Water leak

The divine intervention into Parliament yesterday could cause problems for scheduling in the House of Commons, says the Express.

THE House of Commons’ water leak could potentially disrupt Brexit, forcing Prime Minister Theresa May to suspend an important debate with MPs before her crucial EU meeting.
The Commons was suspended yesterday after what was thought to be sewage water poured into the chamber following a leak. MPs are not allowed to enter the chamber until the damage is fixed, meaning Mrs May may suspend her Brexit debate on Monday, spelling disaster for  EU negotiations this week. Under Commons rules, ministers can only list items for the next day’s debate when the House is sitting and because of the leaks, the house will not sit today (Friday).

Cross-party talks

Negotiations between May and Corbyn are not going well, says the Express.

THERESA May has been urged to consider taking the UK out of the EU with no deal as her talks with Jeremy Corbyn “made no progress”.
The Prime Minister turned to Labour for help this week after suffering three defeats with her Brexit deal. She asked Mr Corbyn to negotiate with her on a deal that might work for them both, which he accepted. But Labour said the Government “has not offered real change or compromise” in three days of talks.

Westmonster quotes a Labour Party press release.

Brexit talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have hit something of an impasse, according to a press release from the Labour Party.
A Labour Party spokesperson said of today’s negotiations: “We are disappointed that the government has not offered real change or compromise.
“We urge the Prime Minister to come forward with genuine changes to her deal in an effort to find an alternative that can win support in Parliament and bring the country together.”

The Telegraph says the talks are about to fail.

Cross-party talks to find a new Brexit plan are on the brink of collapse after Labour attacked Theresa May for failing to offer “compromise or change”.
The opposition broke the official silence on three days of discussions with the government, accusing the prime minister of refusing “to come forward” with anything new.
The verdict is a hammer blow to Ms May’s hopes of putting a joint proposal to parliament next week, before she seeks a further Brexit delay at Wednesday’s EU summit.

ITV News says there are still problems.

Theresa May’s hopes of a Brexit compromise with Jeremy Corbyn are on the brink of collapse, after Labour accused the Prime Minister of refusing to change her deal.
Downing Street offered further talks this weekend after efforts to find a breakthrough stalled, but Labour said Mrs May had to come forward with “genuine changes”.

And the government is to blame, according to Huffington Post.

The government is refusing to consider changes to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Labour’s Keir Starmer has warned.
Following two days of talks between Labour and the Conservatives in a bid to break the Brexit impasse in the Commons, the shadow Brexit secretary said the government was not proposing to change the current deal.
“In particular it’s not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the political declaration,” Starmer said.

The Times says the talks have actually ended.

Brexit talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn broke down last night as France warned that Britain risked crashing out of the EU in a “disorderly manner”.
Labour sources accused the prime minister of negotiating in bad faith after Downing Street sent the party an outline deal that offered no concessions to its central demand for a customs union with the EU.

The Guardian describes the possibility of an agreement as ‘slipping away’.

Theresa May’s prospects of cobbling together a cross-party majority to convince EU leaders to grant a short Brexit delay next week appear to be slipping away after Labour claimed she had failed to offer “real change or compromise” in talks.
The prime minister made a dramatic pledge to open the door to talks with Labour on Tuesday after a marathon cabinet meeting.

Labour says it’s the government’s fault, reports Sky News.

Labour has accused the government of failing to offer real change or compromise during talks to end the Brexit stalemate – as new exit dates are considered.
In a statement following more talks between the opposition and a team appointed by Theresa May to agree a way forward, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “So far, the government isn’t proposing any changes to the deal. In particular, it’s not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the political declaration.

The Sun cites the PM’s ‘begging letter’.

CRUNCH national unity talks collapsed as Theresa May sent a grovelling letter to the EU begging for another Brexit extension.
The third day of discussions ended with no sign of a breakthrough and Labour blaming Mrs May for refusing to budge.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit chief, said: “So far, the Government isn’t proposing any changes to the deal. In particular, it’s not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the Political Declaration.

The Mirror also claims the government won’t budge.

Brexit cross-party talks have broken down after Labour said the government has refused to “offer real change”.
Sources accused No10 of failing to shake-up the political declaration setting out proposals for the future relationship with Brussels.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said was not “countenancing any changes” to the blueprint.

EU

Some EU countries are ready for WTO rules, reports the Guardian.

France has won the support of Spain and Belgium after signalling its readiness for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April if there are no significant new British proposals, according to a note of an EU27 meeting seen by the Guardian.
The diplomatic cable reveals that the French ambassador secured the support of Spanish and Belgian colleagues in arguing that there should only be, at most, a short article 50 extension to avoid an instant financial crisis, saying: “We could probably extend for a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves in the markets.”

The Express describes the PM’s letter as a ‘plea’.

THERESA MAY has pleaded with the EU for a new extension to Article 50 to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal on April 12 – but it is still not certain how long Brexit will be delayed for.
The Prime Minister wrote to the European Council president Donald Tusk today to officially beg to delay Brexit once again as neither Parliament nor the Cabinet can find an agreement on a way forward. Mrs May asked for another short extension to Article 50, arguing both the UK and the EU must “move on” almost three years after the EU Referendum took place.

And the Telegraph muses that the bloc will offer a year delay.

Theresa May is set to be offered a year-long “flexible” delay to Brexit at next week’s emergency summit in Brussels, EU officials have said.
A plan drawn up by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, would let Britain stay in the bloc until 31 March 2020 – more than a year after the original planned exit date.
Brussels is framing the proposal as a “flextension” – to stress that the UK could leave before the final date if MPs agreed to implement the negotiated Brexit deal before then.

But comments by a backbencher seems to have enraged Europeans, reports the Telegraph.

Brussels has slapped down Jacob Rees-Mogg after the leading Brexiteer suggested the UK should wilfully cause chaos at the EU institutions if Brexit was delayed.
A spokesperson for the European Commission suggested that the Tory MP was essentially irrelevant and not involved in negotiations.
“This gentleman is not our interlocutor and I would say then that the principle of sincere cooperation does apply, as prime minister May herself makes clear in her letter,” the spokesperson told reporters in Brussels.

The Express claims J R-M is offering the EU a ‘living hell’.

JACOB REES-MOGG pledged to turn a long extension to Article 50 into a living hell for Brussels as Donald Tusk proposed to delay Brexit for 12 more months, which would force the UK to take part in the European election.
The powerful backbencher argued the UK should put up a fight against the EU in its Parliament if it is forced to remain a member of the bloc for longer than a few weeks.  He wrote on Twitter: “If a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible.

The Mirror reports the EU’s ‘slapdown’.

Brussels issued a stinging slapdown to leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg after he said British MEPs cause chaos if there’s a long Brexit extension.
The chair of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, said that “if a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible”.
He suggested: “We could veto any increase in the budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block Mr Macron’s integrationist schemes”.

And Breitbart claims J R-M will be joined by Nigel Farage in his obstruction of the work of the bloc.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage will declare war on the globalists’ beloved European Project if Brexit is delayed to the point where the UK is pulled into European Parliament elections in May.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk requesting a further extension of Article 50 to June 30th, admitting that the UK would have to take part in European Parliament elections next month — nearly three years after the country voted to leave the bloc.

The truth is beginning to emerge as to why the EU is putting up so many barriers to our leaving, says the Express.

ALMOST two-thirds of French people fear that Brexit will undermine the European Union, a new poll has revealed, as the political uncertainty surrounding the divorce continues.
Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the bloc to delay Brexit until June 30, but the UK could be forced to accept a “flexible” extension and stay in the bloc for another 12 months. The survey of 1,005 people, conducted by Odoxa-Dentsu for France Info and Le Figaro on April 3-4, found 62 per cent of French people think that the EU will emerge from the Brexit crisis considerably “weakened”.

Gibraltar

And the Spanish are taking a tougher line over The Rock, says the Express.

GIBRALTAR is at risk of losing its British roots altogether after Spain brazenly revealed its plans to make it “more Spanish”.
Secretary general of the People’s Party (PP), Teodoro García Egea, today revealed plans to drain the Rock of its Britishness in the biggest sign yet that the Spanish are forcing Britons out. He said simply at a meeting of the party that the ultimate goal of the PP is “to move towards the Spanishness of the Rock”. Mr Egea said that Brexit has to be an “opportunity” for Spain, especially given the “inconveniences” that it can create to the Spanish international market and exports, especially agricultural products.

Second referendum

Could we have a second referendum, by whatever name?  The Telegraph speculates.

Theresa May’s ministers have discussed the possibility of giving MPs a vote on a second referendum during talks aimed at agreeing a Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn, it has emerged.
A team of four ministers led by David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, held four and a half hours of talks with their Labour counterparts on Thursday during which the idea of offering a second referendum was discussed as an option.
Labour’s Keir Starmer is believed to have said that a second referendum had to be one of the options put to MPs in a series of so-called indicative votes which will take place next week if a cross-party deal cannot be agreed.

The Express says the cabinet is split.

A CABINET split over calls for a second EU referendum was laid bare yesterday as senior ministers discussed the proposal with Labour frontbenchers.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both distanced themselves from a suggestion made by Chancellor Philip Hammond that a fresh poll on the UK’s future links with Brussels was a “perfectly credible” idea. They spoke out after it was confirmed that the possibility of a “confirmatory” vote on EU withdrawal arrangements was one of the issues on the table in the cross-party talks between the Government and opposition to try to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament.

And Breitbart says the decision could come out of the cross-party talks.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to share control of Brexit decision-making with Labour could result in a public ‘confirmatory’ vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, otherwise known as a second referendum.
Talks between Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn are expected to resume today, with the prime minister set to write to the Labour leader with the Government’s offer on the way forward with Brexit.
According to sources speaking to The Guardian, this letter could include the option of a confirmatory public referendum on any Brexit deal, which could be presented to, and voted on, in the House of Commons.

Conservative Party

The Tory Party is in trouble, says the Telegraph.

The Conservatives “may be in trouble” at a general election if they elect a hard Brexiteer as their next leader, a polling expert has said.
Rosie Campbell, a professor of politics at King’s College London​, said the Tories’ lack of support among younger voters would be “exacerbated by a hard Brexiteer prime minister” and that such a candidate would also struggle to win votes among female and ethnic minorities voters.

And members are voting with their feet, reports the Telegraph.

Grassroots Conservative activists are “quitting in their droves”, it has been claimed, as new polling shows that more than 90 per cent disagree with Theresa May’s decision to open talks with Jeremy Corbyn.
Don Porter, a former head of the Tory party’s grassroots body National Conservative Convention and founder of Conservative Voice, said Mrs May’s talks with the Labour leader were doing “lasting damage” to the Tory party.

A strike is planned by local Tories, reports the Sun.

LOCAL Tory bosses have threatened to boycott the European elections after Theresa May plunged her party’s civil war to a new low by confirming plans to take part in the May poll.
They have warned that “a lot of Tory activists are going to be on strike” because of the PM’s decision to request another extension to Article 50.
In her letter to EU boss Donald Tusk Mrs May was forced to admit for the first time that Britain would have to participate in the May 23 European elections under her new plan to delay Brexit until June 30.

The Express calls it a ‘backlash’.

THERESA May was facing a Brexiteer backlash on Friday after she asked the EU for permission to delay Brexit further. In a letter to EU Chief Donald Tusk the Prime Minister requested an extension to Britain’s departure until June 30, with the option to leave earlier if her Withdrawal Agreement is ratified.
Mrs May made it clear that she will seek to leave the bloc before the European Parliament elections on May 23. She said that “responsible preparations” will be made for the UK to take part in the polls if that does not prove possible.

Newport

Labour held the by-election, but UKIP did well, says the Sun.

UKIP saw their vote surge in a by-election battle amid fury at the Brexit deadlock.
Neil Hamilton – the ex-Tory MP turned Ukip’s Wales leader – came third in the Newport West by-election after his vote share shot up from just over 2 per cent to 8.6 per cent.
Ruth Jones held on to the seat for Labour after the death of Paul Flynn, but both Labour and the second-placed Tories saw their vote share drop sharply, to 39.6 per cent and 31.3 per cent respectively.

Passports

In advance of our withdrawal from the EU, the government has already changed passports, reports the Telegraph.

The government has already begun handing out British passports that do not carry the words “European Union” on the cover, despite Brexit being delayed.
The two words were missing from burgundy passports issued this week as the government had initially prepared for Brexit day to be on 29 March.
The Home Office said some passports with the words European Union would still be issued while the remaining stock is used up, and that members of the public would not be able to choose between the two.

The Guardian also has the story.

The UK government has started issuing British passports without the words “European Union” even though the UK remains a full member of the bloc. It removed the two words from passport covers issued this week on the working assumption that Brexit day would have been 29 March.
But the move has angered those applying for new passports who were hoping to hold on to an emblem of EU membership.

Foreign aid

A frightful story has emerged in Breitbart.

The British government is giving away more money through the foreign aid budget than it is spending on police forces, despite the violent crime wave gripping the country.
Crime in the capital city of London, under the mayoralty of Labour’s Sadiq Khan, appears to be particularly out of hand, with homicides at a 10-year high and particularly striking issues with knife crime and moped-enabled crime, as well as once rare and shocking incidents such as acid and machete attacks.

NHS

Cataract surgery is being cut, reports the Times.

Tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery, senior doctors say.
The NHS has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago, a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists has found.

Education

Universities are putting pressure on students, reports the Telegraph.

The government has condemned universities for using “unethical” selling tactics to pressure tens of thousands of sixth-formers a year into accepting university places which may not be right for them.
Education secretary Damian Hinds is calling for a review of university admissions following a surge in the number of students being offered a place on a degree regardless of their exam grades.

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