D’you fancy another five years in the EU?  I think I know the answer, but the Sun reports the possibility.

BRITAIN faces being stuck in the EU for up to another five years if Theresa May signs up to a long Brexit delay this week.
Brussels chiefs plan to “reset” all dates in the PM’s deal so they kick into force once the extended membership comes to an end.
That would mean the transition period – during which the UK will be bound by EU laws – will stretch until the end of 2023.
It would mean Britain would still be under outside rule more than eight years after voting to leave in a referendum.
European Council chief Donald Tusk has proposed a lengthy Article 50 extension which would end on March 31 next year.
An EU source told The Sun on Sunday: “There’s an awareness now that if this extension were to be accepted then we move the entire Withdrawal Agreement.
“That means the clock is reset and the transition period would start from next March.”

But the Irish Taoiseach has issued a warning, reports Yahoo News.

Any EU country that vetoed a further Brexit extension would not be forgiven by other member states, Ireland’s premier has said.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed the prospect of one of the EU27 saying no to another extension at next week’s European Council meeting was “extremely unlikely”.
He suggested his own preference was for a longer extension than the June 30 date proposed by the UK.

The warning is echoed in the Independent.

Any country that vetoes a delay to Brexit at next week’s European Council meeting “wouldn’t be forgiven”, Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said.
The taoiseach said he thought it was “extremely unlikely” that any EU member state would seek to block an extension to the Article 50 period.
The European Council will hold an emergency meeting next Wednesday to discuss the UK’s request to delay Brexit until 30 June.

Sky News says such a veto would not be forgiven.

Any EU 27 country that vetoed the UK’s request to delay Brexit “wouldn’t be forgiven”, the Irish prime minister has said.
Leo Varadkar said if a country vetoed an extension it would cause hardship to Ireland and other EU countries.
The UK is set to leave the EU on 12 April without a deal, because Westminster has been unable to agree the withdrawal agreement put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The German boss could back Mrs May’s request, reports the Independent.

Angela Merkel is open to backing Theresa May’s request for a short Brexit extension as the German chancellor seeks to maintain the pressure on British MPs to support the withdrawal agreement, according to senior EU sources.
In the face of moves from elsewhere in the EU to insist on a longer delay to Britain’s departure, Merkel is keeping all options on the table ahead of this week’s EU summit and is said to be willing to back 30 June as an exit date.

But the DUP isn’t happy with the PM’s plan, reports Huff Post.

The party which props up Theresa May’s minority government has described her handling of Brexit as “disorganised and slapdash”, after she asked the EU for another delay.
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster said the prime minister’s request for an Article 50 extension was “unsurprising but unsatisfactory”.

Soft Brexit

The negotiations between Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn could end in a soft Brexit, reports the Times.

Theresa May is preparing to offer Jeremy Corbyn a legally binding soft Brexit deal with a “Boris lock” that would make it difficult for a future Eurosceptic prime minister to tear up after she leaves No 10.
In a last-ditch attempt to leave the EU this year, May’s team is drawing up plans to enshrine in law a guarantee that MPs would have the ultimate say on a final deal with Brussels. Senior figures in Downing Street will tell Tory MPs that they face a “stark choice” — accept a rebranded customs union with Brussels or “lose Brexit”.

And the Sun claims she is plotting to stop Boris becoming PM and providing a clean Brexit.

THERESA May is plotting to thwart Boris Johnson from delivering a clean Brexit if he becomes the next PM.
She has bowed to Jeremy Corbyn’s demands to make any “unity” deal they strike legally binding.
And in a message to voters last night she insisted that doing business with her Marxist foe was the only way to stop Brexit “slipping through our fingers”.
But writing the compromise into law would tie the hands of her successor – and make it impossible for them to rip up the agreement and start again.

Customs union

According to the Express, a customs union is back on the cards.

PRIME Minister Theresa May has agreed a new customs union with Jeremy Corbyn to win over Labour supporters so she can scrape her Brexit deal through Parliament.
Mrs May’s government has a plan to enshrine in law a customs arrangement with the European Union in a bid to win over the opposition Labour Party to back a Brexit deal, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The Mail calls it ‘humiliating’.

Theresa May was last night poised to mount a humiliating climbdown over a customs union as the price of winning Labour support for her Brexit deal.
According to senior sources, Tory negotiators have told Labour that the Government would accept UK membership of a customs union – a ‘red line’ for Brexiteers – but on condition that they ‘call it something else’ to avoid inflaming anger among Eurosceptic Conservatives.

No deal

We’re ready to trade on WTO rules, says Breitbart, even if Mrs May hasn’t been told so.

The Government minister who was responsible for No Deal planning at the Brexit Department says that Britain is “officially ready” for a clean break with the European Union.
Chris Heaton-Harris MP was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) until April 3rd, when he resigned in response to Prime Minister Theresa May announcing she would request a second Brexit delay from the European Council, suggesting that bureaucrats had purposely failed to inform her of all the No Deal planning which is in place.

Westmonster also has the story.

Former Brexit Minister Chris-Heaton Harris has reiterated that the required preparations have been made to leave the European Union without a deal, undermining Theresa May’s ridiculous decision to seek any bad EU deal instead of taking back control on WTO terms.
The Tory MP recently resigned as Brexit Minister, saying in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister: “I truly believe our country would have swiftly overcome any immediate issues of leaving without a deal and gone on to thrive.”

But perhaps we’ll be out on Friday if the EU doesn’t agree an extension.  The Independent says it is a possibility.

France has won the support of Spain and Belgium after signalling its readiness for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April if there are no significant new British proposals, according to a note of an EU27 meeting seen by the Guardian.
The diplomatic cable reveals that the French ambassador secured the support of Spanish and Belgian colleagues in arguing that there should only be, at most, a short article 50 extension to avoid an instant financial crisis, saying: “We could probably extend for a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves in the markets.”

Conservative Party

The PM’s stance is infuriating members, reports the Telegraph.

Conservative activists are refusing to campaign for the party and donations have “dried up” because members feel that Theresa May has betrayed them over Brexit and the Government has “completely lost touch with voters”, council candidates have warned.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, more than 100 current and would-be Tory councillors state that they are unable to muster the volunteers needed to effectively fight next month’s local elections because “belief in the party they joined is gone”.

Westmonster describes the mood as ‘anger’.

There is increasing anger within the ranks of the Conservative Party as Theresa May continues to pursue a Brexit agreement with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn that the pair can ram through the House of Commons.
Today, the Sunday Telegraph report on anger from Tory activists and Councillors, with over 100 members signing a letter pointing out that the party is now struggling to compete in the local elections next month as “belief in the party they joined is gone”.

And there’s a warning for the PM in the Mail.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been warned that holding European elections could pose an ‘existential threat’ to the Conservative Party after she asked for a ‘flextension’ to Brexit from the EU.
A poll will take place on May 23 and Mrs May has urged party members to prepare to take part, which has prompted a backlash from activists who may now refuse to campaign for candidates.

The very existence of the Conservative Party is at stake, says the Sun.

THERESA May has been told the Tories will face an “existential threat” if the EU delays Brexit and makes Britain take part in the European elections.
Senior MPs have threatened to oust the PM if she doesn’t refuse a third Brexit date of June 30.
A few MPs told The Telegraph she would have just “days” left as Prime Minister if the UK had to fight in the local elections on May 2 and the EU elections on May 23.

The Independent warns the PM that she’ll be out if the party has to fight the Euros.

Theresa May is being warned by her mutinous MPs that they will move to oust her within weeks if the UK is forced to take part in European elections next month and extend its EU membership beyond the end of June.
Tory MPs are increasingly angry at the prospect of voters being asked to go to the polls to elect MEPs three years after the Brexit referendum, in an election they fear will be boycotted by many Conservatives and be a gift to the far right and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party.

Labour Party

The Labour Party is not faring much better.  The Times reports the on-going row over anti-semitism.

The Labour Party has failed to take disciplinary action against hundreds of members accused of anti-semitism under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, according to internal documents leaked to The Sunday Times.
A hard drive of emails and a confidential database last updated on March 8 reveal how the party’s system for dealing with such complaints is bedevilled by delays, inaction and interference from the leader’s office. They reveal members investigated for posting such online comments as “Heil Hitler”, “F*** the Jews” and “Jews are the problem” have not been expelled, even though the party received the complaints a year ago.

Such complaints are dismissed, says the Times.

Anti-semitism complaints made by Labour MPs are routinely dismissed, it has emerged.
Deputy leader Tom Watson, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and the Jewish MP Margaret Hodge are among 16 MPs to have reported 54 members for alleged anti-semitism over the past two years.
But their complaints are met mostly with inaction or see the accused given a slap on the wrist.

Local elections

Next month’s locals could decimate the Tories, reports the Telegraph.

The Conservatives are on course to lose control of councils across the country next month, Theresa May has been warned, as Ukip returns from the “dead” on the back of mounting anger over delay to Brexit.
Council leaders have told The Sunday Telegraph they are preparing for heavy losses in the local elections, amid fears voters are turning on the party for failing to take the UK out of the European Union on time.

The Express reports the rise of UKIP.

THERESA MAY has been warned that the Tory party will lose control of councils across the country next month as Ukip returns from the “dead” amid public anger over Brexit delay.
Council leaders have said they are preparing for heavy losses in local elections as voters are turning on the Tories after failing to leave the EU on time, according to The Sunday Times. Concerns have grown after last week’s Newport West by-election, which saw the two main political parties suffer losses with Ukip’s votes quadrupling.

Euro elections

The new Independent Group is attracting candidates for the Euro elections, claims the Independent.

At least 200 people have applied to stand as candidates for the new Independent Group if the UK takes part in European elections next month – amid growing signs that the contest could turn into a “proxy referendum” on whether to leave or remain in the EU.
The Observer has been told that one pro-EU former Tory cabinet minister and several former MPs and MEPs from the main parties have also put their names forward in the hope of being selected by TIG.

And the Brexit Party is recruiting candidates, reports the Express.

NIGEL FARAGE has vowed to bring together prominent business people and academics to stand in the 2019 European Parliament elections as members of his new pro-Brexit party.
The former Ukip leader confirmed his “Brexit Party” will be contesting all 73 seats. His bombshell announcement comes amid both the Tories and Labour scrambling to find suitable candidates in time for the May 23 poll. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Farage said candidates would be drawn from “all walks of life” and a number would be household figures.

The Telegraph also has the story of Farage’s party.

A new pro-Brexit party is lining up prominent businessmen and academics to stand in European Parliament elections, Nigel Farage has revealed.
With the Tories and Labour now scrambling to select candidates in time for the poll on May 23, the former Ukip leader has confirmed that his new ‘Brexit Party’ will be competing for nearly all of the 73 seats.
They will have candidates running in 70 areas but they will not be challenging the DUP for the three Ulster seats.

But the EU-loving Times claims the Brexit parties will not do well.

The ability of hard Brexit parties to benefit from any European elections could be limited by splits and by significant shortages of activists on the ground, research by The Sunday Times suggests.
Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for children and families, warned yesterday that the Conservatives would be signing a “suicide note” if Britain were forced to hold the elections on May 23, which would bring a surge in support for Ukip and Nigel Farage’s rival Brexit Party.

The elections could change the political landscape, claims the Express.

THE UPCOMING European Parliament elections will be an unprecedented, shambolic bun-fight where right wing extremists will do battle with left-wing extremists even without the UK’s Brexit being thrown into the mix. And experts warn the rise of far-right and so-called populist parties could shake up the European political landscape FOREVER.
EU citizens will take to the polls on May 23 to select who will represent them in the European Parliament.


Criminals are getting away with their offences, claims the Sun.

POLICE have let off more than 1,000 sex pests with just a slap on the wrist – including 25 rapists in the last four years The Sun on Sunday can reveal.
The figures include 21 perverts who had previously been cautioned for a sexual offence including assaults on children.
Ann Coffey MP, who has warned that the criminal justice system is not fit for purpose in its handling of rape cases because of low charging and conviction rates, said she was appalled by the figures.


Troops are being told to behave themselves in the Telegraph.

The head of the British Army has issued a stark warning to troops that he will not tolerate violent or sexual criminal behaviour after “a series of exceptionally serious allegations” were made against soldiers.
In an outspoken broadcast, Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said criminality among Servicemen is “downright unacceptable” and “damaged the reputation” of the British Army.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) posted his film online after it emerged six soldiers were arrested by military police over allegations of a sexual assault on a 17-year-old female soldier.

The Mail claims that some military conduct has damaged the services.

The military’s reputation has been damaged by claims of illegal and ‘downright unacceptable’ conduct including an alleged sexual assault, the head of the British Army said.
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith laid down the law to his troops in an extraordinary video message after six British Army troops were arrested over an alleged attack on a teenage female soldier.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was left ‘horrified’ by the claims and has launched a review of behaviour across the military.

The warnings come after soldiers were videoed shooting at a picture of Corbyn.  The Times reports:

The head of the army yesterday launched an unprecedented attack on his troops after a week that saw six of them accused of sexual assault and a leaked video showed paratroopers using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, chief of the general staff, said the army’s reputation had been “damaged”. In an extraordinary three-minute video posted on YouTube, he said the allegations were “downright unacceptable”.


Is our NHS being quietly privatised?  The Independent reports:

The NHS is offering more than 20 contracts to private companies, despite health secretary Matt Hancock having insisted there would be “no privatisation on my watch”, Labour has said.
The party released data showing 21 NHS contracts worth £127m are currently out to tender – 19 of which have been put out since mid-February.
The figures were revealed by House of Commons Library analysis and include a £91m contract to run an NHS assessment service in the South East, a £16m deal to provide health services in Leicestershire and a £6m tender for a GP surgery in High Wycombe.


Fake degrees are being offered, says the Times.

With world-class facilities, a glossy prospectus and the rousing motto “Excellence with a purpose”, the University of Grantchester looks the perfect place to study. It even appears to have The Sunday Times’s stamp of approval, boasting on its website that it won “best campus university” in 2016.
But the University of Grantchester is not real. Like Chelsea University, the University of New Castle and London University College, it is one of 243 bogus institutions flooding the labour market with “thousands” of fake degrees.

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