Article 50

MPs were last night urged to stand up for the people after unelected peers defied the Government for a second time on key legislation to trigger Britain’s EU departure. Pro-Brexit campaigners warned lords must not and would not get their way despite voting 366 to 268 for another amendment on Theresa May’s
Brexit Bill. The legislation is now expected to return to the Commons next week, sparking a historic clash with the Lords. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the vote was “disappointing” and vowed: “We will now aim to overturn these amendments.”  Tory MP Dominic Raab, of Change Britain, declared: “It’s undemocratic for the Lords to give themselves a veto over Brexit, and this flawed amendment would only encourage the EU to offer us a lousy deal.” MPs are likely to overturn the amendments made by peers despite an expected revolt by about 10 Tories. That would plunge the 137-word EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill into a bout of “parliamentary ping pong” between the Commons and the Lords.

Lord Heseltine was sacked from his role as a Government adviser on Tuesday evening after rebelling over Brexit. The Government suffered a second Parliamentary defeat on Brexit in the space of a week earlier on Tuesday. The former Conservative deputy prime minister had backed demands for a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal and led the fight for the amendment. He stated that quitting the European Union was the “most momentous peacetime decision of our time”. He told the Lords that he “deeply” regretted the outcome of last year’s EU referendum and that “the fightback starts here”. On Tuesday evening, Lord Heseltine was informed that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, was firing him from his roles advising the Government on a number of areas, including its industrial strategy.

Lord Heseltine was sacked last night as a government adviser for supporting a House of Lords rebellion that inflicted a historic defeat on the government. The former deputy prime minister was one of 13 Tory peers to rebel against the government by amending its Article 50 bill to give parliament the final say on any European Union agreement. The government was defeated 336-268 in the largest Lords vote since 1831. Lord Heseltine was told later that Theresa May was dismissing him from his roles advising the government on areas including industrial strategy. He said that it was parliament’s duty to protect the country’s legacy.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine has been dramatically sacked as a government adviser after rebelling over Brexit. The Tory grandee backed demands for a ‘meaningful’ vote on the final Brexit deal after warning quitting the European Union was the ‘most momentous peacetime decision of our time’. He was later told Prime Minister Theresa May was firing him from his roles advising the Government on a number of areas, including its industrial strategy.  The peer said he was sorry his expertise would no longer be used by the Government but insisted it was Parliament’s duty to protect the country’s legacy for future generations.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine has been sacked as a Government adviser after rebelling over Brexit. The T
ory grandee backed demands for a “meaningful” vote on the final Brexit deal after warning that quitting the European Union was the “most momentous peacetime decision of our time”. He was later told that Prime Minister Theresa May was firing him from his roles advising the Government on a number of areas, including its industrial strategy. The peer was asked to help the Government with plans to restore deprived estates under David Cameron and he also worked with George Osborne on plans for east London. He advised on plans for a Swansea city deal and has been working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Theresa May is heading for a fresh battle with Conservative MPs over her Brexit bill next week, after peers voted to give parliament the right to veto the final outcome of her EU talks. Downing Street said it would seek to overturn the amendment passed by the House of Lords on Tuesday by 366 to 268, arguing that giving parliament a blanket right of veto was against the national interest and would weaken May’s negotiating hand. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, said the government would try to throw out the amendment and a previous one that would guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK when the Brexit bill returns to the House of Commons on Monday. “It is disappointing that the House of Lords has chosen to make further changes to a bill that the Commons passed without amendment,” he said. “It has a straightforward purpose – to enact the referendum result and allow the government to get on with negotiating a new partnership with the EU.

LORD Michael Heseltine has been sacked as a government adviser after rebelling over Brexit. The controversial cross-party amendment was backed by peers by a majority of 98 in the House of Lords tonight, with 366 to 268 voting in favour. He warned the final Brexit deal was “totally unpredictable” during a debate today and was reportedly later told he would be let go from his roles advising on a number of areas. Lord Heseltine is a former Cabinet Minister and previously served as an adviser to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Growth. His push for the amendment saw the House of Lords voting in favour requiring Parliament to be given a “meaningful vote” on the Prime Minister’s final EU agreement. He said he backed the triggering of Article 50 and praised Theresa May’s handling of the formation of her government but added: “I do not accept that the mandate runs for all time and in all circumstances.

BBC News
Former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine has been sacked as a government adviser after rebelling over Brexit in the House of Lords. Lord Heseltine backed the demand for a parliamentary vote on the final deal to be written into Brexit legislation. He learned hours later on Tuesday that he had been fired from five government advisory roles he had held. He said he accepted Number 10’s right to sack him but “sometimes there are issues which transcend party politics”. Lord Heseltine, who campaigned to remain in the EU, told the Lords that the UK was facing “the most momentous peacetime decision of our time”. The peer said he was having dinner with his wife when he got a call from the chief whip, and went to the Lords to be told he was being sacked.


GERMANY’S finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has called for the remaining 27 European Union (EU) states to unite against Britain in the upcoming Brexit talks. The veteran Christian Democrat politician, 74, told a group of journalists in Berlin “now it’s important that we in the EU27 stick together”. He added it would be important to show to other EU countries contemplating leaving the bloc that a country could gain the benefits of EU membership without meeting its obligations. Mr Schäuble also said he believed the Brexit negotiations will be difficult and complicated. He said that at the conclusion of the negotiations it should be clear to everyone that remaining on the inside the EU has more advantages than being on the outside. Mr Schäuble also indicated that Germany is open to new forms of co-operation with Britain and in the past he has stated that he wanted a “reasonable” deal for the City of London.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is gearing up to lead a charge for ‘more Europe’ in the face of calls to create a two-tier European project, sources within the Commission have said. Unveiling a white paper on a post-Brexit strategy for the bloc on 1 March, Juncker outlined five possible paths ahead: 1) “Carry on”; 2) “Nothing but the single market”; 3) “Those who want more, do more”; 4) “Doing less, more efficiently”; and 5) “Doing much more together”. The leaders of France, Germany, Spain, and Italy expressed a preference for a two-stream Union at a press conference on Monday, a line which Juncker himself has previously taken. But responding to press reports that this was still the position Juncker held, Commission sources have sought to clarify he has now shifted to backing the fifth option – more Europe.

HUNGARY is rounding up asylum seekers, detaining them and deporting them to Siberia because the country’s prime minister thinks they are keeping his country “under siege”. Viktor Orban, who has recently commissioned a new task force of “border hunters” to capture illegal migrants, wants any asylum seeker who passed through a safe country en route to Hungary to be shipped back there as soon as possible. Migrants will be kept in converted shipping containers and will have to pay for their own detention. The law states that any asylum seekers, including families with children and unaccompanied older than 14-years-old to be jailed. They will have just three days to appeal against their deportation. Mr Orban, who fronts up the right wing Fidesz party, has reinforced Hungary’s border defence systems, such as high-rise fences, as well as boosting the number of dedicated migrant-focussed police.

BREXIT negotiator Guy Verhofstadt today launched an extraordinary and impassioned attack on the “disease of Europe” as he warned the bloc will not survive unless it pushes through major federalisation. The fired up Belgian politician swore at one point as he tore into the Brussels status quo, blasting key policies like the Schengen zone and the euro currency as unfinished. In an epic rant at a summit of European mayors in the Belgian capital he rattled off a fierce defence of EU unity but said “nationalist” thinking at member state level was holding the project back. He also told the assembled politicians that cities were best place to “fight populism” because of their open societies and large ethnic minority populations.  Mr Verhofstadt made the remarks after EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker mapped out five “pathways” the bloc can take after Brexit, the most federalist of which is named after the lifelong europhile. 

General Election

Theresa May came under mounting pressure yesterday to hold a snap election as cabinet ministers joined calls to win a commanding mandate for Brexit. Two senior ministers told The Times that Mrs May should seize the opportunity to crush Labour and strengthen her hand in exit negotiations. “She needs to go sooner rather than later,” one said. “We may never get this sort of chance again and we don’t know what’s coming round the corner.” Another cabinet source said that the former Tory leader Lord Hague of Richmond had “performed a service” by giving a public voice to the private clamour for an early election. It has been growing since the Tories won the Copeland by-election last month.

There is a debate at the highest level of government about holding an early Brexit General Election according to Nicholas Watt, the Political Editor of Newsnight. Several Cabinet Ministers are apparently pushing for such a move, though they want such a move to be painted as in the “national interest” rather than to be seen as political party manoeuvring. Watts cites the introduction of the Great Repeal Bill when EU law becomes UK law and can start to be be picked apart as a potential starting point for an election.

Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn is “very confident” Labour can win the next general election and has insisted the Labour Party’s support should not be underestimated. The Labour leader told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme:
“We are very confident of the support we can get in order to win an election, to take our case to the British people. Don’t underestimate the support there is for the Labour Party, don’t underestimate the anger there is out there at the levels of inequality and injustice in our society. We’ll expose all of that, that’s where our case is very strong.” Asked about what he would like to see in tomorrow’s Budget, Mr Corbyn replied: “What I would like to see is sufficient funding for the NHS and social care. I think that’s a key. What I would also like to see is [the government] addressing the issues of the school funding crisis, which means that many schools are now faced with the horrible prospect of laying off teachers or teaching assistants, classes getting bigger and children’s support in education getting less. I want to see those issues addressed.


Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and their civil servants are under pressure to “come clean” over their claims that oil revenues would have been a “bonus” to an independent Scotland after a close ally admitted this was wrong. The Conservatives said the First Minister and her deputy should “own up to the lies” they told in 2014 after Andrew Wilson, who chairs the SNP’s growth commission, confirmed that North Sea taxes would have been needed to fund public spending and were not a windfall. The Telegraph can also disclose that the claim was made in at least two Scottish Government documents written by civil servants, despite Scotland having a large public spending deficit at the time. A government leaflet distributed to voters in August 2014, the month before the referendum, outlined “what independence means for you”. A section on public finances stated that “Scotland more than pays its way” and “North Sea oil and gas is a bonus.”

FORMER deputy SNP leader Jim Sillars has said he would refuse to vote in favour of Scottish independence in a second referendum if it meant rejoining the European Union (EU). Speaking to the Herald newspaper, the Pro-Brexit campaigner said: “I do not want to be run by an unelected, self-serving elite”. Mr Sillars’ voting intentions were revealed during a BBC Radio 4 documentary, broadcast on Monday. According to the former party leader, making a second referendum about EU membership would be a “big mistake”, alienating many SNP supporters. He added: “I, for example, could not vote Yes if on the ballot paper it said, ‘We wish the Scottish state to be a member of the European Union’, and I’m not alone in that.” “One of the biggest miscalculations by Nicola Sturgeon is to believe that the 1.6m Scots who voted Remain would automatically then vote to go back into the European Union.


The NHS’s longest serving chief executive has been “pushed out” of his job after he suspended senior consultants who used hospital premises to have sex, according to hospital insiders. Sir Leonard Fenwick, Newcastle and Tyne Hospital Trust’s chief executive, was put on “extended leave” from the hospital under mysterious circumstances earlier this year, a decision which angered a number of staff and governors. Sir Leonard, 69, who has been at the helm of hospitals in the North East for 40 years, had exposed a ‘sex ring’ involving consultants who would meet female staff for liaisons – including on hospital premises – prior to being put on leave. A hospital worker told the Telegraph they were “appalled” that the married consultants who “shared” female staff between them and would use code words such as “marmite” and “cappuccino” for sex had not been “disciplined correctly”.

A senior NHS boss has been forced out of his job after exposing a hospital sex ring where senior consultants used code words to arrange sex with colleagues, it is alleged.  The health workers exchanged hundreds of emails in which they used code words such as ‘Marmite’ and ‘cappuccino’ to arrange sexual liaisons at one of the country’s top hospitals, it was revealed last month. The discovery of the sordid activity – which often took place yards from patients – has led to claims of a cover-up after the hospital refused to sack the two highly-paid consultants after a disciplinary hearing lasting just 20 minutes. But now chief executive Sir Leonard Fenwick has been put on ‘extended leave’ from the Newcastle and Tyne Hospital Trust leaving staff furious with some claiming he had been ‘pushed out’ of his post. A source said sexual partners were ‘shared’ between the two consultants at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Tens of thousands of extra hospital beds had to be provided each week by NHS trusts to cope with exceptional demand this winter – the equivalent of opening eight additional hospitals, analysis of official data has shown. In the busiest week of the winter period between 30 January and 5 February, 32,558 temporary beds, more than 4,500 a day, were made available to hospital patients, according to NHS Providers. The organisation, which represents nearly every health trust in the country, said the NHS had experienced its busiest winter ever, contributing to the worst A&E performance figures on record. NHS Providers research analyst Deborah Gulliver said overwhelming demand was “distressing and potentially dangerous for patients”. Hospitals are “operating at capacity levels beyond those which other international health systems would regard as acceptable”, she added.
When patient safety is at risk due to bed shortages, hospitals open temporary wards and provide ‘escalation beds’, at an extra cost to the trust. These are sometimes in areas not usually used for hospital patients, such as day care centres or rehabilitation gyms.

ONE in six cancer patients are not treated in the recommended time, a charity warns. They are supposed to start treatment no more than two months or 62 days after a hospital gets an urgent GP referral. But analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support showed 17 per cent were waiting beyond the official NHS target. 
It said over the past three years data shows those waiting longer than 62 days rose from 20,534 in 2014 to 25,157 in 2016. The charity warned that waiting for treatment could be distressing for patients while experts believed it could hamper a patient’s chance of survival. It has called on the Department of Health to publish an updated total amount of spending on cancer services. “This dismal ‘anniversary’ of breached cancer waiting times is yet another sign of pressure on the NHS,” said Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support.

ITV News
One in six cancer patients in England is not being treated in the recommended time, a charity has warned. Patients are supposed to start treatment no more than two months – or 62 days – after a hospital receives an urgent GP referral. But analysis by the charity Macmillan Cancer Support showed that 17% were waiting beyond the official NHS target. After analysing NHS data, the charity said that over the past three years, the number of people waiting longer than 62 days has risen steadily from 20,534 in 2014 to 25,157 in 2016.


The Department for Education has been forced to go to Parliament for emergency funding after exceeding its budget by over £3bn. This is the second year in a row in which the Department has had to seek a vote for excess funds, fuelling claims that public money is being “wasted” through poor accounting. Labour have accused the Department of breaching its budget – which stands at around £60bn in total – and failing to admit to the problem until the “last possible moment”. The Government insists the matter is not indicative of a cash overspend, however, but rather a quirk of the accounting process, since the DfE and academy school trusts operate using different financial years. Every year, Government departments that are about to exceed their expenditure limit must request an excess vote from Parliament to have more money granted to them.

Morning Star
LABOUR has torn into Tory plans in today’s Budget to splurge £320 million pounds on 140 new “vanity project” free schools — many likely to be selective grammars — alongside just £216m to help rebuild and refurbish existing schools. Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner slammed the Tories’ spending when schools face £3 billion in cuts. Yesterday she said: “Over half a million children are stuck in oversized classes because this government has failed to ensure there are enough school places. “Free schools are still being opened in areas where they are not needed and where there is no demand for them. This is now throwing more good money after bad. “It will do nothing to address the shortage of available school places.

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