Brexit deal

As you will have heard, the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal has been slammed from every quarter. The Guardian says

The man relied on by Brexit supporters to underpin the economic arguments for leaving the EU has said the UK would be better off staying in the club rather than accepting the prime minister’s Brexit plan.
Shanker Singham admitted “there’s no point leaving the EU” because the opportunities he had envisaged will have been lost. “The upside and the opportunity … disappears, and you’re left only with a damage limitation exercise,” he said.
His remarks, made in an interview before the prime minister announced her proposed EU deal, echo those made by the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who on Friday
told the BBC’s Today programme that May’s proposal was inferior to EU membership.

And that’s even though the details are not fully known yet. The Times claims Brexiteers will be very cross.

Theresa May will enrage Brexiteers and risk widening the rift with the DUP next week when she publishes analysis on the impact of Brexit.
The official modelling will assess the impact of a range of possible outcomes — from no deal to remaining in the EU — on economic growth over the next 15 years. The most controversial analysis will reveal the economic effect of a Canada-style free trade deal.

And the DUP is adamant that its members will not accept the deal, says the Times.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a worse outcome for Britain than a government led by Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster says today.
The head of the
Democratic Unionist Party warns the prime minister that she cannot count on its ten MPs to save her from a vote of no confidence if the Commons rejects the deal.
In an
interview with The Times Mrs Foster makes clear that the Tories’ wavering allies will not be bullied into propping up Mrs May by the fear of a Labour election victory.

The party’s leader will tell her annual conference so, says Sky News.

DUP leader Arlene Foster will tell her party’s annual conference that the draft Brexit deal would leave the UK “a pitiful and pathetic place”.
With Boris Johnson in Belfast to support her stance, Mrs Foster is expected to say the Irish border backstop poses risk and will urge Theresa May to “bin the backstop”.

ITV News also reports Ms Foster’s words.

The draft EU withdrawal agreement contains arrangements that are not in Northern Ireland’s long-term interests, Arlene Foster will tell her party conference later.
The country would inevitably begin to diverge from its largest market, the rest of the UK, if it remained part of the EU’s customs code under the backstop arrangement, the DUP leader will declare before massed crowds of supporters in Belfast.

The Prime Minister is getting desperate says the Express.

THERESA May yesterday implored rebellious MPs to back her Brexit deal in the interests of their constituents’ “jobs, futures and children” – as she refused three times to rule out quitting if the Commons votes it down.
The Prime Minister took to the airwaves in the next stage of her bid to get the public on board with the draft proposals she hopes to agree with the European Union at a crunch summit in Brussels on Sunday. 

But the PM will not say she’ll resign if the deal fails to get through the Commons, reports the Guardian.

Theresa May has refused to rule out resigning if her Brexit deal fails to gain approval in the Commons, saying she is focused on persuading MPs that the country supports the deal.
During a public phone-in on BBC Radio 5Live, the prime minister was asked three times to clarify whether she would stake her premiership on the result of the parliamentary vote.
“I’m not thinking about me,” she said. “I’m thinking about getting a deal through that is good for the country. My focus is on getting this deal through.”

The Mail claims she repeatedly refused to say she’d resign.

Theresa May refused three times today to say whether she would resign if her Brexit deal is killed off by MPs.
The Prime Minister faces an ‘impossible’ battle to persuade enough MPs to back her deal next month and launched a PR blitz today in a bid to win the fight in the country.
Mrs May announced she would be going on the road to convince voters her deal was the ‘right one’ for Britain – effectively tying her political fortunes to the project.
And the country is pretty cross with the deal, reports Breitbart.
A poll of British voters has revealed widespread discontent with the prime minister’s Brexit deal, with more people saying it does not honour the 2016 referendum than saying it does, and many even arguing May’s ‘deal’ is actually worse than the status quo.
Some 43 per cent of Brits said Theresa May’s withdrawal deal struck with the European Union after over two years of first stalling then compromising failed to honour the result of the Brexit referendum in 2016, compared to just 19 per cent who said it did. A sizable proportion, 38 per cent, did not have an opinion either way.
Westmonster also has the result of the poll.
Only a pitifully low minority of Leave voters believe that Theresa May’s EU deal delivers on the referendum result. That’s according to a Lord Ashcroft poll that asked voters whether or not they believe the draft Brexit deal between the British government and the European Union “honours the result of the EU referendum held in June 2016”.
Just 13% of Leave voters believe that it does, compared to 59% who think it doesn’t.  Brexiteers do not regard this sham as delivering what they voted for.
More widely, 19% of voters overall believe the deal delivers what the public voted for, compared to 43% who do not.

Trade

And in a story that hasn’t been picked up by the MSM, Reuters claims trade deals throughout the world could be in jeopardy with the deal.
Britain would have issues negotiating trade deals with new partners if an Irish border backstop arrangement came into effect, trade minister Liam Fox said on Friday, but reservations about it on both sides suggest it won’t need to be used.
“If we were in the backstop, it would be quite difficult for us to engage with partners, not knowing when the end date would be when we could implement any agreement.

Fisheries

The deal could be shot down by some of the EU countries who are are unhappy that they may not be able to take our fish, says the Sun.

BRUSSELS will this weekend insist Britain signs off on a fishing agreement granting EU boats access to our waters before a trade deal can come into force.
EU leaders are set to issue the bombshell demand at Sunday’s summit in a major blow to Theresa May’s hopes of getting her Brexit pact past parliament.
A leaked planning document, seen by The Sun, reveals capitals will state a fisheries deal must be done “well before” the end of the transition.

The Express claims the PM is under renewed pressure from fisheries.

THERESA May faced fresh pressure yesterday from fishing communities – including the Conservative MP widow of a fisherman killed at sea – over fears the industry is being sold out in her Brexit deal.
They said the draft withdrawal agreement and future partnership deal could leave British fishermen at the mercy of Continental rivals, despite the Prime Minister’s promises they will get back control on leaving the EU’s quota-based Common Fisheries Policy.

BBC News claims she will protect fisheries.

The UK government has insisted its Brexit agreement will protect the fishing industry despite claims it is preparing to “sell out” fishermen.
The government’s draft agreement on post-Brexit relations says the UK will be an “independent coastal nation”.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation gave the document a cautious welcome when it was published on Thursday.

And it seems the Scottish salmon fisheries may not be protected, says Reuters.

Producers of Scottish salmon, Britain’s biggest food export, are seeking reassurance that the Brexit deal will not link fishing in British waters by European Union boats with the supply of all British seafood products to EU markets.
Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said “serious questions” were raised by Britain’s draft agreement with Brussels to exit the European Union published last week, and for which Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get political backing at home. 

Gibraltar

Meanwhile, it seems the Spanish have thrown another last-minute spanner in the works, says the Guardian.

The Spanish prime minister has threatened to snub the weekend Brexit summit unless he receives a public and written guarantee from Theresa May within 36 hours over the future of the disputed territory of Gibraltar.
With May on the brink of formal agreement on her deal with the EU’s leaders,
Spain is still insisting it does not have the necessary reassurances that Gibraltar will only be covered by any future trade agreement if Madrid consents.

The Express calls it a threat.

SPAIN issued a fresh threat against Theresa May today as the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned Sunday’s EU summit will “most likely not take place” if there is not an agreement in place regarding Gibraltar.
The crunch meeting still hangs in balance as London and Madrid are entwined in a bitter row over Gibraltar. Mr Sanchez won’t allow the meeting to take place without receiving a “British text and declaration” confirming that decisions relating to Gibraltar taken by the UK will also have to be approved by Spain.

ECJ

A story in the Express claims the ECJ will continue its domination over our laws.
PRIME Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal will mean the UK will STILL be subject to rulings from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) – while a supposedly independent arbitration panel would be little more than a nodding dog to Brussels, a top British barrister has said.
Martin Howe made his remarks in a strident column in The Sun, during which he lamented the fact that the formal withdrawal document contained a commitment allowing the Luxembourg-based
ECJ “wide-ranging” jurisdiction over Britain, both during the transition period and afterwards.

Conservative Party

But the PM’s woes are not exclusively in Brussels. Back home she has problems, reports the Telegraph.

Theresa May was accused of “cronyism” after she handed a knighthood to a Leave-supporting Conservative MP weeks before a Commons key vote on her Brexit deal.
Number 10 announced yesterday that John Hayes, the Conservative MP for South Holland and The Deepings, is to be awarded a knighthood by the Queen prompting an outcry from other Brexit-backing Tory MPs.
There was speculation last night that Number 10 will seek to announce more honours – or make pledges for further honours – to more Tory MPs ahead MPs’ meaningful vote on Mrs May’s Brexit agreement in just over a fortnight’s time.

Could this be a way of getting Brexiteers out of the Commons? The Mirror reports:

Theresa May has handed a Tory Brexiteer a knighthood – weeks before a crucial vote on Brexit.
Downing Street announced out of the blue this afternoon that John Hayes, a former minister, will become Sir John in a rare honour.
The news, slipped out on a Friday afternoon, comes just weeks before Mrs May faces a vote that will make or break her Brexit deal – and her premiership.
The ‘meaningful vote’ in the House of Commons could come down to just a few wavering MPs.

A bit underhand? The Guardian says:

Theresa May has been accused of bringing the honours system into disrepute after handing a knighthood to a former minister known to be wavering on whether or not to support her Brexit deal.
Downing Street announced the award had been granted to John Hayes MP, a junior minister to May when she was the home secretary, on Friday afternoon.
People will rightly look at this knighthood and wonder how it relates to the looming Brexit vote in the Commons,” said a spokesman for the Scottish National party leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

Or is this a promise to the Brexiteer in a bribe to get him to change his mind? The Times says:

Theresa May last night awarded a knighthood to a veteran Eurosceptic MP, prompting accusations she was using the honours system to get her Brexit deal through parliament.
John Hayes, a maverick former minister sacked by the prime minister in January, was given the honour in a one-off announcement, rather than as part of a large list as is typical. 

The PM’s only saving grace is that voters still think Jeremy Corbyn would do a worse job, says the Mail.

There was a glimmer of light for Theresa May today amid signs voters think Jeremy Corbyn and her Tory rivals would be making a worse job of Brexit.
The Prime Minister is battling to push her deal with the EU through in the face of huge resistance from her own party and the Opposition.
As she fights off a concerted attempt to oust her by Conservative Eurosceptics, research for Lord Ashcroft has suggested replacing her with
Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg would not go down well with the public.
She also still rates well ahead of the Labour leader.

The Guardian looks at the numbers.

Theresa May will go to Brussels this weekend in the sure knowledge that by far the biggest battle she faces is with her own Mps in a little over a fortnight’s time when the deal is put to parliament for approval.
Any basic reading shows that the arithmetic against her is formidable: 85 Conservative MPs have declared they cannot support the
Brexit agreement as it stands, amounting to roughly one in four of her party at Westminster.
Strip out the government ministers – the so-called
payroll vote of 100 who the prime minister can bank on – and the proportion of hostile MPs rises to something closer to 40%. 

Columnists

In the various media outlets, the columnists have promulgated their views. In the Telegraph Charles Moore says:

Conscientious readers may be wondering whether they ought to ruin their weekend by reading the draft Political Declaration which goes with the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Having done so, I can confidently assure them that they need not bother.
This is for two reasons. The first is that
the Political Declaration, which sketches out the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, has no legal force. It is merely an almost unedited, slogan-filled amalgamation of each side’s dreams, using vagueness to pretend they are reconcilable.

And in the Telegraph, Peter Foster says:

No one should be surprised by the last-minute kerfuffle over Gibraltar as the Brexit divorce process enters its final days – it was entirely predictable.
So predictable, in fact, that in April 2017 the European Commission handed
Spain a veto over how the divorce agreement would apply to Gibraltar, precisely to try to quarantine an issue that has a history of poisoning EU negotiations.
That plan backfired as soon as Theresa May announced she would not leave Gibraltar behind in any deal, and instead would negotiate for the entire UK “family” – effectively turning Spain’s Gibraltar veto into a veto over the entire deal.

Joe Hills for ITV News says:

The Confederation of British Industry claims to be the ‘Voice of Business’. Before the EU referendum, the vast majority of the 190,000 companies who are its members wanted Britain to remain in the EU.
But on Monday the CBI gave a warm welcome to the prime minister who plans to lead Britain out – and the draft deal she has negotiated.
The Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said: “It’s not perfect, it’s a compromise, but it’s progress. It takes us back from the cliff edge, avoids no deal, charts potential path to future frictionless trade deal. That is progress, we should not go backwards.”

And in Conservative Woman, Ruth Lea says:

The draft Withdrawal Agreement, all 585 pages of it, and the outline of the political declaration for the future relationship, comprising just seven pages, were released last week. They make grim reading. When I voted for Brexit, I had a clear idea what this meant. My country would become a truly sovereign nation, out of the customs union, out of the single market and completely free of the EU’s institutions. These documents simply do not deliver a clean Brexit. They deliver BRINO – Brexit in name only.

Immigration

Perhaps the Prime Minister has a sweetener up her sleeve. The Telegraph says:

Theresa May is preparing to unveil curbs on low-skilled migrants just days before a crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal in a bid to win round Eurosceptic Tory MPs, The Telegraph has learned.
Leaked Cabinet papers reveal that the Home Office has drawn up plans to issue low-skilled migrants with 11-month visas “with restricted entitlements and rights” while they are living in the UK.
Ministers are also considering alternative plans to allow EU migrants aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for two years, with a strict cap on numbers.

The Mail also has the story.

Theresa May is set to announce limits on low-skilled immigration to Britain in a bid to get her Brexit deal through the Commons, it was claimed last night.
According to leaked Cabinet papers, the Home Office has drawn up plans to issue low-skilled migrants with 11-month visas.
The new visas would reportedly offer ‘restricted entitlements and rights’ while they are living in the UK, the
Telegraph reported.
The Government will abolish the cap on highly skilled ‘tier 2’ migrants entirely, the report said, with the plans set out in the week beginning December 3.

ITV News reports on further migrants trying to come into the country.

Eight migrants have been rescued from a dinghy off the Kent coast, as concerns continue to grow over a spike in illegal attempts at crossing the English Channel.
The latest group, who are believed to be Iranian, brought the total number of migrants found crossing the Channel by boat this week to 42.
All of the men rescued on Friday morning are now being interviewed by immigration officials.

NHS

There’s consternation over plans for Google to take over NHS records, says the Telegraph.

The government is under pressure to explain how NHS patient records will be protected after Google’s decision to take over the health operations of Deepmind, its British artificial intelligence business.
The Silicon Valley company has been accused of breaking a promise to keep the health unit ringfenced in London, provoking concerns among MPs and peers over patient data confidentiality.
Deepmind’s Streams division, which has data-sharing contracts with six NHS trusts, will now report directly to Google Health in California.

And the Mail reports that a county had just two GPs to provide emergency cover.

Two GPs had to provide emergency cover for more than 1.4million patients.
They were left responsible for almost everyone in Kent during the early hours of a Sunday.
The firm that runs the county’s out-of-hours care for the NHS warned its service was unsafe that weekend, according to a leaked email.
It said that 200 patients were forced to wait for visits or medical advice.

Russia

An Army boss has warned that Russia is a big threat, reports the Telegraph.

Russia is now “indisputably” a greater threat to the security of Britain and her allies than Islamist extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), the new Army chief has warned.
Apart from posing a conventional military threat,
the Russians are constantly seeking to undermine the West by developing new war-fighting capabilities in non-conventional areas such as cyber and space.
Speaking in his first interview since his appointment as the Chief of the General Staff, Gen Mark Carleton-Smith, 54, said it was vital that Britain and its allies were not complacent about the threat Russia posed.

And the Mail has picked up the story.

Russia now poses a greater threat to Britain’s security than Islamist extremist organisations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, according to the new head of the Army.
General Mark Carleton-Smith, the new Chief of the General Staff, said Britain and its allies could not be ‘complacent’ about the Russian threat, especially following the Salisbury Novichok attack earlier this year.
He said Russia is seeking to exploit the West’s vulnerabilities in more unconventional areas of warfare.

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