Brexit

David Davis writes for the Telegraph.

With one year to
 go until we leave the European Union, the progress we have achieved 
in the negotiations so far should give us confidence in 
our direction.
During the week Michel Barnier and I completed talks on some of the most important issues relating to our exit, publishing a 129-page draft Withdrawal Agreement.
The document represents months’ worth of discussions that will underpin the terms of how the UK leaves the European Union, and the start of a new partnership between us.
But more than that, it is another 
step towards delivering the result of the referendum, and achieving Britain’s departure from the 
European Union.

The Telegraph reports on a speech by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Britain will suffer its biggest 
“national humiliation” since the Suez crisis if the Government fails to deliver a clean Brexit, the leader of a 60-strong group of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs will warn this week.
In a speech on Thursday marking a year until the day of the UK’s official
 departure from the EU, Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to say that if the country were “not to leave” or to find that the “transition” period became a permanent arrangement, it would cause “the most almighty smash to the national psyche that could be imagined”.
It comes after EU leaders agreed details of a transition period that keeps the UK in the single market and customs union for 21 months after Brexit.

EU

An Irish MEP has hit out at the leadership of the bloc, says the Express.

IRELAND has launched a stinging attack on the EU over its creeping tax harmonisation plan, an issue which threatens to drive a wedge between Dublin and Brussels during a key stage of Brexit talks.
Irish MEP Brian Hayes hit out at the EU over the controversial plans, saying any attempt to “harmonise” corporate tax across the bloc would “hammer” Ireland  and other smaller member states.
The MEP for Dublin warned Brussels was attempting to harmonise taxes across the union “through the back door” with their Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) proposal.
He said it unfairly targeted smaller EU countries like Ireland, who adjust their corporate tax rates in order to attract multinational businesses, providing essential investment and jobs.
And he issued a dire warning to the bloc, setting out his position in no uncertain terms: “We have a veto here and we should not be afraid to use it.”

Questions have been asked of EU boss Juncker over a suspect appointment, reports the Express.

JEAN Claude-Juncker’s European Commission has failed to meet a deadline to answer key questions about the controversial appointment of Martin Selmayr as secretary-general and MEPs have warned they are prepared to postpone the EU’s general budget until the situation is resolved.
The European Commission had been pressed for answers by MEPs furious at the circumstances in which Mr Juncker’s right-hand man Mr Selmayr landed the job of the Commission’s top civil servant.
Green MEP Sven Giegold was among those on the European Parliament’s Budget Control Committee (CONT) asking Mr Juncker why his protege had apparently been fast-tracked into his new job without any competition after the sudden retirement of predecessor Alexander Italiener.
In addition, the decision to promote Mr Selmayr twice in the space of a few minutes on the day his new job was announced has also rung alarm bells.

And the Express also reports a call for Brexit to be stopped.

A GERMAN MEP has declared Brexit “fatal” and has demanded the EU takes a “180-degree turn” to stop the exit at all costs by giving the UK more attractive conditions, it has been revealed.
Hans-Olaf Henkel, an MEP and former President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), said the EU must make Britain a new offer.
He said Brexit negotiations “are fatal” because there are “expected economic disadvantages on both sides of the channel, most likely to be in the billions”.
The MEP has called on the EU to make the UK more attractive condition especially in areas which made the decisive issues in the referendum.
On the tough Brexit position of the European Parliament, Mr Henkel said: “Everyone moans, but nobody wants to take the first step.”

Fisheries

Meanwhile, the thorny question of the fish in British waters is considered by the Times.

Britain’s fish will still belong to Europe after Brexit — because Spain, Holland and Iceland have bought up nearly 90% of the entire fishing quota of Wales and more than half the quota assigned to England.
Foreign owners of the fishing rights have also set up UK businesses to hold the quota, making meaningful change unlikely after the country leaves the EU.
The revelation is in fishery statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), run by Michael Gove. The environment secretary’s civil servants were compiling the data at the same time as he was claiming that leaving Europe would let Britain “take back control” of its seas.

The Guardian puts a fisherman’s point of view.

On a clear day, the fishermen who dreamed of Brexit can still glimpse their imagined future on the horizon. Just six miles out at sea from ports such as Selsey, in Sussex, they track the progress of larger European vessels whose preferential rights to fish in British waters have long been a source of envy.
“It’s sickening to see them from here while we are tied up,” says Tony Delahunty, who finally sold his family boat two weeks ago after 43 years scratching a living along the south coast. His son has gone into landscape gardening, and hopes of keeping others in the industry with the promise of change are receding fast.
For Delahunty’s entire career, a lopsided system of quotas has granted up to 84% of the rights to fish some local species, such as English Channel cod, to the French, and left as little as 9% to British boats. Add on a new system that bans fishermen from throwing away unwanted catch and it becomes almost impossible to haul in a net of mixed fish without quickly exhausting more limited quotas of “choke” species such as cod.

And the Times claims Brexit secretary Davis has threatened to quit over the issue.

David Davis has privately threatened to resign if Britain’s fishermen are not handed control of their waters again from 2021.
The Brexit secretary told cabinet colleagues he would quit if the final deal thrashed out with the EU did not allow the UK to leave the common fisheries policy and reclaim Britain’s territorial waters.
Davis spoke out during a heated discussion after the government was forced to accept that the UK would remain subject to EU fishing quotas during the two-year transition period between 2019 and the end of 2020.
“DD said he’d resign if we do a Ted Heath and sell out the fishermen,” a cabinet source revealed. Heath is widely accused of sacrificing the British fishing industry.

Passports

The printing of British passports in the UK has received the backing of members of the House of Lords, says the Express.

MEMBERS of the House of Lords today threw their weight behind demands for the Government to rethink letting a foreign firm make Britain’s post-Brexit passports.
The state-backed French-Dutch firm Gemalto, which is headquartered in Amsterdam and listed on the French and Dutch stock exchanges, is the frontrunner for the contract.
It beat British-based De La Rue which currently makes UK passports in Gateshead, and a French rival, to become “preferred bidder” for the multi-million pound contract.
If confirmed it means that for 11-and-a-half years from autumn 2019, the booklet for British passports will be made abroad.
To ensure security, personal details like name and photograph will be embedded in the UK, creating up to 70 jobs in Hampshire and Greater Manchester, but this process will also be run by Gemalto.

 Migration

The problems of mass migration have not gone away, reports Westmonster.

Thought open door, mass migration was finally being dealt with? Think again, as the government have just announced that 4 million+ Croatians will soon have the rights to EU freedom of movement into the UK.
There had been ‘transitional restrictions’ on Croatians coming to Britain, but Immigration Minister Caroline Noakes has just announced that when they expire on 30th June 2018, “Croatian citizens will be able to seek and obtain employment in the UK on the same basis as currently enjoyed by all other EU citizens”.
Not only that, but when it comes to being able to stay permanently Noakes says: “We will not discriminate between nationals of the EU member states in our implementation of the Citizens’ Rights deal. Croatian citizens will be able to apply for settled status on the same terms as all other EU citizens.”
It is beyond farcical that after the British people voted to take back control of borders and lower mass migration the government are instead opening up freedom of movement to another country.

Bercow

The Times has an interview with a former member of the Speaker’s staff.

John Bercow’s former private secretary has spoken for the first time about a culture of covering up bullying in the House of Commons.
Angus Sinclair, 65, said he felt guilty that he had not raised the alarm. Speaking from his home in the Scottish Borders, Sinclair said: “For centuries the House of Commons has done things in a nice, quiet, polite way. That is a conspiracy which I took part in.”
Sinclair is the second former parliamentary employee to make allegations of bullying behaviour among MPs in less than a week. There is a rising tide of concern about the powerlessness of staff working behind the scenes of the debating chamber.

NHS

Looks like the Prime Minister is going to give the service a birthday present, says the Times.

Theresa May is planning to plough billions of extra pounds a year into health spending as part of a “birthday present” to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS,
Senior government sources say the prime minister will overrule the Treasury and boost spending to tackle growing waiting times and neutralise Labour’s political trump card.
The announcement, scheduled for July, is expected to lead to up to £4bn extra annually for the health service over the next 10 years. A special NHS tax is “still on the table”, a cabinet source said.
The new money will kick in from next spring, as Britain leaves the European Union.

And thousands of new midwives will be trained, says ITV News.

More than 3,000 training course places will be created over the next four years in the “largest ever” investment in midwifery training, as part of plans to meet NHS staffing demands.
In new plans released by the Department of Health and Social Care, expectant mothers will also be treated by the same midwives throughout their pregnancy in a bid to reduce miscarriages and stillbirths.
Jeremy Hunt’s announcement, which is due to be made on Tuesday, comes after the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) warned of “chronic shortages in maternity services”.
The Health Secretary is expected to say: “There are few moments in life that matter more than the birth of a child, so the next step in my mission to transform safety standards is a drive to give mums dedicated midwives, who can get to know them personally and oversee their whole journey from pregnancy to labour to new parent.”

Catalonia

The efforts of the Catalan government to gain independence have been squashed by the Spanish government, says the Morning Star.

SPANISH Supreme Court judge yesterday charged 13 Catalan separatist politicians, including fugitive former regional president Carles Puigdemont, with rebellion for their attempt to declare independence from Spain.
Judge Pablo Llarena’s indictment wrapped up the investigation into the events that six months ago plunged Spain into its deepest political crisis in decades.
Rebellion charges are punishable with up to 30 years in prison.
Mr Llarena said that 25 Catalan separatists in total will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience.
Others charged with rebellion were former Catalan vice-president Oriol Junqueras, who is already in pre-trial detention; seven other members of the ousted Catalan government; former Catalan parliament speaker Carme Forcadell; jailed separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart and the leader of the left-wing separatist ERC party, Marta Rovira, who said yesterday she was fleeing Spain.
Mr Puigdemont, taking a break from self-imposed exile in Brussels with a trip to Finland, said that “it is not right for a judge to do politics.”

Child abuse

Police are failing to charge paedophiles fearing a breach of their rights, reports the Times.

Hundreds of police files seen by The Sunday Times show that a fear of breaching paedophiles’ rights is deterring officers from sharing information with social workers about children at risk of abuse.
Bosses in Britain’s biggest police force have ordered rank-and-file officers not to share concerns automatically with children’s services, as disclosing “personal information” about suspects may need their “consent”.
The order appears to breach Scotland Yard’s own safeguarding procedures, set up after Peter Connelly, 17 months, known as Baby P, was tortured to death in 2007.
“Records contain personal information,” says one email to police child abuse teams from the senior officer in charge of safeguarding, “and unless certain criteria are met then consent from the relevant individual must be explicitly agreed.

And the Mail reports on the trial of seven men charged with abuse.

A sex gang of seven ‘predatory’ men have been convicted of abusing young girls.
The group of seven men aged between 37 and 47 were described as ‘predatory and cynical’ by a judge after being convicted on Friday following a five-month trial, at Oxford Crown Court.
The court heard how the gang would often abuse girls aged between 13 and 15 in a ‘s**wagon’ with licence plate ending ‘SHG’.
A jury of four women and seven men took a record-breaking 107 hours and 31 minutes, over the course of 24 days, to reach their verdict.
The charges faced by the men, who each denied their part in the child sexual exploitation, included indecent assault, rape, and false imprisonment, on five victims between 1998 and 2005.
During the trial, Oxford Crown Court heard accounts from the victims, all of whom were aged between 13 and 15 at the time, who said they were plied with drink and drugs and took part in sex parties.

The Sun also has the story.

A TWISTED child sex gang plied young girls with booze and drugs before abusing them in a “shag wagon”.
The “predatory and cynical” grooming gang were convicted yesterday a string of child sex offences on five victims during a seven year campaign of terror.
The girls, who were all aged between 13 and 15, bravely told jurors they had been plied with drink and drugs and forced to take part in sex parties.
The five month trial at Oxford Crown Court saw seven defendants convicted – Raheem Ahmed, Moinul Islam, Kamran Khan, Kameer Iqbal, Khalid Hussain, Alladitta Yousaf and Assad Hussain and two who couldn’t be named for legal reasons.
Saboor Abdul and Haji Khan, were acquitted of all charges after jurors took 107 hours and 31 minutes, over the course of 24 days, to reach their verdict.
The court heard how the fiends forced the girls into sex at a number of different addresses – including guest houses, cars and at local parks.
They would drive them around in a people carrier dubbed the “shag wagon”, which had a licence plate ending “SHG”.
One victim recalled how she would be pressured into sex at numerous locations across Oxford, between February 1998 and February 2001.
She told jurors how Assad Hussain, Kameer Iqbal, Khalid Hussain and Alladitta Yousaf had all indecently assaulted or raped her on various occasions.

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