Brexit

Now Boris can ‘get it done’, but what sort of Brexit are we expecting?  The Telegraph speculates.

Boris Johnson insisted that Britain would not follow any EU rules after Brexit as he set up a showdown with Brussels over a trade deal.
The Prime Minister made clear that he would pursue a hard Brexit by saying there would be “no alignment” between the two sides, defying the EU’s claim that it was a “must” for any future relationship.
On a historic day for Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe, the Brexit “divorce” Bill sailed through the Commons with a majority of 124 on Friday, and will become law on Jan 9, enabling a Jan 31 exit and for trade negotiations to begin in earnest.

The Times offers a straightforward report on the proceedings in the HoC yesterday.

Boris Johnson is on course to take the UK out of the European Union at the end of next month after MPs approved his Brexit deal by a huge majority.
The prime minister’s withdrawal agreement bill  cleared its second reading in the Commons by 358 votes to 234 in a clear demonstration of how the parliamentary dynamics have been transformed by last week’s election result.
As MPs waited for the result of the vote to be announced some asked Mr Johnson to sign their copies of the bill. Only six Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn and voted with the government, but a further 32 either abstained or were absent.

The Guardian says Boris is calling for no more ‘leave’ or ‘remain’.

Britain has taken a pivotal step towards leaving the European Union as Boris Johnson was rewarded for the Conservatives’ thumping general election victory with a majority of 124 for his Brexit deal in the House of Commons.
Addressing MPs on Friday morning, the prime minister sought to draw a line under three years of bitter parliamentary conflict, urging his colleagues to “discard the old labels of leave and remain”.
After comfortably passing its second reading by 358 votes to 234, the withdrawal agreement bill is on track to complete its passage through both houses of parliament in time to allow Brexit to happen at the end of January.

But there are some interesting amendments, says the Evening Standard.

Boris Johnson has faced accusations he has “binned” his withdrawal deal compromises in favour of a hard Brexit as MPs prepare to vote on his exit terms.
As part of his general election pledge to have Brexit “decided” by Christmas, the Prime Minister will bring back the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill for its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday .
But critics on the opposition benches said Mr Johnson had “torn-up” his pre-election compromises on protections for workers and child refugees now that he had been “unbridled” by his crushing win at the polls.

The Mirror highlights the Labour MPs who backed the deal.

Britain is on course to leave the EU in 42 days after MPs voted overwhelmingly to back the Government’s Brexit deal.
The Commons voted 358 to 234 – a majority of 124 votes – to approve Boris Johnson ’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill – paving the way for the UK to quit the bloc on January 31.
Six Labour MPs rebelled against the party whip in order to vote with the Government on the Brexit bill – Sarah Champion, Rosie Cooper, Jon Cruddas, Emma Lewell-Buck, Grahame Morris and Toby Perkins.
32 Labour MPs abstained. There were no Tory rebels on the vote.

The Independent notes the return of J R-M.

Boris Johnson has been accused of watering down rights in his Brexit legislation, as his withdrawal agreement bill passed its first Commons hurdle with a majority of 124 votes.
Labour said Mr Johnson had “torn-up” protections for workers’ rights and child refugees, calling the changes “deeply cruel”. The Lib Dems said compromises had been “binned” following his march towards “unbridled” power.
As Jacob Rees-Mogg returned to frontline politics following his conspicuous absence from the Tory election campaign, campaigners railed against government plans to shake up the constitution and introduce photo ID at polling stations.

That’s it before Christmas, says the Mail.

Britain is now firmly on course to leave the European Union on January 31 next year after MPs overwhelmingly backed Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in a historic vote.
MPs voted by 358 to 234, a majority of 124, this afternoon to give the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill its second reading.
They will now break for Christmas before returning in January for further debates and votes on the legislation which is needed to deliver an orderly split from Brussels next month.

Labour Party

More ‘Project Fear’ from Labour in the Mirror.

Jeremy Corbyn has warned Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would mean maggots in paprika and rat hairs in orange juice.
The Labour leader said a post-Brexit US trade would mean signing up to lower standards as Britain runs short of bargaining chips.
It came as Mr Johnson came to the Commons on the last day before Christmas to push through his Brexit deal.
Mr Corbyn said: “The choice we now face is between keeping the highest environmental and food standards in order to get a future trade deal with the European Union or slashing food standards to match those of the United States where there are so-called acceptable levels of rat hairs in paprika, maggots in orange juice.”

There’s pressure to ditch Corbyn says iNews.

The majority of people who have joined the Labour Party in the week since its election disaster want the party to change from Corbynism, according to initial analysis from insiders.
More than 24,000 people are reported to have signed up to join the party for the first time, or rejoin it after quitting under Jeremy Corbyn, since the 12 December election.
Party sources say that around a third of new members are sympathetic to Mr Corbyn and have been signed up via Momentum, the grassroots Corbynite membership organisation.
But the other two-thirds are either “soft left” long-term Labour voters who want to take the party in a “new direction” after Mr Corbyn stands down in March, or are avowedly pro-Remain supporters who want the party to strike a clearer anti-Brexit stance at the start of the new decade – despite the remain cause looking like a lost hope.

Speaker

With Speaker Bercow finally out of the way, his replacement has been praised says the Express.

LINDSAY HOYLE has been inundated with praise by Express.co.uk readers for being a “breath of fresh air” as the new House of Commons Speaker after his predecessor John Bercow was constantly accused of breaking convention to help opponents of Brexit.
The new Speaker vowed to be “impartial and fair” as Parliament returned this week. Mr Hoyle said: “A speaker has to be trusted. I have a proven track record of being impartial, independent and fair.” He then started his new role with two MPs carrying out the parliamentary tradition of dragging him to the Speaker’s chair.

Voter ID

Voter fraud is to be tackled by the new government, reports the Independent.

Boris Johnson has confirmed that his government will push ahead with controversial plans to force voters to show identification at polling stations.
The proposals were included in the Queen’s Speech  this week, meaning they are likely to be implemented in law in the coming months.
The government insists that the changes are necessary to tackle electoral fraud, but critics say they are unnecessary and will disenfranchise tens of thousands of people.
Under the plans put forward by ministers, all voters would have to show official identification at polling stations before they were allowed to cast their vote. Valid ID would include a driving license or passport, as well as a new type of identity document that would be created.

EU

But the forthcoming negotiations are not going to be easy, says ITV News.

Boris Johnson appeared to set himself on a collision course with the European Union in trade talks after ruling out adhering to Brussels rules after Brexit.
A huge majority of 124 votes for the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second reading in the Commons on Friday means the UK is on its way to finalising its divorce from Brussels by the January 31 deadline.
But opposing views on both sides of the Channel mean that the Prime Minister is set for a combative 11-months of trade talks when UK and EU teams sit down to negotiate from February.

And the Express claims we will not follow all the EU’s rules.

PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain will not follow EU rules after finally leaving the bloc on January 31.
The Prime Minister made the vow despite the EU  insisting regulatory alignment was a requirement for any future relationship. Friday saw Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal pass through Parliament with a majority of 124. Speaking in the Commons chamber the PM said it “means we are one step closer to getting Brexit done.”
The Prime Minister made the vow despite the EU  insisting regulatory alignment was a requirement for any future relationship.

The Independent points out that Parliament will not check the details of the deal.

Boris Johnson has scrapped powers for MPs to scrutinise future trade deals after Brexit amid the UK could be forced to accept lower standards as a price for a trade agreement with the US.
The new Brexit deal, which was published on Thursday, has been stripped of a clause which would have given MPs oversight of negotiations for trade agreements once the UK leaves the EU next month.

And the Irish boss has issued a warning, reports ITV News.

A UK-Ireland trade deal has been made more difficult because Boris Johnson is “fixed on a harder Brexit”, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.
Mr Varadkar told a media briefing in Dublin that his government’s top priority in 2020 would be guiding Ireland through Brexit.
He said the deal negotiated with the UK gives Ireland important guarantees, including preventing the re-emergence of a hard border between North and South, however trade remains an open question.
Mr Varadkar said: “This is existential for our economy, because so much of our economy is dependent on trade, particularly the agri-food sector but also the manufacturing sector as well.

‘Stop Brexit’

Finally, we’ll hear no more bellowing from outside Parliament, reports Breitbart.

Notorious anti-Brexit activist Steve Bray announced that he will give up his protest outside Parliament, which has lasted over two years.
Steve Bray, who has been protesting outside the Palace of Westminster for 847 days, photobombing live television reports and shouting “Stop Brexit!” at the top of his lungs, said that in the wake of Boris Johnson’s historic victory he will hang up his blue EU top hat and bullhorn.
“The fight goes on but our future campaigning will be about holding government to account and when the proverbial sh*t kicks in, we will look into how we can get back into the EU,” Bray said, according to the  Metro.

Scotland

There are still plans to force a second indyref north of the border, reports the Times.

SNP strategists are targeting mostly soft Unionist, middle-class, Remain-supporting voters who they believe hold the key to Scotland’s future and can be persuaded to back independence.
Following the nationalists’ comprehensive victory in 47 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies last week, Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, has renewed her demand for another ballot on separation.
This has been rejected by Boris Johnson’s government but the SNP has vowed to continue to put pressure on ministers until they give way.

And the Express claims reporters are being told how to interview Conservatives.

NICOLA STURGEON has been condemned for sending correspondence out telling journalists how she wants them to interview and interrogate Boris Johnson’s Tory Party.
Reporters north and south of the Scottish border hit back at a flurry of emails they received from the SNP telling them how to interview the Conservative Party. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) also snapped back and told the SNP that “journalists don’t need advice on how to do their jobs from political parties”. Journalists also flocked to Twitter to slap down the call.
One said: “This is an absolute disgrace. We don’t tell politicians how to do their jobs, so why on earth do they think they can tell us how to do ours?”
Another slapped down comments saying reporters should “heed advice” from the SNP.

BBC News claims Boris will consider the request for a second indyref.

The prime minister will give “careful consideration” to Nicola Sturgeon’s request to be handed the powers to hold a second independence referendum, the Scottish secretary has insisted.
Alister Jack said the UK government would formally reply to the first minister’s request in the new year.
But he said 55% of Scottish voters had backed parties that are opposed to independence in last week’s election.
Ms Sturgeon says she wants to hold a referendum next year.

Nigel

There are calls for the former UKIP leader to be given a knighthood, says Breitbart.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, in a series of recommendations to help begin the “healing process” in the UK, has called for the government to knight Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Tory Brexiteer lauded Nigel Farage for “the work he has undertaken over many years to advance the case for the UK leaving the European Union”.
Mr Bridgen, therefore, proposed that the government bestow a knighthood upon Mr Farage.
Citing Boris Johnson’s post-election speech, Bridgen also recommended that the government, as part of the “healing process”, honour both sides of the Brexit debate, suggesting that the Europhile Tory defector  Ken Clarke should be given a peerage or knighthood as well.

NHS

No wonder we can’t get a GP appointment in a reasonable time – there aren’t enough GPs, says the Times.

A national shortage of GPs has left some surgeries with one permanent doctor caring for as many as 11,000 patients, a Times investigation can reveal.
Families registered with the worst-hit practices, which have had more than six times the average number of patients per GP, have reported waiting up to nine weeks for appointments.
Elderly patients and parents of young children said they have had to call ambulances or visit hospital A&E departments for problems including chest infections and dizziness because it is so difficult to see their doctor.

The Mail highlights one particular area.

A single GP is responsible for up to 11,000 patients amid the chronic national shortage of family doctors, NHS figures reveal.
The practice in Maidstone, Kent, has repeatedly applied for closure due to ‘significant staff absences’.
A second surgery in Walsall in the West Midlands has no permanent GPs and is being run by three locums.
The alarming figures, obtained by The Times, also reveal that the number of fully qualified full-time family doctors has plummeted by 6 per cent in four years.

The Times names one particular surgery.

It is 7.59am on a Friday in Milton Keynes and an elderly man leads a queue of patients outside their GP surgery. He has been there for half an hour and is shivering. He does not want to risk losing his place, and his chance of an appointment, by going back to the warmth of his car.
One by one staff arrive and walk through the front door, leaving him waiting in the cold until 8am, the official opening time. The man is one of millions of people in England who are registered with GP practices that have had staffing problems and struggle to meet the needs of an older population.

Police

The police are failing in their duty says the Times.

Criminals are evading justice as forces fail to record more than 1,200 crimes a day, including assault, rape and child sexual abuse, a Times analysis of data from the police watchdog shows.
The failure to process the cases means that victims are denied access to support services, dangerous offenders are not jailed and the public are not properly informed of the crime rate.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services scrutinised logs of incidents reported and assessed whether they were handled correctly.

BBC

The Mail reports on one viewer who didn’t have a licence.

Kathleen Quinton, a nurse, was watching Chinese food programme Flavorful Origins — her favourite show on streaming channel Netflix — with her husband Francis when the TV licensing ‘enforcement officer’ knocked on their front door in April this year.
The official-looking stranger asked if the couple had a TV licence, to which Kathleen initially said: ‘Yes.’
Then she broke down in tears. The truth is that the direct debit payment had bounced due to a lack of funds in the Quinton account.

Flooding

Constant rain is causing problems, says the Telegraph.

Those hoping to flee the vile British weather for some Christmas sun or the slopes faced having their getaway plans washed out amid travel chaos affecting one of the country’s busiest airports.
Train operators told people not to travel to Gatwick by rail after the network flooded overnight.
Thameslink, which serves Gatwick and London Bridge from Brighton, told customers if they wanted to guarantee catching their flight, they should make other plans.
But some would-be flyers trying to reach the airport reported taxis are refusing to make the trip, and even if they managed to get a cab to take them, people have still missed their flights.

The Sun says there’s ‘chaos’ about.

FLOODS have sparked chaos across the UK with shocking aerial snaps showing waterlogged fields and motorways across the country.
Christmas travels plans were shot as torrential rain lashed Frantic Friday with railways and the M23 shut.
The M23 was closed in both directions and landslides blocked Southern train lines sparking “do not travel” warnings on Friday.
Cars trying to get to the airport are sat bumper-to-bumper in long queues as a large chunk of the motorway is expected to be closed for “several hours” this morning.

And the Mail says more is on the way.

Torrential rain turned the Christmas getaway into a misery yesterday – with more downpours expected today.
Flooding blocked roads and railways, while part of a historic promenade collapsed.
The heavens opened across southern England and Wales on Wednesday afternoon, and half a month’s rain fell between then and yesterday morning.
Some 57 flood warnings, where a flood is expected, were issued yesterday across central and southern England.

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