Brexit

Anti-Brexiteer MPs the SNP have flexed their muscles to try and stop the process, says the Express.

THE SNP is plotting to stall Brexit by lodging a fresh amendment to Theresa May’s deal, it has emerged.
MPs have been tabling amendments in Parliament to Mrs May’s deal after she suffered a historic defeat by an eye-watering 230 votes earlier this month. SNP MP Ian Blackford will table an amendment on Monday calling on the Prime Minister to take into account Scottish Parliament’s, the Welsh Assembly’s and Commons’ votes to “overwhelmingly” reject her deal. The amendment proposes plans to extend Article 50 which is the mechanism which began the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
A call for a no-deal Brexit to be completely ruled out and demands that Scotland will not be taken out “against its will” is also included within the amendment.

ITV News claims the party wants to stop the Brexit clock.

The SNP is to call for the clock to be stopped on Brexit when it lodges an amendment to the Prime Minister’s blueprint.
MPs have been tabling amendments in Parliament to Theresa May’s deal, which was rejected at Westminster by an overwhelming 230 votes earlier this month.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is to table an amendment on Monday calling on Mrs May to note the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Commons all voted “overwhelmingly” to reject her deal.
It will also seek an extension to Article 50 – the mechanism which triggered the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – call for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out, and demand that Scotland should not be taken out of the EU “against its will”.

But there could be mayhem in the Commons on Tuesday, says the Express.

BREXITEERS have warned of “mayhem” as plotting Remainers unleashed plans to sabotage Brexit by seizing power from the government. More than half a dozen attempts to derail Britain’s departure from the European Union have been formally launched by Labour and Tory MPs.
They include demands for quitting without a deal to be ruled out, delaying exit day and giving MPs the chance to force a second referendum. And Europhiles want control over parliamentary business to allow them to make fresh demands just days before the UK is due to leave on March 29. Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said the plotters were “living in cloud cuckoo land”.
He said: “I have a very simple formula for this, which is if you really support this constitutional nonsense of allowing a backbench group to take over the business and run legislation at the Government, if the Labour Party agrees to support that they have to think carefully what would happen if they were in power and they did not have a massive majority.

The Independent reports the EU boss has told the PM she must agree to a customs union if she wants the Irish backstop question reconsidered.

Jean-Claude Juncker has told Theresa May in a private phone call that shifting her red lines in favour of a permanent customs union is the price she will need to pay for the EU revising the Irish backstop.
Without a major shift in the prime minister’s position, the European commission president told May that the current terms of the withdrawal agreement were non-negotiable.
Details of the call, contained in a leaked diplomatic note, emerged as Juncker’s deputy, Frans Timmermans, said there had been no weakening of the resolve in Brussels in support of Ireland, and accused the Tory Brexiters of a “cavalier” approach to peace.
“Let me be extremely clear: there is no way I could live in a situation where we throw Ireland under the bus,” Timmermans said. “As far as the European commission is concerned, the backstop is an essential element for showing to Ireland and to the rest of Europe that we are in this together.”

The Telegraph claims the PM has been told to clarify her demands.

Theresa May must set out exactly what concessions she will seek from the EU if she wants to salvage her Brexit deal, she has been told.
Ministers and MPs have told Downing Street that Brexiteers and the DUP will only help to keep her proposals alive this week if the Prime Minister commits to seeking specific changes from the EU to alleviate MPs’ concerns.
The warnings came amid frantic talks between No 10, ministers and MPs aimed at averting a crisis if a majority of the Commons fails to rally around a solution to save Mrs May’s deal.

The Sun points out that all those attempting to delay Brexit are Remainers.

REMAINER MPs backing a plot to delay Britain’s EU departure were branded Brexit wreckers last night.
But they all have a history of voting to stop us from leaving or to maintain restrictive ties with Brussels.
More than 100 MPs led by Labour’s Yvette Cooper want to tear up Commons rules and keep Britain in the EU for an extra nine months after the March 29 leaving date.
But analysis of how they voted in previous debates reveals their true intention – to derail the whole process.
Nearly 90 per cent of MPs who have signed Ms Cooper’s amendment voted for at least three out of four previous Brexit-blocking moves.
And 66 of them backed all four, while 38 actually voted against triggering Article 50 to start the process of leaving nearly two years ago, according to a study by Change Britain.

The Times reports the PM’s husband has entered the fray.

Theresa May’s husband has been dragged into a Downing Street civil war after urging the prime minister to keep fighting for her Brexit deal.
Philip May helped to persuade his wife to seek a deal with Brussels that could win over Tory Eurosceptics and their allies in the Democratic Unionist Party.
However, his intervention sparked recent claims that Gavin Barwell, the No 10 chief of staff, has accused him of thwarting a plan to get a cross-party deal for a customs union with the EU.

The Mail also reports the Prime Minister’s husband’s influence in the Brexit saga.

Theresa May‘s husband has been dragged into the Brexit civil war at No 10 after urging the PM to keep fighting for her deal.
The Prime Minister’s husband, Philip May, has encouraged her to keep pushing for a deal with Brussels that would finally win over rebels in her own party and the DUP.
But No.10 chief of staff Gavin Barwell apparently said Mrs May’s husband’s intervention helped to ‘scupper’ plans to reach out to Labour MPs and secure a deal for a customs union with the EU, as reported by The Sunday Times.
A source said: ‘Philip May was flamed by Barwell for scuppering the outreach to Labour.’

Martial law

Could we sees soldiers on our streets?  According to the Times it’s being discussed.

Whitehall officials have been gaming a state of emergency and even the introduction of martial law in the event of disorder after a no-deal Brexit, it has emerged.
Mandarins are considering how to use the sweeping powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop any civil disobedience resulting from the nation leaving the EU on March 29.
Curfews, bans on travel, confiscation of property and, most drastic, the deployment of the armed forces to quell rioting are among the measures available to ministers under the legislation.
They can also amend any act of parliament, except the Human Rights Act, for a maximum of 21 days.

ITV News also reports the prospect.

Preparations are being looked at for the possible imposition of martial law after a no-deal Brexit, it has emerged.
The move has been described by sources as the civil service “prepping” for all possibilities.
The revelation came as further Government splits emerged over whether Britain should quit the EU without an agreement as Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood broke ranks and insisted a no deal scenario must be ruled out.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Respecting the referendum decision means leaving the EU.
“The PM has said that there will be disruption in the event of no deal, but as a responsible Government we are taking the appropriate steps to minimise this disruption and ensure the country is prepared.”

The plan could be brought into action if there’s civil disobedience, says Sky News.

Brexit planners are examining the possibility of martial law in Britain in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, it has emerged.
Whitehall officials are looking at how to use powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop civil disobedience after the UK leaves the EU.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, the legislation gives ministers the power to impose curfews, travel bans, confiscate property and deploy the armed forces.
A source told the newspaper: “The over-riding theme in all the no-deal planning is civil disobedience and the fear that it will lead to death in the event of food and medical shortages.”

Electoral Commission

If there’s a ‘Losers Vote’, election bosses intend to be able to prosecute, says the Telegraph.

The election watchdog is planning to hand itself powers of prosecution in time for a second Brexit referendum, prompting fears that pro-Leave groups could be unfairly targeted with criminal charges.
The Telegraph has learnt that the Electoral Commission is proposing to prosecute political parties and referendum campaign groups itself, rather than passing on all potentially criminal cases to the police.
The watchdog, which has faced repeated accusations of bias  against bodies that campaigned for Brexit in 2016, is preparing to announce plans for a new “capability” to launch criminal proceedings, despite internal concerns about a potential backlash.

EU

It seems the bloc is not about to grant an extension to Article 50, reports the Times.

It is meant to be a historic moment of departure, when the UK casts off its EU membership. But as Britain hurtles towards Brexit day on March 29, EU leaders are now pondering how to handle a possible British request for an extension — and some are not in a generous mood.
EU diplomats believe a British request for a delay of the Brexit  deadline is almost inevitable if the UK wants to avoid exiting without a deal. But leaders now question if there is any point in an extension that would merely put off the moment of reckoning, rather than produce a Commons majority for a deal.

The Express also reports the unlikelihood of the EU granting an extension.

THE Brexit countdown clock is ticking but as lawmakers prepare legislation in the hope of extending Article 50, will the European Union agree to a postponed Brexit deadline? And if not, why not?
On Tuesday, January 29, Parliament will meet to hear Prime Minister Theresa May’s Plan B for Brexit – and a number of alternative approaches put forward by MPs. The strongest one of the lot is a bill tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and already signed by 103 lawmakers. The Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP’s plan is to allow Parliament to “take control” of Brexit negotiations from the government if no deal is approved by February 26. Under the plan, MPs would be asked to back a vote requesting the European Union extends the Article 50 deadline until December 31 so as to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

And the Independent reports criticism on how the whole Brexit debacle has been handled.

The European Parliament’s Brexit spokesman has said that both big British parties have put political interests ahead of the national good.
Guy Verhofstadt said that in his Belgian homeland a “majority” committee would have been formed to break the Brexit impasse.
It comes after Theresa May was criticised for not being prepared to compromise on her ‘red lines’ in recent cross-party talks, while Jeremy Corbyn came under attack for refusing to take part in the talks at all.
On Tuesday parliament will vote on whether to adopt any of the alternative approaches to Brexit that have been put forward by groups of cross-party MPs.

The French president seems to think he can opine on Brexit too, says Breitbart.

The UK’s Brexit vote was caused by misplaced “anger” and foreign disinformation, Emmanuel Macron said, in a speech warning critics of his globalist regime in France to beware “people who manipulate you with miracle ideas”.
Speaking at an event near Lyon as part of his ‘grand debate’ tour launched after weeks of anti-government protests, the French president told unhappy citizens to “be aware of people who sell you dreams, that tell you all your anger can be solved by a referendum”, before dismissing Brexit as “rubbish”.
“Take the British. They voted for Brexit,” Macron told the audience in Bourg-de-Peage of around 250 people, a number of whom were dressed in the yellow vests of the ‘gilet jaunes’ movement.

The EU is still facing a revolution, reports the Mail.

A group of leading intellectuals from 21 countries have said that liberal values in Europe face a challenge ‘not seen since the 1930s’ as the UK heads towards Brexit.
In a manifesto published in several newspapers, the 30 intellectuals including award-winning novelist Ian McEwan, stated that Europe is at risk of ‘perishing beneath the waves of populism’.
The signatories bemoaned the Brexit process, saying that Europe has been ‘abandoned from across the Channel’.
The letter comes amid rising tension across Europe, with protests raging in France, Germany in the midst of far right tensions and immigration placing a huge strain on the continent.

The Telegraph reports that the EU boss has created a tax-free haven for himself.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, is under fire over his former government’s connection to a so-called “freeport” which risks enabling money laundering and corruption.
In letters seen by The Telegraph, Mr Juncker has been told he is “morally and ethically” obliged to crack down on a legal loophole that potentially facilitates money laundering at the site next to Luxembourg Airport.
Le Freeport Luxembourg is a high-security facility for the storage of valuables indefinitely, including art, gems, gold, antiques and wine. Built while Mr Juncker was Luxembourg’s prime minister, it is exempt from the country’s usual tax and customs requirements.

Windfarms

The route of the HS2 could be lined with windmills, says the Telegraph.

Wind farms could be built along the route of HS2 in a major resurrection of onshore turbines in Britain, under confidential Government-commissioned plans.
An official strategy document seen by The Sunday Telegraph proposes powering the controversial rail line using lucrative onshore wind farms spanning the equivalent of 19,000 football fields.
For some stretches of the line the majority of electricity would come from solar or wind farms built “on or near” the track, according to the plans. The document indicates that the move would require more land being purchased by developers along the route of the line, and could tip the scheme over its £56 billion budget.

Tax

If the Labour Party gets into government, it plans to sting higher earners with tax demands, says the Mail.

THOUSANDS of top teachers face an income tax hit under Labour finance plans.
School heads and their deputies will be among 5,000 workers who will take a hit in their take home pay.
Plans unveiled by the shadow Chancellor John McDonnell could cost staff hundreds of pounds extra a year.
Anyone earning more than £80,000 would be expected to pay 45 per cent income tax – the rate currently kicks in at £150,000.
The Tories claimed last night that the move destroyed Labour claims “ordinary workers” wouldn’t be affected by any changes.
Figures released by the Department for Education show that it would affect at least 5,200 state school heads and their number twos.
School leaders on the starting salary of £111,007 would be hit with an extra tax bill of £1500.

NHS

Our NHS staff have been sneaking peeks at our medical records, says the Times.

More than 150 NHS staff have been investigated in the past 16 months for reading patient records without an obvious reason.
In August 2017 Britain’s privacy watchdog threatened “serious consequences” for those found prying into confidential health data without a valid cause, and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) promised prosecutions.
The ICO has since investigated 155 staff for allegedly snooping on medical records. Only seven were prosecuted, according to data released under freedom of information laws. Three escaped with cautions.
Phil Booth, of the privacy group Medconfidential, said: “Despite official warnings, staff are looking at patients’ records inappropriately: a clear breach of the law. Even more concerning is what seems to be a lack of proper enforcement.”

The future of antibiotics is examined in the Telegraph.

Imagine a world where every day operations, like caesareans or hip replacements, were considered too risky to perform. Or where, as the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock said at the World Economic Forum at Davos this week, “a simple graze could be deadly”.
Yet experts believe such a vision could be reality as soon as 2050, with more than 10 million people dying each year due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). To put that into context, that’s more than the amount of people who are estimated to die from cancer annually.
AMR is the result of antibiotics being overused on common bacteria, which are mutating to withstand the drugs.

Wine

In another blow to the French, it seems English wine has been receiving plaudits, reports the Telegraph.

It has already been beating French Champagne in taste tests.
Now thanks to climate change and the south of England’s chalky soils, English sparkling wine is set to go global following a record grape harvest last year.
Nyetimber, the UK’s leading producer, has announced plans to expand to Asia and India this autumn.
It follows a 400 per cent rise in sales following growing demand from Europe and America for home-made fizz, with England set to become one of the world’s leading producers of wine by 2100.

And if you fancy ordering wine by post, it could now come through your letterbox says the Mail.

An online wine merchant is to start delivering bottles that can fit through letter boxes – so that customers will never miss a delivery again.
Naked Wines, whose parent company is Majestic, will start dispatching the unusual Garcon Wines products that still hold the standard 750ml but are half the width.
Founder Joe Revell came up with the ingenious idea two years ago after listening to a friend complain about missing their order, reports the Sunday People.

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