WTO

Is ‘no deal’ gaining ground?  The Telegraph seems to think so.

Support for a no-deal Brexit is growing in the face of the EU’s refusal to help salvage Theresa May’s deal, according to a new poll.
A survey by ComRes found that 44 per cent of the public now believe the UK should leave without a deal if Brussels refuses to make any further concessions – a six point rise from January. Less than a third (30 per cent) disagreed.
It came as 74 senior Tory activists, including more than 50 association chairman, told Mrs May that Conservative voters “do not fear a no deal exit” and “just want Brexit delivered.”

The Independent reports research claiming that leaving under WTO rules is popular.

A long delay to Brexit would be unacceptable to a majority of the British public, according to an exclusive poll days before critical votes in the House of Commons.
Some 52 per cent of people do not want a delay to last more than six months, the survey by BMG Research for The Independent indicated.
The data flies in the face of extensions advocated in Brussels, by Remainers and even some Brexiteers. They have talked about pushing back the date of the UK’s departure for a year or more – something supported by fewer than one in five, according to the survey.
The poll also showed that just 17 per cent actually want any extension if Theresa May’s Brexit plan is again rejected as expected this week, with the two most popular alternatives a quick new in or out referendum, or simply leaving with no deal.

WA

And the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement is losing favour, says the Telegraph.

When David Davis became the first of four Cabinet ministers to resign over Brexit last year, he warned the Prime Minister that her approach to talks with the EU would leave the country “in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”
He conceded, however, that it was possible that, “you are right and I am wrong.”
Some eight months later, faced with the possibility of a deal that many in the current Cabinet fear could leave the UK tied to the EU on trade, or the growing likelihood of a delay to Brexit itself, a sizeable chunk of MPs take the former Brexit Secretary’s view, rather than Mrs May’s.

Brexit

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the interminable Brexit saga, the Independent reiterates that negotiations are not going well.

Last-ditch negotiations in the Brexit process have descended into open hostility as one senior minister accused the EU of playing “games” with just three days to go until MPs vote on Theresa May‘s plans.
After an extraordinary exchange between the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, and the EU’s chief negotiator on social media, the Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said she was “deeply disappointed with what we’re hearing coming out of the EU”.

The Express also quotes the Leader of the House.

ANDREA LEADSOM has ripped up Brussels’ latest Brexit proposal, accusing them of playing games.
It comes hours after the UK’s Brexit negotiators rejected the European Union’s latest withdrawal agreement offer, which would potential split the UK down the Irish Sea. The leader of the House of Commons said on Saturday: “There is still hope but I have to stay I’m deeply disappointed with what we are hearing coming out of the EU. “I do have to ask myself what game are they playing here.”

The top Eurocrat has re-offered the same deal that has been roundly rejected, reports Reuters.

The leader of parliament Andrea Leadsom said she was beginning to wonder what game the European Union was playing over Brexit as relations between London and Brussels deteriorated ahead of a vote by lawmakers next week.
Less than three weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to secure the changes to the divorce agreement she needs to gain the support of lawmakers who rejected it in a record rebellion in January.
At the heart of the dispute is a disagreement over how to manage the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
On Friday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier put forward a proposal to keep the border open and keep the province subject to EU rules, prompting London to reject it.

The Mail says the EU is ‘playing games’.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom has torn into the European Union and accused it of ‘playing games’ as relations between London and Brussels continue to deteriorate.
The MP for South Northamptonshire said she was beginning to wonder what game the European Union was playing over Brexit as tensions continue to surge during negotiations.
She added that she was ‘deeply disappointed with what we’re hearing coming out of the EU’ just days before the latest vote on Theresa May‘s latest Brexit plans.

The Express outlines what is going to happen in Parliament this week.

THERESA May’s first Brexit deal went through a brutal 230-vote defeat in the Commons in January 15, forcing her to carry on negotiations with the EU. But what will happen if her new deal is rejected this week?
MPs will vote on Theresa May’s revised deal on Tuesday, March 12. The original deal was voted down over concerns it would result in the UK being tied to the EU indefinitely because of the backstop issue. Mrs May has still not figured out a clear plan with EU chiefs on how to manage the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland, leading to fears MPs will be unsatisfied with her deal once again.

The Prime Minister has been advised she’ll lose again on Tuesday, says Sky News.

Theresa May has been warned another brutal Commons defeat over her Brexit deal is “inevitable” without late changes to the Northern Ireland backstop.
The prime minister is preparing for a huge week in Westminster, with the withdrawal agreement she struck with Brussels set to go before parliament yet again.
She has been trying to secure legally binding changes to the unpopular backstop to convince MPs that the UK cannot be tied indefinitely to EU rules against its wishes, which she hopes would be enough to get the deal through.

And two senior Parliamentarians have issued a warning, says BBC News.

Two leading Brexiteers have said any delay to Brexit would do “incalculable” harm to public trust in politics.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Tory MP Steve Baker and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds said the “extended uncertainty” would be a “political calamity”.
On Tuesday, Theresa May will again ask MPs to back her Brexit deal, but if they reject it they may get a chance to vote to delay Brexit.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March.

Second referendum

The Labour Party’s thoughts about a People’s Vote have changed, says the Guardian.

An amendment proposing a second referendum from two backbench Labour MPs will not now be put to a vote when Theresa May brings her Brexit deal back to parliament next week.
Labour’s leadership wants attention on Tuesday to focus on May’s deal – but the party has not ruled out a second referendum motion later in the week if the prime minister fails to win MPs’ backing.
Campaigners for a second referendum believe they can only a win a majority in the Commons if it is seen as the sole option to break the deadlock preventing any Brexit deal passing through parliament.

Ireland

The European offer, to keep Northern Ireland in the bloc while the rest of the UK leaves, is unacceptable, says the Express.

BRITAIN will not sacrifice Northern Ireland to the EU for the delivery of Brexit, the Ulster Unionist leader said.
Robin Swann claimed the Irish border backstop proposal which would effectively see the country continue to follow European trade regulations was an abomination of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. He said Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and EU negotiator Michel Barnier should honour the principle of consent by which Northern Ireland’s constitutional status cannot be changed unless its people should decide so. Mr Swann said: “The DUP’s inept handling of Brexit right from before the referendum has now led us back to the Northern Ireland-only backstop that they first missed in 2017, despite my warnings. “I say to London, Brussels and Dublin that Northern Ireland will not be a dowry to the EU for the delivery of Brexit.

Breitbart says the proposal is ‘degrading’.

The Democratic Unionist Party has slammed the EU’s “degrading proposal” to allow Britain to leave the “backstop” envisioned in Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal without their permission — as long as Northern Ireland is left behind.
The Withdrawal Agreement, already rejected by Parliament in a so-called “meaningful vote” but due to come before MPs again by March 12th, possibly unchanged, would see the British government hand Brussels an estimated £39 billion in exchange for a “transition” period in which the UK would essentially remain in the EU, minus its voting rights, while negotiations continue.
If the transition concludes without a final deal being reached, the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that it is either extended by mutual agreement, or the two parties fall into an indefinite “backstop” arrangement in which Northern Ireland would be effectively annexed to the EU Customs Union while mainland Great Britain would enter a parallel, EU-controlled “single customs territory” — an arrangement the British government would not be allowed to terminate without the EU’s permission.

And Westmonster describes the DUP leader’s reaction as ‘savage’.

The DUP’s Westminster Leader, Nigel Dodds, has savaged the European Union’s latest intervention. It is looking increasingly unlikely that Theresa May will get her unchanged deal through Parliament.
Responding to the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, Dodds said: “Nothing new in what Barnier is offering. This is a retreat back to the proposal of a Northern Ireland only backstop previously rejected by all sides in the House of Commons.”
And in a statement Dodds was even more emphatic, insisting: “This is neither a realistic nor sensible proposal from Michel Barnier. It disrespects the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom. This is an attempt to get ahead of a possible blame game and appear positive when in reality it is going backwards to something rejected a year ago.

Theresa May

The Times addresses the prospect of the PM’s retirement.

Theresa May is battling to save her premiership this weekend as cabinet ministers warned she may have to fall on her sword to save Brexit.
In a final throw of the dice, Philip Hammond will offer Tory MPs a £20bn Brexit “bribe” this week to finally “end austerity” if they support the prime minister’s deal.
The chancellor will use his spring statement on the public finances on Wednesday to pledge to pump money into the police, schools and even some tax cuts in a spending review this autumn — but only if parliament votes for a deal.

The Express claims she may be persuaded to quit.

THERESA MAY could be persuaded to resign as soon as her much-maligned Brexit deal is passed, according to reports.
Senior figures in Parliament have confessed the Prime Minister has “run out of road”. A Cabinet minister told The Sunday Times: “I don’t believe there is a single one of us who thinks it’s a good idea for her to stay beyond June.”
They revealed the four main contenders to succeed her — Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab are “ready to go”.
The resignation of the Prime Minister could be forced by Cabinet ministers next week after talks were held on when to ask her to step down.

‘Project insult’?

They’ll try anything, these anti-Brexiteers.  The latest in the Times is to claim we’re stupid.

It is a belief that some pro-Europeans already hold dear, but a group of scientists now claim to have confirmed it: Brexit voters are less bright than remainers.
Researchers gave 11,225 volunteers psychological tests before the referendum and asked how they intended to vote. Results suggest that leavers tended to be less numerate, more impulsive and more prone to accept the unsupported claims of authoritarian figures.
“Compared with remain voters, leave voters displayed significantly lower levels of numeracy and appeared more reliant on impulsive thinking,” said the researchers, based at Missouri University.

Labour Party

Corbyn’s woes have not diminished, reports the Times.

Two of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aides directly intervened to lift the suspension of an activist accused of anti-semitism, according to leaked emails.
Seumas Milne, the Labour leader’s director of strategy and communications, told party officials to reinstate Glyn Secker after two of them had ruled that he be kicked out for joining a Facebook group where members posted messages denying the Holocaust.

And BBC News reports a comment by a lord that the situation is embarrassing.

Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints is an “embarrassing mess” and represents a “political failure”, peers have told Jeremy Corbyn.
Lord Harris, who chairs Labour’s group in the Lords, said the party’s moral authority had been “diminished” and its anti-racism credentials dented.
Labour faces a possible probe by the human rights watchdog into whether it discriminated against Jewish people.
Mr Corbyn said on Friday that the party had “nothing to hide”.
The Labour Party has been dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism over the last two years.

Armed forces

The famous Gurkhas will be drafted in to help the army, says the Sun.

ARMY chiefs will start recruiting hundreds of extra elite Gurkhas this year to bolster infantry expertise, we can reveal.
Top brass will increase the number of Gurkhas to the UK military to from 250 to around 400 a year as they form a new battalion.
The new battalion of Nepalese soldiers, whose motto is “Better to die than live a coward”, provide specialist to the Army including engineering and logistic support.
They will join other members of the Specialist Infantry Group where they will be deployed around the world after passing a rigorous selection process.
Existing Gurkha units will be boosted as part of the UK-led NATO rapid reaction force and setting up new Gurkha Engineer and Signals Squadrons.

Education

White, British, middle class students could be rejected for diversity reasons, says the Telegraph.

Middle class Oxford rejects are increasingly demanding explanations about why they missed out on a place, amid fear that they are being “squeezed out” by the university’s diversity drive.
Oxford is under growing pressure to admit more undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds and Colleges have started using “contextual data” about a student’s background to inform tutors’ decisions on their application.
But students from white middle class backgrounds who went to a private school or grew up in an affluent area do not fit into any of the “diversity” categories.

Social care

There’s a new challenge for staff looking after elderly residents in care homes, says the Sun.

CARE home staff have been told to help residents have sex and ask them whether they enjoy practices such as cross dressing, it was reported.
Under new guidelines, care homes could even fail an inspection unless they can show they are meeting the sexual needs of residents.
The Care Quality Commission suggests residents should be asked if they are sexually active, are gay and whether they enjoy sexual practices such as cross dressing, The Times reported.
It is the first time the watchdog as has set out expectations about meeting residents’ sexual needs, a subject that has previously been taboo among care workers.

World Cup

Corruption in the highest echelons of football is highlighted in the Times.

The state of Qatar secretly offered $400m to Fifa just 21 days before world football’s governing body controversially decided that the 2022 World Cup would be held in the tiny desert country, leaked documents have revealed.
The files, seen by The Sunday Times, show that executives from the Qatari state-run broadcaster Al Jazeera signed a television contract making the huge offer as the bidding campaigns to host the World Cup were reaching a climax.
The contract included an unprecedented success fee of $100m that would be paid into a designated Fifa account only if Qatar was successful in the World Cup ballot in 2010.

The Times also reports the bribes.

The bidding war for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments was at its most frenzied and nine nations were hoping that the prize of hosting the world’s greatest football competition would be theirs. It was November 2010 and even England dared to dream.
But the tiny state of Qatar had emerged as the unlikeliest of contenders — and the rumour was that it might go all the way. Behind the scenes, Qatar had been doing deals to win the 13 votes that mattered. Nothing, however, would be left to chance. So, with 21 days remaining before the ballot, Qatar put on the table an enormous take-it-or-leave-it offer.

GPS

There could be a problem with Global Positioning Satellites next week, says the Mail.

GPS systems could be brought down next month due to a computer calendar error says information security expert.
An expert at the RSA 2019 security conference in San Francisco this week said he predicts a Y2K like computer error for older GPS systems to take place on April 6, in less than a month’s time.
The computers’ calendars could fail if GPS devices’ with older systems flip back to zero after literally running out of time, reaching the end of their counters.

The Sun also has the story.

A TERRIFYING computer bug could crash markets and close ports by wrecking the world’s GPS systems next MONTH.
Experts fear the Y2K-like glitch could spark chaos for millions by resetting calendars on old computer systems on 6 April.
Cybersecurity expert Bill Malik said he wouldn’t dare flying on the day the glitch is set to wreak havoc.
He told Tom’s Guide: “The effects would be more widespread because so many more systems have integrated GPS into their operations.

Online scams

Fake text messages could be about to hit our phones, reports the Mail.

Online scammers are now targeting the bank balances of Britain’s drivers by sending out fake text messages which claim to be from the DVLA.
Fraudsters try to lure road users into handing over their personal details by suggesting that they are entitled to a refund on their vehicle tax.
The motoring authority has now increased its social media outreach to warn people of the scam after it was bombarded by messages from panicking recipients of the dodgy texts.

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