EU

Express
EMMANUEL Macron has warned that Brexit is a “danger” to the future of the European Union. The French President has said that the UK’s decision to leave the EU symbolised a crisis in which the EU was failing to respond to “its peoples’ needs for protection from the major shocks of the modern World”. He wrote an open letter published in newspapers in all 28 European states that Brexit is a “trap” and will be “a lesson for us all”. Mr Macron went on to highlight criticisms from politicians who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU. He said: “Who spoke to them about losing access to the European market? “Who mentioned the risks to peace in Ireland of restoring the former border?

Mail
Emmanuel Macron has branded Brexit an ‘irresponsible lie’, calling it Europe’s worst crisis since World War II.  In his most ferocious attack on Brexit to date, the French President said Britain’s withdrawal was peddled by ‘anger mongers and fake news’ and ‘offers nothing’.  Macron published his open letter in 22 EU languages and shared it on his Twitter feed just weeks before Britain leaves the 28-member union.

Sky News
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Europeans to “really take back control” by avoiding the “trap” of Brexit. Calling for reforms of the European Union, Mr Macron made his plea in an open letter to be published on Tuesday by 28 European newspapers, including the Guardian, Germany’s Die Welt and El Pais in Spain. The French president’s “urgent” message comes 80 days before European Parliament elections, which could see populist and eurosceptic parties secure a significant number of seats. Ahead of the “decisive” elections, Mr Macron wrote: “Never has Europe been in such danger. Brexit stands as the symbol of that.

Times
President Macron has called for a European renaissance to head off a crisis symbolised by “the dead-end of Brexit”. Accusing Brexiteers of resorting to lies and manipulation to provoke divorce from the European Union, he laid out a many-pronged strategy designed to breathe new life into the bloc. His plans for integration on defence, immigration and trade were set out in a letter to “European citizens” published in the EU’s 28 member states and amounting to the starting gun for the European election campaign.

Independent
The government does not understand how the EU works and so embarks on negotiating strategies that are doomed to fail, Britain’s former ambassador to Brussels has said.  Ivan Rogers, who was Britain’s face in the EU capital from 2013 until 2017, said the government always thought it could circumvent the European Commission and deal directly with member state leaders.  But the former permanent representative said the bloc “never works like that” and that the approach – pursued by Theresa May and David Cameron alike – always ended in embarrassment

Guardian
The head of the German federation of industries has claimed the British are “lost” and has thrown doubt on Berlin’s backing for a short Brexit extension, claiming an “economy can live better with bad conditions than with uncertainty”. Dieter Kempf, the chairman of the Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Industrie, said the 100,000 companies he represents and their 8 million employees have prepared for a no-deal scenario in March, not in May.

Express
GERMANY’s Bundestag President, Wolfgang Schäuble, insists Britain will remain in the EU despite the Brexit vote to leave. The ex-finance minister in Angela Merkel’s CDU ruling party spoke out after Theresa May promised MPs a vote on delaying Brexit. And with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also changing track by backing a second referendum, Mr Schäuble is convinced the UK is ready to stay aligned to Brussels in the single bloc. Mr Schäuble told De Bild newspaper: ”I think Britain will either not leave the EU at all or come back sometime. “And recent developments have strengthened this belief.” He also called for plans for an EU army to advance “much faster” with more cooperation between France and Germany.

‘No deal’ vote

Independent
Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a vote on key bit of Brexit legislation to avoid a humiliating Commons defeat over rules governing tax havens. Labour grandee Dame Margaret Hodge had tabled a cross-party amendment to the Financial Services Bill, which would have compelled UK overseas territories to be more transparent about business ownership.

Sun
BRITS will get duty free back for trips to Europe under a no deal Brexit, The Sun can reveal. Chancellor Philip Hammond will change the law so all duty on alcohol and tobacco will no longer apply and sales of other products will be free of the 20 per cent VAT rate too.  The move will cost the Treasury between £150 million to £200 million a year, government sources told The Sun. Duty free sales within the EU were axed by Brussels two decades ago. The changes will apply to all purchases made in airports, ports and ferries on outbound journeys.

Irish backstop

Mail
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox today denied he has given up hope the EU will give Britain a guaranteed exit from the Irish backstop that could help get Theresa May’s Brexit deal over the line next week. The Tory MP, who will return to Brussels tomorrow hoping for a breakthrough, insists claims he is now pursuing a Plan B are based on ‘misunderstood fag ends dressed up as facts’.  The QC is fighting the EU to secure legally-binding changes to ensure that the UK is not trapped permanently by backstop arrangements designed to keep the Irish border open if trade talks fail.

Independent
Theresa May has refused to say the UK is still fighting for a “time limit” to the Irish backstop, in fresh evidence that the Brexit talks are in trouble. The prime minister appeared to water down her demands from the EU, threatening her ability to win over Conservative MPs in the second “meaningful vote” earmarked for just eight days’ time. Downing Street declined to repeat the words “time limit” – or “unilateral exit clause” – when asked about a report that efforts in Brussels are now focused on a much weaker “arbitration mechanism” to escape the backstop.

BBC News
Ministers will resume efforts later to secure legally-binding changes to Theresa May’s Brexit deal that might get MPs’ backing in a week’s time. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will meet EU officials in Brussels in search of guarantees over the backstop plan to avoid border checks in Ireland. Mr Cox has refuted reports he has given up on securing a firm end date or means of exit to ensure the UK is not stuck.

Second referendum

Independent
Labour’s shadow cabinet needs to put its weight fully behind the push for a second Brexit referendum, the Independent Group (TIG) of MPs has said. The group, made up of MPs who quit Labour and Tory benches, has said the opposition should show a more united front over a new EU withdrawal poll. In an open letter, TIG has called on members of the shadow cabinet to drop the “terms and conditions” it says Labour has attached to backing a bid for a new referendum.

Express
BREXITEERS are vehemently opposed to a second referendum because they fear the decision to leave the EU could be overturned, according to a top academic. Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said a shift in public opinion means Theresa May and pro-Brexit MPs “do not want to risk” a rerun of the 2016 vote. Prof Bale said Brexiteers’ opposition to the Irish border backstop is partly fuelled by the fact Britain did not secure the sort of deal they had hoped for.

Breitbart
Iraq war architect and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has egged on supporters of a second referendum, including rebels that have walked away from his own party in protest against Jeremy Corbyn’s lukewarm approach to Brexit. Speaking Sunday, the controversial former Prime Minister turned multi-millionaire speaker and sometimes ‘peace envoy’ again shared his view that Brexit should be opposed and praised the “courageous” members of the new Independent Group for taking a stand against the democratic will of the British people.

Westmonster
Brexiteer Boris Johnson has stated his firm opposition to a second referendum and pointed out the ridiculous lack of democracy within the European Union’s structures, saying: “I have no idea how to kick those particular bastards out.” Speaking at a India Today media group conference in New Delhi, Boris stated his case: “My objection to the EU was not that it was run by foreigners. The problem is we don’t really know who is running it.

Conservative Party

Telegraph
Theresa May has been warned she must whip her MPs to keep a no-deal Brexit on the table in a vote next week as Geoffrey Cox travels to Brussels for make-or-break talks with EU negotiators. Senior Eurosceptics are convinced Mrs May will lose a vote on a revised Brexit deal on March 12 because they do not expect the Attorney General to win meaningful concessions on the Irish backstop. They are now planning for the votes which will happen on the following two days, when MPs will be asked whether no deal should remain an option, and whether Brexit should be delayed.

Times
Tory Brexiteers told Theresa May last night not to ambush them with a last-minute legal deal with Brussels on the Irish backstop and expect them to vote in favour of it next week. Leaders of the hardline European Research Group(ERG) said after a meeting yesterday that they expected to see details of any agreement struck between Geoffrey Cox and EU negotiators well before next Tuesday’s “meaningful vote” in the Commons. They added that they would back a compromise only if they had the time to consider it in “good time” to “form a judgment in advance of a vote”, adding: “Our primary objective is a proper analysis.”

Guardian
Theresa May is considering demands from Labour MPs for a parliamentary vote on the UK’s future relationship with the EU as the price for backing her Brexit deal, as she faces an uphill battle to win over Conservative Eurosceptics. The prime minister has been told by Labour MPs that a package of greater guarantees for workers after Brexit, due to be unveiled on Wednesday, is only enough to convince perhaps three or four more to vote for her withdrawal bill.

Sun
BREXITEERS and eurocrats have accused Theresa May of trying to bounce them into agreeing a new Brexit deal at the very last minute. In a bid to build pressure on both sides of the Channel, the PM was suspected last night of holding back a solution until just before the showdown Commons vote next Tuesday.  Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay arrive in Brussels this afternoon, where they are expected to table revised text to the unpopular Irish backstop for the first time.

Westmonster
Former Brexit Minister Suella Braverman has told an audience in her constituency  that she will not vote through a bad EU deal and that she would love to see Theresa May telling Brussels that the UK was leaving with No Deal. In a local meeting in her Fareham constituency, Braverman was clear with the audience on her principled pro-Brexit stance: “I don’t want to be complicit in 10 years’ time to the biggest mistake our country has made.

Labour Party

Times
Lord Falconer of Thoroton has been told that he can trawl through old Labour emails relating to antisemitism cases as he prepares to make the final decision on whether to carry out a review on behalf of the party. It came as MPs again rounded on Jennie Formby, the general secretary, over the handling of antisemitism cases and allegations of interference by the leader’s office in another difficult meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Mail
Some hard left Labour factions will never be able to take anti-Semitism seriously because it is a core part of their anti-capitalist beliefs, one of the party’s MPs has claimed. Siobhain McDonagh said that hardline entryists into the party had a mindset ‘to be against capitalists and to see Jewish people as the financiers of capital’. The Mitcham and Morden MP, a critic of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, hit out as the party’s furious long-running row over anti-Semitism showed no sign of calming down.

Labour List
The Labour left slate won almost all the London regional board positions up for election, it was revealed at Labour London conference this weekend. Unite activist Jim Kelly and Tottenham’s Seema Chandwani were elected as chair and vice-chair respectively, while other left-wing activists including Claudia Webbe and Apsana Begum became local party representatives. The slate of candidates backed by Momentum won all positions except one in ‘Section 7’ (the London Assembly constituencies of Barnet & Camden and Brent & Harrow), which went to Jewish Labour Movement activist Izzy Lenga.

Education

Times
State schools are asking parents to donate hundreds of pounds a year to pay for salaries, buy textbooks and equipment and repair leaking buildings, a Times investigation has revealed. Grammars, comprehensives and primaries are increasingly relying on families to pay for essentials and in one case have asked for up to £1,200 per child each year. Others do not specify amounts but are receiving £100,000 a year, some using campaigns that allow donors to choose what to buy.

Mail
State schools are asking parents to donate hundreds of pounds each year to help pay for staff salaries, building repairs and textbooks. Some are asking for up to £1,200 per child annually while others let families choose how much cash they donate. Although no taxpayer-funded school can force parents to make payments, requests for voluntary donations are becoming commonplace as budgets are squeezed. Headteachers are managing to raise up to £100,000 a year through advertising campaigns to highlight their plight.

Times
Head teachers are cleaning school toilets, sweeping floors and washing up after lunch because funding cuts have forced them to reduce staff. A Times investigation shows that schools are responding to smaller budgets by sacking teaching assistants, getting rid of lollipop ladies, caretakers and cleaners and axing library services and pastoral support. It also reveals the impact of cuts, particularly on head teachers. They reported cleaning up after school lunch, vacuuming, unblocking toilets and coming into school in the holidays to deep-clean the school hall and polish the floor.

Migration

Westmonster
A large group of migrants were arrested on Saturday evening after boarding a ferry that was docked in Calais, due to head to Dover. French police arrested a   total of 44 migrants, who entered a supposedly secure area and got onto the ferry by using ladders. Regional official Jean-Philippe Vennin told AFP that around 100 migrants trying to get to Britain broke the port’s perimeter on Saturday evening, with around 50 then boarding a ferry.

Knife crime

Times
MPs from all parties have questioned the government’s record on knife crime and called for more frontline police officers. The Police Federation described Theresa May as “delusional” for insisting that there was no direct correlation between police numbers and incidents of knife crime. Julia Lopez, the Conservative MP for Hornchurch & Upminster, whose constituent Jodie Chesney was one of those killed at the weekend, said that the public was “losing faith in our ability to control our streets”.

Mail
Ministers and police chiefs clashed last night over whether a surge in knife deaths is linked to tumbling officer numbers. The families of the latest teenage stab victims – girl scout Jodie Chesney and private school pupil Yousef Makki, both 17 – yesterday told of their horror and devastation. In an impassioned Commons statement, Jodie’s constituency MP Julia Lopez, a Tory backbencher, warned that the public was losing faith in the Government’s ability to keep the streets safe.

Guardian
The prime minister has sparked a backlash over the government’s handling of rising knife crime after she insisted there was “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers” amid new evidence of a significant rise in teens using knives. Police and crime commissioners, senior officers and youth workers pushed back against Theresa May’s comments as a political row erupted over the government’s grip on knife crime.

Sky News
The government has been accused of not having “the right sense of urgency” in dealing with knife crime after cabinet ministers delivered conflicting messages in their approach to the issue. Following the high-profile deaths of two teenagers over the weekend, Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted there is “no hiding” from “a cycle of senseless violence that is robbing young people of their lives right across this country”.

Telegraph
Emergency stop and search powers for the police must be introduced across the country in order to stem the knife crime epidemic, a senior police leader has said. Section 60 powers, which allow 
officers to search suspects without needing specific grounds, have led to scores of deadly weapons being taken off the streets of Birmingham since 
being introduced last week, Richard Cooke, the chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, says in an
 article for The Telegraph.

Mail
These are the terrifying blades police have seized in London in just one week – as the extent of the country’s knife crime epidemic is laid bare. Police forces across the capital have used their social media accounts to highlight the deadly blades that they have confiscated. In just one week, 15 of the weapons – which range from a meat cleaver to a frightening lock knife – have been seized and posted online by police. The true number of confiscated weapons is likely to be much higher.

NHS

Telegraph
Testing everyone in a community for HIV and offering immediate treatment to all those who test positive can cut the number of new infections by around a third, according to new research. The researchers believe that this approach could go some way to ending the HIV epidemic in these two countries and elsewhere. In 2017, around 37 million people were living with HIV worldwide and there were 1.8 million new infections.

Russia

Times
Russia must increasingly threaten its enemies in the West or risk being attacked by the United States, according to President Putin’s military chief. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, accused the US of devising a strategy to destabilise its enemy by fomenting street protests before launching military strikes against key infrastructure. Russia was obliged to “respond to the threat by creating a threat”, he said.

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