Brexit

Sky News
Theresa May is attempting to stage a Brexit fightback after an embarrassing Commons defeat by unveiling a series of pledges on Northern Ireland in a bid to win over the Democratic Unionist Party. After 20 Tories rebelled and the government was defeated by MPs battling to block a no-deal Brexit, the debate on the Prime Minister’s deal – dramatically postponed last month – resumes in the Commons.  Facing a crushing defeat at the end of a five-day debate in December, Mrs May announced she would return to Brussels to seeks concessions on the Irish border and the so-called Northern Ireland “backstop”.

Mail
Theresa May suffered another humiliating defeat at the hands of Tory Remain rebels tonight as they won a ‘shutdown’ vote and promised more revolts against no deal. In a defiant show of rebel strength, 20 Tories voted for an amendment to the Finance Bill tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper to tie the Treasury’s hands in a no deal Brexit – with the Government losing 303 to 296. And the rebels warned the PM the alliance with Labour will ‘sustain itself’ and promised ‘we will not allow a no deal exist to occur at the end of March’.

BBC News
Theresa May’s no-deal Brexit preparations suffered a blow after MPs defeated the Government in the Commons.  Labour former minister Yvette Cooper tabled an amendment to the Budget-enacting Finance (No. 3) Bill which attracted support from Tory rebels.  Her proposal aims to restrict the Government’s freedom to use the Bill to make tax changes linked to a no-deal Brexit without the “explicit consent” of Parliament. It was supported by 303 votes to 296, a majority of seven

Express
THERESA May has been suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the House of Commons after MPs voted to curtail the Government’s tax powers in an effort to reduce the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The cross-party amendment to the finance bill, backed by 20 Tory rebels, passed by 303 votes to 296. Designed to provide an obstacle to a hard Brexit, the change will restrict some of the Treasury’s no-deal Brexit tax powers.

Mirror
MPs kicked off their ‘guerilla’ war in Parliament inflicting a defeat on the Government and blocking taxation powers unless a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table. They voted 303 to 296 in the first of many attempts to block or amend key legislation before Brexit Day. Labour former minister Yvette Cooper tabled an amendment to the Budget-enacting  finance (No. 3) Bill which attracted support from Tory rebels. Her proposal aims to restrict the Government’s freedom to use the Bill to make tax changes linked to a no-deal Brexit without the “explicit consent” of Parliament.

Times
Senior Conservatives vowed last night to fight a guerrilla campaign to stop a “disastrous” no-deal Brexit after inflicting the first Commons defeat on a government finance bill in more than 40 years. Twenty Tory MPs, including seven former cabinet ministers, broke a three-line whip to restrict the Treasury’s powers to prepare for leaving the European Union without a deal in March. The rebels, who included the former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and the former Cabinet Office minister Sir Oliver Letwin, warned that they would continue to sabotage all no-deal Brexit legislation until Theresa May ruled out the option.

Telegraph
Tory rebels began a “guerrilla war” to block a no-deal Brexit on Tuesday night by helping defeat Theresa May in a vote that restricts her powers if Britain leaves without an agreement in place. Twenty Conservative MPs, including 17 former ministers, voted for a Labour amendment that will prevent the Government altering certain taxes in the event of no deal.

Independent
The government suffered a fresh defeat over Theresa May‘s  Brexit  strategy after MPs backed an amendment to the Finance Bill that will limit tax powers in the event of a chaotic exit from the EU. The amendment, tabled by ex-ministers Yvette Cooper and Nicky Morgan, seeks to force the government to take a no-deal Brexit off the table. MPs backed the amendment by 303 votes to 296, in a vote that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called “an important step” in reducing the chances of a no-deal exit.

Guardian
Theresa May faces a concerted campaign of parliamentary warfare from a powerful cross-party alliance of MPs determined to use every lever at their disposal to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a deal in March. The former staunch loyalist Sir Oliver Letwin signalled that he and other senior Conservatives would defy party whips, repeatedly if necessary, to avoid a no-deal Brexit, as the government suffered a humiliating defeat during a debate on the finance bill in the Commons.

Breitbart
Britain’s Parliament has dealt the government a narrow defeat by passing an amendment designed to put roadblocks in place to make a “No Deal” Brexit more difficult. Legislators on Tuesday backed an amendment to the Finance Bill that would prohibit spending on “No Deal” preparations unless authorised by Parliament. The vote showed widespread opposition in Parliament to possible plans for a “No Deal” scenario under which Britain would leave the European Union on March 29th without a departure agreement in place.

Westmonster
MPs seeking to block a No Deal Brexit have voted for an amendment to the Finance Bill aimed at thwarting preparations for an exit on WTO terms, in a symbolic defeat for the government. Many in Westminster are still determined to block a clean break with the EU. The amendment passed narrowly by 303 votes to 296. Westmonster reported how Yvette Cooper and other anti-Brexit MPs had tabled the amendment just before Christmas.

Harassment

Independent
Pro-Brexit campaigners have condemned the harassment of MPs and journalists by “far-right” demonstrators outside parliament. Leave Means Leave said abuse shouted at Remain supporters including Tory MP Anna Soubry was “utterly unacceptable”. A group calling themselves “Yellow Vests UK” have been returning to Westminster almost daily to confront and heckle pro-EU demonstrators who gather at College Green. On Monday, they chanted “Soubry is a Nazi” as the MP did television interviews before following her along the street shouting abuse.

Guardian
Dozens of MPs have written to the UK’s most senior police officer to raise concerns about safety outside parliament after the Conservative MP Anna Soubry faced chants from protesters on Monday calling her a “Nazi”. At least 55 parliamentarians signed the letter to the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, after the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, urged officers to do more to protect MPs and Soubry criticised the lack of police response to the abuse. Scotland Yard later confirmed it had opened an investigation into whether any offences had been committed when chants of “Soubry is a Nazi” could clearly be heard while the pro-remain MP was being interviewed by BBC News on Abingdon Green.

Independent
A Leave-supporting MP has been spotted outside parliament carrying a GoPro camera to document abuse from protesters. David Davies, the Welsh Conservative MP, said Brexiteers had been subjected to harassment by Remain-backing opponents for the past year. Speaking to The Independent, he said: “People have started to notice it now because it seems to be going on on all sides, but it’s been going on for 12 months as far as I’m concerned.

Sky News
Conservative MP Anna Soubry has told Sky News she felt in physical danger when faced by protesters in Westminster. The former Tory minister was taunted with shouts of “Nazi” during live TV interviews on Monday, before being confronted by a group of men as she made her way back to parliament. Metropolitan Police are facing demands to change how they deal with protesters who “ritually” insult and abuse MPs.

Mirror
Theresa May today condemned the Brexit abuse waged against Anna Soubry – who was branded a Nazi by Leave-backing protesters outside Parliament. The Prime Minister told this morning’s Cabinet meeting the “unacceptable and disgraceful treatment” meted out to the Remain-supporting former Business Minister was “not how debate should be conducted”, her spokesman said. Later, Speaker John Bercow branded the actions of protesters “a type of fascism”.

BBC News
Speaker John Bercow has described the abuse and harassment of MPs outside Parliament as “a type of fascism” and called for a change of policing policy. He said recent incidents, including Tory MP Anna Soubry being verbally abused on Monday, were “intolerable”. At least 115 MPs have called on police to improve their response to abusive protesters outside Parliament. The Metropolitan Police has said it is ready to “deal robustly” with any instances of criminal harassment.

Breitbart
Nigel Farage has warned against taking police action or passing new laws to punish people for insulting politicians, after British “yellow vests” branded EU loyalist Anna Soubry MP a fascist. The Brexit campaign leader was responding to incidents in which the Tory MP and left-wing commentator Owen Jones were followed by Brexiteer protesters wearing yellow tabards in the style of the anti-Macron gilets jaunes in France, near Parliament, and criticised in no uncertain terms. Ms Soubry, in particular, is a deeply unpopular figure among Brexiteers, having stood for election in her Leave-voting constituency on a Leave manifesto, claiming to have accepted the Leave vote, and even tweeting “Brexit means Brexit” — before turning all her efforts towards openly campaigning for Brexit to be stopped.

No deal

Express
Britain’s “best and only chance” of reaping the rewards of quitting the European Union is to leave without a deal, 17 leading Brexit groups have told Theresa May. Trading on international rules after March 29 instead of signing off the divorce deal on offer from Brussels would put an end to the uncertainty blighting the country and stop £39 billion being needlessly given away, the alliance said. In an open letter to the Prime Minister and every MP, cross-party campaigns including Leave Means Leave, Labour Leave and Economists for Free Trade, said the withdrawal agreement on offer was a “shoddy political compromise”.

Independent
Theresa May is on a collision course with parliament after Downing Street indicated she would take Britain out of the European Union without a deal if MPs reject her proposals in a crunch vote. At cabinet the prime minister acknowledged defeat could be on the cards next week, telling ministers she would “move quickly” to make a statement if her plans fall. Her spokesperson later underlined that while she would prefer a deal, “she is going to deliver” Brexit on 29 March regardless.

Mail
Adverts warning the public to prepare themselves for a no deal  Brexit  have today begun being aired on radio amid mounting fears the UK will crash out of the bloc. The Government has paid for the emergency ads to be aired as part of their last tranche of no deal planning signed off by senior ministers late last month. The ads, which are being aired on commercial radio stations across the UK, comes amid fears warring MPs will not agree a Brexit deal before March 29.

EU

Mail
Irish PM Leo Varadkar today insisted the EU does not want to ‘trap’ the UK as he held out the prospect of more ‘assurances’ on the Brexit deal. Mr Varadkar sounded a conciliatory note as he made clear the bloc will give written commitments that the Irish border backstop would only be temporary. But other EU ministers have insisted the guarantees, expected before the crunch Commons vote next week, will only be ‘political’ rather than legally binding as Theresa May had hoped.

Guardian
Germany has said it stands in “full solidarity” with Ireland over the Irish backstop, saying a hard border would be unacceptable to the EU. Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, was speaking as Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, said MPs who were planning to vote against Theresa May’s deal needed to stop their “wishful thinking” that the EU would reopen Brexit negotiations. “Some people call us stubborn, but the truth is avoiding a hard border in Ireland is a fundamental concern for the EU, a union that more than anything else serves one purpose – to build and maintain peace in Europe,” said Maas.

Times
German industrial production fell sharply in November, according to official data that is likely to fuel anxieties about the country’s economy. Output fell for the third consecutive month in November, according to Destatis, the German federal statistics office, which recorded a drop of 1.9 per cent.  Economists had forecast a rise of 0.3 per cent. The downbeat reading was driven largely by consumer goods, which fell by 4.1 per cent. Energy production declined by 3.1 per cent and construction products were 1.7 per cent down. Industrial production, which excludes energy and construction, fell by 1.8 per cent, as did the production of capital goods.

NHS

Guardian
NHS leaders are preparing to risk a backlash by relaxing long-established key treatment waiting time targets, including hospitals’ duty to deal with A&E patients within four hours. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, admitted it was considering changing the system under which 95% of A&E arrivals were meant to be seen and admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours. The shake-up could see people with only minor ailments, such as a sprain, forced to wait longer, while priority is given to those with more serious conditions

Times
The biggest emergencies-only hospital in Europe will take three years longer than expected to build and cost nearly twice its original budget. The Midland Metropolitan Hospital was intended to treat 170,000 A&E patients a year from this summer but will not open until 2022. It will also cost at least £605 million, despite originally being priced at £350 million. The problems were highlighted after Theresa May unveiled a ten-year strategy for the health service that included a £20 billion spending boost by 2023.

Migrants

Times
Official population figures may be miscalculating the number of migrants by tens of thousands in many areas, according to findings published today. The Social Market Foundation, a public policy think tank, says that significant inflows of migrants have meant that census and survey information about the number of people living in the UK who were not born there can quickly become outdated and “shrouded in guesswork”. The official estimate from the year to June 2018 that there were 9.4 million people living in the UK who were not born there could be out by 145,000 in either direction, the foundation said.

Mirror
A fee for many migrants to use the NHS has doubled, effective from today. The immigration health surcharge has been hiked from £200 to £400 a year, or £150 to £300 for international students. It applies to people who come to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) – which includes the EU and other countries – and stay for more than six months. When they announced the move 11 months ago Tory ministers said the up-front fee would raise around £220 million a year. The surcharge was originally brought in by the Government in 2015 in a clampdown on so-called “health tourism”.

Prison

Telegraph
Prison bars are to be removed from cell windows at new jails following a government-funded study which warned they were “punitive” and “institutional.” The three-year taxpayer-funded project proposed rethinking the architecture of prisons to help boost the prospects of rehabilitating offenders by “normalising their environment.” Yvonne Jewkes, a professor of criminology at Bath University, is now conducting a second study, also funded by £600,000 of taxpayers’ cash, into whether calling prisoners “men” and cells “rooms” will help rehabilitate offenders.

Mail
Bars will not be fitted on windows at new jails after a report described them as ‘punitive’ and ‘institutional’. A government-funded study suggested the architecture of prisons should be reformed to help boost the rehabilitation of offenders by ‘normalising their environment’. Her Majesty’s Prison Service said bars would be replaced by reinforced glass following the report by Yvonne Jewkes, professor of criminology at Bath University. She is now compiling a second report on whether prisoners should be called ‘men’ and cells rebranded ‘rooms’. The two studies together will cost around £600,000.

Drones

Telegraph
Heathrow suspended all departures on Tuesday due to reported drone sightings just weeks after a similar debacle caused chaos at Gatwick. The London airport halted all outbound flights at around 5pm as a “precautionary measure” to “prevent any threat to operational safety”. They were given the all clear around an hour later, as staff said they would continue to monitor the situation and government sources said they remained on standby. A Heathrow spokesman said: “We continue to work closely with the Met Police to respond to reports of drones at Heathrow.

Times
Fears were raised over security at British airports yesterday after Heathrow grounded flights for almost an hour over a suspected drone sighting. Critics demanded to know why Europe’s busiest airport was without permanent drone defences almost three weeks after a similar incident led to a shutdown at Gatwick. Heathrow, which handles 214,000 passengers a day, suspended all departures shortly after 5pm following reports of a device being flown to the north of the airfield.

Mail
The technology deployed by Gatwick airport bosses to prevent further drone chaos has been revealed as an advanced system used by the U.S. military that can cost as little as £800,000. It comes after disruption spread to Heathrow when flights were halted for nearly 90 minutes when police spotted a rogue craft above the runway. New pictures taken at the airport on Friday show the Anti-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Defence System, or AUDS for short, on the roof of the South Terminal in West Sussex

Star
THE military was deployed to London Heathrow airport last night after a drone sighting was confirmed by police. A drone was spotted over Heathrow yesterday evening, sparking chaos as dozens of flights were suspended. Passengers were told their flights would not be leaving as police helicopters were scrambled to the airfield. It came just weeks after Gatwick airport was crippled by drone chaos that halted more than 1,000 flights over Christmas.

Sun
TWITTER has erupted into a frenzy of memes and GIFS after flights at Heathrow Airport were suspended because of a DRONE. The latest travel chaos comes weeks after multiple drone sightings caused flights to be suspended at Gatwick in the run up to Christmas.  But as passengers at  the UK’s largest airport stress over their travel plans, Twitter users have responded to the news with side-splitting posts. One cheeky Twitter user posted a snap of Theresa May operating a drone, along with the caption: “Should distract everyone for a few hours.”

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