Brexit

Express
REMOANER MPs are trying to keep the UK tied to the EU after March 2019 by calling on the Prime Minister to advocate a “soft-Brexit” known as the “Norway option” which means Britain will still pay into the bloc’s coffers, it has been revealed.
The recommendations come from the Commons Brexit select committee but have been slammed by Leave campaigners as trying to “thwart Brexit by stealth”. A Norway option would allow the UK access to the Single Market but it will also mean subsidy for membership and potentially the continuation of free movement. “Select committee reports are only of any value when unanimous, divided ones have no effect.” The committee has a 10-6 majority in favour of Remain. But with Committee Chairman Hillary Benn seemingly unable to reach a consensus, this has led to a series of reports which have failed to have unanimous backing.

BBC News
The government should not rule out continued membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) after Brexit, a committee of MPs has said.
The Brexit committee said joining Norway in the European Free Trade Area (Efta) should also be an option. Brexit Secretary David Davis has previously ruled out both options. The recommendation caused splits in the committee, with Tory Brexiteers, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, voting against its inclusion in their report. The committee’s Brexiteers also voted against the report in its entirety, but were defeated by 10 to six. Committee chairman Hilary Benn told BBC News it was “not surprising” there had been disagreements, given the country and Parliament were divided on Brexit, but that they had agreed on some issues. He said the committee did not think there would be a trade deal with the EU by the autumn in time for the “meaningful” vote promised to MPs. Instead, he predicted, there would be a “political declaration about the future relationship” with little detail – and talks would inevitably “spill over into the transition period which is due to end by December 2020”.

Breitbart
A committee of MPs, many of whom opposed Brexit, have launched a new push to potentially keep the Uk tied to European Union (EU) rules and regulations, with member Jacob Rees-Moog rebelling and defending a clean Brexit.
According to the cross-party committee, the UK should consider staying in the European Economic Area (EEA), which extends Single Market membership to non-EU members, and participants such as Norway have been forced to open their borders to the bloc. The demand is contained in a report published by a 21-member Exiting The European Union Committee of MPs, which is chaired by the former Labour Cabinet minister Hilary Benn. The committee sets out targets for Prime Minister Theresa May in negotiations, but pro-Brexit members have repeatedly rebelled against its suggestions, believing them to be bad for a clean Brexit and the UK.  

Sky News
A UK trade deal with the EU similar to those of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is being demanded by an all-party committee of MPs.
The Brexit committee of MPs wants Theresa May to consider keeping the UK in the European Economic Area (EEA) or join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Europe’s EEA agreement, which came into force in 1994, extends membership of the EU’s single market to non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. But the MPs’ proposal is likely to be rejected by the Government, since Brexit Secretary David Davis has previously ruled out both options, calling them “in many ways, the worst of all outcomes”. The EEA/EFTA recommendation comes in the latest controversial report by the 21-member Brexit committee of MPs, chaired by the former Labour Cabinet minister Hilary Benn. And for the second time in less than three weeks, Mr Benn has faced a mutiny by Brexit-supporting MPs on his committee, led by Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Westmonster
Leave.EU have hit back after London Labour MP West Streeting branded the pro-Brexit organisation a “far-right organisation”. London Labour MP is quoted by the BBC  as saying: “I think they’re now a far-right organisation trying to stir up hatred and division between different communities.” They’ve also hit back at the “hysterical reaction” to their recent social media content. In a statement just released, Leave.EU say: “Following our ‘Londonistan’ tweet, Leave.EU has been besieged by media commentators, along with pompous social justice activists gleefully pouring scorn. “Foremost amongst our ‘sins’ is our entry into the rigged debate on Islam in Britain, even though we are a political organisation devoted to a controlled immigration policy. We make no apology for keeping multiculturalism – a vacuous philosophy committed to nothing but destruction – in our sights.”

Telegraph
MPs have set 15 tests by which to judge Theresa May’s Brexit deal and called for Britain to remain governed by EU rules if they cannot be passed. The House of Commons’ Exiting the European Union committee called on the Government to consider membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) or European Free Trade Association (Efta) as an alternative to a full-blooded Brexit.
The report was not backed by the whole committee, which is riven by stark divisions between Leavers, who argue EEA or Efta membership would turn Britain into a rule-taking vassal state, and Remainers.

Guardian
The influential Commons Brexit committee has urged the government to consider negotiating continued membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) or joining the European Free Trade Association (Efta) after the UK leaves the European Union. The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has previously ruled out both options, calling them “the worst of all outcomes”. However, the cross-party committee, in its report on the future UK-EU relationship, recommended that if negotiations on a “deep and special partnership” proved unsuccessful, EEA/Efta membership should remain an alternative. The recommendation caused a split in the committee, with prominent Tory Brexiters led by Jacob Rees-Mogg voting against its inclusion. The committee’s Brexiters also voted against the report in its entirety, but were defeated 10-6. In addition to the recommendation, the committee also set 15 “key tests” for the government’s final deal with the EU. The guidelines included the Northern Ireland border issue and the free flow of data between the UK and EU after Brexit.

Express
THE Government needs to rejuvenate the Commonwealth as part of its Global Britain strategy once it is free of the European Union. A powerful committee of MPs has demanded that Britain revives its old international relationships as Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in Australia to launch the Commonwealth Games. The Foreign Affairs Committee report also comes ahead of Britain hosting the biennial gathering of heads of Commonwealth governments in London later this month. The events come as Commonwealth states such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand have been among the most enthusiastic to form a new free trade agreement with Britain. The unanimous cross party conclusions recommend that Theresa May lays out what Commonwealth countries can expect in a future relationship once Britain is free from Brussels rule. The close Commonwealth ties were undermined and diluted by Britain’s membership of the EU and the problems it caused in giving Commonwealth citizens access to the UK because of free movement in Europe.

Conservative Party

Telegraph
The Conservatives in London have reportedly held secret discussions about a potential breakaway from the national party, amid fears of an electoral wipeout in the local elections next month. Senior Tories have hosted a series of meetings over the past year in order to draw up plans for a separate party which would boast its own brand, ­policies and figurehead separate to Theresa May. The disclosure is deeply embarrassing for Mrs May, who is braced for the party’s worst performance in the capital in its 184-year history, when the ballots are cast next month. According to analysis conducted by Lord Hayward and Tony Travers, a ­respected academic, the  Conservatives are expected to lose almost 100 seats.

Guido
Council candidates in Liverpool have to get their nomination papers in by 4pm on Friday, though the Tories have left things a little late. Guido hears a team of six election agents were knocking on doors in Liverpool yesterday asking two questions. Firstly, 
“Are you a Conservative?”, and then, if yes, “Would you like to be a council candidate in May?”. Of course it’s right that the Tories should be running candidates even in seats they have no hope of winning, but a group of six southern poshos literally searching the streets of Liverpool asking Scousers if they want to run three days before the deadline is perhaps not the best look. Normally the nomination process would start a month ago, and instead they have left it to the last minute with no due diligence whatsoever. Guido looks forward to going through their Twitter accounts on Friday afternoon…

Labour Party

Telegraph
Jewish leaders will tell Jeremy Corbyn to prove his “militant” opposition to anti-Semitism by expelling his old ally Ken Livingstone from Labour, 
The Daily Telegraph has learned. The Labour leader will be told during a face-to-face meeting to bring the two-year investigation into Mr Livingstone’s conduct to a close if he is serious about cleansing his party of anti-Jewish hatred. It comes after Mr Corbyn defended his decision to attend a Passover event hosted by Jewdas, a left-wing group which has described Israel as a “steaming pile of sewage” which needs to be “properly disposed of”. His attendance at the Seder celebration on Monday was heavily criticised by mainstream Jewish groups.

Independent
Membership of the Jeremy Corbyn-backing organisation  Momentum has passed 40,000, meaning it now has a larger paying activist base than the Green Party.
Figures shared with The Independent show that the organisation has increased its membership by 15 per cent since the beginning of 2018 and in the first four days of April alone Momentum gained an extra 500 members. It claims to be growing by an average of 1,700 new members a month. The organisation also said that 95 per cent of its current funding comes from membership fees and small donations, with the average fee standing at £3 a year. Set up in 2015 to support the values of Mr Corbyn’s left-wing leadership of the Labour Party, the group has become increasingly influential in recent months, with its founder Jon Lansman winning a place on Labour’s governing body – the national executive committee. Momentum is not a political party itself and all of its members have to be fully signed-up members of the Labour Party, but the figures show its paying activist base is now larger than Ukip and the Greens.

Electoral fraud

Times
New electoral fraud allegations in east London are being investigated by police. Almost 40 new claims of corruption have been reported in the run-up to the local elections in Tower Hamlets next month, according to the Evening Standard.
A team from the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime and operations division is said to be investigating 39 complaints of bribery, forgery and ballot tampering before the mayoral contest in Tower Hamlets. Police officers equipped with body cameras will be stationed at polling stations across the borough on May 3 in an attempt to deter and monitor attempted fraud. Tower Hamlets gained national attention in 2015 when Lutfur Rahman, Britain’s first elected Muslim mayor, was unseated in disgrace by the High Court after rigging his election.

Illegal immigrants

Times
A junior Home Office official was the key figure in a £6 million conspiracy that enabled hundreds of illegal migrants to remain in the UK.
Shamsu Iqbal was at the centre of a gang that used his “trusted” status as an immigration caseworker with the department to falsify records for more than 400 people. Four men including Iqbal, 61, have been found guilty after a trial of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and will be sentenced at a hearing next week, when they will face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The potential loss to the taxpayer has been assessed by Home Office officials as £56 million, based on the amount that the 437 illegal immigrants could have falsely claimed in benefits.

Travellers

Telegraph
Travellers face new criminal offences in a bid to deter them from setting up illegal camps on people’s land under Government plans.
Figures reveal approximately one in six caravans across the country, around 3,700, are pitched 
illegally. People who set up camps illegally can be prosecuted for “aggravated trespass” if they are found to have intimidated landowners. A Whitehall source said that the plans would make prosecutions more “straightforward”, adding that aggravated trespass was a “fiddly” offence and difficult to prove. In a call for evidence, ministers announced that they are considering creating offences where camps are found to have “substantially damaged land” or caused “serious inconvenience.

Times
Police could be given tougher powers to target Travellers and Gypsies after nearly 4,000 caravans were found on unauthorised sites across the country.
Dominic Raab, the housing minister, said that he was “deeply troubled” by allegations about the behaviour of Travellers and “particularly by the widespread perception that the rule of law does not apply to those who choose a nomadic lifestyle”. He will launch a consultation today looking at police and council powers, court processes, government guidance, the provision of legal sites and their impact on settled communities. It will be carried out jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. In the foreword Mr Raab said he was determined to address the complaint.

World Cup

Star
JUST over 3,000 England fans applied for tickets in the latest round of World Cup applications.
The window opened just days after the poisoning of Russian ex spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, and fears are growing for the safety of supporters this summer. In total, only 30,711 followers have been allocated seats to support England. But almost 100,000 travelled to Brazil and the latest batch of seats saw higher demand in the United States (16,462), China (6,598) and India (4,509) who have not reached the finals. The Foreign Office has warned England fans face “anti-British sentiment”. Current website advice reads: “You are advised to remain vigilant.” England football fanatics face huge travelling distances between their three Group G matches in Russia – 987km between Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod and then 1,696km to Kaliningrad.

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