Brexit

It seems that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have buried the hatchet and are now working together, says the Mail.

Theresa May is effectively being held to ransom over Brexit by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, a bombshell leaked letter reveals.
The Cabinet heavyweights made a series of veiled threats in a secret missive to the Prime Minister – which contained blunt instructions on how she should deliver the ‘hard Brexit’ they demand.
The incredible letter also contains the sinister-sounding instruction that Mrs May should make rebel Cabinet Ministers toe their line by ‘clarifying their minds’.
It lays bare Cabinet tensions and will fuel claims that the Brexit stance of Mrs May – who supported the Remain campaign during the EU referendum – is being dictated by Mr Gove and Mr Johnson.

The Independent also has details of the letter.

A secret letter from Boris Johnson and Michael Gove giving Theresa May instructions on how to orchestrate a hard Brexit has emerged.
The memo demands the Prime Minister, who looks increasingly fragile following the departure of two of her Cabinet ministers in as many weeks, “underline her resolve” for leaving the European Union, according to 
The Mail on Sunday.
The letter also sets out a date for transition arrangements between the EU and UK to end of 30 June 2021, the newspaper said.
Mr Johnson and Mr Gove are also said to have urged the Prime Minister to ensure members of her top team fall behind their Brexit plans by “clarifying their minds” and called for them to “internalise the logic”.

And it seems the House of Lords is determined to thwart the will of the people, says the Independent.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has warned that peers across the House of Lords are ready to join forces and inflict defeats on the Government over Brexit.
In an exclusive interview with 
The Independent,  he set out how he has met with peers in a bid to ensure the Government does not use Brexit legislation as an excuse to get rid of rights and protections currently enshrined in European law.
Sir Vince also revealed how interest is growing among members of the Lords in the idea of having a “referendum of the facts” once the country knows what kind of Brexit deal it faces.
His intervention follows a further round of Brexit talks which again failed to move negotiations forward and comes as Theresa May’s ministers begin a drive to push through their key piece of legislation necessary to make EU withdrawal happen.
But while Ms May has a good chance of winning votes on her bill in the House of Commons with the Northern Irish DUP’s backing, she is weaker in the Lords against opposition from the Lib Dems, Labour, Tory rebels and crossbench peers. 

The Independent also has a story about timing, claiming the next Brexit fight will not happen until after the budget.

Theresa May is set to push back the toughest fight over her Brexit legislation until after this month’s Budget, The Independent understands.
The move allows her time to talk with Tory rebels who want her to fundamentally change how Parliament approves the final Brexit deal so MPs have more control.
Ms May is currently understood to be unwilling to consider changing her plans, but knows she needs to make some compromises to win their support or her Brexit legislation will not get through unamended.
To that end she made an early minor concession last week to show rebels that she is in “listening mode”, one Government insider told 
The Independent.

And it seems the referendum was won despite the efforts of Russian trolls, reports the Mail.

Cynically mocking the warnings of the Remain campaign, these are the messages posted on the day of the Brexit referendum and seen by many thousands of people as the UK decided its future.
But what voters won’t have known is the posts, which may have influenced the result, came from Vladimir Putin’s so-called ‘troll factory’.
Made to appear to originate in the UK or EU countries, the posts have only now been traced to the secret St Petersburg operation exposed by The Mail on Sunday last week.
A whistleblower, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of Kremlin reprisals, said: ‘We were active on social media, including  Twitter, mainly posting on contentious topics obsessing the Brits.’

A meeting with a Brussels big-wig has persuaded an MP to change his opinion, says the Express.

A MEETING with arch-federalist MEP Guy Verhofstadt converted a Conservative MP to join the ranks calling for Britain to leave the EU without a Brexit deal.
Conservative MP Christopher Chope attended talks in Brussels with MPs from the Brexit Select Committee including Labour’s Hilary Benn.
The British MPs met EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, and MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who represents the European Parliament in Brexit  talks.
Mr Chope had been optimistic for the meetings after Theresa May’s Government seemed to be making progress in Brexit talks.
But the meetings made him realise there was no way the EU will ever allow Britain a good deal – so talks will ultimately be pointless.

And Sky News reports that the payout UK members receive when we leave will be added to our bill.

British Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), including leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, will be in line for a “golden goodbye” pay out of over €6m (£5.3m) when the UK leaves the EU, Sky News has learnt.
A senior European Union source has confirmed that these so-called “transition payments”, in effect redundancy money for MEPs when they stand down or lose their seats, will be paid to Britain’s 73 MEPs.
However the same source has said that Brussels will not pay for it and that it will in effect be added to the so-called “Brexit bill” which Britain must pay.

Northern Ireland

The border between the province and Eire is considered by the Times.

The government is confident that it can resolve the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic with a “combination of flexibility and high-tech customs management”, according to cabinet sources.
The disclosure comes days after the EU put forward a plan that would in effect split Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK after Brexit.
A leaked European Commission document, which emerged on Friday, suggested Northern Ireland must remain in the single market and customs union if a hard border is to be avoided.
A furious Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the UK could not countenance a solution that would jeopardise its “constitutional and economic integrity”.

And the EU will not have a voice in the final arrangements, says the Guardian.

Britain will not be allowed to dictate the future of the Irish border post-Brexit, Ireland’s foreign minister has warned in a hardening of rhetoric over the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Simon Coveney told his party’s biannual conference on Saturday that Ireland would remain a steadfast opponent to any proposal that would create a hard border with the republic.
He said Ireland’s position was “consistent, firm and stubborn” and it would not abandon its opposition.
Coveney reiterated demands that Northern Ireland remain in the customs union and the single market – a position Ireland sees as the only viable way of achieving an invisible border with Northern Ireland .

Fisheries

Elsewhere, Brexit will ensure a boom for our fishing industry, says the Express.

BREXIT will revive the UK fishing industry, creating 30,000 extra jobs and regenerating seaside towns in a boost to the nation’s economy worth almost £3billion, according to fishermen’s leaders.
Long-neglected ports such as Lowestoft, Grimsby and Whitby could be given a new lease of life, along with Cornish coastal towns and seaside resorts such as Scarborough.
At the moment 60 per cent of Britain’s fishing stock, worth £650million a year, is caught by foreign vessels from the EU.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove confirmed in June that after Brexit, British fishermen will have exclusive rights to fish in a 12-mile zone around our coast.
At a meeting at historic Fishmongers’ Hall in London last week, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation predicted that reclaiming control of British waters would be one of the “great successes” of Brexit. 

May

The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure, says the Times.

Forty MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Theresa May as European Union negotiators threaten to block trade talks until March unless Britain agrees to settle the Brexit divorce bill.
The embattled prime minister is facing a fight on three fronts following another week of Tory turmoil in which Priti Patel become the second cabinet minister to resign and two other cabinet ministers — Damian Green and Boris Johnson — faced pressure to quit.
May now faces a “make or break” month as senior European politicians and officials warn that the talks are entering a “crisis mode” as a preliminary deal will probably not be reached in December, as previously expected, but could instead be postponed until March.

The Sun has the same story.

DOZENS of MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no-confidence in Theresa May after Brexit negotiations hit a stumbling block this week.
It comes at the end of a week of turmoil for the Prime Minister after cabinet ministers Priti Patel and Michael Fallon both resigned.
The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Bariner has piled pressure on the Government after giving it a two week deadline to pay its Brexit divorce bill.
But now 40 MPs have secretly agreed to sign a no-confidence letter, The Sunday Times reports.
Many privately believe she has become a liability to the process and think the Conservatives need a period of time in opposition to rally themselves.

As does the Mail.

Theresa May is facing a backbench revolt with 40 jittery Tory MPs willing to sign a letter of no-confidence – just eight short of the number required to force a leadership election.
The Prime Minister, who this week announced legislation confirming the date of Britain’s departure from the European Union, has been rocked by the forced departure of two cabinet ministers, Priti Patel and Sir Michael Fallon.
Mrs May has desperately tried to keep Brexit  and Remain wings of her party unified, although both elements are not confident she is the best person to govern the country.
According to The Sunday Times, only eight more signatures are required to launch a rebellion against Mrs May’s leadership. 

And Breitbart claims that a replacement Prime Minister is being lined up.

Tory members favour socially conservative and committed Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg MP as a replacement for Theresa May, as her position as leader looks increasingly weak.
A YouGov poll for 
The Times, released Friday, shows Mr. Rees-Mogg is leading the way among Tory members with 18 per cent of the vote.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson follows on 12 per cent and Brexit secretary David Davis comes in third on 7 per cent. Home Secretary Amber Rudd came a close fourth with 6 per cent support.
According to the poll, voters tend to view Mrs. May as weak and indecisive and a significant number want a new leader.

The Guardian also reports the pressure on the PM.

Theresa May faces a devastating Commons defeat over Brexit within weeks if she continues to deny parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal with the EU, Tory and Labour MPs have warned.
With the withdrawal bill returning to the Commons on Tuesday, a cross-party group who oppose a hard Brexit and are co-operating on tactics say they believe they have the numbers to defeat the government if they are denied such a vote.
While the critical amendments and closest votes are not expected to be taken until next month, Tories who oppose a hard Brexit insist there is no softening of their position and that they are biding their time ready to strike before Christmas.
Some Tories say they are even more determined to insist on parliament’s right to veto a bad or no deal because the prime minister appears not to have responded to any of their concerns over recent weeks.
Instead, in what was seen by many as a provocative move, she announced last week that the government had tabled its own amendment that would commit the UK to  formally leaving on 29 March 2019, whatever the outcome of negotiations and even if there were no deal.

Environment

Following Brexit, the environment will be a major topic, says the Telegraph.

An independent watchdog to “give the environment a voice” and “hold the powerful to account” will form the cornerstone of a “green Brexit”, the Environment Secretary discloses.
Michael Gove reveals plans to set up a “world-leading” statutory body to maintain environmental standards, together with a national policy statement that will permanently “embed” protections for land, water, air and wildlife into policy-making as Britain leaves the European Union.
The announcement, set out in an exclusive article for The Telegraph, is intended as a major concession to environmental groups and concerned MPs in a bid to head off a series of amendments to the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill that will be debated this week. 

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