Brexit

Our party leader Paul Nuttall has resurfaced after standing unsuccessfully in Stoke. The Express reports his words.

PAUL NUTTALL vowed to be the “guard dog of Brexit” as he delivered his first major speech since his Stoke by-election defeat earlier this month.
The Ukip leader admitted the marred campaign was a “bruising” experience but came out fighting as he insisted the party was “not in crisis”.
He warned Ukip must now focus on holding Theresa May to account and ensure “Brexit means exit” ahead of the triggering of Article 50 later this month.
Speaking at the party’s conference in Weymouth on Saturday, he told members: “Theresa May is going through the longest honeymoon period in modern politics.
She is very good at talking the talk and if you listen to her speeches recently, she could be giving them at a national Ukip conference.
“But the one thing we know about Theresa May is she is never very good at walking the walk.” 

The Telegraph reports that a band of Conservatives is planning to vote against Brexit.

Theresa May is facing growing Brexit pressure on multiple fronts as Tories challenge her renegotiation stance and fresh questions about the impact on the economy arise.
Senior Tory Eurosceptics have joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in calling for extra reassurances for EU citizens in Britain through a Brexit committee report.
Conservative rebels in the Lords will back opposition parties to inflict a second Brexit Bill defeat in as many weeks on Tuesday, this time over a vote on the final deal.
Sinn Fein’s surge in the Northern Ireland elections on an anti-Brexit ticket could see Stormont become more critical about the EU split. 

Budget

Sky News claims the Chancellor will have a ‘fighting fund’ to help Brexit through when he announces his budget on Wednesday.

The Chancellor will use recent economic growth to put aside up to £60bn to boost Britain’s “resilience” for future uncertainty as the UK withdraws from the EU, according to reports.
Warning that Brexit will lead to “unexpected challenges”, Philip Hammond said that it would be “reckless” to spend the additional money now.
Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: “As we begin our negotiations with the European Union we are embarking on a new chapter in our history.
“We may face unexpected challenges in the months and years ahead as we forge our vision of Britain’s future in the world.”
The Chancellor argues his approach will leave “flexibility… through the remainder of this Parliament to ensure our economic resilience”.

The Times describes Mr Hammond’s cash as a ‘war chest’.

Philip Hammond will use this week’s budget to build up a £60bn Brexit war chest to boost Britain’s “resilience” to economic turbulence as the UK withdraws from the European Union.
Writing in The Sunday Times today, the chancellor warns that leaving the EU will lead to “un­expected challenges” and says it would be “reckless” to turn on the spending taps before Brexit in 2019.
Hammond will announce today that he is pouring £500m into a fresh attempt to boost the skills of British workers in preparation for the world after Brexit. The money will be spent on new “T-levels” for 16 to 19-year-olds to try to put technical training on a par with A-levels.

And BBC News claims the Chancellor will not go on a ‘spending spree’.

There will be no “spending sprees” in Wednesday’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned.
Writing in the Sunday Times, he said the economy had proven to be “robust” but there was still a need for fiscal discipline ahead of leaving the EU.
Mr Hammond said the country needed to “get back to living within our means” and reduce its borrowing.
The government has been under pressure to provide more money for the NHS and social care.

EU

UKIP’s former leader has made a speech to the European Parliament which the Express describes as ‘barnstorming’.

DAYS before Britain triggers Article 50 to herald the beginning of Brexit negotiations – eurosceptics have been remembering a barnstorming speech from Nigel Farage on just what is wrong with Brussels.
Mr Farage made the coruscating speech to the European Parliament chamber in October 2015, as he railed against the “rotten” Brussels-based union.
He spoke shortly after Angela Merkel and Francios Hollande staged a desperate appeal to MEPs to prevent “the end of Europe” amid the multiple crises afflicting the 28-country bloc.
But Mr Farage, then Ukip leader, took to the stage to mock France’s voice as “little more than a pipsqueak” in its relationship with Germany.
The eurosceptic told Mrs Merkel and Mr Hollande they were now presiding over a “corrupted” and “rotten” EU.
The clip went viral in the run-up to the election as a commentary on how the EU failed.

Sky News reports on growing calls to the Prime Minister for unilaterally offering EU nationals the right to live in the UK.

Theresa May is under renewed pressure on the future of three million EU nationals living in the UK after an influential group of MPs called for their future rights to be immediately guaranteed.
The cross-party Commons Exiting the EU Committee said the Government should not wait for a similar assurance over the British citizens in the EU before acting.
Ministers have said settling the status of EU nationals in the UK will be a “priority” in Brexit negotiations, but they need to secure the rights of UK nationals at the same time.
But the committee said it was “unconscionable” they should have to wait up to two years when the negotiations are completed before their future is clarified.

The Independent also carries the story.

Theresa May should act unilaterally and guarantee the status of three million EU nationals currently living in Britain, and not wait for reciprocal reassurance from Brussels, according to the parliamentary committee for exiting the EU.
A new report jointly authored by all members of the committee, which includes prominent Leave campaigner Michael Gove, says it would be ‘unconscionable’ to make EU nationals living in Britain wait up to two years for negotiations to find out on what basis they might be allowed to stay in the UK, or even be forced to leave.
Committee chairman Hilary Benn said they had been left under a “cloud of uncertainty” and did not want to be used as “bargaining chips” in the talks.
“EU citizens who have come to live and work here have contributed enormously to the economic and cultural life of the UK. They have worked hard, paid their taxes, integrated, raised families and put down roots,” he said.

And the Guardian claims Brexiteer Michael Gove has joined the calls.

Michael Gove and other Tory Brexit campaigners on Sunday called on Theresa May to unilaterally guarantee the rights of 3.2 million EU citizens to remain in the UK, as they back a parliamentary report that brands the government policy as “unacceptable”.
Gove is one of several pro-Brexit Tories on the all-party select committee on exiting the EU who say that May’s approach is causing great “anxiety” and “uncertainty” to people who work hard in the UK, pay their taxes and deserve immediate reassurance about their futures.
The committee says, in a report published on Sunday, that EU citizens should not be used as “bargaining chips” in negotiations over Brexit.
The report piles yet more pressure on May, following a vote in the House of Lords last week in which peers defeated the government by 358 to 256 over the rights of EU citizens. The peers backed an amendment to the Brexit bill urging ministers to ensure within three months of article 50 being triggered that the EU citizens living in the UK be given the right to stay.

The Sun reports the call to Mrs May to have a ‘rethink’.

THERESA May faced mounting pressure last night to guarantee the rights of 3.3 million EU citizens to stay in Britain after Brexit.
An all-party group of MPs urged her to have the rethink.
The Commons Brexit committee’s demand is backed unanimously by its members, who include senior Leave campaigners Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Peter Lilley.
Up to 30 Tory MPs are already threatening to rebel and support a Lords amendment calling for the same thing.
Labour MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the Brexit committee, said the PM had a moral duty to give a unilateral assurance now — even before the EU guarantees the rights of 1.2 million Brits living on the continent.
He said: “EU citizens who have come to live and work here have contributed enormously to the economic and cultural life of the UK.
“They have worked hard, paid their taxes, integrated, raised families and put down roots.
“They did not have a vote in the referendum, but the result has left them living under a cloud of uncertainty.

Education

The Telegraph reports the budget will include measures to improve training for teenagers.

The biggest overhaul of post-16 education in 70 years will be announced this week in a multi-billion pound drive to improve technical training.
Philip Hammond will unveil “radical” plans to put technical education on an equal footing to academic studies in his Budget on Wednesday.
The current system, where students have to pick from 13,000 different qualifications, will be replaced with just 15 standalone courses.
Teenagers who take the technical training, such as courses to become an engineer or builder, will spend 50 per cent longer learning than they do now, equalling 900 hours of teaching a year.
Philip Hammond will unveil “radical” plans to put technical education on an equal footing to academic studies in his Budget on Wednesday.
And the whole drive will be funded by more than £500 million a year agreed by the Treasury once the scheme is up and running.

UKIP

The Telegraph runs a column written by our leader Paul Nuttall.

You may have noticed that the last two weeks have not been the best for Ukip, although we have gone up in the polls in that time. A debate has started both internally and externally about whether Ukip should become more radical or more mainstream, and again we are seeing infighting breaking out in the party.
My policies and perspective have always been radical. I made my views known in my leadership bid and the huge mandate the membership gave me as a result ensures I call the shots.
The Stoke-on-Trent by-election was always a gamble for me – coming before I’d had a chance to set out a full policy agenda and communicate it with vigour. But the massive potential upside of pulling off a sensational victory made it one worth taking.
There was a tremendous effort by the grassroots of our party. We had more than 300 members on the streets on polling day. It was our best ever get-out-the-vote operation.

The Independent reports Nuttall’s denial of claims made by Arron Banks.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has denied claims made in The Independent by party donor Arron Banks that he is a “weak” leader and that the party is “run like a squash club committee”.
Mr Nuttall said there were positives to be taken from his “bruising” defeat in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, and said it was not weak to ask for unity.
Mr Nuttall was speaking at his party’s south-west regional conference in Weymouth on Saturday and admitted Ukip had suffered a “difficult few weeks”.
“The Stoke by-election was a bruising experience for me personally and indeed for the party,” he said, adding: “I read this week in many news outlets that Ukip is in crisis.
“This is not a party in crisis, this is a party that is on the move and looking to the future.”
In an interview with 
The Independent published on Saturday, Mr Banks was critical of Mr Nuttall’s failed campaign in Stoke and said the party “needs to be fit for purpose now. It’s run like a squash club committee and that needs to stop.”

The Express also reports the leader’s rebuttal.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has hit back at threats from the party’s biggest donor and has vowed to put Nigel Farage “front of house” in a bid to end the civil war engulfing its members.
Mr Nuttall, 40, who lost last month’s Stoke Central by-election, has cut short a family break to deal with the crisis ignited by businessman Arron Banks, who has poured millions into Ukip, demanding to be party chairman.
Further controversy was sparked by claims Ukip’s only MP Douglas Carswell blocked Mr Farage’s knighthood.
Last week, the Sunday Express revealed Mr Banks threatened to pull funding from the party unless he was made chairman so he could “purge” disreputable Ukip members and stop it being “run like a jumble sale”.
Now Mr Nuttall has rebuffed the ultimatum issued by Mr Banks by insisting there is “no vacancy” in the party for a new chairman.

But the Times report a call from the party’s only MP.

Douglas Carswell has called for Ukip to “move on” from Nigel Farage and suggested the former leader has “anger management issues” after the party descended into civil war.
Breaking his silence after a week of turmoil, Ukip’s only MP hit back after Farage called for him to be kicked out of the party and its key donor, Arron Banks, announced plans to stand against Carswell at the next general election.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Carswell gave his support to the Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, “100%” and said Farage should not return to dictate Ukip’s approach.
“It’s not a one-man band any more and the one man who was once running the band is no longer the leader,” he said.

NHS

The Mail reports further failings in the NHS.

Hundreds of doctors who made serious and sometimes fatal mistakes have been allowed to accept ‘soft touch’ written warnings in secret meetings designed to spare them the ‘anxiety’ of appearing before a public tribunal.
GPs who committed deadly medication errors, failed to spot killer infections or misdiagnosed patients with catastrophic results are among those given warnings.
The sessions, held by the doctors’ watchdog the General Medical Council (GMC), took place behind closed doors.
As a result, they have not had their competence scrutinised in public ‘fitness to practise hearings’ – and their failings have often gone unreported. Critics last night accused the GMC, which regulates Britain’s 240,000 doctors, of failing in its principal duty to protect patients.

And the Independent reports a Conservative comment that safety could be put at risk.

NHS reforms will “fail” and patient safety put at risk without an emergency rescue in next week’s Budget, the Conservative head of the Commons Health Committee has warned.
In an interview with 
The Independent, Dr Sarah Wollaston urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to change course – or watch the “suffering” public turn against the Government’s running of the health service.
Dr Wollaston criticised claims that the NHS is “on a sustainable footing”, insisting that was simply not true because spending was failing to keep pace with soaring demand.
And she said it was vital the Chancellor – when delivering his Budget on Wednesday – finds extra funds for both adult social care and local NHS renewal plans, across the country.

The Independent quotes research showing support for more cash for our health service.

An overwhelming majority of the British people want Theresa May to stop planned cuts to corporation tax worth £7.5bn and instead hand the desperately needed money to the NHS, an exclusive poll has revealed.
The BMG Research study showed more than three-quarters of people wanted Conservative plans to slash the business tax scrapped, with most believing the money should be passed to an ailing NHS that experts have warned is heading for catastrophe.
Huge backing for the move exposed in the poll for 
The Independent came from voters of every political persuasion, including those supporting Ms May’s Conservatives, from both genders, every age group and all areas of the country.
With just days to go before Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring Budget, almost half of voters also put the NHS as their top priority, with a similar proportion believing the British economy would get worse over the next 12 months.

Blair

The former Prime Minister is in the news again with the Mail claiming he has had a meeting with the US President.

Tony Blair has attended a secret meeting at the White House to discuss working for Donald Trump, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The former Prime Minister held talks with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday with a view to becoming a Middle East peace envoy for Trump.
This newspaper has learned that Blair and Kushner have met three times in secret since September, including their three-hour summit in the West Wing last week.
If Trump gives Blair the new role, it would mark an astonishing international comeback for the man whose reputation was left in tatters after the Iraq War.
And it would be a major setback to Theresa May’s hopes of forging her own ‘special relationship’ with Trump, especially as former Ukip leader Nigel Farage is already a close confidant of the President.

The Sun also reports on the meeting.

TONY Blair attended a secret meeting at the White House to discuss working for Donald Trump, it has been revealed.
The ex-Prime Minister held talks with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday allegedly with a view to becoming a Middle East peace envoy.
Blair and Kushner have met three times since September, including their three-hour meeting last week, according to The Mail on Sunday.
This comes less than a year after the damning report into the Iraq war left his reputation in ruins.
Blair did long-term damage to trust in politics when he took Britain to war in Iraq, according to Sir John Chilcot who wrote the inquiry.

But Sky News claims Blair did not actually meet the President.

A spokesperson for Tony Blair has responded to newspaper claims that the former prime minister is seeking to become President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy.
The spokesperson told Sky News that Mr Blair had not met with the US President or discussed a role within his administration, but did not deny that he had met members of Mr Trump’s team.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Blair met the president’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner at the White House last week to discuss working for Mr Trump.
The newspaper went on to claim Mr Blair has met Mr Kushner three times since September.
While in Downing Street, Mr Blair shared a close relationship with President George W Bush.

Trump

Yesterday’s tweets by the US President are still causing ripples, says Breitbart.

President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his campaign headquarters during the election in a series of messages on Twitter.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” he wrote on Twitter. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Trump questioned whether it was legal for Obama to be wiretapping a presidential candidate while he was still in office.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process,” he wrote. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

The Telegraph also reports on the Trump tweets.

Donald Trump’s relationship with Barack Obama descended to a new low on Saturday after the US president made explosive accusations that his predecessor orchestrated an illegal Watergate-style bugging operation at Trump Tower in New York.
In an unprecedented attack by a sitting president on former occupant of the White House Mr Trump called Mr Obama “sick” and suggested he should be criminally prosecuted for “wiretapping” him during the election campaign.
Mr Trump unleashed his astonishing allegations on Twitter from is Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where he was spending the weekend, but offered no proof and it was believed he may have based them on media reports.

But the allegations are not true, says the Sun.

DONALD Trump’s allegation that his predecessor ordered his phone to be tapped is “simply false”, Barack Obama’s spokesman says.
In an astonishing salvo of early morning tweets, the firebrand President claimed his predecessor had bugged his phones during the “very sacred election process”, slamming the allegations as a “Nixon/Watergate” scandal.
Trump, who started the Twitter rant at 5:30am US eastern time, branded the claims a “new low” before appearing to call Obama a “bad (or sick) guy”.
But Obama has strongly denied the allegations.
His spokesman Kevin Lewis said: “President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen.”
The property tycoon turned politician wrote: “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

BBC News claims the tweets are still ‘reverberating’ across the US.

Yesterday’s tweet storm by the US president is still reverberating across Washington.
Donald Trump’s accusations are astonishing. At the heart of them are claims that in the months before the election he was wire-tapped on the orders of Barack Obama.
He provided no evidence and 
Obama has emphatically denied it, although it is possible it was ordered by the FBI and authorised by a special court – under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – that deals with classified intelligence matters.

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