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Theresa May

ITV News
The threshold needed to trigger a vote of no-confidence in Theresa May has been exceeded after more than 48 Conservative MPs submitted letters to Sir Graham Brady. ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston said it was possible the no-confidence vote could be held on Wednesday. It follows reports of a wave of new letters amid anger at the way Mrs May dramatically put on hold the crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal after admitting she was heading for a heavy defeat.

Sky News
Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence

Full statement from Sir Graham Brady:

The chairman of the backbench 1922 committee of Conservative MPs said: “The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.  “In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 1800 and 2000 on Wednesday 12th December in committee room 14 of the House of Commons.  “The votes will be counted immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made as soon as possible in the evening.  “Arrangements for the announcement will be released later today. 

WTO trade

Times
Theresa May will be put under pressure at her cabinet meeting today to start planning for a no-deal Brexit, with ministers around the table expecting a vote on her future to be called within hours. Cabinet members are set to push the prime minister to step up preparations for a hard Brexit as some claim that she has repeatedly stalled spending decisions to prepare for such an outcome. Mrs May faces intense speculation about her future after her decision on Monday to pull the vote on her Brexit deal to seek last-minute improvements from the EU.

Conservative leadership

Mirror
Theresa May has been plunged into crisis over Brexit – with speculation mounting that she could be ousted. Potential candidates for the leadership have begun setting out their stalls even while the Prime Minister is in office. And after she was forced to pull a Commons vote on her Brexit deal, she is looking more vulnerable than ever. A leadership contest can be forced in two ways – either Mrs May quits, or she’s challenged. If she resigns, candidates will put themselves forward. Tory MPs whittle them down one at a time to just two people, in votes each Tuesday and Thursday. Then the final two will go head to head in a vote by the Tories’ 100,000-or-so members. If she’s challenged, it’s a lot harder for a leadership contest to happen.

Times
Sajid Javid has touted his commitment to social mobility and Boris Johnson has compared his weight loss to the Brexit preparations as contenders to succeed Theresa May prepare their pitches for the top job. The home secretary and the former foreign secretary have used The Spectator to set out their views on Brexit and their party’s future, a decision which will doubtless be interpreted as preparation for a leadership contest. Mr Javid, seen in Westminster as the favourite among ministers to succeed Mrs May, told the magazine that the Conservative Party stood, in a word, for opportunity.

Mail
The beauty contest for the Tory leadership should Theresa May be forced from office began in earnest last night. Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid both appeared in the Tory-supporting Spectator magazine to make highly personal interventions as they vie for the top job. Their move comes as Mrs May faces the prospect of a no confidence vote in her leadership as early as this morning. The former foreign secretary used a column in the Spectator to open up about his recent weight loss – an intervention which is widely seen as laying the ground for a leadership bid.

Brexit

Express
SENIOR Tories last night called for Britain’s £39billion EU divorce fee to be cancelled after Brussels chiefs rejected Theresa May’s plea for a better Brexit deal. Eurosceptic MPs were furious when European Commission chief Jean–Claude Juncker insisted: “There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation.” The top Eurocrat’s rebuff was delivered as the Prime Minister came up against a wall of resistance on a whistlestop European tour seeking to win fresh concessions to assuage MPs blocking her deal. Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, responding to the intransigence from Brussels, said: “If there is no room for renegotiation then we leave without a deal and do not pay the EU £39billion.”

Times
Theresa May’s pleas for changes to the Brexit divorce deal were publicly rejected by Europe’s leaders on her tour of continental capitals yesterday. The prime minister was rebuffed by German, Irish and Portuguese leaders as well as the EU’s two most senior officials after crisis talks in Brussels that were held before a critical European summit tomorrow. Mrs May dashed to The Hague for breakfast with Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister. Last Friday he had said that the deal on the table was “the bottom of the can. You really do not get anything better.”

Mirror
Theresa May’s frantic tour of European capitals ended in fresh humiliation tonight after the EU bluntly dismissed her call for more Brexit concessions. The Prime Minister begged EU leaders to bail her out of a mounting crisis as she desperately tried to win changes to her Brexit deal to buy off Tory rebels. It came amid frenzied speculation at Westminster that Mrs May faces a fresh bid from Brexiteers to oust her from Number 10. Senior Tory sources claimed that the 48 letters needed to kick off a no confidence vote in the PM had been reached – putting her premiership in jeopardy. EU president Jean-Claude Juncker dealt a heavy blow to the PM’s plans when he said there was “no room whatsoever” for re-opening talks.

Mail
Theresa May today pleaded with EU leaders for reassurances the controversial Irish backstop will only be temporary as she desperately tries to salvage her Brexit deal.  The PM embarked on a whirlwind tour of Europe today as she begged her fellow leaders to make major changes to the deal so she can buy off her Tory rebels. She met Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte for breakfast in the Hague, and held crucial talks with Angela Merkel in Berlin and later held talks with Donald Tusk. And she will later meet with Jean-Claude Juncker later today as they desperately try to find a way through the mounting crisis.
But she received a distinctly cool response from EU leaders who warned there is ‘no way’ the Withdrawal agreement can be changed. 

Independent
There is “no room whatsoever” to renegotiate the Brexit deal, the president of the European Commission has said, ahead of Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to seek concessions.  Speaking in the European Parliament on Tuesday Jean-Claude Juncker said re-opening the withdrawal agreement “will not happen”. He said the best the prime minister could hope for was “further clarity and further interpretations without reopening the withdrawal agreement” when she meets EU leaders in Brussels this week. Ms May is desperate to gain concessions from the EU on the deal she struck last month after it was given an overwhelmingly hostile reception by MPs.

Guardian
Jean-Claude Juncker has said there is “no room whatsoever” for renegotiating the Brexit deal as Theresa May returns to Brussels in an attempt to reopen talks. The prime minister embarked on a frantic round ofdiplomacy with other EU leaders on Tuesday to try to salvage some concessions, but the European commission president reiterated that Brussels would not revisit the withdrawal agreement. 
Junker offered May only additional “clarifications and interpretations” of the contentious backstop solution, designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Times
Theresa May will meet Leo Varadkar in Dublin today as the British prime minister continues her charm offensive against European Union leaders in an effort to break the Brexit deadlock. Her plea for changes to Britain’s Brexit divorce deal was rejected by European leaders yesterday during her tour of continental capitals. Mrs May has been repeatedly rebuffed before a European summit tomorrow by German and Portuguese leaders as well as the EU’s two most senior officials after crisis talks in Brussels. In the Dáil, the taoiseach gave a sense of the message he is expected to deliver to Mrs May.

Sun
BRUSSELS is set to pile the pressure on Theresa May to switch tack to a softer Brexit in return for greater assurances on the backstop. Euro Mps will push for the UK to accept a Norway-style trading relationship as the best way to avoid the hated border solution ever coming into force. Their demand came as eurocrats and EU leaders told the PM in no uncertain terms they will never reopen the terms of the backstop. German MEP Manfred Weber, who is in the running to be the next Commission president, said he would push for a “Norway Plus” deal to unblock talks. He said: “We can clarify again that hopefully the backstop will not be needed in the future.

Second referendum

Mail
Liam Fox hinted at the prospect of a new referendum on Brexit today as he warned campaigners any poll would not have Remain on the current terms on the ballot. The International Trade Secretary risked irritating No 10 by accepting the possibility of a new vote despite Theresa May repeatedly ruling it out. Mr Fox accused campaigners demanding a vote of seeking to re-run the 2016 referendum to get the ‘right’ result. And he said ‘any further referendum’ would not have the ‘status quo’ on offer because the EU was constantly evolving to ‘ever closer union’. Mr Fox also warned campaigners there was not enough time to deliver a referendum before exit day on March 29, 2019, in a piece for the Telegraph today.

Scotland

Mail
The SNP today vowed to to put down there own confidence motion to bring try and topple Theresa May if Jeremy Corbyn refuses to by the end of the day. Nicola Sturgeon said that if this vote does not succeed in forcing a general election, she wanted Labour to go on to support a second referendum. And Ian Blackford, the party’s leader in Westminster, repeated the threat, as he appeared next to the Lib Dems, Greens and Welsh nationalists Plaid Cym
ru. The parties have all written to the Labour leader to demand that he calls the crunch vote in Mrs May. 

Times
Labour has not costed any of the alternative policies it has proposed for today’s Scottish budget. Derek Mackay, the finance secretary, will unveil his draft budget with no clear sign of where he will find the required support from opposition parties to pass the document in the new year. Labour has produced a video summarising its pre-budget demands, which include increased funding for councils; a £5 per week increase in child benefit; a freeze on rail fares; a women’s health fund; £10 million for discretionary housing payments; and a £20million community policing fund. Last year the party set out a fully costed alternative to the Scottish government’s offer but sources told The Times that would not be repeated this year.

Bercow

Mail (by Andrew Pierce)
On Monday, as he left the Commons after Theresa May‘s humiliating climbdown over the Brexit withdrawal deal, Jeremy Corbyn stopped by the Speaker’s chair. To the astonishment of several onlookers, the Labour leader addressed its beaming occupant, John Bercow. ‘Thank you for all your help,’ he said. The gushing praise confirmed the Tories’ worst fears: Bercow has abandoned all pretence of impartiality and is manipulating Commons procedures to undermine the Government on Brexit at every possible turn. Minutes earlier, Bercow had accused Mrs May of being ‘deeply discourteous’ in pulling the ‘meaningful’ vote on the Government’s deal scheduled for that evening. In an extraordinary reprimand directed at the PM, the Speaker urged ministers to put the decision to delay it to an MPs’ vote.

France

Telegraph
Emmanuel Macron’s bid to buy off France’s “gilets jaunes” protesters with instant budget handouts threatens to blast through eurozone’s fiscal limits, fatally damaging his credibility as the champion of the European project and the guardian of French public accounts. The package of short-term measures announced in a theatrical mea culpa on Monday night leaves President Macron’s putative “grand bargain” with Germany in tatters. He had pledged root-and-branch reform of the French economy and a restoration of spending discipline after 11 years in breach of the EU’s Stability Pact. The calculation was that Berlin would in return drop its long-standing opposition to fiscal union and shared liabilities.

Mail
Yellow Vest protesters demanded even more concessions from Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday even after he caved in to their demands for more pay and lower taxes with a £9billion spending splurge on Monday night. Thomas Miralles, a Yellow Vest spokesman in the southern Pyrenees-Orientales department, said Macron had failed to listen to protesters and vowed to come to Paris this Saturday for his first demonstration in the capital. Meanwhile thousands of students angered by Macron’s education reforms joined the Yellow Vests on the streets for a ‘black Tuesday’ of unrest, further complicating matters for the French President.

Times
President Macron’s €10 billion hand-out appears to have bought him respite from a month of violent protests, but at the cost of busting his budget and shattering his credibility in Europe. The government confirmed that the financial measures offered by Mr Macron in a television address on Monday night, including a €100-a-week rise in the minimum wage, would knock a hole in the 2019 budget and “temporarily” breach the EU’s deficit ceiling of 3 per cent of national income. The European Commission said it would be keeping a close eye on France, a humiliating statement in the light of Mr Macron’s previous pride in returning to fiscal rigour.

NHS

Mail
The NHS‘s lack of cyber security is ‘alarming’, experts have warned after they discovered huge gaps in spending and training across the health service. Too few experts could put the NHS at risk of another cyber attack like last year’s £92million WannaCry disaster in which 20,000 hospital appointments were cancelled. Spending on cyber security varies wildly between hospital trusts around the country, with some spending as little as £238 and others £78,000. 
On average the health service employs just one qualified cyber security expert for every 2,582 employees, and a quarter of trusts don’t have any at all.

Military

Times
Britain must shift away from a peacetime mentality and embrace the innovation associated with wartime to combat rapid technological change and an array of national threats, the head of the military has said. General Sir Nick Carter, 59, warned last night that instability was the defining condition of the age and threats were “diversifying, proliferating and intensifying very rapidly”. In his first lecture as chief of the defence staff at the Royal United Services Institute, he said that, alongside threats posed by Russia, China, Iran and terrorist networks such as Islamic State, population change heralded trouble. Mass migration was “arguably an existential threat to Europe” compounded by populism and nationalism, which had a “bellicose nature”, he said.

Wages

Times
Wages grew at their fastest pace in a decade in the three months to October and the number of people in work has reached a record high, official figures show. Regular pay, excluding bonuses, grew by an average of 3.3 per cent in the period, up from 3.2 per cent in the three months to September, according to the Office for National Statistics. After adjusting for inflation, regular wages grew 1 per cent in the October period, a level not reached since the final quarter of 2016. Wages have been growing faster than inflation for nine months. After a decade of wage stagnation analysts said that the tightness of the labour market was beginning to cause sustained pay growth.

Cancer

Times
Thousands of men with suspected prostate cancer will avoid invasive biopsies after the treatments watchdog ruled that they must first be offered MRI scans. Experts say that the guidance could allow up to 40 per cent of men who need a diagnosis to avoid a biopsy, which is potentially painful and has unpleasant side-effects. The ruling from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is the first formal recommendation for the technology in any country. While many hospitals offer multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) as a first-line test for men, 50 per cent of patients miss out, according to the charity Prostate Cancer UK. 
About 130 new prostate cancer cases are diagnosed daily in the UK.

Fracking

Times
Cuadrilla has been forced to pause fracking after the strongest earthquake to date caused by its operations was felt over a wide area. A 1.5 magnitude tremor happened at about 11.20am yesterday after several smaller tremors earlier in the day. It was the biggest of more than 30 tremors caused by Cuadrilla since it began fracking at Preston New Road, Lancashire, in October. Under the government’s “traffic light” system, designed to prevent more serious earthquakes, the company has to stop fracking for 18 hours after a tremor of more than 0.5. It was the second tremor to be felt at the surface, following a previous one of 1.1 magnitude on October 29, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS).

Rail travel

Telegraph
If all had gone to plan, the first paying passengers to travel through Crossrail’s 13-mile tunnels, 40 metres beneath the streets of central London, would have been climbing aboard this month.   The ambitious scheme, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe, is projected to add £42bn to the economy and bring 1.5m extra people within a 45-minute commute to central London. But on Monday, after a series of delays and setbacks, authorities confirmed it is likely to run billions of pounds over budget and they can no longer say with any confidence when it will be ready to open.

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