Brexit

Looks like the Prime Minister has a fight on her hands within Parliament. The Express says:

THERESA May looks no closer to solving her Brexit shambles as the Prime Minister heads for a fresh showdown with Tory rebels who have accused her going back on her word after her Government “hijacked” a Brexit Bill amendment.
Pro-EU Tories have denounced Mrs May’s compromise to her flagship
Brexit  legislation – designed to keep critics in her own party on board – as “unacceptable”.
They say they feel “badly let down” by Mrs May after they thought an agreement had been reached with the Government – only for the EU Withdrawal Bill amendment to be redrafted at last minute.
The move was branded “sneaky” by one backbencher while another senior pro-EU Tory said the wording of a Government amendment was changed at the last minute to deny MPs the chance of blocking a “no deal” Brexit.

Top Remainer Dominic Grieve is not happy, says BBC News.

The government’s bid to avoid a Commons defeat on the Brexit bill has been rejected as “slap in the face” by leading rebel Dominic Grieve.
Theresa May assured Mr Grieve ahead of a vote on Tuesday that his call for MPs to be given a greater say on a Brexit deal would be taken on board.
But he said ministers had changed the wording of an amendment drawn up after talks with him, at the last minute.
Further talks are expected ahead of the bill returning to Parliament next week.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland said the government had to “strike a balance” between rebels’ concerns and protecting the government’s negotiating position in Brexit talks with the EU.

Another Remainer agrees in the Independent.

Theresa May’s Brexit Bill amendment over a meaningful vote may have been “hijacked” by government figures trying to “force their will” onto the process, a pro-EU Tory MP has suggested.
The remarks from Stephen Hammond came after the prime minister faced a fresh crisis over the government’s flagship Brexit legislation after her attempt to compromise with backbench rebels failed.
The Wimbledon MP described the government’s motion on a “meaningful vote” – published on Thursday evening – as “unbelievably inconsistent”.
Mr Hammond was one of a group of potential rebels including former attorney general Dominic Grieve who met the Prime Minister before a crunch vote on Tuesday and said they received assurances over Parliament’s role.

The Mail describes the forthcoming battle as ‘titanic’.

Theresa May is braced for a titanic Commons battle over Brexit after furious Tory rebels warned that giving MPs control is the only way to avoid an ‘apocalyptic’ no-deal.
The Prime Minister incurred the wrath of pro-EU Conservatives last night after they claimed she U-turned on private pledges about Parliament having a ‘meaningful vote’ on the outcome of talks with Brussels.
Rebel ringleader Dominic Grieve said they were now ready to force the issue to a potentially explosive division in the House next week – with Mrs May’s whole Brexit strategy on the line. 

The Times claims the original compromise had been ‘hijacked’.

Leading pro-European Tory rebels today angrily accused government Brexiteers of forcing Theresa May to go back on her word that Parliament should have a meaningful vote on a no-deal Brexit.
In a forthright attack the former Conservative minister Stephen Hammond said plans for a compromise had been “hijacked” at the last minute.
Meanwhile the former attorney general Dominic Grieve said he would resume talks with the government today in an attempt to find a compromise and prevent another rebellion when the Withdrawal bill returns to Parliament next week.

And the Guardian claims Remoaners will not back down.

Tory rebels are refusing to back down as they attempt to secure a “meaningful” vote on how the government should respond if there is no agreed  Brexit deal, despite Downing Street insisting there were no new concessions to be made.
MPs are set to decide the shape of Brexit next week, in what is coming to be seen as one of the most important votes so far on the EU withdrawal bill.
As Dominic Grieve, the rebels’ chief negotiator, insisted that he still hoped to win consensus in further talks, one ally described it as “a battle for the soul of Brexit”.

Remoaners within the population are still trying to thwart the referendum result, says the Telegraph.

Next Saturday, tens of thousands of Remain supporters are expected to descend on London for what is billed as the biggest ever pro-European protest march.
They will demand a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal – in other words a second referendum, with the ultimate aim of stopping Brexit.
With just 286 days to go until Britain formally and legally leaves the EU, it might be assumed that their angry cries will be carried away on the wind.
Yet there is a growing nervousness in Downing Street that a moment of genuine danger for the Brexit process is just days away.

Breitbart claims the PM is about to announce a boost for the NHS.

Theresa May will confirm on Monday that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) can expect a major boost from the ‘Brexit dividend’ once it stops pouring billions of pounds into EU coffers.
Britain’s gross contribution to the EU budget, including the bloc’s share of VAT receipts and customs duties, was some £18.6 billion in 2017, according to House of Commons Library research.
This sum is partly discounted by the UK rebate, which was secured by the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s following years of overpayments, although this shrunk considerably  under Tony Blair, who agreed to give around a third of it away in exchange for a promise to reform EU farm subsidies — which was not kept.

The Express reports that the Prime Minister is under pressure not to raise tax.

THERESA May was last night under pressure from Brexit-backing Tory MPs to rule out tax hikes for funding extra spending on the NHS.
The Prime Minister was urged to use the “Brexit dividend” cash saved from scrapping Britain’s annual EU membership fee for boosting the ailing health and social care system rather than increasing the tax burden on households.
Brexiteer MPs also suggested the Government should be prepared to cancel the expected £39billion EU “divorce” fee and redirect the money to healthcare in response to the lack of cooperation from Brussels in the withdrawal negotiations.
Fresh Tory concerns about the Government’s NHS spending plans emerged yesterday following unconfirmed reports that the Prime Minister is poised to unveil a £4billion hike in health spending to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the NHS next month.

And the Independent claims it was the Brexit secretary who scuppered Remainers’ chances.

David Davis personally blocked plans to give parliament more power over Brexit  following a “crescendo” of protest from the Tory right wing,  The Independent  understands.
Mr Davis is said to have told Theresa May he would not accept proposals giving MPs sway over the government’s actions in the event she fails to agree a deal with Brussels.
He was bolstered by a barrage of anger that hit Downing Street from Tory Brexiteers in the space of a few hours, when it emerged ministers had reached a potential compromise with pro-EU rebels wanting parliament to play a greater role.

JR-M claims the EU is sticking its oar into domestic politics in Westmonster.

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has expressed his outrage at the EU’s attempt to interfere in British domestic politics.
It centres around a Daily Mail story of Remoaners meeting at the EU’s HQ in London, and Mogg said that if the story was right, it was deeply concerning.
Speaking on TalkRadio, Mogg said: “I think there is an issue here about the European Commission using its facilities, which are paid for of course by us, to interfere in what is going on British domestic politics.
“The European Commission is using our public money…to support one side of a political argument during a parliamentary process.”

Our former leader has called for Mrs May to be sacked, says ITV News.

Nigel Farage has called for Theresa May to be sacked as Prime Minister and claimed plans for Brexit have become so “ludicrous” that Britain is going to be worse off than before the referendum.
The former Ukip leader and key member of the Leave campaign also said that if Brexit wasn’t sorted out he’d consider a return to politics.
Mr Farage was speaking to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston for his new online series, Now What?
On whether the Conservative Party should get rid of May, Mr Farage said: “Absolutely, of course, she’s a disaster. She’s boxed herself into a position now where we will be, for the foreseeable future after March [29th 2019, Brexit day], actually in a worse position than we were before we voted to leave. It’s ludicrous.”

EU

But will Brexit be postponed? The EU seems to thing there’s a possibility, says the Independent.

The European Union has made preparations for the possibility of Brexit being postponed, as talks with the UK appear less and less likely to reach a productive conclusion in time.
Internal documents drawn up by the European Council show that the bloc is planning what to do “in the event that the United Kingdom is still a member state of the union” after March.
Separately, European Commission officials have privately discussed the practicalities of extending Brexit talks, according to sources cited by the German newspaper 
Handelsblatt.

And the Express claims there are already signs the bloc is falling apart.

THE EUROPEAN UNION was battling last night to avoid damaging relations with Britain over the security partnership post-Brexit.
Threats of an internal split came after Horst Seehofer, the German Minister of Interior, instructed his Dutch and French counterparts that post-Brexit, “nothing must change” that would put the security of EU citizens at risk.
Mr Seehofer’s aim to preserve co-operation with Britain puts him in opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission.
Future security co-operation will be discussed by the European Commission in Brussels on Friday.

Merkel’s in deep trouble, reports the Telegraph.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is to hold last-ditch talks to save her coalition government this weekend amid a major European rift over migrant policy.
The German chancellor is facing open rebellion from her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, over his plans to turn away migrants at the German border. Mrs Merkel has blocked the measure but Mr Seehofer is threatening to impose it unilaterally if he doesn’t win agreement by Monday – essentially daring the chancellor to sack him.

But the EU is still demanding money from us, says the Sun, in what it claims is an exclusive report.

EUROCRATS want to splash £370million of taxpayers’ cash on a major overhaul of the EU Parliament building in Brussels.
Euro MPs have hatched secret plans to significantly redesign the building so that they don’t have to mingle with members of the public.
They have moaned that the current layout of the structure, which is only 25 years old, means they have to rub shoulders with visitors and journalists.
The revamp would also include a “substantial improvement of catering services” which would include a new restaurant exclusively for politicians.
British taxpayers could be on the hook for almost £50million of the cost if the plan goes ahead if contracts for the work are doled out before the end of the transition period.

The Times has picked up the story.

Britain could be liable for a €54 million bill to redesign a Brussels building housing a debating chamber for MEPs.
The €420 million rebuild of the property, which is only 25 years old, will include improvements to catering services and facilities to avoid bumping into the public.
The decision to rebuild the structure will be postponed until after next year’s European elections to avoid criticism of the parliament amid declining voter interest in the EU assembly. How much British taxpayers will pay depends on when tenders are signed. It is likely to be about €54 million (£47 million) if tenders are issued before the end of a Brexit
transition period at the end of 2020.

And so has the Express.

THE UK could be forced to foot a £47million bill for a revamp of a European Union debating chamber after Brexit day next year that would include making changes so MEPs will not regularly bump into members of the public.
A planned £367million (€420million) rebuild of the site which is only 25 years old would also make improvements to other services such as catering.
If the rebuild deal is finalised before the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of 2020, then Britain is likely to be lumbered with a bill of around £47million.

Scotland

A former Prime Minister has slated Nicola Sturgeon’s continued press for independence, says the Morning Star.

INDEPENDENCE would see Scotland face “austerity until doomsday,” Gordon Brown said today.
In a rare intervention, the former prime minister said only Labour could be properly trusted to fund healthcare services north and south of the border.
He spoke out after the pro-market Institute of Fiscal Studies said the blueprint for independence set out by the SNP Growth Commission would lead to “another decade of the sort of restraint on public spending that Scotland is currently experiencing.”
An IFS report stated that, “if this is austerity, then austerity would be extended under the commission’s proposals.”
Mr Brown said: “Austerity is here until doomsday if the Scottish National Party is all that is going to confront it.

His words are echoed in the Guardian.

An independent Scotland would face an extra 10 years of austerity if it implemented plans outlined by a Scottish National party report, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.
The IFS, a highly regarded economics research institute, said proposals from the SNP’s growth commission published in May would leave Scotland’s weak public finances facing continued cost-cutting and restraint.
Analysis by David Phillips, an IFS economist, said the commission should be commended for being honest about “the challenging public finance position an independent Scotland would start life with”.

Labour Party

Looks like ‘Jezfest’ is going to be a monumental flop, says the Independent.

Ticket prices for Labour Live – a political music festival dubbed “Jezfest” – have been slashed by 70 per cent in an eleventh-hour effort to ramp up sales.
It comes as the party announced the Grammy award-winning electropop band, Clean Bandit, as the headline act to perform at White Hall Recreation Ground on Saturday.
They will perform alongside Singer Rae Morris, indie band Reverend And The Makers and Sex Pistol Glen Matlock.
Festivalgoers will also get the chance to hear from  Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, and the shadow international development secretary
Kate Osamor.

NHS

The Prime Minister has been given a warning not to forget social care, reports the Times.

Theresa May has been warned not to exclude the social care system when she awards billions more to the NHS in the coming days.
Lord Darzi of Denham, a leading medic and former health minister, called for a massive boost for NHS funding amid signs that the prime minister could make the announcement as early as Sunday.
However speaking on BBC Radio 4, he added: “My patients don’t recognise the difference between NHS and social care,” arguing that social care capacity shortages were crippling NHS services too.

‘Upskirting’

The perverts’ practice of taking pictures up ladies’ skirts may not become law after one MP objected, says the Mail.

Tory MP today blocked a bid to make ‘upskirting’ a criminal offence punishable by two years in jail despite the Government backing the reform.
Sir Christopher Chope shouted ‘object’ when the draft law was raised in the Commons today, slamming the brakes on the attempt to change the law.
There were cries of ‘shame’ in the Commons – including from minister Victoria Atkins – when Sir Christopher made his shock move as MPs were invited to wave the change in the law through.
Campaigner Gina Martin, 26, who was a victim of upskirting told the BBC Sir Christopher had told her he opposed the change in the law because it had not been debated.

The Telegraph claims the MP’s colleagues called him a ‘dinosaur’.

A senior Tory MP was condemned by ministers and his fellow backbenchers as a “dinosaur” after he blocked a plan to criminalise the taking of upskirt photographs.
Sir Christopher Chope faced cries of “shame!” as he dealt a blow to campaigners in a move which prompted fury among his Conservative colleagues who demanded he apologise.
The Christchurch MP formally objected to the passage of the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill which would make it illegal for offenders to take a picture under someone’s clothing without their consent.

The Guardian also reports on the matter.

A bill to make upskirting a specific criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison has been blocked in the House of Commons after a single Conservative MP objected to it.
The voyeurism (offences) bill on upskirting – the taking of surreptitious, sexually intrusive images – was put forward by the Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse after a campaign by Gina Martin. Police have declined to prosecute a man Martin accused of taking underskirt pictures of her on his phone at a music festival in London last summer.
As a private member’s bill it would normally have little chance of becoming law.

The Times reports calls of “shame”.

Government-backed plans to criminalise “upskirting”were derailed after they were opposed by a veteran Conservative MP.
The practice, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, would become a specific criminal offence carrying up to two years in jail under the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill.
But there were cries of “shame!” on the Commons benches after Sir Christopher Chope formally objected to the legislation.
Though the government had endorsed the new laws, they were being proposed in a private members’ bill by Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, meaning that there is a different legislative process. Had Sir Christopher not shouted “object” this afternoon, the bill could have moved on to considering amendments.

The Mirror claims there were two MPs who challenged the Bill.

Two Tory MPs blocked the progress of a bill that would have made taking ‘upskirt’ photos a specific criminal offence by talking for four hours.
MPs cried shame as progress of the bill, which has cross-party support and is backed by the Government, was delayed until at July because of the antics of Shipley MP Philip Davies and Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope.
The pair have frequently taken advantage of an archaic quirk of Commons rules in which MPs are prevented from voting on a bill on a Friday if the debate goes on past 2.30pm.

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