Brexit

Brexit minister Davis has said we could never leave the EU, says the Express.

DAVID Davis has let slip that he thinks there could be a “no Brexit” despite Theresa May’s New Year message insisting the UK’s divorce “is crucial”, it has been revealed.
Speaking to members of a think tank at Whitehall, the Brexit Secretary admitted the democratic vote to leave the EU could be ignored.
He said: “My view is that it means there is less chance of a no deal — and less chance of no Brexit.”
The PM used her official New Year message to restate her determination to deliver Brexit.
She said she would “keep up progress in 2018” on the next stage of the Brexit talks, adding: “Making a success of Brexit is crucial.”
But her message was undermined by Mr Davis’ remarks.
A source said: “For the Brexit Secretary to express the thought that the whole thing might never happen was not what I expected – even behind closed doors.
“Nor was I the only person who reacted like that. It didn’t square with the Prime Minister’s mantra of ‘Brexit means Brexit.”

But the Prime Minister is still adamant that the referendum result will be upheld, reports the Mail.

Theresa May faced a new Brexit rift with David Davis last night after claims that he has raised private doubts that the UK is certain to leave the EU.
The Prime Minister used her official New Year message to restate her determination to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum vote.
She vowed to ‘keep up progress in 2018’ on the next stage of the EU exit talks, declaring: ‘Making a success of Brexit is crucial.’
The vast majority of voters ‘just want the Government to get on and deliver a good Brexit – and that’s exactly what we are doing’, she added.
But her defiant message was undermined by reports that Mr Davis told a private meeting it was still possible the decision to leave the EU could be reversed.
It follows a seminar hosted by Mr Davis at his Whitehall department shortly before Christmas, when he invited members of leading think-tanks to discuss the Government’s success in getting an agreement with Brussels on moving to the next phase of Brexit talks. 

The Brexit minister’s words have been widely reported, even though they were made at a private function, the Sun points out.

BREXIT Secretary David Davis has risked a fresh rift with PM Theresa May after admitting we may never leave the EU.
Speaking to members of a think tank at Whitehall, he let slip there is a chance the referendum result could be ignored.
Discussing the talks’ progress he said: “My view is that it means there is less chance of a no deal — and less chance of no Brexit.”
A source said: “For the Brexit Secretary to express the thought that it might not happen is not what I expected, even behind closed doors. “It doesn’t square with the PM’s stand.”
Mr Davis’s spokesman insisted he backed the PM.

Get on with it’ is the message from businesses, says the Guardian.

The British Chambers of Commerce, representing 75,000 businesses with five million employees, attacks the country’s political leaders over Brexit on Sunday, accusing them of “division and disorganisation” that is putting the economy at serious risk.
It says businesses are so dismayed at the lack of leadership and unclear messages that many are considering contingency plans and preparing for lower levels of investment. The broadside, delivered by the director general Adam Marshall, appears to be aimed primarily at Theresa May’s government, which he says must urgently announce a clear plan for a post-Brexit transitional period in which there would be little change to trading arrangements with the EU so that companies can plan ahead. But he says the lack of clarity and absence of leadership is a problem “across Westminster”, suggesting Labour and other opposition parties, as well as the Whitehall machine, are also failing to rise to the challenge of Brexit.
“Some very big decisions lie ahead,”  Marshall told the 
Observer. “Getting the twin challenges of Brexit and the economic fundamentals right will require leadership, consistency and clarity – after a year in which business has been dismayed by what it sees as division and disorganisation across Westminster.”
He adds: “Businesses have been very patient in waiting for clarity on Brexit in the 18 months since the referendum. That patience is now wearing thin. Businesses want answers, they want clarity and they want results.”

EU

Meanwhile, across the Channel, it seems our European neighbours are not united, says the Telegraph.

In March 2017, after three years, the European Commission gave Hungary the go-ahead to expand its Soviet-era nuclear power station at Paks, 75 miles from its capital, Budapest. The deal with Russia was worth €12.5bn (£11bn), for which the Kremlin offered 100pc of the financing required. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin settled the deal in person.
This deal – a tactical defeat in the long-running battle between the EC to make its member states less dependent on Russian energy – is not the “nuclear option” that dominates the headlines. Instead, eyes have turned to Poland as the schism between the harder-Right governments of central and eastern European nations and western Europe’s more liberally governed France and Germany grows deeper.
Poland’s judicial reform bill threatens the independence of the judiciary, and goes against the principles of separation.

And Westmonster claims plans for a united Europe have been dashed.

The dream of a United States of Europe by 2025 is in tatters as it turns out only a small fraction of people across the continent actually want it, according to a YouGov poll.
Just 10% of Brits back the idea, showing exactly why the Brexit vote was the right decision.
Overall, less than a third of a people in 7 major EU nations want the United States of Europe – which Martin Schulz said he wanted by 2025.
In Germany, 30% are in favour. 33% oppose, in Denmark and Sweden 48% are against it and in Finland and Norway 56% and 55% oppose the idea respectively.
Bearing in mind Schulz said he’d want any nation that doesn’t support the plan to leave the Brussels bloc, it looks like that will be a very small club by 2025.

Foreign aid

The Times reports that Boris is about to crack down on the cash we give away abroad.

Aid money will be funnelled into projects that promote British interests after two cabinet ministers admitted more has to be done to give taxpayers value for money from the £13bn aid budget.
Boris Johnson has told The Sunday Times that, under a shakeup of development spending in 2018, aid money will be co-ordinated to support UK foreign policy rather than only help the world’s poor.
The foreign secretary said cash would be diverted to places where it would support British efforts to deny safe havens to Islamist terrorists in Africa, Yemen and in the refugee camps for Rohingya Muslims across the Burmese border in Bangladesh. “The old jam jars are being smashed,” Johnson said.

Battle of Britain

A petition has been launched calling for honours to be awarded to veterans, says Breitbart.

Leave.EU, the biggest campaign group to fight on either side of the EU referendum, has launched a petition to honour Britain’s few surviving Battle of Britain veterans with knighthoods.
The petition notes that 2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Air Force, and argues that the year “should be a celebration of the extraordinary achievements of one of Britain’s most beloved institutions”.
Recalling that the RAF’s defence of Great Britain during the Second World War was its finest hour, Leave.EU declares that Winston Churchill “spoke for the nation when he said that ‘never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’.
“They are even fewer today – of the almost 3,000 aircrew who helped repel the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, only eight are still with us. Their bravery will be remembered for as long as Britain exists.

Westmonster has picked up the story.

Leave.EU have launched a petition to give knighthoods to the surviving battle of Britain veterans.
Instead of awarding honours to the usual raft of career politicians and celebrity luvvies, like arch-Remoaner Nick Clegg, it’s time to reward the people who helped keep Britain great – these are the people the country truly owes a debt of gratitude to.
The petition, which already has 3,000 signatures, states: “2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. The year should be a celebration of the extraordinary achievements of one of Britain’s most beloved institutions – chief amongst which was its noble defence of this country against the forces of Adolf Hitler.
“Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke for the nation when he said that “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”. They are even fewer today – of the almost 3,000 aircrew who helped repel the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, only eight are still with us. Their bravery will be remembered for as long as Britain exists.
“But every year we see ever more politicians, celebrities, and civil servants handed honours while those who have won the gratitude of the entire nation through valour and sacrifice go ignored.
[…] You can sign the petition here: It’s time Britain’s heroes are given the recognition they deserve.

Conservative Party

Looks like Mrs May will have a major cabinet reshuffle soon reports the Times.

Theresa May is set to fire up to a quarter of her cabinet and wants to offer Boris Johnson a new role as she prepares to launch 2018 with a domestic policy blitz designed to convince voters she can do more than Brexit.
May has decided to hold a reshuffle in January to bring in younger MPs after concluding her government needs a new year reboot.
Patrick McLoughlin, the party chairman; Justine Greening, the education secretary; Greg Clark, the business secretary; Chris Grayling, the transport secretary; and Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, have all been tipped for the chop by May’s aides.

Labour Party

And Labour’s Corbyn claims it is Britons’ duty to pay taxes, reports the Mail.

It is a ‘moral imperative’ for people to pay their ‘fair share’ of tax, Jeremy Corbyn  has said as he warned that vital public services are threatened by a lack of resources.
The Labour leader said his message to the middle classes was that they too would need the NHS and must be prepared to fund it.
Mr Corbyn said the Government was ‘hanging on by a thread’ and his party was ready for another election – but he acknowledged ‘we must do more to broaden our appeal’.
In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, he defended Labour’s plans to hike income tax for the wealthy.
‘We must all pay our fair share,’ he said, adding: ‘There’s a moral imperative.
‘We will raise tax at the top end in order to invest for the rest of society. I want to lead a Labour government that will do that.’
At the general election, Labour set out plans for the threshold at which people start paying the 45p rate of income tax to be reduced to £80,000 from £150,000, with a new 50p rate for people earning more than £123,000.
Explaining why extra funding was required, Mr Corbyn said: ‘I do say to the middle classes and the well-off, one day you will be ill. You’ll need the NHS.
‘And your kids may not be able to buy a house. They’re not going to get a council place because they’re not in desperate need.

The Express reports the Labour leader saying his party is on its way to government.

JEREMY Corbyn has declared the Labour Party is now the “new centre-ground” and is inching closer to Government in his New Year message.
Mr Corbyn is considered by some to be the most radical leader of the Labour Party since Michael Foot in the 1980s.
The current Labour Party has swelled with members from the hard-left group “Momentum” in a similar way it was infiltrated by the Trotskyist group “Militant” in the 80s.
But the emboldened Mr Corbyn claims Labour’s position is the new “centre consensus” and the party is a “Government in waiting”.
Mr Corbyn said: “The old political consensus is finished. We are staking out the new centre-ground in British politics, backing the things which most people want but are blocked by vested interests.
“We are a government in waiting, while the Conservatives are weak and divided and stuck in an outdated rut with no new ideas.
“The hope of a new Britain, run in the interests of the many, not the few, is closer than ever before.
“Together we can, and we will deliver it.”
The Labour Leader has been repeatedly accused of “hating” the UK after such gaffes as not singing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain service.

BBC News also covers Corbyn’s words.

Labour is “staking out the centre ground in British politics”, Jeremy Corbyn has said in a new year message.
Mr Corbyn said the prospect of a “new Britain” was “closer than ever” and he was leading a “government in waiting”.
The left wing veteran promised to use 2018 to help people “fulfil their hopes” in a future where “we all share the wealth we create”.
Labour defied predictions of a landslide defeat in the 2017 general election to secure a hung parliament.
The result saw Prime Minister Theresa May lose her Commons majority, but the Conservatives remain the largest party.
The Labour leader also used the message to attack a “failed system” of governance and “stagnant economy” of wealth disparity run by a “self-serving elite”.

Credit cards

The ban on credit card fees could be about to backfire, says the Telegraph.

Consumers face higher prices and new “service charges” as retailers and businesses plan to circumvent the Government’s ban on credit card fees.
From Jan 13, “rip off” fees of up to 3 per cent charged by firms and ­government bodies when people pay by credit card – ostensibly to off-set charges paid to card companies – will be ­prohibited.
But 
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that some retailers and other companies are planning measures to “sneak” around the rules. These include: refusing credit card payments; increasing shelf prices; introducing new “service charges” across the board.
Even those paying cash are set to lose out, as some companies – including food delivery firm Just Eat – plan to apply the cost increases to all customers. Consumer experts have called for regulatory enforcement to ensure businesses cannot dodge the rules.

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