Brexit

Express
BREXITEERS have warned of “mayhem” as plotting Remainers unleashed plans to sabotage Brexit by seizing power from the Government. More than half a dozen attempts to derail Britain’s departure from the European Union have been formally launched by Labour and Tory MPs. They include demands for quitting without a deal to be ruled out, delaying exit day and giving MPs the chance to force a second referendum. And Europhiles want control over parliamentary business to allow them to make fresh demands just days before the UK is due to leave on March 29. Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said the plotters were “living in cloud cuckoo land”. He said: “I have a very simple formula for this, which is if you really support this constitutional nonsense of allowing a backbench group to take over the business and run legislation at the Government, if the Labour Party agrees to support that they have to think carefully what would happen if they were in power and they did not have a massive majority. “This opens the door to mayhem in the Commons and I promise you those who think that the House of Commons could act as a government negotiating a trade deal are living in cloud cuckoo land.”

Westmonster
A cross-party group of hardline Remainer MPs are doing all they can to delay Brexit. We know their game, this is about doing everything they can to thwart the UK’s exit from the European Union. An amendment tabled by Labour’s Rachel Reeve and Hilary Benn backed by the Conservative Party’s Dominic Grieve and Norman Lamb of the Liberal Democrats, would extend Article 50 by 2 years if there is no UK-EU deal in place by 26th February. Bonkers. As Reeve herself tweeted: “This evening I tabled an amendment to the government’s latest motion on Brexit to stop us leaving without a deal.”

Telegraph
Cabinet ministers rounded on Amber Rudd and other Remainers over plans to stop a no-deal Brexit as Theresa May said the UK must retain the option of leaving without an agreement. During Cabinet on Tuesday five ministers led by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, warned of the risk of giving Tory MPs a free vote on plans that would clear the path to extending Article 50. The ministers including Michael Gove, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove are understood to have argued that a free vote would be “abdicating collective responsibility”.

Mail
Remain plotter MPs have today finally unveiled their bid to water-down and or block Brexit altogether – amid warnings 40 ministers will quit to stop a no deal. Tory MP Dominic Grieve and Labour’s Yvette Cooper have tabled Brexit amendments which will be voted on in a crunch Commons showdown next Tuesday.  Ms Cooper’s amendment would suspend parliamentary rules to allow Bills tabled by backbench MPs to have priority over government business. This would pave the way for her Bill to delay Brexit by extending Article 50 by another nine months to be debated.

Times
Theresa May is being “played” by Eurosceptic backbenchers who are suggesting they might vote for a modified version of her deal so there is no time left to pursue a softer Brexit, members of her government fear. At the weekend the prime minister told her cabinet she would spend the coming weeks trying to secure changes from Brussels that might win over the Conservative and DUP MPs who condemned her deal to defeat last week. Mrs May will seek further changes to the backstop, the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Breitbart
Government sources have confirmed that the Queen may be advised to refuse to grant the Royal Assent to parliamentary legislation aimed at blocking Brexit. The confirmation came from a senior minister who spoke to the Telegraph following publication of a Policy Exchange paper on the subject by Sir Stephen Laws QC, a former First Parliamentary Counsel. Remain MPs are currently advancing various plots to take control of the Brexit process from Theresa May, who is at least nominally opposed to delaying exit day, scheduling a re-run of the 2016 referendum, or ruling out a clean, No Deal withdrawal from the EU.

Conservative Party

Times
Theresa May is to call ministers’ bluff by requiring them to vote against a plan to remove the threat of a no-deal Brexit next week. The prime minister has rejected demands led by Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, for a free vote on Tuesday’s amendments to delay the UK’s exit if a deal cannot be reached with the EU. Warnings that up to 40 ministers were prepared to resign over the issue prompted a backlash from Brexiteers in and out of the government. Mrs May’s spokesman said that she had stated the government’s opposition to seeking a Brexit delay simply to put off the “decision point” — a clear indication that Tory MPs will be whipped to oppose the amendments.

Mail
The Prime Minister is set to resist pressure from Cabinet ministers and order her MPs to vote against moves to stop a No Deal Brexit. The Commons will vote on a series of proposals on Tuesday that could radically change the course of Brexit – including delaying the UK’s departure from the EU. Theresa May has been warned by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd that dozens of ministers who fear a No Deal ‘cliff edge’ could quit if they are blocked from joining efforts to postpone the leaving date. Yesterday groups of MPs determined to stop No Deal tabled a string of amendments which could wrestle control over Brexit from the Government.

Sun
THE Tories will lose a snap general election because they are woefully underprepared to fight one, party chiefs have concluded. Senior Conservative officials have privately warned Theresa May that she could face disaster if she calls a new nationwide poll to try to unblock the Brexit logjam.  Secret party projections instead put Jeremy Corbyn in No10, at the helm of a rainbow coalition government including the SNP and the Lib Dems. In another blow for the PM’s prospects, new research carried out by a senior former No10 adviser to Mrs May has revealed dozens of sitting Tory MPs are facing ultra tight marginal races. The alarm-bell internal Conservative Party assessment – whose findings have been shared with The Sun – reveals: The Tories’ data base of voters nationwide is badly out of date and now far behind Labour’s, having seen little update since 2015;

Second referendum

Independent
Leading supporters of a fresh Brexit referendum are calling for a delay to a Commons vote until it has the “greatest chance of success”. MPs of all parties fear an expected push for a showdown next Tuesday would backfire because there is currently no majority in favour, while the Labour  leadership refuses to commit. Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative Final Say supporter, and other “doctors in the house” are considering an amendment to trigger a vote next week, alongside moves for the Commons to “take control”.

Ireland

Times
no-deal Brexit would lead to a hard border in Ireland, the European Commission admitted for the first time yesterday. Brussels has previously resisted setting out what would happen were Britain to leave without ratifying the present draft withdrawal treaty, to avoid controversy in Ireland. In a shift that will put Dublin under increased pressure to compromise, the commission’s official spokesman was pushed to speculate what would happen if no deal could be reached. “I think it is pretty obvious you will have a hard border,”

Sky News
The EU believes a hard border on the island of Ireland is an “obvious” result of a “no-deal” Brexit – as signs of a split with Dublin emerged over the issue. Brussels, Dublin and London have all stated they do not want a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. But the EU has given apparent confirmation they would enforce such a scenario should the UK leave the bloc without a withdrawal agreement, known as a no-deal outcome.

Independent
The European Union has confirmed it would enforce a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The European Commission said it was “pretty obvious” that new infrastructure would be needed at the sensitive border if the UK crashed out of the EU without a deal. The comments blow a hole in claims by Brexiteers that there would definitely not be a hard border in Ireland regardless of whether there is a withdrawal agreement or not. But in a sign that Brexit is also testing relations between Brussels and Dublin, the commission’s words also appeared to create significant discomfort for the Irish government, which has been publicly insisted it will not impose a border.

Guardian
The EU has put further pressure on the Brexit talks by confirming it will enforce a hard border on the island of Ireland in the event of a no-deal outcome, despite the risk this would pose to peace. In comments that proved highly uncomfortable for Dublin, the chief spokesman for Jean-Claude Juncker the European commission president, told reporters in Brussels it was “pretty obvious” border infrastructure would be necessary if the UK were to leave without an agreement. The Irish and British governments have been wary of speculating about the repercussions of the UK leaving the EU with no deal in place. Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, was caught on tape last week indicating his fellow ministers should not talk about the resumption of border checks publicly for fear of a backlash.

Express
BELGIUM’S top diplomat has rejected suggestions the European Union might consider any Brexit deal that runs the risk a return of checkpoints on the border with Northern Ireland. Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders insisted the 27 remaining members of the bloc were united ahead of Brexit and reassured Dublin of Brussels’ position on the backstop. He said: “We are united of course, we are 27. We are all Irish for the moment.” The Brexit deal agreed by EU leaders and Theresa May includes a backstop that would tie Northern Ireland to a closer relationship with the EU to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if a trade accord fails to materialise.

Mail
Leo Varadkar today said Ireland and the UK will have to strike a customs deal to keep the Irish border open if there is a no deal Brexit.  The Irish PM said a new backstop will have to be agreed to honour the Good Friday peace agreement – despite spending two years blocking Britain’s bid for a deal. The comments came after the EU Commission today warned that a no deal Brexit will mean a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Mr Varadkar told the Irish parliament: ‘Both the UK and Ireland will have an obligation to honour the Good Friday Agreement, protect the peace process and honour our commitment to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland, that there won’t be a hard border.

Independent
Theresa May is under pressure from her cabinet to back a plan to secure a time limit on the Irish backstop hated by so many Tory MPs. Three senior ministers are pushing for her to support the move to let parliament vote on introducing a sunset clause to the backstop. They argue it would give her leverage to extract concessions from the European Union, but there is reticence to explicitly back the plan in Downing Street because it could go down badly in Brussels, as it contradicts the deal Ms May spent 19 months negotiating.

Labour Party

Times
Trade union leaders will hold Brexit talks with Theresa May tomorrow despite Labour’s boycott of the process. Len McCluskey, the leader of Unite and one of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest political allies, will join Tim Roache, of the GMB, Dave Prentis, of Unison, and Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, at the Downing Street meetings. At least one union leader is expected to warn Mrs May that leaving the European Union without a deal must be avoided at all costs. Labour played down claims of a rift with the unions over the talks.

EU

Telegraph
The end of quantitative easing will increase the risk of countries defaulting on their debt and may start a “game of political chicken” in the eurozone if Italy needs a Greek-style bailout, Credit Suisse has warned. Government debt levels have climbed since the financial crisis on the back of an unprecedented period of low interest rates. In the years since 2008 central banks have been printing money, known as quantitative easing, but are now winding up those schemes.

Times
Angela Merkel has hailed Germany’s new pact with France as a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe into an era of chaos. She met President Macron in Aachen yesterday to sign a treaty that merges much of the two countries’ defence, foreign and economic policymaking, and which is intended to bolster the European Union against its many internal and external threats. It paves the way for joint councils of military chiefs and economic experts, as well as public funds to nurture cross-border “Eurodistricts”, which could involve combining public transport and healthcare between cities such as Metz in France and Saarbrücken, barely 50 miles away in Germany.

Mail
Angela Merkel has hailed a new Franco-German friendship treaty as being a step towards the creation of a future joint European army. The German Chancellor said the pact, inked in the ancient western German city of Aachen today, aims to build a ‘common military culture’ between the two countries. In a speech during the ceremony, Merkel insisted the treaty ‘contributes to the creation of a European army’. The new accord was signed exactly 56 years after the 1963 Elysee Treaty, which set the tone for the two countries’ close relationship following centuries of conflict that ended with World War II.

Westmonster
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are today signing a new treaty to deepen their alliance. The two countries increasingly dominate the European Union, causing the Italian and Polish governments to push back with Matteo Salvini calling for a “new spring of Europe”. The new “Treaty of Franco-German Co-operation and Integration” is aimed at shoring up support for the European Union and pledging stronger ties on the economy and defence.

Telegraph
Bulgaria plans to stop allowing wealthy foreigners to buy citizenship against investment, the justice ministry said on Tuesday, saying the scheme had failed to bring any significant economic benefits for the EU country. The legal changes come after reports that the EU’s executive will warn that such schemes could help foreign organised crime groups infiltrate the 28-member bloc and increase the risk of money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. Bulgaria is one of three EU countries, along with Cyprus and Malta, that currently grant citizenship against investment. Twenty member states, including these three, also sell resident permits.

Universal credit

Mirror
The Government is facing a fresh legal challenge over its flagship welfare policy Universal Credit. In the latest case to reach the High Court, campaigners will argue a key Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy is “irrational” and has a “disproportionately adverse effect” on disabled claimants. It comes as the Work and Pensions committee found that the DWP is failing to engage with calls from experts to change the way the system works.

Terror

Mail
A record 700 live investigations into terror plots are being carried out at present, Britain’s most senior counter terrorism officer said last night. Neil Basu also revealed that a total of 18 potentially deadly plots had been thwarted since March 2017 – almost one a month. Mr Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said he was ‘incredibly concerned’ that a no-deal Brexit could weaken efforts to tackle terrorism and leave the country in ‘a very bad place’.

Wages

Mail
Wages are growing at their fastest rate in a decade as inflation continues to fall away, new figures on the jobs market reveal today. Average earnings increased by 3.4 per cent in the year to November, the highest for a decade, outpacing inflation – recorded at 2.1 per cent last week.  The ONS said average weekly earnings, adjusted for price inflation, increased by 1.2 per cent, including bonuses, compared with a year earlier.  Record numbers of people are in work and job vacancies are at their joint highest level since 2001, today’s Office for National Statistics revealed.

Breitbart
Earnings are up and British employment and job vacancies are at record highs at the country experiences its lowest net EU immigration since 2012. From September to November 2018, 75.8 percent of people aged 16 to 64 were in paid employment — the highest since records began in 1971, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday.

Trade

Telegraph
Sir James Dyson, one of Britain’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, is to relocate his firm’s headquarters from the UK to Singapore after years of frustration with the EU. Sir James, one of the country’s most high-profile Brexiteers, insisted the move was a commercial decision unconnected to Brexit. However, MPs said Dyson’s choice of relocating to a country with much lower corporate taxes proved Brexit must be used to create a more business-friendly regime in Britain.

Times
Britain is set to lose tens of millions of pounds in tax revenues after Sir James Dyson, one of the country’s most prominent Brexit supporters, announced plans to relocate the headquarters of his company to Singapore. The business said that Asia was now the main focus of its activities and that it should be regarded as a “global technology company”. The move is likely to cost the government up to £60 million a year in lost corporation tax revenues.

Guardian
The scale of no-deal panic gripping major companies has been thrown into sharp focus by a series of damage-limitation announcements, as corporate Britain signalled it is running out of patience with Westminster gridlock. Sir James Dyson, the Brexit-backing billionaire, dealt a further blow to the government by revealing he is shifting his company headquarters to Singapore in a move that drew sharp criticism. Dyson’s decision to move his HQ out of the UK came on a day in which a series of high-profile names revealed measures to mitigate the impact of a disorderly departure from the EU.

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