Brexit

Reuters
European Union leaders will grant Prime Minister Theresa May a second delay to Brexit but they could demand she accepts a much longer extension as France pushed for conditions to limit Britain’s ability to undermine the bloc. A “flextension” until the end of the year or until March 2020, under which Britain could leave much sooner if its warring political tribes can find a majority, was shaping up to be the most likely, EU diplomats said, after envoys met in Brussels late on Tuesday to prepare for Wednesday evening’s summit with May. In a sign of just how far the three-year Brexit crisis has sapped British power, May dashed to Berlin and Paris to ask Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to allow the world’s fifth-largest economy to put off its divorce from April 12. While it was not immediately clear what Merkel and Macron, Europe’s two most powerful leaders, agreed with May, an advance draft of conclusions for Wednesday’s emergency EU summit said Britain would be granted another delay on certain conditions.

Mail
Britain was last night facing the prospect of another year in the EU. Theresa May flies to Brussels tomorrow to ask for a delay only until the end of June. But Donald Tusk has urged fellow leaders to impose a year-long delay to ‘allow the UK to rethink its Brexit strategy’. The EU president warned tough conditions would be attached to any extended postponement. And he said the stalled withdrawal agreement would not be unpicked under any circumstances, including the election of a new Tory leader.

Independent
MPs voted to authorise Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay until 30 June, amid fresh warnings from France and Germany over the details of any extension. The prime minister personally appealed to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron during meetings on Tuesday, while European Council president Donald Tusk said there was “little reason to believe” Brexit could be sorted by June. His comments come ahead of a crunch Brussels summit on Wednesday, at which EU leaders will decide whether to approve the prime minister’s request or offer a longer delay. All 27 remaining EU heads of government must agree to an extension if the UK is to avoid the default position of a no-deal Brexit on Friday night.

Mail
Andrea Leadsom defied Theresa May and signalled a new Brexiteer revolt today as she urged the Prime Minister to use a trip to Berlin to demand a ‘proper Brexit‘. The Commons Leader said Mrs May should tell Angela Merkel to make the EU re-write the Brexit divorce deal and tear up the Irish border backstop. Following the first hammering of her deal, Mrs May asked the EU to reopen the deal to change the backstop – a provision designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland even if UK-EU trade talks fail – and was rebuffed.

EU

Express
BRITAIN has been warned by the EU it MUST hold European Parliamentary elections next month in order to earn an Article 50 extension – or face being unceremoniously booted out of the bloc immediately, without a deal. According to draft conclusions set to be ratified by leaders today, the EU will agree “an extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.” It could be cut short if both the EU and Britain ratify the Brexit deal before it runs its course. The EU will demand that Britain’s extended stay in the bloc cannot undermine its key institutions.

Guardian
Theresa May’s request for a short Brexit delay has been torn up, putting the EU on track to instead extend Britain’s membership until 2020. Despite the prime minister’s desperate dash to Paris and Berlin to convince leaders of her plan to break the Brexit impasse, the European council president, Donald Tusk, signalled EU politicians’ lack of faith in her cross-party talks. Against a backdrop of growing support among the EU27 for a lengthy Brexit delay, Tusk picked apart May’s appeal for a shorter delay to 30 June in a letter to the leaders inviting them to Wednesday’s summit, where they will agree the new end date.

Express
DONALD Tusk has dismissed Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of delivering Brexit by the end of June, suggesting there was “little reason to believe” the process of taking the UK out of the EU could be completed by then. Mrs May, who spent the day holding talks with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, has been making the case for a delay until June 30.

Westmonster
Prime Minister Theresa May’s pathetic request for Brexit to be delayed until 30th June looks set to be turned down, with the European Union instead looking at an extension that could last up to a year.  With May set to meet EU leaders this evening before they tell her what time frame the Article 50 extension will be over, the EU’s Donald Tusk has talked up a “longer extension” as it “would allow the UK to rethink its Brexit strategy”.

Mirror
Theresa May will face frustrated EU leaders tonight as she prepares to beg for yet another delay to Brexit .  But the Prime Minister’s hopes for a short extension to June 30 at the latest were expected to be crushed. EU Council president Donald Tusk revealed that leaders had little confidence that Mrs May could get her deal through MPs by then.  And he warned that a short delay increased the risk of rolling extensions and new cliff-edge dates for crashing out without a deal.

Independent
The EU is open to granting Theresa May another delay to Brexit talks, but only if she produces a workable plan in time for a summit on Wednesday evening, EU member states have warned. Ministers from the 27 remaining countries met in Luxembourg on Tuesday morning to lay the groundwork for the leaders’ meeting in Brussels the next day. Discussions overran by an hour amid debate between the countries about the way to proceed.

Times
European leaders have urged President Macron not to “humiliate” Theresa May as the price of granting her a long Brexit extension. In an appeal before tonight’s critical summit, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, called on EU leaders to treat Britain with respect or risk poisoning future relations. Mr Tusk warned that the French president’s favoured approach of an extension with “good behaviour” review clauses would create “constantly shifting” no-deal cliff edges and continued uncertainty for European businesses and citizens.

Independent
EU leaders will consider giving Theresa May a Brexit extension until the end of the year at a crunch summit in Brussels on Wednesday that could delay Britain’s departure from the bloc until after Christmas. Ahead of the crucial meeting the prime minister was warned that she needed “a clear plan with credible political backing” if she wanted the delay to avert no deal on Friday, as she met with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to try and win their support.

Breitbart
The President of the European Council has published an open letter to European leaders explaining why the European Union should ignore British Prime Minister Theresa May’s request for a Brexit extension to June, and give a full year instead. The letter from the top Eurocrat comes as Theresa May spends Tuesday in talks with the French President and German Chancellor in their respective capital cities ahead of Wednesday’s special meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels.

Conservative Woman
DESPITE occasional but unconvincing protestations that what it most wants is Brexit done and its British perpetual problem-child gone, the EU continues to try to ensure that our departure – or even our non-departure – is as protracted and painful as possible; a task, incidentally, in which it can count on unstinting help from our now-gone-rogue Prime Minister, Cabinet, Government and Parliament. It may, however, come to regret it.

BBC News
The European Union will “stand fully behind Ireland” regardless of what happens with Brexit, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said. Michel Barnier was speaking in Dublin after talks with Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar. A special EU summit will take place on Wednesday, to discuss Theresa May’s request for another extension. The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on 12 April, unless a delay is agreed.

Single market

Express
BRITAIN could remain locked in the EU single market forever to avoid the UK economy collapsing, a political expert has claimed. Speaking to German publication DLF24, Briton Anthony Glees gave an interview that saw him rattle off the number of companies that have left the UK, resulting in a loss of millions of pounds. He said to avoid the collapse of the UK economy and father millions being lost, the answer would be to shackle Britain to the EU customs union permanently.

Customs union

Independent
A customs union with the EU would leave the UK “stuck in the worst of both worlds”, cabinet minister Liam Fox has told Tory MPs. In a four-page letter to the chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, the international trade secretary claims the scenario would see the UK “on the menu” in Brussels, without any control.  Hinting he could quit the cabinet if the prime minister pursues such a policy with Labour in the ongoing talks to break the Brexit deadlock, Dr Fox claimed the UK “ourselves would be traded”.

Westmonster
International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has warned against any move towards an EU Customs Union that would kill off an independent UK trade policy. In a letter to Conservative MPs and obtained by The Telegraph, Fox makes the point that a Customs Union would mean: “We would be stuck in the worst of both worlds, not only unable to set our own international trade policy but subject, without representation, to the policy of an entity over which MPs would have no democratic control.

Mirror
Tory outrage exploded today over a Brexit customs union as it emerged Liam Fox savaged the idea in a private letter. The International Trade Secretary branded a customs union the “worst of both worlds” that would leave Britain eaten up by the EU in an excoriating message to Tory MPs. His missive emerged as Theresa May was inching closer to backing a customs union – which is a form of softer Brexit – in crisis talks with Labour .

Conservative Party

Telegraph
Grassroots Conservative party associations are considering motions calling for the removal of Theresa May as it emerged that MPs want a new leader in place by late July. The news came as the party’s ‘phony leadership campaign’ got under way on Tuesday with three modernising Tory MPs calling for the party to reach out to younger voters. The associations have no power to remove Mrs May as leader; however a motion passed by associations could force the hand of local MPs to push for change.

Sun
THERESA May will be out next month when the Tories suffer a council elections bloodbath, Cabinet Ministers believe. One told The Sun a disastrous showing would almost certainly be the “tipping point” as it would prove how toxic the PM now is for the party. “It’s clear to people now that the party’s not the problem – she’s the problem”, they said. It came as senior MPs lined up to slate Mrs May for “humiliating” the Conservative Party.

Times
The Conservatives will be finished if they become only a party of Brexit, one of the likely candidates to succeed Theresa May said yesterday. Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, said the party needed to demonstrate more optimism to justify continuing in power. “We’ve got to sound like we actually like this country,” he told an event hosted by the think tank Onward, which promotes centrist Tories. Although Mrs May is still in post, it was clear in the session that the battle to succeed her had begun in all but name.

Independent
The scale of the revolt against Theresa May’s planned Brexit delay has deepened after cabinet ministers and backbenchers refused to back the prime minister’s strategy. Tory MPs voted in large numbers in the House of Commons against delaying Brexit again until even 30 June, though Ms May is set to be forced into a much longer extension. Cabinet members Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox, along with transport secretary Chris Grayling, attorney general Geoffrey Cox and party chair Brandon Lewis all failed to positively back the government’s approach.

DUP

Independent
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have branded Theresa May‘s bid for a  Brexit extension as humiliating and embarrassing. Party leader Arlene Foster and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds both accused Ms May of “begging” European leaders for help to break the impasse. The senior figures in the Government’s confidence and supply partners did not hold back in their criticism of the prime minister’s handling of the process as she spent the day holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Express
THE Democratic Unionists Party (DUP) have branded Theresa May’s bid for a Brexit extension as humiliating and embarrassing. Party leader Arlene Foster and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds both accused Mrs May of “begging” European leaders for help to break the impasse. The senior figures in the Government’s confidence and supply partners did not hold back in their criticism of the Prime Minister’s handling of the process as she spent the day holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Cross party talks

Times
Theresa May’s hopes of persuading European Union leaders that she can reach a deal with Labour to break the Brexit deadlock appeared doomed last night after cross-party talks broke down without progress. Sources on both sides of the negotiations said that four hours of detailed discussions yesterday had served only to show “just how far away” the two parties were. Labour said that ministers had failed to offer any further concessions to break the deadlock and feared that Mrs May was being prevented from compromising by cabinet hardliners.

Mail
Brexit legislation could be brought back to the Commons in days if the Government can reach a deal with Labour, ministers said last night. Two Cabinet sources told the Mail discussions were under way about the possibility of asking MPs to vote this week on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the hope of still leaving the EU next month. Ministers have also reserved the right to shorten the Easter break by asking MPs to sit on Monday and Tuesday next week if a deal looks close.

Huffington Post
Theresa May will head to a crunch EU summit without a cross-party deal on Brexit after talks with Labour failed to secure a breakthrough. Hopes of a compromise were dashed after it became clear in more than three hours of talks that the PM was not ready to make a “fundamental shift” in her stance. The deadlock, which increases the likelihood that the UK will take part in European elections next month, followed fresh warnings from Tory Brexiteer ministers not to cave to Labour demands over closer economic ties to the EU.

Express
HUGE divisions splitting the Labour Party, including a demand of any Brexit deal with the Government being put to a second referendum, makes it increasingly unlikely Jeremy Corbyn will be able to agree a compromise with Theresa May.  The Labour leader, who has been in talks with the Prime Minister over Brexit for the past week, has made clear on several occasions he is not in favour of a second referendum under any circumstances.

Mirror
Brexit talks between Labour and Government ministers have broken up without an agreement 24 hours before Theresa May heads to Brussels for a crunch summit. Labour said they had yet to see a “clear shift in the government’s position.” Tory ministers and Labour’s shadow Brexit team sat down for a marathon, four hour session of negotiations in a bid to break the deadlock. Number 10 say a further round of talks will take place on Thursday after the summit. It’s understood Mrs May’s deputy David Lidington, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Business Secretary Greg Clark represented the Government in the talks. Chief Whip Julian Smith and officials were also present.

Emergency services

Telegraph
A police force has become the first in the country to train firefighters as special constables in a bid to plug shortfalls in officer numbers in rural areas. Seven members of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have just completed two months of legal and practical training and are ready to start work as police officers across the region. Described as community responders, the firefighters will enjoy many of the powers of their warranted colleagues, including the ability to arrest suspects. They will also retain their firefighting duties and will be available to attend blazes and other emergencies in their local communities.

Mail
A team of firefighters have become the first group in the country to receive special training which will allow them to tackle crime. Seven firefighters have been trained so they can also act as police officers in what is believed to be a national first. The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service on-call firefighters have been trained as special constables in a new role known as a ‘community responder’. These new community responders will have the ability to go to both fire and police incidents increasing the police presence and the number of available on-call firefighters in communities.

NHS

Telegraph
The NHS could lose 10pc of its doctors in a dispute over pension tax bills, creating an “absolute crisis” that leaves it struggling to care for patients as the number of junior replacements falls. Older doctors have been keeping the health service going, according to NHS recruitment data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, seen exclusively by Telegraph Money. The number of senior clinicians aged 55-plus has risen by 26pc in the past five years.

Illegal migration

Mail
A group of 21 migrants, including a one-year-old child, were rescued from the Channel on Tuesday as they attempted to make the crossing to Britain.   Two boats carrying the group were picked up at around 5am on Tuesday and handed over to authorities back in France.  The first boat was carrying nine migrants when it ran into trouble off the Calais coast and called for help. The French navy and a helicopter were immediately deployed and managed to rescue the group.

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