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Brexit

Tory MPs are getting tough with the Prime Minister, says the Express.

THERESA May has been told she needs to ditch the EU talks and go for a “quick no deal”.
Tory 
Brexit MPs have warned the Prime Minister that patience is running out over the protracted negotiations with Brussels trying to exploit the Northern Ireland border to keep the UK tied to the customs union and single market.
After a series of meetings with MPs this week ahead of a summit in the Balkans, the Prime Minister has been warned that she needs to follow her own claim that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
Walking out of talks and going to World Trade Organisation rules will also save Britain £40 billion in divorce fees which the UK agreed to if the 
EU makes a final deal.

Westmonster quotes a DUP spokesman.

Theresa May should ‘dig her heels in’ and play hardball with Brussels because EU big wigs will back down, says DUP’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson.
He told The Telegraph: “When the PM has stuck her heels in, as she did in December, they changed the agreement. As she did in March, when they said they wouldn’t accept the legal agreement, they backed down.
“She should learn from that. Stand up to them. They need the deal, they will back down. Do this kind of thing where you sway with the wind you will come off worse.”

J R-M

Jacob Rees-Mogg should be the Conservatives’ next leader, says Westmonster in a column by Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham

Last Monday evening I had the pleasure of introducing Jacob Rees-Mogg at a Reignite event in London attended by around a hundred mainly students. The popularity of this event, notably that so many students would leave their revision books in the middle of exam season, has reinforced in my mind that there is only one person to succeed Theresa May as Party Leader and as Prime Minister – and that man is Jacob Rees-Mogg.
It is essential that, once the Brexit process has been completed, the Conservative Party must be led with someone who has a clear, concise view of what a post Brexit Britain should look like, has the support of both MPs and Party members and has the skills necessary to take the fight to the Labour Party.

Customs union

But Brexiteers are in for a fight over the customs union, says the Times.

Eurosceptics are preparing to fight to make sure Britain is tied to the EU’s customs union beyond the end of 2020 only on a short-term basis as it emerged that there are limits to the type of trade deals possible under the plan agreed by the cabinet this week.
Senior cabinet figures expect a series of difficult meetings of the Brexit war cabinet in the next three weeks about what kind of immigration system Britain will offer after Brexit and the level of divergence from the single market. These matters need to be settled before the European Council meeting at the end of June.

Ireland

And the Irish Taoiseach has added to the pressure, says the Mail.

The Irish premier has warned Britain must keep some ties to the single market with Brexit in order to avoid a hard border with the Republic.
Theresa May has drawn up new plans to keep the whole of the UK aligned with the EU customs union after Brexit if no deal can be done to keep a soft Irish border.
The PM is expected to unveil the new details of the ‘fallback option’ to EU leaders in a fortnight’s time.

The Independent reiterates the rejection of a border in the Irish Sea.

The Irish government does not want a border down the Irish Sea separating Great Britain from Northern Ireland, a senior lawmaker from the country’s governing party has said.
Neale Richmond, the Fine Gael senator who chairs the body’s Brexit committee, said Brexiteers had mischaracterised the country’s approach to solving the border question.
His comments come a day after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with Theresa May at a summit on Sofia, where he warned that there was a “serious” possibility of the UK quitting without a deal.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said there would likely be customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland if the so-called “backstop” of keeping NI in the customs union and single market took effect.

Breitbart also reports the Irish call.

The Irish Premier called for the UK to remain tied to the European Union’s (EU) Customs Union, as Theresa May prepares new Brexit proposals that she says will keep the bloc happy and the Irish border open.
The Prime Minister reportedly wants to keep the UK aligned to the Customs Union, and claims that being locked to many of its rules will not hinder the UK’s ability to control trade policy and strike new deals.
She is expected to unveil the new details of the “backstop” option to EU leaders in two weeks’ time, 
The Times reports.
According to the plan, the UK would collect EU tariffs during the transition period, which has been agreed to last two years.

Scotland

The Scottish first minister is also causing problems for Mrs May, says the Express.

THERESA May has slammed Nicola Sturgeon’s opposition to the Brexit Bill as she claims the SNP leader is only objecting to it so she can break up the United Kingdom and seek independence for Scotland.
Speaking at the Welsh Conservative conference, Mrs May called on all UK politicians to support her legislation if they believed in the “integrity” of Britain.
The Prime Minister criticised Nicola Sturgeon, saying: “And the only First Minister in the UK who still opposes the Withdrawal Bill is the only First Minister who wants to break up the United Kingdom – Nicola Sturgeon.

EU

On the other side of the Channel, Barnier has his own ideas, says the Telegraph.

Brussels is likely to reject Theresa May’s plan to keep Britain tied to EU customs rules beyond 2021 because it believes the backstop clause to prevent a hard Irish border can only apply to Northern Ireland and not the whole UK.
“The European commission has always understood it as applying to Northern Ireland only,” an EU source told The Telegraph, “It has always said that Northern Ireland is a unique situation”.
Brussels is now waiting for a formal offer from Mrs May in writing but is likely to point to language agreed in December’s UK-EU joint report that says any Irish border deal cannot “pre-determine” any wider agreement on the future relationship between the two sides.

But the bloc has its own problems, says Westmonster.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has told Parliament that Central and Eastern European countries are Europe’s future because of Western Europe’s failure to get to grips with mass migration.
Orbán said that countries can only run when they have long-term plans, and in his view, the economic centre of Europe was shifting to the east, as eastern economies continued to show solid signs of strong growth.
“In 1990, Europe was our future and today we are Europe’s future,” he declared.
“We are the fastest growing region of the Union.”
Migration also played a part of this, according to the Hungarian firebrand, who said that Europe had been threatened by migration and mass migration for many years.

Westmonster also reports the surge in anti-Europeanism.

The number of Italians who would vote for the Eurosceptic, anti-mass migration Lega party has surged since the election.
Lega were backed by 17% at Italy’s General Election in March, which was already a big increase in support for the party.
But now a new poll has shown the party, led by Matteo Salvini, has surged to 25% as they negotiate with the Five Star Movement over a governing agreement that looks close to completion.
That makes Lega the second most popular party, with the anti-establishment Five Star on 32%.

Could Italy be the next country to leave the EU? The Sun reports.

BRUSSELS fears Italy will be the next to quit the EU — after two anti-union parties formed a Government.
The Five Star Movement and Northern League vowed to end austerity and blitz migration.
They also demanded a review of Brussels’ spending curbs that limit budget deficits to three per cent of GDP.
Italy’s new Government also wants to renegotiate its debt — the EU’s second highest after Greece — and increase public spending.

Bercow

Back home, the Speaker of the House of Commons is still in the news, reports the Telegraph.

John Bercow allegedly accused Andrea Leadsom of being a liar in the Commons after she confronted him over claims he had described her as a “stupid woman”.
On Wednesday Mr Brecow allegedly described Mrs Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, as a “stupid woman” and muttered that she was “f —— useless”.
The Telegraph has learned that Mrs Leadsom returned to the Chamber on Wednesday afternoon after being told by MPs about the alleged comments by Mr Bercow.
In an exchange overhead by MPs, she confronted Mr Bercow over his alleged comments and asked him for an explanation.
He allegedly responded by calling her a liar.

And there may now be an investigation, says the Times.

Theresa May has intensified pressure on John Bercow by calling for an investigation into claims that he called a female minister a “stupid woman”.
The Speaker of the House of Commons was accused of having made the disparaging remark about Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, under his breath in the chamber on Wednesday. He was also reportedly overheard calling her “f***ing useless”.
The prime minister’s official spokeswoman said: “We have seen the alleged remarks. Clearly they are unacceptable. If there is an official complaint made it should be properly investigated.”

The Independent reports on the pressure on Bercow.

Theresa May has heaped pressure on speaker John Bercow following accusations that he referred to a female cabinet minister as a “stupid woman” in the Commons.
The prime minister’s official spokeswoman told reporters Ms May believes that if the words had been used, they are “unacceptable” and should be investigated.
The remark allegedly came after a debate on Wednesday, when Mr Bercow is said to have berated cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom.
It also comes after an inquiry was blocked by MPs, in the wake of other allegations that Mr Bercow bullied two former staff members from the Speaker’s Office.

The Mirror claims his words were ‘unacceptable’.

Theresa May yesterday piled pressure on Commons Speaker John Bercow as she blasted his “unacceptable” comments to senior minister Andrea Leadsom.
He was claimed to have muttered that she was a “stupid woman” and “f****** useless”.
The PM’s spokeswoman said: “We have seen the alleged remarks and clearly the Prime Minister thinks they are unacceptable and if an official complaint is made it should properly investigated.”
Asked if Mrs May had full confidence in the Speaker, she added: “The Speaker is elected by MPs so questions of confidence are for Parliament.”

Sky News also has the story.

Theresa May regards an alleged verbal attack on a senior minister by the speaker as “unacceptable”, Downing Street has said.
John Bercow is reported to have called Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom a “stupid woman” after launching a tirade against the government in the Commons on Wednesday.
A Number 10 spokeswoman said Downing Street was aware of the alleged remarks, adding: “Clearly the prime minister thinks they are unacceptable. If an official complaint is made it should be properly investigated.”
Sources close to Ms Leadsom have told Sky News she will not be making a formal complaint as she is “entirely focused on getting the bullying and harassment processes up and running”.

House of Lords

Looks like the PM has started to appoint more peers, says the Independent.

Theresa May has been accused of “hypocrisy” after appointing nine new Conservative peers to the House of Lords, including several ex-ministers, despite vowing to end the practice.
The prime minister sent six former MPs – three of whom sat in the cabinet – to the upper chamber, which flies in the face of her claims that senior politicians should not expect automatic ennoblement.
Announcing the appointments on the eve of the royal wedding was branded “frankly pathetic” by critics, who called the prime minister “cynical” for seeking to sneak out the news when it would receive little attention.
Controversial appointments on the Labour side  include Martha Osamor, who has been embroiled in the party’s antisemitism scandal, and also the DUP’s William McCrea, a Presbyterian minister who once called for airstrikes on the Republic of Ireland.

Sky News goes into detail.

Nine Conservatives are among 13 new peers appointed to the House of Lords in a move some have described as an attempt to boost the Government’s support for Brexit.
It comes after 15 recent defeats in the Lords over the Brexit withdrawal bill.
Among the life peerages are the former secretary of state for social security and vocal Leave campaigner, Peter Lilley, former communities secretary, Sir Eric Pickles and former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie.
Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords, Dick Newby, said“This is a cynical response from Theresa May to losing a string of votes in the Lords in recent weeks, and is a desperate bid to quell opposition to the Conservatives’ reckless Brexit.

The Guardian points out the timing of the announcement.

Theresa May has on the eve of the royal wedding nominated nine new Tory peers, including the former cabinet ministers Sir Eric Pickles and Peter Lilley and handed one to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist party as she tries to bolster her party’s fragile position in the House of Lords.
Four other former Tory MPs are to be elevated to a chamber which has defied May’s government on 15 occasions over Brexit, in an afternoon announcement that has prompted accusations that No 10 was trying to use Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding to bury the news.
The full list of Tories includes Sir Edward Garnier, Sir John Randall, Sir Alan Haselhurst and Andrew Tyrie, all former MPs. May’s other nominees are Diana Barran, Catherine Meyer, the founder of Action Against Abduction who is married to former US ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, and Amanda Sater, a former party deputy chair.

BBC News claims it’s an attempt to get her policies through the House.

Downing Street has nominated nine new Conservative peers, including a number of former ministers, to sit in the House of Lords.
Among those put forward for a peerage are former communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles and former trade and industry secretary Peter Lilley.
The move follows a series of government defeats in the Lords, where Theresa May does not have a majority, over Brexit.
The Democratic Unionists will get one new peer while Labour will get three.
The Lib Dems, which have more than 100 peers in the unelected chamber, said it was a “desperate bid” by Theresa May to quell opposition to her Brexit policy.

Huffington Post points out that the Labour leader has also made nominations.

Theresa May has appointed nine new Conservative members of the House of Lords and handed another peerage to her DUP allies.
Jeremy Corbyn has also given seats in the Lords to former Labour general secretary Iain McNicol and veteran anti-racism campaigner Martha Osamor.
With 244 members of the Lords, the Conservatives Party has the most peers.
However the government does not have a majority in the 780 member chamber and has suffered a series of damaging defeats on its Brexit legislation over the past few weeks.

Immigration

In other news, Westmonster claims its easy to get a passport.

The BBC has produced an interesting report showing just how easy it is for migrants wanting to come to Europe illegally to obtain valid passports and identity cards.
A pair of reporters, posing as a Syrian couple, posted on several Facebook groups – some of which have over 5,000 active members, saying they were looking to buy illegal documentation to travel within the EU.

Within hours, the reporters had received almost a dozen responses with people offering to supply them with documents and travel papers. The fake couple then met with a broker in Istanbul who told them he had genuine passports, which he had purchased from refugees who had obtained them and subsequently left Europe.

Cancer

It seems cancer could be treated with a combination of two widely available medications, says the Sun.

CANCER patients could stop it spreading by taking Viagra and having the flu jab, a study suggests.
The unusual mix slashed the disease’s escalation in mice by 91 per cent, researchers found.
It appeared to boost the immune system’s ability to mop up cancerous cells left behind after surgery to remove a tumour.
Tests found mice which only had surgery were left with 129 cancerous spreads.
But those that received Viagra and the flu jab Agriflu had just 11.

Train travel

Timetable changes are not being welcomed by passengers, says the Times.

Thousands of rail passengers risk being stranded in the biggest shake-up of train timetables in decades.
Passenger groups warned that some departure times would be altered by up to half an hour while other stations would lose services altogether during the overhaul of 100,000 rail services over the course of a week.
The changes, introduced from tomorrow, follow a number of major track upgrades and the introduction of hundreds of faster trains on to the network.

And the Mail claims disabled passengers may not be helped by staff.

Southern Rail’s parent company has been slammed for advising staff not to help disabled people on and off trains if it risks making them late.
A staff booklet issued by Govia Thameslink Railway instructs workers: ‘Do not attempt to place people of reduced mobility on a train if there is a possibility of delaying the service’.
It has sparked fury among rail union bosses who have branded it an ‘insult to disabled people’.

Crime

The Times reports ‘computer says no’.

Tens of thousands of victims of online fraud are having their cases dismissed by a computer algorithm, as police officers refuse to guarantee that a human being will investigate thefts of less than £100,000.
Figures obtained by The Times suggest that more than half of cases reported to the UK’s national reporting centre for online crime are deemed not worthy of further investigation by an “automated scoring matrix”.
The algorithm assesses factors such as whether bank details of scammers have been provided. Only crimes with a value of £100,000 are automatically passed to human investigators, who then decide whether the case should go to the local police.

Police cuts HAVE led to an increase in crime, says the Times.

The nation’s most senior police officer has said she is certain that government cuts to the force budgets have played a role in the soaring level of violent crime in the UK.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said for the first time since taking office that cuts made during the prime minister’s tenure as home secretary had played a role in the rising levels of murder, knife and gun crime on Britain’s streets.
Ms Dick has been granted an extra £110 million, which she said she intends to plough into a recruitment drive that should bring in at least 500 extra officers.

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