Brexit

Brexit matters are getting pretty frantic.  The Times has what it calls an exclusive report that the government might be brought down this week.

Theresa May has been warned that her government “will lose its ability to govern” after Downing Street uncovered a bombshell plot by senior MPs to seize control of Brexit negotiations and sideline the prime minister.
A cross-party group of senior backbenchers — including former Tory ministers — plan what one senior figure branded a “very British coup” if May loses the crunch vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday.
At least two groups of rebel MPs are plotting to change Commons rules so motions proposed by backbenchers take precedence over government business, upending the centuries-old relationship between executive and legislature.
Downing Street believes that would enable MPs to suspend article 50, putting Brexit on hold.

There’s a Remainer plot to take control of the Brexit process – and stop it, reports the Express.

THE UK could plunge into a full-blown constitutional crisis next week, with MPs plotting to take control of the Brexit process and potentially reverse the referendum result of 2016.
The conspirators are thought to be planning to seize control of the House of Commons timetable, allowing non-Government MPs to table motions. The move could see laws passed preventing a hard-Brexit, or indeed any departure from the EU. A majority of MPs are opposed to quitting the EU without a deal.

The Times has a column by David Davis.

The government’s defeat last week, which will force it to come back to the Commons with a plan B if the proposed withdrawal agreement is defeated, also presents an opportunity to go back to the EU with our best and final offer. We can clearly state to our European friends that we will let them sell German cars, Irish beef and French wine at no tariff but it has to work both ways. The EU will protest, obstruct and resist but it always makes agreements at the 11th hour.
From the beginning, I feared too much was being conceded with too little in return. Now it is time for the UK to call the shots. So what are the options?

And the Sun has a comment by Tony Parsons.

THE British people are starting to realise that the fix is in.
Brexit looks like it is never going to happen because the British establishment are simply not going to allow it. Brexit will be blocked by a majority in the House of Commons, our elected representatives, who smile, bow, scrape and promise us anything and lie through their teeth when they want our votes.
And it will be blocked by the House of Lords, the Civil Service and by every living ex-Prime Minister, including Tony Blair, the bottom of the sewer, whose treacherous collaboration with a hostile foreign force would have seen him banged up in wartime.

And even the Scottish government has stuck its oar in, reports ITV News.

The Scottish Government has written to all MPs in Westminster, urging them to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal when it is put to a vote on Tuesday.
In the letter, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell described the coming week as “crucial” for the future of Scotland and outlined what steps the Scottish Government believe should be taken.
In addition to recommending that MPs reject both a no-deal Brexit and the Prime Minister’s deal, the letter states that the EU should be asked to extend Article 50 beyond the current March 29 deadline, with a view to then supporting a new referendum on EU membership.

Conservative Party

The Telegraph claims the Tories are about to split.

The Tories are on the brink of a historic split, senior Conservatives have warned, as Brexiteers and Remainers both threatened to torpedo the Government if they did not get their way on Brexit.
Pro-EU MPs claimed  a third of the Cabinet would resign if Theresa May pursued a no-deal Brexit in the face of almost certain defeat over her deal, as they threatened a walkout of backbenchers that would obliterate the Government’s Commons majority.

The Express has a column by the Prime Minister.

THE verdict of the referendum was clear – the people of the UK want our future to be outside the European Union. But behind the record number of votes cast lie many different views about exactly what that future should look like.
The same is true of Parliament. The vast majority of MPs want to respect the result of the referendum, which is why nearly all of us voted to trigger Article 50 two years ago. But there is far less of a consensus about the manner of our departure from the EU. This week, I have seen more than 200 MPs from different parties who want to rule out No Deal. I have debated with MPs who want a Second Referendum as well as those who want to pursue what they believe to be the perfect deal which for them means no deal at all.
And I have spoken with business and union leaders worried about jobs who want the certainty that comes from a smooth and orderly transition to our future relationship with the EU.

Extremism

A cabinet minister has claimed in the Express that if the PM’s vote is not defeated on Tuesday, riots could ensue.

BREXITEER Cabinet minister Chris Grayling has warned MPs that blocking Britain’s departure from the EU could “open the door” to “extremist” populist political forces in the UK.
Ahead of Tuesday’s crunch vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the Transport Secretary said putting a stop to the split may end centuries of “moderate” politics in Britain. Urging Conservative colleagues to get behind the Prime Minister’s unpopular deal, he warned millions of Leave voters would feel “cheated” if Brexit is not delivered. His comments came just hours before pro-Brexit protestors and anti-Brexit demonstrators clashed in central London.

His comments are also reported in the Mail.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been accused of engaging in ‘gutter politics’ after he warned that stopping Brexit from happening could lead to the rise of ‘extremist’ political forces in the UK.
The cabinet minister, who campaigned to leave the European Union, had claimed that putting a stop to Britain’s withdrawal could end the centuries of ‘moderate’ politics the UK has enjoyed since the English Civil War.

The Guardian has slated his comments.

Chris Grayling’s claim that blocking Brexit could lead to a rise in far-right extremism is dangerous scaremongering and a desperate attempt to shore up the prime minister’s  Brexit deal, campaigners and MPs have said.
The transport secretary told the Daily Mail that Britain would become a less tolerant and more nationalistic society if it failed to leave the EU. He said reversing the referendum result would result in the 17 million people who voted to leave feeling cheated and urged colleagues to support Theresa May’s deal.
“People should not underestimate this,” he said. “We would see a different tone in our politics. A less tolerant society, a more nationalistic nation. It will open the door to extremist populist political forces in this country of the kind we see in other countries in Europe.

The Independent reports a claim that it is ‘gutter politics’.

A cabinet minister has been accused of engaging in “gutter politics” after warning MPs that blocking Brexit could trigger a surge of far-right extremism.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, said that reversing the decision to leave the European Union would “open the door” to “extremist” populist political forces and lead to divisions not seen since the English Civil War.
Mr Grayling called on MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a Commons showdown next week, as the prime minister braces for a historic defeat. Some estimates suggest she could lose by 200 votes.
His comments drew condemnation from Labour MP David Lammy, who described it as a “desperate attempt to use a tiny far-right minority to hold our democracy to ransom”.

Labour Party

It’s not only her own party that is hoping to get rid of the Prime Minister, says the Mail.   Could BoJo finally get to no, 10?

Labour is plotting to unseat Theresa May within days, Tory MPs have been warned.
Jeremy Corbyn could call a no-confidence motion as early as Wednesday if Conservative rebels force a Government defeat over Brexit the previous night.
The Opposition leader was last night readying for a fight at the ballot box by setting out his ‘vision’ for Britain under a Labour Government.
Labour strategists have pounced on No 10’s warning to wavering Tories in marginal seats that they face ‘Armageddon’ if they vote down Mrs May’s deal with Brussels and their rebellion triggers a General Election.
If a no confidence vote is called on Wednesday, the DUP is threatening to join forces with Labour unless the Prime Minister is replaced by a Brexiteer such as Boris Johnson.

The Guardian claims Labour MPs are preparing for government.

Labour MPs have been told to prepare for Jeremy Corbyn to table a dramatic and immediate vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government as early as Tuesday evening in an attempt to force a general election if – as expected – she suffers a heavy defeat this week on her Brexit deal.
Messages have been sent to Labour MPs, even those who are unwell, to ensure their presence both for the “meaningful vote” on the prime minister’s Brexit blueprint on Tuesday and the following day. Labour whips have told MPs the no-confidence vote is likely to be tabled within hours of a government loss, with the actual vote taking place on Wednesday.

Second referendum

The LibDems are still pressing for a vote which will include an option to stay in the EU, reports the Times.

Sir Vince Cable has signalled that he is prepared to help install Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street if he backs a new EU referendum.
The Liberal Democrat leader today demands that Theresa May “seek an extension of article 50”, putting Brexit on hold, as the “first step to take to deliver a second referendum” rather than “scurrying back to Brussels”. Party sources said he was prepared to work with “anyone” who supported a new referendum.
A new poll shows the public would rather have another referendum than another Commons vote.

And the Independent says a second referendum is preferable to a General Election.

Giving the British public a Final Say on Brexit through a new referendum is the most popular path if Theresa May’s deal is rejected by MPs, a new poll has revealed.
An exclusive survey for The Independent shows that a fresh vote received more support than any of the four other options put to the public, including allowing the prime minister to go back to Brussels or a no-deal Brexit.
The survey by poling organisation BMG Research also suggests that more people oppose Ms May’s deal than back it, although the prime minister can take some comfort in the data showing a softening of opposition.

Huffington Post also reports the growing calls for a second referendum.

Campaigners for a second EU referendum are gearing up for a crucial 72 hours if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is voted down, in which they hope to “kill off” the alternative Norway-style ‘plan B’ floated by some MPs.
May has promised to “move quickly” if her deal is rejected by the Commons on Tuesday, but it is unclear in what direction, and battle lines are being drawn as MPs try to put together a majority for their preferred alternative.
One Whitehall source said preparations are already underway in Downing Street for Labour to call a vote of no confidence in the government as soon as Wednesday.

Bercow

It looks like the Commons Speaker has been plotting a power grab for years, says the Times.

Soon after he became Speaker in 2009, John Bercow asked his key advisers to identify ways in which he could use his position to strengthen the House of Commons and make life more difficult for the government.
One reform identified was to allow more urgent questions, dragging ministers to the chamber in a way his predecessors had never done. Many ministers hated it, but Bercow saw this as the greatest impact made by his speakership.
His actions last week and in the days ahead may turn out to mark an even more important shift in the relationship between the executive and the legislature.

And he met a leading Remainer just before deciding to arbitrarily change the rules, reports the Mail.

Commons Speaker John Bercow secretly met Tory rebel Dominic Grieve just hours before throwing out centuries of tradition to allow the MP to scupper Theresa May’s Brexit  plans.
The pair spoke in Mr Bercow’s grace-and-favour Commons apartment the day before the Speaker tore up the rule book to allow the former Attorney General to table an amendment to wrest control of Brexit from the Prime Minister, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Mr Grieve, who was last night accused of mounting a ‘stitch-up’ over the extraordinary events, refused to reveal what he had discussed with Mr Bercow but insisted: ‘Speakers make up their own minds.’

EU

It’s hardly surprising that members of the European Parliament have been begging the UK to stay in.  The Independent reports:

MEPs from nearly every country in the EU have signed a heartfelt joint letter to the British public asking them to reconsider their decision to leave the bloc to prevent an “unfolding Brexit disaster”.
The cross-party message, which was organised by an Austrian MEP and signed by 129 of his colleagues, says the continent is “looking with growing anxiety” across the Channel to events occurring in Britain.
“We are reluctant to intervene in your domestic politics, but we cannot help but notice that the opinion polls show a growing number of voters who want an opportunity to reconsider the Brexit decision, now that it is clear that Brexit is very different to the promises made by the Leave campaign nearly three years ago,” the MEPs say.

BBC

Despite plaudits for her first session on Question Time, Fiona Bruce has been accused of anti-Brexit bias, reports the Express.

FIONA Bruce has been accused of anti-Brexit bias for handing a Labour Remainer four more minutes of air-time than a pro-Brexit Tory during her first night hosting the BBC’s Question Time.
The presenter annoyed Brexiteers when she interrupted deputy chairman of the Conservative Party James Cleverly 20 times during Thursday evening’s debate show, while butting in on Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry only 11 times.
The 54-year-old allowed Ms Thornberry 10 minutes and 22 seconds to put her points across while Mr Cleverly was given six minutes and 32 seconds.
Viewers also noticed the difference between the amount of time given to anti-Brexit audience members as opposed to those in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

Knife crime

Elsewhere, the Mail reports that police officers will use metal detectors in an effort to cut stabbings.

Police will arm themselves with metal detectors in a bid to tackle a sharp rise in knife crime in the West Midlands.
It’s the first time officers have been issued with ‘wands’ as part of plans to use stop and search powers to take deadly weapons off the street.
West Midlands Police will be handed eighty knife wands following a recent Home Office report that showed the region has the highest level of knife crime outside London.
And half of all response cars will also carry the devices to make it more difficult for criminals to conceal weapons.

Education

And the Times reports the rise in crime by excluded pupils.

An epidemic of stabbings, drug crime and murders linked to children who have been excluded from school will be tackled this week in a crackdown on head teachers who expel struggling pupils.
Under a radical new Ofsted inspection framework to be unveiled on Wednesday by the chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, inspectors will be told to give the lowest possible mark of “inadequate” to heads who have been “off-rolling” pupils because they would not score highly in exams.
Ofsted has found that 19,000 pupils were removed from school rolls before taking their GCSEs in 2017.

NHS

Our National Health Service has also seen a rise in the results of knife and drug crimes, reports the Telegraph.

Torture wounds, machete slashes and packets of crack cocaine trapped inside tiny bodies. These are some of the severe injuries emergency departments are seeing as the country’s knife crime problem intensifies and spreads from big cities into rural areas.
In the week which saw 14-year-old Jayden Moodie stabbed and killed in London, those on the front line of the battle against knife crime have told of the disturbing scenes and life-changing injuries which they see every day, as the country’s trauma units are forced to develop a “military practice” in order to cope with extreme wounds.

Elderly care

The Times reports the success of a scheme which looks at the diets of elderly people.

Feeding elderly patients an extra meal a day halves their chances of dying in hospital and could save an average of more than £1,400 a patient, an NHS scheme has shown.
More than 4,000 elderly people a year die within a month of being admitted for a hip fracture, a problem often attributed to failing to eat enough food.
Under the pilot scheme, nutritional advisers plan the extra meal and sit with patients while it is eaten, while visitors are encouraged to bring snacks. At the five trusts in England and one in Scotland testing it since 2016, the mortality rate has dropped from 11% to 5.5%.
The extra calories, plus the morale boost of not eating alone, is making the difference, doctors believe.

HS2

The High Speed train project could be not so high speed, says the Sun.

A CABINET Minister has fired a stinging attack over the “viability” of the £56 billion high speed rail network – as the trains may be slower.
Andrea Leadsom has questioned whole business case of the Hs2 line if speeds are to be cut by more than 30mph to keep the project within budget.
Leadsom wrote to HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston saying new plans could undermine “speed, capacity and connectivity” if the number of trains are cut per hour.
Speeds could be cut for the trains – with a maximum speed of 225 mph – when they travel through tunnels between the capital and Birmingham to cut the construction budget.

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