Brexit

Threats and blackmail are being touted by the Prime Minister over her Brexit deal.  The Mail says:

Theresa May has warned Tory MPs that if her Brexit deal fails to pass the Commons this week the UK will be stuck in the Brussels version of a ‘Hotel California’ – unable ever to leave the EU.
The Prime Minister has been advised that, if her troubled agreement is rejected again this week – forcing her to apply to the EU for a long extension to Article 50 – then the Commons would have the power to delay Brexit indefinitely.

More blackmail in the Express:

THERESA May last night warned MPs they have just three days to back her deal – or face Britain remaining under EU rule.
The Prime Minister’s plea came as senior Brexiteers began to switch their support to her deal amid suggestions up to 30 Labour MPs could back it, along with the DUP. However, a hardcore group of Tory Brexiteer MPs have vowed to hold out against supporting the proposal in the hope Britain will leave with no deal on March 29.

And the Times.

Theresa May will tell Conservative MPs this week to back her or risk never leaving the EU, after she was warned that if her Brexit deal falls, parliament would have the power to delay the UK’s departure indefinitely.
The prime minister will tell Brexiteers they have until Thursday to support her or risk a “collective political failure” in the form of a “Hotel California Brexit” where “you can check out, but you can never leave”.

But Westmonster says the Brexiteers will stand firm.

Conservative Brexiteer MPs are indicating that they still don’t plan to vote for Theresa May’s deal when it is brought back to the House of Commons for a third time.
Former DEFRA secretary of state and ardent Brexiteer, Owen Paterson, has announced he will not be voting for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement when it comes back to the Commons for the third time on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister has written in the Telegraph to try and persuade her MPs to vote for her Withdrawal Agreement.

Amidst the Parliamentary drama at Westminster last week, a greater clarity emerged about the choices we face as a country.
In Strasbourg last Monday, I secured a package of legally-binding improvements to the Brexit deal that respond to the legitimate concerns of MPs about the Northern Ireland backstop.   I said that a failure to support that improved deal would open up a range of undesirable alternatives, from not leaving the EU as scheduled on March 29, to the risk of a second referendum, a general election or the increased possibility of leaving without a deal. So it proved.

But MPs and pundits have been lining up against her, also in the Telegraph. Owen Paterson says:

Despite the turbulence of last week’s votes, the law remains that the UK will leave the EU at 11pm on March 29. The Remainer plots – supported on some votes by certain unruly ministers – to seize control of the parliamentary timetable or force a second referendum were all defeated.
But the Commons did resolve that a short extension to June 30 2019 should be sought on the condition that “the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement.” The Prime Minister will, therefore, present her deal to the Commons again. Without substantial changes, I will vote against it again.

Also in the Telegraph, Gisela Stuart adds:

Amid what looks like chaos, it can help to keep a clear head. Anyone looking at Westminster from the outside would be forgiven for being bemused, anxious and quite probably also angry. As a former MP, even I struggle to comprehend quite how our politicians have brought the country to this point.
We didn’t have to be where we are now. The problem started after the referendum where Leavers who had thought about what to do next found themselves outside government.

Grassroots Tories are also trying to get their message over to the PM.  The Telegraph reports:

Theresa May has been told by the leaders of dozens of local Conservative grassroots associations that she will be “personally” held responsible for any “betrayal” of Brexit.
Nearly 40 local party chairmen and longtime activists have told the Prime Minister that they are in an “absolute state of despair as to what is happening to democracy in this once great country of ours”.

And the Irish politicians are still unhappy with the Withdrawal Agreement, reports BBC News.

The Democratic Unionist Party has said there are “still issues to be discussed” with the government as Theresa May continues to try to win support for her Brexit deal.
Mrs May is expected to bring her withdrawal agreement back to the Commons next week for a third vote.
It comes after MPs this week rejected her deal and voted to delay Brexit.
The DUP, which has twice voted against the agreement, said it remained in discussions with the government.

The Sun claims the PM might even pull the vote if she is told it won’t go through.

THERESA May is ready to ditch her Brexit deal rather than face a third humiliating defeat.
The PM will not force a vote this week unless she is convinced she has the support to get it through.
Theresa May is ready to ditch her Brexit deal rather than face a third humiliating defeat – which could spark a two-year delay to leaving the EU.
In a stark message to dithering Tory MPs, she vowed there will be no fourth attempt if she fails this time.

ITV News’s Robert Peston agrees:

Although the prime minister wants to hold another “meaningful vote” on her Brexit plan next week, it is by no means certain that, when it comes to the crunch, she will choose to do so.
I am told by her close colleagues, that two conditions must be met for her to go ahead with the vote, probably on Tuesday.
First, Northern Ireland’s DUP must say on Monday that they have, at the last, changed their minds and have decided to vote with her.

EU

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the EU has realised Brexit could actually happen, reports the Express.

BREXIT crisis talks are underway in Brussels and the UK – but as time runs out to reach agreement on a deal, one political expert has warned all hope has nearly gone.
The UK remains split over Brexit following a series of Parliament votes this week. MPs voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for a second time on Tuesday but backed an extension of the March 29 Brexit deadline on Thursday.

The Guardian calls it ‘war-gaming’.

The EU is war-gaming for the fall of Theresa May amid a complete collapse in confidence in the prime minister after a week of chaos over Brexit, a leaked document seen by the Observer reveals.
In the run-up to a crucial summit of EU leaders where May will ask for a delay to Brexit, Brussels fears there is little hope that she will succeed in passing her deal this week and is preparing itself for a change of the guard in Downing Street.
A diplomatic note of a meeting of EU ambassadors and senior officials reveals an attempt to ensure that any new prime minister cannot immediately unpick the withdrawal agreement should May be replaced in the months ahead.

Euro elections

It seems that our country’s politicians have been warned that the Euro Elections will take place, reports the Telegraph.

Britain’s political parties have been formally told by the electoral regulator to prepare to fight the European Parliament elections in two months’ time as fears of a lengthy delay to Brexit grow.
In a move that is likely to ignite anger among Brexiteers, fresh guidance running to 23 page booklet seen by the Sunday Telegraph has been made available to political parties by the Electoral Commission.

The Express also reports the Electoral Commission’s warning.

FEARS of a lengthy delay to Brexit continue to grow as the UK’s political parties prepare to fight the European Parliament elections in two months’ time.
A 23-page booklet has been made available to political parties by the Electoral Commission, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The document which is for parties hoping to stand as candidates stated “on 23 May 2019 voters in the United Kingdom will cast their ballot to elect 73 Members of the European Parliament.” In light of these elections, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is likely to return to politics with his new Brexit party.

Labour Party

Labour are still working towards a second referendum, says the Telegraph.

Labour will this week back a cross-party amendment which would set Britain on course for a referendum on Theresa May’s deal.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the final text of the amendment by backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which has been revised following input from Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary.
Labour plans to whip its MPs to vote for the amendment, which the two backbenchers will table on this week’s Meaningful Vote.

The Mail claims Labour has benefitted from the chaos.

Theresa May has performed a miracle. Her imploding premiership has allowed Jeremy Corbyn to undertake a skilful make-over.
Over the past days, the bedraggled Marxist fanatic has been morphing into an elegant statesman smoothly preaching goodwill to end the Brexit crisis.
If the Government’s meltdown continues and Corbyn’s astute transformation gains traction, Britain faces the prospect of sleepwalking into disaster – heralding the most extreme Left-wing government in the nation’s history.

Conservative Party

The country will not be kind to Europhiles, says the Telegraph.

Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid will be “remorselessly” target by Eurosceptics during the next Tory leadership campaign after voting to extend Article 50.
Mr Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, and Mr Javid, the Home Secretary, are seen as “centrist” prospects for the Tory leadership who have the potential to win the support of both Eurosceptics and Remainers.
However on Thursday evening they were among 18 Cabinet ministers who backed the Prime Minister’s motion to extend Article 50 until the end of June.

The Express reports the imminent resignation of the Prime Minister.

SENIOR aides have said Theresa May will be “gone in weeks” and told her she must quit in order to secure enough backing from Brexiters for her divorce deal.
Top advisers to the Prime Minister have secretly admitted they believe she is “finished” and should “fall on her sword” in the wake of this week’s further Commons defeats. Two of Mrs May’s closest confidants told the Daily Telegraph the PM should announce a timetable for her departure so she can “go with dignity” and one cabinet minister told The Sun: “I can’t see this continuing beyond the next few weeks.” The minister said Sir Graham Brady, chair of the powerful backbench 1922 Committee, would have to “tap her on the shoulder” and tell her she cannot continue.

Breitbart also reports May’s potential future.

Senior aides to Prime Minister Theresa May believe she is “finished” and want her to “fall on her sword” now and set a date for her departure, in hopes this will allow her to “go with dignity”.
The calls follow a second heavy defeat for the Withdrawal Agreement which Mrs May negotiated with the European Union, which is deeply unpopular with Brexiteer Tories as well as Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), on which her minority government relies to achieve a parliamentary majority.

The Telegraph turns its attention to who might succeed May.

Former Cabinet ministers Dominic Raab and Esther McVey are being tipped by MPs to be the ‘Brexiteer’ candidate in a future Tory leadership election amid fears Boris Johnson’s chances may be waning.
Speculation is rife in Westminster that Theresa May will be asked to stand down by a group of senior Conservative MPs led by 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady in April or May if Britain leaves the European Union in the next few months.

The Mail reports on the hopefuls.

Tory leadership hopefuls have “stepped up a gear” in making their pitches to replace Theresa May as pressure mounts on the prime minister to set a date for leaving Downing Street.
Rivals have undertaken a flurry of activity both behind the scenes and in the media as speculation grows that Ms May will announce her departure in the coming weeks.

And Boris is said by the Sun to be a leading contender.

BORIS Johnson has been urged to become a Brexit hero – and boost his hopes of becoming PM.
The former Foreign Secretary’s future rests on whether or not he backs Theresa May’s deal.
He has twice voted against it but admirers believe he must be on the winning side again to stand a chance of making it into Number 10.

Westmonster also claims Boris might just attain his dream of becoming Prime Minister.

When it comes to who should replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, there is still one clear successor in mind for Conservative voters: Boris Johnson.
Despite the chattering class dismissing the twice-elected Mayor of London, the staunch Brexiteer is remains top of the pile when Tory voters are asked who they want to see take over next.
A YouGov poll for The Times asked Conservative voters who they think would make a good Leader. 41% said Boris compared to 28% for Michael Gove, 27% for Jacob Rees-Mogg, 26% for David Davis, 25% for Sajid Javid and 24% for Jeremy Hunt.

And the Times reports the Leader of the House’s efforts to take the top job.

Cabinet ministers plotting to replace Theresa May dramatically stepped up their campaigning last week as her premiership faltered, amid a belief in the prime minister’s top team that she will be forced to resign before the summer.
Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, hosted a dinner party on Tuesday, shortly after May’s Brexit deal crashed to a second landslide defeat. “Leadership was the only topic of conversation,” one source said.

Overall, the country is fed up with Parliament, says the Times.

The number of voters who think Britain is facing a serious national crisis has soared after a week of Brexit chaos — and the public thinks the prime minister should resign, a new poll has found.
By a margin of 49% to 33%, voters think Theresa May should quit. Even 37% of Tory voters want her out, according to the YouGov survey commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign.

France

President Macron still has a big problem, reports the Mail.

French President Emmanuel Macron has cut short a skiing trip in the Pyrenees to return to Paris for a crisis meeting after ‘yellow vest’ protesters trashed shops and torched cars in the heart of Paris.
Businesses on the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris were destroyed on Saturday, on the 18th weekend of French the protests, characterised by a sharp increase in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout.

ITV News also reports on the continuing riots.

French yellow vest protesters have clashed with riot police near the Arc de Triomphe as they kicked off their 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.
The violence started when protesters threw smoke bombs and other objects at officers along the Champs-Elysees — scene of repeated past rioting — and started hitting the windows of a police van. Riot police then retreated, with protesters kicking the side of the large truck.
Later, water cannon unleashed bursts from a side street to try to push back protesters clustered between a Cartier boutique and a Mont Blanc store.

And the Sun claims the protestors demanded Macron’s head.

BLOODY violence erupted in Paris today as marauding protesters calling for French President Emmanuel Macron’s head brought terror and carnage to the capital.
Teargas and baton charges were used by fired-up riot cops on a so-called ‘Act XVIII’ Day of Rage organised by the fearless Yellow Vest movement.
Fighting broke out on the Champs Elysee, the most famous avenue in the under-siege city, by 11am, when there had already been 25 arrests.

Foreign aid

The Sun quotes a report saying foreign aid is being squandered.

BILLIONS of pounds in foreign aid cash are at risk of being squandered, a report has said.
New measures are needed to prevent government departments from wasting cash, it says.
The warning comes as the aid budget has swelled to £14 billion – with nearly £4 billion spent outside the overseas aid department.
Calls for the changes come from the Taxpayers’ Alliance as they launch their First Aid report into development cash.

NHS

Opioids could be rationed, says the Times.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), the official health watchdog, is to develop guidelines for GPs on prescribing opioids and how to ease patients off the powerful painkillers.
The move comes after an investigation by The Sunday Times exposed a huge increase in prescriptions of super-strength painkillers, stark variations in GP prescribing patterns and soaring addiction rates, overdoses and deaths.
This newspaper revealed last month that growing numbers of Britons were being given the highly addictive drugs for chronic pain — despite evidence that they are mostly ineffective at treating the condition.

Social care

The cap on social care costs will not help the vast majority of pensioners, says the Times.

About 95% of pensioners will not benefit from a proposed cap of £100,000 on the cost of social care because it does not cover accommodation bills, experts warn.
A typical pensioner could have eight years of care before reaching the limit — but the average care home stay is less than 22 months, according to research by the accountancy firm Grant Thornton.
In a letter to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, last week, George McNamara, the director of policy at the charity Independent Age, said the proposed cap “would only benefit around 20,000 people — fewer than 5% of the 421,000 people in residential care”.

International weaponry

Ghost ships could take to the water, says the Sun.

THE US Navy is launching a fleet of ‘ghost’ battleships tasked with tracking and taking out Russia’s latest hypersonic nukes.
The 10 state-of-the-art drone vessels will carry a variety of sensors and deadly missiles – but not one member of crew.
The proliferation of supersonic and hypersonic missiles makes it paramount to detect threats from as far away as possible.
But – up until now – the curvature of the Earth has dramatically lowered the distance at which low-flying missiles can be detected before they hit.

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