principles, such as no remit for euro judges or for Parliament to be bound by any EU laws.

Express
PHILIP Hammond has sparked furious outrage after suggesting he could allow the EU access to UK fishing waters as a bargaining chip to ensure a good deal for the city of London post-Brexit, it has been reported. Mr Gove and the Chancellor have been at loggerheads over putting fishing waters on the negotiating table. A source close to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said giving EU members states access to the British waters would betray the result of the referendum. 
The source said: “Michael has been clear that we need to take back control of our waters. “The suggestion of the same access in future is totally unacceptable and goes against the result of the referendum.” Mr Hammond’s suggestion comes after the seventh Cabinet “Road to Brexit” speeches where he demanded a future deal for the UK’s banking sector. The Chancellor noted the EU’s pleas to continue fishing in UK waters.

Telegraph
Philip Hammond has been accused of bargaining with Britain’s fishing industry to get a better Brexit deal for the City after he said he was “open” to allowing EU trawlers into UK waters. The Chancellor said the Government was prepared to negotiate with Brussels over demands for “reciprocal access” for EU and UK fishing fleets in each other’s territories. The EU published its draft guidelines for negotiating a trade deal with the UK, which said fishing rights must be maintained as part of any free trade agreement. Leave campaigners and British fishermen accused the Government of betraying repeated promises that Britain would be taking back control of its waters after Brexit.

Times
Brussels faced accusations of cherry picking yesterday after demanding that Britain allow access to its fishing waters after Brexit while pledging to limit the ability of UK finance firms to operate on the Continent. Senior ministers suggested that the European Union was guilty of double standards as it published draft negotiating objectives for a new post-Brexit partnership with the UK. The six-page document warns Britain to expect “negative economic consequences” from Brexit saying the new relationship would be “complicated and costly” and “inevitably lead to frictions”.

Mail
Ministers are ‘open’ to trading away access to Britain’s fishing grounds in return for a better Brexit deal, Philip Hammond said yesterday. In a frank admission, the Chancellor suggested that British fishermen might have to accept foreign trawlers having significant access even after the UK has regained control of its traditional fishing grounds. Asked whether it would be ‘acceptable’ to trade off fishing rights in return for a better deal for lucrative sectors of the economy such as the City, Mr Hammond said: ‘Fishing is an iconically important British industry and we are very clear that we are taking control of our waters.

Mirror
EU fishermen could still have access to British waters after Brexit , Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted. He said the government would be open to negotiating “reciprocal access” for EU trawlers to fish in our waters as part of a future trade deal. And the Tory chancellor signalled Britain could still crash out of the EU without a deal if the negotiations don’t come up with an arrangement that is “fair and balances the interests of both sides.” He said: “Fishing is an iconically important British industry, and we’re very clear that we’re taking control of our waters.

Sun
Philip Hammond last night sparked Brexiteer fury after dangling access to UK fishing waters for EU trawlers in return for a good trade deal that protects the City of London. Exploding his long running row with Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the Chancellor said he was “open to discussing” a fishing deal as he warned Brussels they rely on Britain’s powerhouse financial services sector. 
The pair have clashed at meetings of the Brexit war cabinet over putting Britain’s fishing waters on the Brexit negotiating table. Mr Hammond’s signal came after the seventh of the Cabinet’s “Road to Brexit” speeches where he demanded a future deal for Britain’s banking sector. The Chancellor warned Brussels a new ‘Iron Curtain of regulation’ would hit the whole European economy.

Gibraltar

BBC News
The UK is to offer Gibraltar continued barrier-free access to finance markets after Brexit, the BBC understands. The UK is negotiating for Gibraltar to be treated the same as Britain when it leaves the EU in March 2019. But the EU insists Madrid can stop a transitional deal or future trade relationship applying to Gibraltar unless there is a Spain-UK agreement. Gibraltar fears Spain could use this veto to force talks about the Rock’s constitutional future. At the very least, it fears there could be talks about closer cooperation with Spain. If Britain refused, then Gibraltar could fall out of the EU next March without a transitional deal and lose its access to the British financial markets.

Social care

Times
One in ten councils faces running out of money in the next three years after exhausting its reserves to pay the dramatically rising cost of social care, the government’s financial watchdog has concluded. The National Audit Office (NAO) warned that many councils were on the verge of insolvency having had their central government funding cut by almost 50 per cent in eight years. It found that authorities’ financial positions had “worsened markedly” since they were last audited in 2014, with two thirds of councils with social care responsibilities dipping into their reserves last year.

Mail
Care home operators are to be banned from forcing grieving families to pay accommodation charges for weeks after their relative dies. Ministers have told firms they must remove the hidden fees – which can reach thousands of pounds – with the threat of legislation if they fail to ditch unscrupulous practices. The Daily Mail has repeatedly highlighted the issue of families being fleeced by care home chains.  The warning that they must overhaul their contracts comes after the Government’s market regulator revealed that they may be breaking the law by failing to tell families they could have to pay so-called death fees for up to a month.

Guardian
One in 10 councils with social care obligations will have exhausted their reserves within the next three years if the current rate of expenditure continues, according to findings by Whitehall’s spending watchdog. A report by the National Audit Office found that local authorities in England are routinely raiding their “rainy day funds” to cope with an increase in demand on services. The NAO said a growing number of these councils were managing to balance their books only by using financial reserves to cover overspends on social care services. It estimates that 10% of single tier and county councils have less than three years’ reserves left if they continue to deploy them at current rates, leaving them vulnerable to unexpected cost pressures and potential insolvency.

NHS

Times
Four in five NHS intensive care units are turning away patients because of bed shortages. A survey of ICU consultants by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, their professional body, found that 62 per cent of the units were unable to provide adequate care because of nurse shortages. Some 210 intensive care units across the UK were each short of 12 nurses on average, leaving patients whose lives were at already at risk more vulnerable. The findings, which were shared with The Guardian, also revealed that patients were being transferred from one ICU to another for non-clinical reasons in 80 per cent of hospitals.

Guardian
Patients whose lives are at risk are being turned away from their local hospitals because of a lack of intensive care beds, doctors who work in those units have revealed. Four in five intensive care units (ICUs) are having to send patients to other hospitals as a result of chronic bed and staff shortages. Units are so beleaguered that some may no longer be able to care properly for the NHS’s sickest patients, the leader of the intensive care speciality has warned. Intensive care consultants have disclosed that patients are being transferred from one ICU to another for non-clinical reasons in 80% of hospitals, and in 21% of units that happens at least once a month.

Mail
Flu has been so severe this year that many patients have needed treatment with artificial lungs to keep them alive. Otherwise healthy adults have needed the highest level of intensive care after being hospitalised with the virus this winter, MPs were told yesterday. Many had been given the flu jab – which is only effective in half of patients.  This is combined with the worst norovirus levels in five years, which has seen 75,000 beds taken out of service as a result. Dr Sue Crossland, president elect of the Society for Acute Medicine, told the Science and Technology Committee, that she had seen a near seven-fold increase in flu patients this year. 

Italian elections

Telegraph
Italy has progressed from pre-insurrectional anger to outright revolt. Insouciant markets are betting that this can somehow be contained. It smacks of delusion. Risk spreads on Italian 10-year bonds are exactly where they were a week ago before the “anti-system” parties of Left and Right swept away the post-War establishment. The euro has shrugged off the vote entirely, rising 2pc against the dollar since the earthquake. Investors are acting as if they think Italy’s
 “poteri forti” and its eternal mandarin class will organize another technocrat government regardless of what has happened, or that the Five Star movement’s Luigi Di Maio will cobble together a co-opted centre-Left coalition.

Express
BREXITEERS should not embrace Italy’s populists because of their “dangerous views” and aim for a “tolerant Brexit”, a Tory Brexiteer has warned. Michael Fabricant hit out at the “questionable views” of anti-EU Five Star Movement and Lega Nord and warned Leavers to be careful before throwing their support behind the Italian parties. The Lichfield MP said too many Brexiteers are willing to get behind populist parties across Europe simply because they are anti-EU. He said: “When Leavers ally with this toxic coalition of populists, radical left-wingers and right-wing authoritarians, we’re not just betraying our principles.

World Cup

Mail
Prince William will not to attend the FIFA football World Cup hosted in Russia  later this year, following accusations of the Kremlin’s suspected involvement in the poisoning of a double agent in Salisbury at the weekend. The poisoning of a former Russia spy has sparked political tensions between the UK and Russia, with Boris Johnson also suggesting that officials may not attend the football tournament this summer.  Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, and his brother Harry, have flown out to support England at previous tournaments. Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace declined to comment on whether there were plans for any members of the Royal Family to attend the World Cup or whether they would decline to go. 

Russian spy

Times
A former Russian spy and his daughter were the victims of a targeted attack with a nerve agent, increasing the likelihood that it was a Kremlin-sponsored assassination attempt, Whitehall sources have said. A police officer called to assist Sergei and Yulia Skripal after the attack in Salisbury is also seriously ill in hospital after being exposed to the highly toxic chemical. The officer had gone to accident and emergency to report his symptoms and was discharged but his condition then deteriorated. Mark Rowley, the national head of police counterterrorism, confirmed that both Mr Skripal, 66, a former military intelligence officer, and his daughter, 33, were deliberately targeted.

Telegraph
A police officer is seriously ill in 
intensive care after being poisoned by a nerve agent when he came to the aid of the Russian spy 
targeted in Salisbury. The unnamed officer was one of the first on the scene on Sunday when Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were attacked by would-be assassins at a shopping arcade in the city centre. The policeman was initially treated in hospital as a precaution and then discharged, but his condition deteriorated and he was readmitted on Tuesday and taken into intensive care. 

Mail
A nerve agent was used to deliberately poison a  Russian  spy and his daughter, police said, and both are in comas fighting for their lives along with a policeman who was first on the scene. Sergei, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, are in a critical condition after they were ‘specifically targeted’ with a deadly substance in the middle of Salisbury town centre in Wiltshire. It is also been revealed that a police officer who was among the first on the scene and found the pair slumped on a bench is in a ‘very serious’ condition in hospital.  All three are believed to be in comas in intensive care following exposure to the nerve agent on Sunday. 

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