Brexit

The question over the government’s Chequers plan could have been answered, says the Independent.

Theresa May’s Brexit plan is “not possible”, France’s Europe minister has said, dismissing suggestions that the EU’s negotiating position has shifted.
Nathalie Loiseau said she was “surprised” to read reports in the British media saying French president Emmanuel Macron was preparing to soften his stance and urge European leaders to agree a Brexit deal.
Ms Loiseau said the UK’s Chequers plan had failed to strike a “balance between rights and obligations” to the EU.

And yet the Express claims the Brexit minister is ‘optimistic’ about a deal.

MINISTERS are “stubbornly optimistic” that an ambitious Brexit deal is within reach and can be “done and dusted” by October.
The new optimism came after productive talks between Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, saw Brussels make significant concessions on a number of areas including security and the Galileo project.
A senior source has told the Express that there has been a “marked change of attitude” from the EU negotiators who have taken a much more “pragmatic” approach.

It looks like the October deadline might be put back, says Sky News.

Details on Britain’s future relationship with the EU are becoming “clearer and clearer” the Brexit secretary has insisted, as he again hinted that negotiators could miss the hoped-for October deadline.
Dominic Raab said as the latest round of talks finished that he was “stubbornly optimistic” a deal was “within our reach”.
Progress was made on security and defence – such as extradition agreements – he added, but the Northern Irish border remains a sticking point.

Trade deal

A trade agreement could fail if the UK doesn’t agree that specialist European foods can’t be made here, reports the Telegraph.

The European Union has warned that Britain’s hopes of a trade deal could be scuppered unless it recognises EU protections for food and drink such as Parma Ham and Champagne after Brexit.
The EU system for protecting foods in certain regions emerged as a major sticking point at a press conference in Brussels with Dominic Raab, the UK’s Brexit secretary, and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
However, the ultimatum could strengthen the hand of British negotiators, as Italian and French food producers are said to be deeply concerned about cheap imitations of their products flooding the UK market.

Security is sorted, says the Sun, but there are other disagreements.

A BREXIT deal to keep close security links with the EU is all but done, negotiators declared.
But after intensive talks, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief Michel Barnier admitted there were still major “bones of contention” about the far trickier future trade deal.

At the same time, France sent a strong hint to Theresa May that she will need to stump up billions of pounds in annual cash payments to win the broad trade deal she wants.

Scallop wars

Meanwhile, matters are continuing to explode in the English Channel. The Mail reports a French threat:

France has told British fisherman to keep out of the disputed scallop-waters today as  French  fishermen warned they may use ‘heavy artillery’ if another bout of violence was to break out in the Channel.
Argiculture minister Stephane Travert confirmed he held talks with his counterpart George Eustice to try and quell tensions in the ongoing ‘scallop war’. He indicated the two nations would try to come to an agreement next week.
On Tuesday, British and French fishing boats clashed off the English Channel as a bitter dispute on fishing rights boiled over into violence. 

The Telegraph says the Royal Navy doesn’t have enough ships to help.

Clashes between British and French fishermen demonstrate that Britain will have “insufficient ships” to protect its waters after Brexit, a former First Sea Lord warns today.
In a letter to The Telegraph, Lord West of Spithead says that Britain’s lack of patrol boats will have “disastrous” consequences after Brexit.
He also says that despite having good intelligence about Britain’s waters, the UK is failing to “prioritise” and act on it.

And the Sun claims the French are preparing to escalate the clash.

FRENCH fisherman today pledged to use “the heavy artillery” on British scallop trawlers in the next violent English Channel clash.
Five boats were blockaded by 40 French vessels on Tuesday morning who lobbed petrol, smoke bombs and rocks in a two-and-a-half hour fishing rights battle.

French fishermen now appear to be planning to step up their attacks on British vessels as they branded out trawlers “roast beef”.

The Times claims there’s a lawsuit pending, but who is doing the attacking?

British skippers involved in the “scallop wars” this week face a criminal lawsuit in France alleging that they endangered the lives of their counterparts.
French skippers filed the lawsuit, claiming that their boats were rammed by larger British vessels during the clash in the Channel on Tuesday.
The legal move came as Stéphane Travert, the French agriculture minister, urged British vessels not to return to the contested zone next week, as they have pledged.

Ireland

And there are still problems over the border between Northern Ireland and the republic, says the Express.

BRUSSELS is preparing to “fudge” a last-ditch agreement on the Irish border to push through a Brexit deal with Britain in the 11th hour.
A number of member states such as Germany and the Republic of Ireland have given the go ahead to broaden EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s powers to meet their self-imposed October deadline.
EU leaders are also said to be prepared to take over Mr Barnier’s gruelling talks should it come to it “just to get this done”, according to City A.M.
Northern Ireland’s border has been a headache for much of the Brexit negotiations, with today’s meeting between Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Mr Barnier not expected to result in a breakthrough.

The Independent claims Barnier has demanded the UK finds a solution to the problem.

The UK must agree a “backstop” plan for the  Northern Ireland border after Brexit  as “a matter of some urgency”, the EU’s chief negotiator has warned.
Speaking after the latest round of negotiations,  Michel Barnier said that without a detailed plan, “there will be no agreement”.
The sticking point relates to what should happen to the Northern Ireland border if the UK and EU are unable to reach a trade deal that would see an open border maintained.
Speaking alongside Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, Mr Barnier said: “We must have a detailed backstop solution, which is legally operational, in the withdrawal agreement.

The Guardian claims the Frenchman is refusing to give ground on the matter.

Michel Barnier is refusing to back down on establishing a border in the Irish Sea to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and has publicly asked the British government for data to prove that the checks on goods flowing within the territory of the UK would be few in number.
The EU’s chief negotiator, who has been strident on the issue during the behind-the-scenes negotiations, made public his request for the information as he warned he needed an agreement on Northern Ireland and other outstanding withdrawal issues “by November at the latest”.

The Mirror also quotes Barnier in saying there will be no deal without an agreement.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said there will be no Brexit agreement unless there is a “backstop” arrangement for the Irish border.
He told a press conference in Brussels: “This backstop is critical: it’s essential to conclude the negotiations.
“As I said, with no backstop there will be no agreement.”
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, responding to Mr Barnier’s comments, said the Government “remained committed” to finding a solution in Northern Ireland.

EU

Over on the Continent, they’re planning to stop changing the clocks twice a year, says the Express.

THE European Union wants to stop the annual changing of clocks between winter and summertime. In another attempt to interfere, Brussels officials have said that they favour keeping the summertime but will leave it up to the remaining 27 members to decide which they prefer.
The move will not affect Britain directly because it will be free of Brussels rules from 29 March next year with Brexit.
However, it threatens to create a new time border between Ireland and Northern Ireland if the UK continues the tradition of changing the clocks.

And the Telegraph points out that such a move could force travellers over the Irish border to adjust their timepieces as they cross.

A European Commission plan to abolish daylight savings time in the EU may create a “time border” in Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, announced on Friday that his officials would put forward a bill abolishing the clock change “Millions,” he said, “believe that summertime should be all the time.”
If Ireland agrees to the change, observers believe Northern Ireland could be forced to follow suit, which could mean Belfast and London operating on an hours difference for seven months of the year. Alternately, Northern Ireland and Ireland could be on different times, which could conceivably wreak havoc and confusion over the porous Irish border.

The practice could stop because EU citizens don’t like it, says the Mail.

The EU is set to end the practice of switching between summer and winter time after a survey found most EU citizens are against it.
More than 80 per cent of EU citizens wanted to abolish the bi-annual switch currently required by law, president Jean-Claude Juncker said on German television.
Juncker said the poll suggested that citizens preferred staying on summer time, adding he would put the plan to a debate among EU commissioners.

‘We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that’s what will happen,’ he told public broadcaster ZDF.

Sky News claims it’s just another ‘headache’ for Dominic Raab and his team.

The EU will scrap biannual clock changes, Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged, in a move that poses another headache for Brexit negotiators.
Following an online consultation, which received 4.6 million responses from across all 28 EU countries, the European Commission has revealed 84% want to abolish the act of daylight saving.
“We carried out a survey, millions responded and believe that in future, summer time should be year-round, and that’s what will happen,” Mr Juncker, the European Commission President, told German TV on Friday.

The Mirror points out that the survey was held all over Europe.

The EU is gearing up to end daylight saving time after an overwhelming 80% of citizens voted to back the change.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the EU plans to get rid of the switch between summer and winter time.
More than 80 percent of respondents are in favour of abolishing the change in time in summer and winter.
Around 4.6 million people took part in the survey – believed to be the biggest survey of EU citizens – with three million of those from Germany.

Labour Party

The resignation of Labour MP Frank Field has led to ructions in the party. The Telegraph has a column by David Blunkett.

The resignation of one of Labour’s longest-serving MPs over anti-Semitism must be a “catalyst for seismic change” or the party risks falling into “decline and irrelevance”, Lord Blunkett has warned.
The former Labour home secretary says Frank Field’s decision to resign the whip highlights the need for a fundamental rethink about the “Corbyn project” as he condemns his response to the anti-Semitism scandal as a “shambles”.
Writing in The Telegraph, Lord Blunkett warns that under Jeremy Corbyn the “bullying and thuggery” of the militant left during the 1980s has returned, posing a “dangerous” threat to democracy.

BBC News claims Mr Field is thinking about resigning and forcing a by-election.

Veteran MP Frank Field has said he is considering triggering a by-election in his Birkenhead constituency.
He resigned the Labour whip over the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations and what he calls “bullying and intimidation” in local parties.
He says he wants to remain a party member and sit as an “independent Labour” MP – Labour says resigning the whip means quitting the party.
His critics say he quit because he was facing deselection by local members.

But the Independent reports that he will NOT trigger a by-election.

A senior Labour MP who resigned the whip and accused Jeremy Corbyn of being “a force for antisemitism in British politics” has said he will not be triggering a by-election in his constituency.
Frank Field, who has served as the MP for Birkenhead for almost 40 years, resigned the whip on Thursday over what he described as the current perception of Labour as a “racist party”.
Mr Field said on Friday he had been told by Labour’s chief whip that he could not remain as a party member, but the veteran MP vowed to fight his expulsion in the courts if necessary.
He said: “I will dispute it until the end. I’m not being kicked out the Labour Party like that.”

The Times claims the resignation plunges the party into turmoil.

The Labour Party was plunged into deeper turmoil yesterday as the reverberations from Frank Field’s decision to resign the whip  exposed stark divisions in its ranks.
Mr Field threatened to sue the party of which he has been a member for 60 years after Nick Brown, the opposition chief whip, told him that under Labour’s rules he had in effect renounced his party membership and would be expelled within a fortnight. Mr Field, 76, Labour’s third longest-serving MP, said he would “fight it with the best lawyers I have”.
When he announced his decision to resign the whip over antisemitism and bullying on Thursday, he had vowed to stay a party member and said he hoped to reapply for the whip.

This could be the start of resignations, says the Mirror.

Labour was warned that Frank Field’s departure could spark an exodus of unhappy MPs.
Mike Gapes, who represents Ilford South, said he was “agonising” over his future in the party, which has been rocked by allegations of anti-Semitism and bullying.
And MP Wes Streeting said Labour faced its biggest crisis since 1981, when a disgruntled faction split to form the SDP.
Mr Field, who resigned the whip on Thursday in protest at Jeremy Corbyn ’s leadership, said he could trigger a by-election in his Birkenhead seat.
He said: “Over the next few days, that’s clearly a question I will have to think about.”

Sky News claims Mr Field has been threatened with being thrown out of the party.

Frank Field says he has been told by Labour’s chief whip to withdraw his resignation within two weeks or face being ejected from the party.
The politician, who has represented Birkenhead for nearly 40 years, was told by Nick Brown that he would be removed from the party unless he reversed his decision to resign the whip – effectively the rules and policy an MP is bound by.
The veteran MP confirmed to Sky News that he would not be withdrawing his resignation and was considering hiring lawyers to fight any attempt to remove him as a party member.

NHS

Elsewhere the Independent has yet another story of the pressure on the NHS.

Patients are being turned away from sexual health  clinics amid record demand as councils warn services could struggle to cope unless the government reverses £600m worth of public health cuts due by 2020.
The Local Government Association has said that attendance at clinics has increased 13 per cent since 2013, with more than 3.3 million people seen in 2017.
This pressure has led to patients being turned away from fully booked clinics at a time when  chlamydia cases are increasing faster than they have for half a century.

Rail travel

The new London railway is suffering delays, reports the Mail.

Infuriated passengers have spoken out following the shock announcement Crossrail is to be delayed by nine months – now with just a vague autumn opening date next year.
The delay has caused much ‘frustration’ among passengers and business owners alike with one irate commuter labelling himself ‘not Crossrail’ but ‘disappointed rail.’
The colossal project had been expected to open in December this year bringing significantly reduced journey times to the capital – but the need for ‘further testing’ has led to the delay.  

The line could be delayed until next year, says ITV News.

The highly anticipated, new east-west railway Crossrail will miss its December opening date and services will not begin until autumn next year, a spokesman for the project said.
More time is needed to complete “final infrastructure and extensive testing” to ensure a “safe and reliable railway” is delivered, according to Crossrail Limited.
Services were due to begin running by the end of the year, but the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will not be opened until autumn 2019.
Rail minister Jo Johnson announced last month that the scheme’s budget has been increased from £14.8 billion to £15.4 billion due to “cost pressures”.

The Times claims the delay is an ‘embarrassment’.

The delay to the opening of London’s east-west railway Crossrail is a national embarrassment that will harm companies who planned for the end of construction to be in December, according to business leaders.
Issues with signalling systems and delays to station fit-outs have led to the opening of the central London section being pushed back to autumn next year.
Crossrail Limited said that more time was needed to complete “final infrastructure and extensive testing” to ensure that a “safe and reliable railway” was provided. Jo Johnson, the rail minister, announced in July that the project’s budget had been increased from £14.8 billion to £15.4 billion because of “cost pressures”.

The Star reports chaos during a strike.

THOUSANDS of passengers will face misery this weekend as the South Western Rail and Arriva staff strike forces cancellations to half of the weekend’s trains.
More than 1,900 South West services have been axed today due to the walkout while hundreds of trains also face delays and disruption during three days of action.
The strike will affect routes to and from Waterloo.
Only half of its scheduled 1,500 trains will run on Saturday, meaning 750 cancellations.
Sunday is the quietest day of the week with about 1,200 trains timetabled – but half of those will not run.

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