Brexit

We’re on our way out!  The Express outlines the PM’s plans.

BORIS Johnson has initiated a £4billion operation to prepare Britain for a no-deal departure from the EU at the end of the month with prospects of an agreement looking remote.
The cash will aim to safeguard the UK’s supply chain and fishing waters, with contracts in play will four ferry companies to carry 3,000 lorries a week to the UK with food and medicines. The nation’s civil servants have also been told they will work through Christmas to ensure preparations are in place. In addition, 900 extra border officers will be stationed in the Dover to ensure food, medicine and other vital supplies get through.

The Sun calls him ‘tough’.

TOUGH-TALKING Boris Johnson last night gave his strongest hint yet that he is prepared to walk away from an EU trade deal, telling Tories: “We’re ready.”
PM Mr Johnson took personal charge of preparations to break ties with Brussels as EU chiefs refused to budge on three key sticking points.
In a further sign that patience is wearing thin with Brussels, the PM gave the green light to launch a £4billion operation to protect Britain’s supply chain and fishing waters.
It comes after a year of extensive preparations overseen by Cabinet Office supremo Michael Gove. An extra 900 border officers will be stationed in the key Channel port of Dover to ensure food, medicine and other vital supplies are not disrupted.

But some of his people are unhappy, says ITV News.

Senior Conservatives have reacted angrily to Boris Johnson’s handling of the Brexit trade negotiations and the threat to deploy Royal Navy gunboats to patrol UK fishing waters in the event of no-deal.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that four 80-metre armed vessels have been placed on standby to guard British waters from EU trawlers in the event that there is no new agreement on fishing rights after December 31 when transitional arrangements end.

The Express describes it as a game of ‘chicken’.

A BREAKTHROUGH for Britain in the Brexit talks hinges on Boris Johnson persuading the EU that he is willing to end the negotiations without a deal, according to a leading figure in one of the world’s most respected foreign policy think tanks.
Jonathan Eyal, international director of the Royal United Services Institute, argues the two sides are caught in a “game of chicken” with France “pulling strings” behind the European Commission. He says Remainers have encouraged the EU to push Britain harder and claims France thinks the UK will blink first in the negotiations, allowing President Emmanuel Macron to portray himself as a “great defender of French national interests”.

The Mail reports that Boris is in control now.

Boris Johnson has seized personal control of Britain’s No Deal preparations as the deadline for historic talks with the EU expires today.
The move comes as Government sources put the chances of negotiations failing as high as 80 per cent, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel being blamed for the European Union‘s hard line.
One source said that she was ‘determined to make Britain crawl across broken glass’ rather than reach a compromise.
Mr Johnson’s Whitehall intervention is aimed at protecting vital supplies of food and medicines after January 1. He will head a new ‘super-committee’ to run alongside the existing No Deal preparation group chaired by Michael Gove.

And he doesn’t want to walk on broken glass, says the Express.

THE CHANCES of a no deal Brexit at the end of the year are now at 80 percent as Angela Merkel wants Britain to “crawl across broken glass” according to an incendiary report.
Earlier this week Boris Johnson warned a breakdown in trade talks is now “very, very likely” and set the end of Sunday as a deadline for further progress. The UK is negotiating with the EU in a bid to secure a post-Brexit trade deal but talks have become deadlocked over fishing rights and regulatory alignment.

International trade

But our Liz has been working hard, claims the Express.

BRITAIN does not need an EU trade deal to succeed with 57 countries already signed up to agreements £193 billion annually, government sources have said.
International trade secretary Liz Truss on Friday closed her 57th trade deal with another country as foreign governments line up to capitalise from Brexit with the world’s fifth largest economy. While EU bosses in Brussels have pushed Britain towards no deal, the 57 agreements with other countries made over the last two years are already worth £193 billion a year.

Illegal immigration

Breitbart has a story about immigrants caught on the water.

Britain will ban illegal aliens from making asylum claims if they are intercepted at sea after leaving the safety of the European mainland, the government has claimed.
The law will replace European Union rules under the Dublin agreement and will come into force in 2021 when the United Kingdom leaves the EU’s institutions.
While under the current regulations asylum seekers’ applications can be denied if they have already passed through a safe country before entering the United Kingdom the system makes this very difficult in practice, and the British government’s new measures would go further by rejecting claims from migrants picked up at sea by British authorities.

Bail-out

I couldn’t resist this one in the Telegraph, which includes a cartoon of ‘Michel Barnacle’ and Emmanuel Mackerel’.

Cabinet ministers are drawing up a multibillion-pound bail-out package to bolster industries hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.
The proposals, compiled by Whitehall departments, include resilience deals for sheep farmers, fishermen, car manufacturers and chemical suppliers who face trade disruption or being hit with punishing EU tariffs after Jan 1.
Two sources involved in drawing up the plans say the package is expected to involve between £8 billion and £10 billion of funding and is inspired by Operation Kingfisher, a support package originally drawn up last year ahead of a breakthrough on the Brexit divorce deal.

Fisheries

No-deal planning includes protection for fisheries, says the Sun.

THE scale of the UK’s No Deal contingency planning emerged last night, with a raft of measures to keep supply chains open — and protect fishing.
Boris Johnson has kicked off a huge operation for when we break off ties with the EU in less than three weeks.
Most of the action will be centred on the port of Dover — main gateway to Europe used by 11,000 trucks a day. Government insiders admit there will be “challenges and bumps to overcome” when Brexit finally happens on January 1.

An ex-MEP thinks the bloc will come crawling back to us in the Express.

THE European Union will beg the United Kingdom for a deal on access to British waters past the Brexit transition period due to the high dependence of continental fisheries on the UK, June Mummery forecast.
The European Union has maintained they want to include clauses in the Brexit  trade deal with the UK that would grant EU vessels access to British waters past December 31. The British Government rejected the demands, accusing Brussels of attempting to maintain its influence over the UK despite Brexit through pressure on the fish markets.

A disturbing story about dead sea life appears in the Mail.

The bodies of dolphins and porpoises have washed up with alarming frequency along England’s south coast in recent days.
Some bear signs of injuries from fishing nets, others are unmarked or too badly decomposed to prove the cause of death.
Last Sunday, a family enjoying the sea air on Cuckmere Haven Beach in Sussex stumbled upon the corpse of a young harbour porpoise with gashes on its body and injuries to its mouth.

EU

The Mail claims Boris and Ursula don’t trust each other.

In the words of one negotiator, it is the ‘Lutheran’s distaste for the libertine’ that has pushed Britain to the brink of a No Deal Brexit.
Diplomats say the ‘trust issue’ between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson came to a head during last week’s fraught talks, when British negotiators tried to break the deadlock by proposing a ‘tariffs for freedom’ arrangement.
Under the plan – to have been fleshed out at Wednesday’s meeting between Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over a dinner of scallops and turbot – the UK would have effectively been released from the responsibility to follow EU rules in return for accepting that duties would be slapped on British exports to the bloc.

Barnier’s been sidelined, says the Express.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN has taken command of Michel Barnier’s Brexit negotiation team as No Deal fears are on the rise.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a no deal Brexit would be wonderful for the UK on Friday as he gave his assessment of the prospect of a trade deal with the European Union (EU). Mr Johnson said: “Unfortunately, there are two key things where we just can’t seem to make progress. I’ve got to tell you that from where I stand now it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January.”

An exclusive report in the Telegraph suggests two EU countries could come to blows.

No-deal risks triggering a European fishing war with the French pitted against a mainly Dutch armada competing for dwindling stocks if shut out of UK waters, Gallic fishing bosses have warned.
France this week threatened to veto post-Brexit trade talks over fishing rights and the issue remains one of the main bones of contention that have stymied a deal, along with so-called level playing provisions.
With no deal in sight, Olivier Le Prêtre, head of the Hauts-de-France fishing council – whose small boats fish 70 per cent of their catch in UK waters – said he feared the French would be overrun by European rivals if the UK cut them out of theirs.

The Express has picked up the story.

LEAVING the EU with no trade deal risks sparking a fishing dispute between France and other European countries, experts have warned.
France has already threatened to reject Brexit negotiations over fishing rights this week. Fishing remains one of the main sticking points as the trade talks between the EU and UK are continuing to go down to the wire.
Olivier Le Prêtre, head of the Hauts-de-France fishing council, worries that the French would be swamped by European rivals if the UK rejects them.

And the French have issued a threat to veto the trade deal, says Yahoo News.

No-deal risks triggering a European fishing war with the French pitted against a mainly Dutch armada competing for dwindling stocks if shut out of UK waters, Gallic fishing bosses have warned.
France this week threatened to veto post-Brexit trade talks over fishing rights and the issue remains one of the main bones of contention that have stymied a deal, along with so-called level playing provisions.

And Wee Burney’s plans to rejoin the bloc have been dealt a blow says the Express.

NICOLA STURGEON has been warned by EU insider Philippe Lamberts that Scotland must adopt the euro if it is to join the EU, as the Belgian MEP tells Express.co.uk Boris Johnson is to blame for the pro-independence surge.
Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are looking to take an independent Scotland into the EU, but they may have to make a key concession in order to achieve their goal. The Scottish First Minister has previously said Scotland would not adopt the euro while joining the bloc. Asked last year if Scotland would change to the euro, Ms Sturgeon said: “No, I don’t think it would.”

Lockdown

Back to the virus, and the Telegraph says things are not getting better.

The vast majority of rural towns and areas will see their hopes of being “decoupled” from neighbouring Covid hotspots in higher tiers dashed this week, Matt Hancock has suggested, as senior ministers appeared resigned to London entering Tier 3.
The Health Secretary wrote in a letter to Tory MPs that “lived experience” showed that “narrow carve-outs” of lower prevalence areas often leads to them “catching up” or “overtaking” areas close by with high levels of infection.

And London is not out of trouble, says the Mail.

London‘s Tory MPs have urged Boris Johnson not to inflict ‘untold damage’ on the capital by moving it into a tier 3 lockdown this week.
In a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday, the MPs urge the Prime Minister to spare the capital because shutting it down would hurt not just Londoners, but ‘people across the nation’ who depend on the ‘wealth and prosperity generated by our great city’.
A decision on whether to plunge London into the highest lockdown before Christmas was going to the wire this weekend, with a row brewing with Ministers after police and local councils objected to plans to divide London into different tiers.

Testing

The Mail has an interesting piece by Dr Tom Jefferson, who calls testing ‘a blunder’.

For the past few weeks I have received a stream of unsettling letters and emails from members of the public. They are all complete strangers, people I’ve never met. They decided to get in touch out of what I can only describe as desperation, having read about the research I’m conducting with my colleague, Professor Carl Heneghan.
They are at their wits’ end because they are testing positive for Covid-19 despite having recovered from their symptoms. Some never had symptoms in the first place but are still being told they have the virus long after any possible infection. They are anxious and confused. Their lives are on hold.

Christmas

Another lockdown after Christmas?  The Mail reports:

NHS bosses have warned Boris Johnson that relaxing Covid restrictions over Christmas could lead to cases spiraling out of control yet again fears a new crackdown could hit the festive period.
Under the Government’s plans for a more-normal festive season, families are able to form a ‘bubble’ with two other households between December 23 and 27.
And in November, the Prime Minister pledged that several areas under the Government’s harshest set of lockdown rules will be moved to Tier Two before the end of this week.

Scrap your Christmas plans, says iNews.

Scientists and government advisors have called on people to reconsider Christmas plans with family and friends and disregard the temporary easing of Covid restrictions in a bid to avoid spiking infections, hospitalisations and further lockdowns in the New Year.
Under current measures, three households are allowed to mix as a “Christmas bubble” between 23 and 27 December, but experts have warned that Government instructions to simply “follow the rules” fails to take into account the significant impact the loosened restrictions may have, with fears of a third wave just weeks before mass vaccinations take place.

Looks like we are bouncing between freedom and lockdown, says Yahoo News.

NHS bosses have warned Boris Johnson that relaxing restrictions could trigger a third wave of coronavirus at the busiest time of year for hospitals.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, NHS Providers urged “extreme caution” in moving any area of England to a lower tier.
The first review of England’s tier allocation is due take place on Wednesday, two weeks after the three-tier system was brought in following the end of lockdown.

And travelling will be tough, says the Telegraph.

Christmas rail passengers whose trains are disrupted or cancelled face going to the back of the queue to help with social distancing, senior rail sources have warned.
Pre-booking and carriage-spacing measures over the five-day bubble period mean passengers won’t be able to get straight onto the next train if theirs is cancelled, but have to wait until one comes available with enough space to accommodate them safely.

There won’t be any trains on Boxing Day, says the Mail.

Most of Britain’s rail network will shut down on Boxing Day, adding more pressure to December 27, which is set to see a chaotic rush of millions travelling to beat the bubble deadline.
Families are getting a five-day reprieve from coronavirus restrictions over the festive period, with up to three households allowed to mix between December 23 and 27.
But many are likely to leave the rush back home until that last day of that period, with heavily reduced services on a small number of lines, and the long-distance routes closing down completely 24 hours before.

BBC

The left-wing-ness of the BC is exposed in the Mail.

The scale of the BBC‘s Left-wing comedy bias is laid bare for the first time today in an audit of its entertainment output.
Research seen by The Mail on Sunday shows that out of 364 comedy slots broadcast by the BBC over the past month, just four featured comedians with explicitly Conservative or pro-Brexit views.
By contrast, a total of 268 slots were filled by comedians with publicly pronounced, Left-leaning or ‘woke’ views, such as Nish Kumar, Adam Hills and Shappi Khorsandi.

The Sun says the BC is ‘awash’ with left-wingers.

BBC shows are awash with woke or left-wing comedians, a study has found.
Three-quarters of prime time slots are taken up by Tory-bashing or anti-Brexit comics.
New Director-General Tim Davie has vowed to overhaul the Beeb’s output after right-of-centre artists complained they cannot get a look in with leftie programme-makers.
The Campaign for Common Sense monitored 141 comics on 364 slots on BBC1, BBC2 and Radio 4 last month.

Snow

And to add to the Christmas chaos travel, the weather could turn nasty, says the Express.

STORM hell whipped up by freak twists in a 150mph jet stream could give way to a savage winter blast in the run up to Christmas amid warnings for a snow deluge.
Cyclonic Atlantic weather systems will unleash fierce winds and heavy downpours from Sunday as the jet swoops over Britain.
Mild air dragged in from the south next week will nudge temperatures in parts of the country into double figures although it will arrive laden with rain.

The Sun calls it an ‘ice bomb’.

BRITS are set to be in for a white Christmas as temperatures could plummet to -7C on the big day.
The Met Office is predicting that between December 16 and 25, there will be a mixture of showers and bright spells across the country.
The ‘ice bomb’ is set to come after the end of this week sees milder conditions.

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