Brexit

Another challenge to the Brexit process threatens to delay our withdrawal, reports the Telegraph.

The Commons committee scrutinising Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is engulfed in a row over a new report that a leading Conservative member claimed was intended to “negate the referendum result” and damage the Government’s negotiating position amid crucial talks in Brussels.
The report, published on Sunday by the   Commons Brexit committee, recommends postponing Britain’s exit from the EU if “substantial aspects” of an agreement have not been ratified by October, as well as giving Parliament the power to extend the implementation period of a trade deal.

The Sun labels the rebel MPs ‘defeatist’.

REMAINER MPs have been branded “despairing and defeatist” over a bid to delay Brexit.
Labour’s Hilary Benn wants more time to strike a deal, claiming the seven months left is not enough.
But it has sparked a furious row among a Commons committee set up to scrutinise the process.
Eight of its 19 MPs refused to back a report calling for Britain’s departure — set for March 29 next year — to be put on ice.
They claim it is an attempt to keep Britain in the EU “by sleight of hand” and have drawn up rival recommendations.
Mr Benn, who chairs the committee, said the Government faces a huge task to draw up a credible plan on how to operate the Irish border once we leave.
He said the two-year transition period could prove too short to clinch an agreement and risks a dangerous “no-deal” situation.

Sky News claims the call has divided MPs.

A call for Brexit to be delayed to give the UK more time for a better deal has provoked a furious bust-up between pro-Remain and pro-Leave MPs.
Leave supporters on a powerful Commons committee have angrily disowned a report calling for the Brexit transition period to be extended if necessary.
The controversial proposal comes in a report by the all-party Brexit Select Committee of MPs on the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal.
The call, led by committee chairman former Labour Cabinet minister Hilary Benn, has been backed by 12 other MPs on the 21-member committee.
But the eight pro-Leave MPs on the committee have denounced their colleagues as “the high priests of Remain” and published their own minority report.

Westmonster says the country ‘isn’t ready’.

A group of Remoaner MPs are set to mount  another push against Brexit, this time by claiming that the country isn’t ready and that the UK’s EU exit must be delayed according to the Huffington Post.
Parliament’s Brexit Select Committee is chaired by Labour’s Hilary Benn and also includes the likes of Stephen Kinnock. They are expected to urge the government to extend the Article 50 process beyond March 2019 – yet another shameless attempt to try and kick the can down the road.
This is all set to come on officially on Sunday morning, with Brexiteers on the Committee like Jacob Rees-Mogg pushing back hard and expected to issue a ‘minority report’ as a counter-balance to the usual pessimistic Remoaner garbage that will be rolled out.

One of UKIPs MEPs has condemned the move.

William Dartmouth MEP condemned the constant Brexit delays by Remain politicians, in both the House of Commons, and House of Lords, when interviewed on The Westcountry Debate, ITV’s South West region politics programme on Thursday.
When asked how he thought Brexit negotiations were going, the UKIP MEP highlighted the fact that most elected representatives at Westminster were for staying in the EU during the 2016 Referendum, and are now dragging out the process of exiting the political union.
William said: “There are a majority in the House of Commons against Brexit; there is a 90% majority in the House of Lords, of which I was briefly a member, against Brexit. And I think both of those people will do everything they can to frustrate it, and frustrate the views of the people.”

The Independent explains the committee has issued two reports.

An influential Commons committee has become mired in a bitter row after Leave members refused to back its report recommending a potential delay to Brexit  and extending the transition period afterwards.
After they fell out with Remain backing members of the Brexit Committee, the group was forced to publish two sets of recommendations on Sunday.
Prominent Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is a member, attacked others in the group as the “high priests of Remain”, claiming they had attempted to force through a “partisan” document.
The committee’s Labour chair Hilary Benn said the divisions demonstrated just how difficult achieving an agreement on Brexit will be.
The group was set to call for an “extension to the Article 50 time”, which dictates the UK will formally leave the EU in March 2019, in order to ensure a comprehensive agreement can be reached.  

The Guardian also covers the ‘minority report’.

Disagreement over Brexit has split the main parliamentary committee charged with scrutinising the UK’s departure from the EU after a majority of its members concluded that the day of exit may have to be delayed.
The findings of a report out on Sunday by the all-party Brexit select committee also recommends that provision be made to extend the post-Brexit transition period beyond the expected period of 21 months to allow more time for administrative changes and for businesses to adapt. But in a sign of rising tension and division in parliament, a group of Tory MPs on the committee on Sunday denounces these central findings in their own “minority report”, saying that such delays would amount to a betrayal of the will of the British people.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory member of the committee, said: “The majority report is the prospectus for the vassal state. It is a future not worthy of us as a country, and I am sure that Theresa May will rightly reject a report by the high priests of Remain.”

And the Times claims the country’s customs will not be ready.

Britain’s customs system will not be ready in time for the start of its new relationship with the European Union at the end of 2020, according to a damning report presented in secret to senior cabinet ministers last week.
The readiness assessment, drawn up by senior civil servants, was given to Theresa May’s Brexit war cabinet on Tuesday afternoon. But ministers did not get a chance to study it properly before the meeting was cut short by a Commons vote.
The cabinet was told it would have to sign up in Brussels this week to a transition phase lasting 21 months from the date of Brexit next March, with a new trade deal kicking in at the end of December 2020.

Ireland

The border between Northern and southern Ireland is still causing problems, says Sky News.

There is no evidence to support the claim Britain could have a post-Brexit open Irish border without any checkpoints, according to a report by MPs.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee examined whether it is possible to leave the single market and customs union without creating a hard Irish border.
The report concludes it has been unable to find border solutions anywhere in the world which avoid physical infrastructure.
It says greater technical clarity is needed to explain how the current frictionless border will continue.
The Committee Chair Dr Andrew Murrison MP said: “Brexit’s success or otherwise hinges on the UK-Ireland border. Everyone agrees that the border after Brexit must look and feel as it does today.

EU

Over on the Continent, Eurocrats have been accused of bullying, says the Sun.

BULLYING EU chiefs have been warned their campaign of “threats and scaremongering” will never halt Brexit.
Furious MPs and business leaders have bluntly  told Brussels negotiators to “stop pushing us around” – or risk Britain walking away without handing over a penny.
They have called for them to stop trying to punish the UK in a hard-hitting letter to  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker days before the next round of talks begin.
The heavy-handed tactics have already backfired by hardening the determination of millions who voted to leave the EU, the letter says.
And it warns that it is the other 27 EU states which will come off worse if we crash out without a deal.

The Express calls for the EU to ‘get on with it’.

A LEADING group of Brexiteers has warned the EU to stop bullying Britain and “get on with Brexit” – or face losing our multi-billion pound “divorce” payment.
Just before the next round of negotiations, the Leave Means Leave group has written to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other Brussels bigwigs telling them “no amount of threats, scaremongering and bullying” will make Britain reverse the referendum result.
It states: “Far from regretting our decision, as you have said, increasingly the British public is looking forward to the day when we regain the freedom fully to govern ourselves.”
In the open letter, signed by 
Brexit Minister David Jones and Tory MP Owen Patterson among others, Brussels is urged to agree “a new deep and special partnership” – or face the consequences.
Calling for a “change in attitude”, the letter warns Brussels against continuing to obstruct negotiations, insisting its position is at odds with the wishes of the 27 other 
European Union countries.

Gibraltar

There may be problems over The Rock, reports the Telegraph.

Gibraltar will not be covered by the provisional Brexit transition agreement that Theresa May hopes to conclude with EU leaders next week, the Spanish government has warned.
Mrs May hopes to reach an agreement-in-principle on the 21-month transition period at next week’s European Council but Gibraltar will have to wait months to discover if it is to be covered by the deal.
Last year the European Union granted Spain a veto over Gibraltar which the Madrid government reiterated to the Sunday Telegraph last night.

Labour Party

The Labour leader has not impressed his MPs over his performance in the House of Commons, says the Times.

Senior Labour MPs appalled by Jeremy Corbyn’s performance over the Salisbury poisoning have been in secret talks with the Liberal Democrats and at least one Conservative MP about forming a new political party called Start Again.
Plans for a new pro-European centre party have been openly discussed as part of cross-party discussions on Brexit, according to sources present.
One of those involved in the plotting — a former member of the shadow cabinet — told The Sunday Times that Corbyn’s refusal to blame Russia for the attack would cause MPs to abandon Labour. “This is a watershed moment,” the MP said.
“It has caused a number of people to question why we are in this party.”

And the Mail covers the race to be general secretary of the party.

The race to become the next general secretary of the Labour Party was hit by a row last night after the favourite for the post was backed by party activists who have been accused of anti-Semitism.
Jennie Formby, the frontrunner to succeed moderate Iain McNicol as the powerful figure who controls the party’s purse-strings and membership, is being supported by Labour Against the Witch-hunt (LAW), which wants to end the party’s investigations into the issue.
Ms Formby was herself at the centre of an anti-Semitism row two years ago when she questioned the suitability of senior peer Baroness Royall to lead an investigation into claims of anti-Semitism among Labour-supporting students – objecting on the grounds that she had previously visited Israel with the Labour Party’s Friends of Israel.

Russia

The tale of the poisoned spy is still reverberating around, says the Telegraph.

Ministers are plotting new sanctions against Vladimir Putin and Kremlin-linked oligarchs after the Russian government expelled 23 British diplomats and launched an assault on its cultural ties with Britain.
A government source said “detailed conversations” were taking place over the “next steps” after the Kremlin’s “disgraceful” order that the British Council’s offices in Russia, together with the UK’s St Petersburg consulate, should be shut down in the wake of Britain’s response to  the poisoning of a former KGB spy and his daughter.
Ahead of a National Security Council meeting planned for early this week, Theresa May was facing calls to target “regime-linked money” in London.

And the Times claims Russia could hit our electricity supplies.

Spy chiefs have warned the bosses of Britain’s key power companies to boost their security amid fears of a Russian cyber-attack that could put the lights out.
The National Grid was put on alert last week by officials from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) — a branch of the signals intelligence agency GCHQ — and given advice on how to improve its defences to prevent power cuts.
Electricity, gas and water firms, the Sellafield nuclear power plant, Whitehall departments and NHS hospitals have all been warned to prepare for a state- sponsored assault ordered by the Kremlin after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

The Independent reports that the Prime Minister is talking tough over the nerve attack.

Theresa May has used her party conference speech to warn Russia that the UK “will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens”, as the crisis around the Salisbury nerve attack  deepens.
The Prime Minister said Moscow was in “flagrant breach” of international law over the incident which saw a Russian-made nerve agent release in the city.
She said: “Many Russians have made this country their home. And those who abide by our laws and make a contribution to our society will always be welcome.
“But we will never tolerate a threat to the life of British citizens and others on British soil from the Russian Government.”
But it comes after the Kremlin announced it would retaliate to Britain’s expulsion of 23 diplomats earlier this week, by also expelling the same number of UK officials from Moscow.

The Guardian reports major companies are on alert over a potential cyber attack.

Banks, energy and water companies are on maximum alert over the threat of a serious cyber-attack from Moscow as concern continues over the safety of Russian exiles in the UK.
Fears that Russia will target Britain’s critical national infrastructure have prompted round-the-clock threat assessments by the UK’s financial sector, energy firms and GCHQ, the UK’s largest intelligence agency, along with the security services MI5 and MI6.
The Bank of England, major financiers, including Lloyds, and organisations such as Water UK are working with the government’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to assess the next move from Moscow following the murder of Nikolai Glushkov, 68, and the Salisbury chemical attack.
Scotland Yard on Saturday issued a renewed appeal for information for anyone who may have seen a burgundy red BMW owned by Sergei Skripal, 66, the former Russian spy who was found unconscious on 4 March in Salisbury along with his daughter, Yulia. The pair were poisoned with a nerve agent and remain critical but stable in hospital.

The Sun reports on the prospective effect of such action.

BRITAIN would be just “four meals away from anarchy” if Russia cut off the power supply to the country, experts have warned.
London and Moscow have already thrown out 23 of each other’s diplomats as a row between the two countries over the poisoning of an ex-spy  deepens.
There are fears the spat could escalate further, with the Kremlin cutting off gas supplies and launching cyber attacks to bring down the national grid.
And experts have now warned that any move to take out the UK’s fuel and power could swiftly bring the country to its knees.
Julius Weitzdörfe, of Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, told the Telegraph: “I think that is a risk that is very real in the UK and it’s also neglected.

But the Foreign Secretary is seeking the support of other EU members for the UK’s actions, reports the Guardian.

Boris Johnson is seeking to cement the support of foreign ministers of the 27 other EU member states on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal at a meeting to be held on Monday in Brussels, as the UK tries to rally more international support behind its tough stance against Moscow.
Senior government insiders say ministers hope that the Foreign Affairs Council would, as a minimum, issue a joint statement condemning the attack and hold initial discussions on possible further moves that could be taken at an EU level.
Since 2014 the EU has imposed a series of economic sanctions and other measures against  Russia, including asset freezes and travel restrictions, over its illegal occupation of Crimea and destabilisation of Ukraine. Foreign Office sources said that it was too early to say if further EU action could be taken as a result of the Salisbury attack.
Sir Roderic Lyne, a former British ambassador to Russia, said Johnson’s task would inevitably be harder because the UK was leaving the EU. “The sanctions imposed by the EU after Crimea in 2014 surprised the Kremlin and have continued to have an impact, precisely because they remain EU-wide,” he said.

Child grooming

The cases of child sex abuse in Telford continue to be considered by the Mail.

Police officers investigating the child sex abuse scandal in Telford have revealed that courts orders against more then 20 suspects were discarded.
The victims of the abuse were failed because the cases were allegedly ‘too much trouble’.
The horrified officers also believe that more convictions would have been made if the abuse cases in Telford were linked to each other at the time.
The officers revealed the ‘huge’ scale of the abuse, coming forward after Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, cast doubt on reports that victims could number 1,000.
It comes as West Mercia Police confirmed a ‘small number of victims’ have come forward  in the wake of the reports.
One whistleblower told the Sunday Mirror: ‘I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility at all.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised. It was the tip of the iceberg.’

Camilla

Will the Prince of Wales’ wife become queen when he accedes to the throne? The Star considers the prospect.

PRINCE Charles has suffered a major blow in his plan to make Camilla Queen after Daily Star Online revealed the shock move.
Members of the British public have reacted furiously to news Charles is set to give his wife the top title when Her Majesty dies.
We revealed Camilla does not even want the massive honour – with Charles set to take over himself in 2021 – but that the Prince is “desperate” for it.
Yet the news of “Operation Queen Camilla” has sparked outrage throughout the country – with the reaction from our readers showing people are still overwhelmingly against the idea.
Among an eye-opening string of comments left below the story on Facebook are insults and threats from hardcore fans of Princess Diana – Charles’ ex-wife who died in a horror car crash in 1997 – who refuse to be budged.
One of the shock reactions, which include insults and even threats, rages: “No no no no no no! I will die if she is Queen!”

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