EU

Could it be that we’re relying on the EU to achieve Brexit?  The Express reports:

A NO DEAL BREXIT can still “prevail” if Britain doesn’t approve Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement or promotes a clear alternative plan by next week, an official at Emmanuel Macron’s office said.
France warned the UK yesterday’s vote in Parliament could change nothing as the EU27 need to approve an extension to Article 50. And the Elysee said it will only grant it to allow Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement to be implemented or if Britain brings forward a new Brexit plan. The official at Mr Macron’s office said: “Without clarity, an adoption of the withdrawal agreement or a clear alternative, a no-deal would prevail.”
On Thursday MPs overwhelmingly asked the Prime Minister to head to Brussels and seek a delay to the EU departure.
But the vote hasn’t changed the current British legislation, which still sees the UK leaving the bloc on March 29 with or without a deal until Brussels approves the delay.

Sky News reports that the EU has demanded a ‘clear plan’ before it agrees to an extension.

The UK must put forward a clear plan for what happens next if there is to be a delay to Brexit, EU leaders have warned.
Despite MPs voting in favour of extending the Article 50 negotiating period on Thursday night, the House of Commons has been told this does not necessarily rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Instead, MPs will either have to approve Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, which they have already rejected twice, or come up with another proposal for breaking the deadlock at Westminster.

And the Dutch prime minister, long thought of as an ally to the UK, also adds his voice in the Express.

BREXIT won’t be delayed unless Britain “explains” how to end the deadlock, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, joining the chorus of EU leaders casting doubts over the possibility to push forward the UK’s exit date.
Pro-EU Mr Rutte issued a stark warning to the UK hours after MPs gave Theresa May the mandate to seek in Brussels a delay to Britain’s exit date from the bloc.

The Guardian claims the EU with throw us out of the bloc if we haven’t held elections.

Brussels will have to terminate the UK’s extended membership of the European Union on 1 July if elections for British MEPs have not been held, a leaked legal document reveals.
A three-month delay to Brexit beyond 29 March will not carry any conditions, but anything longer than that requires Britain to have taken part in European parliamentary elections, ambassadors have been told.
EU law does not stand in the way of multiple extensions to the UK’s membership if requested, the document says. But if elections had not been held in May, and the UK subsequently sought to stay on as a member state to avoid a no-deal Brexit, for example, the EU would be bound to reject a request, the document seen by the Guardian says.

Breitbart claims the UK must cancel Brexit to get a delay.

Senior EU officials have reportedly said they would only accept a long delay to Brexit if the UK uses the time to decide between cancelling Brexit, agreeing a softer exit — staying in the Single Market and Customs Union — or calling a second referendum.
The report by The Times follows the House of Commons vote Thursday night to back applying to Brussels for a Brexit delay after having voted to rule out leaving without a deal on Wednesday.

The prospect of extension after extension is dismissed in the Guardian.

Ireland will want to avoid a series of “rolling cliff edges” if the UK requests a delay to its exit from the EU, the country’s finance minister has said.
Paschal Donohoe said London would need to convince the EU27 that an extension to article 50 would not further risk economic disruption.
“I believe it is highly important that we do all we can to avoid being in a scenario of rolling cliff edges … particularly from a financial market stability perspective and economic stability, we need to be aware of that,” he said.

DUP

Talks are progressing with the Democratic Unionist Party says the Express.

THERESA May was given new hope of securing her Brexit deal last night after fresh signs that Tory Eurosceptic and Democratic Unionist Party MPs are ready drop their opposition following fears the EU departure is under threat.
In a dramatic development in the effort to break the parliamentary deadlock, one of the Prime Minister’s fiercest Tory critics indicated that many of her Eurosceptic colleagues could vote for the Withdrawal Agreement in a third Commons “meaningful vote” expected on Tuesday.

The Times also has the story.

Senior DUP figures said that they held constructive Brexit talks with ministers yesterday, raising the prospect that they could back Mrs May’s deal in a crunch vote next week.
Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, is in Washington for the build-up to St Patrick’s Day but is due back in Britain today and could join further talks.
Negotiations between her party and Conservative ministers have intensified as Mrs May prepares to ask MPs to support her Brexit agreement with Brussels for a third time after two crushing defeats in the Commons.

The Mail reports the DUP’s denial that the part was offered a bribe.

The DUP’s top MP smiled today as he denied Chancellor Philip Hammond offered the party cash to back Theresa May’s Brexit divorce in the Commons next week but said: ‘We want to get a deal’.
Deputy leader Nigel Dodds also revealed the party remains ‘very disappointed’ with Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice on the Irish backstop as pressure was heaped on the Attorney General to tweak it.
Mr Hammond is leading negotiations with the Unionist party who previously grabbed an extra £1billion of funding for Northern Ireland in exchange for its 10 MPs propping up the Government for two years until this summer.

Independent news agency Reuters reports on the talks.

The Northern Irish party that is crucial to Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of getting her twice-defeated Brexit deal through parliament said it had good talks with British ministers on Friday but differences remained over the Irish border.
The United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union has sown chaos throughout May’s premiership and the Brexit finale is still uncertain. Options include a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, leaving without a deal or even another referendum.

The Sun claims a breakthrough is near.

THERESA May was last night on the verge of winning the DUP’s support for her Brexit deal in a huge breakthrough.
One Cabinet Minister said the chances of the Ulster unionists finally backing her agreement with the EU were now at “60:40” after crunch talks on new legal guarantees.
Chancellor Philip Hammond was also drafted into the talks in Whitehall yesterday – sparking speculation of a new cash package for Northern Ireland.

BBC News puts a positive spin on the negotiations.

The DUP has welcomed the government’s “renewed focus” on addressing its objections to the Brexit deal ahead of next week’s third Commons vote.
The party has twice voted against the deal over concerns it would see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.
After talks with ministers in London, its Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said it was still seeking extra guarantees.
His party “wanted to get a deal but it had to be the right deal”, he said.

And ITV News calls the negotiations ‘constructive’.

The DUP had a “constructive dialogue” with Cabinet ministers over Brexit on Friday as the Prime Minister desperately seeks to build support for her deal after it suffered a fresh setback.
Backing from the DUP could lead to Mrs May’s deal being approved by the Commons next week, after it was defeated for the second time on Tuesday.
The talks come as European leaders consider whether to agree to UK calls for Britain’s departure to be delayed.

The Guardian reports the talks are continuing.

The Democratic Unionist party is to continue intensive talks to try to reach an agreement to allow it to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with discussions focusing on domestic legal guarantees that Northern Ireland will have no regulatory divergence with the rest of the UK.
Downing Street is hopeful that the support of the DUP is key to unlocking the backing of many Conservative Brexiters when May brings her deal to the House of Commons for the third time.

And the Independent has an exclusive report claiming that the Government is also talking to members of the Labour Party.

Theresa May’s team are in behind-closed-door talks in a bid to secure the support of up to 20 Labour MPs for the prime minister’s troubled Brexit deal.
Ministers are said to be negotiating with the MPs from Leave-backing seats, as pressure intensifies on Ms May to secure backing for her twice-defeated plan.
With just four days to go until the vote, the Labour Brexiteers have demanded that parliament’s right to shape Britain’s future relations with the EU be cemented into law.

Fisheries

Fishing boats have sailed up to Newcastle to demonstrate, reports the Guardian.

The battle for Brexit has taken to the waves again as a flotilla of fishing boats sailed up the Tyne in Newcastle to demand a no-deal departure from the EU.
The demonstration came the day before Nigel Farage was due to launch a 280-mile “Leave Means Leave” march from Sunderland to Westminster.
The former Ukip leader was expected to appear at the protest on the river but had not surfaced by early afternoon, instead appearing on the US television network Fox News.

Breitbart also reports.

A flotilla of fishing boats have sailed up the river Tyne to Newcastle in protest against what they called a Brexit betrayal underway.
The nautical protest came after a week of votes in Westminster which have all but made certain that the United Kingdom will not leave the European Union on March 29th as has been long promised as undeniable fact by the Prime Minister, and a day before Brexit leader Nigel Farage launched a protest march from nearby Sunderland to London.
Banners carried on the craft included messages such as “you promised to take back control, but you’ve betrayed us again”, “let’s flourish great and free”, and “save our country, no deal now!”.

WTO rules

It seems the Brexit secretary voted against a delay, reports the Times.

Stephen Barclay frayed cabinet collective responsibility still further yesterday by insisting that the UK should leave without a deal rather than endure a long Brexit delay.
He defended his decision to vote against a motion mandating the prime minister to seek a short delay to complete legislation minutes after telling MPs that it was in the national interest.
Mr Barclay said he had exercised his right to oppose the motion on a free vote because it had raised the prospect that the EU may force a longer delay.

The Brexit secretary says we shouldn’t fear WTO rules, reports Westmonster.

Britain’s Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has spoken out today, insisting that the UK “should not be afraid to leave with No Deal”. What a contrast to many in government who have sought to oppose a WTO Brexit despite it having a 14-point lead in a recent ComRes poll.
Barclay was one of many Cabinet Ministers to vote against an Article 50 extension in Parliament last night, though it sadly passed.
Speaking to the BBC’s Tom Barton today, Barclay said that “there will now need to be a short technical extension” for a UK-EU deal.

The report must have been difficult for the pro-EU Independent.

It would be better for Britain to leave the EU without a deal than to seek a long delay to its departure, the Brexit secretary has said.
Stephen Barclay said the UK “shouldn’t be afraid” of a no-deal outcome, even after parliament to take the option off the table.
The Brexit secretary was one of seven cabinet ministers who on Thursday voted against a government motion proposing a delay to Brexit, despite the fact he had wrapped up the debate for the government and urged MPs to support the proposal.

Tory leadership

The Prime Minister is ‘finished’ reports the Telegraph.

Senior aides of Theresa May privately believe she is “finished” and may be forced to set out a timetable for her departure if she is to win the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal.
The Telegraph understands that two senior Downing Street figures believe that the Prime Minister should “fall on her sword” and announce she will quit to ensure she is able to “go with dignity”.
They believe she has permanently “lost the trust of Eurosceptics” and will have to make way for a new leader after the Conservative Party conference in October.

The Sun claims last week was her worst week.

CABINET Ministers believe Theresa May will be “gone in weeks” after the worst week of her three-year premiership.
One told The Sun they believed senior Tory Sir Graham Brady – head of the powerful 1992 backbench committee – would have to go and “tap her on the shoulder” because the chaos couldn’t continue.
Cabinet Ministers believe Theresa May will be ‘gone in weeks’ after the worst week of her three-year leadership.

The Mail calls her week ‘disastrous’.

Theresa May‘s cabinet ministers believe the Prime Minister will be ‘gone in weeks’, after another disastrous week that saw her Brexit deal rejected for a second time.
Mrs May’s deal lost by 149 votes on Tuesday, with 75 rebels from her own party as well as the 10 DUP MPs breaking ranks.
The following night, 13 ministers broke ranks and voted to take No Deal off the table.

Who would succeed her?  The Times says:

Boris Johnson would be the most popular choice among Tory voters to replace Theresa May as leader, according to a YouGov poll for The Times.
The proportion of voters who want Mrs May to stand down as leader has not changed since this time last year despite the Brexit chaos. However, when respondents were asked to choose, the former foreign secretary, who has the highest name recognition of potential contenders, came out on top.
The YouGov poll of 1,756 British voters on Thursday and Friday suggested that Mrs May is likely to be replaced by a Brexiteer and that Mr Johnson is more liked by the Tory ranks than by the country as a whole, though he tops the list for both.

The Sun also comes out in favour of Boris.

BORIS Johnson is the Tories’ favourite to be the next Prime Minister after Brexit.
The ex-Foreign Secretary and Brexiteer tops yet another poll of members who say he’s best placed to take over from Theresa May.
This month Boris was the favourite in a poll from Conservative Home, which has him on 24 per cent of the vote – 319 votes.
Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was second but miles behind him on 12 per cent. And Michael Gove was third on ten per cent.

HS2

Away from front-line politics, the Times reports on cheap heating.

The roar of a train exiting a tunnel will be a welcome sound for residents of a housing estate that is due to be built beside Britain’s new high-speed rail line.
The train will produce a whoosh of warm air which will be captured and used to supply their homes with cheap, low-carbon heating and hot water.
HS2 Ltd, the company building the £56 billion high-speed line, has produced plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1 billion “super hub” station at Old Oak Common, near Willesden, northwest London.

Driving

Road tolls could be introduced, says the Times.

A national system of road tolls costing motorists more than £700 a year should be introduced to make up for a sharp drop in fuel taxes, research suggests.
Ministers have been told to consider new charges, eventually reaching 9p a mile for each vehicle, to counter a looming shortfall due to the shift towards electric cars.

New Zealand terror attack

We can’t ignore the terrible attacks in New Zealand.  The Morning Star reports:

NEW ZEALAND is in mourning after a self-styled white supremacist shot dead 49 Muslim worshippers and injured dozens in terror attacks at two mosques in capital city Christchurch.
Lead suspect Brenton Tarrant will appear in court tomorrow charged with murder. During Friday prayers, Tarrant shot dead a man who had greeted him with “welcome brother” at Al Noor Mosque.

The Mail says the world has condemned the attacks.

Thousands of people across the globe have come together to take part in vigils in order to pay tribute to the victims of the New Zealand terror attack.
Tributes in places such as London, Helsinki and Brussels lead the way with moving services where mourners gathered to pay the respects for the 49 worshipers who were killed at a mosque on Friday.
In London’s Hyde Park, flowers and candles were laid as night fell on the peaceful gathering at the New Zealand memorial.

The Sun says police are investigating a British connection.

MI5 was last night investigating Brenton Tarrant over possible links to far-right extremists in Britain.
Spies are reviewing the Australian’s 74-page manifesto, a Whitehall source told The Times.
Tarrant said he was inspired by Darren Osborne, who drove into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in North London in 2017.
Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism, said there was “no intelligence linking these appalling events to the UK”.

BBC News says social media will be prevented from streaming the shootings.

Social media companies have been told to “clean up their platforms” or be prepared to face the “force of the law” by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The warning comes after a gunman who killed 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand filmed the attack and live-streamed it directly to Facebook.
Writing in the Daily Express, Mr Javid said: “Tech companies must do more to stop his messages being broadcast.”

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