Brexit

Express
BORIS JOHNSON will challenge Brussels to follow UK laws as part of any future trade deal as the Prime Minister turns the EU’s demands on their head. The Prime Minister’s chief negotiator challenged his European counterparts to respond to similar demands they have set out that would see the EU policing UK state aid rules, regulating UK taxes and permanently aligning Britain with its standards. In a speech tonight at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, David Frost said: “We bring to the negotiations not some clever tactical positioning but the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country. “It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has. “So to think that we might accept EU supervision on so called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing.

Guardian
The democratic consent of the British public would “snap dramatically and finally” if the UK continued to be tied to EU rules, Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator has said. In his first public speech since his appointment to the role, David Frost said Downing Street was not engaging in game-playing by rejecting alignment with EU laws after 2020. In a significant opening to Brussels, Frost conceded that the negotiators would need to build on the models contained in other EU free trade deals. But he insisted that the ability to break free from the EU’s rulebook was essential to the purpose of Brexit and that the UK’s position would be tabled in “written form” next week.

Express
BRUSSELS is piling the pressure on as the countdown to December 31 – the date by which a trade agreement between the UK and the EU must be agreed – gets underway, with the publication of a new document stressing any decision to extend the transition period must be taken by the start of July. And the bloc is already gearing up for a summit in June which will be pivotal in deciding a way forward – with arrangements for the Irish border likely to top the agenda. Boris Johnson is keen to strike a deal by the end of the year which will draw a line under Brexit once and for all, as well as clearing the way to rubber-stamp other deals with third countries such as the United States.

BBC News
The UK “must have the ability to set laws that suit us,” the PM’s chief Brexit negotiator will say in a speech in Brussels. David Frost is expected to set out the UK’s stance ahead of post-Brexit trade negotiations, due to start next month. He will dismiss the idea an EU court would have a role in future trade disputes, saying: “We only want what other independent countries have.” It comes as France warns Britain to expect a bruising battle during talks.

ITV News
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator is insisting the UK will set its own laws and not accept demands for a level playing field following Britain’s full departure from the EU at the end of this year. David Frost is using a major speech in Brussels on Monday to state that Britain will not accept EU supervision to create a “level playing field”. The move comes after France warned the two sides would “rip each other apart” in trade talks ahead of the UK’s scheduled exit from a Brexit transition period at the end of this year.

Sky News
Britain will not sign up to follow EU standards because it would defeat the point of Brexit, the UK’s chief negotiator has said. David Frost laid down his red lines in a rare public speech ahead of formal negotiations with Brussels on a trade deal due to kick off next month. He said the UK has to be free to set its own goods regulations because that is one of the “fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country”. Thinking the UK will sign up to being bound by EU rules to create a so-called “level playing field” to ensure smoother trade between borders “fails to see the point of what we are doing”, he added.

Evening Standard
Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator has insisted the UK being able to set its own laws is a “fundamental” point for departing the bloc.  David Frost, the prime minister’s Europe adviser, will use a major speech in Brussels to hit back at the EU’s push for alignment in certain aspects, so as to stifle trade competition.  The bloc has long insisted that the extent of access Britain has to the single market will be dependent on how much Britain follows EU rules. While the Government has insisted some divergence will be necessary in fulfilling its post-Brexit vision.

Mail
Britain told the EU tonight it was not possible to accept Brussels’ rules as part of a free trade deal because it would undermine ‘the whole project’ of Brexit. In a brutal assessment of the UK bargaining position, Boris Johnson‘s new Brexit negotiator David Frost said the UK would rather walk away from talks than accept anything that interfered with ‘the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country’. The EU is insisting that there can be no ‘divergence’ from its rules and regulations in areas including financial services and agriculture.

Sun
BREXIT negotiator David Frost said Britain won’t budge on escaping EU rules. He compared Britain to a guest “who had enough at the party and was trying to find a way to slip out”. And he told the Brussels audience: “We were already in the hallway.” Mr Frost insisted Britain is not “frightened” by warnings of extra friction in trade, saying the costs had been exaggerated and so too had the benefits of tariff-free trade. He said Mr Johnson’s Government “understands the trade-offs involved” and revealed they will be publishing a detailed blueprint for our future relationship next week.

Telegraph
Brexit is an opportunity for “economic competition” that should benefit everyone in Europe, Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator has said. In his first speech, David Frost said that if Britain were to continue following EU rules, it would betray the point of the referendum. But he stressed Brexit would not mean a race to lower standards. Speaking at a Brussels university, Mr Frost said he would set out the shape of Britain’s preferred trade deal next week. Negotiations are expected to begin in March.

Times
Britain will walk away from a trade deal if the European Union does not drop the demand for it to follow Brussels’s rules after Brexit, the government’s chief negotiator has warned. In his first public comments before talks next month, David Frost urged European leaders not to view Boris Johnson’s hardline stance on EU regulations as a “negotiating position”. However, as an olive branch he suggested that the UK might be prepared to make unilateral commitments on environmental, social and state aid standards as part of a Canada-style free trade deal.

EU

Express
BRUSSELS is piling the pressure on as the countdown to December 31 – the date by which a trade agreement between the UK and the EU must be agreed – gets underway, with the publication of a new document stressing any decision to extend the transition period must be taken by the start of July. And the bloc is already gearing up for a summit in June which will be pivotal in deciding a way forward – with arrangements for the Irish border likely to top the agenda.

Times
Italy’s hard-right League leader has prompted anger by accusing migrant women of exploiting the Italian health service by having multiple abortions. Matteo Salvini told a rally in Rome he had been informed by doctors and nurses in Milan that foreign women were returning to accident and emergency wards as many as six times to have abortions. “It’s right that it should be the woman who chooses for herself and for her life but she can’t treat the A&E ward as a solution for a lifestyle that is clearly uncivilised in 2020,” Mr Salvini, 46, told supporters as he launched the League’s campaign for mayor of Rome in local elections next year.

Express
DEADLOCK has remained in the European Union, as a proposal for the next long-term budget received a frosty reception. European Council President Charles Michel is now set to face an uphill battle in the negotiation process. The Finnish negotiations attempted last year also faced a similar challenge, but the European bloc seems increasingly frustrated in recent times. Mr Michel is looking to negotiate a bargain on the European Union budget for 2021 to 2027.

Times
Athens has put a temporary hold on plans to build refugee camps on several Aegean islands — already home to vastly overcrowded and unsanitary facilities — in the face of fierce opposition from residents. Islanders have been staging protests for weeks against the plans to clear huge areas of forest and build camps on Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros, where more than 50,000 refugees are being held. The conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which came to power last July, had announced that it would close the existing camps and use emergency legal powers to requisition forest land on which to build more suitable facilities.

Bercow

Guardian
The former Commons Speaker John Bercow has described parliamentary staff members who allege that he bullied people as “snobs and bigots”, and claimed he is the victim of a concerted campaign to destroy his reputation. In conversation with Owen Jones at a Guardian Live event in Sloane Square in central London, he mocked those who have complained about him and denied all the allegations surrounding his behaviour. The former Conservative MP said: “I was astonished when those allegations first surfaced on Newsnight nearly two years ago and for the best part of two years I’ve had to put up with this issue being weaponised against me.”

Covid-19

Mail
Britons have mocked the dramatic Government coronavirus  advice that could see millions told to stay at home and ‘self-isolate’ if they feel ill.  If the escalating crisis is not contained, health officials are expected to order anyone with a cough or flu-like illness, potentially millions of people, to take 14 days off work. But Britons have joked about the potential advice, saying that having to stay at home ‘sounds like heaven’.  One even questioned how many Brits desperate for time off work would ‘jump on the bandwagon’ and ring in complaining of tell-tale symptoms.

Telegraph
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman has confirmed that the Foreign Office is looking into a repatriation flight for the 78 British citizens quarantined on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship. It comes after those trapped on the ship, which has been struck by the virus, accused the Foreign Office of abandoning them. Public Health England is also expected to make an announcement on school closures later today.

ITV News
Mainland China reported 1,886 new cases and 98 more deaths for a total of 1,868 in its coronavirus update on Tuesday as officials said more than 80% of cases had been mild. The latest figures came after Chinese health officials published the first details on nearly 45,000 cases of infection with the coronavirus that originated there, saying not only had the majority of cases been mild but new ones seemed to be falling since early this month.

Times
More than 70 Britons stranded off the coast of Japan on a cruise ship with hundreds of passengers infected with coronavirus could be flown home by the government. The Foreign Office is contacting those on board the Diamond Princess, which is docked in Yokohama, about the possibility of a repatriation flight. Sir Richard Branson said Virgin Atlantic was “in discussions” with the government over whether he could help those stranded after the Japanese Health Ministry confirmed today that 99 more people on board have been diagnosed with the coronavirus bringing the total to 454.

Mail
The UK is closing in on a repatriation flight for 74 Brits stuck on board a cruise hit by coronavirus and quarantined off the coast of Japan. No10 is considering ‘all options’ for the Diamond Princess and is contacting all Brits trapped on the ship before confirming an evacuation mission.  The ship has been docked off the coast of Yokohama since February 3, and at least 450 passengers have already been struck down by the virus. Sir Richard Branson has claimed his airline Virgin Atlantic is ‘in discussions’ with the Government about organising a repatriation flight.

Times
Apple has warned that the global supply of iPhones would be temporarily constrained as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The American technology giant said that it would not meet financial targets because Covid-19 was affecting both production and demand in China. Although its production facilities in China had reopened, they were ramping up more slowly than expected, the company said. Apple had forecast $63 billion to $67 billion in revenue for the quarter ending next month, ahead of estimates of $62.4 billion.

Storm Dennis

Times
The Worcestershire market town of Tenbury Wells was hit by devastating floods in 2007 that finished lots of local businesses off. So when the Environment Agency held a public meeting in the high street on Saturday to warn the locals that Storm Dennis would herald flooding on a scale not seen for a century, it led to hurried preparations by the independent shopkeepers and houses close to the River Teme. Despite the advanced warning, the unprecedented deluge at the weekend proved too much for the sandbags and barriers placed across shop doors, and overwhelmed the furniture and stock that had been placed on crates and stilts.

Mail
Britain faces even more misery in the aftermath of Storm Dennis with weather forecasters predicting another two inches of rain within 24 hours in parts of Wales.  Large swathes of Wales will be hit by further blustery showers on Wednesday and Thursday after thousands were evacuated from their flood-hit homes over the weekend.  The devastating impact of the flooding is seen in shocking aerial pictures from the Powys village of Crickhowell after the River Usk burst its banks.

Star
Storm Dennis is set to bring more devastating floods after swelling British rivers to record-breaking levels. Environment Agency bosses warned that another round of torrential rain will bring “exceptional” water levels, Major flood incidents have been declared in South Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Shropshire – as officials warn of floodwater bringing a “danger to life”. Speaking from Worcester, the Environment Agency’s David Throup said: “I think it’s peaking now in Hereford, the levels that you’ve got there are truly exceptional levels, they are the highest levels we’ve ever recorded on the River Wye and those records go back 200 years.

Mirror
Britain faces a “national emergency” as the flooding worsens, a top expert warns. Storms Ciara and Dennis have ravaged communities and with more heavy rain forecast, environmental scientist Angela Terry said: “As a country we are not preparing. Sending the army to fill sandbags is a sticking plaster.” As river levels rising and more than a month’s rain falling in 48 hours in places, it is feared that more chaos and destruction is to come.

Climate change

Times
The world’s richest man has offered $10 billion of his personal wealth to fight climate change as he vowed yesterday to help to “save Earth”. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive, said that he would fund scientists, activists, non-profit groups and “any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world”. In an Instagram post revealing the creation of the Bezos Earth Fund, he added: “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet.

ITV News
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says that he plans to spend £7.7 billion ($10 billion) of his own fortune to help fight climate change. Mr Bezos, the world’s richest man, said in an Instagram post that he will start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofits working to protect the earth. “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change,” Mr Bezos said in the post.

Extinction Rebellion

Guido
Climate change protestors have moved on from illegal road closures to the active destruction of property. Following their Home Office attack last week, the Extinction Rebellion group have turned to ripping up the lawn of Trinity College Cambridge today. This forms part of their action in Cambridge including stopping a council meeting, blocking roads (including forcing an ambulance to turn back), all in order to seize legislative powers  from the council. Today’s destructive stunt was overseen by police, who confirmed to Cambridge News that they are refusing to make any arrests.

Times
Residents in Cambridge have accused the police of allowing “mob rule” after Extinction Rebellion activists blocked roads and vandalised the lawn of one of the university’s colleges. The anti-climate change group was given police permission to stop traffic, including ambulances and buses, in a week-long demonstration in the city that began yesterday. More than a dozen activists, including undergraduates, dug up a lawn at Trinity College citing its investment in fossil fuels and plans to turn a farm in Suffolk into a business park.

Breitbart
Extinction Rebellion vandals are digging up the lawns outside Cambridge’s grandest college Trinity and have blocked one of the roundabouts near the city centre. Why aren’t the police arresting them? Why should taxpayers have to pay for the damage done? And what does this say about the future of Britain under a green tyranny where hardcore environmental activists and the Boris Johnson administration appear to have formed an alliance in opposition to the British people?

Times
Trinity College Cambridge is famed for the perfectly manicured lawns upon which former scholars like Sir Isaac Newton may have ruminated on life’s most impenetrable questions.  Today, however, its lawn was the staging post for an Extinction Rebellion protest as activists dug trenches and chained themselves to an apple tree grafted from the one said to have inspired Newton. The campaign group opposes Trinity’s investment in the fossil fuel industry and its plans to turn a farm in Suffolk into a business park.

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