Brexit

Express
FURIOUS Brexit supporters have accused Remainer MPs on the Brexit committee of trying to reverse the referendum result by stealth by setting out a series of ultimatums in it latest report. The row has broken out as the Commons select committee, dominated by Remainer MPs, today publish their latest controversial report which has been opposed by Brexit supporters on the committee. In a sign that Labour committee chairman Hilary Benn, a leading Remainer, has broken with parliamentary convention of trying to get consensus on committee reports, the latest publication is the second in a row to fail to get unanimous backing. Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg, who is on the committee blasted the Report on the Future UK-EU Relationship as being another device by Remainers to try to stop Brexit. He said: “The High Priests of Remain have pushed through another report that seeks to overturn the referendum result by stealth.

Telegraph
Norwegian MPs have told the EU that Britain must not be allowed a better Brexit deal than the partnership it has with the bloc, a close ally of Angel Merkel has claimed. Elmar Brok, a senior German MEP, said Norwegian MPs have warned him that Brussels must not “give the same treatment or better than we have” to the UK if it does not meet the same obligations, such as following EU rules.  “At a meeting with the delegation from the Norwegian parliament, they reminded me that we should not give Britain the same advantages as those given to member states of the EU,” Mr Brok told the Telegraph. “Norway pays for the cohesion policies of the European Union, and Switzerland does too.

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.

Independent
Theresa May’s Brexit deal must be judged a failure unless it secures “no additional costs” for businesses trading with the EU, a committee of MPs warns today. Its report sets “a high bar” for the agreement the prime minister must achieve by the autumn – also demanding no new checks at the Irish border, or weakening of the fight against crime or terrorism, among no fewer than 15 tests. Hilary Benn, the chairman of the Brexit committee, said MPs should be ready to use the “meaningful vote” to reject the Brexit deal if it fell short of the promises the Government had made for it. “It is vital that UK businesses are able to continue to trade freely and sell services into our largest market after we leave, without additional costs or burdens or a hard border in Northern Ireland, and that we maintain close cooperation on defence, security, data and information sharing and consumer safety,” he said.

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.

Passports

Telegraph
The Franco-Dutch firm set to produce British passports is embroiled in a national security row with the Estonian government after hundreds of thousands of identification cards it produced were found to be vulnerable to cyber hackers, The Telegraph can disclose. Gemalto, the preferred bidder to produce the new blue passport, has been accused of failing to notify the Estonian government of a flaw that made its electronic ID cards vulnerable to cloning and identity theft. As many as 750,000 ID cards produced by the company since 2014 were found to be compromised, sparking a national panic in November last year.

Education

Guardian
Parents have become increasingly politicised by the squeeze on school funding and will be a powerful force if politicians fail to take heed of their concerns, a leader of the country’s largest teaching union told its annual conference. Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said he was proud the NEU spent £300,000 on campaigning during the last general election. “Some politicians have cried foul. Some have objected to the fact we spent more than Ukip. Well I say this: we make no apology. We will do it again. And we now have hundreds of thousands more parent supporters. Politicians of all parties should beware. Parents will not forgive education cuts,” he told the conference in Brighton.Courtney paid tribute to the efforts of teachers to influence the outcome of last year’s general election through leafleting and lobbying.

Labour Party

Times
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn can never wash away the stain of antisemitism, a Jewish former party donor and parliamentary candidate said yesterday. Michael Foster, 60, claimed that anti-Jewish sentiment was a common theme among left-wing groups in the party. The former celebrity agent, who gave more than £450,000 to Labour before the 2015 election, is no longer a member. Heaping scepticism on the leadership’s pledge to stamp out antisemitism in the party, he said: “We know that ‘de-anythingisation’ has never worked. Labour under Corbyn can now never not be antisemitic. It is part of the glue that holds these particular slightly elderly disenfranchised and naive younger leftist groups together.

Telegraph
The Chief Rabbi has “grave concerns” about Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism, Jewish leaders have said after it emerged the Labour leader attended a Passover event hosted by an anti-Israel group. The Labour leader faced criticism from Jewish leaders and his own MPs after attending a Seder hosted by Jewdas, a fringe group which has dismissed the Labour anti-Semitism scandal as a “bout of faux outrage”. The group has described Israel as a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of” and accused the Jewish leaders who organised a protest in Parliament Square last week of “playing a dangerous game”.

Sky News
Jeremy Corbyn has said he accepts “my personal responsibility” to lead the fight against anti-Semitism in the Labour party. Replying to a joint letter from the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies, the Labour leader promised to “recommit to doing all I can” to fight anti-Semitism. He has agreed to meet with the two organisations to quell concerns Labour is not doing enough to combat discrimination against Jewish members and MPs. The letter from Mr Corbyn, obtained by Sky News, said: “My offer to meet you unconditionally still stands.

Mail
The left-wing Jewish group behind a controversial Passover dinner attended by Jeremy Corbyn published an offensive prayer about the Royal Family and called for Parliament to be burnt down. Jewdas has dismissed complaints of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party as ‘a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition’. Since it was established in 2005, it has produced a raft of offensive material and even staged a satirical event celebrating ‘the glorious relationship between Jews and money’ in 2007.  The Daily Mail can today reveal that last year Jewdas published a ‘Prayer against the State of Israel‘ that ended by saying: ‘F*** the Queen and especially f*** Prince Philip. Burn down Parliament. Full Communism. Amen.’ It also included the line: ‘Please God, smash the State of Israel. Smash it in the abundance of your love.’ Jewdas describes itself as a ‘radical’ and ‘alternative’ group for Jews.

Independent
Antisemitism is more widespread within the Labour Party than was thought and complaints cannot be dismissed as right-wing smears, the leadership of the Jeremy Corbyn-backing Momemtum movement has said. Momentum’s National Coordinating Group (NCG) released a statement acknowledging the anger of Britain’s Jewish community at the “numerous” cases of antisemitism within Labour and the party’s failure to deal with them “in a sufficiently decisive, swift and transparent manner”. The move came as Mr Corbyn vowed he would not tolerate any antisemitism in the party. The Labour leader told Channel 4 News: “There is genuine concern and we are dealing with that concern … By investigating every case that is brought to our attention and if the person has committed an antisemitic act, in any way, then they are suspended and usually expelled from the party as a result of that.

Times
Jeremy Corbyn joined a four-hour celebration by a far-left Jewish group where radicals chanted “f*** the police” and “f*** the armies”, it emerged last night. The Labour leader’s commitment to tackling antisemitism was questioned by mainstream Jewish groups yesterday as he defended his decision to attend a Seder celebration. The head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews accused the Jewdas group, which hosted the event on Monday night, of being a “source of virulent antisemitism”. Sources close to Mr Corbyn said that he had participated in parts of the celebrations but not the anti-police chants.

Mail
Britain needs to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn, was the message from Lord Alan Sugar tonight.  His comments come after the Labour leader decided to attend a Seder by a far-left group that once called for Israel’s destruction.  Speaking to ITV News about Jeremy Corbyn’s attendance to the Jewdas event, Lord Sugar described the politican as ‘absolutely dangerous’.   He said: ‘This country needs to get rid of him. There is no question of it. I don’t have the solution how to get rid of him. He is absolutely dangerous, totally totally dangerous and the [Labour] Party is powerless to try and get rid of him.’  ‘He doesn’t mean it. He’s just giving lip service. Obviously his back room cronies have said ‘oh look Jeremy, you’d better say something about this anti-Semitism you can’t just sit there silent’ so he says ‘oh yeh yeh, no we’re not anti-Semitic’. 

Russian poisoning

Times
An ally of Angela Merkel has raised doubts over Britain’s global push to isolate Moscow after the Porton Down defence laboratory could not confirm that the Salisbury nerve agent came from Russia. President Putin also seized on the admission by Gary Aitkenhead, head of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, that he had not identified the “precise source” of the poison used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. In an interview that caused dismay in No 10, Mr Aitkenhead said his laboratories had identified it as a military-grade    novichok nerve agent which could probably be deployed only by a nation state.

Guardian
Downing Street has issued a plea for “proportionate” action from Russia to the Salisbury poisoning row after its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, warned that relations with the west are now worse than during the cold war. Theresa May is visiting Scandinavia next week with the international security threat from Russia expected to be at the top of the agenda. Her one-day visit to Denmark and Sweden was announced after Lavrov appeared to suggest that UK secret services may have been involved in the 4 March attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury. He said the incident could have been “beneficial” to the British government to distract attention from Brexit. Speaking in Moscow, Lavrov said there was “a lot of talk about a ‘cold war’, about the situation being worse than it was during the classic cold war, because then there were some rules, and some decency was observed”.

Mail
The Kremlin has called out Boris Johnson and Theresa May by demanding an apology for their handling of the Salisbury poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. In an extraordinary blast at Westminster after yet another twist in the Salisbury nerve agent attack saga, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov blasted Britain’s leading politicians.   Putin has claimed that up to 20 countries could have poisoned the former double agent and his daughter as experts say they cannot confirm that the nerve agent was from Russia. The chief of the Porton Down defence laboratory said it has ‘not verified the precise source’ of the Novichok nerve agent.

Mirror
Scientists have not been able to prove the nerve agent used in the Salisbury spy poisoning was made in Russia. Experts at government lab Porton Down today said they had confirmed the weapons grade nerve agent novichok had been used, it hadn’t been their job to establish where it came from.He said the Government had used their examination of the substance, combined with other intelligence, to come to the conclusion Russia were most likely behind the attack. Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News: “We, in terms of our role were able to identify it as novichok, to identify it was a military grade nerve agent. “We have not verified the precise source, but we have provided the scientific information to the government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions that they’ve come to.”

UKIP

Independent
Ukip has staved off the threat of bankruptcy after raising almost £300,000 to cover the cost of legal fees it owes.  Its interim leader, Gerard Batten, said his request for donations to help save the party had raised almost three times more than hoped.  Ukip is also aiming to avoid its fourth costly leadership contest in the space of 18 months by keeping Mr Batten as acting leader for the next year. It launched an emergency appeal after being given two weeks to pay a £175,000 legal bill stemming from one of its MEP’s being found to have libelled three Labour MPs.  The party was forced to pay damages after Jane Collins wrongly claimed John Healey, Sarah Champion and Kevin Barron had knowingly ignored sexual abuse in Rotherham.

Commonwealth Games

Mail
The Commonwealth Games program embarrassingly lists England as an African country. The official guide to the Games, published ahead of tonight’s opening ceremony, says England’s capital is Banjul and its population is two million. It appears publishers have mixed England up with Gambia, a small west African nation which re-joined the Commonwealth in February after pulling out in 2013. The program, which costs $10 and contains an official welcome from the Queen, profiles all 71 teams in the Games.  It correctly lists England’s ‘magical moment’ as the ‘miracle mile’ of 1954 when Roger Bannister beat Australian John Landy by a second with both men running a mile in under four minutes – the first time two athletes had done so in the same race. But it says England joined in 1970 – the year Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email