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Sunday media – 17 December 2017

Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May is jubilant about the deal she has struck with the EU. The Telegraph reports:

Theresa May today declares she has silenced the doubters by securing 
 Britain a deal in the first stage of Brexit negotiations.
After a turbulent six months in which her leadership has been questioned repeatedly, the Prime Minister takes personal credit for convincing European leaders to move on to the next phase of talks.
Writing in the Telegraph, Mrs May strikes a defiant tone by insisting that she succeeded in spite of those wanting to “talk Britain down”. She says she will not be “derailed” as she tries to negotiate the crucial terms of the country’s final departure from the European Union.
Mrs May’s article comes ahead of a “crunch” week for the Government as the Cabinet prepares to discuss for the first time what the terms of that deal should be.

Mrs May herself writes a column in the Express.

YOU, the British people voted to leave the European Union and that is what we are going to do.
I will not be derailed from my duty to deliver your democratic decision.
Amid all the noise this Government is getting on with the job.
We are looking ahead with optimism as we secure a smooth and orderly Brexit while taking back control of our borders, money and laws once again.
And we are seizing the opportunity to build a Britain fit for the future.
Last week marked a watershed as the European Parliament and the European Council agreed we have made sufficient progress to move to the next stage of negotiations.
First, we have reached agreement to protect citizens’ rights.
I was clear from the outset that I wanted to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.
But I was equally clear that we had to protect the rights of UK citizens living in EU countries too.

The Independent echoes her resolve.

Theresa May has vowed that her plans for Brexit will not be “derailed” as senior ministers prepared to formally consider the future shape of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.
The Prime Minister claimed her Government is “proving the doubters wrong” after EU leaders agreed to move on to the next phase of the Brexit negotiations.
Ms May said talks would now begin on an “implementation period” immediately after the formal date of Brexit – but backbench Tory Eurosceptics have already issued warnings that they will not accept arrangements which closely resemble continued EU membership during the transition to a new relationship.
Boris Johnson called for the Prime Minister to strike a deal with Brussels that would allow the UK to ditch EU laws, warning that being unable to diverge from the bloc’s regulations would leave the UK a “vassal state”.

The Times reports a call from Boris.

Boris Johnson has called on Theresa May to strike a Brexit trade deal that gives Britain the power to ditch EU laws, warning that failure to do so would render the UK a “vassal state” of Brussels.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the foreign secretary said the government must seek to “maximise the benefits of Brexit” and failure to get an agreement that allowed divergence would mean the UK could not do “proper free trade deals” with other countries. In a move that will create nervousness in Downing Street, Johnson announced that he was planning a fresh intervention this week, penning the case for a “liberal Brexit” because the advantages of leaving have not been properly outlined for the public.

Has-been Prime Minister Tiny Blur is reported by the Express.

TONY Blair has sparked outrage after claiming Labour should try to overturn the EU referendum result in a bid to seize power.
The ex-Labour prime minister claimed Britain had decided to “relegate” itself as a country with the Brexit vote.
And he said Jeremy Corbyn should campaign to stop the entire process and forget about alienating the millions who wanted to exit the bloc.
In a claim that will stagger Leave voters across the country, Mr Blair said Brexit was not the answer to people’s concerns over jobs and the NHS, saying it was just a “Tory psychodrama”.
He claimed: “You can make a huge point of not just the destructive impact of Brexit, but the distractive impact of Brexit, because it’s that distraction that means that this government has no time to deal with the health service.

The Independent reports that he is urging the Labour Party to concentrate on stopping Brexit.

Labour should prioritise stopping Brexit ahead of winning the next election, Tony Blair has said.
The former Prime Minister said the party would “be saying what’s right” if it came out in opposition to the UK leaving the EU, and suggested the stance would also expose divisions within Conservative ranks.
He added he believed that “stopping Brexit is the route to win power” for Labour, and rejected the idea that accepting the referendum result was necessary to avoid the risk of losing support in former industrial heartlands.
When asked in 
The Guardian whether he agreed support for Brexit was a sacrifice worth making to win, he replied: “I don’t actually. No. I think this principle’s too important.”
He added: “I’d like to see a Labour government in power. But I think the key national priority right now is stopping Brexit. I would put it above everything else right now for the country.”

The Guardian reports a warning to Mrs May.

Theresa May was warned on Sunday by Tory peers that she will face a string of parliamentary defeats over Europe in the House of Lords if she tries to “bully” members of the second chamber into backing an extreme form of Brexit.
After 11 Conservative MPs joined opposition parties to inflict a humiliating loss on the government last week, Tory grandees are warning that the spirit of rebellion will spread to the Lords unless May shows she respects parliament and decisively rejects those with “extreme views” in her own party.
Writing in the 
Observer, two Tory peers, the former pensions minister Ros Altmann and  Patience Wheatcroft, a former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, say they are appalled at the insults heaped by hardline Brexiters on MPs who voted with their consciences, and at the “strong-arm” tactics of the Tory whips.
They say it is vital to democracy that parliamentarians be given the right to assess the Brexit deal on behalf of the British people without being threatened or bullied, and suggest that the aggression of Tory party managers has helped create a “toxic atmosphere”, not only in parliament but across the UK.

The Parliamentary petition to stop negotiating has reached 100,000 signatures, says Breitbart.

As Prime Minister Theresa May continues to make heavy concessions to the European Union, a public petition demanding the country simply walks away from the negotiations and leaves immediately has passed 100,000 signatures.
“The EU looks set to offer us a punishment deal out of spite,” the petition  observes.
“Why wait another 18 months when we could leave right away and fully take back control of our country, lawmaking powers and borders?”
The petition received a surge of new signatories after the Prime Minister agreed to a hefty financial settlement, a lengthy transition period after Brexit during which little will actually change, continuing powers for the Court of Justice of the European Union in Britain, and “full regulatory alignment” with the bloc’s Single Market and Customs Union — in exchange for Brussels simply agreeing to begin talking about a trade agreement.

But our own negotiators have been told there is no way we’re going to get a good deal, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have been warned by  Brussels that their dream of breaking free from European laws and then securing a favourable trade deal with the  European Union is going to be dashed by negotiators.
Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson and Environment Secretary Mr Gove used a secret letter to the Prime Minister to argue for a ‘Singapore-style’ future for the UK, in which taxes and red tape are cut to attract investment.
But last night, a senior source close to the EU’s negotiating team told The Mail on Sunday that the Brexiteers would have to ‘choose and choose quickly’ between cutting all regulation and having a trade deal.
‘Unless you are North Korea, there is no such thing as absolute sovereignty in the modern world,’ the source said. ‘Mr Gove and Mr Johnson can go whistle if they think they will be able to deregulate the UK and have a trade deal with the EU after Brexit.’

ECB

The Times reports that the pound could come under pressure.

A “tsunami” of cash flowing from the eurozone into Britain is set to dry up as the European Central Bank winds down its quantitative easing (QE) programme — potentially placing the pound under greater pressure.
According to Oxford Economics, about €50bn (£44bn) a year has been pouring into UK debt for the past few years as a response to the ECB’s bond-buying programme, which has pushed up asset prices across Europe, making British debt more attractive for continental investors. The consultancy’s analysis predicts that the volume of cash will halve next year.
The ECB’s huge programme of asset purchases has crowded out private investors in eurozone bond markets, causing them to look overseas to countries, including Britain, for better returns.

Pensions

ITV News reports government plans for retirement savings to start early.

Automatic pension saving could begin at 18 under new government plans.

Some 900,000 young people will begin saving into a workplace pension unless they opt out under recommendations to lower the qualifying age of auto-enrolment, under the recommendations.
Plans set to be published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) aim to get young people saving earlier for their retirement.
Currently, automatic enrolment applies to workers aged between 22 and state pension age, and earning above £10,000. Under the new reforms, which will now be progressed and legislated for, contributions will be calculated from the first pound earned.
But some experts argue the pace of the new reforms is “shockingly lethargic” and risks leaving a generation behind.
David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: “We are committed to enabling more people to save while they are working, so that they can enjoy greater financial security when they retire.

Terror attack

The Mail warns that an attack by extremists over the next week is highly likely.

A terrorist attack in Britain over Christmas is likelier than ever as around 20,000 extremists roam the country’s street, a former anti-terror chief has warned.
Chris Phillips, who was once head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, has said there should be ‘no surprise’ if terrorists strike before December 25.
His warning comes after ISIS propaganda threatening to attack Christmas shoppers on Britain’s High Streets.
‘The threat level is severe, which means an attack could happen at any time,’ Mr Phillips told the Daily Star Online. ‘Attacks are more frequent so no one should be surprised if there is another attack before Christmas.’
He warned that it would be impossible for police to ensure the entire country’s safety because of the sheer number of potential threats.
‘There are 20,000 people on a list. Police can’t watch them all. Police have to make difficult decisions.’

And the Times reports further cash is to be given to police to counter such threats.

Ministers are to plough an extra £50m into counter-terrorist policing after the Home Office asked for more money to deal with the “fast-changing” threat to Britain.
Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has struck a deal with Amber Rudd, the home secretary, to raise the Home Office budget from £707m to £757m next year.
The rise follows warnings from police and security services of a step change in the threat from Islamist terrorism this year. MI5 said recently that the security services have managed to thwart nine terrorist attacks on home soil since March.
The Tories were criticised by Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, in the general election this summer for cutting the number of police officers on Britain’s streets.

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About Debbie (722 Articles)
Debbie has been a journalist for longer than she cares to admit! She has been freelance for the last 15 years and is an associate editor on UKIP Daily, specialising in covering the morning press each day.

2 Comments on Sunday media – 17 December 2017

  1. Two Tory peers “are appalled” at the strong-arm tactics of the Tory whips. Hardly a new tactic – isn’t that what whips are for?

  2. Terror attack:

    “here are 20,000 people on a list. Police can’t watch them all. ” But they can be dealt with on at a time. Watching them has not proved effective.

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