Brexit

Remainers haven’t finished with Mrs May yet, says the Times.

A cross-party group of MPs determined to prevent a no-deal Brexit will make another attempt to wrest control from Theresa May next week, sympathetic ministers have been told.
The alliance, led by Yvette Cooper, the Labour chairwoman of the home affairs select committee, and Nick Boles, the former Tory minister, is expected to ask MPs to vote to put parliament in charge for three days at the end of this month. That would give Mrs May two weeks to get her deal through the Commons before MPs forced her to delay Brexit by asking the European Union for an extension to Article 50.

Huffington Post says their intention is to block a no-deal.

MPs are poised to launch a fresh attempt to delay Brexit and block a no-deal when the Commons votes on Theresa May’s strategy in next week’s Valentine’s Day showdown.
A Tory ex-minister and senior Labour MP involved in cross-party talks said it was “highly likely” and that there was a “substantial consensus” there will be another vote on an amendment designed to give parliament the power to stop a no-deal Brexit.

But the ‘crunch’ vote could be delayed, says the Guardian.

A crunch vote in which MPs could force Theresa May’s hand on Brexit  is set to be delayed until the end of the month or even later, it has emerged, as the prime minister travelled to Dublin for urgent talks with fewer than 50 days left to departure from the EU.
Under the timetable agreed by the government, May must either present a revised Brexit deal to the Commons on Thursday, which appears unlikely to happen, or else table a motion to which MPs can add amendments.

Ireland

The prospect of a united Ireland is examined by BBC News.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC a no-deal Brexit could lead to a vote on Irish unification.
One senior minister said the prospect is “very real” and very much on the prime minister’s mind.
A second cabinet minister warned the government risked “sleepwalking into a border poll”.
And a third cabinet minister said there was an understanding in government that a vote on unification would be a “realistic possibility” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal next month.
“If we are party to creating an environment of chaos, disruption and uncertainty – that could move the dial”, the source said.

WTO rules

The EU is not ready for WTO rules, says Westmonster.

Whilst the anti-Brexit Project Fear squeals grow louder in the British media, much of the impact of a No Deal across Europe has been largely ignored. After a No Deal the UK would be able to act unilaterally in its own interests. Even some of those in Brussels concede that an EU response to such a scenario could be more troublesome, requiring agreements subject to veto and the small matter of European Elections in May.

Westmonster goes on to say perhaps they’ve started to get their act together.

French business is playing last-minute catch up over the prospect of a hard Brexit amid increasingly plaintive calls from government and trade bodies to act or lose out to European and global rivals. As many as 30,000 French companies export to the UK, and 3,300 have British-based operations, according to government figures.

EU

Following Tusk’s ‘hell’ comment recently, the Express reports the British plan is ‘insane’.

BRUSSELS has labelled Theresa May’s Brexit plan “insane” as she heads to Dublin to thrash out backstop discussions with Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Mrs May will have dinner with Mr Varadkar, who has refused to negotiate Brexit tonight. Mr Varadkar has said he is willing to “share perspectives” over the withdrawal agreement but insisted any formal negotiations must take place with the entire European Union.

But it seems that any plot to stop Brexit will be unacceptable to France, reports the Sun.

THE Remainer plot to kill off Brexit was dealt a blow today as France threatened to veto any delay to our EU departure.
A group of MPs are preparing to relaunch their campaign to postpone Brexit by up to a year.
Next week the Commons could back a motion drawn up by Yvette Cooper which would delay Britain’s leaving date if we’re heading for No Deal.
But even if MPs do vote for the controversial amendment, every single EU country would have the right to veto it.

It appears France and Italy are not best buddies, says the Telegraph.

Relations between the two countries have hit a low ebb, with France claiming they are at the lowest point since the end of the Second World War.
The catalyst for the latest row was when Italy’s deputy prime minister met with members of the “yellow vest” protests. France recalled its ambassador to Italy in protest.
“For several months France has been the subject of repeated accusations, unfounded attacks and outlandish claims,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

At least someone in the EU realises the bloc needs to change, reports the Express.

THE European Union (EU) needs to urgently change if it to stand a chance of competing in a “contest of systems” with China and the United States, Angela Merkel’s successor has said.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was voted in as the Christian Democratic Union leader in December, cast doubt on Europe’s ability to compete with the global superpowers and called for a push on artificial intelligence in order to cope with the “challenge” of keeping up.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s concerns come as she pushes calls for a European Army in response to growing global instability caused by sabre-rattling superpowers.

The Brexit Party

Nigel’s new party could grow, says the Express.

THOUSANDS of Conservative members are set to defect to a new Brexit party backed by Nigel Farage.
The Brexit Party was officially recognised by the Electoral Commission today, meaning it can field candidates at elections. Former Ukip leader Mr Farage has thrown his weight behind the party, vowing to stand in the European Parliament elections in May if the UK has not left the EU by then.

The Telegraph also reports the party switch.

Thousands of Conservative members are likely to defect to a new Brexit party which was officially recognised on Friday by the electoral regulator, its backers claim.
The Electoral Commission on Friday formally recognised the Brexit Party as an official organisation which will allow it to field candidates at elections.
Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader who is supporting the party, said “the engine is running” and he stood “ready for battle” to fight the Tories and Labour if European Parliament elections are held on May 23.
Political space for a new anti-EU party has been created by the lurch to the right by the UK Independence Party.

The party could attract Conservatives, says the Mirror.

A new Brexit party backed by Nigel Farage got the go-ahead today after it was registered with the Electoral Commission.
The group, called The Brexit Party, could attract Conservative activists disillusioned with Theresa May ’s handling of EU withdrawal.
It could be thrust into the spotlight if EU departure is delayed from its scheduled date of March 29, with ex-UKIP leader Mr Farage likely to seek a return to frontline politics.

Breitbart reports he could stand again.

Britain’s Electoral Commission has officially recognised the Brexit Party as an official and legal political party in the United Kingdom, which Brexit leader Nigel Farage has said is a force to fight back against the betrayal of the 2016 referendum.
Eyeing the growing likelihood of the British government betraying the will of the British people and failing to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union — either wholly or in part — the new party will focus campaigning on making sure Britain leaves the political bloc.

The Independent says he will stand again.

A new Brexit Party has been officially recognised by the electoral regulator – and Nigel Farage has said he will stand as one of their candidates if the UK’s departure from the European Union is delayed.
The new party, which Mr Farage has put his weight behind, has been granted permission by the Electoral Commission to participate in upcoming elections.
It will be “mobilised” if Britain’s scheduled date of leaving the European Union – 29 March – is delayed by politicians.

And he could lead the new party, reports Sky News.

Nigel Farage has hinted at becoming leader of the Brexit Party after it was officially approved.
The Eurosceptic party was formally recognised by the Electoral Commission on 5 February, allowing it to field candidates at upcoming elections.
The former UKIP leader said he would stand as a candidate for the new party in May’s European Parliament elections if Brexit is delayed.
He said the party, which publicly launched on 20 January, “has my absolutely full support”.

Conservative Party

The Sun reports that the Tories could be wiped out at the locals in May.

THERESA May has been warned that the Tories face a local election wipe out if Brexit is delayed by more than a few weeks.
The ongoing deadlock with the EU has led many to expect the Article 50 exit talks will have to be extended beyond the March 29 deadline.
But local government bosses and Cabinet ministers have warned No10 as well as the Tory party’s chairman that its vote at the council polls on May 2 will be decimated if they are seen to have broken the key Brexit promise.
That gives the PM just a five week extra window to wrap up Brexit and pass all necessary new laws, and 12 weeks in total from now.

Back to Brexit and Mrs May has been warned her WA could still fail in the Commons, says the Telegraph.

Theresa May has been warned by a group of Tory MPs attempting to break the Brexit deadlock that the Northern Ireland backstop is a “monumental” issue that will not be resolved with a “few cursory tweaks”.
Three former Cabinet ministers who helped draw up a Brexit “Plan C” known as the “Malthouse compromise” say it appears the Prime Minister has “forgotten” the fact that her Brexit deal was defeated by 230 votes in the Commons last month.

ITV News also has the story.

Theresa May has been given a warning by senior Tories that the “monumental” problems with her Brexit plan cannot be solved by “cursory tweaks”.
The Prime Minister is seeking changes to the backstop measure to prevent a hard border with Ireland but was told by former Cabinet ministers that may not be enough to win support in Westminster.
The ex-ministers – Remainer Nicky Morgan and Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson – have been taking part in talks to find an alternative to the backstop following a Commons vote in favour of replacing the measure.

And the Independent warns some of May’s ministers could quit.

Theresa May is returning to Westminster facing ministerial resignations after she left talks with EU leaders over her Brexit deal empty-handed.
With another vote in the Commons due next week, a minister said colleagues on Ms May’s own front bench are ready to quit if there is no breakthrough in talks with Brussels.
She was told on Thursday by a string of EU chiefs that the controversial backstop in the withdrawal agreement was not up for negotiation – and that she should instead change her red lines to win Labour support and take the deal over the line.

Labour Party

The Morning Star claims Labour’s plan is the only one likely to be approved in Parliament.

JOHN McDONNELL pressed Theresa May today to back Labour’s five demands – as it’s “the only way she will get a Brexit deal through Parliament.”
He described Labour’s plans on Brexit, which include leader Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the PM that set out the demands, as a “traditional British compromise.”
The five demands include a permanent customs union, close alignment with the single market, alignment with EU rights and protections, commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes and agreements on the detail of future security arrangements.

The party’s anti-semitism row won’t go away, reports the Times.

Jeremy Corbyn faces a backlash from Labour’s most prominent women after his top team were accused of bullying a heavily pregnant Jewish MP.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, caused outrage after suggesting that Luciana Berger should declare her loyalty to the party to see off a no-confidence vote tabled by local members a day after she challenged Mr Corbyn over his handling of antisemitism.

The Mirror says the no-confidence motion has been shelved.

A no-confidence motion in a Jewish Labour MP was scrapped tonight after claims she was targeted for criticising Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism.
Luciana Berger, who is eight months pregnant, faced a vote of no confidence by her local constituency party in Liverpool next week.
But the plan was axed and the meeting cancelled in what sources close to the Labour leadership described as “the right decision”.

The Guardian also has the story.

A no-confidence motion in the Labour MP Luciana Berger has been withdrawn and a meeting to discuss her future has been cancelled after it emerged that one of her key opponents within the local party called her a “disruptive Zionist”.
The decision follows a heated row over the Wavertree MP’s status in the party, with critics claiming she has been disloyal to Jeremy Corbyn and her defenders pointing to persistent antisemitic abuse.

It seems activists in the Labour MP’s constituency have been criticised, says the Independent.

No confidence motions in Labour MP Luciana Berger have been withdrawn after activists in her local constituency backed down following widespread condemnation of their move.
Ms Berger, who has suffered anti-Jewish abuse and been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism, is the subject of two motions of no confidence tabled by party members in Liverpool Wavertree.
Their actions received widespread criticism and deputy leader Tom Watson, described the behaviour of the activists as “intolerable”.

Westmonster reports the Labour leader’s popularity – or lack of it.

Jeremy Corbyn’s personal approval ratings have gone through the floor. The bad news comes as he calls for a permanent EU Customs Union and ‘close alignment’ with the Single Market. That isn’t what 17.4 million voted for, Jezza.
An Ipsos Mori poll today finds that the Labour Leader has a -55 net satisfaction rating. That is astonishingly bad, with Theresa May on -25.
Just 17% of voters are now satisfied with Corbyn, and an incredible 72% of voters are dissatisfied with him. Only 44% of Labour voters are happy with him. Ouch.

Fisheries

Fishing discards have not stopped, says the Guardian.

Public backing for a ban on discarding edible fish at sea has been thwarted by the reluctance of the fishing industry and the government to put an end to the wasteful practice, the House of Lords has found.
Discards were officially banned in January, after a five-year phase-in period, but the practice appears to have continued, with the government failing to take action, said a Lords EU energy and environment subcommittee report.

Knife crime

More knife crime is reported in the Mail.

Armed police have shut down Bond Street station and arrested five people after an armed robbery on nearby Oxford Street.
A Met Police spokesperson said officers were called to the busy station after the victim of the robbery told them the men had weapons.
The suspects were arrested shortly after by armed officers inside the station who found a firearm and a knife after carrying out searches on them.

ITV News reports the rise in knife crime.

Teenagers accounted for more than 1,000 admissions to hospital with knife or sharp object wounds last year – and the number is rising, data suggests.
Figures for England show the number of hospital admissions among the age group has jumped 54% from 656 in 2012-13 to 1,012 in 2017-2018.
Admissions for knife and sharp object injuries – such as glass – including across all age groups have gone up by almost a third (30%) since 2012, from 3,849 to 4,986 last year.
The data shows people aged 20 to 29 accounted for more than 1,900 of the 4,986 cases noted in 2017-18.
Those aged 10 to 29 made up 60% of the cases.

FGM

A single Tory MP has been able to quash a bill to stop young girls being ‘cut’, says the Times

A Conservative MP was accused of “appalling” behaviour by one of his colleagues yesterday after he blocked a bill designed to protect children from female genital mutilation.
Sir Christopher Chope, who faced widespread condemnation last year for objecting to a law to ban upskirting, caused the termination of a debate on a cross-party attempt to toughen the law on FGM. As he had done before, the Tory backbencher shouted “object” when the bill was presented to the Commons for its second reading.

The MP faced criticism, reports the Mail.

Tory MP Christopher Chope was facing a fresh wave of anger today after blocking legislation protecting girls from genital mutilation.
The veteran Conservative shouted ‘object’ to prevent the progress of a Bill allowing the courts to issue protection orders if they think a child is at risk from FGM.

The MP has also voted against ‘upskirting’, reports the Guardian.

The Conservative MP Christopher Chope, who gained notoriety after he blocked a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence, has used the same parliamentary tactic to halt a planned law making it easier to protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).
The Tory backbencher shouted “object!” when the bill was presented to the Commons for its second reading.
Under Commons procedure, a series of such bills are read out at the end of business without debate, and pass to the next stage only if no MP present verbally objects. If they do, the bill has to be presented again for second reading, in this case on 15 March.

He is a ‘disgrace’ says the Mirror.

A Tory MP has been branded a “disgrace” and a “dinosaur” after holding up a law to protect young girls from Female Genital Mutilation.
Sir Christopher Chope shouted “object” to the law clearing a key hurdle without debate – the same tactic he used for a law against upskirting last year.
He was branded “appalling” by fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who had been steering the Children Act (Amendment) (FGM) Bill through the Commons, as Tory chiefs faced calls to strip him of the party whip.

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