Brexit

Threats, blackmail – call it what you will but the Prime Minister is giving her MPs an ultimatum for next week.  The Express reports:

THERESA May has warned MPs unless they vote for her Brexit deal, the UK may “never leave” the European Union.
The Prime Minister travelled to the northern fishing town of Grimsby to deliver a speech ahead of the Brexit vote next Tuesday. Speaking to workers in the town, she said: “Next week MPs in Westminster face a crucial choice: whether to back the Brexit deal or to reject it. Back it and the UK will leave the European Union. Reject it and no one knows what will happen.
“We may not leave the EU for many months, we may leave without the protections that the deal provides. We may never leave at all.”
“I’m ready to take us out of the EU with a deal that is good for the UK, ready to implement the decision of voters here in Grimsby and across the UK.
“And ready to make a success of a new chapter for our country – but I can only do that if Parliament supports the deal on Tuesday.”

Sky News also reports the warnings.

Theresa May has warned MPs that Brexit may not happen at all if they reject her deal.
With three weeks until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, the prime minister urged parliament to back her on Brexit and “get it done”.
Otherwise, she said “no one knows” what will happen in the aftermath of the Commons voting against her withdrawal agreement for a second time on Tuesday.

The Mirror claims there could be a constitutional crisis.

Theresa May has declared there will be a “crisis” if her Brexit deal is voted down in a shameless speech with just 21 days to go.
In a defiant speech in Leave-backing Grimsby, the Prime Minister today demanded MPs back her deal – 52 days after it suffered a record defeat.
She made barely any mention of the so-called compromises she had promised to wrestle from the EU.

The Telegraph also warns that there could be a constitutional crisis.

Ministers have been warned that MPs supporting an amendment to delay Brexit could “politicise the monarchy” and lead to a “full blown constitutional crisis” causing the Government to “lose its ability to govern” according to leaked documents seen by the Telegraph.
The explosive memo advising the cabinet as Theresa May battles to win Tuesday’s second meaningful vote – warns that supporting any amendment re-tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tories Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles could pave the way for a bill to change the day of our EU exit and bind the Government into a permanent customs union.

The Independent reports that the outcome is not clear.

Theresa May has warned that if MPs reject her Brexit deal next week “no one knows what will happen” and that the UK may never leave the EU at all.
The prime minister told those preparing to take a decision on her deal in the House of Commons that they should move “past the bitterness” of the debate and back it so the country can more on.
But she also had a pointed message for the EU, demanding it give more ground so a compromise in deadlocked talks can be found, telling Brussels “let’s get it done”.

There were no new concessions, reports the Guardian.

Theresa May has urged parliament to “get it done” and back her Brexit deal, in an impassioned speech that offered no new concessions for wavering MPs before next week’s crucial vote.
Speaking at a dockside warehouse in the pro-leave town of Grimsby, May repeatedly declined to accept any personal responsibility for the ongoing uncertainty or give any clues as to what she would do if the vote was lost.

The Mail reports the ‘Tory toff’s comments that Brexiteers can still win the argument.

Jacob Rees-Mogg urged the Tories to be more right wing today as he urged Brexiteers to hold ‘steady’ and wait for a better Brexit deal.
The ringleader of the hardline Tory rebels also said the party should remain a ‘broad church’ that includes Remain supporters.
He even admitted he had never been to chicken restaurant Nandos – but the 49-year-old said he did wish he had been a ‘younger’ father to his six children.
Ahead of Tuesday’s re-run vote on the Brexit deal, Mr Rees-Mogg told the Telegraph: ‘Steady, boys, steady.’

EU

But whose fault is it?  The Express reports the ‘blame game’.

A FURIOUS blame game erupted as the EU dusted down proposals that Britain has already rejected when Theresa May appealed for help to save her Brexit deal.
The Prime Minister issued a bleak warning that the UK may never leave the bloc if her exit plan is rejected next week. She warned MPs plotting to reject the withdrawal agreement again that Brexit belongs to the country, not them. Mrs May told Eurocrats it “needs just one more push” to secure the changes needed to get the deal over the line and keep Britain’s departure on March 29 on track.

The Independent reports the PM is getting desperate.

Theresa May pleaded with her EU counterparts to give ground in a key speech just days before MPs vote on her Brexit deal.
Speaking in Grimsby on Friday, the prime minister said “no one knows” what will happen if her plan is rejected, warning Brexiteers: “We may never leave at all”.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier reacted to Ms May’s speech in a series of tweets. He said the UK would have the unilateral right to leave the customs union, but also made clear Northern Ireland would have to stay inside it.

BBC News reports the Brexit secretary’s comments.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has accused the EU’s chief negotiator of trying “to rerun old arguments”, as talks continue between the UK and EU.
Michel Barnier said Great Britain would be free to leave the proposed single customs territory, designed to avoid physical border on the Irish border.
But the government and the DUP have rejected this because Northern Ireland would have to remain within it.

The Independent says the two sides have ‘locked horns’.

Britain and the EU have publicly locked horns, with the government accusing Brussels of trying to “rerun old arguments” as clock ticks down to find a compromise deal during Brexit talks.
In an extraordinary exchange on social media, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay demanded the EU agree to “balanced proposals” instead of going over old ground.
Just two hours earlier, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier indicated that if the UK did not like the deal on the table, it could accept an alternative already outright rejected by Theresa May earlier in the negotiating process.

And the Telegraph claims the two sides don’t trust each other.

Theresa May’s hopes of a last-minute Brexit breakthrough appear doomed after a “total breakdown of trust” between London and Brussels.
A speech by Mrs May aimed at pushing the EU into giving ground backfired spectacularly as Brussels accused her of playing a “blame game”.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, responded to the speech with the unprecedented step of tweeting details of the EU’s current offer, which exposed just how badly talks have gone over the past week.

Ireland

The DUP are not having any of it, reports the Mail.

The DUP slapped down Michel Barnier’s apparent Brexit offer tonight warning it would effectively carve up the United Kingdom.
The Northern Ireland party – which props up Theresa May in No 10 – is a crucial power broker in Tuesday’s crunch vote on the deal.
It said Mr Barnier’s offer tonight that Britain could unilaterally exit only parts of the Irish border backstop failed to ‘respect’ the UK constitution because it would place a border down the Irish Sea.

‘Meaningful vote’

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports the prospect of a further defeat for Mrs May in the House of Commons.

Theresa May appears set for a second humiliating defeat when she brings her Brexit deal back to parliament next week, after the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, rebuffed her pleas for last-minute concessions.
The prime minister urged MPs to “get it done” and back her deal, in an impassioned speech at a dockside warehouse in the leave-voting town of Grimsby.
A vote against the deal would mean “not completing Brexit and getting on with all the other important issues people care about, just yet more months and years arguing”, May told MPs. “If we go down that road we might never leave the EU at all.”

The Sun speculates on what could follow next week’s votes.

THERESA May will be forced to grant MPs a vote on a raft of soft Brexit options if her deal collapses on Tuesday, The Sun can reveal.
She has already been forced to let MPs vote on extending Brexit next week if MPs vote down the Withdrawal Agreement.
Tory Remainer rebels are now threatening to table an amendment to that extension vote that would bind the Government into holding ‘indicative votes’ on a range of options in a bid to find one that gains a Commons majority, Sun columnist James Forsyth reveals in his column today.
That would inevitably soften the final Brexit deal given Parliament’s pro-Remain bias.

EU

The Mirror reports on the bloc’s latest offer.

EU chief Michel Barnier tonight unveiled an ‘offer’ to the UK on Brexit just four days before a crucial vote.
The Brussels chief negotiator took the unprecedented step of publicly tweeting his plan for a compromise on the Irish backstop.
Theresa May has for weeks being trying to rework the backstop – a clause in the 585-page Brexit deal that could trap the UK under EU customs rules.
She wanted either a way to quit the backstop, a time limit, or “alternative arrangements” to replace it.

The Sun reports the suggestions could break up the UK.

BRUSSELS today revealed their plan to fix the Brexit deal – with a proposal which could break up the UK.
Eurocrat Michel Barnier tabled an offer that would allow Britain to quit the customs union rather than being trapped in the backstop.
But the plan would see Northern Ireland staying tied to the EU – effectively creating a border inside the United Kingdom.
The offer is almost identical to a proposal which was rejected by Theresa May months ago.

And the Irish prime minister is talking tough in the Independent.

Ireland’s prime minister has turned the tables on Theresa May in Brexit talks, warning that she should in fact be making concessions to the EU if she wants changes to the agreement.
Leo Varadkar on Friday said talks were actually “a question of what they are willing to offer us” as Ms May urged concessions from the bloc. He said the UK had made no offer and should change its approach.
Ms May has been unable to get the deal she negotiated through parliament because of concerns about it from all sides.

Labour Party

The official opposition party is in disarray over a second referendum, reports the Telegraph.

Jeremy Corbyn faces a rebellion in his shadow cabinet as 10 frontbenchers have warned they could quit if Labour backs plans for a second referendum.
The group of shadow ministers, who largely represent Leave-supporting seats, have expressed concerns over the party’s recent shift in policy, a senior source told the Daily Telegraph.
Labour plans to whip its MPs to back an amendment by Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which would help pass Theresa May’s deal through the Commons only if the country is then allowed to vote on it in a referendum.

The Guardian reports the party’s deputy leader’s new party-within-a-party.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, is promising to “ensure all voices within the party feel they are being heard”, as he convenes a new centre-left grouping of MPs, widely regarded at Westminster as a rival power base to Jeremy Corbyn’s.
Watson has made a series of pointed public interventions since a group of seven MPs announced that they were leaving the Labour party to form the breakaway Independent Group (TIG).

The Times reports the suspension of a local candidate over anti-semitism comments.

Labour has suspended one of its most senior candidates in May’s local elections after he claimed that “Nazism and Zionism are equally foul”.
The Labour councillor, a fireman and former soldier, also reposted content suggesting that Israel should be “relocated into the United States” — the same comments that led to the suspension of the Labour MP Naz Shah in 2016.
Sean McCallum, who was selected last week as the party’s candidate to be the elected mayor of Mansfield, posted the remark about Nazism on his personal Facebook page after Ken Livingstone’s suspension in 2016.

The Guardian reports a claim that other matters are more important to the party than Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn has downplayed the Brexit crisis by claiming that poverty and climate change are far greater priorities for Labour and the country.
Addressing Scottish Labour’s annual conference, Corbyn said his party was not “obsessed by constitutional questions, like the others are. We’re obsessed, absolutely obsessed, with tackling the problems people face in their daily lives”.
In an apparent effort to shift the focus away from his party’s deep divisions over Brexit, Corbyn said the UK’s greatest challenge was global warming.

Calais

There’s still chaos at the Channel ports, reports the Mail.

Chaos is set to hit Eurostar customers travelling from France today as the service is set to experience delays of up to two hours as French customs officials continue to strike.
As it enters its third day of delays, the company this morning said it would be experiencing delays on departures from Paris Gare du Nord today due to industrial action by French Customs, meaning that bag checks would be taking longer than usual.

Social media

In other news, the Telegraph reports that social media companies will be forced into more responsibility.

Social media firms will be placed under a new statutory duty of care, and will be fined, prosecuted or could even be barred from operating in the UK if they fail to protect their users from online harms, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
The Government will create a new independent regulator to enforce the duty of care with far-reaching powers to require firms to take down illegal or harmful material under new legally-binding codes.

FGM

There has been a prosecution for FGM, reports the Mail.

A Ugandan woman who became the first person in Britain to be convicted of FGM after performing ‘barbaric’ home surgery on her three-year-old daughter has been was jailed for 13 years.
A 37-year-old mother was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter despite deploying witchcraft to ‘shut up’ her accusers.
Mrs Justice Whipple told the mother she had ‘betrayed’ her daughter’s trust and left her with a ‘life long burden’. The judge branded FGM a ‘barbaric practice’.

ITV News claims the woman is the first to be convicted.

A mother has been jailed after becoming the first person to be convicted of “barbaric” female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK.
The 37-year-old Ugandan woman was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter despite deploying witchcraft to “shut up” her accusers.
Her former partner, a 43-year-old Ghanaian, was cleared of involvement in the offence in August 2017.

Breitbart also has the story.

A Ugandan origin woman living in Britain has been jailed for 11 years after her conviction under Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) laws.
The 37-year-old woman became only the first person to be convicted under the UK’s anti-FGM laws in February, despite the nation seeing tens of thousands of cases of this kind of abuse, and the laws having been on the statute books for 34 years.

Education

Do schools have enough money to operate?  The Times reports problems.

A head teacher has spoken of the toll funding cuts have taken on her school, revealing that she cleans the toilets and serves as a dinner lady.
Siobhan Lowe, the head of Tolworth Girls’ School in south London, said that the curriculum has been reduced and pastoral care been badly affected.
“I’ve personally cleaned the school, washed the toilets, as a headteacher. My girls look at me and feel so sorry for me they actually pick up the Hoover and do it with me. I’ve cleaned doors, I’ve served in the school canteen,” she said.

Universities are receiving advice on free speech, says the Times.

A court has ordered ministers to tone down guidance on banning radical speakers, causing fears that extremists could be free to speak at universities.
Salman Butt, a writer that the Home Office has designated a “non-violent extremist”, won a decision in the Court of Appeal in London yesterday that the home secretary had breached his duty to balance freedom of expression against the need to prevent students being drawn into terrorism.

Motoring

Parking charges could soar, reports the Mail.

Town halls are set to pocket a record £1billion profit from parking fees over the next year.
Motorists face increases of up to 230 per cent from next month, an audit reveals today.
As well as charging more for town car parks, many councils are raising the cost of residential permits.
Shoppers and churchgoers will be hit by the end of cheaper Sunday parking in some areas.

And older drivers may not be very good at it, says the Times.

The number of older drivers banned from the road on medical grounds has increased by almost 150 per cent in a decade, prompting calls for an overhaul of licensing regulations.
Figures obtained by The Times show that almost 22,500 over-70s had their licences revoked last year for failing to meet medical standards.
The rise in medical bans for older motorists has outstripped the total for other age groups over nine years.

Computer security

The Mail reports a potential computer hacking problem

Google‘s lead security engineer has warned users to update Chrome immediately or risk having their system hijacked.
A security breach was uncovered by hackers on the desktop version of Chrome before the company had chance to spot the flaw.
The exploit relates to a part of Chrome called FileReader, which lets software built into websites access data stored on a user’s computer.
Google has not released any further details on the bug, to avoid giving copycats information on how to find a workaround to their fix.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email