Article 50

Next week’s High Court case is covered by several of the papers. ITV News says:

High Court judges relegated the EU referendum result “almost to a footnote” by ruling parliament must have a vote on triggering Article 50, the Attorney General has said.
Jeremy Wright QC, the government’s chief legal adviser, said the judges who made the ruling in November dismissed the public’s vote as “merely” a political event.
Mr Wright will lead the government’s Supreme Court appeal against the decision that Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration does not have the power to start the Brexit process unilaterally.
He added in a legal argument submitted to the court that the issue “cannot be resolved in a vacuum”.
The submission was signed by Mr Wright and other lawyers, including the Advocate General for Scotland Richard Keen QC.
They hope to persuade 11 Supreme Court justices to overturn the earlier ruling at a hearing which starts on Monday.

Sky News also covers the impending case.

The Attorney General has said the judges who ruled against the Government on Brexit should not “relegate, almost to a footnote, the outcome of the referendum”.
Jeremy Wright, the Government’s top legal officer, is heading to the Supreme Court next week in the latest round of the Brexit battle.
The hearing will decide whether Prime Minister Theresa May is entitled to trigger formal divorce proceedings between the UK and European Union under Article 50.
In a rare court appearance, Mr Wright will be arguing that the referendum vote on 23 June – when 17.4 million people backed Brexit – gave the Government the largest mandate in British electoral history.
He will also say that, when the High Court ruled last mont
h that withdrawal from the EU can only be launched by Parliament, the court had appeared to have been “divorced from the reality” of how modern states operate.

And the Telegraph claims the Prime Minister will have to take a stand.

Theresa May will challenge Parliament to defy the will of the people by voting down Article 50 if the Government loses an appeal in the Supreme Court, senior sources have said.
Ministers have told The Daily Telegraph that the “expectation” amongst Cabinet ministers is that the Government will not succeed in its bid to overturn a High Court ruling which said the Prime Minister must consult Parliament before triggering Article 50, which begins formal Brexit negotiations.
In anticipation of a defeat in the Supreme Court, Number 10 is preparing legislation and allies of Mrs May are now “confident” that MPs “would not dare” try and vote down the legislation.

Richmond Park by-election

The shock LibDem by-election result is analysed by BBC News

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron claims his party is “back in the big time” after it fought on the issue of Brexit to oust ex-Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election.
Lib Dem challenger Sarah Olney overturned Mr Goldsmith’s 23,015 majority to finish 1,872 votes ahead.
Mr Goldsmith quit the Tories to stand as an independent after the government backed a third Heathrow runway.
But the Lib Dems successfully switched the focus of the campaign to Brexit.

And Sky News

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to fight against a “hard Brexit” in the aftermath of the party’s stunning victory in the Richmond Park by-election.
A buoyant Tim Farron, the Lib Dems’ leader, said the Prime Minister must listen to calls to avoid a British exit from the EU that involves losing access to the single market.
It comes after Sarah Olney
overturned a massive Tory majority of 23,000 to oust pro-Brexit Zac Goldsmith, who resigned in protest against Heathrow expansion and stood as an independent in the southwest London seat.

The Express claims the LibDems were ‘jubilant’.

JUBILANT Lib Dems were mocked for claiming their first by-election victory for more than a decade would sway the march against Brexit.
Leader Tim Farron said the Richmond Park result was a “historic moment for the country” and said it proved voters did not want a so-called “hard” Brexit.
He repeated his demand for a rerun of the referendum over the eventual Brexit deal.
But Conservatives and others said the result would make no difference.
The contest in the affluent south-west London seat was caused when Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith carried out his pledge to quit if the Government backed building a third runway at Heathrow airport. He stood for re-election as an independent.
Pro-EU Lib Dem newcomer Sarah Olney also opposed the third runway and sought to turn the election into a fight on Brexit.

The Independent claims Labour bosses were worried about the result.

Senior Labour figures fear the possibility of electoral wipeout at the hands of the Lib Dems in London, after the party lost its deposit in the Richmond Park by-election.
With Labour committed to delivering on Brexit, in part to appease the threat of Ukip in its pro-Brexit northern heartlands, a London Labour source told
The Independent that several of the party’s MPs are now “terrified of the Lib Dems”, who have said they will contest any general election and by-election on a pro-EU basis.
“Ukip is not a massive issue in London but the Lib Dems are,” the source said.
“We’re are between a rock and a hard place. That is where we are. We cannot see a way out of the bind.”
Labour received just 1,515 votes in the by-election, less than the 1,600 members the local party said it had. Aberavon MP and Corbyn critic Stephen Kinnock said: “The Witney by-election was disappointing because it emerged that we had doubled our membership but halved our share of the vote, and now we find in Richmond that there are more Labour Party members than there are Labour voters.


And following the by-election, Sky News reports a boost for our party.

UKIP believes it can win the by-election in Lincolnshire next week following the surprise Liberal Democrat victory in Richmond.
There was a Conservative majority of more than 24,000 in the constituency of Sleaford and North Hykeham in last year’s General Election.
But UKIP argue that if the
Liberal Democrats can overturn a similar majority in Richmond, they can do the same in Lincolnshire.
UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling told Sky News: “The overarching feeling is to give the Government a good kick as happened in Richmond, which was predominantly Remain.

The Sun also covers a potential UKIP win over Labour.

LABOUR faces being crushed at the ballot box following the rise of Ukip and the resurgent Lib Dems, senior party figures fear.
The humiliating defeat in Richmond yesterday saw the party lose its deposit in a London by-election for the first time since 1909.
Labour insiders are warning of an electoral crisis as they lose votes to Lib Dems in pro-Remain urban southern seats and Ukip mops up support in its northern heartlands.
Chuka Umunna, Labour’s former leadership hopeful, last night admitted there were now “no safe seats”, according to The Times.
Allies of party leader Jeremy Corbyn also admitted Brexit “unleashed a dynamic that none of us quite understood” – with voters now defining themselves as pro or anti-EU.
One Corbyn ally told the paper: “There are metropolitan seats, in London, Manchester and Leeds, they are strongly pro-EU.
“Then equally, there are dozens and dozens of seats which are working class, where many did not vote to remain. There’s no doubt it’s difficult to balance the two.”

Terror threat

The prospect of ISIS terror threats on countries in the EU is covered in the Mail

Britain is high on the target list for dozens of potential terrorists under the command of ISIS in Europe, security services have warned.
Europol said that – in the wake of murderous attacks in Belgium and France – extremists are likely to strike again in the near future.
All EU member states participating in the coalition against IS – including Britain – are regarded by the group as ‘legitimate targets’.
‘France remains high on the target list for IS aggression in the EU, but so too do Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom,’ according to a report published on Friday by Europol.
It added: ‘Estimates from some intelligence services indicate several dozen people directed by IS may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks, and that there are indications that IS has been preparing terrorist attacks in Europe since 2013.’

And the Times has a similar story.

Islamic State has moved several dozen operatives into Europe to carry out terrorist attacks, and the United Kingdom remains “high on the target list for aggression”, according to the continent’s law enforcement agency.
Europol warned yesterday that the terror group was determined to continue attacks against EU members and could deploy methods that have been successful in Syria and Iraq, including car bombs, extortion and kidnappings.
It was also possible that Isis would try and use chemical and biological weapons, its report said. Isis has access to Iraqi and Libyan storage sites of chemical weapons and is already experimenting with biological weapons.


Did Brexiteer voters know what they were voting for? The Express tries to answer the question.

A TOP Brexit campaigner has urged Remoaner MPs to stop insulting voters by claiming they did not know what they were doing when they backed Brexit.
John Longworth, the former head of the CBI, said europhiles were being “disingenuous” with their claims that people did not understand quitting the EU would also mean leaving the single market.
The influential business figure highlighted four unequivocal comments from the most senior campaigners on both sides of the argument which made it “absolutely clear” that would be the case.
His remarks came as new Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney sparked outrage by insisting there should be a second referendum because people did not know what they were voting for.
The newly-installed Richmond Park representative had to be humiliatingly pulled from a car crash radio interview when she was quizzed about the claim and failed to answer even the most basic questions about the EU.

And Breitbart claims the Brexit vote was to do with education in the north of the country.

People in the north of England voted for Brexit in protest at the poor schools London politicians have given them, the outgoing head of school inspection body Ofsted has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said the strong Brexit vote in the north was fuelled by “resentment” over a feeling people in London and the south were getting a better start in life for their children, leading to northerners feeling “alienated”.
As voters in America and Europe turn against a liberal elite increasingly seen as out-of-touch with the working class, Sir Michael said people in the north of England felt left behind by those in wealthier London.
“They sense that somehow their children are not going to get as great a deal as youngsters in London and the South of England,” he said.

The prospect of a post-Brexit customs deal is explored by BBC News

The UK could seek a deal which would allow sections of the economy to remain within the EU’s customs union after Brexit, international trade minister Greg Hands has suggested.
Mr Hands said officials would be able to choose the type of products to be covered by agreements.
The union operates alongside the EU’s single market and free trade area.
It comes after the Brexit secretary said the UK would consider paying for “best possible” single market access.
The customs union includes all 28 EU nations, but also Turkey, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and non-EU UK territories such as the Channel Islands.
They enjoy free trade with each other, but must impose the same tariffs on goods from nations outside the pact and are barred from doing bilateral trade deals with other countries.

And Sky News.

Britain could continue to trade freely in Europe through the bloc’s customs union despite the Brexit vote, the international trade minister has said.
Greg Hands said Britain could seek a deal with Europe that would allow individual sectors to trade easily with EU nations.
The customs union covers the 28 EU states, as well as Turkey, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and non-EU UK territories such as the Channel Islands.
Each nation enjoys free trade but must impose common external tariffs on goods arriving from outside the union.
The sectors within the trade club are also barred from doing bilateral trade deals with other countries.


North of the border, the Express claims a former Prime Minister did not tell voters the truth.

DAVID CAMERON’S flagship pledge to give English voters a voice against meddling Nicola Sturgeon was a barefaced “lie” and not worth the paper it was written on, experts concluded today in a damning assessment of his legacy.
In a scathing post mortem of one of the ex-PM’s most highly publicised policies experts concluded that the English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) initiative has been “worthless”.
One leading political scientist said Mr Cameron knowingly “sold the English a pup” when he brought in the measure to counteract growing resentment of SNP meddling in England’s affairs.
One year on the EVEL system, which is supposed to mean that only MPs with constituencies south of the border can vote on matters exclusively concerning England, has been branded a complete failure.
Critics said that, far from bolstering English voters’ confidence in parliament to represent them, the discredited pledge has only serve to alienate them even more from the political process.

And the Times claims the country is still going for a new independence referendum.

The Scottish National Party has begun fundraising for a new independence campaign despite polls indicating a drop in support for leaving the UK.
The party made a St Andrew’s Day appeal to supporters to ensure “next time we won’t be outspent” and revealed that a war chest is being built up.
Members have been invited to make a one-off donation, or a monthly contribution to a “referendum campaign fund”, with cheques and direct debits payable to the SNP.
Opposition parties said that this shows the party is intent on holding a repeat of the 2014 referendum, despite an insistence by Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, that independence is not her “starting point” in her attempt to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU.

Post office

More postal strikes are on the cards, reports ITV News

Post Office workers and managers will stage a fresh strike on Saturday over a dispute about jobs, pensions and closures.
Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Unite will mount picket lines across the country on one of the busiest days of the year.
The unions are embroiled in a long-running row over the franchising of Crown Post Offices – larger branches usually located on high streets – in addition to job-losses and the closure of a final salary pension scheme.
Dave Ward, General Secretary of the CWU, said: “The Post Office is now at crisis point. It needs a new strategy as a matter of urgency.”
Unite union officer Brian Scott added: “We believe that Saturday is the day when most people will be dispatching their cards and parcels to their relatives and friends abroad.

And the Morning Star gives more details.

POST workers are set to strike over job cuts, pensions and privatisation today as the CWU accuses bosses of failing to enter meaningful talks to resolve the long-running dispute.
Picket lines will be mounted at a number of Crown Post Offices facing possible closure — and CWU general secretary Dave Ward warned yesterday that the service is “at crisis point.”
Mr Ward urged bosses to work with the union to develop “a new strategy as a matter of urgency. No-one is thinking of the future. This isn’t good for workers, it isn’t good for customers and it isn’t good for the future of the business.”
He warned that the union is not prepared to see the industry destroyed, saying: “We have a simple demand, that the government pause the cuts and brings stakeholders together for a structured period of talks to develop a plan that is about more than managing the decline of the service. Our members and the public deserve nothing less.”

Austrian election

In the EU, ITV News explores the possibility of a right-wing surge.

Austria is braced for this weekend’s presidential election, when Europe’s first far-right leader since the Second World War could be voted into power.
Norbert Hofer goes head-to-head with opponent Alexander Van der Bellen in a re-run of the vote held on May 22.
Van der Bellen edged out the far-right Freedom Party leader by 30,000 votes seven months ago.
But then the country’s Supreme Court stepped in, decided that there had been
irregularities in the way the postal votes had been opened and counted, and ordered a re-run.
Mr Hofer told ITV News his chances were “50/50” and dismissed the influence of Brexit and Trump’s victory on the Austrian election.

The Express also covers the prospect.

THE far-right Austrian nationalist hoping to become the country’s next President has urged the electorate to be “patriotic” ahead of Sunday’s election.
Norbert Hofer and his FPO party narrowly lost the initial presidential election in May, but the result was voided after widespread voter fraud.
The new public vote is set to take place on Sunday, December 4, and Mr Hofer looks set to sweep to victory this time around.
He is storming ahead in the polls, currently standing at 15 percentage points higher than his main opponent, independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, who is supported by the Green Party.
If Mr Hofer wins, he will be Austria’s first right wing President since 1945.
In a rousing speech to the nation, Mr Hofer said: “We must also be proud of being Austrians.
“To love Austria, however, must never be to deprecate other countries.
“This has been underestimated by the government for too long.”

Network Rail

Network Rail continues to have its problems, reports ITV News.

Network Rail is reportedly to be stripped of its control over Britain’s railway tracks, with new powers being passed to the train operators.
In a major reorganisation of the system, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is preparing to tell the publicly-owned company that he wants it to share responsibility for running the tracks, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The move would mean companies such as Virgin, Southern or ScotRail would for the first time be given responsibility for maintenance and repairs, thereby ending Network Rail’s monopoly.
Mr Grayling will set out his plans in a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank on Tuesday.
The transport secretary is said to believe the move would incentivise the operators to carry out the work more quickly, reducing delays and possibly leading to lower fares.
A Department for Transport spokesman said only: “I can confirm Chris Grayling is making a speech on Tuesday.”

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