I make no apology for concentrating on Brexit today.

Parliament

The Express claims the majority of voters want a clean break next Friday.

PUBLIC frustration with the UK’s delayed withdrawal from the EU was laid bare last night by a poll showing voters overwhelmingly want Brexit to go ahead on time next week.
Nearly half of voters (48 percent) quizzed in the exclusive ComRes survey “just want Brexit sorted” and “don’t really care how”. Nearly eight out of ten (78 percent) blame Parliament for the postponement of the withdrawal date that had been set for this coming Friday. Almost four out of ten think Commons Speaker John Bercow, who intervened to block Theresa May’s plans this week, is trying to thwart Brexit.
And half of voters (50 percent) still want the UK to leave the EU while only 35 percent think the departure should be cancelled.

Westmonster warns that a series of ‘indicative votes’ could stop Brexit altogether.

After blocking a No Deal Brexit next week on 29th March, Theresa May could hand a Remain-dominated Parliament power through ‘indicative votes’ which would see MPs vote on the way forward. We are witnessing the total destruction of authority in government.
If Theresa May’s deal is rejected for a third time as expected, MPs would get to vote on a number of options including revoking Article 50 to stop Brexit, a second referendum, No Deal, and staying in the Customs Union/Single Market.

The Telegraph also reports the prospect.

Downing Street is considering offering MPs votes on different Brexit options in a move which Cabinet critics believe will lead to a softer divorce from the European Union.
Number 10 is set to offer MPs the chance to choose their preferred way forward from a list of seven choices next week in the hope one is backed by a Commons majority and breaks the Brexit impasse.

Sky News has a list of the options.

MPs could vote on a set of seven Brexit options next week, according to Sky sources.
The votes are being considered by Downing Street amid fears that Theresa May’s exit deal will not pass through the Commons.
Here are the options which have been put forward, and what they mean.

One of the options could be a customs union, reports the Telegraph.

Theresa May is considering plans to allow MPs a vote on keeping Britain in a Customs Union as she refuses to quit as Prime Minister despite MPs and ministers urging her to stand down.
After Brussels rejected her request for a three month delay, Mrs May returned to the UK yesterday and began drawing up new plans for Brexit.
Under the latest proposals MPs will be offered “indicative votes” on a range of Brexit alternatives if, as anticipated, the Prime Minister’s deal is defeated for a third time.

The Express is worried about a long delay if MPs get control of the process.

BREXIT could still be delayed for months as MPs plan to table an amendment which could see Parliament seize control of the Brexit process and seek a long extension to Article 50, as calls for the Prime Minister to quit grow louder.
MPs are expected to table amendments before Theresa May puts her savaged withdrawal agreement to a vote again next week. Among those to be presented to the Speaker of the House, MPs will put forward one on Monday that could lead to Parliament taking the reins of the Brexit process.

And the Mirror says MP will be allowed to vote according to their consciences.

Tory MPs will be given a FREE VOTE to plot Britain’s course out of the Brexit chaos, a Tory minister has suggested.
Brexit Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he would “be surprised” if the Government did not allow MPs to vote without whipping if so-called “indicative votes” are brought forward.
The multiple-choice votes are expected in the coming weeks to weed out the least unpopular option after EU chiefs challenged the UK to either pass a deal, or come up with an alternative plan by April 12.

The Mail thinks the PM has declared war on Eurosceptics.

Theresa May was today accused of ‘declaring open war’ on her own Eurosceptic MPs by promising a free vote on a second referendum or revoking Article 50 if her Brexit deal is killed off next week.
Downing Street will ask MPs from all parties to help find her a Plan B as Tory rebels said their ‘isolated’ leader should ‘name a date’ for her resignation after failing to deliver Brexit for March 29.
Mrs May is expected to hold a vote to gauge support among MPs for the seven main paths for Brexit: The PM’s deal, No Deal, a second referendum, Labour’s preferred customs union deal, a Norway-plus EEA deal, a Canada-plus free trade deal or revoking Article 50 and staying in the EU.

The Sun calls her ‘desperate’.

DESPERATE Theresa May was last night fighting for her Premiership as hardline Tories vowed to avenge her Brexit delay and loyal ministers gave up hope of ever passing her deal.
The PM abandoned a Brussels summit early to rush back to London to try to whip up support for a third and final vote on her deal next week.
But after EU leaders forced her to agree to delay the UK’s exit date by two weeks until April 12 – and potentially pave the way for an even longer delay – diehard Tory MPs and the DUP showed no sign of switching to back her plan, and instead kept up their attacks on it.

The Labour Party could back her deal, says the Mirror.

Tom Watson will tomorrow offer to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal on the condition that there’s a second referendum.
The deputy Labour leader will take centre-stage at the ‘Put it to the People’ march in London, and will make the pledge in a keynote speech.
He’s expected to say: “Millions of people voted for Brexit and many more millions of people – their jobs, their livelihoods and their public services – are going to be directly affected by this crisis.

MVIII

But will the WA actually be brought before the House a third time?  The Mail speculates.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal suffered a potentially fatal blow last night after she wrote to MPs admitting she might not seek a third vote in Parliament next week if she does not think it will pass.
Her letter followed a decision by the DUP to rule out support for her deal and warnings from ministers that the Prime Minister could be gone within days if she presses ahead with a new plan for MPs to vote on alternative options, including a soft Brexit or second referendum.

The Independent says Mrs May has written to MPs.

Theresa May has hinted she might not go ahead with a third vote on her Brexit deal if there is not enough support for it.
The prime minister wrote a letter to MPs following her return from talks with European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels and outlined a “clear choice” made up of four options.
Ms May appeared to immediately rule out one of them – revoking Article 50 and remaining in the EU – as a “betrayal” of the referendum result.

DUP

But the DUP is still not happy, says the Independent.

The Democratic Unionist Party has appeared to read the last rites on Theresa May’s Brexit deal by saying “nothing has changed” ahead of a third and final meaningful vote.
The party propping up the Tories in power, and whose support is essential to any hopes the prime minister has of rescuing her agreement, scotched any prospect of it switching sides.

The Mirror reports the DUP leader’s comments.

Theresa May has already trundled off to Chequers for the weekend, far away from the Brexit nightmare she’s somehow still in charge of.
But the DUP have decided to tinge her getaway with creeping dread and anxiety with a Friday afternoon Brexit missive so furious it could turn her jam mouldy.
Attacking the Prime Minister’s performance in Brussels last night, the hardline Northern Irish party’s commons leader Nigel Dodds said she had “missed an opportunity” to “help unite the country” by improving her Brexit deal.

She has failed, reports Westmonster.

The DUP’s Westminster Nigel Dodds has slammed the increasingly hopeless Theresa May, describing her performance in Brussels as a “failure”.
In a statement today, Dodds says: “The Prime Minister missed an opportunity at the EU Council to put forward proposals which could have improved the prospects of an acceptable Withdrawal Agreement and help unite the country.”

EU

The bloc is still putting pressure on the PM, says the Times.

European leaders have urged MPs to rip up Theresa May’s Brexit red lines to secure a closer relationship with the bloc if they reject her deal next week.
In a move that will infuriate Downing Street, a number of member states yesterday broke ranks from the agreed EU position to call on parliament to consider remaining in the customs union and single market.
Even before she triggered the Article 50 process to leave the EU, Mrs May set two red lines for the negotiations — that Britain could not remain in the single market, or have a customs arrangement that ruled out signing comprehensive new free trade deals.

The EU is still trying to push the PM their way, reports the Mail.

EU leaders warned yesterday that Britain faces a choice between No Deal and a softer ‘Norway-style’ Brexit if Theresa May fails to win approval for her deal.
French president Emmanuel Macron was the first to throw down the gauntlet.
He said the first option would be to bring forward ‘new proposals’ – code for a softer Brexit. This would have to be done by April 12, the new exit date agreed by both sides if the deal is not approved. The second choice would be No Deal, he insisted.

One of the EU’s presidents has given the UK the opportunity to cancel Brexit, says the Independent.  Nice of him!

The agreement to extend Article 50 struck by EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday night means that “anything is possible” – even cancelling Brexit, Donald Tusk has said.
The president of the European Council said the UK would have time to change its strategy or even cancel Brexit, “which is the prerogative of the UK government”.

The Guardian claims we’ll still leave, even if it takes another couple of weeks.

The EU increasingly believes a no-deal Brexit on 12 April is the most likely outcome, senior EU officials have said, prompting Emmanuel Macron to privately ask the Irish prime minister if his country could cope.
The French president sought assurance from Leo Varadkar in the closing moments of a marathon session of talks on Thursday night, as the leaders looked to settle on mid-April as the new cliff-edge.

And Ireland’s PM is still baiting the UK, reports the Express.

IRELAND’S taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar has issued a not-so-subtle jibe to Brexiteers today, Tweeting his support at the fact EU and non-EU countries can share land borders without needing border patrol infrastructure and customs checks.
Mr Varadkar tweeted from Brussels on the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area he had enjoyed meeting his counterparts from EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who participate in the EU’s single market without being members.

But even its own citizens aren’t happy with the EU, reports Breitbart.

The majority of Europeans say that European Union (EU) leadership is “out of touch” with the real needs of citizens, according to a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center.
While most Europeans credit the EU for promoting peace, democratic values, and prosperity, opinions turn negative when considering the EU’s ability to efficiently deal with concrete problems such as immigration.

No deal

Perhaps MPs should be told what option is preferred by the voters.  Westmonster reports:

New polling from Opinium has shown that there is a clear increase in public support for a No Deal Brexit. Theresa May could have delivered that next Friday on 29th March as promised, but has chosen not to. It really is shameful.
As Opinium themselves say “in the past week there has been a shift towards No Deal amongst the public”.

But arrangement for no-deal have been shelved, says the Times.

The government has postponed activating its no-deal contingency plans until next month after agreeing a delay to Brexit with the EU.
The “command and control” structures of Operation Yellowhammer, the civil service’s worst-case Brexit planning unit, were set to be “enacted fully” on Monday, and Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, had taken control of the process.

A top Tory has backed a WTO Brexit, reports Breitbart.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lizz Truss MP has backed a No Deal Brexit over a long extension to the Article 50 negotiations with the European Union — pushing Brexit day far into the future, and possibly preparing the way for its ultimate cancellation — indicating she does not believe the more lurid scare stories peddled by Project Fear.
Asked if she would prefer No Deal to an extension of Article 50 — presumably the very long extension favoured by the EU, rather than the short one Theresa May has sought to attempt to pass her Withdrawal Agreement with the bloc for a third time — Truss told The Sun, “God yes. No extension.”

Even the CBI is hoping for WTO rules, reports the Telegraph.

A no-deal Brexit now is preferable to the uncertainty caused by a long delay to leaving the European Union entrepreneurs say today.
The views of the businesses – which typically employ hundreds of staff and are spread across the country – are at odds with large companies, which again yesterday said a long delay was better than Brexit.

An anti-Brexit leak has been lapped up by the Guardian.

The extent and range of the impact of a no-deal Brexit is revealed in a confidential Cabinet Office document that warns of a “critical three-month phase” after leaving the EU during which the whole planning operation could be overwhelmed.
The classified document, seen by the Guardian, sets out the command and control structures in Whitehall for coping with a no-deal departure and says government departments will have to firefight most problems for themselves – or risk a collapse of “Operation Yellowhammer”.

The Mail also covers the leaked document.

Three months of No Deal chaos are predicted in a secret Cabinet dossier, as Theresa May faces an embarrassing leak ahead of next week’s third meaningful vote.
Operation Yellowhammer reportedly sets out Whitehall’s plans for how ministers will meet at 7am for a sitrep (situation report) to tackle crucial risk areas.

Direct action

An action group has been working hard, says the Mail.

Furious Brexiteers caused motorway chaos across the UK as they organised a lorry go-slow at rush hour after the EU exit date was postponed.
Traffic mayhem could be seen in Devon, Cornwall, Lancashire, Stoke-on-Trent, Hull and north Wales.
Brexiteers of Brexit Direct Action are calling for similar ‘go slows’ across the country as they declare their fury at Theresa May‘s negotiations. They claim that they have hauliers prepared across the land.

The Independent claims some members of the group have been prosecuted.

Campaigners have been prosecuted for inconsiderate driving while trying to bring roads to a standstill as part of a pro-Brexit protest.
The demonstrations aimed to ensure the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March by causing gridlock on motorways and A roads using a convoy of slow-moving vehicles, organisers said.
The protesters were aiming to target between 30 and 40 locations over the weekend, including the M25, M6 and M1.

Bercow

There’s so much hostility towards the Speaker he could be outsted at the next election, reports the Times.

Buckingham is the constituency where they say votes don’t count, but it fails to follow that its residents lack an opinion on what John Bercow, their MP, did in parliament this week.
Westminster’s main political parties do not contest the Speaker’s seat in general elections in a nod to the impartiality meant to come with the role.

He won’t quit of his own volition, says the Mail.

John Bercow has infuriated Tory MPs by refusing to honour his promise to stand down – but now the decision over his future may be taken out of his hands.
Senior figures at Conservative Party headquarters have held detailed talks about fielding a candidate against the Commons Speaker at the next election.

Tory leadership

More pressure on the PM is reported in the Times.

Theresa May was under pressure to name a date for her departure last night after cabinet support drained away and the DUP made clear its lack of faith in her.
Senior figures in No 10 confirmed that discussions on a timetable for the prime minister to stand down were under way. A Downing Street source said that even her closest allies believed it was inevitable she would have to resign.

And potential successors are lining up, reports the Sun.

HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock is being urged to run for the Tory leadership as the donors’ favourite.
Conservative party donors believe he offers the party competence, with one MP describing the relatively young Cabinet minister as “a better version of Jeremy Hunt”, the Foreign Secretary.
Mr Hancock – who has been heavily involved in No Deal Brexit planning – replaced Mr Hunt as Health Secretary last year when Boris Johnson quit as Foreign Secretary.

The Telegraph reports his direct approach.

Jeremy Hunt will set out his vision for “compassionate Conservatism” at a dinner with Tory MPs as he seeks to shake off claims he is the “continuity May” candidate in an expected leadership contest.
In a direct pitch to MPs for their support, the Foreign Secretary will make a speech at an exclusive event organised by a think tank run by Iain Duncan Smith.

Conservative Home speaks of her continued premiership as ‘survival’.

Theresa May succeeded yesterday in achieving her aim.  Of the three Brexit outcomes that could have emerged from the EU summit, she has gained the one most likely to meet her core objective – survival as Prime Minister, at least for the moment.  There is not enough time to hold a leadership election before April 12, the deadline now agreed if her deal hasn’t passed the Commons by then.

And an illusionist thinks he can stop Brexit, says the Sun.

SPOON bending illusionist Uri Geller has vowed to use his psychic powers to stop Brexit.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, he said he felt “psychically and very strongly” that most Brits were anti-Brexit and vowed to stop the process “telepathically”.
Israeli-born Geller rose to prominence in the 1970s with his trademark spoon-bending trick, which he was the result of psychic power that had been tested by the CIA.

Apparently he loves the Prime Minister, says the Star.

ILLUSIONIST Uri Geller has vowed to “telepathically stop” Prime Minister Theresa May from pushing Brexit through.
The paranormal spoon-bender has penned an open letter to May warning he will use his powers to stop Britain leaving the EU.
He said in the bizarre note that he “psychically” feels very strongly that the “British people do not want Brexit”.

ISIS

Abroad, will destruction of the Islamic State group mean peace in Syria?  ITV News wonders.

The territorial defeat of so-called Islamic State in Syria might only be a few days away, but inside the global headquarters of Interpol in Lyon, more than two thousand miles from Baghouz, no one is celebrating.
“It’s not the end of the ideology, unfortunately,” says Jürgen Stock, the Secretary-General of the organisation and the world’s top cop.
He believes the collapse of the so-called caliphate in Syria will not end the threat from IS faced by police forces elsewhere, but increase it.

Yellow vests

And in Paris, the rioters could be fired upon, says the Telegraph.

Emmanuel Macron has been forced to wade into a snowballing row over claims French soldiers have been authorised to “open fire” if they come under life-threatening attack during Saturday’s 19th round of weekend “yellow vest” protests.
Preventing a repeat of last weekend’s violence, in which masked troublemakers wrecked dozens of stores and restaurants along the capital’s Champs-Elysées, is seen as a crucial test of the French president’s ability to restore order.

Waste collection

The collection of garden waste could go back to being free, says ITV News.

Moves to bring back free garden waste collections must be “fully funded”, town halls have warned as figures show two thirds of councils now charge for the service.
The Government’s new waste strategy has promised to consult on whether the millions of English households with gardens should have access to free collections of their grass cuttings, twigs, plant and hedge clippings.

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