‘Plan B’

Telegraph
Theresa May is moving towards holding a series of “definitive votes” on different Brexit options in a bid to break the impasse if compromise talks with Labour break down. The Prime Minister is expected to ask MPs to rank different Brexit outcomes in order of preference under the plan which will be activated if the two sides cannot strike an agreement. Downing Street views the votes proposal as potentially its last throw of the dice as the Government attempts to find a Brexit strategy capable of securing the support of a majority of MPs. A Brexit compromise deal with Labour remains No 10’s “Plan A” but should talks collapse then ministers will move onto their “Plan B” of offering MPs votes on alternatives. The Government will aim to agree with Labour on a list of Brexit options which MPs would be asked to vote on in a bid to ensure the process commands the support of a majority in the House of Commons.

Express
THERESA May is preparing to let MPs decide on the Brexit way forward following growing pressure to abandon her cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn. Ministers will today hold a “substantial discussion” at the weekly Downing Street Cabinet meeting about calling off the negotiations with Labour given the lack of progress in reaching a compromise plan. Instead, the Prime Minister is expected to trigger a series of “definitive votes” in the Commons to try to force MPs to come to a decision.

Sun
MUTINOUS Cabinet ministers will tell Theresa May she must come up with an urgent Brexit Plan B as talks with Labour reach the brink of collapse. The PM’s top table of ministers meet for a crisis showdown this morning to discuss the seven week-long negotiations with Jeremy Corbyn to pass her EU divorce deal. Both Remainers and Leavers will demand she ends the talks now, in a bid to halt a dramatic collapse in Tory support barely a week out from the May 23 European elections, The Sun has learned.

Cross-party talks

Evening Standard
Theresa May is under pressure to abandon Brexit talks with Labour amid warnings she risks losing the “loyal middle” of the Tory Party if she gives ground on a customs union. Thirteen former ministers, together with the backbench 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, have written to the Prime Minister urging her not to concede Labour’s key demand. The signatories of the letter, seen by The Times, were said to include Gavin Williamson, who she sacked as defence secretary, as well as Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab.

Sky News
Theresa May and her bitterly divided cabinet are meeting to decide whether to axe cross-party Brexit talks with Labour that have failed to achieve a breakthrough in six weeks. Pro-Brexit cabinet ministers are urging the prime minister to call time on the negotiations after the latest meeting broke up after two hours without making any significant progress. And a group of former cabinet ministers and senior Tories have written to the PM claiming she will split the party if she strikes a deal with Labour to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU.

Guardian
Theresa May is under intense pressure to abandon cross-party Brexit talks, after a group of senior Conservative figures, including leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, issued a strongly worded warning against any deal that involved a customs union. May’s cabinet, and Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, are both due to take stock of the talks on Tuesday, with neither side optimistic about the prospects for an agreement that could secure a majority in parliament.

Independent
Cross-party talks on a compromise Brexit deal are hanging in the balance, with Theresa May expected to come under pressure at Tuesday’s Cabinet to pull the plug. No substantive progress is understood to have been made in talks on Monday evening, as Jeremy Corbyn told Labour MPs the Government was not shifting on its red lines.

Breitbart
Chancellor Philip Hammond has told the Prime Minister that Brexit talks with Labour are being held on a “false premise” and should be abandoned. Mr Hammond described the talks as “amiable” but said they were unlikely to result in a successful deal being reached. Ministers are reportedly seeking a return to a series of ‘indicative votes’, motions put forward by members of the House of Commons that can then be debated and voted upon.

Second referendum

Guardian
Downing Street has said the prime minister remains opposed to any form of referendum being attached to a Brexit deal, as the government prepares to enter its seventh week of talks with Labour to find a compromise. The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, and the deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, have said a deal is unlikely to pass without a referendum as part of the package, with up to 150 of the party’s MPs prepared to vote against an agreement without one.

Sky News
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer has turned up the heat on the government ahead of new cross-party Brexit talks by demanding a referendum as the price of a deal. The shadow Brexit secretary claims up to 150 of Labour’s 229 MPs would refuse to vote for a deal if the government failed to promise a new poll. In an interview in The Guardian, Sir Keir Suggested a referendum must be part of any package agreed with the government.

Mirror
Labour’s Brexit chief today publicly demanded a second referendum from the party’s talks with Theresa May . In a major intervention, Sir Keir Starmer warned it will be “impossible” to get any deal through Parliament without a public vote attached. He warned up to 150 Labour MPs will refuse to back a deal unless they can put it back to the public – with the option to cancel Brexit and remain in the EU.

Westmonster
Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has used an interview with The Guardian to talk up the demand from Labour MPs for a second referendum.  As Labour and the Conservative government still wrangle over whether there is a deal to be done between them both that can get through Parliament, Starmer has now said: “A significant number of Labour MPs, probably 120 if not 150, would not back a deal if it hasn’t got a confirmatory vote.

Times
Jeremy Corbyn was criticised by Remainers last night after refusing to concede to demands from his frontbench to back a second referendum. Tom Watson, Mr Corbyn’s deputy, yesterday reiterated his commitment to a fresh Brexit vote, claiming Labour was the party of “remain and reform”. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said that it was “impossible” to see how any Brexit deal could not be subject to a referendum.

Independent
Senior Labour figures have warned a cross-party Brexit deal will be “impossible” to get through the Commons unless it includes a fresh public vote. In an escalation of pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, both shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson said up to 150 of the party’s MPs could oppose any deal without a Final Say vote attached.

Customs union

ITV News
Theresa May is under renewed pressure to abandon Brexit talks with Labour amid warnings she risks losing the “loyal middle” of the Tory Party if she gives ground on a customs union. Some 13 former ministers, together with the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, have written to the Prime Minister urging her not to concede Labour’s key demand, The Times reported.

Times
Theresa May will sacrifice the “loyal middle” of her party if she strikes a deal with Labour to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, a group of former cabinet ministers and senior Tories has warned. Thirteen of Mrs May’s former cabinet colleagues as well as Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, have written to her with a plea to reject Jeremy Corbyn’s key demand for a cross-party agreement to secure ratification of her Brexit divorce deal.

Political declaration

BBC News
The prime minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, is travelling to Brussels to discuss changes to the political declaration on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The move is intended to meet a key Labour demand in cross-party talks to break the deadlock. But it comes as senior Conservatives have written to Theresa May warning her not to compromise with Jeremy Corbyn.

Tory leadership

Mail
Sajid Javid’s leadership ambitions have received a financial boost after he landed £50,000 from Tory backers who support both Leave and Remain. The Home Secretary is believed to be preparing to run to replace Theresa May when she stands down. And his nascent campaign has been helped by five £10,000 cash injections as he prepared to face-off against the likes of Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, according to the Telegraph.

TBP

Telegraph
Nigel Farage said he plans to stand as an MP for the eighth time, as he said he would “do a deal with the devil” if it allowed him to deliver Brexit. The Brexit Party leader said it is his “duty” to prevent the referendum being “railroaded”, and that he would be prepared to prop up a Tory prime minister in the event of a hung Parliament. Mr Farage has previously unsuccessfully stood for election to the House of Commons seven times, in five general elections and two by-elections.

Sun
NIGEL Farage has indicated he would prop up a Jeremy Corbyn government if it meant delivering Brexit. Asked if he would form a coalition with Labour or the Tories, he said he would “do a deal with the devil” in order to secure Britain’s exit from the EU single market and  customs union. The former Ukip leader also said it was his “duty” to stand as an MP for his new Brexit Party at the next election to ensure the referendum vote is not overturned.

Times
Nigel Farage took the battle to Labour’s heartlands yesterday — saying that he could prop up a minority Conservative government in the next parliament if it pushed through a hard Brexit. The Brexit Party leader has repeatedly said that he is targeting Labour Leavers in the European parliament election next week, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn is extraordinarily “vulnerable” to challenge from the new insurgent force.

Mail
Nigel Farage today revealed he will stand to be an MP – calling it ‘his duty’ – as his Brexit Party looks set to thrash the Tories into fifth place in the upcoming EU elections.  The former UKIP leader also admitted he would be willing to prop up the next Conservative leader to make them Prime Minister in the event of a hung Parliament – but only if they agree to leave the EU with No Deal on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

European elections

Guardian
Heidi Allen, the leader of the pro-remain Change UK party, has challenged the Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, to a live TV debate before the European elections. Allen, the former Conservative MP who joined the breakaway Independent Group, said she wanted to take on Farage so the British people could decide which new party’s vision they preferred. The challenge was made on Monday night in Change UK’s party election broadcast, launched in Cardiff at a rally in which Allen spoke alongside the former Labour MP Chuka Umunna, another key voice in the party.

BBC News
A fresh Brexit vote would put democracy at risk, Arlene Foster has warned. The DUP leader attended the launch of her party’s European election manifesto on Monday. She was speaking at Seaview football stadium in north Belfast, urging voters to return Diane Dodds as the DUP’s MEP. The party is targeting the almost 350,000 voters in Northern Ireland who backed leaving the EU in the referendum. Mrs Foster also criticised Theresa May for lacking a strong vision for the UK after Brexit.

Breitbart
Facebook has shut down 23 major populist Italian pages with 2.5 million followers just two weeks before the European elections. According to Italian media, the majority of the pages supported the populist parties La Lega (The League) and the 5-Star Movement (M5S) — who currently govern Italy in a temporary coalition. Facebook has justified its dramatic move by claiming that the sites shared fake news, so-called “hate speech”, and “divisive content” regarding immigrants, vaccines, and Jewish people.

Express
BELGIAN MEP and Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has gloated of the Liberal Democrat’s success in a further attempt to catapult the pro-European party to success in the upcoming European elections. Mr Verhofstadt is a strong advocate of the European Union and has recently thrown his support behind Sir Vince Cable and the Liberal Democrats for their European elections campaign trail.

Energy

Euro-Guido
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy this month released its proposals for “a UK Emissions Trading System” after Brexit. Currently the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme covers over 1,000 installations in UK, including steel, cement, and power stations – meaning the number of credits issued and withdrawn by the EU Commission goes a long way to determine the price of energy and construction in the UK.

Defence

Telegraph
Britain must “decisively increase” its defence spending to cope with future threats from all over the globe, Jeremy Hunt has said, as he warned of the danger of an “accidental” US-Iran war. The Foreign Secretary made it clear that if he becomes prime minister he will pour billions more into “hard power” to restore the UK’s place in the world after Brexit. He said it was “not sustainable” for Britain to spend just 2 per cent of GDP on defence.

Times
Jeremy Hunt called last night for defence spending to increase above 2 per cent of GDP because Britain had “to earn a central position on the world stage” after Brexit. The foreign secretary made the case for increasing investment in military capability beyond the current benchmark for Nato countries in a speech to diplomats at Mansion House. The call for extra cash — which cuts across Penny Mordaunt’s brief as the new defence secretary — was framed as part of a three-part post-Brexit national renewal.

Guardian
The UK will need to double defence spending over the next decade, revive its frayed democracy and become an incubator of artificial intelligence-related technologies if the country is to renew after Brexit, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said in a major speech setting out his stall to be the next Conservative leader. Hunt, increasingly projected as a nonpartisan strategic thinker who could defeat Boris Johnson, made the comments at the annual Lord Mayor’s banquet at Mansion House.

Sun
JEREMY Hunt signalled he would “decisively increase” the size of Britain’s defence budget if he becomes PM. The Foreign Secretary called for “a strengthening of our hard power” in the next defence review to cement Britain’s place in a post-Brexit world.  The powerful intervention is the boldest yet in a shadow Tory leadership contest already being fought by more than a dozen senior MPs.

Mail
Jeremy Hunt last night called for a ‘decisive’ hike in defence spending to see off the rising threat from Russia and China – in a clear signal of his leadership ambitions. Setting out his vision for Britain’s global role, the Foreign Secretary said there was no longer the assurance provided by ‘unquestioned American dominance’. Speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet Mansion House in the City of London, he said the UK’s hard power must be strengthened, with billions more spent on new capabilities to tackle drones and cyber attacks.

Independent
Jeremy Hunt has called for a huge increase in defence spending and the UK’s “hard power”, in a speech likely to win favour with Tory members in the looming leadership contest. Delivering the annual Mansion House address, the foreign secretary praised the military might of “our great ally” the United States, under Donald Trump – and said Britain must do the same.

Child grooming

Huffington Post
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been accused of shelving his much-anticipated review into the ethnicity of grooming gangs, which campaigners see as critical in the fight against far-right racism. Javid ordered a Home Office review of the “characteristics” of offenders last July amid concerns about gangs of mainly Pakistani-heritage men carrying out child sexual exploitation (CSE).

Crime

Mail
There are more than twice as many offenders linked to serious and organised crime in Britain than there are soldiers in the Army, a shock report has warned. The National Crime Agency wants billions more pounds invested in order to keep up with the ‘chronic and corrosive’ problem, which it labelled the ‘deadliest threat to the nation’.

Sun
MORE than 180,000 villains linked to serious organised crime are laying siege to Britain, a report reveals today. The total is double the strength of the British Army and costs the economy £37billion a year, according to the National Crime Agency. It is “the deadliest threat facing the nation”, the NCA believes. Director general Lynne Owens said: “Serious and organised crime in the UK is chronic and corrosive. Its scale is truly staggering.

NHS

Telegraph
The NHS is harassing millions of vulnerable patients by threatening them with fines for validly claiming free prescriptions and dental treatment, an investigation has found. MPs last night called for urgent reform after a National Audit Office (NAO) report revealed there has been a significant increase in the sending of Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) over the last five years.

Independent
Vulnerable patients have been wrongly fined millions of pounds by the NHS for prescription fraud, the National Audit Office has found. One in three fines handed to the elderly, sick or people on benefits in the past five years has been overturned because recipients qualified for free treatment – meaning more than £188m in incorrect penalties. Critics said the mistakes, affecting tens of thousands of patients, showed the government’s austerity measures have led to a system “built on the presumption of guilt”.

Times
A postcode lottery for mental health services leaves vulnerable people in some regions struggling with little more than half the NHS funding of those in the best-resourced areas, according to research from the mental health charity Mind. In Surrey Heartlands, one of the 44 NHS groupings that cover England, the average annual spend on mental health services per head of population is £124.48.

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