EU Referendum

Several aspects of the EU referendum campaign are covered by the media.

The Telegraph reports that some Tory cabinet ministers have been censored.

David Cameron is facing a fresh Cabinet revolt amid warnings that Downing Street is censoring eurosceptic ministers in order to keep Britain in the European Union.

Senior officials have taken the extraordinary step of seeking to vet – and in some cases alter – speeches from ministers in Parliament, to tone down their eurosceptic comments, The Telegraph can reveal.

At the same time, pro-European ministers are being encouraged to make their cases for why Britain should vote to stay in the EU in the forthcoming referendum.

Right-wing Tories are furious at what they see as Number 10’s coordinated attempt to rig the referendum debate by “gagging” Eurosceptic colleagues.

Downing Street sources rejected the complaints and insisted there was no instruction to ministers not to make eurosceptic statements.

Mr Cameron continues to claim in public that he does not rule out recommending that Britain votes to leave the EU if he cannot get a good enough package of changes to the terms of the UK’s membership.

But the censorship row will fuel suspicions that Mr Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne, have already made up their minds to campaign to keep Britain in Europe and are using the Whitehall machine to promote an “in” vote at the referendum.

The Independent claims that the Prime Minister’s proposed reforms could face a legal challenge.

David Cameron’s reported plan to secure a referendum-winning deal with the European Union, which would allow Britain to limit benefit payments to migrant workers, could be overturned in the European Court and trigger a second in-out vote on EU membership, leading think tanks and academics have warned.

It was reported last week that European leaders are on the verge of agreeing a deal whereby Britain would withdraw benefit payments to all workers, including Britons, for their first four years in the job market. The political impact for Britons would be softened by a controversial “social payment”, in the form of some sort of voucher or other asset.

However, a senior academic has warned that while such a deal could be agreed at an intergovernmental level, it could later be deemed illegal under EU treaty laws.

Professor Steve Peers of the University of Essex, an expert on EU law and constitutional affairs, said if Mr Cameron delivered “a quick fix” that was later seen to have influenced the referendum and kept Britain in the EU, it was likely to be challenged in the European courts. Professor Peers warned that if there was no move to bring benefit changes inside the EU treaties, a legal challenge could follow.

The Guardian claims that two-thirds of Tory MPs want Britain to quit the EU.

Two-thirds of Conservative MPs now support Britain’s exit from the European Union, despite David Cameron’s clear preference for staying in, according to senior sources within the party.

Key figures in Tory high command say analysis of public statements and private views expressed by their 330 MPs shows that at least 210 now believe that the UK would be better off “out”.

The surge in support within the parliamentary party for leaving will greatly encourage “out” campaigners, who believe many people will take their lead from local MPs when they decide which way to vote. However, party managers say the total number of Tory MPs who will join the campaign to leave could turn out to be significantly fewer – around 110 – if in the next few months opinion polls begin to point towards a close result or a win for the pro-EU side.

“Certainly at least two-thirds want to leave as it stands,” said a senior party figure. “But if things are very tight some will be bought off by offers of patronage and will be reluctant to take a different line to the prime minister. Plenty will not want their careers blighted by being on the wrong side of such an important debate.” The Observer has also been told that soundings taken by MPs show the “vast majority” of grassroots activists now want to quit the EU – and that most will not be swayed by whatever deal Cameron achieves in his attempt to renegotiate UK membership.

And the Express claims senior Tories are being censored in a bid to keep Britain in the EU.

SENIOR Conservatives are reportedly censoring Eurosceptic ministers in a desperate bid to keep Britain in the EU.

David Cameron is facing a revolt over claims that panicked officials are suppressing ministers’ speeches in Parliament to tone down their Eurosceptic comments.

Pro-European ministers are also reportedly being encouraged to make their cases for why Britain should vote to stick with Brussels.

Furious right-wing Conservatives have condemned the Prime Minister for what they believe is a coordinated attempt to rig the debate.

Mr Cameron has repeatedly claimed he does not rule out recommending Britain vote to leave the EU if he cannot renegotiate a deal to change Britain’s EU membership.

But the latest revelation will fuel suspicions that Mr Cameron and George Osborne have already made up their minds to campaign to keep Britain in Europe.

The Prime Minister conceded last week he would have to suspend the long-standing convention of “collective government responsibility” to allow ministers to campaign on both sides of the referendum debate.

Mr Cameron announced that he would allow ministers to campaign in favour of leaving the EU once he had finished his negotiations in Brussels following talks with Cabinet Eurosceptics Chris Grayling and Theresa Villers.

It was initially seen as a major victory for the “out” campaign but there are growing fears among sceptics that they will not be able to campaign for a Brexit.

Ministers have been banned from campaigning to leave the EU or making any statements that could be seen to undermine the Prime Minister’s efforts until his renegotiation is completed.

The Guardian claims hopes of a deal next month are fading, leading to September as the likely time for the referendum.

Last week Cameron, in effect, conceded that his party was split from top to bottom over Europe when he agreed that members of his government, including cabinet ministers, would be allowed to speak out against the official line during the campaign, which is expected to be later this year.

While the holders of the top offices of state – including the chancellor, George Osborne, the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond and the home secretary, Theresa May – are likely to back staying in, other senior ministers, including the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, the leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling, and the Northern Ireland secretary,Theresa Villiers, want to campaign to leave.

Migrants to Germany

In other news, the Telegraph reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that migrants who break the law will be deported.

Angela Merkel for the first time signalled a change in her “open-door” refugee policy on Saturday, as police admitted that a “majority” of those suspected of sex attacks in Cologne were asylum-seekers or illegal immigrants.

New figures released disclosed the scale of the violence in the city on New Year’s Eve, which showed 30 more sexual assaults than were previously reported.

Cologne Police said that 379 offences were committed on that night, of which 150 were sexual assaults.

“Those in focus of criminal police investigations are mostly people from North African countries,” police said in a statement. “The majority of them are asylum-seekers and people who are in Germany illegally.”

After a meeting with her party on Saturday, Mrs Merkel promised that her government would amend the law to make it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes.

“We have to consider when someone forfeits their right to our hospitality,” said Mrs Merkel. “When crimes are committed, and people place themselves outside the law, there must be consequences.”

Under current rules, asylum-seekers can only be expelled if they are sentenced to three years or more in prison.

 

And Breitbart claims that Brussels will not admit that its migrant policy caused the recent attacks on women in Cologne.

A source within one of the European Union’s security organisations has told Breitbart London exclusively that to his knowledge, no widespread discussions are being had at an EU level about the spate of migrant rapes that have taken places across the continent – with Cologne, Hamburg, Helsinki, Paris, Salzburg, Zurich, and more cities now affected. EU leaders are said to be unwilling to admit the cause: Brussels policy on open borders immigration and migrant quotas.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source told Breitbart London this afternoon that the EU has no “real analytical ability” to help it inform policy decisions, therefore when an incident like this happens, there is no one to help guide the process. Instead, while Brussels is happy to dictate an open borders policy, and a policy of mandatory migrant quotas – it simply will not and cannot deal with the fall out.

EU chiefs have been unusually silent on the issue of the migrant rape epidemic, with no real statements or leadership from the Presidents of the European Commission, European Council, or European Parliament on the matter.

Asylum seekers

The Telegraph reports that our own government is paying for legal challenges to help illegal immigrants quash their convictions.

An official Government body is helping asylum seekers quash their convictions for illegal entry to Britain in a move MPs fear could “undermine deterrence” and lead to thousands more arrivals.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is running an unprecedented publicity campaign encouraging hundreds of migrants to challenge criminal convictions related to their entry, such as fraud or using false passports.

The commission has already helped more than 30 asylum-seekers to overturn their convictions – something which has allowed many of them to receive refugee status and stay in the UK. It is considering a further 60 cases.

The disclosures come after a Sudanese man was granted refugee status in Britain, despite facing criminal charges for walking through the Channel Tunnel. Abdul Rahman Haroun is charged with obstructing a railway after his 31-mile trek, which forced the tunnel to be closed for two hours, although prosecutors last week said they were considering dropping charges.

As well as advertising for asylum-seeker cases, the commission has waived its normal rules which insist that people seeking its help must first have tried to appeal through the courts in the normal way.

Labour Party

The Mail claims there is an impending split in the Labour Party over Jeremy Corbyn’s attack on Middle England.

Jeremy Corbyn has raised the controversial prospect of clobbering Middle England with a new local income tax to fund a public spending spree.

His suggestion of giving tax-raising powers to town hall chiefs – on top of existing national income tax and council tax – could plunge Labour deeper into civil war after one moderate MP branded the idea ‘lunacy’.

Mr Corbyn says English regions should have similar powers to the Scottish Parliament, which is set to be given full control over income tax rates by David Cameron next year.

Left-wing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will use the change to impose ‘progressive taxes’, which is seen as code for making the better off pay more.

Mr Corbyn told a private Westminster lunch last week that it was vital to address ‘local levels of taxation’ in England. He did not say how much tax English regions should be able to charge, but added: ‘We have a tax-raising power in Scotland but not in English regions. I want genuine regional taxation powers [in England].’

And the Independent claims Corbyn is aiming to alter the party’s stance on Trident by handing policy control to the party’s National Executive Committee.

Jeremy Corbyn’s secret blueprint to seize control of Labour’s policy-making machine to fast-track a change in the party’s position on Trident has been revealed in leaked documents drawn up by his allies in the trade unions.

Leading members of the Shadow Cabinet have been made aware of a paper which would strip them of the power to set policy between conferences. Instead, Labour’s National Executive Committee would explicitly be given the role of deciding policy.

One minister who has seen a copy of the proposal said that Mr Corbyn’s advisers were coordinating the move which would change the NEC’s “aims and objectives” to give it explicit power to set policy. The document is likely to be put before the NEC at its meeting this month.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday, the shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he had not seen the document but confirmed the NEC would decide “fairly quickly” on a process to change Labour’s position on Trident – and revealed it would happen “before the summer”.

Metropolitan Police

The Independent claims an inquiry into racism has been branded ‘a whitewash’ by the travelling community.

Travellers’ group says force’s inquiry into online comments by serving officers is a ‘whitewash’

The Metropolitan Police is examining whether its staff need to change the way they engage with Gypsies and Travellers Getty

The Metropolitan Police is examining whether its staff need to change the way they engage with members of the two ethnic minority groups, despite its official investigation into the racism claims concluding without any officers being formally disciplined or charged.

Britain’s largest police force has launched a review into how it deals with Gypsies and Travellers in the wake of allegations that officers used a “secret” Facebook group to air racist views about them, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is now examining whether the force’s investigation was inadequate after the Traveller Movement charity, which made the original complaint to the Met in June last year, claimed that its five-month probe had been “shambolic and disrespectful” and amounted to a “whitewash”.

World War III

The Daily Star raises fears of a global conflict following increased tension in the Gulf of Hormuz.

FEARS of an impending conflict have risen after worrying footage was released of Iranian vessels firing rockets near US warships.

The video shows a flash from a rocket appearing near US Navy vessels navigating in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The move has raised tensions between the two nations – despite a recent nuclear deal.

The Navy released the 45-second footage in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel fired rockets from a distance of about 1,370 meters, according to the navy

A spokesman for the US Navy said the USS Harry S Truman aircraft carrier, the USS Bulkily destroyer and a French frigate were near the fired rockets at the time of the launch.

Tehran has yet to comment on the video’s release.

The incident in Iran is not the first time tensions have risen in the strait.

Iran sank a replica of a US aircraft carrier in February last year and tested out so-called “suicide drones” to crash into naval vessels.

The video’s release comes days after US enemy Kim Jong-un – the dictator of North Korea – claimed his secretive nation launched a successful hydrogen bomb test.

And ITV News reported a US B-52 bomber overflew South Korea in a show of force.

The US sent a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight in South Korean airspace in a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test.

The B-52 was joined by two fighter planes – a US F-16 and a South Korean F-1 – as it flew over Osan Air Base near Seoul, according to a US military statement.

The flight was “in response to recent provocative action by North Korea”, the statement said.

The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and to maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, to include extended deterrence provided by our conventional forces and our nuclear umbrella.

– US LT GEN TERRENCE O’SHAUGHNESSY

The B-52 is based in Guam and is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

North Korea conducted a nuclear test – its fourth – on Wednesday last week, angering the US and China.

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, has maintained the test was of a hydrogen bomb and said it was a self-defensive step against a US threat of nuclear war.

Experts believe the North’s nuclear test, which produced a seismic tremor of 5.1, was too small to be a proper hydrogen bomb test.

Doctors’ strike

The Times claims Labour activists will join picket lines when junior doctors go on strike on Tuesday.

JEREMY CORBYN’S hard-left supporters have been ordered on to hospital picket lines in support of a nationwide strike by junior doctors this week.

England’s top doctor, Dame Sally Davies, warns today that the planned industrial action will endanger patient safety.

However, Momentum, the organisation founded out of Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign, has instructed activists to turn out alongside the medics on Tuesday.

Last night, the Labour leader’s spokesman failed to condemn the call and said that “of course people will feel strongly” about backing the strikers.

Conservatives will seize on Momentum’s move as evidence that Labour is adopting the militant stance of the hard left’s 1980s heyday, when the party was badly split over support for the miners’ strike.

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