Hard’ Brexit

The mood in Parliament is hardening, say several of the media. ITV News says:

A group of 60 Conservative MPs are calling on the prime minister to deliver a “hard Brexit”.
Former cabinet ministers Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, John Whittingdale and Theresa Villiers have joined the call to pull Britain out of the European single market and the customs union.
They claim getting out of the single market free trade zone is crucial so the UK is not bound by Brussels regulations, while pulling out of the tariff-free customs union is the only way to strike trade deals with countries outside it.
Eleven Labour, DUP and Ukip MPs also reportedly backed the call.

BBC News also carries the story.

Sixty Conservative MPs, including seven ex-cabinet ministers, are calling for Britain to quit the single market and customs union when it leaves the EU.
Writing in the Telegraph, Suella Fernandes MP said only in leaving would the UK “truly be a beacon of international free trade”.
Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villier are among her backers.
The government said it would not give a “running commentary” before talks but would aim for the “best possible deal”.
It comes as other senior Tories are urging the PM to drop an appeal against a ruling that MPs must vote on Brexit before the process can begin.

And the Independent reports the Prime Minister is being urged to quit the single market.

Sixty Tory MPs have urged Theresa May to commit Britain to a hard Brexit – pulling out of the single market and customs union.
Eurosceptics including Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, John Whittingdale and Theresa Villiers made their call in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Though the EU referendum campaign included minimal debate over whether or not the UK should remain in the single market, the MPs believe the Government has a mandate to cut the UK’s close existing trade ties with the bloc.
Ms May has previously said she would try to restrict freedom of movement between the UK and EU, a policy which is incompatible with membership of the single market.
A lack of clarity from Downing Street about exactly what it is trying to achieve in EU negotiations has however led to consternation in the various factions of the Tory party.

Road repairs

In Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, the chancellor has some plans for improving our roads, says ITV News.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce £1.3 billion for improving Britain’s roads in the Autumn Statement, the Treasury has announced.
Wednesday’s mini-Budget will include £1.1 billion to reduce congestion and upgrade transport networks, along with £220 million to tackle “pinch points” on England’s motorways and major roads.
Mr Hammond will also green-light a £27 million expressway connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge – as recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission.

BBC News also has the story.

An extra £1.3bn is to be spent on improving Britain’s roads, Chancellor Philip Hammond will say in his first Autumn Statement.
Most of the money will be for cutting congestion and upgrades to local roads and public transport networks.
The Treasury said investment in infrastructure and innovation to boost long-term economic growth would be “at the heart” of Wednesday’s statement.
But Labour said many schemes previously promised were yet to be built.
The funding for roads is said to be part of a wider package of pledges for infrastructure projects, amounting to billions of pounds.

And Sky News calls the plans a ‘major programme’.

A major programme of road building and improvements will be announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the Treasury has said.
Philip Hammond will say on Wednesday that the Government is planning to free up £1.3bn for the UK’s road network.
The mini-budget will include £1.1bn for reducing congestion and upgrading local roads and £220m for tackling “pinch points” on England’s motorways and major A roads.
The spending pledge is part of a wider package of infrastructure investment worth billions of pounds that aims to Brexit-proof Britain’s economy.

The Independent says the programme will cost over a billion pounds.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will pledge more than £1bn on road-building in his first Autumn Statement this week, as the Government aims to bear down on stagnating economic productivity.
The Government says road congestion costs the economy £13bn a year – and that building and upgrading more highways will help reduce it, while getting more Brits to work on time.
Philip Hammond will unveil £1.1bn funding to upgrade arterial roads, as well as £220m to specific tackle “pinch points” on Highways England roads.
The Chancellor is also expected to back the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation for an expressway between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge and provide £27m of funding for the project.

Militant Islam

Breitbart reports on the latest appointment by the US President-elect.

General Michael Flynn has been offered the post of national security adviser in Donald Trump’s administration. Flynn is a senior intelligence officer and during the election campaign he was vociferous in his denunciation of Hillary Clinton, even leading the chants for her to be locked up.
He is also a long-standing critic of Obama’s military policies – or what he regards as the lack of them. In particular he has called for a fiercer response to Islamic State.
He is on record as having said, “It’s rational to fear Muslims.” On the BBC’s Today Programme, the presenter Nick Robinson described Flynn’s statement as “controversial.”
So that’s the BBC’s assessment of what counts as controversial!

And in the UK, Breitbart also reports the words of the country’s top churchman.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has delivered a damning indictment of the European Union and Europe’s approach to tackling radical Islam, in a shock speech at the Catholic Institute of Paris.
The clergyman characterised the Brexit vote in Britain and Donald Trump’s election in America as “a cry of dispossession and alienation”, advising the Establishment not to double down on its commitment to a failing status quo in the face of popular discontent.
For many the response to Trump has been more Europe, by which they mean more centralism, more imposed federation, less flexibility”, he said. “Such a response is wholly inadequate for the challenges that we face as a continent.”

ISIS

The Star claims the terror group is ready to strike all over the continent.

A TERROR expert has claimed that between 60 and 80 sick Islamic State jihadis are hiding in Europe while they prepare to attack.
Last month the terror nuts told their vile followers to stay in their home countries and attack there instead.
Now Netherlands counterterrorism coordinator Dick Schoof has claimed followers have listened to their disgusting terror lords.
The number of fighters fleeing for Iraq and Syria has stalled over the last six months.
But while there are less ISIS supporters joining the frontline in Iraq and Syria, Mr Schoof says that “does not mean that the potential threat of those who would have traveled is diminished”.
Speaking of his own country, he said: “The chance of attack in the Netherlands is real.
We have seen 294 terrorist fighters go overseas in Iraq and Syria and there are still 190 over there.

Nuttall

In UKIP’s leadership race, one of the candidates has criticised outgoing US President Obama, says the Express.

BARACK OBAMA had “no time” for Britain – possibly because of his Kenyan heritage – but Donald Trump can usher in a new age of Anglo-American relations, a leading Ukip MEP has claimed.
Paul Nuttall believes the decision of President-elect Trump to reinstall a bust of Sir Winston Churchill removed by President Obama is evidence the new US administration will be a friend of post-Brexit Britain.
His comments about Mr Obama’s African heritage are likely to anger those who condemned Boris Johnson for making similar remarks about the US President during the EU referendum campaign.
Mr Nuttall, the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Nigel Farage as Ukip leader, blasted the outgoing President.

Farage

And the former UKIP leader has indicated he may return to front-line politics, says the Mail.

Defiant Nigel Farage hit back at Theresa May last night – and vowed to use his new alliance with Donald Trump to take the Commons by storm.
The acting Ukip leader tore up his pledge to quit front-line politics after the EU referendum and said he would stand for Parliament if corruption claims against the Tories over his General Election defeat in South Thanet lead to a New Year re-run.
Farage, 50, even joked about the possibility of golf fanatic Trump coming to the UK to campaign for him, saying the Kent constituency had ‘the best golf courses in Britain’.
If a by-election in Thanet takes place, it will be Farage’s eighth bid to become an MP.

Blair

The former Labour leader could also be thinking of returning to front-line olitics, says the Times.

Tony Blair is positioning himself to play a pivotal role in shaping Britain’s Brexit deal by scouting out a power base in Westminster, The Sunday Times has learnt.
The former prime minister is setting up an institute close to Whitehall and has held talks with senior ministers and officials as he seeks to re-enter British politics.
Blair’s move has raised eyebrows among several members of the cabinet, who claim he has used meetings about the Middle East and aid to seek to extract information and influence the government’s Brexit plans.
A source who has discussed Brexit with Blair said: “He’s not impressed with Theresa May. He thinks she’s a total lightweight.
He thinks Jeremy Corbyn is a nutter and the Tories are screwing up Brexit.”

The story is also in the Independent.

Tony Blair is positioning himself to return to British politics, it has been reported.
The controversial former Prime Minister is engineering a comeback because he feels he can fill a political vacuum caused by Theresa May being a “light weight” and Jeremy Corbyn being a “nutter”, The Sunday Times reports. A source said Mr Blair is sourcing premises near Westminster in order to relocate 130 staff to the UK’s political hub.
A source allegedly told the newspaper: “He’s not impressed with Theresa May. He thinks she’s a total lightweight. He thinks Jeremy Corbyn’s a nutter and the Tories are screwing up Brexit. He thinks there’s a massive hole in British politics that he can fill.”

NHS

The Independent claims the Government is to privatise part of the NHS.

The Government is to privatise the NHS’s in-house, publicly-owned provider of agency staff, ministers have announced.
NHS Professionals, the health service’s main staffing agency, provides 90,000 health workers to around a quarter of NHS trusts, covering two million shifts a year.
In a written statement issued on Thursday as most MPs headed back to their constituencies, the Government announced it would sell off a majority stake in the orgnaisation to the private sector with the aim of “creating a profitable business model”.
Labour says the sell-off amounts to further privatisation of a key part of the health service, while the Government claims the private sector will help provide new investment.

The Mail has a story about the head of the service.

Downing Street is ‘gunning for’ the head of the NHS for publicly contradicting Theresa May over funding for the Health Service, The Mail on Sunday has been told.
Simon Stevens caused fury at No 10 by telling MPs that the Prime Minister had exaggerated the amount of extra money promised to the NHS – with one of Mrs May’s aides warning that they intended to ‘fix’ him.
The row blew up after Mr Stevens told the Commons Health Select Committee last month that Mrs May was wrong to have claimed that the NHS would get an extra £10 billion a year between now and 2020-21, up from the £8 billion promised by former Chancellor George Osborne.
His intervention was seen by No 10 as exerting pressure for more money prior to the Autumn Statement.

And the Times claims consultants are calling for a Royal Commission.

More than 60 NHS consultants call today for a royal commission to consider every option, including “even the most unpalatable”, to boost funding for the health service.
The doctors say radical funding measures must be debated because standards of care are “increasingly poor by international standards”.
While they do not say where the additional funding should come from, they argue that all potential sources should be considered. These would include increased taxation, an obligation on patients to have a form of social insurance or charging for some treatments and services.

EU

Milk prices are examined in the Telegraph.

It was marketed as a scheme to help consumers support British dairy farmers.
But it has now emerged that more than three quarters of the proceeds from the Milk for Farmers venture are in fact destined for the pockets of foreign milk producers.
The milk cartons sold under the initiative are branded with a Union flag, giving customers the impression the money they spend on their daily pint goes to supporting British producers.
Morrisons and Asda both run similar ventures under which part of price paid by customers goes to producers operating with the Arla dairy farmers co-operative.
Under Morrisons’ ‘Milk for Farmers’ scheme 12,000 farmers in Arla’s cooperative receive subsidies from sales of the supermarket chain’s milk.
The proceeds are divided up among farmers producing milk, butter and cheese in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Mediterranean migration

Migrants are drowning in the Med by the hundred, reports Breitbart.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that 340 migrants have drowned in four major shipwrecks over the course of the week, bringing the reported total for November so far to 546. This compares with 141 for the entire month in 2015 and 22 in 2014.
All in all, the IOM puts the death toll for 2016 at over 4,600 so far, making it the deadliest year on record already, with several bitter winter weeks still ahead.
These unprecedented numbers have been realised despite an expensive and controversial deal between Turkey and the EU on stemming the flow of illegal immigration, which looks set to unravel now that a crackdown on political opponents by the Turkish premier has (seemingly) killed plans for Turkish citizens to be given visa-free access to the Schengen Area.

Miners’ strike

The Guardian claims there are many undisclosed documents relating to the 1984 trouble at Orgreave.

The Home Office has revealed the existence of 30 secret files relating to the miners’ strike, a number of them relating to the “battle of Orgreave”. The disclosure has reopened the debate over what evidence home secretary Amber Rudd reviewed before rejecting an inquiry into the 1984 violence between police and miners.
Responding to questions from Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, Rudd confirmed the Home Office holds 30 non-disclosed paper files relating to the strike and brutal clashes between officers and miners at a coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire.

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