Farage

Star
CALLS have been made for NIGEL Farage to become UK Ambassador to the EU following Ivan Rogers’ shock resignation earlier today. Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said Mr Farage could use his experience as an MEP to “defend Britain’s interests” during the Brexit negotiations. Ivan Rogers, who was described as the “top British diplomat in Brussels”, resigned after just three years in the job. Mr Batten said: ”Perhaps Nigel Farage would consider taking up the post? After all, he ably demonstrated in the referendum campaign that he knows more about the EU than any other British politician.” Farage himself said that he hoped Rogers’ decision to step down would spark a wave of resignations by British ambassadors, as he called for a “tough Brexiteer” to take up the EU post. He said: ”I think it would be appropriate if a lot more people in that position, British ambassadors, left. The world has changed.” Asked if he thought the resignation would be a crisis for PM Theresa May, he said: “She should welcome it with open arms and put a firm Brexiteer in the position.

Express
NIGEL FARAGE has been backed for a top diplomatic role following the shock resignation of Britain’s ambassador to the European Union (EU). Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s man in Brussels, unexpectedly quit his role this afternoon – just weeks after he sparked a furious row with Brexit supporters. The senior civil servant would have been expected to play a leading role in Britain’s upcoming EU divorce talks, due to begin when Theresa May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March. Last month, Sir Ivan was accused of “Brexit obstruction” after it emerged he had warned ministers it could take up to 10 years for the UK to complete a trade agreement with the EU.

Telegraph
Theresa May is expected to appoint an EU ambassador who “believes in Brexit” in the wake of the current Brussels representative’s decision to quit after being cut adrift by Downing Street. Sir Ivan Rogers on Tuesday announced his resignation as Britain’s ambassador in Brussels after it was made clear Mrs May and her senior team had “lost confidence” in him over his “pessimistic” view of Brexit. Government sources made clear that Sir Ivan had “jumped before he was pushed” and that Number 10 believed his negative view of Brexit meant that he could not lead the negotiations after the Prime Minister triggers Article 50. In a 1,400-word resignation letter to his staff leaked on Tuesday night, Sir Ivan launched a thinly-veiled attack on the “muddled thinking” in Mrs May’s Government.

Times
Britain’s ambassador in Brussels criticised “ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking” over Brexit as he quit his post yesterday after clashes with Downing Street. Sir Ivan Rogers, the British representative to the European Union, stunned No 10 by announcing his resignation following disagreements with Theresa May’s team and other Whitehall departments. Sources said that No 10 had been “caught on the hop” by Sir Ivan’s decision, which was disclosed in an email to his staff in Brussels. Downing Street did not even know that he had formally left his post until Sir Ivan sent the message yesterday from Dorset, where he is on holiday.

Mail
Britain’s ambassador to Brussels took a swipe at ministers’ ‘muddled thinking’ as he quit his post without warning today. Sir Ivan Rogers shocked staff this afternoon by announcing his decision to step down from his post early – only three months before Britain’s talks on leaving the EU are due to begin. In his 1,400-word resignation letter, Sir Ivan said ministers needed to hear ‘unvarnished’ and ‘uncomfortable’ views from Europe. He wrote: ‘I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power. ‘I hope that you will support each other in those difficult moments where you have to deliver messages that are disagreeable to those who need to hear them.’

Independent
The UK’s ambassador to the European Union urged staff to “challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking” over Brexit as he resigned. Sir Ivan Rogers unexpectedly stepped down with weeks to go before Theresa May was due to trigger the process of leaving the 28-nation bloc. Here is his shock resignation letter in full.

Guardian
The resignation of Britain’s ambassador to the European Union is seen on both sides of the ever-widening Channel as a sobering reminder that the country is heading for the hardest of Brexits. Regardless of whether he was pushed or chose to jump, Sir Ivan Rogers was more than just the government’s representative in Brussels. He was also Britain’s best hope of a negotiated compromise with other member states over the terms of its departure. For hardliners in Westminster, the resignation will be seen as a late Christmas present. The Tory right has long accused Rogers of offering “little but doom and gloom” by focusing on the gulf between what they believe could be achieved through determined British bargaining and what the other 27 governments want.

NHS

Telegraph
The NHS is a cherished and vital institution across the UK – the average life expectancy has increased by 10 years since its introduction – yet it is under intense and increasing pressure. Occasionally, referrals take longer than necessary, letters don’t arrive, or waiting times are greater than expected. But this could all be about to change with the introduction of a number of tech innovations that should lead to a more personalised, improved experience for patients, thanks to a new partnership with leading communications company BT. Scott Adams, director of integrated health and social care at BT says: “We have a great relationship with the NHS on a national, regional and individual level, from top-level solutions to those affecting individual GP surgeries. Not many organisations work with the NHS on this kind of scale.”

Mail
The number of patients registered with each GP practice has soared by up to a third in three years, figures reveal. Surgery list sizes are rocketing due to the effects of migration and a shortage of family doctors. Understaffed practices are having to close and their patients are being taken on by those nearby, adding to the pressures. Patients queue outside a doctors’ surgery in Notting Hill, west London. The average surgery in England now has 7,521 patients on its books, a rise of seven percent since 2013. Figures obtained by the Mail show the average surgery in England now has 7,521 patients on its books, a rise of seven percent since 2013. But in the worst-hit areas the average surgery list size has swelled by 31 per cent in three years.

Times
Some hospital locum doctors have been working continuously for three years on rates of more than £300,000 a year despite an NHS pledge to cap earnings, new figures show. The NHS regulator today criticises stand-in doctors for not “doing their bit” for the health service after analysis reveals that their pay has continued to climb, with rates of £150 an hour still common. Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, the financial regulator, said: “We need to see more from medical locums. The rates of pay we’re seeing are not a good deal for the NHS and it’s unfair on the staff working alongside these temporary workers.”

Farmers

Sun
BRITISH farmers will gain 300,000 man hours after a bonfire of EU red-tape post Brexit, the government will declare today. Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom will call time on EU regulations that weigh down farmers in mountains of paperwork. She will claim this will lead to a massive windfall in both time and money for Br
itain’s rural producers. Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on Wednesday morning Mrs Leadsom will say that dealing with red tape and farm inspections is estimated to cost the industry £5 million per year and the loss of 300,000 hours. She will promise to free farmers from EU enforced bureaucracy to help them “get on with the job of growing fantastic British food.”

Express
BREXIT will free Britain’s farmers from a host of red tape restrictions, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom will promise them today. She will hail a “common sense” future in which farmers no longer have to pay for billboards advertising EU subsidies or bow to Brussels dictats about how many crops they should plant. Mrs Leadsom, who was a leading referendum campaigner for Brexit, will say it is possible to get real reform without compromising Britain’s existing high standards of welfare and food safety. Getting out of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy of subsidies is widely regarded as one of the many prizes for Britain as it exits the bloc. Red tape and farm inspections cost the UK farming industry an estimated £5million and 300,000 hours a year. The Government will consult farmers later this year on what they want reformed after Brexit.

EU

Express
BRUSSELS fatcats splurged an astonishing £4.2billion of taxpayers’ money on propping up of some of the most corrupt regimes on earth in just one fortnight, express.co.uk can reveal today. Eurocrats splashed out the jaw-dropping sum of money on programmes including combatting racism against migrants, bankrolling Government reforms and, perhaps most incredibly of all, directly financing national budgets. They authorised 15 bank-busting payments to 29 countries in the space of just 15 days in December, embarking on a staggering splurge at a time when voters in Europe are suffering under crushing austerity regimes. Astonishingly just five of those countries are ranked in the top half of nations in terms of institutional corruption, with most of them judged to be in the worst 50 globally.

Express
EUROPE is “under attack from Islam” and will lose its core values if migrants are not ejected, top Italian politician Matteo Salvini claimed. The Lega Nord party leader hailed the New Year Cologne sex attacks of 2015 as a “warning” that was not heeded and he claims the incident was directly responsible for the Berlin Christmas market massacre. Mr Salvini is adamant the main problem facing Europe is Islam, which he believes is incompatible with European societies. He fears Europe is “losing its values” and has shown itself to be “lacking in security” given the increase in violent terror attacks in recent years. He said: “We are under attack and must decisively kick out those people who do not have a legal claim to residence here. “If you want to live in peace, you have to prepare for war.”

Independent
Boris Johnson has used his first Daily Telegraph column of 2017 to take aim at European judges who he claims have forced a “pointless and expensive burden on millions of people”. The Foreign Secretary said it was “insane” that a 2014 ruling on motor insurance by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) could force Britons to buy insurance for a “vast menagerie of vehicles” including quad bikes and mobility scooters. The Government is now consulting on how to square the decision with UK law. Compulsory insurance was introduced on the roads to make sure victims of serious accidents received compensation for lost wages, specialist treatment and their injuries, and to avoid individuals going bankrupt when faced by large claims for damages.

Press regulation

Independent
Proposals which could see newspapers forced to pay their opponents’ legal costs even if they win in court are “eminently fair”, according to Max Mosley. The Government is currently consulting on whether to implement measures contained within Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which could see newspapers not signed up to an officially-recognised regulator pay the legal costs of both sides in libel and privacy actions brought against them. Newspapers that are part of a recognised regulator would be exempt from the measures. Mr Mosley, the former motor racing boss who was a victim of a newspaper sting, is a financial backer of Impress, a new press regulator set up in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, which has received formal approval from the Press Recognition Panel.

Terrorists

Mail
Small ports, marinas and beaches across the UK could give terrorists an easy route into Britain because they are not policed, a major report has warned. 
David Anderson, the terror laws watchdog chief, said jihadists could attempt to sneak across our porous border at hundreds of remote locations because of the absence of stringent checks. He expressed concerns that ‘foreign fighters’ returning from Syria and Iraq could breach the country’s security checks using small boats and planes. Mr Anderson, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, revealed his fears as Home Secretary Amber Rudd was handed a paper demanding a huge boost to frontier security. Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke said Parliamentary figures showed the Border Force’s budget had been slashed by £120million in just three years – from £617million in 2012-13 to £497million in 2015-16.

English earthquake

Mail
The largest earthquake to hit Britain for almost a decade was felt in North Yorkshire on Tuesday evening – but most of the residents didn’t even notice. The tremor measuring 3.9 on the Richter Scale happened in the North Sea 100 miles east of Scarborough at 6.52pm, the British Geological Survey said. The quake was the largest since a 5.2 magnitude tremor hit Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, in February 2008, which was felt as far away as Aberdeen and Ireland. But it seems even the residents of Scarborough didn’t feel the tremors yesterday and locals joked at how little about how little impact there had been. Dozens tweeted news stories about the event, writing that there had been an earthquake ‘apparently’.

ITV News
The
British Geological Survey confirmed an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.8 struck at 6.52pm on Tuesday, around 100 miles east of Scarborough. It was located 50km away from the site of the biggest UK earthquake ever, recorded at Dogger Bank in 1931. Following the quake some social media users took to to Twitter to poke fun at the incident by posting mocked up photos, exaggerating the impact of the tremor, online. One Twitter user shared an image of an upturned wheelie bin with the words “Never forget we will rebuild” superimposed on it and another shared a picture of a floored goat with the message “3.9 earthquake off the coast of Scarborough, hope everyone is alright!”

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