Brexit

Express
BRITONS are furious at “resentful” Remainers who have pledged to disrupt Brexit day celebrations after claiming membership of the EU was being “shattered for no reason”. Brexiteers including Nigel Farage are preparing to publicly celebrate in Parliament Square as the UK officially leaves the bloc at 11pm on January 31.  Councils and community groups are also being encouraged by the Government to raise Union Flags as part of the celebrations. But their plans to mark the occasion may be disrupted by pro-European protesters who want their “heartbreak” to be heard about.

Fisheries

Sun
BRUSSELS last night threatened it will block any UK trade deal this year if the PM does not give in on fishing rights. Eurocrats hardened their position on demanding continued access to our waters after Boris Johnson vowed not to extend the transition period beyond December 31. The EU said talks on fisheries will now have a “direct link” to thrashing out tariff and quota free trade on goods. Previously, the EU had stated access for its vessels would be secured “within the context of the overall economic partnership”. But Mr Johnson’s insistence the UK will quit the transition come what may at the end of this year has sparked concern in Brussels.

Express
THE EU has been accused of bullying the UK to gain access to British fishing waters after Brexit. Brexiteers have expressed anger at an “outrageous” demand from the EU’s trade commissioner who suggested the bloc provide London with access to European markets in exchange for right to use Britain’s fishing waters. Labour Leave tweeted their fury at the suggestion. They said: “No, our fishing industry needs our waters back, this is a typically outrageous demand for an FTA from the Brussels bullies.

Independent
Britain could end up giving EU fishing fleets access to its waters in exchange for favourable terms on the continent for City financiers, the bloc’s trade chief has suggested. Phil Hogan, the Irish commissioner who will be one of the key figures in the next round of Brexit talks, said there would be “trade-offs” to make in talks with both sides seeking concessions in different areas. The suggestion is likely to enrage Brexiteers, who see fishing rights as a major part of British sovereignty – despite the industry’s marginal role in the UK economy, accounting for just 0.1 per cent of GDP.

EU

Independent
There will be border checks on trade inside the UK under the Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.  Michel Barnier confirmed there would be “checks and controls” between Britain and Northern Ireland under the agreement that will govern the UK’s exit from the EU. Boris Johnson falsely claimed several times during the general election campaign that there would be no checks on the Irish sea, and was accused by the opposition of lying.  Whether the prime minister had misunderstood the agreement he had signed or was indeed lying to the public, the text of the deal signed in November is clear that there will indeed be checks.

Express
BRUSSELS wants to ban green and blue tattoos in a new law that has been discussed on the same day it was revealed the bloc are also gunning to scrap chargers being sold with new mobile phones. German online publication OE24 reports the EU is seeking to ban tattoos that have green and blue in them because the colours are no longer permitted as hair dye according to the Cosmetics Ordinance. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is seeking the ban immediately on the basis that tattoo colours are also considered cosmetics.

ECJ

Independent
Boris Johnson‘s plan to allow British judges to overturn European Court of Justice  (ECJ) rulings after Brexit is inappropriate and it should be stripped from the legislation, a senior group of peers has warned. Members of the Lords Constitution Committee sounded the alarm over the prime minister’s plan to rip up Theresa May’s commitment to transfer all EU law onto the domestic statute books, which meant it could only be overturned by the Supreme Court or the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland. Instead, Mr Johnson added a clause into the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – which is undergoing Lords scrutiny ahead of the 31 January Brexit deadline – to allow ministers the power to direct the courts on interpretation of EU law and to allow lower courts the power to overturn ECJ rulings.

Big Ben

Mail
Boris Johnson is planning a crowdfunding campaign to make sure Big Ben rings out to mark Brexit, he revealed today, after Parliamentary authorities balked at the £500,000 cost. The Prime Minister said the Government was ‘working up’ a scheme that would allow people to donate cash to underwrite the iconic peal at 11pm on January 31. The 13.7-tonne bell has been largely silent since 2017 while renovation works are carried out on the Elizabeth Tower which houses it, sounding only for important events such as New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Mirror
Boris Johnson’s plan to crowdfund the half-a-million cost of ringing Big Ben on Brexit has unravelled less than five hours after he suggested it. Mr Johnson said plans were being drawn up to allow the public to “bung a bob” for Parliament’s famous bell to ring out at 11pm on January 31. But so far no plan has been revealed because the Elizabeth Tower, which holds the Great Bell known as Big Ben, is being restored. The issue was discussed at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission on Monday. But the cost was estimated at £500,000 – so the idea was ditched.

BBC News
Commons authorities have cast doubt on the idea that public donations could pay for the cost of making Big Ben chime when the UK leaves the EU. Big Ben has been largely silent since refurbishment of its tower began. But Boris Johnson has suggested crowdfunding could cover the costs of getting the bell working on 31 January. The House of Commons Commission has said the estimated cost of up to £500,000 cannot be justified and using donations would be “unprecedented”. An amendment to the PM’s Brexit bill, which would have required it to chime on Brexit day at 23:00 GMT, failed last week.

Independent
Boris Johnson has suggested that members of the public could raise half a million pounds so Big Ben can bong to mark Brexit. Calls from Brexiteers for the famous bell to chime on 31 January to mark the moment Britain leaves the European Union had been scuppered after the move was deemed to be too costly. But in his first sit-down interview of the new year, the prime minister said the government was looking into a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £500,000 needed for the idea to go ahead.

Labour leadership

Mail
The top Corbynista trade union could endorse outsider Lisa Nandy for Labour leader in a huge blow to the leading left-wing candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey, it was reported today. Wigan MP Ms Nandy, who narrowly came third behind Ms Long-Bailey in the first round of the leadership campaign, is said to have impressed Unite leader Len McCluskey in a face-to-face meeting.  In contrast Ms Long-Bailey is said to have left the trade union kingpin less than impressed when they met. He is close to the current leader Jeremy Corbyn and an endorsement for Ms Nandy would be a huge blow to the shadow business secretary, who needs a large union endorsement to make it on to the final ballot of party members in March.

Express
MOMENTUM have sent a strange ballot to its 40,000-plus followers asking whether they should endorse Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner. Instead of asking their followers which Labour Party leader and deputy candidate they should endorse, they sent a ballot asking “yes” or “no” for just two candidates. A statement read: “Today Momentum’s National Coordinating Group (NCG) met to discuss the upcoming leadership election. After an in-depth discussion they have decided to ballot Momentum members on backing Rebecca Long-Bailey for leader and Angela Rayner for deputy.

Independent
The left-wing group Momentum is facing a backlash over its “ludicrous” ballot of members for the Labour leadership, with just one option for both leader and deputy leader roles available to supporters. It comes after the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn was narrowed down to five candidates, including Rebecca Long-BaileyEmily ThornberryLisa NandyJess Phillips and the current frontrunner, Sir Keir Starmer. Momentum – an organisation that grew out of Mr Corbyn’s first leadership campaign in 2015 to support his radical policy agenda – sent out correspondence to its 40,000 strong membership on Tuesday asking them to vote in a “confirmatory ballot”.

Huffington Post
Labour Party chiefs have updated codes of conduct for leadership hopefuls to prevent criticism of staff, HuffPost UK understands. Insiders say general secretary Jennie Formby told employees the behavioural guidelines expected of MPs hoping to succeed Jeremy Corbyn had been amended by the party’s procedural committee. During a call with union reps and staff, Formby reportedly said she was “concerned” about “incredibly unfair” attacks in the press on staff “who cannot go out on social media and defend themselves”.

Morning Star
SOCIALIST Jews are challenging Labour leadership candidates for supporting a 10-point pledge by the right-wing Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) “to tackle the anti-semitism crisis.” The BoD’s requests include accepting in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, which has received criticism from Palestinian-rights groups for silencing valid criticism of Israel. In a letter to the leadership hopefuls, made public on Monday, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) expressed grave concerns over the impact of the pledges on the party’s independence and ability to show solidarity with Palestine.

Telegraph
Momentum has been accused of attempting to “stitch up” the Labour leadership contest after balloting its members on whether it should back Rebecca Long-Bailey without offering an alternative.  To the fury of senior figures inside the pro-Corbyn campaign group, its 40,000 members were on Tuesday asked to vote “yes or no” on whether it at as an organisation should support the shadow business secretary’s candidacy.  Momentum, whose founder Jon Lansman is backing Ms Long-Bailey, said it would throw its weight behind her should 50 percent of respondents to the survey agree.

Mail
Yvette Cooper said backing Sir Keir Starmer to replace Jeremy Corbyn was a ‘hard decision’ because she has ‘always argued it’s time we had a Labour woman leader’.   Ms Cooper, who was tipped as a potential successor to the current Labour leader before ruling herself out of the race, said she believes Sir Keir is best placed to ‘get us out of the hole that we’re in’.  Sir Keir is the only male candidate remaining in the leadership contest as he battles it out with Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry for the top job.

Grooming

Times
Senior police officers should be prosecuted for covering up the systematic grooming and sexual exploitation of dozens of children over 15 years in Manchester, a whistleblower has said. A damning report published yesterday revealed that Greater Manchester police knew of grooming gangs sexually exploiting girls as young as 12 and had identified almost 100 potential perpetrators, including a serving officer, but failed to pursue them. It said that dozens of children were being exploited “in plain sight” and that there was “clear evidence” girls were being abused, “generally by a group of older Asian men”.

Social care

Times
Boris Johnson has promised that a plan to solve the social care crisis will be produced within a year. The Conservatives’ general election manifesto committed it to cross-party talks on how to fund care for the elderly but stopped far short of offering a solution. Theresa May had proposed making people pay more towards their social care in her 2017 manifesto but quickly reversed the policy amid her disastrous election campaign. Mr Johnson said his election victory last month would enable him to publish a plan within the next 12 months and implement it by 2025.

Mail
Boris Johnson yesterday pledged to bring forward a plan to tackle the social care crisis within months. The Prime Minister said his 80-seat majority meant the new administration had a chance to deal with a problem that had been ‘shirked by governments for 30 years’. Mr Johnson said he wanted to bring about a ‘massive change in the way we fund social care’. The Conservatives have pledged that no one will have to sell their home to pay for care. But Mr Johnson yesterday sounded a warning that this did not mean better-off pensioners should not contribute financially.

NHS

Mail
GPs are in revolt over targets that require them to visit care homes once a fortnight and spot cancer much earlier. The measures are part of a five-year contract agreed with NHS officials to encourage surgeries to work together to improve care. But family doctors say the terms are excessive given intense staffing pressures and the demands of a growing and ageing population. They are particularly worried about a requirement to carry out ‘home rounds’ of the care homes in their catchment area at least once a fortnight, from September.

Education

Times
Parents will face less competition to get their child into a primary school this autumn because of a falling birthrate and a greater number of places, figures suggest. A sharp rise in the primary school-age population seems to be easing, with growth since 2009 stabilising as births have fallen since 2013. The nursery and primary school population reached 4.64 million in 2018 but was projected to plateau at 4.66 million last year before starting to fall. Many primaries have expanded to keep pace with demand, with three more primary schools last year than in 2018 and 600 more classes, up from 158,278 in 2018 to 158,851.

Development

Times
More than 1,000 ancient woods are at risk of being damaged or destroyed by property development, according to the Woodland Trust. New housing is the biggest threat to ancient woods, followed by plans for utilities, railways and roads and leisure facilities, the charity says. The threatened woods include Nun Bank Wood, the supposed resting place of Robin Hood in West Yorkshire, which could be partly destroyed by plans for a relief road around the borough of Kirklees. Coed Wern, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, would be partly felled under plans to build 39 holiday lodges and Mileplain wood in Attlebridge, Norfolk, is threatened by plans for a sand and gravel quarry.

Crime

Times
Boris Johnson aims to “cut the head off the snake” of criminal gangs and restore the Conservatives’ reputation as the party of law and order by setting up a cross-Whitehall taskforce, The Times can reveal. The prime minister will take personal charge of a new cabinet committee to tackle surging levels of knife crime and violence, with a particular focus on “county lines” gangs that are abusing and exploiting children. Mr Johnson told cabinet ministers yesterday that he wanted to restore the party’s reputation on crime, which had been damaged in recent years.

HS2

Telegraph
Natural areas restored over the past decade using nearly £2 million of taxpayer funding will be destroyed by HS2, The Wildlife Trusts have warned. In the first report to look at the full impact of the rail link on the British countryside, the authors found that several recovering wildlife havens fall directly along the route. They include the Meres and Mosses of the Marches Nature Improvement Area (NIA) in Shropshire, which is currently being restored at a cost of £568,470. The bogland is an important breeding and overwintering site for migrating birds and the land also includes ancient woodland, hedgerows and crucial habitats for bats.

Huawei

Times
Sajid Javid has abandoned his opposition to allowing Huawei into Britain’s 5G network, with Boris Johnson resisting US pressure to ban the Chinese company. Mr Javid, when home secretary, was one of five cabinet ministers on the National Security Council (NSC) who effectively prevented Theresa May from giving Huawei the go-ahead last year. A new NSC, chaired by Mr Johnson, is due to make a final decision about the UK wireless network as soon as a week today, with opinion leaning towards rejecting US demands to ban the company on security grounds.

Guardian
Britain believes the information dramatically presented by a delegation from Donald Trump’s administration about the risks of using Huawei technology in 5G networks contains nothing its intelligence agencies had not foreseen. The rebuff implies that British intelligence will not alter its assessment that the security risk the Chinese company’s technology presents to British citizens is manageable, as a final decision by the UK on whether to use Huawei looms.

iNews
Boris Johnson is poised to give Chinese firm Huawei access to UK infrastructure despite US security warnings, Government officials have suggested. The Prime Minister said Britain should have “the best possible technology” and claimed the Americans “have to tell us which is the alternative” if they want him to ban the company over its links to the Chinese Communist Party. The move to give Huawei the green light, which could be confirmed within weeks, would set up a huge political row between Mr Johnson and his ally Donald Trump, who is fiercely opposed to Western powers allowing the firm to operate.

Iran

Telegraph
After months of internal debate, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the E3)  decided to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism, a provision which aims at addressing issues over breaches to the Iran nuclear deal. The decision has been taken eight months after Iran started scaling back its compliance with the agreement in response to the US withdrawing from the accord in May 2018. Iran has always claimed that it would immediately return to full compliance as soon as the remaining E3 provided compensation for the sanctions reimposed by the US on Tehran after Washington pulled out of the deal.

Mail
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a new ‘Trump deal’ on the same day European signatories to the Iran nuclear treaty said they would trigger the agreement’s dispute mechanism, paving the way for fresh sanctions on Tehran.  In one of the strongest calls yet from Europe for a new agreement to replace the 2015 deal that Washington abandoned two years ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the way forward was to agree a new ‘Trump deal’.

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