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EU 1) May reportedly distances herself from ‘hardline’ Brexiteers

MAY Theresa pensive“Theresa May has distanced herself from hardline Tory enemies of Brussels by saying she is not ‘some crazed Brexiteer’. The Prime Minister made it clear at a private meeting last week that she will not risk economic suicide by ‘jumping off a cliff’ with a hard Brexit – and secretly supports some demands by Remain Tories. Mrs May’s outspoken comments at a Downing Street meeting reflect her frustration at claims by Eurosceptic Tory MPs who boast they have forced her to take a tougher stance.” – Mail on Sunday

  • House of Lords’ blow to the Prime Minister on EU nationals – Sunday Times (£)
  • Liberal Democrat peers warned by defector to avoid ‘stunt’ over Brexit – Sunday Telegraph
  • Tough stance on EU exit jeopardises the peace process, claims Ahern – Mail on Sunday
  • Juncker doubts member states will stay united during talks – Sunday Telegraph

More Brexit:

>Today: Jake Berry MP in Comment: Let’s extend the hand of friendship to our Commonwealth friends at our border

>Yesterday: Chloe Westley in Comment: How Brexit will bring Australia and the UK closer together

Andrew Rawnsley: Parliament has diminished itself at a crucial moment

“The Brexit Bill smashed through the Commons unamended and by 494 votes to 122, a crushing government majority of 372. This is remarkable at several levels… Britain is departing the single market and most likely quitting the customs union as well. She had even told them in advance that she is prepared to crash out of the EU with no deal at all. That this could be in the range of potential outcomes would have horrified most MPs six months ago. It still does so. Yet they waved it through with the salute of a stonking majority. Finally, and very significantly, parliament didn’t even claim for itself any meaningful input when Mrs May enters the negotiating chamber with the EU.” – The Observer

  • Leaving the EEA would be madness – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • May can save us from a hard Brexit… if Remainers will let her – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Reminder to Remainers: the ‘uneducated’ protect us from brilliant idiots – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • Brexit can wait, Europe’s real problem is its fracturing eastern democracies – Jan Kubik, The Observer
  • How long will Europeans tolerate this disabling experiment? – Jeremy Warner, Sunday Telegraph

EU 2) Bercow faces further pressure after revealing referendum stance

John Bercow“John Bercow is facing fresh controversy over his role as Speaker of the House of Commons after admitting voting for the Remain campaign and ‘backing immigration into Britain’. He was filmed talking to students at the University of Reading earlier this month that he thought it was ‘better to stay in the European Union’. His comments could be seen to breach Parliamentary rules that the Speaker ‘must remain politically impartial at all times’ and ‘upon election must resign from their political party and remain separate from political issues even in retirement’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Bridgen accuses Speaker of ‘cover up’ to protect Vaz after £40,000 in donations – Sun on Sunday

Editorial:

  • Bercow has lost the respect he needs to do his job – Sun on Sunday

Dominic Raab: We love tyrants’ dirty money, but the laundering must stop

“As post-Brexit Britain opens its arms to global free trade, we need to avoid the UK becoming a haven for the blood money of the world’s nastiest despots and their henchmen. So, with support in parliament from 50 MPs from eight political parties, I am proposing to amend the Criminal Finances Bill to freeze the illicit assets, frequently laundered through London, of those responsible for gross human rights abuses… I back the government’s ambition to see Britain become a world leader in free trade, an outward-looking nation that attracts investment and is open to international talent. Yet the British are also rightly known for our standards of justice and our commitment to the rule of law. So we must not turn a blind eye to the blood money of tyrants and their stooges that flows too freely through UK businesses, banks and property.” – Sunday Times (£)

May backs statue of ‘one nation’ Baldwin

BALDWIN Stanley“With Britain bitterly divided over its future it may seem out of step with the nation’s mood to erect a statue to the politician who coined the phrase ‘One Nation’. But campaigners say that is precisely why the country should honour the former Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. They are calling for a statue to the man most closely associated with the philosophy of ‘One Nation Conservatism’ – describing the party’s responsibility for the welfare and prosperity of all sections of society – to be erected in his Worcestershire constituency. The campaign has now received a boost from Prime Minister Theresa May, who has agreed to become patron of the Stanley Baldwin Statue Appeal to raise £150,000 towards the cost.” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 1) Truss bars violent husbands from interrogating their wives in court

“Violent husbands will be banned from interrogating their ex-wives in court under laws unveiled this week. A crackdown is being rushed through after a string of cases in which abusers were given free rein to torment victims. Justice Secretary Liz Truss ordered the action after branding the practice “humiliating and appalling”. It is outlawed in criminal cases but continues in family courts where many domestic violence trials are heard.” – Sun on Sunday

Ministers 2) Javid to bar councils from boycotting Israeli goods

Israel flag“Councils will be prevented from boycotting goods from Israel in a new crackdown on anti-Semitism. The move will stop local authorities from introducing restrictions on the companies and countries they use after pro-Palestinian hard-Left councils imposed bans on goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid will unveil further steps tomorrow to legally require councils to treat suppliers equally.” – Sunday Express

Russia steps up cyber attacks on the UK

“Britain is being hit by 60 significant cyber-attacks a month, including attempts by Russian state-sponsored hackers to steal defence and foreign policy secrets from government departments, the new cyber-security chief has revealed. In his first key interview, Ciaran Martin, head of GCHQ’s new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), warned there had been a “step change” in Russia’s online aggression against the West as well as more attacks on “soft targets” such as local councils and charities to steal personal data, and universities to steal research secrets. The Queen will open the new cyber-centre on Tuesday.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Businesses must be prepared for attack by cyber-criminals – Philip Hammond, Sunday Telegraph

Johnny Mercer: After seven years and £30 million, we finally back our troops

Johnny Mercer MP“For the past ten months I had been leading an inquiry into the Iraq Historic Allegations Team and more broadly as to how we ‘do’ historical allegations against our Servicemen and Women in this country today. The report was devastating. It exposed some absurd decisions, where the welfare of our men and women who serve was almost totally disregarded in an effort to facilitate Phil Shiner’s efforts. Yes – the MoD did finally report Phil Shiner to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and that led to him being struck off. But it took seven years; it cost nearly £30m; and it ruined a generation of our finest people.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • High-flying lawyers raking in millions from the Ministry of Defence – Sun on Sunday
  • Unanswered questions behind failed witch-hunt – Sunday Telegraph
  • Soldiers facing allegations criticise MPs’ identikit letters – Sun on Sunday

More Armed Forces:

  • Defence Secretary vows to end ISIS ‘caliphate’ – Sunday Express

Collins sounds note of caution over new secrecy plans

“Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents. The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material. The new law, should it get approval, would see documents containing “sensitive information” about the economy fall foul of national security laws for the first time… Conservative MP Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “We need to look at these proposals very carefully. Whistle blowing can be in the national interest. “We need to ensure that we get the balance right between protecting sensitive official information and allowing debate about facts where there is a clear and overwhelming national interest.”” – Sunday Telegraph

Secret Labour search for heir to Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn“Labour is conducting secret “succession planning” for Jeremy Corbyn’s departure, according to leaked documents that warn the party is facing meltdown under his leadership. The public appeal of two rising stars, Angela Rayner and Rebecca Long-Bailey, has been tested by a focus group as the hard left looks for potential successors to Corbyn. The group, organised by Labour’s pollster BMG Research, delivered a damning verdict on Corbyn himself with participants saying he was “boring”, appeared “fed up” and “looks like a scruffy school kid”.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Allies search for replacement after ‘disastrous Brexit revolt’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Corbyn kept away from voters ahead of crucial by-election – Sunday Telegraph

More by-elections:

  • Nuttall forced to abandon constituency home, claim UKIP – Sun on Sunday
  • Boost for Tories as Sellafield union rules out strike – The Observer

Comment:

  • When their leader goes Labour must confront the question: what do they exist for? – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Could Clive Lewis be Corbyn’s successor? – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Time is running out for Labour whether they win or lose in Stoke – Matthew Goodwin, Sun on Sunday
  • Can the party reconnect with its heartland? – Julian Coman, The Observer

Editorial:

>Today: ToryDiary: “Labour will win in Stoke, LibDems could come second.” File this prediction away for use on the night.

Trump backs Japan as North Korea tests missiles

“Donald Trump has pledged to stand fully behind Japan after North Korea fired  a missile into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula. The object was launched from an area in North Korea’s western region, the South’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a short statement. It did not provide further details. Quoting an unnamed US official, CNN reported that the Koreans had fired an intermediate range ballistic missile. Mr Trump, who has been hosting the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida retreat, promised American support.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • President’s UK visit may be moved from London to Brexit heartlands – Sunday Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Soldiers offered opt-out from the front line in bid to make Army more ‘family friendly’ – Mail on Sunday
  • NHS crisis hits cancer care patients – Sun on Sunday
  • Fillon faces protests over scandal as he embarks on campaign tour – Sunday Express
  • Fake news is killing peoples’ minds, warns Apple boss – Mail on Sunday
  • Aid firm ‘misled MPs’ with testimonials – Sunday Telegraph
  • Sinn Fein leader accused of being ‘clueless’ on cost of Irish Language Act – News Letter
  • SNP aide with pro-IRA views passes candidate vetting – Sunday Herald

8 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 12th February 2017

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