Fisheries

Express
BRITAIN’S leave-voting fisherman have branded the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal as a “pitiful, abject surrender”. Mrs May made numerous concessions to the European Union yesterday to push Brexit talks on, including allowing the EU to maintain control of the UK’s waters until the end of 2020. Alan Hastings, founder of the Brexit campaign group Fishing for Leave slammed the move as a “sellout”. He told Business Insider: “I’m absolutely disgusted. It’s a pitiful, abject surrender. “The platitudes we’ve been offered — the grandstanding of ‘taking back control’ — has just been a smokescreen for a sellout.” If the new deal is implemented it will see the EU “consult” the UK on access to its waters and on fishing quotas until 2021, but it would still be required to follow the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Telegraph
Michael Gove has publicly criticised Theresa May’s transition deal after the UK leaves the European Union, setting out his “disappointment” with a “sub-optimal” agreement for British fishermen. The Environment Secretary threatened Brussels bureaucrats with “consequences” if they allow EU trawlers to overfish UK waters during the transition deal after he was confronted by furious Tory MPs in the House of Commons. The MPs said they had put the Government “on notice” after they voiced concerns about the impact of the UK’s Brexit transition deal on fishing directly with the Prime Minister.

Westmonster
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has promised to veto any Brexit deal that sells out fisheries to the European Union. “During these negotiations, we wanted to gain control over our waters from as early as the end of next year,” she said in a statement. The latest draft agreement from the EU states that until the transition period ends in 2020, the EU will continue to decide the UK’s fishing policy and that Britain will only be consulted on proposed legislation, but will lack a vote or veto. Westmonster sat down with Fishing for Leave’s Aaron Brown a few weeks back, who told us that being trapped in a transitional deal would be disastrous for British fishermen and it ‘could eradicate what’s left of the UK fishing industry.”

Brexit

Westmonster
Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has slammed the proposed transition agreement between the British government and the European Union, branding it “very unsatisfactory”, full of concessions that “gives away almost everything”. He told BBC Newsnight: “I make no bones about it, I think this transition agreement is a very unsatisfactory agreement – not just on fish. “The only thing that makes it acceptable is the hope that it is leading to a proper Brexit at the end of 2020.” JRM was clear: “This agreement gives away almost everything and it’s very hard to see what the government has got in return. Someone said to me the government had rolled over but had not even had its tummy tickled.”

Guardian
Theresa May faced a storm of protest over a transition deal struck with Brussels after conceding a series of her high-profile Brexit demands and agreeing to the “back stop” plan of keeping Northern Ireland under EU law to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. After an intense few days of talks, the Brexit secretary, David Davis, lauded a provisional agreement on the terms of a 21-month period, ending on 31 December 2020, as a “significant” moment, giving businesses and citizens the reassurance they had demanded. Under a joint withdrawal deal published on Monday, of which 75% is agreed, the UK will retain the benefits of the single market and customs union for “near enough to the two years we asked for”, Davis said, albeit while losing its role in any decision-making institutions.

Independent
The draft Brexit agreement struck between Britain and the EU on Monday leaves Brits who have made their lives on the continent with “no more certainty” about what will happen to them after the UK leaves, MEPs and citizens’ groups have warned. Chief amongst the mysteries of the deal is the disappearance of the so-called “Article 32”, which in previous drafts regulated the free movement of British citizens living in Europe after Brexit. The entire article is missing from the text, which goes straight from Article 31 to Article 33. MEPs from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru have written to Brexit Secretary David Davis for clarification about the disappearance of the free movement clause, while citizens’ group British in Europe said the agreed text did not provide “legal certainty” for them. 

EU

Express
THE EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has cooled off the excitement around the transition deal agreement reached earlier this week and warned he expects the “most difficult” part of negotiations to come “at the end” of the talks. Mr Barnier issued his warning the day after the UK and the European Commission agreed on the terms of a transition deal, hailed by Brexit Secretary David Davis as a “significant step”. The EU negotiator’s call for caution was first issued yesterday when he reiterated some key outstanding issues remains to be settled. Today, speaking to reporters, he said Brexit talks are far from over. He said: “We are not at the end of the road. 

Times
European Union leaders will reject Britain’s plea for a special trade deal for the City of London by backing “equivalence mechanisms” to force financial services to operate under regulations imposed by Brussels. According to a diplomatic draft seen by The Times, the EU will rule out a future agreement allowing free trade in financial services for a much more restrictive arrangement that can be revoked at short notice. The decision will dismay British negotiators as it severely narrows the scope of talks this spring and explicitly rules out government demands for special treatment for the financial sector. The draft sent to European government late last night states: “The aim should be reviewed and improved equivalence mechanisms, allowing appropriate access to financial services markets.

Independent
Some European Union member states have “concerns” about the Brexit deal struck between negotiators on Monday and may not endorse it at a European Council  summit on Friday. A senior EU official with knowledge of preparations for the crunch meeting emphasised that the deal was “was reached between Barnier and Davis” and said more consultation was needed to bring countries onboard ahead of the summit later this week. “Our negotiators reached an agreement on part of the withdrawal agreement,” the senior official said. “Whether all 27 EU member states can welcome this at the European Council still, as I speak, remains open. We still need a couple more hours to consult with some of the most concerned member countries.”

Mail
Donald Tusk today warned the apparent breakthrough on a Brexit transition deal may not yet have the support of all EU members. The EU Council President said he still needed to secure the support of all 27 states ahead of a summit that begins on Thursday. Reports from Brussels suggest Spain is one of the nations whose support still needs to be secured, amid continued concern over the future state of Gibraltar.   Mr Tusk’s warning comes despite a triumphant press conference held by Brexit Secretary David Davis and EU negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday. The pair revealed a Brexit transition deal had been struck between London and Brussels, with work progressing on the wider divorce deal.

Northern Ireland

Independent
One of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement has warned that Theresa May’s failure to deal with problems posed by Northern Ireland’s border threatens to bring Brexit negotiations “crashing down”. Writing exclusively for 
The Independent, Jonathan Powell accused the Prime Minister of committing “the worst possible sin” of having “boxed herself in”. The ex-chief negotiator in Belfast peace talks said Ms May’s approach will create a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, laying the seed for dangerous “identity politics” that once fostered division and hatred there. In a warning to Jeremy Corbyn, he also said Labour’s plan of “a customs union” similarly failed to negate the need for a hard border – which he said could be removed only if the UK stays fully aligned with the single market.

Express
BREXIT could come “crashing down” due to the Catch 22 issue of Ireland and its border with Northern Ireland, a former top Westminster official has warned. Brexit ministers has come no closer to overcoming the EU divorce’s most complex hurdle despite yesterday’s positive transition deal draft announcement. Yesterday David Davis and Michel Barnier said much progress had been made towards a transition deal but admitted “more work” needed to be done on Ireland. The island’s border will soon become the only land border between the EU and the UK but Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit ministers have been unable to explain how to balance this with an open border.

Scotland

Guardian
Appeal judges have ruled that a Scottish court has to properly examine claims that the UK should be able to unilaterally abandon Brexit without permission from other EU member states. A panel of three judges led by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, the lord president, said the cross-party group of politicians behind the case had raised a point “of great importance”  that had to be fully heard. The group, which includes Labour, Scottish Green party, Scottish National party and Liberal Democrat politicians, wants the European court of justice to issue a definitive ruling on whether the UK can unilaterally withdraw its article 50 letter which triggered the Brexit process. They say UK government ministers and the European commission are wrong to insist that the article 50 process can only be abandoned if all the other 27 EU member states agree. They argue that EU treaties make no mention of that condition.

Russia

Mirror
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shattered the fragile EU unity over the Salisbury attack today by congratulating Vladimir Putin on his election victory. In a letter, Mr Juncker said: “I have always argued that positive relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation are crucial to the security of our continent.” The statement came despite Boris Johnson branding the election – which Putin won with more than 76% of the vote – a “coronation” amid claims of ballot box stuffing. And the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which sent observers to Russia, said there was a “lack of genuine competition” after Putin’s main rival was barred from the race. It came as ministers and senior spooks thrash out Britain’s next move in the growing crisis with Russia.

Independent
Europe was divided over Russia today after a senior figure in the EU’s Parliament attacked Commission President Jean Claude Juncker for praising Vladimir Putin amid the Salisbury poisoning incident. Guy Verhofstadt criticised Mr Juncker for publishing a letter he sent to Mr Putin, referring to him as “excellency, Mr President” and calling for “positive relations” – despite the UK urging EU allies for a tough line on Russia. The public dispute comes after it emerged that the UK will not push for sanctions on Russia at a European Council  summit later this week, with there thought to be little appetite among other member states.

Times
The European Union’s top bureaucrat has caused anger and accusations of “appeasement” by attempting to reset relations with Russia, undermining Theresa May’s attempt to put pressure on Moscow. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has written to President Putin to congratulate him on his re-election. “I have always argued that positive relations between the EU and Russia are crucial to the security of our continent,” Mr Juncker told the Russian president. “Our objective should be to re-establish a co-operative pan-European security order. I hope that you will use your fourth term in office to pursue this goal. “I will always be a partner in this endeavour. I wish you every success in carrying out your high responsibilities.”

Labour Party

Mirror
Jeremy Corbyn has strengthened his hold on Labour after the party appointed Jennie Formby as general secretary. The party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) elected the veteran trade unionist after a three-hour meeting on Tuesday. Ms Formby becomes the party’s 17th general secretary taking over from Iain McNicol who announced he was standing down after seven years at the helm last month. Formby, who is currently the South East Regional Secretary of Unite trade union, has been a prominent supporter of Corbyn since he became leader and he in turn backed her for the party’s top job. Mr Corbyn welcomed her appointment today saying: “Her talent, experience and commitment to the Labour and Trade Union movement makes me confident she will play a crucial role”.

Army

Express
THE British Army has told the European Union is will not send troops to lead the 1,500-strong “battlegroup” in 2019 because of Brexit, a leaked letter revealed. EU members take turns to provide most of the troops for the EU defence force and Britain was meant to take responsibility during the final months of the Brexit transition period in 2019. Britain’s Lieutenant General George Norton’s letter said the decision to withdraw is due to uncertainty brought from the Brexit transition.   
But Britain could still be part of the program depending on the political agreement that comes after we leave the EU. Mr Norton added the UK’s offer to head the EU defence force was always “provisional”. He wrote to the Chairman of the EU military committee General Mikhail Kostarakos: “Military activities, however, require clarity of purpose and planning; not least of which involved the time that is necessary to force generate credible capabilities.

NHS

Times
More than a million NHS staff will today be offered a 6.5 per cent pay rise over three years at a cost to taxpayers of £4.2 billion, it is understood. Trade unions have agreed a deal with NHS bosses which the government has agreed to fund in full, signalling an end to years of pay restraint that has built resentment among frontline staff. A controversial proposal to force staff to give up a day’s holiday in exchange for a rise has been dropped. There had been fears that the condition, described as “mean-spirited” by John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, would have irritated staff and made it harder to retain workers who are already contributing unpaid overtime.

Mirror
Jeremy Hunt has confirmed that a new social care funding system will be capped after the Tory’s disastrous general election pledge u-turn. Theresa May quickly backtracked after the Tory manifesto commitment making people meet all the costs of care until they had assets of less than £100,000 was roundly slammed. After a weekend of difficult headlines and complaints from Tory candidates, she confirmed that there would be a cap. The Health and Social Care Secretary today acknowledged there was an “illness lottery” which left people suffering from conditions such as dementia facing far bigger bills than others who need hospital treatment for cancer. In a speech setting out his plans for a forthcoming Green Paper, Mr Hunt acknowledged that health and social care workers are faced with “fragmented services” and “unprecedented pressure”.

Sky News
A cap on “punitive” costs will form part of the Government’s social care reforms, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. In a move that would reverse the controversial and electorally damaging decision to ditch a cap from the Conservative election manifesto, Mr Hunt said it would be reinstated to help spread the risk posed by the “illness lottery” of conditions such as dementia. In his first speech since he took responsibility for a Government Green Paper on social care, he said the cap would be part of a number of “risk-pooling” measures. 
Mr Hunt told an audience of health and social workers that funding would be based on “a partnership between the state and individuals”.

Mail
An effective Alzheimer’s treatment could be available in three years and a ‘vaccine’ that prevents the disease within a decade, experts said yesterday. Twelve drugs – all of which could be potentially ‘life-changing’ – are set to complete clinical trials by 2021. It is now a matter of ‘when not if’ a cure will be found for the disease, which causes dementia, a panel of leading Alzheimer’s specialists said. The need for a cure is enormous. There are around 850,000 people suffering from dementia in the UK, two-thirds of them with Alzheimer’s. Last year it became Britain’s number one cause of death, overtaking cardiovascular disease, but no new Alzheimer’s drug has been approved by the NHS since 2002. That could soon change, said Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK yesterday.

Sun
A JAB that halts Alzheimer’s disease could be available in three years — but cost the NHS billions. Experts say 12 drugs which can slow or stop dementia are in the final stages of testing. If one proves successful, the first treatment could be in production as early as 2021. But researchers say the NHS may struggle to fund it. Estimates suggest it would cost £2.7billion to treat the 850,000 Brits with dementia. And if the jab is given to all over-50s in the UK — as has been suggested by leading medics — the annual bill would be around £9.4billion. The new treatments work by reducing the levels of toxic protein in the brain — a hallmark of the ­disease.

Times
Mental health patients are being failed by “appalling” care daily, the NHS ombudsman has said. Patients died because their symptoms were dismissed, a baby was taken from its mother with no explanation and a woman who had been sectioned was forced to menstruate into a plastic cup, Rob Behrens said in examples of mistreatment. Britain should be shocked at how vulnerable patients were routinely stripped of their dignity by a system that did not have enough skilled staff, an overview of 200 cases concluded. Bosses must start learning from repeated mistakes rather than succumbing to a “nothing I can do, guv” attitude and ministers must realise that fine words are not enough, Mr Behrens said.

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