‘The Brexit Party’

The papers are full of nothing but Brexit today.  The Sun has an exclusive report on our former leader’s decision to rejoin the Brexit fight.

NIGEL Farage is making a comeback to frontline politics ­— as head of a new Brexit Party.
The former Ukip leader has decided to end months in the ­wilderness to fight against the great referendum betrayal.
He admitted he is unable to sit on the sidelines and watch as Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is sabotaged. And he warned: “This time there will be no more Mr Nice Guy.”
Mr Farage, 54, was approached by ­former Ukip activists who applied to register the new party in the past few days. It has been set up ready to field candidates if Theresa May calls a snap General Election next month.
Organisers will also fight the European elections in May if the PM decides to extend Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU after the departure date of March 29.  Mr Farage predicts the party would be a rallying point for 17.4million disaffected Brexit voters — and would cause devastation to the Tories and Labour.
He told The Sun on Sunday: “There is huge demand for a party that’s got real clarity on this issue. You can see and hear the frustration welling up out there. It’s clear the political elite want to stop Brexit in its tracks and the Prime Minister doesn’t have the strength or inclination to see this through.
“I’ve been watching events with growing dismay — I’m not the only one. Now we are putting them on notice that if Brexit doesn’t happen on March 29 we are not prepared to stand by and do nothing.”
Former Ukip economics spokesman Catherine Blaiklock applied to register the new party on January 11. An Electoral Commission spokesman said: “I can confirm that The Brexit Party is applying to be registered.”

Although the other media haven’t picked up this story yet, the Mirror reports Farage’s ‘plot’ to form a new campaign group.

Nigel Farage is plotting a new campaign group to fight another Brexit  referendum.
The Ukip leader also says he’s so convinced Article 50 will be delayed that he’s planning his campaign for the European elections in May.
Mr Farage would need to be shortlisted by a political party to be re-elected to the European Parliament.
But he ruled out re-joining Ukip.

The Independent reports that Farage thinks there’s a second referendum on the way.

Nigel Farage has urged Leave campaigners to prepare for a second referendum as Britain’s Brexit deadlock continues.
The former Ukip leader spoke at a packed Leave Means Leave rally in London, alongside former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, MP Esther McVey and hotelier Rocco Forte.
Mr Farage said he believed “it is now quite possible that we will see an extension of Article 50”.


In another exclusive, the Sun claims the Prime Minister could face a legal challenge.

BREXIT campaigners will mount a legal challenge if Theresa May tries to halt Britain’s departure from the EU.
They will seek a High Court ruling on any decision to extend or revoke Article 50 – and demand the right for Britain to retain our seats in the European Parliament.
The move raises the prospect of bitter, costly and long-running legal battle if defiant MPs wreck the process.
It also cranks up the pressure on the PM to deliver her pledge to take Britain out of the EU by March 29.
John Longworth, co-chairman of the pressure group Leave Means Leave, said: “We would challenge any move by the government to cancel Brexit.

The Express claims some members of the Cabinet will pull out all the stops to cancel Brexit.

A HARDCORE group of Remainers in the Cabinet will “do everything they can to stop Brexit”, a senior minister has warned.
It is part of a Remainer plot to betray Brexit and either trap Britain under EU rule in a customs union or force a second referendum. Tory Brexiteers have said they will vote or abstain to bring down the Government if there is a “betrayal” of the 2016 referendum result. However, a series of wrecking measures have been put in place by Remainers in cahoots with the Labour Party to force the Government to hold another vote on Britain’s membership of the EU.

But a senior minister claims there’ll be problems if they succeed, says the Telegraph.

MPs plotting to stop Brexit risk causing a “political tsunami”, Liam Fox has warned.
Writing for The Telegraph, the International Trade Secretary warns that failing to deliver on the 2016 referendum would open up a “yawning gap” between voters and Parliament.
Upping the ante in a Cabinet war over a no-deal outcome, he also attacked MPs and ministers attempting to remove the option entirely, saying that the “most stupid thing possible” in a negotiation is to “give away your strongest card”.

ITV News also has the story.

Pro-Brexit International Trade Secretary Liam Fox warned of a “political tsunami” if the Government fails to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote.
His warning comes as two groups of rebel MPs made moves to rewrite the Commons rule book in an attempt to derail Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Downing Street also hit out at the moves by MPs who are said to be planning to table amendments to enable backbenchers to take control of the business of the House to frustrate Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

Minority government

There are plans afoot to take the decisions over Brexit away from the Government and give a minority of MPs the power to stop the process.  The Mail says:

Plans to stop a No Deal Brexit by introducing a new amendment that would allow parliament to take control of the process have been revealed.
Tory Dominic Grieve is working with a group of MPs, including Remain-supporting Labour rebels, to try and block a No Deal result.
Under his amendment, a motion to stop No Deal could be put to Parliament if it is backed by 300 MPs. Legislation to stop No Deal by extending or revoking Article 50 would then be subject to a vote and would be likely to pass because a majority of MPs are against leaving the EU without a deal, according to Buzzfeed.

The Express explains what the ex-attorney general is trying to do.

REMAINER Dominic Grieve has unveiled an amendment to give MPs the power to block a no-deal Brexit.
The plan will see a no-deal Brexit blocked by tearing up the Parliamentary rulebook by allowing a minority of MPs to seize control of the House of Commons. Former Conservative attorney general Mr Grieve is working with a group of cross-party MPs that consists of Remain-supporting Labour rebels to draw up the legislation to enable Parliament take over the Brexit process. Much to the dismay of Brexiteers, this would see a cluster of Remainers revoke Article 50 – or cancel Brexit altogether, BuzzFeed News reports.

Labour MPs may back the proposals, says the Independent.

Plans to hand parliament control of Brexit received a boost after senior Labour figures indicated the party could swing in behind them.
A shadow cabinet member told The Independent it was “possible” that Jeremy Corbyn’s party could back the move, while a string of Labour MPs also said they were more inclined to back it as it evolved.
One of the authors of the plan claimed on Friday that it is also backed by cabinet ministers, and that up to 20 more junior front benchers had said they would quit if Ms May whipped them to vote against it.

Breitbart claims a ‘scoop’ over the mainstream media with the wording of the plan.

Alex Wickham has scooped the Sundays by getting hold of Grieve’s Proposed Amendment to let a minority take control of the parliamentary legislative agenda:
As an Amendment to the Motion tabled for the purposes of section 13(6) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2017
Leave out from “House” to end and insert “believes that [INSERT DECLARATORY WORDS RELATING TO NEED TO PREVENT NO DEAL BREXIT), and orders accordingly that — (1) On [DATE OF SUBSEQUENT SITTING DAY TO BE INSERTED] —

No. 10 is worried, says BBC News.

Attempts by backbench MPs to remove the government’s power to deliver Brexit are “extremely concerning”, Downing Street has said.
On Monday one group of MPs will present a bill that could allow Brexit to be delayed if Parliament does not approve an EU withdrawal agreement.
According to the Sunday Times, another group led by Dominic Grieve wishes to pause Brexit by suspending Article 50.

And Sky News agrees.

Downing Street has described as “extremely concerning” reports that Conservative backbenchers will propose legislation to stop a no-deal Brexit or suspend the process altogether.
One group, led by former Tory minister Nick Boles and Labour MP Yvette Cooper, is said to be attempting to block the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement about a future relationship.
A second group, led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve, wants to go further and suspend the Article 50 withdrawal process, the legal means by which the UK would leave, The Sunday Times reports.

Conservative Party

It seems Brexit could split the Tories, claims the Mail.

Theresa May has been dealt an ultimatum by her divided cabinet as she attempts to find a new Brexit plan – with pro-Leave ministers warning her not to water-down the deal.
The Prime Minister has been told by Brexiteers she ‘risks splitting the Conservative party’ if she compromises and tries to gain Labour’s support for her plan.
Mrs May has also faced questions from pro-EU ministers who want to vote on legislation that would mean Brexit isn’t possible on March 29 without a deal.

Could the arch-Brexiteer save the PM?  The Mail reports:

Jacob Rees-Mogg emerged last night as Theresa May’s best hope to avert a snap General Election – or her forced departure from Downing Street by the spring.
In the wake of the Prime Minister’s crushing Commons defeat on her Brexit deal, a group of her most senior allies have ‘war-gamed’ a scenario in which Mrs May would sue for peace with her rebellious backbenchers by offering to resign by May – in exchange for them dropping their opposition.

Customs union

The PM’s ‘red lines’ could be broken.  The Express reports a warning,

THERESA May has been issued a stern warning by her Cabinet that she faces further dividing the Conservative party if she gives into pressure by opposition parties to remain in the customs union. The Prime Minister held crush talks with her inner-circle who urged Mrs May not to consider a “softer” Brexit by staying in the single market which is a position favoured by the Labour Party.
Following a crushing defeat in the ‘meaningful vote’ on January 15 by 230 votes – a record for any sitting government, the PM has been forced to make amendments to her withdrawal agreement with EU.


And attempts to delay or cancel Article 50 must not succeed, says Breitbart.

Chairman of the European Research Group Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that attempts to extend the deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU are a Remainer plot to stop Brexit.
Speaking on his LBC radio show Friday evening, the Tory MP for North East Somerset warned, “There are only ten weeks to go and the Remainers are getting desperate — the ones that never accepted the result, don’t think that the people who voted to leave are very bright, think that people like me should have gone back to school to learn the virtues of the EU.


Whatever happens next could cost money, but a Leave backer could help, says the Express.

A BREXITEER tycoon is ready to dip into his pockets again after donating £35,000 in 2016 to back Leave activists.
Jeremy Woolridge has said he is readying and willing to spend more money to fund another Brexit campaign if a second vote was held. He told The Times: “I’m sure the Government will rig the rules so it will be even more difficult for people like me and company to back Vote Leave II – but that won’t necessarily stop us.” He has previously said that another European referendum would be a “travesty of our democracy”.

Labour Party

The Times reports that the Labour Party’s membership is dropping.

The Labour Party is haemorrhaging members amid a growing backlash over Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit, according to party insiders.
At the height of Corbyn’s popularity following the general election in 2017, Labour was considered the “largest party in western Europe” with more than 500,000 members.
In recent months, however, it has lost up to 150,000 members, according to three sources within the party. It is estimated that up to 100,000 are not up to date with their subs and enrolment has slumped to around 385,000.

And the Independent claims the party will back a second referendum.

Senior Labour figures have pushed the party significantly closer to backing a fresh Brexit referendum, suggesting support is now inevitable unless Theresa May drops her “red lines”.
A trio of shadow cabinet members piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn by saying the party must stick by its pledge to “campaign for a public vote” if the prime minister holds firm and Labour fails to force a general election.
Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said backing for a Final Say referendum was the only “remaining option” if Labour’s own withdrawal plan is defeated, adding: “That is a very important commitment. And it is one we will keep.”

The Mail reports that it’s anti-Brexiteers who are deserting the party.

Jeremy Corbyn‘s ‘pro-Brexit’ approach is costing Labour tens of thousands of pro-EU supporters, party insiders claim.
They said the party has been ‘haemorrhaging’ support since the Labour leader said last month he would press ahead with Brexit even if he won a snap General Election.
One senior Labour figure is even privately telling colleagues that the party, which reportedly had 540,000 members last April, has shed more than 100,000 members in the past year – a figure disputed by party officials.

The Shadow Brexit secretary is urging the party to back a second vote, says Sky News.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has ramped up the pressure for Labour to move towards backing a second referendum.
The frontbencher argued the point had been reached where Labour had agreed that if a general election could not be secured then the party “must” consider all options on the table, including a further public vote.
Stressing the importance of the previously made commitment, he insisted it was “one we must keep”.

The Times also reports Starmer’s comments.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, has ramped up the pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second EU referendum by insisting that the option “remain on the table”.
Speaking at a Fabian Society conference in London, Starmer said that if the Labour Party was unable to force a general election then another vote should become a focus.


The European Union thinks the PM is bluffing over Brexit, says the Times.

Theresa May’s threats to pursue a no-deal Brexit are not believed in Brussels and she should return only when she has a deal that can pass the House of Commons, EU officials have told The Sunday Times.
One senior figure compared May’s no-deal posturing to someone about to commit suicide warning a passer-by that their clothes might get soiled.
“None of us wants a cliff edge. None of us wants a no-deal, but the idea that you can threaten member states on the Continent with that is ridiculous,” the official said.

But if we stay in the bloc we could face economic sanctions if we don’t do as we’re told, says Breitbart.

Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of introducing financial sanctions as punishment for patriotic countries that reject the bloc’s progressive “European values.”
MEPs voted Thursday in Strasbourg, France, to back the European Commission’s proposal to cut EU budgetary disbursements to member states deemed to have broken the so-called “rule of law,” with 397 MEPs voting in favour and 158 against (69 abstaining), reports Politico.

And Breitbart reports Mutti Merkel’s comments on further integration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the European Union must deepen its defence cooperation, including developing shared weapons systems.
“It is good that after several decades we want to develop a common defense policy… We must develop weapons systems together,” Dr Merkel said in comments on Saturday reported by Reuters.


The Times suggests there could be a way out of the ‘backstop’ problem.

British prime minister Theresa May wants to offer a bilateral treaty to Ireland in order to remove the “backstop” from the EU withdrawal treaty and prevent a hard border by other means.
The proposal is part of May’s plan B to salvage her Brexit deal. Aides think it would “decontaminate” the withdrawal agreement so it could be supported by the DUP and Tory Eurosceptics.

House of Lords

But it’s not just the House of Commons that the PM has to worry about, reports the Independent.

Theresa May hopes of avoiding a chaotic Brexit face another blow from a House of Lords ambush that would sabotage putting in place essential new trade rules.
The government is set to be defeated on Monday when peers rebel over ministers’ refusal to guarantee food safety, animal welfare and the power of parliament to block a free-for-all, The Independent has learned.
In an extremely rare move, the Lords is poised to vote to shelve the Trade Bill unless the government agrees to put flesh on the “skeleton” – something ministers have failed to do for 15 months.


Following reports that Squeaker Bercow might not get a peerage when he retires, the Guardian claims he has said he might not resign after all.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, is considering abandoning his plans to step down this summer after cabinet ministers threatened to deny him a peerage because of his alleged “bias” against the government over Brexit.
Friends of the Speaker who have been in touch with him in the last 48 hours told the Observer that Bercow is now “seriously reflecting” on whether to stay on – possibly until 2022.

Scottish independence

Scotland is still planning its getaway, says the Times.

Nicola Sturgeon has been warned by senior colleagues it would be foolhardy to rush into another Scottish independence referendum as she prepares to set out a timetable for a fresh vote.
But as the first minister looks to exploit the Brexit crisis and unite activists split over her battle with predecessor Alex Salmond, The Sunday Times has learnt the prime minister is preparing to harden her line on any request for a new vote on separating from the UK.
Last week, following talks with SNP MPs, Sturgeon announced her intention to hold another public vote to help keep Scotland in the EU after Brexit.

And it seems young girls are still being mutilated north of the border, says the Times.

Campaigners against female genital mutilation (FGM) have welcomed a warning by the Scottish government that “breast ironing”, a form of abuse that involves flattening young girls’ chests, is taking place in parts of the country.
The painful practice, which originated in Cameroon, is typically carried out by mothers to protect their daughters from sexual harassment and rape. It is also used to prevent pregnancies that would bring shame to the family, or to stop the girls from further pursuing education.
Concerns about breast ironing were raised in a Scottish government consultation on FGM that closed last week. Those with further knowledge of the abuse, also known as “breast flattening”, have been urged to come forward.

Social care

There are still problems providing care for the elderly, says the Mirror.

One in four nursing homes is failing care quality inspections, data released by Labour shows.
The crisis is worse in the North of England, where one in three nursing homes inflicts the worst quality care on our most vulnerable older people.
Data from the Care Quality Commission shows that 1,122 nursing homes nationwide failed inspections.


Those trying to cross the Med are still dying in their hundreds, reports the Mail.

Three survivors say up to 117 migrants may have died when their rubber dinghy capsized off Libya.
They were rescued from the vessel after it sank in the Mediterranean and flown by an Italian naval helicopter to Lampedusa.
The group left Libya on Thursday evening, with the survivors reporting around 120 people had been aboard, before disaster struck.
The rubber dinghy began taking on water within a few hours.

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