Brexit

The Times has an interesting story of blackmail!

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels — amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.
Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

The prospect of a Canada-style agreement has moved a step closer, an exclusive story in the Telegraph claims.

Leading Brexiteers have backed a package of concessions to help unlock a Canada-style trade deal with Brussels.
Senior members of the Conservatives’ 60-strong European Research Group (ERG)
have told The Telegraph they would support EU officials being stationed at UK ports after Brexit to break the impasse with Brussels.
The MPs, including Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG chairman, also suggest that they would support the Government enforcing EU rules on goods exported to the bloc by firms in this country.

Other Brexiteers are threatening the Prime Minister, says the Independent.

Conservative Brexiteers are giving Theresa May  an ultimatum, that if her negotiating strategy fails she must accept plans for a Canada-style trade deal or face a leadership challenge.
Senior figures say it would be impossible for her to try to further negotiate on her Chequers  proposals if they are rejected by parliament or the EU.
Instead, she would be told only full acceptance of the kind of arrangement put forward by Boris JohnsonDavid DavisJacob Rees-Mogg and others would allow her to avoid a Tory vote of no confidence.

But will the PM agree? Westmonster says she might not.

Robbie Gibb, Director of Communications for N0. 10 has inferred that Theresa May would not accept the ‘Canada+++’ Brexit offer from Donald Tusk.
Replying to a tweet asking “What are you waiting for?” in reference to accepting a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement between the EU and UK, Gibb said: “The proposal is for GB only not for the whole of the UK. The PM has been clear she will not break up the United Kingdom.”
However, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that his ERG plan could solve the problem of the Northern Ireland border.

The government is still preparing to leave the EU without a deal, says the Mail.

Downing Street officials are preparing for a ‘Car Crash Brexit’ if the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan is rejected by Brussels or voted down by the Commons.
Secret ‘war games’ have been held to tackle a possible fuel crisis, vital medicines running short and power blackouts. Senior No 10 figures have warned in private briefings that they are deeply worried about Britain’s preparation for a no-deal exit.
One leading official said last week: ‘The no deal is now a real prospect. And it would be a car crash. We are talking about a number of Cobra-level crises.’ Cobra is the Government committee that meets in times of national emergencies.

Single market

It seems the Labour Party has been blind-sided, says the Independent.

Labour has been forced to take a significant step towards keeping Britain in the EU single market because of a line snuck into a motion agreed by the party’s conference last week, trade unions have claimed.
Union leaders and pro-EU Labour activists claimed a significant victory as they insisted the wording of the Brexit policy approved by the conference would force Jeremy Corbyn and his top team to adopt a position they had previously ruled out.  

Customs union

And a customs union between the EU and the UK still hasn’t been ruled out, says the Express.

THERESA May’s top secret Brexit plan B has been revealed, with the Prime Minister seeking an agreement that will keep the UK permanently shackled to the EU customs union – and Irish officials are said to have backed the proposal.
Mrs May is said to be pouring over the plan, which “is for the whole UK to participate in a customs union with the EU”, and is a scenario that could take effect if no other solution to the Irish border question is found.
The plan would act as a temporary deal with the EU until a final solution to the Northern Ireland border enigma that has so far stifled Brexit negotiations is finally solved.

Ireland

Meanwhile, the Irish border question has become a weapon in the negotiations, says the Express.

THE IRISH border issue is being weaponised by the European Union to stop the UK from leaving the bloc, to keep our money and to create a political crisis which does not exist, a leading MEP has warned.
Brexiteer MEP Tim Aker accused EU chiefs of arbitrarily stoking trouble around the Northern Ireland border in a bid to hamper the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “The EU has used Northern Ireland to stoke up trouble to derail Brexit.

The Times reports that the EU is still expecting the UK to provide an answer.

EU diplomats are primed for accelerated Brexit talks this week and expect some British proposals on the Irish border that could help to unlock the UK’s exit deal, even as agreement on the future EU relationship remains elusive.
Senior diplomats said there was a mood of “cautious optimism” on Friday evening after members of Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s team briefed them on “signals” that the UK was ready to come forward with a new Irish border plan.

The Irish Prime Minister is also looking to the UK for answers, says the Express.

THERESA May has two weeks left to convince Brussels and Dublin the UK is ready to agree a Brexit deal, Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar has warned.
Mr Varadkar said yesterday he remains hopeful there will be decisive progress in the next two weeks to conclude a Brexit deal but warned there is still more work to be done.

EU

Some of the EU bosses are optimistic of a deal, reports the Mail.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Saturday it was possible to agree a deal with Britain on leaving the European Union by the end of 2018.
Britain and the remaining 27 EU member states are due to hold crunch talks during a summit between October 17 and 18.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Krakow, Poland, Tusk said: ‘We will try for it in October … and I think there is a chance to have an accord by the end of the year.’ 

Sky News is also upbeat about a deal.

The president of the European Commission has said he is sure a Brexit agreement could be reached in November, if not sooner.
Jean-Claude Juncker told three Austrian newspapers that Brexit without a deal “would not be good for the UK, as it is for the rest of the union”.
He added: “I assume that we will reach agreement on the terms of the withdrawal agreement.
“We also need to agree on a political statement that accompanies this withdrawal agreement – we are not that far yet.”

The Independent quotes Juncker the Drunker.

Jean-Claude Juncker has said the chances of a  Brexit breakthrough have increased in recent days – suggesting an agreement could be reached within the next two weeks – amid claims Brussels will offer the UK a Canada-style trade deal.
The president of the European Commission  made the comments ahead of a critical summit later this month boosting hopes that an agreement might be reached.
Reports from Europe indicate the deal offered by Brussels will include parts similar to those in  Theresa May’s Chequers plan, but would not deliver the totally “frictionless” trade she is seeking.

Although the commission president doesn’t like that moniker, says the Mail.

Jean-Claude Juncker has hit out at the British media and demanded curbs on press freedom over ‘Juncker the drunker?’ headlines which have dogged him ever since he became European Commission President.
In an outspoken interview, given as the  Brexit  negotiations near their critical phase, Mr Juncker said he was looking forward to being free from press scrutiny after he steps down next year.
‘They do not respect the human rights of political actors at all,’ he said. ‘Press freedom also has its limits.

He claims the nickname shows a lack of respect, reports the Sun.

EUROPEAN Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, nicknamed Druncker for his alleged boozing, has blasted Press treatment of politicians.
The European Commission President slammed the British media for not showing him any respect.
Juncker, 63, has also been forced to dismiss claims he has been drunk at official functions.  He was shown staggering at a Nato summit in July and later  said he had a sciatica attack.
In a jaw-dropping moan, he said:  “The British press is such that I will not miss it.  It is, in part so, that they do not respect the human rights of political actors at all.

If he has his way, Junker is likely to limit press freedom, says Breitbart.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has said that press freedom should “have limits” and expressed regret that the EU did not “intervene” in the Brexit referendum to make sure “the right questions” entered the debate.
As head of the European Commission — a wholly unelected body which serves as the EU’s executive as well as the sole initiator of EU-level legislation — Juncker is one of the continent’s most powerful men, enjoying a far more influential position than he could have enjoyed in a Europe of nation-states where he could not have risen above his former position as Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

BBC

A senior journalist has admitted the national broadcaster is biased, says the Independent.

The BBC failed to deliver impartial and balanced journalism while covering the Brexit referendum campaign, according to ITV’s political editor  Robert Peston.
Mr Peston, who spent nine years with the public broadcaster before switching to its commercial rival in 2015, suggested the corporation wrongly gave equal airtime to “loonies”.
He laughed when asked if the BBC could be blamed for Brexit but said the role of the journalist was to work out which of two contradictory arguments “is likely to be the closer to the truth”.

The Guardian claims the broadcaster was ‘confused’.

ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, has accused the BBC of being confused about the nature of impartial journalism when it was covering the EU referendum campaign.
Peston spent nine years at the BBC as business editor and economics editor before becoming political editor of ITV where, he told the  Cheltenham literature festival, he consistently said on air that the UK economy would be worse off under Brexit.
He was asked whether the BBC could be blamed for Brexit. He laughed at the suggestion but went on to criticise its coverage. “The problem with the BBC, during the campaign, it put people on with diametrically opposed views and didn’t give their viewers and listeners any help in assessing which one was the loony and which one was the genius,” he said.

Gibraltar

The head of government on The Rock has threatened to stymie talks if Spain ‘pulls a fast one’ says the Sun.

GIBRALTAR last night warned Theresa May and Spain that they would not hesitate to collapse Brexit talks if the UK tried to pull an eleventh hour hoodwinking of the Rock.
Amid fears Brussels and Madrid are planning a fresh assault on Gib’s sovereignty, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he would “not blink” in the face of No Deal.
He added: “I remain very confident that  Gibraltar will be part of the UK – EU Withdrawal Agreement.
“That is, so long as no one thinks that at the last minute we are going to be pushed to accept things which will not be good for Gibraltar.

The Express also carries the warning in the event of a sell out.

GIBRALTAR warned they would shut Brexit talks between the UK and Spain if Theresa May tried to sell out the Rock.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he would “not blink” if Britain is heading to a no deal amid fears Spain will try to claim sovereignty of the Rock.
Last year, the European Union (EU) granted Spain an effective veto over Gibraltar being included in any final Brexit deal that Britain agrees.
But with Spain seeking joint control of Gibraltar International Airport and fears that the Rock’s sovereignty could be at stake, the British Overseas Territory’s leader has vowed to stand firm.

Conservative Party

In what has been described as ‘extraordinary’, the Guardian reports a plea by the Prime Minister to Labour voters.

Theresa May today delivers an extraordinary appeal to wavering Labour supporters to switch to the Conservatives as she attempts to portray her party as the only option for moderate and patriotic voters.
Writing exclusively in today’s 
Observer the prime minister says that if people who have previously backed Labour look again at her government’s programme, including pledges to  increase house building and manage markets where necessary, they will find that it is not driven by ideology, but by beliefs and values that the vast majority could support.

The Express also reports on the PM’s plans.

THERESA May has drawn up shock plans to persuade dozens of Labour MPs to back her controversial Chequers proposal for Brexit.
The Prime Minister is hoping to win over Labour MPs to avoid the humiliating prospect of her Brexit plan being voted down in Parliament.
Last night it was claimed that senior Tories have been in private contact with moderate Labour backbenchers for several months. 

The BBC News reports her suggestion that the party is ‘moderate and patriotic’.

Theresa May has appealed to Labour voters unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to consider switching to the Conservatives.
Writing in the Observer the prime minister insisted her party had a “moderate and patriotic programme”.
Promising to be “a party for the whole country”, she said the Conservatives would build more homes and end austerity.
But Labour said people were facing “brutal cuts” and “won’t be fooled”.

Westmonster claims there have already been talks.

Theresa May is set to use Labour votes in order to pass her Chequers plan, or whatever is left of it, through Parliament.
Reports in the Guardian suggest the PM’s team has been privately talking to several Labour backbenchers for months, attempting to persuade them to vote for her Brexit plan to avoid a No Deal in the ‘National Interest’.
Several Conservative Brexiteer MPs have said they will not vote for Chequers, or the more watered down deal Theresa May finally agrees with the EU.

Green belt

Pressure to build on our green fields is reported in the Telegraph.

A majority of Theresa May’s Cabinet want the Prime Minister to relax green belt  restrictions to help tackle the housing crisis, The Telegraph has been told.
Senior ministers believe Mrs May’s current policies will fail to build the homes Britain needs, insisting she must consider more radical measures such as liberalising planning laws.
One claimed that a majority of the Cabinet now support a relaxation of rules governing the green belt, “if done carefully”.

Breitbart says thousands of acres could be released for housing.

The Government is releasing thousands of acres of green belt land for developers to concrete over, as a population boom driven by mass immigration exacerbates a surging demand for housing.
A record 12,350 acres were carved off the green belt — designed to protect Britain’s countryside from urban sprawl — in the year to March 31st, with around 25,000 acres lost since 2012,  according to the Daily Mail.
“The government must stop heaping pressure on councils to deliver unrealistic targets that result in the green belt being chipped away,” complained Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)
.

NHS

Is dental care for children free? The Mail reports on young patients being forced to pay.

Tens of thousands of families are being forced to pay up to £6,000 for dental braces for children who should get them free on the NHS.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has found that at least 20,000 youngsters a year are being denied the corrective treatment they need for seriously misaligned teeth. The figure could be even higher, but there are no official figures.
In some cases, orthodontists have been accused of incorrectly advising parents their children are ineligible for free treatment. And in others, those who qualify for NHS braces are told they have to wait up to six years to have them fitted – putting intense pressure on parents to opt for private treatment because waiting risks leaving children with permanent dental problems.

HS2

The costs escalate as the timetable slips, says the Telegraph.

Construction of the controversial HS2 rail line is up to three years behind schedule, campaigners claim.
The Telegraph can disclose that the firm behind the £56 billion project has yet to begin work on large sections of the proposed track where building was was initially due to begin as early as 2016.
In one case, a water sports centre responsible for a lake west of London has been told it will not have to vacate the site until 2019 or 2020 to allow the construction of a new viaduct, having previously been informed that work would begin in 2016.

Russia

Putin could be planning an attack on electric cables, reports the Telegraph.

Britain and America fear Vladimir Putin is prepared to cause financial chaos by attacking undersea cables between the countries and are going to extraordinary lengths to track Russian submarines, The Telegraph can reveal. 
US and UK military sources have told this newspaper that Russian sub activity in the North Atlantic has reached a 25-year high and there has been a return to “Cold War cat and mouse games” under the water.
Amid mounting tensions with the Kremlin, the allies are using
a remarkable array of modern technology and military equipment to make sure they know exactly where the submarines are as they move around the region.  

But the UK could retaliate, says the Times.

Defence chiefs have war-gamed a massive cyber-strike to black out Moscow if Vladimir Putin launches a military attack on the West, after concluding that the only other way of hitting back would be to use nuclear weapons.
Senior security sources have told The Sunday Times they are concerned that Britain has a capability gap that has left commanders with too few weapons to meet Kremlin aggression short of firing a Trident nuclear missile.

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