Brexit

The Times claims an exclusive report into a secret plan for Brexit.

Theresa May’s secret plan to secure a Brexit deal and win the backing of parliament can be revealed today.
Senior sources say the prime minister has secured private concessions from Brussels that will allow her to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union, avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. They expect this to placate remainer Tories and win over some Labour MPs.
And in a move that will appeal to Eurosceptics, May is also said to be on course to secure a political deal on a “future economic partnership” (FEP) with the European Union that will allow Britain to keep open the prospect of a free trade deal resembling that enjoyed by Canada.

The Mail has picked up the story of the EU ‘concession’.

Theresa May is said to have made a breakthrough on Brexit talks that could see her put forward a deal to her Cabinet as early as Tuesday.
The Prime Minister was reported last night to have secured private concessions from Brussels that would keep the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU.
Her plan would avoid the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland, which has long been the main sticking point in negotiations.
However, even if agreed to by Europe’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, it may not get through the House of Commons, as it would anger hard Brexit-supporting MPs.

The Independent also has the story.

Theresa May has reportedly secured concessions from Brussels to keep the whole of the UK in a customs union in the wake of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The agreement reached would prevent the need for Northern Ireland to be treated differently from the rest of the UK, a main stumbling block during Brexit negotiations.
The “secret” deal would avoid the need for an Irish backstop and will be written into the legally-binding deal, according to
The Sunday Times.

Sky News says the agreement will avoid a hard border in Ireland.

Theresa May has secured concessions from Brussels to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union in the aftermath of Brexit – avoiding a hard Irish border, The Sunday Times reports.
The agreement would avoid the European Union’s “backstop” solution that would have treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of Britain.
It will also include an “exit clause” designed to convince Brexiteers that remaining in the customs union is only temporary, the newspaper said.

But Reuters pours cold water on the proposal.

A report suggesting an all-UK customs deal will be written into the legally binding agreement governing Britain’s withdrawal from the EU to avoid the need for an Irish backstop is “speculation”, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said.
The Sunday Times said the plan would avoid the need to treat Northern Ireland differently, which has been the main stumbling bloc to securing an agreement on Britain’s exit from the bloc, due in March 2019.
Reuters reported on Friday that the EU has suggested that a backstop post-Brexit customs arrangement covering all of the UK could give mainland Britain some scope to set trade rules while keeping the province of Northern Ireland aligned with the EU.

Brexiteers fear a capitulation, says the Sun.

BREXITEER MPs feared a “sell-out” amid reports that Theresa May is days away from a deal.
Ministers believe the PM plans to bounce them into backing a fudged divorce settlement which will keep Britain in the customs union.
A source said: “At some stage she is going to have to put a package on the table and say it’s the best she can get.
“When that happens, everyone is going to have to decide whether to get behind it or take a walk.”

But will the DUP support the plan? Breitbart ponders.

The Brexit-supporting Northern Irish party propping up Theresa May’s minority government has rejected concessions to the European Union (EU) which could have left Brits subject to EU judges for years.
The Prime Minister had reportedly persuaded EU bosses to drop their insistence on splitting up the United Kingdom and separating Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain’s Home Nations with customs checks in a so-called “customs compromise”.
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists Party (DUP) had threatened to vote down the budget if the UK was divided in this way. Mrs May proposed to keep the entire UK tied to the EU’s Customs Union as a compromise, while Brussels was pressing for Northern Ireland to be subject to Single Market regulations as well.

Westmonster also reports DUP opposition.

The DUP has warned Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab against signing up to a Brexit deal which makes Northern Ireland a “rule-taker”.
Reports in the Telegraph suggest that the EU are prepared to offer Theresa May a deal for a UK-wide Customs Union that would still require checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
However, the DUP’s Arlene Foster warned Raab such an agreement would: “Run a coach and horses through the historic agreements in which the principle of consent is enshrined.”

The Telegraph reports that the Attorney General has been asked to oversee the legality of any deal.

The Government’s chief legal adviser has been given a permanent seat on Theresa May’s Brexit war cabinet after ministers insisted they would not sign off on a deal without his advice.
Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General and a Leave-supporting QC, has been quietly added as a 12th member of the Cabinet sub-committee designed to oversee the UK’s negotiations with Brussels.
The move comes as Mrs May is believed to be closing in on a deal with the European Union over an insurance plan, or “backstop”, intended to avoid border infrastructure between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
However, Brussels is refusing to agree to an end date or mechanism that would allow the UK to pull out of the arrangement.

The Express claims a new anti-Brexit party is about to be launched.

REMAINER MPs plan to launch a new party by Christmas in a last-ditch bid to reverse Brexit as ministers expect to unveil a deal with this week.
Senior ministers have told the Sunday Express a deal with the European Union is expected to be put to Cabinet on Tuesday, with one saying the meeting will be “significant”.
The Sunday Express has also been told Remainer MPs from Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems hope to launch a new party before 28 January, the last time MPs can stop Brexit.
Preparations are now advanced for the party after a series of regular planning meetings since the summer.

Conservative Party

But the Prime Minister has declared her resilience in the Mail.

The Prime Minister today signals her determination to stay in Downing Street for the ‘long haul’ with the audacious declaration that the Conservatives are ‘the natural party of the NHS’.
Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Theresa May makes a direct challenge to the political orthodoxy that Labour will always be more trusted with the Health Service by stressing her personal debt to the NHS as a diabetes sufferer.
It comes as No 10 strategists are plotting a path for Mrs May to stay in Downing Street until at least 2021, a year before the expected date of the next General Election, by boosting her domestic policy credentials.

She hasn’t got the support in the country, reports Westmonster.

A new poll has found that 42% of Tory members want Theresa May to resign immediately.
The ConservativeHome poll found that just under 40% of members also wanted May to resign but before the next election.
Just under 20% want Theresa May to carry on as the leader, meaning around 80% of Tory members expect their leader to resign.
The new poll comes after the DUP has warned Dominic Raab not to make Northern Ireland a rule taker post-Brexit.
Just 2 in 10 Tory members want May to carry on as leader, it’s time for her to take the hint.

Ireland

The Irish are unhappy, says the Guardian.

Brexit has undermined the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and has strained relations between Britain and Ireland, the Irish prime minister has said.
In an interview with RTÉ on Saturday morning, Leo Varadkar said Ireland was about to enter a difficult period because of the impact Brexit would have on the economy.
He indicated that a Brexit deal would give renewed impetus to parties in Northern Ireland to reach an agreement to restore devolved government in the region, 22 months after the Stormont assembly collapsed.

EU

Opposition to the bloc is growing, reports the Telegraph.

France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party jumped ahead of President Emmanuel Macron’s LREM for the first time in a poll of voting intentions for May 2019 European Parliament elections.
An Ifop poll published on Sunday showed the centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) with 19 percent of voting intentions compared to 20 percent at the end of August, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s RN – formerly the National Front – rose to 21 percent from 17 percent previously.

And an ex finance minister has opined in the Morning Star.

FORMER Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis condemned the “toxic” public campaign for a second referendum on British membership of the European Union today.
The economist, who served under the left-wing Syriza government in 2015 when it confronted the EU over enforced austerity politics, accused anti-Brexit campaigners of dumping left politics.
In an interview for Jacobin magazine, he said he had campaigned on the Remain side during the 2016 referendum, but he explained: “I think that we should respect the outcome of the people’s vote.

Perhaps immigrants need to be told they mustn’t rape locals, reports Breitbart.

Angela Merkel’s migration commissioner has suggested “orientation courses” teaching new migrants not to rape German women after a group of Syrians were arrested for a gang attack on a teenage girl.
“Men who have been living here for a long time need to talk clearly about sexuality and equal rights in Germany to men who have just arrived — if necessary in their native language,” said Annette Widmann-Mauz in the wake of the “despicable” crime in Freiburg.

BBC

The Beeb is politically biased (what’s new?), reports the Mail.

Theresa May has gone to war with the BBC, with the Tory Party publicly attacking the Corporation for ‘frankly astounding’ political bias in its Budget coverage.
Downing Street has made a furious complaint to the broadcaster after it led its Radio 4 bulletins with claims from a Left-leaning think-tank that the measures unveiled by Chancellor Philip Hammond would mainly benefit the rich. One aide described the report on Tuesday’s Today programme as ‘the most biased bulletin in history’.

The bias was thoroughly blasted in the Sun.

THE BBC was blasted for its “frankly astounding” political bias last night by an enraged Tory party.
Theresa May’s party attacked the Corporation’s flagship news programme and slammed its apparent bias during coverage of the budget.
One aide described Tuesday’s Today programme as “the most biased bulletin in history”.
The row erupted after some bulletins included claims from a left-leaning think-tank that the budget unveiled by Chancellor Philip Hammond was mainly benefiting the rich.

Bullying

A new and ‘explosive’ inquiry into bullying in the Houses of Parliament could be about to unfold, according to the Independent.

A new bullying inquiry into allegations of harassment and intimidation by MPs and peers is set to be “bigger and more explosive” than the landmark Cox report, The Independent understands.
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom is poised to launch a probe into complaints from aides employed directly by politicians, which is expected to attract hundreds of allegations from past and present staff.
It comes on the heels of a damning report by Dame Laura Cox, a former high court judge, which found an entrenched culture of harassment against apolitical parliamentary staffers, which included more than 200 allegations of groping, intimidation and sexual harassment.

Blair

A has-been Prime Minister has said a good deal with the EU is impossible, says the Guardian.

Tony Blair is urging all MPs to vote down whatever Brexit deal Theresa May presents to parliament and to push instead for another referendum, warning that if they fail to do so there will be a backlash from voters that will last a political lifetime.
Writing in Sunday’s
Observer, the former prime minister, who won three general elections as Labour leader, says there is now no outcome May can secure that can be good, or even reasonable, for the country.
“We are approaching Brexit crunch time,” he writes. “Everyone is going to come under intense pressure to agree a ‘reasonable deal’, Labour MPs especially. They should resist. There is no ‘reasonable deal’.

But the Times claims he’s still fleecing taxpayers.

Tony Blair has claimed more than £1m in taxpayers’ cash to help fund his role in public life — without submitting a single receipt for public scrutiny.
The former prime minister has invoiced the Cabinet Office for an allowance worth up to £115,000 a year to help pay for his public duties after leaving government. Since he stood down as prime minister in June 2007, he has claimed £1,077,888 from public funds.
The allowance, called the public duty cost allowance (PDCA), was introduced to provide financial support for former prime ministers who remain active in public life.

Universal Credit

The dreaded Universal Credit could be scrapped, reports the Sun.

PLANS to switch millions of benefit claimants on to Universal Credit will be blocked by MPs unless extra protection is made for vulnerable, a senior MP has warned.
Ex-welfare minister Frank Field said many may have “no option” but to vote the changes down after ministers refused to allow scrutiny of the draft Bill before it goes to a vote.
Support offered to claimants transferring to the credit was “woefully inadequate” and risked undermining the whole project, according to a report by the Commons Work and Pensions committee, which he chairs.

Death penalty

The question of whether the death penalty should be reintroduced has been asked by an MP. The Mail reports:

An MP has asked for the ‘potential merits’ of the death penalty to be reconsidered by UK Parliament as he calls for it to be reintroduced.
Former minister John Hayes used written parliamentary questions to say capital punishment ‘should be available to the courts’ – despite it being outlawed in 1965.
Mr Hayes, who represents South Holland and Deepings in Lincolnshire, used the case of Westminster killer Khalid Masood to illustrate his point. 

The Independent also reports the call.

A Conservative MP has called on the government to reintroduce hanging for people who commit violent crimes.
John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, and a former minister, asked justice secretary David Gauke to consider the “potential merits” of the death penalty.
The option of capital punishment “should be available to the courts” in cases such as that of Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood, he said.
Masood was shot dead by armed officers after mowing down pedestrians and fatally stabbing PC Keith Palmer in March 2017, but Mr Hayes suggested that had Masood survived it would have been “appropriate” for him to be hanged.

Cancer

Away from politics, the Telegraph reports on a potential new treatment for brain cancer.

Fluorescent marker could be used to boost survival from one of the deadliest form of brain tumours.
Scientists found that using a chemical to highlight cancerous cells meant that they were able to identify the most aggressive types of disease, and to ensure that healthy brain tissue was not harmed.
The study, presented at the National Cancer Research Conference in Glasgow, involved 99 patients suffering from suspected glioma.
The disease, which killed former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, is the most common form of brain cancer, with more than 2,200 cases diagnosed each year in England.

And the Mail reports on a possible breakthrough in the treatment of prostate cancer.

The lives of thousands of men could be prolonged with a new treatment that uses radiotherapy to mount a ‘twin attack’ on prostate cancer.
It simultaneously blasts the prostate with radiation from outside the body while using ‘tumour-seeking’ radioactive drugs internally.
A trial led by Queen’s University Belfast has already been tested on 28 men with advanced prostate cancer.
Early results show the approach is safe and in some cases has led to remarkable improvements, paving the way for a larger trial of 1,500 men next year.
Lead researcher Professor Joe O’Sullivan said: ‘This is the first trial of its kind anywhere in the world. 

But a big hospital is to stop providing one form of treatment, says the Guardian.

One of the biggest NHS trusts is to stop providing chemotherapy at one of its hospitals because it has too few specialist cancer nurses to staff the unit.
The Cedar Centre at King George hospital in Ilford, east London, will ceas
e provision from 12 November because four of its nurses have quit and two others have gone on maternity leave.
It is thought to be the first time the NHS’s widespread staffing problems have led to a specialist cancer unit no longer being able to offer a vital service such as chemotherapy.

HS2

Could the dreaded high speed train line be heading for the buffers? The Telegraph reports.

HS2 could be dramatically scaled back amid public opposition to the scheme, the Transport Secretary has admitted.
Chris Grayling said that the second phase of the line, which would connect Birmingham to Leeds, was “not in the bag”.
His comments, to rail industry figures, represent a major departure from the Government’s previous insistence that construction of the scheme would proceed as planned despite mounting questions about its costs and value for money.

The Sun has picked up the story.

THE second phase of the controversial HS2 may NEVER be built due to “public opposition”, the Transport Secretary has suggested.
Chris Grayling has admitted that the northern extension, connecting Birmingham to Leeds, was “not in the bag” – despite construction being due to start in 2024.
According to New Civil Engineer, he told a rail industry conference in London: “This industry has got to help make the case for HS2. We have got to continue making that case for it.
“It will be a fantastic railway, one of the best in Europe but it still needs support if it is to definitely go to Leeds and connect to the Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

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