Brexit

It’s a crunch day in Parliament with MPs sitting on Saturday in a very rare move.  Breitbart reports comments from leading think tanks.

Leading conservative and pro-Brexit think tanks have called on MPs to vote against Boris Johnson’s “defective” withdrawal deal on Saturday, saying it fundamentally fails to deliver Brexit.
Think tanks The Bow Group and The Bruges Group, along with the pro-Brexit pressure group Fishing for Leave, have joined the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in opposing the government’s new EU-approved proposed exit treaty. The Bruges Group’s chairman Barry Legg called it a “defective agreement”, while Fishing for Leave’s Aaron Brown labelled it “Brexit in Name Only”.
Chairman of The Bow Group, the UK’s oldest conservative think tank, Ben Harris-Quinney said: “We were open-minded to a new deal and would support any deal that fulfils the terms of the Brexit vote with Britain leaving the EU in full, as well as both the Single Market and Customs Union.
“This deal does not do that. Serious concerns remain over Northern Ireland and future regulatory alignment with the EU the UK would be forced to comply to.

BBC News reports the PM has been working hard.

Parliament will sit on a Saturday for the first time in 37 years to vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
The PM has been trying to convince MPs to support the agreement he secured with the EU, ahead of what is expected to be a knife-edge vote in the Commons.
His former DUP allies and opposition parties plan to vote against it.
But at least nine Labour MPs are expected to rebel and the PM is hoping to be backed by some of the Tory MPs he sacked for opposing him last month.

The Telegraph says the PM is close to a deal.

Boris Johnson is within touching distance of getting his Brexit deal approved by the House of Commons after he won the backing of up to a dozen Labour MPs.
Mr Johnson said the nation would breathe “a great sigh of relief” if a Brexit deal was finally passed, as he called on Parliament to “do its duty”. He also told MPs there was “no better outcome” than his deal.
Current estimates suggest up to 320 MPs are on board for the deal, with 312 against and around seven undecided.

Delay

But there could still be an extension of Art50 says the Times.

Wrangling over Brexit could be considered by Europe’s top judges, with some campaigners fearing that Westminster and Brussels are resigned to Britain leaving the bloc without a deal.
Public law experts have pointed out that if Boris Johnson loses the vote in parliament today he will be forced to ask the European Commission for a third extension. “The Benn act requires [the prime minister] to seek an extension but cannot compel the EU to grant it,” said Lord Pannick, QC.

The Guardian says there’s an opposition alliance ready to delay the vote.

Boris Johnson’s plan to push through a Brexit deal on Saturday looks likely to be frustrated after an alliance of Labour and former Tory MPs united behind a plan to force a new extension.
After clinching a last-minute deal in Brussels on Thursday by agreeing to a customs border in the Irish Sea, the prime minister had hoped to frame the rare Saturday sitting of parliament as a dramatic “new deal or no deal” moment.

The Mail reports anger from the PM’s office.

There was anger in Downing Street last night over a parliamentary move that could deny Boris Johnson  a clean vote on his Brexit deal today.
Former Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin proposed an amendment yesterday that would withhold Parliament’s final support for the agreement until all the necessary legislation for it is approved.
If passed today, the amendment will prevent MPs from holding the so-called ‘meaningful vote’ on the Prime Minister’s deal.

And BBC News says it’s a problem.

The latest gambit by the alliance of MPs around Sir Oliver Letwin looks like a real problem for the government whips, as they prepare for Saturday’s critical vote on the new-look Brexit deal.
The amendment would withhold approval of the deal, until the legislation to enact it was safely passed – a move that would automatically trigger the “Benn Act” and force the prime minister to request a further postponement of Brexit until 31 January.

The SNP are trying to force an election, reports the Express.

THE SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has tabled an amendment to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, forcing the Prime Minister to secure an extension and call an election.
On Saturday, MPs will vote on Boris Johnson’s  Brexit deal and Remainers have tabled several amendments in an attempt to thwart the process. The SNP have tabled an amendment with the aim of jettisoning the agreement. It also calls for an extension until at least January 31, 2020 to allow for an early general election.

The Telegraph says remainers have a plan.

Remain supporters have hatched a plan to ensure Boris Johnson will be forced to ask for a Brexit extension even if his deal passes in the Commons today.
Sir Oliver Letwin, the former Tory minister, has tabled an amendment to the Brexit deal that would require the Prime Minister to request an extension as an “insurance policy” in case the necessary legislation to enact the deal had not been passed by Oct 31.
Under the so-called Benn Act, Mr Johnson is already required to request an extension from Brussels if his deal fails, in order to stop a no deal Brexit at the end of the month.

Boris’ plans could be thwarted says the Independent.

Boris Johnson’s hopes of finally obtaining parliament’s consent on Saturday for a historic deal to take the UK out of the European Union look set to be thwarted by an extraordinary bid by MPs to delay the crucial “meaningful vote”.
Ahead of the highly unusual weekend sitting of the Commons, the prime minister was pulling out all the stops to secure the 320 votes he needs to claim victory in what was expected to be a razor-edge ballot, with the balance held by wavering Labour MPs, hardline ERG “Spartans” and expelled Tory rebels.

And the Times claims it’s ex-Tories who might do the damage.

Downing Street angrily accused a group of former Conservative MPs last night of joining attempts to undermine Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
The prime minister has led a campaign to persuade a precarious alliance of hardline Eurosceptics, his own rebels who were stripped of the whip and Labour MPs to support his deal in a vote in the Commons today.
However, a group of ex-Tory MPs combined with Labour and the Liberal Democrats to force him to request a further Brexit delay, hampering his attempts to win a majority for the deal.

DUP

The Democratic Unionists are adamant they’ll not vote for the deal, reports the Times.

Senior figures in the Democratic Unionist Party attacked Boris Johnson’s deal yesterday as “not Brexit” in an effort to convince Conservative MPs to join them and vote it down.
Sammy Wilson, one of the party’s MPs, called on Tories to “take a stand” against something that would “drive a coach and horses” through the Good Friday agreement.

They think it’s ‘awful’ says Sky News.

Sky News understands that loyalist groups in Northern Ireland have met to consider their response to what some are calling Boris Johnson’s “awful betrayal”.
One senior source said the discussions had not been organised by one specific group but had involved loyalists from all backgrounds.
The source continued: “Civil disobedience on a large scale has been discussed, as well as a large rally.

Hard Brexit

The ERG, who have been labelled ‘Spartans’, are not saying whether or not they’ll back the deal, says the Sun.

TORY Brexit die-hards dubbed “the Spartans” demanded legal guarantees on Boris Johnson’s deal as they wait until the eleventh hour to reveal if they will back it.
The European Research Group is meeting tomorrow morning for a crunch discussion where they will decide if they will give Boris their all-important backing.

The Mail says the group is torn.

Tory Eurosceptic ‘Spartans’ were torn over whether to back Boris Johnson‘s Brexit deal last night – with some seeking assurances that it could still allow a No Deal departure next year.
Members of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs will meet at Westminster this morning to decide whether to support the agreement before today’s crunch vote in the Commons.
As of last night, just 12 of the 28 Spartan MPs had publicly backed Mr Johnson’s deal.

Some of the hardliners will vote for the deal, says the Independent.

Hardline Brexit-backing Tory MPs will vote for Boris Johnson’s deal because it paves the way for crashing out of the EU with no agreement next year, one has revealed.
John Baron was accused of “letting the cat out of the bag” after describing the strategy as the reason why the new deal is “a fundamental improvement” on Theresa May’s doomed text.
The risk of a no-deal Brexit would only be delayed, not removed, because of Boris Johnson’s insistence that the transition period will must end in December 2020 – little more than a year away.
Experts believe there is little chance of negotiating a permanent deal with the EU by then – which would mean the UK losing its trading and security ties with the bloc.

Labour Party

Corbyn’s MPs could be deselected if they vote for the deal, says the Telegraph.

Labour descended into a fierce row over Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as senior party figures threatened to deselect MPs if they voted with the Government.
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn hit out at Jon Lansman, the Momentum founder, after he claimed Labour’s ruling body would block any MP who voted for the deal from standing at the next election.

The Mail says the PM has made overtures to some MPs.

Labour MPs were last night at the heart of an extraordinary tug of war as Boris Johnson tried to love-bomb them into backing his Brexit deal.
The support of just a handful of Labour rebels could unlock victory for the Prime Minister in this afternoon’s knife-edge Commons vote.
Mr Johnson and his ministers spent yesterday telephoning MPs on all sides in a last-minute bid to woo them.

And the Times says there could be 10 Labour MPs ready to vote for the deal.

Up to ten Labour MPs are prepared to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal despite being threatened by a leading left-wing official with deselection.
The prime minister has almost doubled the level of support Theresa May had for her Brexit deal from the Labour benches when she failed to get it through the Commons for the third time on March 29.

Do they or do they not?  Huffington Post describes the party as in turmoil.

Labour MPs who back a Brexit deal are “in turmoil” over whether to throw their weight behind the new agreement Boris Johnson has struck with Brussels.
The prime minister’s hopes of taking the UK out of the EU on October 31 rest on whether rebel Labour MPs will vote for his new Brexit deal after the DUP rejected it outright and as Tory Eurosceptics waver.
But around 19 Labour MPs, who represent strongly pro-Leave constituencies, could defy Jeremy Corbyn and support the government.

EU

Yahoo News reports that the block has made very few concessions over the deal and Boris has been humiliated.

European media and commentators were unanimous in saying that the greatest and most humiliating concessions in the new Brexit accord concluded on Thursday had been made not by the EU, but by Boris Johnson.
Yet, most argued, even if his deal did not pass the Commons on Saturday, the British prime minister had succeeded in getting exactly what he wanted, and – at least domestically – looked set to emerge a winner.
France’s Libération said the UK and the EU had concluded a deal “in extremis” to avoid a no-deal catastrophe. Even if the bloc had reopened talks it had declared closed at the end of last year, “in reality it was London that made the biggest gesture, by agreeing to customs checks between the UK and Northern Ireland”.

The Times reports the PM will not appoint a UK commissioner to the EU.

The prime minister plans to sabotage any Brexit extension by “empty chairing” the next EU summit and refusing to appoint a new European Commissioner.
Boris Johnson could tomorrow be forced to write to the EU requesting a Brexit extension — even if he succeeds in winning Commons support for his deal — under the terms of the Benn act.
Mr Johnson agreed this month that he would not “frustrate” a request to extend Article 50 after Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, threatened to resign if he broke the law.

Several EU leaders have said they won’t grant an extension.  The Mail quotes the French president.

Emmanuel Macron on Friday night led EU leaders in warning that they might block any further Brexit extension.
The French president said it was time to ‘put an end to these negotiations’.
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar made clear his opposition to further negotiations, saying: ‘Plan B is No Deal.’
However Angela Merkel is understood to believe an extension beyond October 31 would be ‘unavoidable’ should Boris Johnson‘s agreement be voted down.
Sources said the German chancellor argued the EU had a responsibility not to push the UK out without a deal.

But Mutti Merkel might, reports the Guardian.

Emmanuel Macron has suggested he is against a further Brexit extension as the EU sought to sell the new deal but private comments from Germany’s chancellor highlighted the likelihood that one would still be offered.
As a two-day leaders’ summit in Brussels finished on Friday, the French president said it was time for the current phase in the Brexit negotiations to end. MPs will convene on Saturday to vote on the revised withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future relationship.

The Mirror says the bloc is putting pressure on UK MPs.

EU leaders have ramped up the pressure on MPs to back Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal by raising doubts that any further delay will be granted.
Just a day before the crunch Commons vote, French president Emmanuel Macron said that the EU would not grant a further delay to Article 50  unless there are “some major changes”.
Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar struck a similar note warning MPs not to assume that any extension would get the unanimous support needed from the EU 27.

Juncker has said there won’t be an extension but that is up to the rest of the EU reports the Independent.

Jean-Claude Juncker said there would not be “any kind of prolongation” to Brexit and that “it has to be done now”.
Whether an Article 50 extension is granted is not down to Mr Juncker, but would instead be decided by EU leaders.
The 27 heads of state and government were due to discuss whether an extension was necessary before negotiating teams announced a deal had been struck on Thursday morning.

And the Times reports the top two EU countries are at odds.

French and German divisions over another Brexit delay are about a struggle for European dominance.
President Macron’s political star is in the ascendant as Angela Merkel’s fortunes are waning, and the French leader is pushing her to one side.
Mr Macron regards Brexit as consolidating his political power and prestige, transforming the EU into a more European project dominated by France.

Elsewhere in the EU, another call has been made for the creation of an EU army, says the Express.

GUY Verhofstadt has called for an EU army, insisting it is “high time to take matters in our own hands”.
The Brexit Coordinator for the European Parliament took to Twitter to demand an EU military. He claimed that the US is “not a reliable ally anymore” with Donald Trump as President.
Mr Verhofstadt tweeted: “Since Trump became President, the US is not a reliable ally anymore.
“High time for a European Army to take matters in our own hands.”

And the demonstrations in Spain continue, reports ITV News.

Masses of flag-waving demonstrators demanding Catalonia’s independence and the release from prison of separatist leaders jammed downtown Barcelona on Friday as the northeastern Spanish region endured its fifth straight night of unrest.
Chaotic scenes of violence erupted after more than a half million protesters, including families with children, marched in the Catalan capital, according to local police. Many were clad in pro-independence ‘estelada’ flags and shouted “Independence!” and “Freedom for political prisoners!”

Second referendum

There’s a big demo in London today in an effort to secure a second referendum, says the Independent.

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of a Final Say  referendum on Brexit will flood the streets of London on Saturday in what is expected to be one of the largest political protests Britain has ever seen.
As MPs in the House of Commons vote on the EU withdrawal deal reached by Boris Johnson in Brussels, huge numbers of voters on the streets outside will be loudly declaiming their demand that the final decision should be made by the public.

The Express says remainers’ plans to force a second referendum have collapsed.

REMAINER hopes of attaching a second Brexit referendum to Boris Johnson’s deal collapsed last night.
Pro-EU MPs had hoped to amend the Prime Minister’s deal so the public would have to approve it before Brexit could take place. But on Thursday evening the campaigners decided they were not confident enough former Tories would support amending the deal. Instead, the rebel group will try and defeat the PM’s deal outright on Saturday.
If the Brexit deal fails, the Remainers think MPs will be more likely to vote for a second referendum.

Education

Elsewhere, the Times reports a protest over teaching of LGBT.

Protests outside primary schools over the teaching of LGBT equality have been condemned as “disgusting” by the education secretary in his first intervention on the row.
Gavin Williamson said that it was vitally important that schools teach their pupils about “how Britain is today”.
He has so far stayed out of the row which has led to angry protests outside several schools in Birmingham including Anderton Park primary where some parents have withdrawn their children from lessons.

Health

The Mail reports a failure of experimental treatment.

A coroner has slammed failings at an NHS Trust after ten cancer patients died after undergoing experimental treatment by a consultant.
Paul Miller, 62, a consultant urologist, worked at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill treated patients suffering from bladder and prostate cancer.
But instead of pursuing traditional therapies he sent patients for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) which uses high frequency sound waves to burn away cancer cells.

And the Sun warns of a pandemic.

AN outbreak of so-called Disease X is “on the horizon” and could kill 80 million, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts have warned.
Scientists are looking for vaccines that could combat the as-yet-unknown infectious diseases  and unknown pathogens.
Last month, a panel led by the ex-chief of the WHO, released a stark report warning of the danger of a lethal respiratory pathogen, which they say could kill between 50 and 80 million people.
The 15 public health leaders criticised a “cycle of panic and neglect” which they say has characterised responses to health emergencies.

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