Second referendum

Express
A SECOND referendum has been effectively ruled out as a result of secret legal advice taken by the Government in relation to the possibility of extending Article 50, dashing the hopes of People’s Vote campaigners including former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Experts have warned the Government Britain would be legally obliged to participate in the European Parliamentary elections to be held in May if it extended Article 50 and then sent MEPs to Brussels. There would be a “high risk of a successful legal challenge” in the event that the UK refused to take part in the elections, because to do so would be seen as a breaching people’s rights as EU citizens. Ministers believe July 2, which marks the beginning of the Parliament’s next five-year session, to be a “hard” deadline for extending Article 50. However, given it would take at least a year to prepare for a second vote, such an eventuality is effectively impossible.

Brexit

Guardian
Theresa May will be within 20 votes of winning a parliamentary majority for her Brexit deal if she can gain assurances from the EU that will persuade the Democratic Unionist party to back her deal, senior ministers and Tory MPs believe. One cabinet minister said they believed the success of the prime minister’s deal hinged entirely on a last bid to win round the DUP. Another MP said they saw the Northern Irish party as the “British standard” who would give them the reassurance they needed to fall in behind.

Express
BITTER Tory Remainers Anna Soubry and Nick Boles have threatened to bring down their own Government if Prime Minister Theresa May does not get a Brexit deal with the EU. The two former ministers said they would back Labour in a no confidence vote in order to stop Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal. Mr Boles  said: “If at any point between now and 29 March the government were to announce that ‘no deal’ Brexit had become its policy, I would immediately resign the Conservative whip and vote in any way necessary to stop it from happening

WTO rules

Westmonster
An unscientific but extremely large online poll has shown 61% of people would back a No Deal Brexit over a second referendum. Though many politicians and those in the mainstream media still attempt to claim there is little public support for leaving the EU with No Deal, the evidence increasingly shows the opposite. Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com held a Facebook poll that saw a huge 185,000 people vote between a second referendum and a No Deal Brexit, with 61% backing No Deal.

Telegraph
On Tuesday the Cabinet stepped up preparations to leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. That will strengthen the Prime Minister’s final efforts to salvage her Brexit deal, and mitigate the risks in case they fail. With 100 days until Brexit, we need a clear-sighted appraisal of those risks, and stronger ministerial grip to manage them and reassure the country. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has instituted full ‘no deal’ planning in the NHS.

Independent
The cabinet has given the go-ahead for all of the UK’s no-deal Brexit planning to be implemented “in full” as the likelihood of dropping out of the EU without any agreement increases. Downing Street said the government’s priority was still to secure a deal, but that it had a duty to plan for every outcome and would now make a series of no-deal announcements in coming days. Officials will now seek to communicate with six million British businesses, calling on them to enact their own contingency plans, and with private citizens on actions they should take.

Independent
Emergency no-deal Brexit contingency plans must now be implemented across government, cabinet ministers have agreed, including reserving ferry space for supplies and putting 3,500 armed forces personnel on standby to deal with any disruption. No 10 confirmed on Tuesday that ministers would “ramp up” no-deal planning, and that the departments would be expected to make it their main priority. Downing Street said it would send advice on preparing for no-deal to all UK businesses and suggested they should begin implementing their own contingency plans as they saw fit.

Express
CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond has been accused of deliberately sabotaging plans to prevent a no deal Brexit, with the Remoaner-in-chief risking playing a game of cards with the UK’s future prosperity. A fierce row is thought to have broken out in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting between ministers, with Mr Hammond’s actions at the heart of the argument. The Chancellor attacked his colleagues for failing to spend the money he has allocated for no deal preparations.

Mail
Thousands of troops are on standby, ferry space has been reserved for emergency supplies and families will be warned to get ready for a no deal Brexit, Cabinet ruled today. Theresa May and her ministers decided with just 101 days until exit day it was time to spend billions on contingency plans – despite insisting the PM’s deal remained the ‘most likely scenario’.  Amid claims the public might be alarmed by the dramatic preparations, Mrs May’s spokesman insisted: ‘These are the actions of a sensible Government to ensure people are prepared.’

Independent
Theresa May’s cabinet has agreed to make planning for a no-deal Brexit the government’s “operational priority” after a lengthy meeting in which ministers clashed over what the next move should be. A £2bn war chest set aside by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will be spent on preparing the country to crash out of the EU, while businesses and citizens will also be instructed to make the necessary plans. However, No 10 insisted the government’s “top priority” was securing support for Ms May‘s Brexit deal.

Conservative Party

Sun
HARDLINE Tory Brexiteers have ditched their civil war with Theresa May as they now believe the UK is heading for a ‘clean’ Brexit. The Sun can reveal senior ERG figures have agreed to the give the PM a “period of tranquillity” and publicly support her – given growing Cabinet support for a ‘managed’ No Deal. The Prime Minister separately moved to kill off a second referendum. Some 30 Tory Brexiteers then met Monday night to discuss tactics – confirming “the pressure is off for now”.

Telegraph
In a three hour no-deal Cabinet where every minister was intent of having their say, David Gauke’s unique choice of metaphor ensured that his contribution stood out. According to one Cabinet source he told colleagues that “managed” no-deal is like a “unicorn that needs to be slaughtered.” “Managed no-deal is not a viable option,” he said. “It’s not on offer from the EU and the responsibility of Cabinet ministers is not to propagate unicorns but to slay them.”

Times
Cabinet ministers clashed yesterday over a no-deal Brexit in a three-hour special sitting described as a “marathon punishment” by one of those present. Theresa May asked them to authorise a significant upgrade to no-deal planning after a presentation by Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary.  The prime minister remained “composed” and “very in command” throughout as the gravity of the potential outcomes became clear.

No confidence

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn is facing a backbench revolt after his threat to hold a vote of confidence in the Government descended into farce. Labour MPs have lined up to condemn Mr Corbyn’s embarrassing U-turn, which saw him fail to deliver on the threat to put the Government on notice via a confidence vote in the House of Commons. One influential backbench MP said the party was “truly in pantomime season”, after the Government called the Labour leader’s bluff and refused to allow time for a debate on Theresa May’s leadership.

Mail
The SNP and other opposition parties have tabled a vote of no confidence in the UK Government. It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded a Commons vote on the Prime Minister’s future when she confirmed a vote on her  Brexit deal would not take place until after Christmas. The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled a vote of no confidence in the UK government following a meeting on Tuesday evening

Independent
The Scottish National Party (SNP) and other opposition parties have tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government. It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded a Commons vote on the prime minister’s future after she confirmed a vote on her Brexit deal would not take place until after Christmas. The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government following a meeting. They said the decision follows constant pressure on Mr Corbyn to table a motion of no-confidence in the government under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which he has not done.

Sky News
Labour whips are “furious” with Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of an attempt to force a no-confidence vote in the prime minister, sources have suggested. The Labour leader tabled a non-binding no-confidence motion in Theresa May late on Monday, but the government refused to grant parliamentary time for a vote, describing it as a “stunt”. Downing Street instead challenged Mr Corbyn to table a more meaningful no-confidence motion aimed at the government as a whole and under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

Sun
OPPOSITION parties piled fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn tonight by formally tabling a no confidence vote in the Government. The Labour leader was attacked by all parties after he chickened out of his bid to unseat Theresa May. This evening the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens laid down the gauntlet to Labour by launching their own bid to bring down the Government. Only a no confidence motion  tabled by the official leader of the opposition automatically gets allotted time for debate and a vote in the Commons.

Tax

Sun
BUSINESSES should get tax breaks in the event of a No Deal Brexit, Dominic Raab has said. They need to be protected from the effects of departing on WTO terms, the ex-Brexit Secretary wrote in the Daily Telegraph. He said: “We should cut business taxes to boost them as they transition and offset the cost from the £39billion the UK would have paid the EU.” But Mr Raab who quit the Cabinet in November, insisted No Deal was better than what Mrs May was offering. He wrote: “Yes, we might risk up to six months of significant — but manageable — disruption. But better that than to be trapped in a lousy deal that cries out to be torn up from the moment the ink is dry, suffocates the opportunities of Brexit, and prevents us as a country from moving on.

Westmonster
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has laid out how the UK can manage – and thrive – under a No Deal Brexit. Good to see at least one Conservative MP keen to seize the advantages of becoming a truly independent nation! In a blistering article for The Telegraph, Raab points out that in contrast to the scare stories, French officials have said checks would take two minutes per lorry and not the ten that the UK civil service have speculated about. Project Fear is alive and well in the heart of Westminster.

EU

Westmonster
It looks like the EU are now feeling the heat from a potential No Deal Brexit as the British government ramp up preparations  to exit the EU without an agreement. Finally. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been one of those who has spoken in favour of the UK thriving after a No Deal Brexit, and it hasn’t gone down well with arch EU nationalist Guy Verhofstadt, who tweeted today: “Those, like Jeremy Hunt, who glorify a no–deal Brexit are totally irresponsible.

Immigration

Times
Theresa May’s cap on the number of skilled migrants who can enter the UK is to be scrapped under proposals to be published today. A visa route for skilled workers would be introduced with no cap on the number of highly skilled professionals such as engineers and doctors who can come to the UK to work. Mrs May introduced a limit of 20,700 on skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area in 2011 but companies said that it resulted in the UK being closed to the brightest and best workers from around the world.

Sun
BRITAIN will have to “call time” on immigration enforcement in a No Deal Brexit as staff are redeployed to the border – insiders have warned. Sources told The Sun that Border Force is preparing to take staff currently charged with tracking down illegal immigrants inland to help out deal with possible chaos at ports and airports next Spring.  HMRC workers and retired Border Force employees are also being lined up to help given current shortages at customs posts. One senior source said: “Immigration enforcement will effectively come to an end.”

Express
SAJID JAVID is set to unveil his plans for the UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy, pledging to “get control over our borders”. Mr Javid will publish a long-awaited White Paper today – just 100 days before the UK leaves the EU – on the proposals which Theresa May’s Government say will mark an end to free movement. Under the blueprint, there will be a new visa route for skilled workers and no cap on high-skilled professions such as doctors and engineers. Mr Javid said: “We are delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people.

Sky News
Home Secretary Sajid Javid will outline plans to meet “the clear instruction to get control over our borders” when he reveals a new post-Brexit immigration system. Details of the government’s proposals will finally be published today – just 100 days before the UK leaves the EU – following a series of delays in ministers bringing forward the plans amid reports of cabinet rows. Mr Javid is promising a new single, skills-based system to mark the end of EU free movement rules, to be introduced after the end of the planned Brexit transition period from 2021.

Independent
Sajid Javid is expected to publish a long-delayed white paper on Britain’s tough new immigration regime on Wednesday, as the prime minister seeks to build the case for her Brexit deal by pledging to “take back control of our borders”. Whitehall sources said final drafts of key passages of the document were still passing between departments on Tuesday night; but it would make clear the government is not prepared to offer EU migrants preferential access to Britain’s labour market.

Mirror
Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid will finally unveil his plan for immigration after Brexit today, with a pledge to “get control over our borders.” Mr Javid will publish the much-delayed White Paper on the proposals, which the Government says will mark the end of free movement. Under the blueprint, there will be a new visa route for skilled workers and no cap on high-skilled professions such as doctors and engineers. Mr Javid said: “We are delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people.

Breitbart
Post-Brexit Britain will open visa routes for low-skilled migrants, according to immigration plans set to be unveiled this week, despite the government having been urged not to do so by its own expert policy body. Home Secretary Sajid Javid will also reportedly announce an end to the current cap on high-skilled migrants when he lays out plans for a new immigration system “based on skills, not where people come from” to mark the United Kingdom’s exit from Free Movement migration rules within the European Union.

Health

Times
Exercise is as good as medicine for lowering high blood pressure, the first overview of research has concluded. Doctors should encourage their patients to get off the sofa instead of simply taking a pill, scientists have said. Their work adds to mounting evidence that walking, cycling and even gardening protect against fatal illness. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has urged GPs to tell patients to exercise as often as they prescribe pills, and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has previously described physical activity as a “miracle cure”.

Recycling

ITV News
Deposit return schemes could be introduced for bottles, cans, and disposable cups as part of a new government waste strategy for England. The strategy would also mean producers will pay the full net costs of disposing or recycling their packaging, up from a contribution of 10%. This money would go to councils to help them improve waste and recycling systems. It is hoped that with the industry having to pay higher fees if their products are harder to reuse or recycle, it will encourage more sustainable design.

Rough sleeping

Independent
Ministers have announced that 11 new “rough sleeping hubs” will be established next year through a £4.8m project aimed at tackling rising levels of people in England sleeping on the streets. Unveiling plans for the centres, the government said thousands of vulnerable people will be able to receive specialist support to address mental health problems and provide immediate shelter and rapid assessment for rough sleepers. It will form part of the already announced £100m rough sleeping strategy and will be launched in 11 areas in the spring across England, including Derby, Liverpool, Preston, Bristol, Lincoln and Nottingham City.

Education

Times
Universities are being told to stop awarding so many first-class degrees without good reason after a report showed that some institutions were giving them to more than half of their students. The Office for Students (OfS) said that most universities were awarding the higher classifications without explanation. It has the power to fine or cancel the registration of universities and said that “spiralling grade inflation” risked undermining public confidence.

Mail
The number of students getting first-class degrees has rocketed in recent years with one university awarding them to half of graduates amid damning evidence of grade inflation, a major report warns today. Some institutions have seen firsts soar by more than 200 per cent, according to the study by the higher education regulator. As a result, the 2.2 degree award is now almost extinct at certain universities, said the Office for Students (OfS). And even students with poor A-level grades of below CCD are three times more likely to graduate with a first than eight years ago.

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