Brexit

The fight continues, says the Express.

SOFT-BREXIT supporters are plotting to win dozens of MPs over to a plan to force Britain to continue paying billions to Brussels without having a say in European Union rules after leaving the bloc.
The cross-party group backing the Common Market 2.0 proposal, also referred to as Norway-plus, are in talks with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and the Scottish Nationalist Party about whether the ultra-soft Brexit option could win a majority in the House of Commons. The proposal emerged as the favourite UK-EU relationship option among MPs in Wednesday night’s eight indicative votes, just behind holding a second referendum on any Brexit deal. Proposed by Tory rebel Nick Boles, it would see the UK return to a similar relationship with Brussels as under the European Economic Community in the 1970s and 80s.
Under the suggestion, Britain would be put in a customs union with the EU unless alternative arrangements can be found to deal with frictionless trade at the Irish border.
Britain would also remain in the single market meaning the UK would be free from the political institution of Europe and no longer subject to the European Court of Justice but would not be able to negotiate its own trade deals, would have to accept free movement and keep paying billions into the EU budget.

The PM could even bring her WA back to Parliament yet again, says Sky News.

Theresa May is considering a last-ditch attempt to save her Brexit deal after suffering a third defeat in the Commons.
The prime minister is weighing her next moves after her deal was voted down by 286 votes to 344.
She said the implications of the vote were “grave”, adding: “I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House”.

BBC News also claims the WA will be reconsidered.

Theresa May and her cabinet are looking for ways to bring her EU withdrawal agreement back to the Commons for a fourth attempt at winning MPs’ backing.
The PM said the UK would need “an alternative way forward” after her plan was defeated by 58 votes on Friday.
MPs from all parties will test support for other options during a second round of “indicative votes” on Monday.

GE

There could be yet another General Election, reports the Times.

Theresa May put MPs on election alert yesterday after her Brexit plan was defeated a third time by dozens of Conservative rebels.
As thousands of pro-Brexit protesters descended on Parliament Square, 34 Tories ignored a plea from the prime minister to take “the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit” by passing the withdrawal agreement. It was defeated by 58 votes.
Downing Street is now drawing up plans for one final attempt to get the deal through parliament in a “run-off” vote, which would require MPs to choose between it and the most popular “soft Brexit” alternative.

But the Mail thinks a snap GE would divide Parliament even further.

A snap general election would leave the Commons ever more divided as both the Tories and Labour face losing a handful of seats, polling expert Sir John Curtice forecast today.
Sir John – who is in charge of the main exit polls at general elections – will spell out the details in a speech to the UK in a Changing Europe thinktank later.
But a preview of the findings suggests the Tories would finish on 307 seats – down from 317 last time – with Labour on 256, down from the 262 it won in 2017.

The Times claims it could be a ‘double header’ of elections.

Political parties are gearing up for a double header of elections as the nation could be asked to go to the polls twice over the next few months, in addition to local elections in May.
The main political parties fear that they may have to field candidates for a general election and a European election. Activists are leafleting target seats, reassigning key staff and even considering campaign battle buses.

The Mail describes it as ‘chaos’.

Britain was last night facing the chaos of a general election to break the Brexit deadlock as Theresa May hinted she would have a fourth attempt at passing her deal.
Minutes after her deal was rejected, the Prime Minister signalled a national poll could now be on its way.
‘I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this House,’ Theresa May told MPs.

Reuters claims the vote killed the WA.

MPs rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time on Friday, sounding its probable death knell and leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil on the very day it was supposed to quit the bloc.
The decision to reject a stripped-down version of May’s divorce deal has left it totally unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU, and plunges the three-year Brexit crisis to a deeper level of uncertainty.

No deal

It seems the PM is being encouraged to turn back to a genuine Brexit in terms of WTO rules says the Telegraph.

Cabinet ministers will attempt to take control of Brexit by telling Theresa May it is “time to embrace no deal” after her EU Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by MPs for a third time.
Mrs May will hold a conference call with ministers on Sunday night amid calls for a Cabinet vote on how to proceed.
Senior backbenchers said the Prime Minister had reached the end of the road and should now quit.

The Times reports the words of a top money man who describes ‘no deal’ as ‘wild’ and ‘exaggerated’.

A former governor of the Bank of England has said that Britain should leave the European Union without a deal.
Mervyn King, now Lord King of Lothbury, dismissed the “wild, exaggerated” warnings of politicians who argue that a no-deal  Brexit would damage the economy and rejected the idea that it would trigger nationwide job losses.
“My own personal preference would be to go back to Europe and say we have a clear strategy, which is we want to leave without a deal but we’d like to take six months to complete the preparations to avoid the dislocation,” he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

The pro-EU Independent is using inflammatory language again, claiming the UK could ‘crash out’ of the EU.

The UK is now “likely” to crash out of the European Union in two weeks’ time after Theresa May‘s failure to win support from MPs for her withdrawal agreement, the EU Commission has said.
In dramatic scenes, MPs rejected Ms May’s deal for the third time by 58 votes, as hundreds of protesters filled the streets of Westminster to demonstrate their fury at the delay to Brexit day.

And the equally pro-Brussels Times uses the same terms.

Britain is on track to crash out of the EU without a deal unless Theresa May can give Brussels details of her Plan B within ten days, EU leaders said last night.
“April 12 is now the new March 29,” Martin Selmayr, the EU’s most senior civil servant, said after the prime minister’s third defeat yesterday.

The EU is ready for no deal says the Mail.

The European Commission has warned in an extraordinary summit today today that Britain is ‘likely’ to crash out of the bloc without a deal.
A spokeswoman for the bloc’s executive branch warned that the EU is now ‘fully prepared’ for a no-deal scenario, which would strike at midnight on April 12 if the UK hasn’t agreed a deal.

Deselection

At least one of the grassroots Tory branches is turning on its remainer MP, reports the Telegraph.

The prominent pro-Remain Tory MP Dominic Grieve has suffered a vote of no confidence by his local Conservative Party who are attempting to deselect him from parliament.
The chairman of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association Jackson Ng said the no confidence motion was passed at the association’s annual general meeting in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

The Times also has the story.

Dominic Grieve lost a confidence vote last night, triggering the first stage of deselection proceedings against him by his pro-Brexit local association.
The former attorney-general, who supported Remain, faced a packed and at times querulous crowd as more than 300 Conservative Party members in his Beaconsfield constituency voted on a confidence motion.
He lost by 50 votes, 182-131, at an annual general meeting of the party as Brexiteers heckled him with cries of “liar” and “traitor”.

The Express also reports the situation.

DOMINIC Grieve could be fighting for his position as MP for Beaconsfield tonight as the local Tory grassroots members have launched a confidence vote in him following his failure to support the Brexit process.
The former Attorney General, who has a 24,543 majority in Buckinghamshire, has been a staunch supporter of the European Union and now dozens of local Conservative members could rise up against him. UKIP candidate Jon Conway is leading the campaign to deselect pro-EU Mr Grieve and told The Sun that 100 Tories will be voting against him.

The Mail says there has been a vote of no confidence in him.

The prominent pro-Remain Tory MP Dominic Grieve has suffered a vote of no confidence by his local Conservative Party.
The chairman of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association Jackson Ng said the no confidence vote motion was passed at the association’s annual general meeting.
‘Our members had a robust discussion with our MP, Dominic Grieve QC on Brexit before voting on a motion of confidence in him as our MP, which, I can confirm with a heavy heart that he failed to retain,’ he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

EU

It seems the EU is now resigned to us leaving without a deal, says the Express.

A SENIOR adviser to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has told MPs no deal is now the likely scenario regardless of how many times they vote to avoid it.
Stefaan de Rynck, from the European Union’s Article 50 task force, suggested MPs should vote for the Withdrawal Agreement tonight in order to “conclude the process”. Mr de Rynck added Brexit must happen so the UK and Brussels can move on to thinking about the future relationship. The European Commission official also revealed British and EU negotiators “lived through difficult moments” to agree the current deal which he added “remains the best compromise possible.

There’ll be an emergency meeting just two days before the next deadline, says the Telegraph.

Donald Tusk called an April 10 emergency EU summit in the seconds after MPs rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Friday, as Michel Barnier warned that a no deal was “more likely” after the agreement was defeated for a third time.
The Telegraph understands that the EU wants Britain to explain its Brexit plan B in just 11 days, by April 8, so leaders have to time to consider any UK request before the summit.

The Guardian says the EU has ordered the UK to come up with a new Brexit plan.

The EU has given the British government 11 days to come up with a fresh Brexit plan to avoid crashing out of the bloc at 11pm on 12 April.
In the immediate aftermath of the crushing rejection of the prime minister’s deal, the European council president, Donald Tusk, called an emergency leaders’ summit.

It looks like April 12 is the new March 29 says the Mirror.

The EU has called an emergency summit for 10 April after Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated for the third time.
European Council president Donald Tusk called an emergency summit of EU leaders in Brussels on April 10 to discuss the implications of the vote.
Mr Tusk said:  “In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on 10 April.”

Mini Macron says the EU will decide the matter if the UK doesn’t, says the Independent.

French president Emmanuel Macron has said that if the British parliament does not approve Theresa May’s Brexit deal by 12 April then Europe would decide with Britain on the timeframe for its exit.
It came moments before MPs on Friday rejected the British prime minister’s attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through parliament.
“The implications of the house’s decision are grave, the legal default now is that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on 12 April,” Ms May told the Commons after her latest defeat.

And Breitbart reports one of the presidents saying we shouldn’t betray the Mickey Mouse people who signed an online petition.  But it’s OK to betray 17.4mllion people who voted Leave.

President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that it would be “unacceptable” to “betray” the people who signed an online petition and marched in London to stop Brexit.
Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday morning the Polish progressive said that he maintains the European Council should be “open” to a long Article 50 delay “if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would, of course, mean the UK’s participation in the European Parliament elections.

The Guardian claims the bloc will decide the terms of our leaving.

The EU has moved into full crisis mode, with officials now setting the terms the UK will have to meet for Brussels to open talks on avoiding an economic meltdown in the weeks after a no-deal Brexit.
In anticipation of a no-deal outcome on 12 April after MPs voted down eight Brexit options on Wednesday, and the likely rejection of the withdrawal agreement on Friday, EU ambassadors on Thursday morning opened discussions on the terms to be set for the bloc to return to the negotiating table.

There’ll be problems for the EU after the Euro elections, predicts the Express.

BRUSSELS could be rocked by May’s European Parliament elections as around a third of seats are set to be taken by anti-EU populist parties, new data has found.
Fresh, wide-reaching research from Sky News predicts a populist surge will spread across Europe as voter backlash against the EU spikes. The data suggests 233 out of the 705 available seats in the European Parliament will be won by parties or coalitions who identify themselves as populist.

And there are mutterings against the bloc from Ireland, reports the Express.

THE IRISH President has called for changes to the EU after condemning the institution’s economic model and called for a “new mind for Europe”.
Michael D Higgins, who has served as Ireland’s President since November 2011, has criticised the EU in a speech he delivered at the opening of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Thursday night.
He condemned Brussels over its handling of the economy, which he claims has undermined the social cohesion in Europe and between member states.

LML march

The Leave Means Leave march is covered by the Telegraph.

Protesters calling for Brexit rallied across London as MPs voted on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
Leave Means Leave supporters lined past Parliament, while a March To Leave procession that started in Sunderland two weeks ago headed for Westminster.
Traffic came to a standstill by Parliament Square as Brexit backers blocked the road while chanting “we shall not be moved”, “Brexit now” and “Bye bye EU”.

Sky News also reports on the march.

Friday 29 March was meant to be Brexit Day and pro-Leave supporters descended on parliament in their thousands to voice their frustration that their “independence day” has been delayed.
But if they came to Parliament Square in the hope that their presence might persuade parliamentarians to resolve the Brexit crisis by backing Theresa May’s divorce deal, they were to be disappointed: the prime minister was defeated for the third time by 58 votes: 28 of her own eurosceptic MPs voting with Labour and opposition MPs to reject her withdrawal treaty, and with it the certainty of leaving the EU with a deal on 22 May.

Even the Guardian has reported the march.

Thousands of protesters calling for Brexit rallied outside parliament on Friday after MPs inside voted down Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on the day the UK was originally scheduled to leave the EU.
Leave Means Leave supporters walked past parliament as Nigel Farage’s March to Leave procession, which started in Sunderland two weeks ago, arrived in Westminster.
By early evening most protesters had left but some remaining demonstrators – supporters of the English Defence League founder turned Ukip adviser Tommy Robinson – clashed with police.

The numbers stopped the traffic, reports the Mirror.

Pro-Brexit protesters stopped the traffic outside Parliament while they chanted “we shall not be moved.”
Thousands of protesters crammed into Parliament Square to voice their anger at what they claim is Brexit being betrayed.
Leave Means Leave supporters lined past Parliament, while a March To Leave procession that started in Sunderland two weeks ago headed for Westminster.

The Sun claims the protesters shut down the area.

THOUSANDS of pro-Brexit protesters have shut down Westminster this afternoon as they celebrated what should have been our independence day.
There have been five arrests this evening as protesters gathered outside Parliament, Downing Street and in Trafalgar Square.
Earlier, today Parliament Square was jam-packed with passionate activists rallying for Brexit – who were furious that our official exit day has been scrapped.

But the Morning Star claims it was a ‘gaggle’.

A GAGGLE of protesters arrived in London today, with many of them attempting to turn the government’s Brexit fiasco into a demonstration against Islam and immigration.
The marchers set off from Sunderland two weeks ago and were accompanied for short stretches of the walk by Ukip’s former leader Nigel Farage.
Scotland Yard was compelled to dismiss as “baseless and false” suggestions from Ukip leader Gerard Batten that water cannon could be deployed at protests to “provoke Brexiteers.”

TIG

The Independent Group will become a political party, says the Times.

The Independent Group of MPs has launched its plan to be a political party in a bid for votes should a general election follow the Brexit impasse.
The 11 MPs who split with their parties said yesterday that their new party would be called Change UK.
They also revealed that it will be led, for now, by the former Tory MP Heidi Allen rather than the group’s spokesman, Chuka Umunna.

They promise a ‘different kind of politics’ says the Independent.

On what should have been Brexit day, the MPs in the newly formed Independent Group have set out their stall.
Having jumped ship from their respective parties, the 11 former Conservative and Labour MPs sent shockwaves through Westminster with their promise of a different kind of politics.
Their move prompted huge interest, with anger from former colleagues jostling alongside curiosity from those left politically homeless by shifts in direction from both Labour and the Tories.

But the Guardian says they may have to change their proposed name.

The Independent Group of MPs has been challenged by the petitions site Change.org about their plans to register as a political party called Change UK. Change.org has said it is seeking urgent advice to prevent the group using similar branding.
The breakaway group of former Labour and Tory MPs is to formally register as a political party in time for potential European elections, and has said the former Conservative MP Heidi Allen will be interim leader.
It is understood Change.org is seeking legal advice and contacting the Electoral commission.

The group is taking legal advice, says the Mirror.

Petition website Change.org is taking legal advice after accusing MPs in the Independent Group of “using our brand name”.
The campaigns corporation warned it could take action after the 11-strong group of MPs announced they are setting up a full political party called Change UK.
And the ‘TIG’ MPs rubbed salt into the wound when Anna Soubry, one of the 11 MPs, accidentally referred to her new party as Change.org.
A source at the campaign website said chiefs are now taking legal advice and contacting the Electoral Commission to see what can be done.

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