Brexit

Westmonster
Pro-Brexit defence campaigners have questioned why the Chequers plan leaves out key obligations with the EU that could lead to a massive loss of sovereignty and harm the British defence industry. Speaking exclusively to Westmonster, Veterans for Britain have questioned why the Chequers plan leaves out key elements which would mean loss of control over defence, their spokesman David Banks said: “Theresa May has duped the public and MPs by signing up the UK to key areas of EU defence policy without making it clear there would be serious obligations in order to join these institutions. For example, if we wanted to build a new aircraft carrier, we would no longer be able to build it solely in Britain, the EU would force us to open up these contracts to other EU states. “The Chequers plan does its best to hide the massive implications for UK autonomy and sovereignty by leaving out the commitments we would have to sign up to if we joined EU defence institutions. It’s time to scrap Chequers and go for a clean break with the EU.”

Times
Theresa May can legally ignore MPs if they vote for a fresh Brexit referendum, a senior parliamentary official has said. Sir David Natzler, clerk of the House of Commons, told the Brexit select committee that even if a majority of MPs voted for resolutions supporting another referendum or a change in the government’s negotiating approach, ministers would not necessarily have to modify their plans. 
The government wants the so-called meaningful vote that MPs will be given on any deal that Theresa May strikes in Brussels to be effectively a straightforward yes-or-no motion. It would then be followed later by a full act of parliament.

Order-Order
Commons Clerk David Natzler has torpedoed the wishful thinking of Dominic Grieve and others that they will be able to use motions in the House of Commons to force the Government into any particular course of action on Brexit, be it preventing no deal, extending Article 50 or forcing a second referendum. Natzler confirmed that the Government would have no legal obligation to follow any such motions. Remainers can pass as many motions as they like but none of them will stop Brexit…
As ever, the Government can only be bound by statute – although this does mean the Government is still vulnerable to amendments to primary legislation.

Times
Theresa May has struck a deal with Brussels that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit. British and European negotiators have reached tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, government sources said. In a sign that a wider deal is close to being finalised, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, said in a letter to the Commons Brexit committee published yesterday that the government expected to have it completed within three weeks.

Mail
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab raised hopes of a breakthrough in talks with the EU today as he said he ‘expects’ a deal to be done within three weeks. Mr Raab delivered the optimistic assessment about the prospects of ending the bitter standoff with Brussels in a letter to senior MPs. The two sides have been at loggerheads over the issue of the Irish border backstop and future trade arrangements – with fears mounting that the UK could crash out of the bloc. But Mr Raab wrote in a letter to the Brexit committee: ‘The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.

Independent
Brexit deal will be agreed with the EU within three weeks, Dominic Raab has predicted – despite the apparent stalemate in the negotiations.The Brexit secretary told MPs the talks were on course to achieve a breakthrough by 21 November, insisting: “The end is now firmly in sight.” In a letter to the Brexit committee, Mr Raab wrote: “While obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them. “We have resolved most of the issues and we are building up together what the future relationship should look like and making real progress.” And, in a crucial sentence, he added: “I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable.”

Sky News
Dominic Raab has revealed he expects to have a Brexit divorce deal confirmed with Brussels by 21 November. The Brexit secretary announced the date in a letter to senior MPs who had summoned him to appear before a committee. Writing to them, Mr Raab said: “I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable. “The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them. We have resolved most of the issues and we are building up together what the future relationship should look like and making real progress.” He has previously suggested the end of November is a cut off because of “the practical time limits on getting our legislation through”.

Sun
BRITAIN is trying to force Brussels to do a Brexit deal in the next two weeks in a bid to save hundreds of millions in emergency No Deal spending. To try to up the pace of talks, Brexit Secretary Dominic declared that he expects an agreement by November 21 — sending the Pound soaring. Mr Raab told the powerful Commons Brexit committee that he would come and update them once a deal had been “finalised” saying that date would be “suitable” to appear. Last night the EU said a “new positive mood” was emerging from the talks, but Dublin said a breakthrough next month was dependent on Britain making a new offer to Brussels on the Irish border headache within a week.

Guardian
Dominic Raab has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown after appearing to suggest that the UK’s increasingly fraught Brexit negotiations with the EU could be completed in three weeks’ time. The Brexit secretary admitted there was “no set date for the negotiations to conclude” three hours after a letter he had sent to a select committee was released in which he said he was happy to appear before it on 21 November after “a deal is finalised”. Once thought a safe pair of hands to take over the negotiations after the resignation of David Davis, Raab’s personally signed correspondence briefly caused the pound to rise and raised questions in Brussels.

ITV News
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has been accused of a “messy U-turn” after he indicated he expected an EU withdrawal deal to finalised by November 21, only for his department to later insist there was no set date. Mr Raab set off a flurry of speculation when he appeared to suggest a Brexit agreement could be done within three week in a letter to the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee. But hours later, the department said “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude”. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer was scathing about the move. He tweeted: “This must be one of the quickest u-turns in political history. ⁦‪@DominicRaab⁩ told MPs that a Brexit deal would be done by the end of November.

Express
MORE than 100,000 people have signed an online Government petition to stop a second Brexit referendum and “ensure democracy rules” – the threshold for triggering a Parliamentary debate. The petition was launched by Ronald Mitchell after 700,000 people took to London’s streets demanding a “People’s Vote”. The petition, which at the time of writing has been signed by 100,070 people, said: “Although not legally binding the referendum on whether we stay of leave the EU carried out on the 23rd June 2016 was the clearest indicator of the will of the electorate.

Breitbart
More than 100,000 people have signed an online Government petition to demand the Brexit referendum is not rerun and “ensure democracy rules.” Breaching the 100,000 threshold does not automatically mean a debate will take place in Parliament, but it does mean the Government will respond in nine days and consider triggering a debate. The petition was set up towards the end of October when hundreds of thousands joined a “People’s Vote march” in London calling for the 2016 referendum to be rerun and even overturned. The petition, which at the time of writing has been signed by more than 101,500 people, states: “Although not legally binding the referendum on whether we stay or leave the EU carried out on the 23rd June 2016 was the clearest indicator of the will of the electorate.

No deal

Independent
Two new processing centres are to be opened in Hayes and Milton Keynes to handle “high-risk” customs arrivals after Brexit. Paul Lincoln OBE, director-general of Border Force, said the centres would be set up regardless of whether a security deal is reached with the European Union (EU) or its terms. Speaking at a police conference in central London, he said the government had ordered the “acceleration of no-deal preparations” but added: “We are still confident that we can secure a deal with the EU.” Mr Lincoln told senior officers and police and crime commissioners it was working to “minimise the potential disruption that may occur at the border and ensure a smooth and orderly exit”.

EU

Telegraph
Michel Barnier was under mounting pressure to agree to a fresh compromise with Britain over the Irish backstop, senior EU sources told The Telegraph on Wednesday night, as Dominic Raab said he expects a divorce deal with the EU by November 21.
The Brexit Secretary’s optimistic prediction in a letter to MPs came despite both sides being locked in an apparently intractable impasse over the so-called ‘Irish backstop’ to guarantee no return to a hard border in Ireland. Technical level talks resumed in Brussels this week between Olly Robbins, Theresa May’s Europe adviser, and Sabine Weyand, Mr Barnier’s deputy, as both sides tried to plot a way through the deadlock over Ireland.

Independent
The EU has stepped up planning for a no-deal Brexit as time runs out for stalled negotiations that could see the UK crash out of the bloc without an agreement. There have been no signs of progress in Brussels since the meeting of the European Council a fortnight ago, when the EU’s 27 leaders scrapped plans for a November summit to finalise a deal, stating that not enough progress had been made. With the original October deadline for a deal now officially in the past, officials behind the scenes still remain hopeful that a withdrawal agreement can be struck – though there are few clues to how or when.

Davis

Mail
David Davis has fuelled speculation about his Tory leadership ambitions after he used a Commons debate to set out his vision for the party. The former Brexit secretary urged ministers to boost welfare spending, overhaul student loans and scrap Help to Buy. He said that as a ‘party of aspiration’ the Tories ‘must do better’ by ensuring home ownership is available to a ‘whole new generation’. Speaking during day three of the Budget debate, Mr Davis – who stood for party leader in 2005 – said more funding is needed to help those ‘in most need’, including single parents and couples without children.

Westmonster
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has clarified his position today and reiterated that any Brexit plan based on Theresa May’s Chequers proposal “will not pass the Commons”. It comes after he said last night (as reported by Guido): “Terror will win, the fear of No Deal…I think the irrational fear of No Deal, a WTO deal – that will win and there will be a deal. It may take two passes – it may be a deal that’s agreed in Brussels and fails in Westminster and comes back again, it may take two passes.” Today, Davis followed up by saying: “For the avoidance of doubt I believe the PM will get a deal with the EU but anything based on the Chequers plan or one that keeps us in the Customs Union will not pass the Commons.

Police

Mail
Police should focus on catching burglars and violent thugs rather than recording incidents that are not crimes, one of the country’s most senior officers has said. National Police Chiefs’ Council chairwoman Sara Thornton warned forces are too stretched to take on all ‘desirable and deserving’ issues, such as logging misogyny reports even when no offence has been committed. Calling for a ‘refocus on core policing’, she also said she is ‘unconvinced’ it is appropriate to commit significant resources investigating allegations against the dead.

Times
Police should focus on tackling burglaries and violent crime rather than worthy issues such as misogyny and wolf-whistling or historical allegations against dead people, one of the country’s most senior officers has said. Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, called for a refocus on “core policing” in response to increasing violence and record-low conviction rates for crimes such as burglary. She told a conference in central London that investigating gender-based hate incidents and allegations against those who had died were not “bad things to do” but added: “They just cannot be priorities for a service that is overstretched.”

Mail
Genuine hate crimes are abhorrent and have no place in a civilised society. But are hate crimes generally worse than burglary, arson, assault and rape? Are the psychological injuries suffered by the victims of hate crime worse than the psychological and sometimes physical scars carried by those who have been physically or sexually assaulted, or had their homes ransacked and precious belongings stolen? Certainly, where hate is an aggravating factor in serious crime it must be taken into account.  But how much investigative effort should our overstretched police forces be expected to invest in dealing with minor verbal or written abuse that someone perceives to be a hate crime?

Times
Drug operations in towns with the worst “county lines” problems are not being properly targeted by police, the director-general of the National Crime Agency has said. Lynne Owens said she had used her “tasking powers” for the first time last month to ensure that there was a co-ordinated effort between chief constables over the “significant threat” posed by gangs moving Class A drugs from a city to a small town or village. She said that there were five towns in particular, though she did not name them, in which gangs had each been able to run 21 county lines — a term that refers to the phone lines used to distribute drugs — without meaningful law enforcement intervention.

Foreign aid

Sun
BRITAIN will be able to spend some of its £14billion foreign aid budget on rich countries that suffer a big economic blow from crises – in a victory for Penny Mordaunt. It means the £200 million the UK spent on the Overseas Territories in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Irma could in future come from the overseas aid budget rather than asking taxpayers for extra. It is a big win for Ms Mordaunt after a lengthy campaign to change international rules that govern what counts as foreign aid spending. But the International Development Secretary wants to loosen the strict rules further by allowing countries who are just above the threshold to qualify too.

Plastic

Telegraph
The Prince of Wales said he warned about the dangers of plastic 40 years ago but was dismissed as ‘out of touch’ and ‘anti-science’ In an interview with Vanity Fair, the future monarch said he had felt uncomfortable putting his head ‘above the parapet’ in the 1970s, and said it ‘seemed to take forever’ for people to wake up to the danger of failing to protect the environment. Ahead of his 70th birthday on November 14th, Prince Charles said he felt it was his duty to help find solutions to the problems facing humanity, including the crisis of plastic in the oceans and climate change. “I don’t really see any value in saying, ‘I told you so’,” he said.

Mail
Nine in ten people have changed the way they use plastic in response to campaigns such as the Daily Mail’s Turn the Tide on Plastic and nature series Blue Planet II. Images such as an albatross feeding plastic to its young, together with growing frustration at the waste caused by unnecessary plastic packaging, have triggered a remarkable change in shopping habits, Waitrose has revealed. The supermarket, which stopped selling plastic drinking straws in September, said a ‘new era of environmentalism has taken hold’. It added: ‘More than 60 per cent of people use reusable water bottles more often than they did in 2017 – and this figure rises to over 70 per cent among those aged 18 to 24.’

Fracking

Times
The government has rejected an energy company’s request to relax rules on earthquakes caused by fracking despite claims that the limits could prevent it testing Britain’s shale gas potential. Cuadrilla has caused nearly 30 tremors since it resumed fracking at Preston New Road in Lancashire last month, the strongest of which measured 1.1 magnitude on Monday and was described as a “microseismic event”. Under the government’s “traffic light” system, introduced after Cuadrilla stopped its previous fracking attempt in 2011 when it caused two tremors of up to 2.3 magnitude, the company has to cease fracking for 18 hours after a tremor of more than 0.5, even though tremors below 1.5 magnitude cannot be felt at the surface.

Cannabis

Times
The patience of a group of musicians, artists, writers and academics who took out a full-page advert in The Times 51 years ago has finally been rewarded. On Monday July 24, 1967, the group, led by Paul McCartney, paid to take over all of page 5 in an effort to urge the government to reform cannabis laws. The headline of the advert read: “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice.” It demanded that the government “permit research into all aspects of cannabis use, including its medical applications”. Today that aim was finally realised, with the law changing to allow cannabis-based medicines on the NHS. The advert’s 65 signatories also included the rest of the Beatles, David Dimbleby, Graham Greene.

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