Theresa May

The Prime Minister is fighting for her political life, says the Telegraph.

Theresa May has been warned by Cabinet ministers she will have to quit if her Brexit deal is defeated in the Commons next week and she fails to secure better terms from the EU, the Telegraph can disclose.
Ministers believe that there is “zero” chance of her deal, which has been publicly criticised by more than 100 Tory MPs, passing in a crunch Commons vote on Tuesday.
One Cabinet minister told the Telegraph “she [Mrs May] will fall” if she is defeated and then fails to go back to Brussels to fundamentally renegotiate the EU withdrawal agreement.

The Times claims her efforts will come to nought.

Theresa May’s efforts to encourage Tory activists to bring her MPs into line have failed, a Conservative Home survey for The Times suggests.~The prime minister has held meetings and conference calls with activists and launched leaflet campaigns to convince the party to back her Brexit deal. A survey of 1,262 Tory members, taken on Thursday and yesterday, suggests that 72 per cent reject her deal and want their MP to do the same. Twenty-six per cent want their MP to accept the deal and 2 per cent are unsure.

The Times claims Labour MPs could team up with the Tories

MPs are lining up to sack Theresa May if her Brexit deal is rejected on Tuesday.
Labour is seeking to join forces with rebel Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party to bring the prime minister down by voting against her leadership.
Although the vote would not be binding it would place enormous pressure on Mrs May to resign. Conservative MPs reported “febrile” communications yesterday from those jockeying for position before a potential contest. Among those expected to run are Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Amber Rudd, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove.

The Mail claims she is being warned.

The Prime Minister is being warned she will have to resign should her crunch Brexit vote end in disaster next week, it has emerged.
Several Cabinet ministers have warned her she is heading for a heavy defeat and urged her to seek fresh concessions from Brussels.
They fear if Mrs May goes ahead with Tuesday’s vote and loses by a large margin it will prove fatal for her leadership – and open the door to a softer ‘Norway-style’ Brexit.

And who might replace her? The Times speculates.

Boris Johnson has told allies to expect Theresa May to resign on Wednesday as leadership candidates scramble for position.
Tory MPs yesterday reported “febrile” communications from those jockeying for position ahead of a contest many now expect imminently.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, is believed to be making a pitch as the candidate to deliver a “managed no-deal” exit. “He’s saying ‘you know what, no deal is not ideal but at the end of the day it would be fine’,” said a senior Tory on the right of the party.


Meanwhile, elsewhere in the ongoing Brexit saga, a top Tory has taken apart the current offer, Westmonster reports.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has spent this afternoon underlining why he and vast majority of pro-Brexit MPs will vote down Theresa May’s deal.
Setting out his view over a series of six tweets, Mogg explain: “Reasons why the Withdrawal Agreement is bad 1/6: This deal hands over £39bn of UK taxpayers money with no guarantee of any long term agreement in return. In two years time we could be in the same place less £39bn. Our money should be conditional on a trade deal.
“This deal, Article 174, keeps the supremacy of the European Court over our own law.

The Independent says if MPs reject the deal we could be trapped in a permanent customs union.

Brexiters who reject Theresa May’s deal will drive the UK towards a permanent customs union with the EU, Downing Street has warned as the government tries to forestall a rash of resignations before next week’s historic vote.
The prime minister will spend the weekend at her country retreat of Chequers before embarking on what some at Westminster believe could be the closing act of her premiership.
With the parliamentary arithmetic looking bleak for the prospects of the deal being passed, she has been warned personally by several Brexit-backing government aides that they are prepared to resign on Tuesday unless there are major changes to her deal. Leavers are concerned the UK could be trapped indefinitely in the Irish backstop.

Northern Ireland

The Express turns its attention to Northern Ireland.

NORTHERN Ireland will be turned into a “separate country” under direct Brussels rule under Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a scathing report from a Eurosceptic group has warned.
Detailed analysis of the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement and legal advice to the Government showed the province would remain subject to more than 300 EU laws after Brexit, according to the report from Lawyers for Britain. It also condemned the backstop border protection mechanism as a “complete capitulation” to the EU’s demands. The report, written by leading lawyer Martin Howard QC, said Northern Ireland would effectively be ruled by a “foreign power” after Brexit under the Prime Minister’s deal.

Plan B

A cabinet minister has suggested a Norway-style agreement should be considered, says the Mail.

Amber Rudd has become the first Cabinet minster to suggest that a Norway-style Brexit is a suitable ‘Plan B’ to the Prime Minister’s deal.
Under the Norway-plus plan, the UK would remain in the single market and customs union, which would remove the need to use the Irish backstop provision.
In an interview with The Times, the Work and Pensions Secretary said a Norway-style arrangement ‘seems plausible not just in terms of the country but in terms of where the MPs are’. 

The Sun also reports the prospect.

AMBER Rudd last night declared Britain should join an EU halfway house if Theresa May’s Brexit deal falls – as the PM was warned the Conservative Party could next week split up.
The Work and Pensions Secretary defied No10 to become the first Cabinet minister to openly discuss a Plan B to the PM’s troubled agreement with the EU.
In an interview with The Times, Ms Rudd said membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) “seems plausible as an alternative, for the country but where MPs are too”.

Second referendum

Plans for another referendum are under discussion, says the Independent.

A major row has broken out between supporters of a Final SayBrexit referendum, over a Liberal Democrat push for a vote next week.
Vince Cable’s party tabled an amendment to next week’s crucial Commons vote on Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, which would approve it – subject to a fresh public vote.
But the move was quickly denounced by the People’s Vote campaign as “deeply unhelpful”, because it will come too soon to have any realistic hope of success.

LEAVE campaigners are quietly getting ready for another Brexit referendum, if Theresa May’s deal is rejected, it’s been reported.
MPs and activists are said to be making preparations for another referendum in case Parliament forces a second vote on the country.
Sources told the Financial Times that an aide to political strategist Lynton Crosby, the mastermind behind some of the Tories election victories, has been talking to Eurosceptic MPs about plotting the future of Brexit.

A campaigning group is also planning along the same lines, says BBC News.

The head of a pro-Brexit campaign has said it is preparing for another EU referendum.
Richard Tice, of Leave Means Leave, said he could see Theresa May calling such a vote “within a fortnight”.
“We think it is 50/50 that it will happen”, he told the BBC’s Politics Live, but his campaign had hired office space and was raising funds.
He said the campaign’s “core message” would be that the PM’s Brexit deal is a “total betrayal of trust in democracy”.

The Guardian considers whether the Labour Party would support a second referendum.

John McDonnell has rejected warnings from Len McCluskey, the Unite leader, that Labour members would see support for a second Brexit referendum as a betrayal, adding that in a choice between Theresa May’s deal and staying in the EU he would vote remain.
McCluskey, who wields substantial influence in the party, told a group of Labour Mps this week that they could alienate supporters by backing a fresh referendum, and urged them to stick to Labour’s alternative Brexit plan.

Labour Party

Sky News claims Labour is trying to team up with the DUP.

Jeremy Corbyn has reached out to the DUP and said that Labour is “ready to step in and negotiate seriously” to find an alternative Brexit deal with the EU.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, the Labour Party leader said the DUP “dislike the backstop for very good and sensible reasons” and that “absolutely” Labour’s version of Brexit can work for the Northern Ireland party and the people of the province.
He also said he wanted to find a “serious alternative” to the deal proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May. 

And Reuters claims the Labour Party accepts the possibility of a second referendum in Scotland,

Britain’s opposition Labour party does not rule out allowing another Scottish independence referendum should it be voted into power, its finance spokesman said on Friday, although he saw the issue as a distraction given Britain’s current problems.
John McDonnell said a British Labour government would consider whether to grant permission for a Scottish referendum if backed by the devolved parliament should the case arise, even though it opposes Scotland splitting from the United Kingdom.

Project Fear

You think there have been dire warnings about going to WTO rules? You ain’t seen nothing yet! The Express reports:

MINISTERS have been accused of a fresh “Project Fear” propaganda blitz after the Government warned a no deal Brexit could cause six months of chaos on key cross-Channel routes.
Ferries between Dover and Calais and traffic using the Channel Tunnel could be disrupted until the end of September 2019, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said. He made the forecast in a letter to the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry today.

The Telegraph reports more warnings.

Warnings of a “logjam” at Britain’s ports as a result of a no-deal Brexit are misleading, a senior representative of the industry has said.
It comes after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said that ports would face chaos if the UK left the EU without a deal and would take “years” to adapt.
But Tim Morris, the chief executive of UK Major Ports Group, the trade body, said: “The UK’s port sector is a resilient, adaptable and highly competitive one, offering customers a range of options.

The Times claims there’ll be disruption.

A disruptive no-deal Brexit could lead to six months of chaos at the borders, the government has warned.
If Britain left the European Union without a deal in March, ferry services between Dover and Calais and traffic using the Channel Tunnel would face severe disruption until the end of September, it said.
The warning was included in a letter sent by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, to the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS yesterday.

And the Independent gleefully reports on the possible scenarios.

A no-deal Brexit could see charter planes used to fly in drugs to prop up the NHS and medicines given priority access through gridlocked ports, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.
The minister also revealed the government was consulting on plans for chemists to ration medication so that patients can retain access to vital treatments in the event of shortages caused by the UK’s withdrawal.
His remarks come as embattled prime minister Theresa May was criticised by backbench Tory rebels and the DUP over her “desperate” comprise efforts to attract support for her beleaguered deal.


Boris has turned his attention to our fishing industry, says Breitbart.

Tory arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson has warned that Theresa May’s “worst deal in history” with the European Union will empower Brussels to “bully and blackmail” Britain over fisheries, where EU control has already resulted in tens of thousands of job losses.
Writing in the
Press and Journal newspaper which serves much of northern Scotland and in particular the “Granite City” of Aberdeen which boomed during Britain’s North Sea oil rush, the former Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary warned that the EU’s hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be “reinvented” during the transition period negotiations envisaged by May’s deal, with Brussels “effectively holding all the cards”.

Westmonster also reports on fish.

Boris Johnson has warned that British fishermen will be sold out under Theresa May’s plan, laying out how the EU will not stop until has “worked out a way to plunder the waters of Scotland for their fish”.
Writing for the Scottish regional the Press and Journal, he set out how the plan would give the EU “infinite power to bully and blackmail” to ensure Brussels “get whatever it wants in the future negotiations”.
That would include French President Macron, who has already issued a threat when it comes to the Britain’s fisheries, refusing to “let Britain out of jail until we have satisfied his demands for UK fish”.


Our party is in the news. The Independent reports:

More senior figures have left Ukip as the party continues to implode in a row over its association with far-right activist Tommy Robinson.
David Coburn, Ukip’s long-serving Scottish leader, quit on Friday morning, accusing the party of promoting “English nationalism” and anti-Islamic politics.
He was closely followed to the exit door by former leader Paul Nuttall, who said dealing with Mr Robinson was a “catastrophic error”.

The Guardian claims the party is in turmoil.

The resignation of three MEPs from Ukip over the appointment of the far-right campaigner Tommy Robinson as adviser has plunged the party into turmoil, forcing its leader to pull out of his European party group.
The leader, Gerard Batten, announced his resignation from the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group (EFDD) after an exodus of senior figures from the party, including the EFDD president, Nigel Farage.
Batten said he could not remain in the EFDD while Farage launched “continual attacks on me and Ukip in the UK media”.

The Express claims it’s a blow for the party.

NIGEL Farage’s party UKIP, which changed the entire landscape of British politics and help force Britain’s exit from Europe, was today dealt a further body blow as MEP and former leader Paul Nuttall quit.
Mr Nuttall became the latest leading figure in the party to announce his resignation in protest at the decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as an adviser. In a statement, Mr Nuttall, the MEP for North West England, said: “After much soul-searching over the past week, I have concluded that I must, as of today, resign as a member of Ukip. I do this with an immense amount of reluctance and regret, as I have worked tirelessly for the party for the past fourteen years.

And the Sun says:

FAR-right activist Tommy Robinson has sparked a Ukip exodus as ex-leader Paul Nuttall has walked out – just days after Nigel Farage quit.
Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall this morning became the latest leading figure in the party to announce his resignation in protest at the decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as an adviser.
Mr Nuttall said: “I am resigning because the party is being taken in a direction which I believe is harmful to Brexit. The association with Tommy Robinson will simply appall many moderate Brexit voters and inevitably be detrimental to the cause.

Sunday’s rally

The Morning Star claims the march and rally planned for Sunday will be challenged.

THOUSANDS of anti-racism activists will march in central London on Sunday in a counter-demonstration against fascist thugs.
As former English Defence League leader “Tommy Robinson” – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – and Ukip attempt to “capitalise” on the Brexit crisis through a “Brexit Betrayal” march, a major counter-protest will be held in the hope of stopping them in their tracks.
The counter-demonstration is supported by a wide cross-section of anti-racist groups, trade unions, women’s, LGBT+, Muslim, Jewish and other faith and community groups.

Christmas travel

If you’re thinking of getting away for Christmas, keep an eye on the media, because there could be trouble. The Telegraph says:

Rail and airline passengers will face travel misery this Christmas as two major strikes were announced for the same day.

Pilots from Virgin Atlantic and members of the RMT union on South Western Railway are expected to walk out on December 22 in separate disputes.
The action threatens to cause maximum disruption on one of the final – and busiest – shopping days before the festive break, as well as frustrating getaway plans.

The Star reports on the airlines.

A GROUP of Virgin Atlantic pilots are set to strike over Christmas and the New Year – sparking fears of major travel disruption.
“Our door is – and has always been – open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to prevent any disruption for Christmas travellers. This is such an easy fix for the company; by including all unions in negotiations – not just one selected by the company – it can then live up to its claimed inclusiveness and we can get round the table together to negotiate a sustainable outcome for our members.


But we could all be wiped out anyway, says the Star.

AN ancient plague strain discovered in a 5,000-year-old tomb in Sweden may have caused the first major global pandemic in human history, scientists believe.
Researchers found the previously unknown strain of plague when excavating a limestone tomb in Frälsegården, Sweden, dated to around 2,000BC.
Analysis of the notorious bacterium, known as Yersinia pestis, indicates the deadly germ may have devastated settlements across Europe at the end of the Stone Age.

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