Brexit

Express
JULIA HARTLEY-BREWER told the European Union to “f*** off” in a furious rant over Brussels’ demand for the so-called Brexit divorce bill as negotiations rumble on. The staunch Brexiteer insisted the UK should not pay a penny to the EU because the country has been a “net contributor” to the bloc for 40 years, as she spoke to Politics UK’s  Steven Edginton. The Brexit bill was one of three areas of negotiation Britain was faced with during the first phase of talks. Theresa May agreed with EU bosses that the UK will hand over more than £40 billion when the country formally quits the bloc. The actual figures, however, will remain a closely guarded secret from the public even when the final exit deal is agreed in 2019. 
With reported figures being potentially as high as £90bn, Hartley-Brewer fumed at any of British taxpayers’ money being handed over to Brussels. “We should have been so much more forceful,” she told Politics UK. “I tell you what, paying £100bn, £40bn, £20bn…  “F*** off, frankly, f*** off… not a chance, not a single penny.

Times
Britain will never use Brexit to slash environmental and social rules in order to give the UK a competitive advantage after leaving the EU, ministers will pledge today. Before a key EU summit next month, David Davis will promise that Britain would not become a “Mad Max-style dystopian” economy. Instead, the Brexit  secretary will say that the country stands ready to work with the EU in a “race to the top”, creating the highest standards of regulation in the world. Mr Davis’s speech comes as the EU formulates its approach to the next stage of the Brexit negotiations and before a crucial cabinet meeting on Thursday to decide on Britain’s negotiating strategy.

Guardian
David Davis will tell business leaders in Austria that fears the  Conservatives will plunge Britain into a “Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” after leaving the EU are unfounded. The Brexit secretary will claim that Theresa May’s government wants to oversee a race to the top in global standards, listing workers’ rights, City regulation, animal welfare and the environment as areas for potential improvement. In the latest speech in the government’s “road to Brexit” series, Davis will say: “We will continue our track record of meeting high standards after we leave the European Union. Now, I know that for one reason or another there are some people who have sought to question that these really are our intentions … these fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing – not history, not intention nor interest.”

Express
BRITAIN will lead the world in protecting the environment and safeguarding employment rights after Brexit, David Davis will promise today as he dismisses scaremongering claims that the UK be dragged into a regulatory “race to the bottom” after leaving the EU. The country is not set to turn into a chaotic and lawless dystopia like the nightmare vision of the “Mad Max” movies, the EU Exit Secretary will say at a speech in Vienna. And he is to seek to reassure European leaders that Britain’s commitment to the highest regulatory standards should mean minimum barriers to trade with the EU will be erected. Mr Davis heads to the Austrian capital today as part of a whistle-stop European tour designed to win over more government and business allies as the next Brexit negotiations intensify in the coming weeks.

BBC News
Britain will not be “plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” after it leaves the EU, the Brexit secretary will say in a speech. David Davis will say fears about a “race to the bottom” in workers’ rights and environmental standards are “based on nothing”. He will argue for continued close co-operation between the UK and the EU on regulations and standards. This will help ensure “frictionless” trade, he will say. The Brexit secretary’s address to Austrian business leaders in Vienna is the latest in a series of speeches the UK government is calling “the road to Brexit” as it faces demands to spell out details of the future partnership it wants with the EU.

Telegraph
Brussels has launched its own version of Project Fear by suggesting British workers will be at a higher risk of cancer as a result of   Brexit. A European Commission briefing paper claims the UK could dilute health and safety laws in an attempt to “lower production costs”, which would result in “higher exposure to chemicals and carcinogens”. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is irritated by the false claims and will on Tuesday hit back at them by rubbishing the idea that post-Brexit Britain will be a “dystopian” world akin to the Mad Max films. Instead, he will say, Britain wants to create a “race to the top” in quality and standards that will create “trust” in a future trading relationship.

Mail
David Davis will take aim at Brussels today over scaremongering claims that Brexit could leave British workers at a greater risk of cancer. The Brexit Secretary will say that leaving the EU will not plunge the UK into a ‘Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction’, and that ministers will use the opportunity to improve standards. In a speech in Vienna, Mr Davis will say Britain may choose to move away from EU regulations, but that the country’s ‘blueprint for life outside of Europe is a race to the top in global standards, not a regression from the high standards we have now’.

Huffington Post
David Davis has hit back at Brussels after it suggested that a hard Brexit could leave British workers more vulnerable to cancer. The Brexit Secretary ridiculed fears of a “Mad Max-style” future for the UK as it emerged an internal European Commission document  claims that the UK quitting the EU could lead to “higher exposure to chemicals and carcinogens”. The stark warning was included in a slideshow that suggested Britain could abandon a “level playing field” by “reducing levels of occupational safety and health” to undercut European rivals.

Breitbart
Some of the UK’s best and brightest have banded together to form a new pro-Brexit group to counteract the propaganda that Leave  supporters are dim-witted, ‘low-information’ voters. ‘Briefings for Britain’, which has launched a new website, is backed by over 40  distinguished former civil servants, historians, legal professionals, philosophers, scientists, and others — and claims there are more like them who are still afraid to stick their heads above the parapet. “They said, ‘I’d love to be part of your group but I haven’t got a proper job yet and I probably won’t if I’m identified’,” explained Dr. Graham Gudgin, an economist at the Centre for Business Research and Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, in  comments to 
The Times.

EU

Independent
European Union countries’ fears that Britain will start a “race to the bottom” on taxes and standards when it leaves the EU are “based on nothing”, the Brexit Secretary will claim on Tuesday. David Davis is travelling to Austria where he will attempt to reassure an audience of local business leaders that the UK will not try to undercut the EU after it leaves. His speech will come after a recent slide presentation from the European Commission, presented to member states, which suggested that the UK may reduce “levels of occupational safety and health” after Brexit – leading to “higher exposure to chemicals and carcinogens”.

Express
GERMANY’S anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) has overtaken the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) for the first time in a national poll to become the second-strongest party, an Insa survey. Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU) gained 2.5 percentage points to reach 32 percent and the AfD was up one percentage point to 16 percent, the weekly poll for mass-selling Bild on Monday. The SPD fell one percentage point to 15.5 percent. Nearly five months after the national election, Germany is still without a federal government as the SPD consults its members before embarking on a re-run of their ‘grand coalition’ with Merkel’s conservative bloc.

Breitbart
It is “not acceptable” for the UK to control immigration after Brexit and throughout the so-called “transition period”, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator has said. There will also be a “crisis in British politics” if the British Parliament votes down any Brexit deal agreed by Theresa May, said Guy Verhofstadt, predicting another general election. Speaking to the BBC’s
 Andrew Marr Show, he said a trade deal would not be finalised before the divorce date and insisted no changes could be made to free movement rules during the transition period.

Telegraph
Large Anglo-Saxon banks and hedge funds are quietly advising clients to brace for trouble ahead of the Italian elections in early March, warning that a late surge by anti-EU populist parties threatens to shatter Europe’s brief political calm. A new batch of polls over the weekend showed a further hollowing out of the Italian political centre, with rising risks of gridlock or even the “nightmare scenario” of a radical coalition in open breach of EU treaty law. Markets have become inured to political risk after a series of false alarms: the election of Donald Trump, and populist jitters in Holland and France. Worries over a global financial shock from the Brexit referendum were shown to be absurd.

Scotland

Times
Theresa May offered to hand all EU powers over devolved areas to Holyrood to break the Brexit deadlock with the Scottish government. The move has been rejected by SNP ministers, who were angry that UK ministers would keep control over powers under their remit. Under the deal all 111 powers over devolved areas exercised by the EU would go to Holyrood after Brexit,  including fishing, agriculture, environmental standards, food labelling and rail franchises. Ministers at Westminster hoped that it would end SNP claims of a power grab. However, UK ministers were adamant that they would need a veto over some powers until “common frameworks” were agreed to ensure that in areas such as agriculture the Scottish government did not disrupt the internal British market.

Fisheries

Express
THE European Union’s common fisheries policy has allowed more than 80 percent of cod caught in the English Channel be given to France and just nine percent have ended up in Britain in an astonishing saga which has gone on for the past three decades. For the last 34 years, the policy quota has given 84 percent of cod caught in British territory to the country’s southern neighbour, according to Britain’s National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO). The quota system is one of the biggest sources of frustration for British fishermen, who were among the most vocal supporters of the historic June 2016 vote to leave the EU. Since the then-Prime Minister Edward Heath allowed foreign vessels into UK waters in a late concession to seal the deal of joining the bloc in 1973, the development of the EU’s fisheries policy has sparked fury among British fishermen.

Corbyn

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn is under mounting pressure to authorise the release of Cold War files kept on him by the Stasi after Theresa May said he must be “open and transparent” about his links to former Communist spies. Government ministers alluded to the Kim Philby scandal and questioned the Labour leader’s patriotism in agreeing to meet the Czechoslovak agent Jan Sarkocy during the Eighties. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that MPs intend to call Mr Sarkocy to give evidence in Parliament about his meetings with several Labour politicians, as part of an inquiry into the influence of foreign powers on British democracy.

Mail
A Cold War spy told his bosses that Jeremy Corbyn had a good supply of information, secret papers reveal. Jan Sarkocy, who was a Czech agent, documented his meetings with the Labour leader, which began in November 1986. After an encounter at a social event in Parliament, he wrote a briefing note to his superiors under the heading: ‘Jeremy Corbyn: connecting with contact.’ It describes how the then Labour backbencher was very well informed about those involved in ‘anti-communist agencies’. The letter concluded: ‘He seems to be the right person for fulfilling the task and giving information.’

Times
Jeremy Corbyn was targeted by communist spies in the hope that he could provide information about the British secret services, according to officials at the Czechoslovak secret police archive. The Labour MP would have been singled out by the London-based Czechoslovakian spy Jan Sarkocy, who was posing as a diplomat, in the hope that their mutual dislike of capitalism might lead to Mr Corbyn divulging secrets about MI5 and MI6. Michal Miklovic, from the National Memory Institute in Slovakia, a public body that can access historic records of the secret police, the StB, told The Times: “The most important task of Jan Sarkocy in Britain was to get the information about British secret services.

Order-Order
The 
BBC News website still hasn’t covered the Agent COB spy scandal more than a week after it first broke. No news article, unlike its primary broadcast competitor Sky News and every major newspaper, even the Corbynista Independent. The sum total of the Beeb website coverage is a few lines buried in a round-up of the papers on Saturday. What about on TV and radio? There was a brief mention of the story in the paper review on the Today programme last week and again yesterday for a few seconds on the Andrew Marr show, when Marr said: “it does seem reading through it rather thin.” Never mind the very serious questions Corbyn has to answer about his judgment and what information he passed the Czechs, or the fact he is facing calls to explain himself before the Foreign Affairs select committee. 

Trade

Express
A BREXIT trade deal cementing the UK’s future relationship with the European Union cannot be agreed until after Britain leaves the bloc, Guy Verhofstadt has warned. The European Parliament’s Brexit representative insisted Brussels will not sign off on trade terms before exit day on March 29, 2019. And he reiterated the UK must guarantee the rights of EU citizens during the proposed two-year transition if it hopes to secure an interim deal. The European Parliament’s Brexit representative insisted Brussels will not sign off on trade terms before exit day on March 29, 2019. And he reiterated the UK must guarantee the rights of EU citizens during the proposed two-year transition if it hopes to secure an interim deal.

Westmonster
A bumper free trade deal with Australia would be taken off the table if Britain remained in the Customs Union, according to the Australian Foreign Minister. Julie Bishop said: “Australia is very keen to pursue a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom. I think that would be precluded if the United Kingdom were to rejoin the Customs Union.” So there we have it, this talk of Britain staying in the Customs Union post-Brexit (which is basically staying in the EU) would actually hamper the UK economically. It’s just not Brexit, is it? The whole point is that the public voted to be able to go around the world and make the most of global trade opportunities.

Independent
Australia has said it would be open to the idea of the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc after Brexit. Julie Bishop, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, said during a visit to Britain that Australia could also sign a bilateral trade deal with the UK – but only if the Government sticks to its plan to leave the EU customs union. Asked about the prospect of the UK joining the Pacific trade group, Ms Bishop said: “We would of course welcome interest from an economy the size of Britain’s.” It follows reports that UK ministers are considering applying to join the TPP in a bid to find alternative markets for exports that currently go to Europe.

Education

Times
Theresa May returned to the daytime TV sofa for the first time since the election today as Downing Street embarked on a “soft sell” of the government’s higher education plans. In an attempt to “cut through” to voters attracted by Labour’s high-profile pledge to abolish student loans, Mrs May appeared on ITV’s This Morning to highlight her own review of university tuition fees. But the interview was dominated by questions about her grip on the Tory leadership with Mrs May forced to deny she was always watching out for colleagues trying to depose her.

Mail
Britain needs an education that works for everyone in society after it leaves the EUTheresa May warned today. The Prime Minister said education for all would ‘unlock the door to a better future’ as she admitted ‘it’s clear we don’t have such a system today’. Mrs May said there was a need to create better vocational and skills-based training to end the perception that university was the only good course for young people. She signalled changes to tuition fees would be considered in a year-long review of higher education in a major speech at Derby College.   The Premier said Britain had been left with ‘one of the most expensive university systems in the world’ by the current system, which left almost all courses at the maximum £9,250 regardless of course content or value. 

Guardian
Theresa May has admitted that the education system is failing to serve the “needs of every child” but immediately faced criticism as it emerged that plans to overhaul post-18 funding would be unlikely to result in more money from the Treasury. Critics highlighted the government’s terms of reference for the review, which will be led by the former City financier Philip Augur and could result in lower fees or some courses and the return of maintenance grants. It said the study would not be able to make recommendations linked to taxation and “must be consistent with the government’s fiscal policies to reduce the deficit and have debt falling as a percentage of GDP”.

Mail
Students at almost every mainstream university could have their final year exams cancelled or disrupted this year because of striking academics. Union leaders say they will call ‘unprecedented’ industrial action in the summer to coincide with exam season if university bosses do not meet their demands in a dispute over pensions. Up to 45,000 academics could walk out at 64 universities, causing countless exams to be called off. Students who are unable to take exams may find that their final degree grade is based instead on coursework or exam performance from previous years.

Sun
TOP University students face having their final-year exams cancelled after academics announced plans to escalate their strikes. As many as 42,000 staff at 64 institutions including OxfordCambridgeBristol and Manchester will be walking out Thursday and Friday for a fortnight. Lecturers angry over changes to staff pensions told The Times that they were planning a further round of strikes lasting five months and stretching into the summer term. Students at the universities are threatening to sue the institutions for the damage that the strikes will cause to their education and for refunds of fees for the lectures they will miss due to the action.

Ukip

Independent
Nigel Farage has ruled out running for the Ukip leadership after Henry Bolton was ejected as leader during an emergency conference. The decision was made at a crisis meeting of around 1,500 Ukip members after the party’s ruling body – the National Executive Body (NEC) – voted no confidence in Mr Bolton last month. After he refused to step down, he was forced to make his case to the membership but lost the no confidence motion by 867 to 500 votes.  Mr Farage who has led the party on three separate occasions said he was not surprised by the outcome but ruled out any return to the party.  “To those of you who think I will come as UKIP leader in this contest. I wouldn’t even consider it,” Mr Farage said on LBC.  

Apocalypse

Star
MYTHICAL planet Nibiru will appear this year and trigger an apocalypse – it has sensationally been claimed. Doomsayers have long thought that a huge mystical alien world – also known as Planet X – is hurtling through space and will appear in our skies at any moment. It is believed its huge gravitational pull will cause devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. And prominent researcher David Meade believes humanity could witness naked-eye sightings of the terrifying planet from May. The conspiracy theorist is now preparing for the so-called apocalypse. He said: “The more I study every month, I would say I expect an awful lot to happen to commence in the spring of 2018.”

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