Plan B

Telegraph
Theresa May’s Brexit plan B was in deep trouble on Monday night as she faced an open revolt from Tory Brexiteers. The Prime Minister made a personal plea to her backbenchers to support a plan to renegotiate the Northern Irish backstop, but Eurosceptics refused on the grounds that it would not be legally binding.

Times
Conservative Brexiteers have vowed to defy Theresa May and vote down an amendment to her Brexit deal that she hopes will help her to secure crucial concessions in Europe. The prime minister will whip Tory MPs to vote tonight for a demand to replace the Irish backstop with “alternative arrangements”. Mrs May hopes that if she succeeds it will give her a mandate to wring concessions from Brussels over the most controversial element of the divorce deal.

Independent
Theresa May has been plunged into a fresh Brexit  crisis after anti-EU Tories rejected her ‘plan B’ attempt to rescue her deal and threatened to inflict another Commons defeat on Tuesday. The prime minister took the extraordinary step of urging her MPs to back an amendment that “requires the Northern Ireland backstop to be replaced” – even though it effectively rips up her own agreement with the EU.

Project Fear

Mail
No-deal Brexit will lead to thousands of deaths by driving up the price of fruit and vegetables, experts have calculated. Increased prices will mean British intake of fruit and vegetables could drop by as much as 11 per cent, according to researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Liverpool. This would lead to more than 12,000 extra deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes between 2021 and 2030, they estimate. Critics described the study as ‘Project Fear at its very worst’.

Mirror
Brexit could lead to thousands more deaths from heart attacks and strokes due to rising prices for fruit and vegetables, research suggests. Any deal under which the UK exits the EU will push up prices, cutting the amount of fresh produce people buy, it said. A no-deal Brexit would have the worst impact, leading to more than 12,000 extra deaths between 2021 and 2030.

Brexit

Express
THERESA May’s Brexit deal will go before the House of Commons again today with a series of crucial votes which could shape Britain’s divorce from the EU. With Parliament at odds over what form Brexit should take, the Prime Minister attempted yesterday to rally her divided party behind an amendment which seeks to break the impasse over the Irish border backstop.

ITV News
Theresa May has thrown her weight behind a parliamentary move to win her more Brexit negotiating power by rallying MPs behind an alternative to the controversial backstop. Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis announced that Tory MPs will be whipped to support an amendment tabled by senior backbencher Sir Graham Brady in a series of votes on Tuesday evening. And Tory backbenchers Andrew Murrison and John Baron withdrew their rival amendments, which would have required the scrapping or time-limiting of the backstop, which is designed to avoid the need for a hard border in Ireland following Brexit.

WTO Rules

Westmonster
With support building for a WTO Brexit, the UK still has a Prime Minister seemingly unwilling to execute a clean break from the European Union on 29th March. That’s according to The Sun, who report that Theresa May has privately told senior government Ministers that she wouldn’t lead the UK out of the European Union without a deal, despite increasing public support for such a move. This would be devastating weakness and if it isn’t true, May should publicly deny it.

Reuters
The UK government will seek to end free movement as soon as possible if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, the UK Home Office said in a statement bit.ly/2RYvvhJ on Monday. For a transitional period, citizens of the European Economic Area and their family members, including Swiss citizens, will be able to come to the UK for visits, work or study and will be able to enter the UK as they do now, the Home Office said in the statement.

Sun
‘REMAIN’ Cabinet Ministers were poised to call off a No Deal rebellion in a deal with No.10. Theresa May told MPs the Commons would get a second ‘Meaningful Vote’ on Brexit by February 13 to 14. Sources close to 20 rebel Ministers such as Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said this was enough to stop them resigning in protest at not being able to vote for the ‘Cooper-Boles’ plan to block a No Deal.

Breitbart
With over 100 MPs poised to block a No Deal exit from the European Union, former Brexit secretary David Davis has warned that Remain diehards risk throwing Britain’s parliamentary system into chaos. Analysis by The Sun newspaper indicates that over 100 MPs, many of them staunch EU loyalists who would not even agree to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in order to begin the Brexit process, are poised to back a parliamentary amendment by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, which would effectively take a clean Brexit “off the table” and pave the way for Brexit to be cancelled entirely.

Second referendum

Express
THE UK remains deeply divided from North to South over whether a second referendum should be held over Britain’s membership with the European Union, a major new Brexit survey has revealed. The poll, which was carried out by Reach Plc across its family of regional news websites, found constituents in Grimsby and Scunthorpe were most against another Brexit vote.

Irish backstop

Independent
Theresa May is ready to demand the removal of the Irish backstop from her Brexit deal, in a significant toughening of her stance ahead of a fresh Commons showdown. Downing Street refused, multiple times, to say the prime minister still accepted the withdrawal agreement must include the insurance policy laid down by the EU, to avoid border checks. Instead, No 10 said the commitment was only to avoiding a hard border by some means – arguing the crushing 230-vote defeat of her deal a fortnight ago meant “changes are going to have to be made”.

Mirror
Theresa May tonight begged Tory MPs to back a plan to scrap the Irish backstop to give her ammunition to help her salvage her defeated Brexit deal. In a dramatic showdown, the Prime Minister instructed her party to get behind an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady for the crunch vote tomorrow night. But just six minutes before she made her plea, hardline Tory Brexiteers led by Jacob Rees-Mogg vowed to try to kill the amendment off .

Independent
Theresa May is under pressure to seek fresh concessions over Irish backstop as MPs gear up for a series of critical votes that could alter the course of Brexit. Jacob Rees-Mogg said his Eurosceptic allies will not support a compromise amendment to remove the backstop tabled by Tory grandee Sir Graham Brady – despite Conservative MPs being ordered to vote for it on Tuesday by the government. The prime minister is scrambling to find a plan to unite the Commons, after MPs overwhelmingly rejected her Brexit deal by 230 votes earlier this month.

Express
TORY Eurosceptic Daniel Kawczynski has hinted he and other members of the European Reform Group (ERG) could be prepared to back Sir Graham Brady’s amendment calling on the backstop plan for the Irish border to be replaced with “alternative arrangements” tomorrow – but only if Prime Minister Theresa May offers them more clarity on what this would mean in practice. Mr Kawczynski’s comments came after chairman of the ERG Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the group would not support the amendment which Theresa May had urged Tory MPs to back.

Guardian
Parliament is facing a day of further Brexit deadlock after Theresa May swung the government’s weight behind an amendment that would send her back to Brussels to demand an alternative to the Irish border backstop, splintering Conservative support. The chances of the amendment, championed by the senior backbencher Sir Graham Brady, are on a knife-edge after Tory Brexiters split over whether they should back the change, while pro-remain MPs suggested they would vote against. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chair of the hard-Brexit European Research Group (ERG), emerged from an earlier meeting with MPs saying the group would not back the move.

Express
THERESA May could be thrown a lifeline after it emerged senior Tories have signed up to an amendment to change the Irish backstop. But Brexiteers think Sir Graham Brady’s amendment to replace the Irish backstop by unspecific “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”, is “meaningless”. Top members of the Conservative Party have backed the so-called Brady amendment, named after 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady, which could unite Mrs May’s warring party by solving the Irish border issue.

Sky News
Theresa May heads into another bruising Commons showdown on Brexit pleading with Tory MPs to back a move to scrap the Irish backstop. The prime minister is urging her backbenchers to vote for a demand from Tory grandee Sir Graham Brady to replace the backstop with “alternative arrangements”. The backstop is an insurance policy to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if such a scenario isn’t averted in a future EU-UK trade relationship. But she could be heading for another humiliating Commons defeat after hardline Tory Brexiteers led by Jacob Rees-Mogg threatened to block the move.

Conservative Party

Times
Theresa May clashed with Boris Johnson over her Brexit plan yesterday as the prime minister alienated figures on both wings of her party. She had sought to rally Conservatives around an amendment to “replace” the Northern Ireland backstop, the most controversial part of her deal, on which MPs are due to vote today. Her gamble came moments after the European Research Group (ERG) which supports a hard Brexit, said that it would not be supporting the plan.

Mail
Theresa May tonight clashed with Boris Johnson as she ordered him and other Tory MPs to back an amendment that could save her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister called her MPs together to tell them to vote for the Brady amendment tomorrow, which she hopes would force concessions from Brussels over the backstop. In fiery scenes, Boris suggested it was unclear what she was trying to achieve and said ‘But what do you want Prime Minister?’ To cheers from loyalist MPs, May reportedly responded ‘We won’t know unless you support us Boris’ and ‘I am happy to battle away Boris – get behind me and we’ll do it together.’

Breitbart
Former foreign secretary and London mayor Boris Johnson has indicated he would support the British prime minister’s Brexit deal if she is able to win fresh concessions on a so-called “freedom clause” from the European Union. Johnson, for a time the de facto leader of Britain’s small number of Brexit-supporting Tory Members of Parliament, has made much political capital since he quit the government in July by attacking the Prime Minister’s “worst deal in history” Brexit plan, but now says he could support her if she could change just a few words in the proposed agreement with Brussels.

Sun
THERESA May’s Brexit deal hangs on a knife edge ahead of tonight’s Commons showdown after she fought a pitched battle with Tory hardliners last night. During an electric confrontation after summoning all Tory MPs, the PM pleaded for them all to support a senior backbencher’s unity plan.  Mrs May threw the Government’s weight behind Sir Graham Brady’s call for the current Irish backstop to be removed to keep her deal alive as Parliament tries to seize control of Brexit. Giving it a majority in today’s vote would “give a very clear message around what Parliament wants” and deliver her a mandate to take it back to Brussels, Mrs May insisted.

BBC News
MPs are preparing to vote on amendments to Theresa May’s Brexit deal that could shape the next stage of negotiations with the EU. Conservative MPs have been told to back a proposal for an alternative to the Irish backstop – the insurance policy against the return of a hard border. But it is not yet known which amendments will be chosen for a vote. Meanwhile, Conservative MPs on both sides of the Brexit argument have been planning for a no-deal scenario.

Labour Party

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are at odds over a no-deal Brexit, causing friction within the Labour leader’s office, it has been claimed. While Mr Corbyn has refused to engage with Theresa May until the “catastrophic “ prospect of leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms is taken off the table, insiders say the Shadow Chancellor is “more comfortable” with no deal “because it would lead to the kind of chaos that makes a revolution more possible.”

Times
Jeremy Corbyn is expected to throw Labour’s support behind a cross-party plan that would let MPs delay Brexit until the end of the year. The party is to announce today that it will instruct its MPs to back an amendment forcing Theresa May to seek to extend Article 50 if she cannot pass a deal with Brussels by the end of February. It was proposed by Yvette Cooper, Labour chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, and supported by two Tory former cabinet ministers.

Independent
Labour‘s leadership was forced into a ‘U-turn’ on the government’s Brexit immigration bill after its decision to abstain was met with anger from party members and MPs. Just 90 minutes after shadow home secretary Diane Abbott confirmed the party would not oppose the second reading in the Commons, it was announced that they would vote against.  Labour MP Chris Leslie said the frontbench had “thrown away the chance to defeat the government” and described the situation as an “utter shambles.”

Guardian
Labour was forced into an embarrassing U-turn on Monday over the government’s flagship immigration bill, after initially saying it would not oppose the legislation that brings free movement to an end. The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, had sparked a backlash among MPs when she told the House of Commons that the frontbench would not vote against the post-Brexit legislation. “The Labour party is clear that when Britain leaves the single market, freedom of movement ends, and we set this out in our 2017 manifesto. I am a slavish devotee of that magnificent document: so on that basis, the frontbench of the Labour party will not be opposing this bill this evening,” she said.

EU

Guardian
The risk of accidentally crashing out of the EU without a deal has been described as “very high” by a key EU architect of the Brexit deal, with parliamentary backing for changes to the backstop likely to be met with a brick wall in Brussels. Senior Conservative MPs are seeking to form a majority in a Commons vote on Tuesday calling for Theresa May to demand an alternative plan to the Irish backstop for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Sun
A TOP Brussels negotiator accused Britain of “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” and insisted the EU won’t budge on the backstop. Michel Barnier’s deputy, Sabine Weyand, accused MPs of ignorance about what is in the Brexit deal and said tech solutions to the border don’t exist. In a series of outspoken remarks that will cause consternation in No 10 she also blamed Theresa May’s secrecy for the unpopularity of the agreement.

Sky News
The risk of a “no-deal” Brexit is high following the “crushing defeat” for Theresa May’s agreement, a top EU official has warned. Sabine Weyand, the bloc’s deputy chief negotiator, claimed it was “quite a challenge” to see how MPs would now form a “positive majority” in favour of a withdrawal agreement. With the UK currently set to depart the bloc on 29 March, the “default” outcome would see Britain “crashing out” the EU without a divorce deal, Ms Weyand said.

Westmonster
The European Union will need to compromise if those in Brussels want the UK to leave with a deal, Theresa May’s spokesman said today. It is time the government got a hell of a lot tougher in these negotiations. With the EU still saying that the Withdrawal Agreement is not up for renegotiation, the spokesman set out the UK position: “What we have consistently heard from European leaders is that they want the United Kingdom to leave with a deal.

Scotland

Guardian
Scottish ministers are rushing through dozens of urgent legislative changes in a last-minute effort to protect Scottish businesses and consumers from a no-deal Brexit. The Scottish government has identified 36 legislative measures it believes are critical and must be in place before 29 March to ensure devolved areas such as farming, fisheries, food safety, the environment, animal welfare and forestry are protected if the UK crashes out of the EU. Officials and party business managers at Holyrood are preparing to order late parliamentary sittings, cancelling non-essential debates or votes and holding extra committee hearings to sit at the same time as parliament is in session to help cope with the surge in work.

BBC News
Green MSP Ross Greer has repeated his controversial claim that Sir Winston Churchill was a “white supremacist” and a “mass murderer.” He told the BBC’s Politics Live that his view was indisputable and that “history records this”. Mr Greer initially made the comment in response to a Conservative tweet on the anniversary of Churchill’s death. Tory deputy chairman James Cleverly branded it the “most superficial and inaccurate assessment”.

Education

Independent
The education secretary has unveiled plans to give teachers extra payments to stop them deserting the profession as he admitted many currently work “too many hours”. The government could offer some new teachers in England an additional £5,000 in their third and fifth years in the classroom as part of its new strategy to recruit and retain more teachers. Teachers at the start of their career will be given a two-year training package and a reduced timetable of teaching, backed by at least £130m a year of additional funding.

Potholes

Mail
Drivers are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a pothole-related breakdown than 13 years ago, according to new figures. Motorists are suffering the consequences of poor roads on a ‘daily basis’, the RAC said. It warned that freezing temperatures over the next six weeks could make poor surfaces deteriorate even further. Patrols received 1,714 call-outs in the three months to December for problems usually caused by road defects.

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