WTO rules

Telegraph
The UK will “flourish and prosper” even if it walks away from the EU without a deal, Jeremy Hunt has insisted.
In an interview with The Telegraph, the Foreign Secretary says that while a no-deal Brexit would cause disruption, the country has faced much bigger challenges in its history.
He also admits wanting “a crack” at succeeding Theresa May after the Prime Minister steers the country through what he calls “this challenging next few months”, following her pledge to stand aside before the next scheduled election in 2022.

Mail
Jeremy Hunt has insisted the UK will ‘flourish and prosper’ even without a Brexit deal as he says he would also like a ‘crack’ at being Prime Minister.
His comments come after Mrs May made it clear she would step down before the scheduled 2022 general election as she fought off a vote of no confidence last week.
The foreign secretary’s Brexit comments are likely to heighten cabinet tensions including with Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd who has warned about the impact of failing to secure an agreement.
Mr Hunt told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘I’ve always thought that even in a no-deal situation this is a great country, we’ll find a way to flourish and prosper. We’ve faced much bigger challenges in our history.

Express
BREXITEER Penny Mordant has fuelled speculation of a leadership plot to oust Theresa May after she established a detailed plan for a “managed” no-deal Brexit that would slash the UK’s eye-watering £39billion divorce bill to the EU by half.
The International Development Secretary is set to unveil her idea to unblock the Brexit stalemate between the Prime Minister and the bloc by simply cutting Brussels out of the equation. Her idea, called a “maximum facilitation” scheme, will see Britain paying £10billion per year until an organised exit takes place in early 2021, slicing £19billion off the Brexit bill.

Breitbart
Sammy Wilson, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) spokesman on Brexit, has rubbished claims by Chancellor Philip “Remainer Phil” Hammond and others that a “No Deal” exit from the European Union would plunge the United Kingdom into a post-apocalyptic situation.
In an impassioned but humourous speech to a Leave Means Leave rally featuring speakers from the business world as well as a broad range of political parties, the East Antrim MP took Remainers to task over claims a clean break with the EU would lead to shortages of all sorts of vital items.
“Unlike those who are spreading hysteria at the moment, I don’t believe that leaving on [World Trade Organization] terms, leaving without an agreement with the EU, will be a disaster,” the Ulsterman confidently declared.

Breitbart
The British government has seemingly rejected an official petition for the United Kingdom to make a clean break from the European Union on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms — “No Deal” — despite Theresa May’s previous warning to the EU that she believes “No deal is better than a bad deal”.
The petition, which has rapidly amassed over 85,000 signatures as of Saturday afternoon, December 15th, complains the United Kingdom is “wasting Billions of pounds of taxpayers money trying to negotiate in a short space of time [sic]”, and suggests it would be better to make a clean break from the bloc and negotiate a deal from the outside as a third-party country, like Japan has.

Westmonster
A red hot petition calling for the UK to exit the EU on 29th March 2019 without a deal is the most popular petition on the official Parliamentary website.
It has rocketed to over 70,000 signatures already, and reads: “We are wasting billions of pounds of taxpayers money trying to negotiate in a short space of time.
“Leaving the EU in March 2019 will allow the UK good time to negotiate more efficiently. The EU will be more eager to accept a deal on our terms having lost a major partner.”

Second referendum

Express
MEMBERS of Theresa May’s Cabinet are working on a “strategy” that may leave “no other options” but a second referendum on Brexit, a Cabinet source revealed.
Cabinet ministers are said to be increasingly warming up to the idea of holding a new vote on Brexit. Two ministers openly spoke of the second referendum as a solution to the “deadlock” the Government is currently in, with one arguing the “strategy” currently in place won’t leave anything to choose from but a new vote. The Cabinet minister told The Times: “The strategy here is step by step to take every other option off the table so there is no option but a second referendum.”

Guardian
Theresa May is being urged to give her MPs free rein to vote for a second referendum, with a new group of ministers poised to back another public ballot on Brexit.
Cabinet ministers are making fresh pleas for a new approach after the prime minister’s bleakest week in office, which has left her authority seriously damaged  and led some Tory MPs to fear it will become impossible for her to govern.
Senior figures in the government are convinced that with no sign of the parliamentary stalemate being resolved, Tory MPs must be allowed a free vote in a series of ballots over different options – allowing ministers and backbenchers to support a second referendum as a way out.

Huffington Post
Brexiteers are scared of fighting a second Brexit referendum campaign based on facts, Tony Blair has said.
The former prime minister said a so-called People’s Vote on the final deal is now inevitable despite Brexiteers’ fears the vote to quit the EU will be reversed following nearly two years of tortured negotiations.
In a central London speech, Blair said another vote may be “improbable” but that all the other options, including Theresa May’s “hodgepodge” deal, a “pointless” a Norway-plus arrangement or “painful” no deal, will be rejected by MPs.

Mail
Number 10 has dismissed calls by Tony Blair for a second Brexit referendum claiming giving people a vote will further divide the nation.
Mr Blair insisted Theresa May must call a second referendum with the option of remaining in the European Union because parliament is deadlocked.
The former PM said there was no majority in Westminster for Mrs May’s own Brexit plan or leaving without a deal.
However, a Downing Street spokesperson rejected Mr Blair’s advice claiming the PM has been ‘could be clearer’ about her view of the divisive nature of a second referendum or delaying Brexit.

Express
THERESA May today launched an astonishing attack on Tony Blair as she said moves for a second referendum were “an insult to the British people”.
Her comments came as insiders said Labour was on the verge of backing a so-called People’s Vote, with shadow chancellor Johns McDonnell leading a push to force Jeremy Corbyn to agree. Sources in the cabinet have also confirmed that there is a faction of Remainers pushing Mrs May to support a second referendum. The potential betrayal of Leave voters in Labour heartlands comes as the Prime Minister last night lashed out at Tony Blair over his attempts to undermine efforts to get a good deal with Brussels by holding parallel talks with the European Commission.

Mirror
Furious Theresa May has accused Tony Blair of wrecking her last chance to save her Brexit deal – “insulting” the office he once held.
She said the ex-PM’s backing for a second referendum was deliberately sabotaging her bid to make EU leaders compromise on the Irish backstop.
Her explosive statement said: “There are too many people who want to subvert the process for their own political interests rather than act in the national interest.

Independent
Nigel Farage has told Brexit campaigners they should prepare for another referendum amid parliamentary deadlock over Theresa May’s planned deal.
The former Ukip leader told Leave supporters to be “ready” for a fresh public vote as reports suggest some cabinet ministers are increasingly receptive to the idea of giving the public the Final Say on Brexit.
Speaking at a Leave Means Leave rally in London, he “implored” Brexiteers to prepare for another campaign, suggesting he expected a fresh referendum within months.

Conservative Party

Times
Two of Theresa May’s most senior allies are preparing for a second EU referendum   hind her back, The Sunday Times can reveal, opening up another Tory civil war.
David Lidington — May’s deputy in all but name — held talks with Labour MPs on Thursday in an effort to build a cross-party coalition for a new vote as the prime minister faced a week of humiliation at the hands of MPs and European Union leaders.
Gavin Barwell, the No 10 chief of staff, told a cabinet minister last week that holding a second referendum was “the only way forward”, having concluded the prime minister has little prospect of persuading MPs to back her deal with Brussels.

Sun
THERESA May’s deputy and chief of staff have reportedly both held secret talks in a plot to hold a second Brexit referendum.
Deputy David Lidington has met with Labour MPs in secret while adviser Gavin Barwell has decided plans for another vote should be drawn up, it’s claimed.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, Mrs May’s defacto deputy, has met Labour MPs to discuss a cross-party consensus on the idea of a new vote, according to the Sunday Times.
The newspaper also claimed that Mrs May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell was supportive of the idea.

Mail
Theresa May’s chief of staff has triggered a civil war in Downing Street by telling Cabinet Ministers that a second EU referendum is the only way to break the Brexit deadlock.
Gavin Barwell, the Prime Minister’s most powerful and influential adviser, is understood to have decided that plans should be drawn up for another public poll. But his incendiary suggestion has been greeted with fury from Brexiteers in the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Mrs May’s deputy, David Lidington has held a series of secret meetings with Labour MPs to build a ‘coalition of the willing’ to force a new EU vote.

Telegraph
Theresa May’s chief whip is being accused of “freelancing” by holding talks with his Labour counterpart several times a week as he tries to find a solution for Brexit that will be approved by Parliament.
Brexiteers said they feared Julian Smith could be discussing options for a soft exit from the EU in order to secure opposition votes for a deal.
Labour, which opposes Mrs May’s plan, says any deal should deliver the “exact same benefits” of the single market and customs union, both of which pro-Leave MPs insist the UK must leave after Brexit.

Times
Senior Tories who had professed loyalty to Theresa May as she faced a motion of no confidence last week were at the same time secretly organising leadership bids to replace her.
James Cleverly, deputy chairman of the party, hit the airwaves to urge MPs to support the prime minister in Wednesday’s crunch vote and briefed journalists about May’s resilience after she told MPs she would not fight the next election.

Mail
Dominic Raab fears that he is being targeted as part of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign by jealous leadership rivals trying to knock him out of the fight to succeed Theresa May.
The former Brexit Secretary has been the focus of a group of bloggers who have been interviewing former members of Mr Raab’s Governmental private office as part of an investigation into his ‘management style’.
A furious Mr Raab believes he is being singled out for scrutiny because he has emerged as the early frontrunner in the race to become the next Tory leader.

Labour Party

Times
Labour would fall behind the Liberal Democrats in the polls if Jeremy Corbyn helped the Tories secure Brexit, according to a large new poll.
The YouGov survey of 5,000 voters, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign and conducted over the past week, found that support for Labour could fall from 36% to 22% if it helped pass a compromise deal with Brussels.
That would help the Lib Dems soar from 10% to 26%, their highest rating in any poll since they entered the coalition in 2010.

Times
A senior Labour Party official shared anti-semitic material blaming Jews for “all the wars in the world”.
Labour’s West Midlands regional organiser, Mohammed Yasin, was suspended last night after The Sunday Times approached the party with a dossier of his activity on social media. Labour has launched an investigation.
For more than two years Yasin, not to be confused with the Labour MP with a similar name, shared anti-semitic posts and 9/11 conspiracy theories, praised a homophobic preacher and described his former leader Tony Blair as a “child-killer”.

Mail
Labour will cripple Britain’s supermarkets and drive up the cost of food with a £6 billion stealth tax on hauliers, campaigners have warned.
Clive Lewis, a key lieutenant in the Shadow Treasury team, is pushing to dramatically put up lorry taxes by up to £12,096 a year per truck.
But last night he was warned this would spark chaos for shoppers as it risks bankrupting the country’s 496,000-strong haulage industry, which moves 98 per cent of all goods consumed in the UK.

Independent
A row has erupted among Jeremy Corbyn’s top team over when the party should push for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government, The Independent has learnt.
The dispute has seen key figures in the shadow cabinet demanding that the party strike sooner rather than later in order to remove the prime minister from office after she was weakened by an attempt by Tory MPs to oust her.
But Mr Corbyn and his allies are refusing to allow the offensive to go ahead until there is a good chance it will be successful, and are likely to block any attempt to move until Ms May has held her meaningful vote on her Brexit deal.

Immigration

Times
Immigration from the European Union will be slashed by up to 80% under plans to seize control of Britain’s borders that will be outlined by Sajid Javid.
The home secretary will shortly publish plans to end freedom of movement and preferential access for EU migrants after December 2020 that will see net immigration from Europe cut to as little as 10,000 a year.
Latest figures, published two weeks ago, showed that net immigration from the EU was 74,000 in the 12 months to June, the lowest figure for six years. But the government’s immigration white paper says this figure will be slashed to between 10,000 and 25,000 long-term migrants each year by 2025.

EU

Express
THERESA May’s hopes of securing assurances to her Brexit deal with the EU were dashed in Brussels after officials feared concessions would add extra fuel to the fire for Brexiteers.
The Prime Minister held showdown talks with European officials in the hope of seeking “further assurances” over her highly controversial deal and in particular the Irish ‘backstop’. But stubborn leaders were un-willing to give an inch to Mrs May and accused the UK of not knowing what they wanted from Brussels. The ‘meaningful vote’ in parliament was called off after Mrs May faced a “significant” defeat, which prompted a no-confidence vote in her leadership, which she survived by a majority of 85.

Times
EU officials are preparing emergency powers over key parts of the bloc’s economy as they expand their plans for a hard Brexit.
On Wednesday the European Commission will publish contingency action plans covering up to 13 areas where a UK exit without a deal on March 29 threatens chaos.
The UK has drawn up plans to charter ships for food and medical supplies, fearing a collapse in the Dover-Calais route if a surge in French customs checks effectively blocks the crossing. The scale of work required in every sector is mind-boggling, say officials.

Paris

Telegraph
Defiant “yellow vest” demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Saturday, but the anti-government protests appeared to be losing steam after major concessions by President Emmanuel Macron and another deadly terror attack on French soil.
Riot police fired tear gas and fought with protesters on the Champs Elysées and elsewhere in the capital, but these were minor incidents compared with the widespread rioting and looting that took place a week ago.

Express
JEREMY Hunt has warned parliament risks causing “real social instability” like the scenes with the yellow vest protestors in France if Brexit is not delivered. The Foreign Secretary told MP’s they must be “very careful” not to “get out of step with where the public are on Brexit”.
Mr Hunt urged the commons “not just think about what our own views on Brexit are, but we have to think what is the solution that is going to bring the country together”. Speaking to The Times, he added: “I wouldn’t rule out real social instability in this country.”

Christmas travel

Times
For Britain’s long-suffering train passengers, nothing says Christmas like a rail replacement bus service.
Scores of buses will replace trains on busy sections of the network operated by Great Western, Greater Anglia, East Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains, Northern and South Western this Christmas and new year because of a £148m programme of engineering works.
Four of London’s biggest stations — Paddington, Victoria, Liverpool Street and Euston — will partly shut and services will be significantly reduced to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Facebook

Telegraph
Facebook could face a fine of over $1.6bn (£1.3bn) after a glitch exposed the personal photos of almost 7 million users.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (IDPC) said it had opened an inquiry into the security breach, which included images that users had never actually shared on the social network.
Under EU data laws, it could result in a fine equal to four per cent of Facebook’s annual revenue if regulators determine the company did not do enough to prevent it.

Education

Times
Thousands of British teenagers who fail to achieve three Ds at A-level will be turned away from universities under plans outlining the most radical shake-up of higher education since the war.
The review of higher education chaired by Philip Augar, a former investment banker, is also expected to recommend slashing the £9,250 annual tuition fee to between £6,500 and £7,500 a year.
Under proposals to be published in the new year, teenagers with lower than three D grades would no longer be eligible for student loans to cover the cost of a degree, according to a leak.

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