Brexit

Independent
New measures to prevent Theresa May using ancient “Henry VIII powers” to make post-Brexit laws behind Parliament’s back have been demanded in a report today. 
The Prime Minister must not be allowed to put through crucial legislation – over trade, immigration and workers’ rights, for example – using so-called delegated powers, a House of Lords committee said. The alarm has been raised over the potential for a No 10 power grab when the daunting “Great Repeal Bill” is put before Parliament later this year, after Article 50 has been triggered. The bill will convert EU law into UK law before Brexit is completed in 2019, and before the Government proposes which bits should be retained or junked. Now the Lords Constitution Committee has urged MPs and peers to impose two vital safeguards to limit future prime ministerial power.

ITV News
The Prime Minister has been warned against the use of so-called Henry VIII clauses which would allow her to avoid full parliamentary scrutiny of the Brexit process. At the Conservative Party Conference last autumn, Theresa May announced her government would introduce a Great Repeal Bill to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK, a crucial part of leaving the European Union. Senior peers on the House of Lords Constitution Committee said Theresa May must not use the legislation to “pick and choose” which elements of European law she wanted to scrap or alter without Parliament’s full involvement. 
The committee said a distinction must be drawn between the move to transfer EU regulations into UK laws and any subsequent attempt to change them after Brexit.

Guardian
Downing Street must not be allowed to use sweeping powers to scrap parts of EU law after Brexit without properly consulting parliament, peers will warn on Tuesday. In a new report, the House of Lords constitution committee raises concerns about the implementation of Theresa May’s great repeal bill, saying new limits are needed to stop ministers getting rid of bits of EU law through secondary legislation without adequate scrutiny by MPs and peers. The bill will be introduced in the next session with the aim of transferring EU law into British law in preparation for leaving the EU. The Cabinet Office has insisted that workers’ rights will be guaranteed and every law transposed “wherever practicable” but there are still concerns that ministers could attempt to scrap unwanted regulations through statutory instruments. During its inquiry, a number of legal experts and human rights bodies issued warnings about the use of delegated powers, potentially giving ministers the power to scrap parts of EU legislation without much parliamentary scrutiny.

Sky News
Theresa May is facing a second Brexit defeat in the House of Lords within a week, putting her under further pressure as she attempts to meet her end-of-March Article 50 deadline. Peers are expected to back a demand – supported by former deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine – for a vote in both Houses of Parliament on the terms of the deal for the UK leaving the EU. Last week, 
after a turbulent and at times bad-tempered debate, the Lords voted by 358-256, a majority of 102, in favour of an amendment demanding protection for EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit. That has already triggered Parliamentary “ping pong”, since the Government has vowed to overturn the amendment – and any others passed in the Lords – so the Article 50 Bill can become law unamended. But the Government’s opponents in the Lords are confident of victory in a vote on a new clause headed: “Parliamentary approval for the outcome of negotiations with the European Union”.

Times
Theresa May has warned peers that they could “incentivise” the European Union to offer Britain a bad Brexit deal if they try to bind the government’s hands in the Article 50 talks. The Lords today is expected to approve an amendment calling for parliament to be given a “meaningful” say on any withdrawal agreement secured by the prime minister. Mrs May has promised a vote, but only on a “take it or leave it” basis, which would mean the UK leaving the EU without a deal if MPs and Lords reject the deal. Ministers say this is necessary to convince EU negotiators and member states that Britain is ready to walk away from the EU altogether.

Sun
THERESA May has warned peers they could “incentivise” the EU to offer Britain a bad deal if they make further changes to the Brexit Bill. The Prime Minister fired the shot across the bows of the upper chamber as it prepares to vote tomorrow on an amendment to the Article 50 legislation calling for Westminster to be given a “meaningful” vote on final agreement from Brussels. She has already promised Parliament a vote, but only on a “take it or leave it” basis, which would see the UK crash out of the EU without a deal if MPs reject the Brexit agreement she obtains. And the PM believes she must maintain this position in order to convince the other member states she is ready to walk away from the table if she does not like what is on offer. But many peers are insisting that they should be given the option of telling ministers to go back to the EU and renegotiate a better deal.

Independent
Britons overwhelmingly oppose Theresa May’s plan to quit the EU with no deal in place if Parliament dares to reject the terms she agrees with Brussels, an exclusive poll has revealed. The BMG Research study showed twice as many people would rather the UK stay in the EU or try and secure a different deal, if MPs and Lords do not endorse the agreement the Prime Minister returns from Europe with. 

Breitbart
Anti-Brexit posters claiming that Brexit is linked to “price hikes” and “hate crime” have sprung up around the country after a Remainer group raised tens of thousands of pounds. Stop the Silence crowdfunded nearly £70,000 in just ten days from disaffected Remain voters, which they plan to use to actively campaign against so-called ‘hard’ Brexit. Posters paid for by the group have already appeared on billboards all across the country, including in London, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Glasgow. Featuring four people with tape across their mouths, the text on the poster reads: “We did not vote for price hikes, hate crimes, brutal Brexit, deal or no deal. The people are speaking. Is parliament listening?” 
Further planned posters list “losing our families”; “leaving the single market”; “losing funding”; and “losing our rights” among the group’s objections to Brexit.

EAW

Express
HOME Secretary Amber Rudd courted Brexit controversy yesterday by saying it was a British “priority” to stay part of the European Arrest Warrant system. Her remarks in the House of Commons seemed to go beyond her past statement that the Government wanted to secure a system that was “as effective” as the EAW in keeping people safe. Sources stressed the exact arrangement would depend on forthcoming Brexit talks about how Britain and the EU will cooperate in future on security and justice issues. Ms Rudd herself also appeared initially yesterday to indicate she was only backing the “principle” of the EAW rather than preserving membership on the same terms as now. But her comments raise fears the Government is not committed to freeing Britain from a system which critics say has seen Britons arrested abroad and extradited from the UK on the flimsiest evidence. In one emotive case, the EAW was used in 2015 temporarily to jail Britons Bret and Naghemeh King in Spain after they defied UK doctors’ advice not to take their five-year-old son Ashya to Prague for life-saving cancer treatment.

General Election

Telegraph
Theresa May should scrap fixed-term parliaments and call an early general election, the former Tory leader Lord Hague says today, as a poll showed support for Jeremy Corbyn collapsing among Labour Party members. Lord Hague warns that “trouble is coming” over the next two years as the Government tries to implement Brexit, and says the Prime Minister needs a bigger Commons majority to force through change. The next general election is due to take place in May 2020, but Lord Hague argues in the Daily Telegraph that if the Fixed Term Parliaments Act did not exist, the case for an election this spring would have been “very strong indeed”. That argument was strengthened on Monday by a YouGov opinion poll that found half of Labour Party members believe Jeremy Corbyn should step down as leader before the next election.

Mirror
Former Tory leader William Hague tonight called for an early general election hours after a grim new poll for Jeremy Corbyn . The peer urged Theresa May to scrap the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act – which effectively gives Labour a veto on holding an election before 2020. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said it would “catch the Labour Party in its worst condition since the early Thirties, and with its least credible leader”. Lord Hague claimed Labour would not want to vote for an election, despite the party being “put on an election footing” ahead of a possible early vote last year. He added: “We have a new Prime Minister and Cabinet facing the most complex challenges of modern times: Brexit negotiations, the Trump administration, the threat from Scottish nationalists and many other issues.

BBC News
Downing Street has rejected former Conservative leader Lord Hague’s call to hold a snap general election. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said bringing forward an election “would strengthen the government’s hand at home and abroad” which could help with Brexit negotiations. A No 10 source told the BBC it was not something Prime Minister Theresa May “plans to do or wishes to do”. The next election is due in May 2020 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Lord Hague suggested repealing the legislation, which was brought in by the coalition government, but acknowledged an imminent election was unlikely.

EU

Westmonster
The forthcoming Presidential election is increasingly becoming a de facto referendum on the future of the European Union, with current President Francois Hollande proclaiming that he will “do everything” to stop the anti-EU Marine Le Pen from winning. He admits that President Le Pen would be the end of the EU project, as the French establishment increasingly rally behind the Blair-like, so-called centrist Emmanuel Macron. It mirrors the reaction of former Italian PM Enrico Letta who has also said that a Le Pen victory would be “game over” for the EU. Such is the level of denial that Marine Le Pen has any chance of winning – by the same people who said Brexit wouldn’t happen and Trump wouldn’t become President – that the long-term implications aren’t being seriously thought through, even now. France’s Presidential election could not only be the end of the Euro, with Le Pen taking France out of the single currency, it could be the end of the EU itself. We may be entering into the last ever months for the European project as we know it. After all, Le Pen is Frexit.

Express
EUROPEAN superpowers will meet to thrash out the future direction for the struggling bloc this evening, but eurocrats appeared to have been sidelined from the process. France, Germany, Italy and Spain will come together at the grand palace of Versailles for a crisis summit as infighting over where to go next threatens to consume the EU from the inside.  The conference has been called by French leader Francois Hollande in response to the publication of Jean-Claude Juncker’s white paper last week, which maps out five potential pathways for the project. But before it even began the two heavyweights appeared to be on a collision course, with the outgoing president favouring a two-speed Europe and the EU boss opting for a full-blown superstate. Neith
er Mr Juncker nor the EU Council president Donald Tusk will be in Paris this evening, and their diaries show that they do not have any meetings or telephone calls scheduled with the four leaders who will be present. 

Westmonster
The New York Times is reporting that Eurocrats are considering obtaining nuclear weapons as they feel they can no longer rely on protection from America. Support for the proposal seems to come largely from the Germans. The plan would see France and even Britain’s nuclear deterrents put under EU control. Roderich Kiesewetter, a German foreign policy spokesman told a German newspaper: “My idea is to build on the existing weapons in Great Britain and France,” however he did admit Brexit may put a spanner in the plan to include Britain. Very big of him. Kiesewetter’s plan would see the EU take control of France’s nukes, finance them with German money and force other European member states to store warheads in their countries. Angela Merkel has denied such a plan exists, but it is undeniably being discussed at the highest levels of government across Europe. Hungary and Poland voiced their support of such a plan shortly after Kiesewetter gave his interview.

Express
A FURIOUS euro MP today savaged Angela Merkel as she prepared to lead a plot to take back control of Europe’s purse strings from Brussels. German MEP Sven Giegold laid into his own country’s leader over the plans, set to be discussed during a crisis summit in France, which would limit eurocrats’ future spending power.  The green politician accused the under-fire Chancellor of “a strike against European democracy” as she prepared to spearhead the charge during a behind closed doors meeting in France. Mrs Merkel will be joined by Francois Hollande and the leaders of Italy and Spain this evening for a mini crisis on the future of the EU to be held at the former royal palace of Versailles. At the top of her agenda will be a proposal to wrestle back control from Brussels of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which dispenses bailout cash across the eurozone.  She wants to change the system into a full-blown European Monetary Fund, run exclusively by the member states, which would have the firepower to prevent another Greek debt crisis. 

Breitbart
France’s outgoing socialist premier, François Hollande, claims the United Kingdom “will become an outsider” after it leaves the European Union (EU) and cannot expect any “advantages” – but he also wishes to include it in plans for greater European military integration. In a joint interview given
to Britain’s Guardian newspaper and four European outlets, Hollande said Brexit would be followed by a push for greater defence integration. “In my mind,” he said, “the UK, even outside the EU, should be associated with that.” The Veterans for Britain group, which includes a number of distinguished military commanders and veterans of conflicts including the Falklands and the Second World War, raised the alarm in December 2016 on the United Kingdom being signed up to various defence integration schemes despite the Brexit vote. Commenting on the French president’s remarks, spokesman David Banks told Breitbart London it was “bizarre that Mr. Hollande says Britain can’t pick and choose its relationship with the EU while at the same time he and the EU are doing exactly that over their defence relationship with the departing UK, clinging on to their dream of UK involvement”.

Express
BRUSSELS’ supposed consultation on the future direction of the European project descended into farce today as it was claimed that boss Jean-Claude Juncker is set to back the most extreme superstate vision. The EU chief is reportedly ready to come out in favour of a full-speed amalgamation of member states along the model repeatedly touted by lifelong federalist Guy Verhofstadt.  It had been expected that the EU Commission president would opt to support a less controversial way forward after recently making a series of remarks in which he appeared to ditch the superstate dream. But sources within the EU today insisted that he will eventually come out in favour of Mr Verhofstadt’s vision of a United States of Europe complete with its own army, taxation policy and effective government. 

Breitbart
Discussions are ongoing at high levels within the European Union (EU) to assume command of the nuclear weapons possessed by member states for the purpose of common European defence, according to claims published by 
The New York Times (NYT). While even organising a combined European defence based on conventional forces — ships, troops, and aircraft — has proven more than the EU is politically capable of and has been a major contributing factor to the impending departure of the United Kingdom from the bloc, the claims are that a common nuclear defence system have at least been considered. Reporting the comments of proponents of the plan, which the NYT concedes are in a “minority” in proposing the “once unthinkable” scheme, the paper quotes German and Polish politicians, but not lawmakers from France and Britain, nations that actually have the weapons.

Education

Telegraph
Theresa May today unveils plans for a new generation of grammar schools as she announces that £320 million has been set aside in the Budget to help end the “brutal and unacceptable” truth of selection by income. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister says she has made it her “personal mission” to build “a school system that works for everyone” and will within weeks begin the process of reversing the current ban on new grammars. The Prime Minister, who has made grammars a key part of her education policy, will fund up to 140 new free schools, many of which are expected to become grammars. She says: “If we are to give our children and grandchildren a fair chance to succeed in an ever more competitive world, we have to build a future where every child can access a good school place.

Independent
Theresa May will today defy fierce criticism of huge waste in the “free schools” programme by vowing to build 140 more of the schools. The Budget will plough £320m into creating more than 70,000 new places at the schools – which are independent of local authorities – although only 30 will open by 2020. “We are confirming new investment to give parents a greater choice of a good school place for their child,” the Prime Minister said. Ms May will also signal her determination to press ahead with opening new grammar schools by promising free travel to selective schools for children from the poorest homes. At present free transport is only offered to families receiving free school meals and maximum working tax credit who attend non-selective schools, at an annual cost

Times
The prime minister will forge ahead with a new generation of grammars, earmarking £320 million to fund 140 new free schools. The extra cash — part of a £500 million pot for education reforms to be announced in tomorrow’s budget — will include provision for selective secondaries to be built and for poorer pupils to be taken by bus to their nearest grammar. Thirty of the schools are to be built before 2020, with the remaining 110 due to open in the next parliament. These could include the first new state-funded selective secondary schools in a generation, government officials said.

Guardian
Theresa May will pave the way for a new generation of grammar schools on Wednesday, as her chancellor uses the budget to push ahead with a controversial policy that is seen as a key priority for the prime minister. Philip Hammond will plough £320m into expanding the government’s free school programme, creating 70,000 places in 140 schools, which will be free to offer selective education after the government passes legislation. May’s pledge to end the ban on grammars during this parliament means that many of the new schools, which are largely due to open after 2020, could opt to choose pupils based on academic merit. The chancellor will underline the government’s focus on selective education by also extending free public transport for the poorest children to grammar schools, covering those within two to 15 miles of their homes.

Mirror
Theresa May is set to give the green light to a £320million plan to create 140 new free schools. The Prime Minister’s scheme paves the way for the return of selective education across England and has been branded “reintroducing grammars through the back door”. It also comes as her Government bids to claw 3% of funding from 9,000 schools in urban areas in favour of rural sites in Tory shires. Free schools are controversial as they are claimed to favour pushy middle-class parents, waste taxpayer cash and frequently open in areas that do not need extra school places. But under separate plans unveiled by the PM last year, new free schools will also be allowed to open as grammars – England’s first since the 60s.

Sun
THERESA May today pledges to step up her crusade to get every poorer child a good school place by opening 140 more free schools. Many of those schools could be selective as they will open when May’s major grammar schools expansion kicks in from 2020. The government will also pick up the tab for longer journeys to existing grammars for kids whose parents can’t afford expensive homes nearby. Theresa May pledges to get every child a good school placeThe PM and the Chancellor unveil a new £500m education package ahead of tomorrow’s Budget. The 140 new free schools it will pay for will create a further 70,000 new places to take the total number of them to more than 800.

ITV News
More than half a billion pounds is to be pumped into creating new free schools, including grammars and refurbishing existing school buildings, the Government has said. Wednesday’s Budget will include £320 million to help fund up to 140 new schools, creating 70,000 new places. However, critics of the plans have accused the Government of “throwing money at free schools and grammar schools,” adding that £6.7 billion was needed just to bring all existing school buildings up to a “satisfactory” level. The investment is intended to build on the Government’s commitment to open 500 new free schools by 2020, Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce on Wednesday.

Arctic war

Star
MORE than 8,000 troops – including British and US Marines – have massed near the Russian border. About 700 members of the British Royal Marines have joined thousands of troops from the US and Norway for joint military exercises in Vladimir Putin’s back yard. The battalions are practicing for Arctic war in temperatures as low as -10C. But more than 300,000 Russian troops are waiting nearby – sparking fears the war gam
es could spark a real conflict. The 10-day drill – dubbed “Joint Viking” – involve fighter jets, helicopters and military transport aircraft as well as ground troops. The elite military units will simulate war in the most extreme conditions in Finnmark – a region at the frozen northern tip of Norway. Mock battles will take place across 80 square miles of mountains and forests. NATO wants to show it could protect its member Norway – which has a border with Russia.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email