Brexit

Express
A NO-DEAL BREXIT will turn Britain into the “largest tax haven” in Europe, helping the country’s finance recover from the strains it will experience in the short term, two top economists said. Economists Marc Friedrich and Matthiaas Welk believe the UK will become a tax haven “soon” after Brexit if the country leaves the EU without a deal. Speaking to Focus in Germany, the experts said: “In the case of a hard Brexit, we expect to soon have the largest tax haven in the middle of Europe – Britain. Attractive tax rates will attract private and commercial capital from around the world in the tax optimisation competition, and the UK will prosper.”  This transformation of Brexit Britain from Europe’s financial hub to tax paradise with convenient tax rates will compensate the disruption and damage to the British economy will experience in the immediate aftermath in case of a no-deal, Mr Friedrich and Mr Welk said.

Telegraph
Theresa May is considering plans to bring forward a vote on her Brexit deal to next week in a bid to see off the threat of resignations by pro-European ministers. The Prime Minister will travel to Brussels on Wednesday to meet Jean Claude-Juncker, the President of the European Commission, where she hopes to secure a breakthrough on a new Brexit deal.  Downing Street is now concentrating efforts on agreeing a new legal text stating that the backstop, which would tie Britain to a Customs Union with the EU, cannot be “indefinite”.

Independent
Theresa May will fly to Brussels on Wednesday with new plans to change Britain’s EU withdrawal agreement, as she desperately tries to save her Brexit strategy. The prime minister arrives in Belgium with a stack of legal papers setting out how she believes negotiators can tweak the “Irish backstop” hated by Tory backbenchers. Ms May also managed to maintain the support of Brexiteers in her own party by promising to make some of their proposals the basis for future discussions on trade with the EU.

Express
THERESA May will hold crunch talks with top Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels tonight amid growing expectations of a breakthrough in her push for a revamped Brexit deal. The Prime Minister and the European Commission president are expected to thrash out the framework for a legally-binding declaration seeking to guarantee that the UK cannot be indefinitely trapped into an EU customs union. Whitehall sources said she could even put a revamped deal to the Commons for approval in a fresh “meaningful vote” as early as next week. Ahead of her trip, Mrs May last night sought to reassure Tory Eurosceptics including senior backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Brexit minister Steve Baker that their plan for “alternative arrangements” to replace the so-called “backstop” clause in the Withdrawal Agreement was still on the table.

Sky News
Theresa May is returning to Brussels to seek legal assurances on the Brexit backstop, amid signs she has persuaded key Tory eurosceptics to consider backing her Withdrawal Agreement. Chancellor Philip Hammond indicated on Tuesday night that the Government has accepted the EU will not agree to replace the backstop arrangements for the Irish border with technological alternatives in time for the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29. But he said he hopes the technological solution contained in the so-called Malthouse Compromise will form part of negotiations over the following 21 months on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Guardian
Theresa May will present the EU with new legal proposals to solve the Irish backstop issue on Wednesday, which Downing Street hopes will be enough to convince Eurosceptics to back her Brexit deal. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed late on Tuesday that the government no longer intended to pursue alternative arrangements for the backstop in the withdrawal agreement, which had been championed by cross-factional MPs including Eurosceptic Steve Baker and soft Brexiter Nicky Morgan. Instead, the prime minister is travelling to Brussels to meet Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, with a plan to secure legal assurances that the backstop would not permanently bind the UK into a customs union.

Reuters
British Finance Minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday it was clear the European Union will not now consider alternatives to the Irish backstop to help the UK government win support for its Brexit withdrawal deal, but that such options could be valuable in the future. “The so-called ‘Malthouse’ initiative to explore possible alternative arrangements to the backstop is a valuable effort …” he said at a dinner in London to an association of manufacturers, but added, “It is clear that the EU will not consider replacing the backstop with such an alternative arrangement now in order to address our immediate challenge.”

Euro-Guido
The key message emanating from Cabinet today is that the Government has predictably abandoned any attempts to press ahead with the Malthouse Compromise, instead pinning their hopes on a tweak to the backstop being enough to get a deal through instead. This is not going down well with Tory MPs…  Nonetheless speculation is mounting that Geoffrey Cox has come up with concrete proposals to take to Brussels, with talk that a deal could even be agreed in Sharm-el-Sheikh this weekend, although a legal ‘codicil’ has already been dismissed as “Cox’s Codpiece” by unimpressed Brexiteers.

Euro-Guido
The key message emanating from Cabinet today is that the Government has predictably abandoned any attempts to press ahead with the Malthouse Compromise, instead pinning their hopes on a tweak to the backstop being enough to get a deal through instead. This is not going down well with Tory MPs… Nonetheless speculation is mounting that Geoffrey Cox has come up with concrete proposals to take to Brussels, with talk that a deal could even be agreed in Sharm-el-Sheikh this weekend, although a legal ‘codicil’ has already been dismissed as “Cox’s Codpiece” by unimpressed Brexiteers.

Times
Conservative Brexiteers have backed away from a full-scale confrontation with No 10 over the fate of their plan to replace the Irish backstop. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, told the cabinet yesterday that the Malthouse compromise could not be negotiated with the EU in time for March 29, when Britain is due to leave. Last night, at the annual dinner of the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said it was clear the EU would not replace the backstop with the arrangements set out in Malthouse.

Mail
Tory Brexiteers insisted their favoured solution to the Brexit backstop problem remained ‘alive and kicking’ last night – despite it apparently being killed off. Following talks with Theresa May, the European Research Group said the so-called ‘Malthouse compromise’ to solve the Irish border issue was still under consideration by Downing Street. And it emerged yesterday that Mrs May was considering holding another meaningful vote on her EU deal next week in a bid to avoid resignations.

Express
THERESA May is facing a furious Brexiteer backlash after reportedly ditching a compromise aimed at breaking the Parliamentary impasse over her floundering Brexit deal. The Malthouse Compromise had the backing of MPs from both the Leave and Remain wings of the Tory party, including Iain Duncan Smith, Nicky Morgan and Steve Baker. It had been under consideration by Downing Street and was raised by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay during talks in Brussels this week.

Sun
THERESA MAY last night dumped hi-tech plans to solve the Brexit deadlock amid hopes of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels. The PM told Cabinet it was not plausible to pursue the so-called Malthouse Compromise pushing for alternative arrangements to the hated Irish backstop by March 29. Ministers were told the Government would instead seek to tweak the backstop to get her Brexit deal through the Commons. Sources claimed a new agreement on the backstop such as a time-limit could even be struck with the EU this weekend following talks between Theresa May and Commission boss Jean Claude Juncker on Wednesday night.

The Independent Group

Telegraph
An eighth Labour MP has quit the Labour Party to join a breakaway group after accusing Jeremy Corbyn of presiding over a “culture of anti-Semitism”.  Joan Ryan said under Mr Corbyn’s leadership Labour had become a party that “allows racism to flourish” alongside a “hatred of Israel” and she would be joining the Independent Group. She said that she felt she had a “duty” to resign after seven Labour MPs quit the party on Monday including Luciana Berger, who said that under Mr Corbyn anti-Semitism had become “institutional”. She said that Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, had introduced anti-Semitism to the party and was a “danger”.

Express
A LABOUR MP and chair of the Labour Friends of Israel left “horrified, appalled and angered” by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has decided to quit the party to join the Independent Group created on Monday. Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North since 2015, marked the eight resignation from the Labour Party in two days. Upon quitting the party she had been a member of since 1983, Mrs Ryan branded Mr Corbyn a “danger” who had introduced antisemitism within the left-wing party. Speaking about her heavy-hearted decision to leave Labour, she told The Times: “It’s obviously not a delight, it’s painful.”

Telegraph
Tory peer and former minister has become the first to say publicly that she is prepared to join the new Independent Group over Brexit. Baroness Altmann, the former pensions minister, told the Telegraph she is “disillusioned with the Ukip-isation of the Tory party” and would join a moderate splinter party if a no-deal Brexit became the likely outcome. She warned about the risks of a no deal Brexit to the British economy and said her party is being “infiltrated by Ukip”. “I want to cry, I want to weep at what we are doing,” she said.

Times
An eighth Labour MP has quit the party to join an independent breakaway group, accusing Jeremy Corbyn of “presiding over a culture of antisemitism and hatred of Israel”. Joan Ryan said that she could not “be part of a party that allows racism to flourish”. In an interview with The Times she said that Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, had introduced antisemitism to the party and was “a danger”, comparing him to President Trump. Shortly before submitting her formal notice of resignation last night Ms Ryan, 63, who joined Labour in 1983 and was first elected the MP for Enfield North in 1997, said she considered the move to be a duty.

Morning Star
THOUSANDS of voters challenged Labour’s deserters today to fight for their seats, demanding electoral reform to force MPs who are sacked or resign to contest a by-election. Following the resignations of the “gang of seven” — Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna — many Labour voters insisted they were returned in the last election because of the party they stood for and should therefore stand in a by-election now they have left it. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “disappointed” by the resignations.

Spectator
When seven MPs announced yesterday that they were leaving Labour to form a new centrist faction called The Independent Group, talk soon turned to what impact it could have on the other parties’ electoral chances. Corbyn’s allies were quick to warn that it could lead to ten years of Tory rule, while Conservative MPs were rumoured to be considering joining. New polling conducted yesterday though by Survation for the Daily Mail suggests that it is Labour who should be most worried by the new party’s success. When asked in the survey who they would vote for if there was a general election tomorrow, 8 per cent of the respondents opted for ‘A new centrist party opposed to Brexit’ if one existed.

Labour Party

Guardian
Jeremy Corbyn has issued a defiant message to the seven MPs who resigned from his party on Monday, reminding them they stood in the 2017 general election on Labour’s manifesto, and “were elected to carry out those policies”. The Labour leader was speaking on Tuesday at the annual Make UK manufacturers’ conference, in his first public appearance since the breakaway MPs announced they would sit as independents in parliament.

Star
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned a 99-year-old group for Jewish Labour members could disaffiliate, something which would be a “nail in the coffin” for the party. The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) is considering splitting following the departure of its chair, Luciana Berger, to become an independent MP. Members were emailed just after midnight on Tuesday inviting them to an emergency meeting next month to “decide collectively where we go from here”.

The Brexit Party

Times
Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has had to look for new headquarters after the guesthouse it was based in received hundreds of negative reviews online. The party had registered its address on February 5 at the Annapurna Guesthouse, a bed and breakfast in Lingwood, Norfolk, run by the husband of Catherine Blaiklock, the party’s leader. Trolls repeatedly left one-star reviews on the B&B’s listing on TripAdvisor, bringing the average rating down from 4.5 to three out of five stars. TripAdvisor has since deleted those reviews and suspended comments. One fake reviewer pretended to be Gerard Batten, the leader of Ukip, and posted about what time to check in: “Any time before 1945 is acceptable, post-1970 becomes too inconvenient.”

EU

Mail
Britain and the EU can still find a compromise on Brexit if both sides make concessions, a former EU Commission president said today. Ex- Portuguese prime minister Jose Manuel Barroso said the negotiations appeared to be at a dead end but that the EU had a record for last minute breakthroughs. Britain is demanding changes to the controversial Irish border backstop part of the Brexit deal amid Eurosceptic fears it will be permanent. The EU has so far rejected all three of the possible solutions proposed by Britain – a time limit, unilateral exit mechanism or an alternative backstop arrangement.

Independent
Britain is likely to delay Brexit because of the lack of a deal, former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said. Mr Barroso, who ran the bloc’s executive from 2004 to 2014, said it would be right for the EU27 to accept any request for an extension. Theresa May has repeatedly said she would not extend the Article 50 period – which expires on 29 March – and that “no-deal is better than a bad deal”. MPs have however voted in principle. When the date arrives, Britain will crash out of all EU institutions without anything to replace them – with widespread predictions of chaos and economic damage.

Mail
The European Parliament’s ‘grand coalition’ of centre left and centre right parties could lose its majority for the first time in 40 years, it has been reported. The centre-left Socialists and Democrats and the centre-right European People’s party look set to win just 45 per cent of seats at upcoming elections – down from 53 per cent – an internal parliament forecast has predicted. It comes as opinion polls suggested Eurosceptic populists will make gains in the European Parliamentary elections in May – but mainstream political groups still ought to be able to maintain a working majority, albeit with increasing signs of fragmentation.

Westmonster
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed that a lengthy delay to Brexit – and the UK participating in European Elections – cannot be ruled out. In an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung that Politico have picked up, Juncker said of a Brexit delay beyond May: “That to my mind would be an irony of history. Yet I cannot rule it out.” He insists that “any decision to ask for more time lies with the UK. If such a request were to be made, no one in Europe would oppose it.”

May Day

Times
It was the day that Nazi tyranny in Europe officially came to an end. But there has been no formal holiday for Britons to commemorate Victory in Europe Day. However, The Times can reveal that ministers are poised to move the May Day bank holiday next year so that it falls on Friday, May 8 — the 75th anniversary of Germany’s unconditional surrender in Europe. Greg Clark, the business secretary, has asked the chancellor for permission to move the date from Monday, May 4. VE Day marked the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender in the Second World War.

Jihadi bride

Times
A teenage Islamic State bride who wants to return home to the UK has had her British citizenship revoked after a public backlash. Shamima Begum, 19, has appeared unrepentant in a series of interviews despite announcing her desire to return to her family home in Bethnal Green, east London. Her mother received a letter from Sajid Javid, the home secretary, yesterday afternoon stating that the teenager was being stripped of her citizenship and urging the family to inform her.

Mail
ISIS bride Shamima Begum’s family today vowed to take Home Secretary Sajid Javid to court to stop him taking away her British citizenship for joining the terror group in Syria. The remorseless 19-year-old is in a refugee camp with her newborn son but Mr Javid has moved to ensure she will never allowed back into Britain after she fled to join Islamic State. The Home Office appears to believe that because Begum’s mother was born in Bangladesh her daughter would qualify for dual citizenship and would not be left stateless, which is illegal under international law.

Sun
ISIS bride Shamima Begum has been stripped of her British citizenship after showing no remorse for joining the terror group. An official Home Office letter breaking the shock news was delivered to Begum’s “disappointed” family earlier today. “Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship,” the letter read. “In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary’s decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made.”

Drones

Sun
BRITAIN will slap a three-mile “drone exclusion zone” around major airports next month, ministers will declare. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will announce new legislation to extend the ‘no-fly zone’ to ban drones and model aircraft from coming close to runways. Anyone caught doing so faces a sliding scale of sanctions – from fines to life imprisonment if they endanger life.

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