Brexit

Independent
The EU will take Britain to the International Court of Justice if it tries to walk away without paying an estimated £50bn ‘divorce bill’, a leak of its negotiating strategy says. The draft plan – obtained by a Dutch newspaper – threatens a long legal battle at The Hague to grab back what the EU regards as the UK’s liabilities for its 43-year membership. “In that case it is: see you in The Hague!” it quotes an EU official – in response to Theresa May’s threat to leave with “no deal” if the Brexit talks cut up rough. The threat follows growing pressure on the Prime Minister from some Conservative MPs to simply walk away if the EU insists on imposing the huge exit fee. Government lawyers have backed a report from a House of Lords committee which argued Britain could legally leave without paying up, if it accepts no withdrawal agreement.

Telegraph
Britain will be threatened with court action by the EU if it tries to walk away without paying a £50 billion “divorce bill”, leaked papers reveal. A draft copy of the EU’s negotiating strategy for the forthcoming Brexit talks discusses taking Britain to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It quotes an official as saying that if Britain refuses to pay, “in that case it is, see you in The Hague!” Theresa May has received advice from Government lawyers that Britain could legally leave without paying. A House of Lords committee came to the same conclusion. However Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, has warned that Brussels had confidence in “other legal options”.

Express
PHILIP Hammond is under pressure from government colleagues to cap Britain’s European Union “divorce bill” at £3 billion, it emerged today. It came as senior Brussels official Donald Tusk called for the process to be as painless as possible for the EU but revealed the other 27 member states will not agree their joint talks position until a month after 
Theresa May triggers the formal Brexit process. Brexit-backing Cabinet ministers are said to fear that Remain-voting Chancellor Mr Hammond is not up to resisting expected demands from Brussels for as much as £50billion to cover the UK’s ongoing financial liabilities in the EU. One source said Mr Hammond was among ministers believing the UK would have to pay a “huge” sum to get out – but that anything more than £2 or £3billion was “not possible”. Allies of the Chancellor hit back, saying he “did not recognise” claims the EU wants up to £50billion in exit fees.

Westmonster
In a revelation that is absurd beyond belief, the European Union is apparently preparing to take the UK to court if the government don’t dish them out £50 billion on the way out of the failed bloc. A leaked copy of the EU’s negotiation strategy talks of taking Brexit Britain to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That is despite government lawyers and a report in the House of Lords concluding that no payment is necessary. Several Tory MPs such as Sir Bill Cash and Jacob Rees Megg have dismissed the hollow threat to bully the UK into handing over large amounts of money to Brussels. As we have been saying for a while now, the EU nationalists may attempt to make an example out of Britain for daring to leave. If that’s the case, the government should tell them where to stick it and walk out to independence way before the two year Article 50 process is up.

Sun
Theresa May will show EU leaders that Britain is ready to slap tariffs on their imports by including a new law to take back control of trade policy in this year’s Queen’s Speech, The Sun can reveal. The trade bill will coincide with the start of Brexit negotiations with Brussels early this summer. And it will send a firm message to European leaders that the Prime Minister is not bluffing with her threat to walk away from talks withou
t a new UK-EU trade deal. Brussels currently negotiates trade deals and collects tariffs on behalf of Britain but the new law will transfer that power back to Westminster. International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox has told MPs that the trade bill will be included in the Queen’s Speech in May. And it will be passed in the next 12 months so it is ready in time for Brexit. It will also make Britain ready to strike new trade deals from the day we leave the EU – which is set to be March 29 2019.

Independent
Furious Conservative MPs have urged Theresa May to stand firm against an EU threat to take Britain to the International Court of Justice to enforce a £50bn Brexit “divorce bill”. A draft plan – obtained by a Dutch newspaper – revealed the EU is readying for a long legal battle at The Hague if Britain tries to walk away without meeting its huge liabilities. “In that case it is: see you in The Hague!” it quoted an EU official – in response to the Prime Minister’s vow to leave with “no deal” if necessary, perhaps seeking to avoid any exit bill. Neither Downing Street nor the European Commission denied the prospect of a court fight if the negotiations break down, both declining to comment on a leaked document.

BBC

Telegraph
The BBC will face sanctions and fines from its new regulator unless it ends its Brexit bias, a former Culture Secretary and architect of the Royal Charter has warned. John Whittingdale, a Conservative MP, said that he is concerned that the corporation is “constantly looking for negatives and highlighting the challenges” of Brexit. He warned that if the corporation’s negative coverage persists MPs could “escalate” their complaints to Ofcom, which takes over regulation of the BBC in a
fortnight. The regulator has the power to impose sanctions including broadcasting corrections, banning repeats of coverage and imposing a £250,000 fine. It comes after more than 70 MPs wrote to the corporation warning that its “perverse and skewed” coverage risks undermining Brexit.

Times
Lord Hall of Birkenhead has denied MPs’ accusations of BBC bias against Brexit and said that the broadcaster would continue to resist “political pressure” over its news coverage. The director-general defended its coverage after he received a letter signed by 72 MPs that accused the BBC of “unfairly representing” Leave voters. The letter, co-ordinated by Julian Knight, the Tory MP for Solihull, said that Leave voters were often portrayed as “xenophobic or regretful” and claimed that the BBC w
as falling short of its duty to report news impartially. “If politicians and the public don’t view it as an impartial broker, then the future of the BBC will be in doubt,” said the letter, signed by Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers, former ministers.

EU

Independent
EU leaders will meet to decide their strategy for the Brexit negotiations at a special summit at the end of April, Brussels has announced. Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, said the April 29 meeting would strive to achieve “certainty, clarity for all: citizens, companies and member states”. It means the summit will take place in the middle of French elections, which will be held over two weekends at the end of April and at the start of May. Diplomats and officials in Brussels had hoped to hold a council of the EU’s 27 governments as early as April 6, to decide the way forward. However, Theresa May’s announcement of March 29 as the date for triggering Article 50 – rather than last week, as widely expected – forced back the timetable.

Express
FRANCE today insisted the EU will pursue its plans to hit Britain with a massive bill for leaving the club, saying that like all divorcing partners it will have to cough up. Finance minister Michel Sapin said the first stages of the negotiations will be “principally the question of money” and that the tab will have to be settled before future relations are on the table.  He told a briefing in Brussels that the UK would face “economic consequences” from its decision to quit the EU and hinted once more that Paris will look to lure financial firms away from London. Mr Sapin made the remarks as finance ministers from across the continent met in the Belgian capital to discuss the Greek debt crisis and reform to VAT laws in Europe. 

BBC News
A summit of EU member states to discuss Brexit is be held on 29 April, a month after the UK triggers Article 50. The meeting will be used to agree the guidelines for the EU’s negotiating team headed by Michel Barnier. European Council president Donald Tusk said the priority would be giving “clarity” to EU residents, business and member states about the talks ahead. Prime Minister Theresa May will officially notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave on 29 March. She told her cabinet on Tuesday that triggering Article 50 would be an “historic event” and the start of a “bold new chapter… as a prosperous open and global nation”.

Breitbart
The EU’s remaining 27 member states will hold a special summit on April 29 to decide the political objectives for Brexit talks, president Donald Tusk said Tuesday. Tusk’s announcement came a day after London said Prime Minister Theresa May would trigger the two-year process for Britain’s departure on March 29. “In view of what was announced in London yesterday, I would like to inform you that I will call a European Council on Saturday the 29th of April to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks,” Tusk told a press conference in Brussels. The European Council president has said he will issue the draft guidelines for the 27 leaders within 48 hours of May triggering Article 50 — the divorce clause in the EU’s treaties — next week. “I personally wish the UK hadn’t chosen to leave the EU but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. Therefore we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU,” he said, standing alongside visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sky News
EU leaders will meet to discuss their Brexit battle plans on 29 April, European Council President Donald Tusk has announced. Setting the date for the remaining 27 members of the bloc to discuss their negotiating strategy, Mr Tusk said the process of “divorcing” the UK must be the “least painful for the EU”. His announcement comes after Theresa May confirmed she would trigger Article 50, officially notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to leave, on 29 March. The date Mr Tusk has set is the soonest the 27 could hold a summit to discuss their response.
Making the announcement, he said: “As you all know, I personally wish the UK hadn’t chosen to leave the EU, but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. “Therefore, we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU.

Order-Order
The government is ready to announce a series of early deals with the EU in the first few weeks and months after Article 50 is triggered. Government figures say they have been holding ‘informal’ talks with EU countries, in particular Germany, over a number of agreements that aim to show goodwill at the beginning of the negotiations and the potential for a mutually beneficial Brexit. This is at odds with the EU’s public line that there has been no negotiation before notification. A government source says: “There are deals ready to go. The Germans have agreed to them, but we can’t do it before Article 50”. Examples of possible early deals being considered include over migrants and defence arrangements in Eastern Europe. Andrew Lilico has speculated about the kinds of early reciprocal deals that could be struck, for example formally granting Britain permission to negotiate trade deals with non-EU countries in return for some olive branch to Brussels and Berlin. The issue of Britons’ and migrants’ rights is obviously something Theresa May has said she wants to address early on. 

Westmonster
A report on the links between Islam and radicalisation among youths has been delayed until after the French Presidential election, over fears its conclusions will boost support for Marine Le Pen. At a press conference in Paris, researchers Olivier Galland and Anne Muxel delivered some shocking headline figures which highlight the clear link between being Muslim and holding radical ideas. Here is what we know so far: 11% of respondents overall were classed as being religious ‘absolutions’  defined by their beliefs in religion over science. 6% of Christian students believed in religious absolutism, whereas that number rises to 32% of Muslim students; Regardless of their performance at school and their parents’ profession, a young Muslim is four times more likely than a young Christian to adhere to radical ideas; 24% of those surveyed refused to completely condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings. 21% refused to condemn the Bataclan massacre, which saw 130 people murdered and a further 368 injured;

Labour Party

Guardian
Labour membership is expected to fall below half a million for the first time since its peak under Jeremy Corbyn because about 40,000 people are in arrears. The unusual number of lapsed payments was discussed at a meeting of Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) on Tuesday, as the drop will hit Labour’s budget. A source present at the meeting said the number of members who are up to date with their payments is now about 483,000, with about 40,000 having fallen behind. The peak of party membership under Corbyn was 554,000 members as of last July, which had fallen to 528,000 by December. However, senior party figures warned at the time that this lower figure might not reflect the scale of people leaving the party, as some might have simply cancelled their direct debits without informing the party formally that they wanted to leave.

NHS

Sky News
Hospitals are regularly resorting to emergency “break glass” rules to meet soaring pay demands from temporary locum doctors, Sky News can reveal. Under an NHS clampdown on exorbitant agency workers, hospitals should only exceed an agreed “capped” hourly pay rate in exceptional circumstances when an unfilled vacancy for a doctor would put patients at risk. But our investigation shows that hospitals in England notified NHS Improvement that they had breached the cap on 241,195 occasions in just three months. A further Freedom of Information request revealed that the breaches are being made for every grade of doctor. NHS Improvement wants price agreements rolled out across the health service.

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