Project Fear

Threats that the Queen could be evacuated in the event of no deal is examined in the Mail.

The Queen has been dragged into an extraordinary ‘Project Fear’ row after it emerged that civil servants have drawn up plans to evacuate the Royal Family if a No Deal Brexit causes riots on the streets of London.
The Mail on Sunday has learned that Whitehall contingency planners have included among their ‘worst case’ scenarios the need to move the Royals to safe locations away from the capital.
Officials in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, the Government department responsible for emergency planning, have ‘repurposed’ a secret operation under which the Royals could have been accommodated in various country houses to protect them from enemy forces during the Cold War.

The Times also has the story.

The Queen and other senior royals will be evacuated from London in the event of riots triggered by a no-deal Brexit, under secret plans being drawn up by Whitehall.
Emergency proposals to rescue the royal family during the Cold War have been “repurposed” in recent weeks, as the risk continues to rise of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal before next month’s deadline.
The plans, which were originally intended to be put into action in the event of a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union, would see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh moved out of London to a secret location, which The Sunday Times has agreed not to disclose.

And the Mirror claims the plan will be carried out if there are riots.

CIVIL servants have reportedly drawn up plans to evacuate the royal family from London to top secret locations if a No Deal Brexit sparks riots.
Whitehall jobsworths have been accused of taking Project Fear to extraordinary new heights after the alleged plot to ship the Queen and other royals out of the capital emerged.

EU

The Times claims the PM has been told not to travel to Europe unless she has new ideas.

The BBC appeared to bill it as a daring mission to Brussels, with its accidental footage of Spitfires roaring through the sky.
In the end, however, Theresa May had no need for aircraft of any kind last week after Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, told her there was no point coming without a specific proposal.

The Express claims our money has been handed over to the mafia by the EU.

MAFIA dons have raked in £2.6 billion of EU funds over the past decade – cash which was meant to benefit sheep farmers and communities in a national park – it has been claimed.
Giuseppe Antoci, the former director of the protected Nebrodi National Park who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by the mafia in 2016, said outlaws are brazenly stealing the bloc’s money meant for local people. Mr Antoci, who endured years of threats from criminal clans when he headed the area of wilderness, says Cosa Nostra families scare farmers away from bidding to lease out land from the state.

It seems other EU countries are watching Brexit closely, says the Express.

EUROSCEPTICS across the bloc are watching to see how Brexit plays out to calculate their own exit strategy.
Parties such as the Sweden Democrats, Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Finland’s Blue Reform party are first concentrating on winning big in the European elections to infiltrate Brussels with eurosceptics in a bid to change the EU from the inside. The Sweden Democrats this week dropped their plans to hold a referendum on Sweden’s membership of the EU until after Brexit.

And Breitbart takes a look under the European Parliament building.

If you want to understand almost everything that is wrong with the world right now a good place to start is the underground car park beneath the European Parliament building in Brussels.
There you will find rank on rank of shiny black limousines — Mercedes and Volvos, mostly hybrids because “climate change” — waiting with their polite, smartly dressed and no doubt well remunerated staff drivers to ferry the 751 Members of the European Parliament [MEPs] wheresoever they please at a moment’s notice, free of charge.

The Express claims the bloc is about to crumble.

BRUSSELS will offer a “substantial concession” to ensure a Brexit deal with the UK after the crucial vote on February 14, Euro insiders said last night – as long as Theresa May survives and holds her nerve.
With EU elections looming, any counter-offer would have to be substantial enough to avoid any more “back and forth”, allowing members states to focus on their number one concern: immigration. The favourite option today is to support a recent Polish compromise of placing a time limit – possibly five years – on the Irish backstop, it was claimed.

Customs union

It seems the customs union is not dead yet, reports the Express.

GOVERNMENT officials have begun “serious work” on remaining in the customs union in a bid to salvage Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement on the eleventh hour, according to a source.
Whitehall is warming up to the possibility of remaining within the EU’s customs union after Brexit, the Whitehall source claims. This U-turn comes amid widespread beliefs among high-ranking officials that accepting a customs union could be the only way to strike a compromise with the Labour Party and gather a majority in Parliament for Mrs May’s deal.

Irish backstop

The Telegraph claims an exclusive in its column by the PM.

Theresa May has invoked the support of Jeremy Corbyn to insist the EU must offer concessions on her Brexit deal, as she pledges to “battle for Britain” when she travels to Brussels to re-open negotiations.
Writing in The Telegraph, Mrs May states that although the Labour leader refused to support her in the Commons last week, he also believes that the controversial Irish backstop “needs to be addressed with Brussels”.
Mrs May suggests that she will seek either an “alternative” to the backstop, or a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism to prevent the UK from being trapped in EU’s structures indefinitely – both of which have already been publicly rejected by Brussels.

The Express says the column’s wording invokes the spirit of Churchill.

THERESA May has pledged to “battle for Britain in Brussels” after invoking the support of Jeremy Corbyn in the latest bid to get concessions on her Brexit deal from the EU.
Although the Labour leader refused to support Mrs May in the Commons last week, he also believes the “indefinite nature” of the Irish backstop is an issue that needs to be discussed in Brussels. Mrs May said she will seek “alternative arrangements” to the contentious Irish backstop or a time limit or unilateral mechanism which will stop the UK being stuck in the EU’s guidelines, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

And the Mail claims the Labour leader agrees with her.

Theresa May says Jeremy Corbyn agrees with her that the controversial Irish border backstop as set out in her Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union has to change.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, she said she will be ‘battling for Britain’ when she returns to Brussels to seek a ‘pragmatic’ Brexit deal that can win over both the European Union and her own MPs.

Tory MP Daniel Hannan also writes in the Telegraph.

On Wednesday, MEPs held a Two Minutes Hate against Britain. It wasn’t called that, obviously. Its official title was “The UK’s Withdrawal from the EU (debate)”. But it resembled the “hideous ecstasy of vindictiveness” described by George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four far more than it resembled a parliamentary debate.
Journalists focused on the relatively restrained assertions by Michel Barnier, Jean-Claude Juncker and the other bigwigs that the backstop was non-negotiable and Britain should do as it was told. But the rank-and-file MEPs who spoke afterwards felt less need to be diplomatic. Guy Verhofstadt, the Liberal leader, warned us, “you gonna pay the price!”

Second referendum

The PM is still ruling out another vote, says the Sun.

THERESA May sent a defiant message to Brexit-wrecker MPs last night and vowed they will never force a second referendum.
The PM said any hope of delaying Britain’s EU departure were dealt a knock-out blow in last week’s Commons vote – and Remoaners should now throw in the towel.
In a fresh call for national unity, she urged MPs on all sides of the debate to bury their differences and help deliver the best possible Brexit.

Despite that, some calling for a ‘People’s vote’ are still shouting says the Guardian.

Proponents of a second EU referendum are urgently trying to fight back against the impression that the plan might be doomed after a series of setbacks, arguing that it will gain renewed support as other options fall away.
A proposed cross-party amendment to Theresa May’s Brexit plan calling for a “people’s vote” was ditched due to limited support days before Tuesday’s Commons votes. MPs then dismissed other amendments aimed at giving the Commons more control over the process.

Labour Party

The Guardian reports that a new political central party could be born from the Labour Party soon.

A group of disaffected Labour MPs is preparing to quit the party and form a breakaway movement on the political centre ground amid growing discontent with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership on Brexit and other key issues including immigration, foreign policy and antisemitism.
The Observer has been told by multiple sources that at least six MPs have been drawing up plans to resign the whip and leave the party soon. There have also been discussions involving senior figures about a potentially far larger group splitting off at some point after Brexit.

The Sun says some Labour MPs are unhappy with the leadership.

A GROUP of Labour MPs unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership are preparing to dump the left-wing party and form their own movement, according to reports.
The disaffected rebels are said to be unhappy with the party’s stance on Brexit as well as other key issues such as immigration and foreign policy as well as the party’s issues over antisemitism.

Elsewhere in Brexit news, the Guardian reports the shadow chancellor has criticised the government.

John McDonnell has criticised Theresa May’s rumoured approach to persuading Labour MPs to vote for her Brexit deal as “pork-barrel” politics, saying: “If there is money there to spend on our constituencies, it should be done anyway.”
The shadow chancellor’s accusation follows reports that the government is preparing to plough extra funding into deprived areas that supported leave, with the Nottinghamshire MP John Mann claiming that a set of job-creation measures targeted at former industrial towns would make it “very difficult for Labour MPs in leave areas to vote against the deal unless they want a second referendum”.

Conservative Party

The Guardian opines that the Tories will pay heavily at the polls if the UK ends up with WTO rules.

Voters will be right to turn on the Conservative party should it allow Britain to crash out of the European Union without a deal, one of Theresa May’s ministers has warned.
With concerns rising about a no-deal Brexit across Whitehall and inside the cabinet, Richard Harrington, a business minister, said that such an outcome would turn “a crisis into a catastrophe”, with manufacturers already stockpiling at the fastest rate since records began in the early 1990s.

GE

The Mail claims there could be yet another General Election this year.

Britain could go to the polls on the anniversary of D-Day as Downing Street considers plans to cement Theresa May in power.
No 10 strategists have discussed a scenario under which the Prime Minister would delay the Article 50 Brexit process beyond the end of March, win Commons support for her deal in April – and then go to the country in the following weeks on the back of her success.
The first Thursday in June – the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the Nazis – is one option on the table.

Sky News also has the story.

Theresa May could be planning for a general election in June, according to reports, as the prime minister promised to “battle for Britain” during talks with Brussels.
Downing Street advisers are understood to have drawn up plans to extend Article 50 – the clause which triggered the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, then secure the backing of parliament for a new Brexit deal in April before calling a general election in June this year.

The PM’s officials are urging her to make the call, says the Times.

Britain’s top civil servant is lobbying Theresa May to call a general election in June to seal her authority if she secures a final Brexit deal.
Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, has been contacting permanent secretaries at Whitehall departments telling them to prepare for an election. Senior sources even claim that he thinks a June poll could ensure that May remains in office for five years.

And the Guardian claims the Tories are well ahead in the polls.

The Conservatives have recorded their biggest lead since the last general election after support for Labour slumped by six points, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.
Theresa May’s party recorded a seven-point lead over Labour  in the poll, its biggest since the disastrous election campaign that left her without a majority and relying on the support of Northern Irish DUP MPs.
Labour’s support fell from 40% in the last poll to 34%, while Tory support went up from 37% to 41%.

Westmonster says it’s because of the PM’s handling of Brexit.

The Conservative Party have surged to a 7-point lead following a week in Parliament that saw Conservative MPs push for changes to an EU deal whilst the likes of Labour MP Yvette Cooper sought to stop a No Deal Brexit. The actions of hardline Remainers MPs this week hasn’t gone down well with the public.
Opinium tonight have the Tories on 41%, compared to 34% for Labour. 226 Labour MPs voted to delay Brexit if the government hadn’t negotiated a deal by late February which would have crippled the UK’s hand in negotiations, unable to walk away.

And the Express claims Labour support has crashed.

JEREMY CORBYN’s Labour Party has seen its support crash by six points in the polls as Theresa May enjoys a Brexit bounce and surged to a seven-point lead.
Labour slumped from 40 per cent to 34 per cent in the past fortnight, a survey survey by Opinium for the Observer shows. Mrs May’s Conservative Party stormed ahead of the main opposition party, surging from 37 per cent to 41 per cent to lead the polls.

Labour has money to spend, says the Independent.

Labour has set aside a war chest to fund a snap general election and shadow cabinet ministers are meeting with civil service chiefs in preparation for a potential Jeremy Corbyn  government, Diane Abbott has told The Independent.
The remarks from the shadow home secretary – a close ally and friend of the Labour leader – come amid speculation in Westminster that an election could be forced, or even called by Theresa May in an effort to break the deadlock over Brexit in the House of Commons.

Reuters reports No. 10’s denial of the report.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office denied a report in the Mail on Sunday newspaper that the prime minister’s advisors were considering scheduling a national election for June 6.
“It’s 100 percent untrue,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said about the article, which reported that May’s advisors were considering a June 6 election under a scenario in which Brexit was delayed past March 29 but May subsequently won parliament’s backing for a withdrawal deal in April.

NHS

Plans to prescribe medicinal cannabis haven’t worked, says the Times.

Patient campaigners say last year’s highly publicised legalisation of medicinal cannabis has backfired — with new private clinics for those who can pay, but the NHS refusing to prescribe even non-psychoactive variants of the drug.
The reform was announced in October by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, who said he had been “moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children”. Yet among those driven to go private by NHS resistance to prescribing medicinal cannabis are the family of Alfie Brocklebank, 2, who lost his speech, took to banging his head against walls and became “inconsolable” on conventional medicines to treat his epilepsy, according to his mother, Ellen.

The service has re-employed thousands of staff who were made redundant, says the Mail.

Almost a quarter of NHS workers made redundant over the past decade have been rehired by the Health Service.
Shocking new figures reveal that 35,827 staff have received pay-offs worth a staggering total of £1.99 billion since 2010, but 8,192 people have been taken back on.
It means the NHS may have paid £500 million in redundancy pay- offs to people who simply rejoined the service. The figure is enough to fund the salaries of more than 20,000 nurses for a year.

And it seems the long wait for GP appointments continues, reports the Sun.

FIVE million patients are waiting more than two weeks for an appointment to see their doctor, we can reveal.
Huge pressure on surgeries reveal around one in ten patients can’t get seen by a GP for a fortnight.
Booking records for 1.5 million patients also reveal that they had to wait more than 28 days to see a doctor.

Arms race

Russia and the US could be in line for a new arms race, says the Times.

Russia has vowed to develop a new range of missiles — including a hypersonic weapon able to travel at five times the speed of sound — after announcing yesterday that it was following America and pulling out of an arms treaty signed in 1987 in the dying days of the Cold War.
“We will come up with a tit-for-tat response,” declared President Vladimir Putin.
“Our American partners have announced the suspension of their participation in the treaty, so we will suspend as well.”

Gold

Thar’s gold in them thar hills, according to the Times.

Wedding rings could be made of UK gold after a major find in the hills of Northern Ireland, which could also generate one of the nation’s biggest environmental battles for many years.
The gold mine, potentially the UK’s biggest, would extract millions of tons of gold ore from the Sperrin Mountains, a range renowned for its beauty, and then dump the waste on the slopes to create a huge spoil heap.

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