Conservative Party

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing challenges from both wings of her party.  The Express reports Brexiteers:

SENIOR Brexiteers have warned Theresa May that watering down her Brexit demands to secure a deal at the eleventh-hour would be a “catastrophic misjudgement”.
The Prime Minister has held further talks with Brussels this week as she scrambles to secure last-minute changes to her unpopular Withdrawal Agreement. But Mrs May is facing the prospect of a Remainer rebellion if she refuses to rule out no deal, while Brexiteers have demanded she make good on her pledge to revise the Irish border backstop. Mrs May is working to secure legally binding changes to the contentious arrangement but has now scrapped demands to reopen negotiations into the full Withdrawal Agreement, The Sun reports.

There is a large rump of Tory MPs refusing to accept WTO rules, reports the Mirror.

Theresa May has been warned she could face a mass Tory revolt if the country appears on course for a no-deal Brexit .
The leaders of the 100-strong Brexit Delivery Group warn dozens could vote to delay the March 29 exit date if Theresa May’s deal is rejected by “intransigent” colleagues.
Ringleader Andrew Percy admitted his threat was “contingent on it being a meaningful vote” next week – which might not happen.
But he said mainstream Tory MPs are getting “increasingly frustrated” and slammed hard Brexiteers saying: “While we are prepared to make compromises other people are not.”

And some ministers are demanding the PM quits in a few months, says the Guardian.

Cabinet ministers will make it clear they believe Theresa May should step down after the local elections in May and allow a new leader to deliver the next phase of the Brexit negotiations, the Guardian understands.
Senior figures in government have suggested they want the prime minister to leave shortly after the first phase of the Brexit negotiations finishes – or risk being defeated in a vote of no confidence at the end of the year.

The Mail covers the same threats.

Theresa May will be told to quit as Prime Minister in three months’ time to allow someone else to lead the country into the next stage of Brexit.
Her own Cabinet ministers are said to want her out of Number 10 after local elections in May, warning she would be ousted by the end of the year anyway if she refuses, the Guardian reported.

Brexit delay

The Mail has a column written jointly by Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke.

Leaving the European Union has been a protracted and complex process. Disentangling 46 years of membership has not been – and was never going to be – a simple task.
But, as members of her Cabinet, we have seen for ourselves the extraordinary determination and resilience the Prime Minister has demonstrated in seeking to implement the result of the 2016 referendum.
In the next few days, it is to be hoped that we can achieve a breakthrough in our negotiations with the EU and a new deal can be presented to Parliament.

The Times reports the ministers’ threats.

Three cabinet ministers told Theresa May last night that they would vote to extend membership of the EU if she does not get her deal passed next week.
David Gauke, Amber Rudd and Greg Clark also told the European Research Group of Tory MPs to accept that parliament would stop a no-deal Brexit and to back the deal or “have no one to blame but themselves” for a delay.
“If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in parliament is clear,” the justice, home and business secretaries wrote in the Daily Mail. “It would be better to seek to delay our departure than to crash out of the European Union on March 29.”

The Independent says the warning is ‘blunt’.

Three cabinet ministers have issued a blunt warning to Theresa May  that they will defy her and back delaying Brexit to avoid a “disastrous” no deal scenario.
Ahead of a crucial votes in the Commons Amber RuddGreg Clark and David Gauke have called on the prime minister they will break cabinet unity to ensure there was more time to negotiate with the EU if it was required.

The Sun says the three will vote against the government.

THREE Cabinet ministers go public with their threat to delay Brexit if Tory hardliners vote down Theresa May’s plan for a new EU deal.
In a joint statement, Greg ClarkAmber Rudd and David Gauke issue a thinly veiled signal that they will side with backbench rebels next week to stop Britain tumbling out without a deal on March 29.
The Business Secretary, Work and Pensions Secretary and Justice Secretary make it clear they would defy No10 to vote to extend Article 50 exit talks.
That would see Britain stay in the EU for several more months under a deal can be struck.

The Telegraph claims there’s a rebellion afoot.

Theresa May has been warned by ministers she has five days in which to announce she will delay Brexit or she will face a mass rebellion that risks collapsing the Government.
Earlier this week Amber Rudd, Greg Clark, David Gauke and David Mundell effectively challenged the Prime Minister to sack them by vowing to support a backbench bid to take a no-deal divorce off the table.
They warned Mrs May in a meeting in Downing Street as many as 22 members of the Government are prepared to vote for a backbench bill that would force her to request an extension of Article 50.

Breitbart reports the trio warned Mrs May against no deal.

A delegation of four Remainers in Theresa May’s Cabinet have confronted her and warned her she must delay Brexit rather than pursue a clean, No Deal break with the EU.
As many as 100 anti-Brexit MPs could back an amendment tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Oliver Letwin which would see Brexit pushed beyond March 29th rather than allow it to take place on World Trade Organization (WTO) — or “No Deal” — terms, the Guardian reports.

The Brexit Party

The Express claims exclusively that some senior Tories will be joining the new Brexit Party.

Senior Tories from the “heart of the Conservative party” are poised to join the new Brexit Party if there is a delay to Britain leaving the EU, it was claimed on Friday.
The “well known names” could team up with Nigel Farage’s new anti-Brexit party in May’s European elections. The party said it will field hundreds of candidates if Brexit is delayed significantly beyond the March 29 deadline. Leader Catherine Blaiklock said she is waiting on the outcome of a crunch parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s deal.

Labour Party

The Labour leader has been told to go, reports the Express.

JEREMY Corbyn has been told to quit for the good of the Labour Party in a scathing attack from Lord Melvyn Bragg amid bullying claims, it has emerged.
The Labour peer said he refused to join the newly formed Independent Group because he wished to try to help change the party “from within”, according to The Sun. In a brutal assault, Lord Bragg attacked Mr Corbyn for turning Labour into a “different party” from the one he originally joined. The famed broadcaster mentioned the party’s anti-Semitic stance and the recent reports of bullying in a recent statement.

The Mail reports the shadow chancellor’s comments on a second referendum.

John McDonnell has signalled that Labour is moving closer to backing a second public vote on Brexit as the party tries desperately to stem the tide of defecting MPs.
The shadow chancellor said Labour had kept the option on the table and ‘we’re moving towards that’.

The Independent also has the story.

John McDonnell has insisted that Labour is “moving towards” backing a new referendum as the party seeks to stem the flow of defections over Brexit.
The shadow chancellor said that the party’s existing policy did mean a new public vote had been “kept on the table”.
He also said that a proposal being put forward by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which if adopted by the party would see Labour back Ms May’s deal as long as it was put to a referendum, “could be a solution”.
Today, Ian Austin became the ninth Labour MP to quit the party this week.

The Independent Group

Meanwhile, the newly-formed Independent Group of MPs is receiving cash, reports the Times.

Donors plan to desert other political parties and back the Independent Group days after it was created.
The band of 11 MPs have already raised tens of thousands of pounds from members of the public, using an online crowdfunder, after forming the group on Monday.

The Mail reports that the group does not have a leader.

The Independent Group of rebel MPs may remain leaderless for some time as they are waiting to see who the ‘best person’ for the job might be, Heidi Allen said today.
The former Tory said they were waiting to see the ‘range’ of people who they can peel off from Conservative and Labour ranks to join the current 11 political defectors before deciding who was in charge.

LibDems

The LibDems want a second referendum, reports ITV News.

Liberal Democrats will make a fresh attempt to persuade MPs to back a second Brexit referendum – with leader Sir Vince Cable reaching out to members of the new Independent Group for support.
With Parliament expected to stage another series of votes on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, Mr Cable confirmed his party would again try to get a majority for a People’s Vote.
The Liberal Democrat leader is to address his party’s Scottish Conference in Hamilton as the clock ticks down to Britain’s formal departure date, on March 29.

EU

The Times reports goings-on over on the Continent.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has told ambassadors that Theresa May would use the threat of delaying Britain’s departure to push her deal over the line.
Michel Barnier said that Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, was seeking to negotiate a legally binding “instrument” allowing him to issue new legal advice that the Irish backstop would be temporary.
Language will be included to allow alternative arrangements, such as technology, to supersede the backstop as well as setting out strengthened review procedures. However, the government has quietly dropped demands for a specified time limit to the backstop or a unilateral exit mechanism.

Westmonster also reports the prospect of an extension.

European Union officials are expecting Theresa May to request an extension of Article 50 that pushes back Brexit by months.
The officials spoke to Bloomberg, with a rumoured delay set to span three months. One of the officials said that an even longer push back could be on the table. Brexiteers will be up in arms and rightly so.
The rumour comes as some Tory MPs are pushing for a WTO Brexit to be blocked, which would mean a delay.
It is expected that any delay would still seek to avoid the UK taking part in European Elections – which Nigel Farage has confirmed he would stand in under the banner of his new Brexit Party. The establishment would take an absolute drubbing.

Would going to WTO rules be an accident?  The Mail reports.

Britain could crash out of the EU by accident in March without a deal, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator is reported to have told colleagues.
Michel Barnier told a French radio station today that he was ‘more worried than before’ after a week in which Theresa May and senior ministers visited Brussels in a bid to hammer out a workable plan.
And he privately told ambassadors that there was a high chance of an ‘accidental’ Brexit, the Guardian reported.

The Independent claims a deal could be worked out.

The outline of a potential compromise deal on Brexit has begun to emerge in Brussels with both sides now working towards a new route out of the deadlock.
EU diplomats confirmed they were looking at a new kind of legal instrument to sit alongside the existing withdrawal agreement, giving clarity over the temporary nature of the Irish backstop so hated by Tory backbenchers.
They were in meetings with the UK’s attorney general Geoffrey Cox, who has already done groundwork on similar instruments before heading to Brussels for meetings alongside Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.

The Guardian also reports the EU’s concerns.

Michel Barnier has said he is more concerned than ever after a week of talks with Theresa May and the British negotiators that has left Brussels fearing an accidental no-deal Brexit in five weeks.
As the British prime minister heads to Egypt for an EU-Arab summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, the bloc’s chief negotiator publicly said he believed there remained “a chance” of ratifying the deal.
But he told a French radio channel: “Today I am more worried than before” over the talks, adding that the UK needed to make decisions fast.

But Sky News claims a deal is impossible this weekend.

Brussels has ruled out striking a “deal in the desert” when Theresa May heads to a summit of European and Arab leaders this weekend.
A senior EU official confirmed its Council President Donald Tusk will meet the prime minister on the fringes of an event in the luxury Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh.
Mrs May was hoping to secure a breakthrough on the Brexit impasse during the 5,000-mile round trip this Sunday.

And the EU is also facing trouble from the US, claims the Express.

DONALD Trump is shattering the relationship between EU power states Germany and France after it has been revealed bosom buddies Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are involved in a spat over the US President’s trade war with the bloc.
The chummy relationship between the Frenchman and his German counterpart is being challenged by the American who has slapped crippling tariffs on German cars and agriculture products in a move that could see bad blood between Ms Merkel and Mr Macron bleed into other EU member states.

Treason

The Sun claims an exclusive report on the prospect of new treason laws.

SAJID Javid is drawing up plans for a new Treason Act to jail ISIS fighters who have betrayed Britain, The Sun can reveal.
The Home Secretary has tasked officials to work on the major new criminal offence to close down current legal loopholes.
It would also be used to prosecute foreign spies on espionage missions in the UK, such as agents of Russia’s infamous GRU intelligence agency.
The first Treason Act was passed in 1351 for crimes against the monarch.
The modern day definition would be an act of betrayal by anyone using violence, or attempting to, against the people of the United Kingdom.
Punishable by a maximum term of life imprisonment, it would fill the current legal loopholes that have allowed dozens of returning jihadis to walk free because there is too little evidence to prosecute them.

The Mail has picked up the story.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is reportedly drawing up a new Treason Act that could see returning IS fighters who have betrayed Britain jailed for life.
Mr Javid is said to have asked officials to close current legal loopholes. It would also enable the prosecution of foreign spies who carry out missions on British soil, such as Russia‘s GRU agents.
The Treason Act was passed in 1351 for crimes against the monarchy.
But a new definition would be an act of betrayal by anyone using violence – or attempting to – against the people of the UK.

Social care

The Telegraph has an exclusive warning from the health secretary to the Prime Minister.

Theresa May has been warned by her Health Secretary that plans for a £100,000 care cap will cost billions and lead to significant tax rises, The Telegraph can reveal.
Matt Hancock has told the Prime Minister he is “concerned” that the cap, which he says could cost up to £3.4billion, is being included in a forthcoming green paper.
The cap would see people pay a maximum of £100,000 for their care over their lifetime, excluding the cost of accommodation.

Discrimination

The police ares guilty of discrimination, says the Telegraph.

A police force has been found guilty of discrimination after it refused to give a potential recruit a job because he was a white heterosexual man.
Cheshire Police are believed to be the first organisation in the UK to be found guilty of using positive action to discriminate by deciding to shun 25-year-old Matthew Furlong in 2017.
The force rejected him while in the midst of a diversity drive after a report found in 2015 it was one of only four constabularies to have no black officers.

The Mail also reports the discrimination,

The son of a police chief who tried to join his father’s force was rejected for being ‘a white, heterosexual male without disability’.
Matthew Furlong, 25, had applied for his ‘dream job’ as a constable with Cheshire Police, where his father, Liam, 52, is a detective inspector.
He performed well in tests and at interview but the force was so desperate for more recruits from ethnic minorities or who were gay or transgender that it refused to hire him.

And Breitbart reports a call for a change in the law to make such discrimination legal.

Sara Thornton, head of Britain’s National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), has said the law should be changed so forces can actively discriminate against white recruits in order to increase diversity.
Currently, discriminating against people in job recruitment on the basis of certain “protected characteristics”, including race, sex, and sexuality, is technically illegal under the Equality Act of 2010.
However, excluding certain people — generally white people, or at least white males — from supposed internships, even if they pay more than a typical working-class job, or deprioritising them from training schemes or workshops designed to boost employment prospects, is allowable under the act’s so-called “positive action” provisions.

NHS

Old fashioned pagers could be scrapped by the NHS says ITV News.

Pagers will be banished from the NHS within the next three years, the Health Secretary has announced.
Staff will instead use mobile phones and apps in a bid to cut costs, improve communication and free up time for doctors and nurses, Matt Hancock said.
The NHS uses more than one in 10 of the world’s pagers, with 130,000 of the devices costing around £6.6 million annually, according to a 2017 report.

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