Rudd

Will the Home Secretary (pictured) be forced to quit? Several of the papers speculate. The Telegraph says:

A defiant Amber Rudd was clinging on as Home Secretary on Friday night after she denied seeing a leaked memo, sent to her last year, confirming the department’s use of deportation targets.
In a series of tweets posted after hours of speculation that she might be about to resign, the embattled Cabinet minister vowed to make a statement in the House of Commons on Monday about the Windrush scandal and targets for removing illegal migrants. She also apologised for not being aware of the targets.

The Times says she’s ‘clinging on’.

The home secretary was clinging to her job last night as she faced new accusations of misleading parliament after a leaked document suggested that she had been informed about deportation targets last year.
At 9.40pm Amber Rudd used Twitter to deliver four messages saying that she would make a statement in the Commons “in response to legitimate questions that have arisen”. “I wasn’t aware of specific removal targets,” she wrote. “I accept I should have been and I’m sorry that I wasn’t. I didn’t see the leaked document, although it was copied to my office as many documents are.

The Mail reports yet another apology.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has tonight resisted calls to quit saying she is ‘sorry’ for not being unaware of documents which set out immigration removal targets.
Ms Rudd said she had not seen a leaked internal memo referring to the targets – even though she had been copied in.
However she acknowledged that the disclosure had raised ‘legitimate questions’ and said she would be making a statement to MPs on Monday.
Her statement, in a series of tweets, followed accusations that she had misled Parliament after she told the Commons on Thursday that she had never agreed to specific targets for removals.
She wrote on Twitter: ‘I will be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday in response to legitimate questions that have arisen on targets and illegal migration.

The Independent reports that her Tweets suggest she is about to go.

Amber Rudd has apologised for the  immigration  scandal engulfing the Home Office and insisted she did not know about specific deportation targets, in a tweet that stemmed mounting speculation she is to resign.
The home secretary admitted documents detailing such targets were sent to her office – despite previously telling Parliament she was not aware they were used.
However, in a series of messages posted late on Friday, she claimed she did not personally see the memo.
It comes in the wake of the Windrush scandal, in which it emerged some migrants from Commonwealth Caribbean countries, who settled in the UK legally, had been declared illegal immigrants, along with their relatives.

The Guardian claims to have seen the memo that Mrs Rudd was sent.

Amber Rudd’s insistence that she knew nothing of Home Office targets for immigration removals risks unravelling following the leak of a secret internal document prepared for her and other senior ministers.
The six-page memo, passed to the Guardian, says the department has set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18” and boasts that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”.

The Mirror claims she has refused to go.

Beleaguered Home Secretary Amber Rudd tonight refused to quit – despite a leaked memo revealing she knew last year her department had targets for immigration removals.
The embattled Cabinet Minister – accused of acting as a human shield for her predecessor Theresa May – previously insisted she had never agreed to specific targets.
A secret internal Home Office document referred to the ministry setting “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18”, adding: “We have exceeded our target of assisted returns.”

Sky News reports she admitted ‘a series of blunders’.

Amber Rudd has been accused of “hanging by a thread to shield the Prime Minister” after admitting a series of blunders over migrant removal targets.
Labour stepped up calls for the Home Secretary to resign after she revealed she did not read a leaked document which contradicted what she told MPs this week.
She told the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday that the Home Office did not have removal targets, but the document revealed it did and that she was told about them last year.
There was speculation that Ms Rudd, who is now fighting for her political life, was on the brink of resignation after she took nearly eight hours to respond to a Guardian report on the leaked document.

Brexit

Yet more pressure is being piled on the government by the EU negotiator, says the Express.

EU CHIEF Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has sent a warning signal to Theresa May that Brexit could be delayed for many years unless the UK is willing to make further concessions to the EU.
Speaking of the EU’s desire to avoid a hard-Irish border and a build-up of barriers in trade and commerce, Mr Verhofstadt has urged Mrs May to sign an ‘association agreement’ with the EU, which critics warn would leave the UK a “rule taker” from the EU.
Mr Verhofstadt urged Mrs May to act quickly to accept an agreement, saying: “The time for wishful thinking and kicking the can down the road is fast coming to an end.”

The Telegraph says we could wait a long time to be free from the EU.

Brexit could be delayed for years unless Britain makes further concessions to the EU, the European Parliament’s chief negotiator has suggested.
Writing in The Telegraph, Guy Verhofstadt urges Theresa May to sign up to a catch-all association agreement with Brussels, which Brexiteers warn would leave the UK as a “rule taker” from the EU.
He says it is time to abandon “ideology” and take a more “pragmatic” approach.
Piling the pressure on Mrs May to accept an agreement that Leave campaigners fear will amount to the UK ending up as a “vassal state” of the EU, he adds: “The time for wishful thinking and kicking the can down the road is fast coming to an end”.

The Independent reports a huge anti-Brexit march in June.

Campaigners for a referendum on the Brexit deal are promising the “biggest ever pro-European march”, as their hopes grow for a fresh public vote.
The demonstration – to be staged on the second anniversary of the Leave vote in June – will kick-start a “summer of action and mobilisation”, they say.
Supporters of giving the people a “final say” on the exit deal negotiated by
Theresa May expect to attract huge numbers from across the UK and as far afield as Gibraltar.
The march, on 23 June, comes after the government acknowledged that MPs have the power to force a new referendum by amending a vote on the withdrawal agreement in the autumn.

And the Express reports that Ireland could veto any deal that it does not approve.

IRELAND has threatened to veto Brexit as the row over the future of the Irish border threatens to spiral out of control.
Ireland‘s taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar has warned there will be no
Brexit deal if the issue is not satisfactorily resolved.
Officials in Dublin, Belfast and Brussels have watched on, first in bafflement and then with growing frustration, as Theresa May and her Brexit ministers slowly came to terms with the magnitude of the border issue.
Despite clear issues, the UK government continues to promise a soft border between the Republic of Ireland and the north of Ireland with no “physical infrastructure”.

Customs union

The customs union is still a stumbling block in the negotiations, with the Express reporting the Brexit secretary will quit if we stay in the union.

DAVID Davis is “on the brink of resigning” as Brexit Secretary because of frustration over the Prime Minister’s plans to strike a deal with the EU on a customs partnership.
Friends of the Brexit Secretary David Davis have told the Daily Express that he is “extremely frustrated” with the direction of Government policy and “feels he has been cut out of the decisions.”
The threat to walk out comes ahead of a crunch meeting on Wednesday where the cabinet sub-committee on Brexit is set to debate the complex plans for a customs partnership which Brexiteers have already said is unacceptable.
A source close to Mr Davis has said that his final decision “is very much dependent on what happens at that meeting. It is pretty crucial.”
It is understood that if Mr Davis decides to walk on a point of principle then other Brexit supporting ministers may follow him out of the door precipitating a major crisis for Theresa May.

And trade around the world would be jeopardised if we don’t leave the customs union, reports the Telegraph.

Failing to leave the customs union would be “awful for Britain and for the world,” New Zealand’s former High Commissioner warned on Friday, as he said the UK might as well abandon Brexit if it cannot take control on trade.
Sir Lockwood Smith, who also served New Zealand as a minister for agriculture and international trade, said the UK could boost productivity and innovation if it were no longer “locked into” the EU system.
Leaving the customs union and the single market, he said, would potentially allow the UK to pursue world-leading reforms in the services and agricultural industries.

Breitbart reports that a ‘partial’ customs union as suggested by the Prime Minister has been rejected by the EU.

The European Commission’s hardline Brexit negotiator has reasserted that the UK cannot “have autonomy anymore” over its trade policy if it remains tied to the bloc’s Customs Union.
Theresa May has hinted she could explore a “partial” customs union with the bloc, and Labour’s shadow Brexit minister Sir Keir Starmer has claimed the UK can retain membership with a degree of control over trade.
“We can’t change our rules; our rules will remain the same,” the Commission’s Michel Barnier told a business conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday,
reported by Bloomberg.
“When you’re in a customs union for goods, like Turkey for example, you become part of a common trade policy – you don’t have autonomy anymore,” he added.

Labour Party

The Times suggests that Labour’s focus of next month’s elections should be in the Midlands rather than London,

Labour’s performance in council elections in the north and the Midlands will be key to judging whether its message is hitting home, sources said.
Most of the focus on next Thursday’s polls has been on the likelihood that Labour will make big gains in London, where it commands a 22-point lead in opinion polls and could take the Tory strongholds of Barnet, Westminster and Wandsworth.
Labour sources have indicated, however, that the most significant measure of success could be their performance outside the capital. They noted that beyond London, 28 of the 34 metropolitan councils up for election are held by Labour and are unlikely to change hands.

The Mail claims hundreds of members could quit the party.

Hundreds of female Labour members are to quit the party over a decision to allow transgender candidates to be included on all-women shortlists.
In a new blow for Jeremy Corbyn, more than 300 activists will resign on May Day, warning they ‘cannot continue to be in a party that takes women for granted’.
The group opposes a party rule change over all-women shortlists, which are used to select candidates from parliamentary elections down to local government.
It would guarantee candidates the right to self-identify as female without the need for a medical test or other certification showing that they had biologically changed sex.

Electoral fraud

Should voters be asked to prove their identity? BBC News claims plans are designed to make voting more difficult.

Government plans to make people prove their identity before voting are “deeply flawed”, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has warned.
The scheme, which is being piloted in Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking for the local elections on 3 May, is designed to combat voter fraud.
But the ERS says the new system could be a “calculated effort” to make voting harder for some citizens.
Voter ID fraud was “incredibly rare”, it said.
The claim comes after a leaked letter from the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned the change could have a “disproportionate impact” on voters from minority groups, who may not possess appropriate ID.

The Independent claims it’s deliberate.

Government plans to tighten voter identification measures appear to be a “calculated effort” by ministers to make voting harder for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, experts have warned.
In its first in-depth analysis of the plans, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said mandatory ID checks at polling stations would “disenfranchise” millions of voters who do not hold any form of photo ID – often due to financial reasons.
Based on research of voter ID checks in the US, the study found the policy, which will force members of the public to show ID before voting, mounts “sizeable barriers” to ethnic minority and  lower socio-economic backgrounds wishing to  vote.  

Benefits

The Sun seems to be the only paper to have picked up a Universal Credit rule change.

THOUSANDS of families could get a massive benefits boost after the rules on Universal Credit changed.
The limit on child benefit will no longer apply to families who adopt children or look after relatives.
The U-turn from the Government comes after a High Court judge ruled ministers were breaching human rights laws.
Currently, a family can only claim cash for their first two children – not for the third or any more.
But if a family with two children goes on to adopt another, they are entitled to an increase in benefits.

NHS

There’s a shortage of doctors because fewer medics are being allowed in from abroad, claims the Times.

Patients will suffer because the Home Office is preventing foreign doctors from coming to work and train in Britain, NHS trusts have warned.
Hospital bosses have written to Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, and Amber Rudd, the home secretary, asking them to overturn a decision to refuse visas for 100 doctors involved in a long-running programme allowing medical professionals to work in the NHS while completing postgraduate study here.
The heads of 35 NHS trusts pointed out that denying the visas would have serious consequences, including increased pressure on NHS doctors and risk to patients.

And the Morning Star also has the story.

IMMIGRATION rules are “causing shortages” in the NHS workforce by preventing overseas doctors from coming to Britain to work, service providers warned yesterday.
Limits on the number of visas issued to medics from outside the European Economic Area are contributing to rota gaps and delays in patients receiving care.
NHS Employers said there have been 400 cases of blocked visas since December.
The Home Office claims its limits are in the national interest.

And ITV News claims the service is finally going to address the problem of computer hacking.

The NHS is to spend £150 million on cyber security to protect it from attacks such as last year’s WannaCry incident.
The Department of Health and Social Care has signed a new contract with Microsoft to enhance security intelligence, with individual trusts having the ability to detect threats, isolate infected machines and kill malicious processes before they are able to spread.
The move was announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who described cyber attacks as a “growing threat”.
The new security package will ensure all health and care organisations can use the most up-to-date software with the latest security settings.

Westmonster claims more money is needed for the service but the reason is obscured.

The NHS will need an extra £50bn funding by 2030, a former health minister has warned.
Interestingly though, the analysis said this was needed to help cope with the ageing population, advances in technology and inflation…but not mass migration?
No. Because apparently there’s no way that the fact millions more people are using the service could be one of the reasons it needs an urgent cash injection
.
The report, by Labour’s Lord Darzi, said it would mean the NHS budget would grow to £173bn by 2030 to get back on track, but what about the size of the population?
The UK population is set to hit 69.2mm by 2026, 70.4m by 2030 and 72.9m by 2041. Figures show that international migration accounts for 77% of the projected UK population growth between mid-2016 and mid-2041 – that means of the 7.3m more people living in Britain by 2040, 5,621,000 will be immigrants.

Islamophobia

The far left-wing Morning Star reports on Hope not Hate.

HUNDREDS of anti-Muslim self-styled “counter-jihadists” are influencing world leaders to help push Islamophobia, research by Hope Not Hate revealed today.
The anti-racist campaign group has highlighted more than 200 individuals and organisations worldwide, with English Defence League (EDL) co-founder Tommy Robinson listed as the most high-profile British figure.
The band of bigots have “gone out of their way” to push “messages of division and intolerance” on the street, in far-right circles, pressure and lobby groups, the media and even in influencing presidential figures and political leaders worldwide, Hope Not Hate warned.

Wembley Stadium

Will the country’s premier sporting venue be sold? There’s opposition, says the Mail.

The Football Association was under mounting pressure last night to abandon plans to sell Wembley Stadium – the ‘crown jewel’ of the English game – to an American football tycoon.
Kate Hoey, the former sports minister who oversaw plans to rebuild Wembley, said it would no longer be England’s national stadium if the deal goes ahead.
She added that if it is sold, the new owners should reimburse the £161million put in by taxpayers and National Lottery entrants, and pay an extra premium to take into account the stadium’s increase in value.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email