No deal

There’s likely to be a huge row in Cabinet, reports the Express.

BREXIT secretary Steven Barclay is set to ramp up no-deal Brexit planning in a move that is likely to trigger a “major totemic battle” among cabinet ministers.
The Eurosceptic Tory MP will present a paper to cabinet in the next few weeks on whether to step up planning in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal. But cabinet ministers are divided on the matter, with some pro-EU cabinet ministers, such as chancellor Philip Hammond, opposing the idea of pumping more money into no-deal preparations.
Yet Eurosceptic cabinet ministers, including Liam Fox, Penny Mordant, Chris Grayling and Andrea Leadsom back Mr Barclay’s proposal to recommence contingency preparations.
Eurosceptic ministers believe the threat of a no-deal Brexit gives Britain more leverage in any future negotiations with Brussels, the Financial Times has reported.
This view is heightened by the claim that the EU could refuse a further extension of Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the bloc.

Second referendum

In what it claims is an exclusive report, the Sun reports a claim by the LimpDum leader.  Wishful thinking?

THERESA May’s deputy revealed the Government is carrying out secret planning to hold a second Brexit referendum, Sir Vince Cable claims.
The Lib Dem leader said David Lidington told him holding another vote would be “perfectly practical”.
The revelation will spark uproar among Tory Brexiteers who are already in open revolt over Theresa May’s refusal to name a date for when she will quit.
Sir Vince and fellow hardline Remainer Heidi Allen both held talks with David Lidington on Thursday morning.
The Lib Dem chief – whose EU election slogan is “boll**s to Brexit – said he left sure the Government is planning for another vote.

May

In a report filed during the early hours of this morning, the Sun claims the PM will not announce a departure date – still.

THERESA May is refusing to set a firm resignation date as she is convinced it would make it impossible to pass her Brexit deal.
The reasoning behind the PM’s defiance in her stand-off with party grandees is revealed today by the chairman of the 1922 Committee of all Tory backbenchers.
Pinning down her departure date before a deal is approved by the Commons would only see her Brexiteer critics dig in and wait for it rather than vote for her EU agreement, she fears.
But despite the PM’s refusal so far, Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May fulfils his demand for a timetable to leave No10 no matter what at her showdown meeting with his executive team next Thursday.

But BBC News claims she’ll set a date very soon.

Prime Minister Theresa May could set a date for her resignation in the coming days, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee has said.
The PM said she will step down when her Brexit deal is ratified by Parliament – but some MPs want a fixed date.
Sir Graham Brady said he expects a “clear understanding” of that timetable once she has met the committee, which she will do on Wednesday.
Sir Graham also refused to rule out running himself to replace Mrs May.

But the Mail claims she will not set a date at all.

Theresa May will not set a resignation date because she says it would make passing her Brexit deal impossible, according to reports.
Setting a definite date could see the Prime Minister’s Brexiteer critics hold out for her departure, rather than backing her deal for the UK to leave the EU.
But chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers Sir Graham Brady is still insisting Mrs May sets a leaving date when she meets with his executive team next Thursday, the Sun reported.

Grieve

A prominent Remainer is facing deselection, reports the Telegraph.

Arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve is fighting for his political career after local Tory activists collected enough signatures to make him to face a deselection vote next month.
The news comes after Beaconsfield Conservatives passed a vote of no confidence vote in Mr Grieve in March by 182 to 131 votes.
Mr Grieve, the chairman of Parliament’s intelligence watchdog, has been heavily criticised locally for his efforts in the House of Commons to frustrate attempts to take the UK out of the European Union.

MPs

Several of the media report our MPs boosting their money by claiming for adult offspring.  The Telegraph says:

MPs including a minister are boosting their expenses by claiming for adult children “dependent” upon them, The Telegraph can disclose.
Rules introduced in 2017 allow MPs to claim additional second home expenses of up to £5,400 per child.
The rule was originally intended to help MPs with children rent bigger homes but The Telegraph has discovered, following changes to the regulations, several are using the allowance to claim for adult children in their 20s.

The Mail has picked up the report.

MPs are boosting their expenses payments by claiming for ‘dependent’ children who are 18 or over, it was reported last night.
Rules introduced in 2017 allow them to claim up to £5,400 per child that they support in a second home.
The policy was originally intended to help MPs with children rent bigger homes – but several are using it to claim for adult children in their 20s, the Daily Telegraph reported.

And the Telegraph also reports that MPs are being asked to allow GPS tracking to verify their mileage.  Nobody’s suggesting they’re fiddling their mileage, are they …?

MPs are being asked to allow the expenses watchdog to track their movements by GPS signal in order to improve the accuracy of their mileage claims.
Training documents given to MPs’ staff and seen by The Telegraph show a new option for MPs to enable GPS tracking on their phones to connect to their official expenses system. The tracking is designed to make mileage claims for cars more accurate and curb over-claiming, as well as to make the system easy to use for MPs.

Conservative Party

The Times turns to the Tories’ European election campaign – or not.

Theresa May will make her only significant contribution to the Tories’ European parliamentary election campaign late next week as the party appeals to its most loyal supporters to avoid a catastrophic defeat.
The prime minister is set to make a token effort this weekend — possibly taking part in telephone canvassing — but will not make a public appearance on the stump. Instead Mrs May is planning a speech on the future of Europe towards the end of next week, although her allies said that the precise nature of the “event” had yet to be determined.

And Westmonster quotes a young Conservative who has said she is turning to Nigel.

A young Tory member has delivered a scathing verdict on the failure of the Conservative government to deliver Brexit and announced that she’ll be backing Nigel Farage’s new outfit at the EU Elections. How many more are there like her across the country?
Addressing Anna Soubry last night on BBC’s Question Time, the young woman said: “To be honest I can’t believe we’re still having this debate at this point in time I think the only things left in Europe should be Liverpool and Tottenham.

Labour Party

Are the cross-party talks about to fail?  The Independent reports that the Labour leader is being urged to quit them.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing pressure to walk away from Brexit talks with the government as angry Labour MPs warned voters could punish the party in the upcoming European elections.
Pro-EU MPs said the party risked being “crushed” between Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats, after the Labour leader sought to appeal to both sides in the party’s manifesto, insisting the real divisions are between ordinary workers and the wealthy elite rather than Leave and Remain voters.
The group is preparing to demand an end to the talks at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party on Monday, amid scepticism over whether Theresa May is prepared to make concessions on her Brexit strategy.

The Evening Standard calls it a showdown.

Jeremy Corbyn today faced a showdown with Labour MPs calling for the party to pull out of “toxic” Brexit talks with the Government within days.
They warned of “fury” among MPs and Labour members over the cross-party negotiations, which were branded a “millstone around the necks” of the party’s candidates for the European elections in less than two weeks’ time.
Labour MPs believe the Government is not serious about making concessions to strike a deal on quitting the EU and that the talks are being used by No 10 to keep Theresa May on political “life support”.

And the Express reports the Labour leader’s comment that a second referendum could ‘heal’ the country, rather than splitting it further.

JEREMY Corbyn sparked fresh anger over Labour’s Brexit dithering yesterday after claiming a second EU referendum could be a “healing process” for the divided country.
Launching his party’s campaign for this month’s European elections, the Labour leader insisted the “option of a public vote” on any deal agreed between the Government and the EU should remain on the table. He also refused to apologise for Labour’s confusing stance over the UK’s departure.
“It’s said that Labour is trying to offer something to everyone over Brexit. I make no apology for that,” he said.

The Sun has a lovely story about the Shadow Home Secretary.

DIANE Abbott’s face is appearing on stamps after a bizarre prank by a fan of the Labour politician.
Royal Mail bosses have launched a fraud probe after the counterfeit stamps came to light.
It’s unclear whether the fake stamps are a genuine attempt to defraud the postal service – or just a jokey tribute to the Corbyn ally.
The stamps, which show Ms Abbott in place of the Queen, appeared in her Hackney constituency in East London.

Change UK

The misnamed party, which wants no change from the present EU alliance, has launched its Euro election campaign, reports the Independent.

Change UK has sought to market itself as the party of Remain as it put the NHS, climate change and fighting Brexit austerity at the heart of it’s European election campaign.
Acting leader Heidi Allen said Brexit was the “biggest symbol of our broken system” as she launched the newly formed party’s “Charter for Remain” ahead of the 23 May contest.
The blueprint pledges to campaign for a referendum with remaining in the EU on the ballot paper and to fight to ensure any Brexit deal has a confirmatory vote attached.

ITV News also reports on the campaign launch.

Change UK has set out its European election manifesto, expanding on policies outside Brexit.
The new political party has outlined its vision for what remaining in the EU would look like for health, climate change, defence and the economy.
The Charter for Remain details how the UK could use its membership of the EU to push for change on domestic and international issues.
Speaking at the launch in Birmingham, Change UK leader Heidi Allen is expected to say her party is an alternative to the “broken politics” of the Conservative and Labour parties.

EU

It looks like we’ll have to wait until the autumn to find out if the UK is to be granted another exit day extension, reports the Express.

TOP eurocrat Donald Tusk today opened the door another Brexit delay in order to help Remainers keep Britain inside the European Union.
The European Council President claimed “today the result would probably look different” if a second referendum was held on Britain’s EU membership.
In a move that will rile Brexiteers, Mr Tusk quoted wartime leader Winston Churchill while claiming Brexit is only “partially” resolved.

But the Independent reports that France will not allow any further extension.

France has warned that it will not accept “repeated” extensions of the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October, amid deadlock in the UK over the deal negotiated by Theresa May.
The warning, from a senior Elysee official, comes as the president of the European Council suggested there was a reasonable chance Brexit could be cancelled. “We must not get sucked into repeated extensions, that’s for sure,” a French presidential adviser said on Friday. The adviser added: “Our message is clear: a solution must have been found by October 31.”

The Guardian reports on the terrible damage Brexit has done to the EU. (What a shame!)

The European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, has warned that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has already done “far more damage than has ever been predicted”.
Appearing alongside the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, at a European election campaign event in Camden, north London, on Friday morning, the leader of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe said he wanted to send a message to people on the continent to “never repeat Brexit again”.
Verhofstadt, a former prime minister of Belgium, has been criticised for comments he made in a BBC documentary, in which he joked that Olly Robbins, the UK’s chief negotiator, had asked him for Belgian citizenship. His aide was also recorded describing Theresa May’s actions as insane and pathetic.

And the Express claims the bloc could be paralysed by a row between the central players.

BRUSSELS could be paralysed by an ongoing row between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over who should replace European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker when he stands down.
The spat between the two EU leaders threatens a major constitutional crisis in the EU mere weeks before the elections within the bloc, of which Britain has been forced to participate in due to the embarrassing Brexit delay.

The Times, aka Remain central, reports on the EU Brexit chief’s campaign alongside the LimpDums.

Remainers should vote for the Liberal Democrats rather than other anti-Brexit parties in the European elections later this month, Guy Verhofstadt says.
The European Parliament’s Brexit chief came to London today to campaign for Sir Vince Cable’s party in the run-up to the May 23 poll.
After a morning door-knocking in Camden, north London, and lunch at the Belgian restaurant Belgo, he told The Times: “I think [there are] good reasons to say that the real, most credible pro-European movement are the Lib Dems.

Ireland

The Irish backstop question has not gone away, reports the Guardian.

Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has told the Conservative party that getting rid of Theresa May will not remove the need for a Brexit backstop for the Northern Ireland border.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he pointed out that a no-deal Brexit, which some of May’s potential successors have been considering, would require checks on goods travelling across the border.
This reality would not change whoever the Conservatives chose as their new leader, Coveney said, and he urged the party to back May’s withdrawal bill.

BBC News claims talks to restore the government in Northern Ireland will continue.

The Irish and British governments will do some “heavy lifting” to ensure talks to restore Stormont power-sharing make progress in “weeks, not months”, the Irish deputy prime minister has said.
Fresh talks aimed at breaking more than two years of political deadlock began on Tuesday.
They were called by the British and Irish governments after the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.
Simon Coveney said he felt there had already been more than “some movement”.
“When positive things happen it’s important to recognise them,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Scotland

Scots police are up in arms about a parking tax, reports the Telegraph.

Rank-and-file police officers have reacted with fury to the “unforgivable” failure of SNP ministers to give them a national exemption from a new workplace parking tax and warned services could be cut.
The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) accused Nationalist and Green MSPs, who this week tabled legislation to introduce the levy, of being “blase” about the safety of officers.
Calum Steele, the body’s general secretary, argued the omission was particularly galling as the politicians “aren’t slow to call for additional policing presence” if they face “the slightest increase in threat to themselves.”

Climate change

Amazing suggestions to combat global warming are outlined in the Times.

The University of Cambridge plans to launch a research facility to explore radical “last ditch” methods of combating global warming, including a scheme to refreeze the Arctic.
The Centre for Climate Repair will gauge the feasibility of geoengineering techniques, which would seek to cool the Earth by deflecting the sun’s energy into space. It will also investigate methods of removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere.
While many of the proposals have been talked about for years, all are unproven and many are likely to be unfeasible.

And the Guardian claims action could be taken against firms who don’t help with the problem.

UK companies failing to tackle climate change would be delisted from the London Stock Exchange under radical plans for greening the economy being drawn up by Labour.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said he would consider changing the law if necessary to force UK-listed firms to take adequate steps to fight the “climate emergency” facing the planet.
In an interview with the Guardian, McDonnell said much of the City was already aware of the need to make faster progress towards a zero-carbon economy, but his proposals were about “weeding out those that are not taking it seriously”.

NHS

The service is wasting money, says the Mail.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being funneled into the maintenance of a deserted hospital in Liverpool – despite it being empty.
More than £3million (around $3,906,900) went into the day-to-day maintenance of the unused Royal Hospital between July and December last year.
And a further £523,000 ($681,100) was spent in January alone, bringing the total over the past six months’ to the equivalent of 163 nurses’ salaries.
Freedom of Information figures also reveal more than £100,000 ($130,200) is spent each month on electricity to light the empty 23-ward hospital.

Train travel

Travelling by train costs a lot, reports the Mail.

It may come as a surprise to motorists who’ve filled their tank on a motorway lately.
But travelling by train is still up to 13 times more expensive than driving, analysis has found.
A comparison of 20 journeys around Britain at peak time showed taking a car was cheaper in every case.
With train passengers already angered by surging fares, rampant disruption and overcrowded carriages, the findings pile pressure on companies to cut prices.

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