Brexit

Mail (by Theresa May)
Despite the political controversy of the past few weeks at Westminster, I believe the United Kingdom remains firmly on course to leave the European Union with a deal – if MPs hold their nerve. On January 29, the House of Commons expressed its support for that outcome, provided there were legal changes to the Northern Ireland backstop to prevent it operating indefinitely. When the Government set out to secure those changes, I did not know what the response in Europe would be. But in the discussions I have had with the leadership of the European Union and the leaders of every EU member state, I have found a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. That engagement has already begun to bear fruit. The UK and EU are working towards a joint work-stream to develop alternative arrangements to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland, in parallel with our negotiations on the future relationship.

Telegraph
Brexit could be delayed by up to two years, Cabinet ministers have warned Theresa May after she caved in to Europhile demands for a vote on extending Article 50. Remain-supporting ministers used the threat of mass resignations to force the Prime Minister into a climbdown on Tuesday as she effectively killed off the option of no deal. Mrs May announced a series of votes on her deal, no deal, and a delay, to be held in a fortnight, as she admitted for the first time that Britain might not leave the EU on March 29.

Mail
Theresa May today urges Parliament to ‘do its duty’ and vote through her Brexit deal. Writing in the Daily Mail, she says she is close to winning concessions from the EU that could persuade Eurosceptic MPs to back her. Mrs May yesterday faced a mass walkout by Remainer ministers and was forced to offer MPs a vote to delay Brexit beyond March 29 if she cannot get her plans through the Commons. But in an upbeat assessment of her talks with Brussels and European leaders, she said: ‘I have found a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal.

BBC News
Theresa May has bowed to pressure from a group of Tory MPs and ministers and agreed to give Parliament a vote on delaying the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March. This will take place only if MPs reject her Brexit deal for a second time and then also say no to the UK leaving the EU without a comprehensive, legally binding agreement – the so-called no-deal scenario. With just 31 days to go, Parliament has yet to approve the terms of withdrawal negotiated with the EU. Mrs May has set a 12 March deadline for the second “meaningful vote” (MV2) on her deal and insisted that if MPs back her, the UK can still leave as planned just over two weeks later.

ITV News
Prime Minister Theresa May has told the House of Commons if her Brexit deal is rejected, MPs will be offered two separate votes by March 13 on whether the UK leaves with no-deal or delays Brexit beyond March 29. Speaking in the House of Commons she made three promises to MPs. If the deal fails, MPs will be able to vote on whether to support a no-deal. If MPs vote against no-deal, then MPs can vote on March 14 to extend Article 50. As Mrs May promised to keep her “commitments” the Commons roared with laughter.

Times
Senior cabinet ministers were accused by their colleagues of sabotaging talks with the EU last night after they forced Theresa May to give MPs the chance to delay Brexit. The prime minister bowed to a cabinet rebellion and will allow MPs a vote to stop Britain leaving without a deal on March 29 if her agreement falls in the Commons again. They can then vote to ask the EU to extend negotiations for a “short, limited” period. The concession provoked acrimony in cabinet.

Telegraph
When Tory Brexiteers joined MPs in rejecting Theresa May’s deal last month, Michael Gove warned them that they had effectively voted for a “softer Brexit”. The Prime Minister has since proved him right by offering up legal guarantees on following EU employment law to woo Labour MPs, as well as a vote to shadow it more closely. The biggest overture Mrs May has made to Remainers is her concession today that if Parliament rejects her deal again, she will not let the United Kingdom leave on March 29th without a deal unless Parliament gives “explicit consent” for it in a vote.

Westmonster
The pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave cross-party campaign group have pledged to pursue legal action if Article 50 is extended and Brexit is delayed, forcing European Elections to take place if the UK is still in the European Union by then. In a statement on their website today, LML announced: “Leave Means Leave, the cross party campaign group for a true Brexit, is to mount legal action against the UK Government to ensure that European Elections will be held in the UK on May 23rd 2019 if Article 50 to leave the EU is extended.

Comment Central
The latest leaks reveal that Theresa May promises one thing but does the other, puts herself before her Party, and puts not-leaving before no-deal. Only last week, three splitters from the Conservative Party falsely accused her of being governed by Brexiteers and a nebulous “right-wing.” By the end of the week, we learnt that the Prime Minister was again wooing Remainers by privately ruling out leaving without a deal on 29 March. Three Cabinet ministers showed who really governs the Conservative Party when they publicly stated that they would defy her whip or resign if she doesn’t rule out leaving without a deal.

The Independent Group

Express
THE Independent Group will table an amendment for a second referendum to embattled Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement today, it has been revealed. The group of Remainers, headed by Gavin Shuker, announced they will submit the amendment for a second referendum at a vote tomorrow, having received support from the SNP and Liberal Democrats. All 11 MPs voted to remain part of the EU having campaigned for Remain. Other members of the group of rebels formed a week ago include Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna.

Independent
MPs from the newly-formed Independent Group have tabled an amendment seeking to pave the way for a second Brexit referendum. The move comes after Labour‘s announcement the party would back attempts in the Commons for a fresh public vote, if it fails to force MPs to adopt its own Brexit plans in a series of votes on Wednesday evening in the chamber.  The fresh bid has the support of MPs in the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, and Plaid Cymru – increasing the chances of it being selected by the Commons Speaker on Wednesday morning.

Guardian
A leader may not be elected to the newly formed Independent Group of MPs until the end of the year when it hopes to have become a political party. The 11 former Labour and Conservative MPs’ first meeting in Westminster selected Gavin Shuker to act as its convener and organise future meetings but while there were initial conversations about roles and responsibilities, there was no serious discussion as to who might become leader. Chuka Umunna, a former Labour frontbencher, has been widely tipped for the role but friends of Heidi Allen, a former Conservative, have been pressing her to put her name forward when the election process begins.

Conservative Party

Express
THERESA May has been warned to brace for an “explosion” during her Cabinet meeting today when she confronts MPs with her new Brexit strategy, with 15 ready to quit so they can vote against a no-deal. The Prime Minister has been told she could face a ministerial rebellion unless she agrees to delay Brexit if her deal fails to win support from MPs. The Daily Telegraph has reported Mrs May has met her Cabinet to propose that Parliament votes on whether to vote to leave the European Union without a deal or delay Brexit if her exit agreement fails to win parliamentary approval.

Times
Theresa May criticised cabinet members over breaches of collective responsibility after leading Remainers in her government threatened to quit over the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark bounced Mrs May into setting out a plan to delay the departure after a joint article at the weekend in which they said they would resign unless she promised to find a way of avoiding no deal if her withdrawal plan is defeated.

Westmonster
Theresa May has today announced that if MPs reject her deal, they will get the chance to block a No Deal Brexit and then vote for an extension of Article 50. It is the latest disgraceful development as Remainer MPs do their best to delay and stop Brexit completely. MPs will vote on May’s deal by 12th March. If they reject that, a vote on No Deal follows and if that is rejected, MPs then vote on whether to vote to delay Brexit.

Guardian
Cabinet ministers have told Theresa May she must use any delay to Brexit to face down the Eurosceptic wing of the party and forge a consensus in parliament, as the prime minister finally conceded to offer a vote on extending article 50. May reluctantly promised MPs they would have the chance to reject a no-deal Brexit next month and also offered a vote to extend article 50 in an attempt to stave off the threat of dozens of resignations from her frontbench.

Mirror
The Prime Minister faces sacking a junior government aide – because he wants to protect EU citizens’ rights. Alberto Costa calling for a separate agreement with the European Union to protect the rights of expats even if there is a no-deal Brexit . More than 60 Conservatives are understood to have signed an amendment which Labour is also supporting. Mr Costa, a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS), said it would be a “farce” if the Government did not back down. But if Theresa May  doesn’t file in behind him, he will be defying his own government – forcing him out.

Labour Party

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned the party risks “catastrophic” damage by backing a second referendum as in-fighting broke out over Labour’s U-turn on Brexit. Backbenchers rounded on Mr Corbyn on Tuesday as he attempted to defend his support for a so-called people’s vote. It came amid suggestions the veteran Eurosceptic MP caved into demands by staunch Remainer Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, in defiance of some of his closest aides, including his communications chief Seumas Milne.

Mail
Fifty Labour MPs are threatening to derail Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to back a second referendum. The Labour leader has shifted to support a second referendum and Labour said no deal would not be on the ballot paper. But the surprise move sparked a furious confrontation at his shadow cabinet meeting yesterday. Labour chairman Ian Lavery was described as ‘very angry’ and said the shift in policy was ‘political suicide’, as reported by The Sun.  MP John Mann warned Labour would face a furious backlash in the Midlands and the North where the party’s supporters backed Brexit in their millions.

Breitbart
A Labour Brexiteer has warned Jeremy Corbyn’s U-turn on respecting the outcome of the 2016 referendum is “total nonsense” and will see the party punished by voters, particularly in the north and Midlands of England, which would rob Mr Corbyn of the chance to become prime minister. John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw in England’s East Midlands region — part of a belt of traditionally left-wing voting areas that stretches out from Liverpool and Manchester to Hull — has warned that by reneging on his manifesto promise to respect the outcome of the United Kingdom’s 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, he risked becoming the next Nick Clegg.

Sun
JEREMY Corbyn’s U-turn to back a second referendum looks odds on to fail as it emerged up to 50 Labour MPs will defy the move. The scale of opposition triggered Remainers to step up their campaign to win over enough Tories to counteract the Labour rebels. One Tory MP said he knew of 15 colleagues who could back a second referendum. Mr Corbyn’s surprise move to throw Labour’s weight behind a second referendum once his alternative Brexit plan is defeated in crunch Commons vote also sparked a blazing row at a meeting of his Shadow Cabinet.

Sun
JEREMY Corbyn has been forced to issue a grovelling apology for failing register a trip to New York paid for by the leftie CND group. The Labour leader was rapped by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for breaking parliamentary rules by not declaring the freebie. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament splashed out £859 to pay for the then backbench MP to fly to the United States and put him up in a hotel, in April 2014. Under parliamentary rules, MPs have to declare all freebies costing £660 or more.

EU

Express
JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker’s former deputy has told the European Union to help Britain hold a second Brexit referendum. Jean Asselborn, who served as deputy prime minister of Luxembourg under Mr Juncker, said the EU should allow Britain to nominate members of the European Parliament for a short period. Mr Asselborn, now Luxembourg’s foreign minister, said the move would allow the UK to participate in May’s elections but would not tie British MEPs to Brussels.

Reuters
France’s finance minister said that if Britain seeks to delay its exit from the European Union without clearly stating why, he would not see the necessity of granting an extension to the negotiating period. “If there is no clarity on the purpose of that extension, I don’t see the necessity of that extension, so it is up to the British government to explain to us if they are asking for an extension,” Bruno Le Maire said after a speech in Dublin on Tuesday.

Times
Britain will have to hold full European parliament elections this spring if Brexit is delayed beyond the end of June, EU lawyers have said. Brussels expects the UK to ask for an extension of eight or 12 weeks even if Theresa May wins a meaningful vote on her withdrawal deal by March 12, to allow time to ratify the deal in law. An extension beyond July 1, however, when a new European parliament will sit, would mean that Britain would have to hold elections on May 23. “It will have to be the full works,” an EU official said.

Guardian
The UK risks hurtling into “guaranteed no deal” if MPs fail to back a Brexit agreement at the end of a short extension period, according to senior EU sources. Theresa May promised MPs on Tuesday that she would seek a “short, limited extension to article 50” beyond 29 March if parliament refuses to back her withdrawal agreement and votes against leaving without a deal. Brussels insiders fear that scenario raises the risk of no deal in the summer.

Illegal immigration

Sky News
Migrants are paying an average of £5,000 to cross the English Channel and do not fear being removed once they get to the UK, MPs have been told. Hundreds of people, the majority of them claiming to be Iranian, have tried to make the dangerous crossing in small boats in recent months. An increase in crossings at the end of last year prompted Home Secretary Sajid Javid to declare a “major incident” and order two Border Force boats to be redeployed to the Channel.

Trump

Mail
A resolution terminating President Donald Trump‘s border emergency passed the House 245-182 on Tuesday evening, mostly along party lines as a rebuke from Democrats.   Thirteen Republican lawmakers joined their colleagues in voting Trump’s emergency down, however, including Michigan’s Justin Amash, Kentucky’s Thomas Massie and Washington’s Jaimie Herrera Beutler. It fell short of the 290 votes that would be needed to override a veto, but its passage in the House ensures that it will be sent to the U.S. Senate, where at least three Republicans have said they will support it.

ITV News
The US House of Representatives has voted to block President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, a measure intended get him billions of extra dollars to build his border wall. The House’s 245-182 vote to block Mr Trump’s national emergency declaration fell well below the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override his promised veto. Top Republicans worked to keep defections as low as possible — 13 backed the Democrats’ resolution — underscoring their desire to avoid a tally suggesting that Mr Trump’s hold on politicians was weakening.

Rail travel

Times
Passengers should expect more chaos on the railways this year because the government has failed to “get a grip” on problems with the network, MPs say. A cross-party committee says that the 2018 “year from hell” could be repeated thanks to timetable changes and increases in engineering work. Ministers have repeatedly promised to ensure that the publicly owned Network Rail and private rail companies collaborate more closely to minimise disruption but a report published today by the public accounts committee says that the Department for Transport “still has a way to go” to improve its strategic management of the railways.

Parkinsons

Mail
A breakthrough trial has provided the first glimmer of hope that Parkinson’s disease could be reversed. British neurologists have regenerated brain cells damaged by the condition for the first time, using a special implant that injects drugs deep into the brain. The researchers, led by experts at the University of Bristol, admitted they had failed to prove the GDNF treatment actually improved patient’s symptoms. But scans showed they had reversed six years’ worth of damage to key parts of the brain.

Earthquake

Mail
An earthquake jolted southeastern England early today, waking terrified residents and sparking panic among people who feared their homes could collapse.   The tremor was recorded as magnitude-3.7 and hit near the village of Southwater in West Sussex, north of Brighton and ten miles southwest of Gatwick Airport, at just before 3:45am. Shaking was felt across the region from the south coast to London but there were no reports of damage.

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