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Government accuses EU of trying to inflame Gibraltar dispute…

EU Brexit“The centuries-old dispute over Gibraltar is threatening to halt Brexit negotiations after the EU yesterday backed Spain’s claim to the British territory. Brussels chiefs sparked a diplomatic feud yesterday after including a veto for Madrid over the Rock’s future in their list of Brexit negotiating demands. UK politicians accused the EU of orchestrating a ‘shameful’ attempt to inflame the historic territorial wrangle. Despite Theresa May’s insistence that Gibraltar would not be used as a political pawn, the EU said Spain should be given a say over any future decisions relating to the territory.” – Daily Mail

  • Spain charged with making a grab for ‘the Rock’ – The Times (£)
  • What Gibraltar means for the UK and Scotland – The Scotsman

Scotland:

  • Sturgeon threatens ‘campaign of disruption’ – The Times (£)
  • First Minister sends letter seeking referendum – FT

Comment:

  • The First Minister’s guerilla strategy undermines May in Brussels – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

…as Johnson backpedals on security cooperation

“Boris Johnson insisted yesterday that Britain’s commitment to European security was “unconditional” amid a mounting backlash over Theresa May’s link between continued co-operation and a favourable Brexit deal. European leaders have widely condemned the prime minister for connecting security co-operation and trade in her letter to the European Union triggering Article 50. Mrs May made the connection 11 times in the letter and repeated it in articles in seven European newspapers, noting that the victims of last week’s Westminster attack included nationals of other EU countries. European leaders accused Mrs May of threatening to withdraw co-operation crucial for the safety of the Continent if they did not bow to her trade demands.” – The Times (£)

  • Exports boom as Britain becomes fastest-growing developed economy – Daily Mail
  • What has the EU done for the UK? – FT
  • Neil skewers Smith over gloomy Brexit forecast – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Why is it fine for Brussels to threaten Britain, but not for May to state mere facts? – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

David Davis, Britain’s Brexit street fighter

DAVIS David“This time David Davis cannot afford to mess it up. The man who blew his chance to lead the Conservative party and then threw away a prospective cabinet career finds himself entrusted with the most sensitive political task in a generation: delivering Brexit. The cliff edge that has always seemed to fascinate him lies ahead. Mr Davis has waited a long time for this chance. At the age of 68, a politician whose time appeared to have passed now holds Britain’s economic and political future in his hands. But this time, to the surprise of some, the Brexit secretary seems determined not to squander his shot at history.” – FT

  • ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will create sweeping powers to change laws – The Guardian
  • Trade talks in October if you sort out money and migrants, May told – The Times (£)
  • EU officials set sights on ‘orderly withdrawal’ – FT
  • Tusk’s sets out his ten red lines for a deal – The Times (£)
  • Europe moves to bar Britain from axing red tape – Daily Telegraph
  • Confidence in delivery of new customs system ‘collapses’ – The Independent
  • Irish MEP says UK shouldn’t be punished but must show respect – Daily Express

Immigration:

  • Government’s migration target ‘all but dead’, say senior Tories – The Sun
  • EU nationals won’t have same access to work or NHS, says Gove – The Sun

Comment:

  • The Article 50 letter should have been only one or two paragraphs long – David Allen Green, FT

David Laws: Britain has a steely negotiator in May, as the Liberal Democrats discovered

Mrs May is also a person who is direct and straightforward to deal with. She generally avoids the silly political games which are designed to look clever, but which can often only irritate opponents. And she is rarely attracted to political and policy gimmicks, which win one day’s favourable media coverage, but unravel shortly after. Finally, this piece of advice: Mrs May is not one of the world’s great delegators. In government, she probably shared information and responsibility less with her Liberal Democrat and Conservative colleagues than in any other part of government. So forget Boris Johnson. Forget David Davis. Forget Liam Fox. This will be Mrs May’s negotiation and she – and only she – will speak for Britain.” – Daily Telegraph

  • If May does go for a soft Brexit it could yet tear the Tories in two – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Brexit doom-mongers are holding us all back – Janice Turner, The Times (£)
  • Enough Remainers remain to put a spanner in the works – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Stop the chest thumping: successful negotiators build trust – Jonathan Powell, FT
  • Repeal Bill will give the Tories a free hand, and we can only watch – Sam Fowles, The Guardian

Editorial:

>Today: ToryDiary: If Britain needs a new party, we’ll only find out after Brexit

>Yesterday:

Kremlin critic praises May for standing up to Putin

Russian flag“A multimillionaire who campaigns against Russian corruption has praised Theresa May for her tough stance against Vladimir Putin. Bill Browder, 52, said that previous prime ministers were naive “fancy public schoolboys” seduced by the luxurious lifestyle of the Russian president and his associates, but that Mrs May was “a vicar’s daughter who is not taking any shit from the Russians”. Mr Browder has accused Mr Putin of the assassination of political rivals to cover up state-sponsored corruption.” – The Times (£)

  • Fallon claims Russia’s worldwide meddling is a threat to Britain – The Sun

Comment:

  • Be thankful for a Prime Minister who tells it straight – Clare Foges, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Gagik Tsarukyan in Comment: Britain shows Armenia the path to prosperity

Fallon won’t rule out cuts to Royal Marines

“Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon yesterday refused to rule out axing Royal Marine numbers – amid claims 200 could go. Insiders confirmed reports that plans had been drawn up to reduce the size of 42 Commando, cut oversees training, and re-role it from a frontline Commando unit to a training outfit… Under plans – that are yet to be enforced – Plymouth based 42 Commando will stop being one of three high readiness infantry outfits along sister units 40 and 45 Commando. Instead they will be re-roled to provide training exercises – including playing the enemy during war games.” – The Sun

  • Cutting Marines a threat to Special Forces, ex-officers warn – The Times (£)

More defence:

  • Defence Secretary announces £90 million support for new F-35 fighter – The Sun
  • UK defence role lies with the US, insists Fallon – The Guardian

Hunt to ban ‘ambulance-chasing’ law firms from advertising in hospitals

NHS_Logo“Hospitals are set to be banned from letting ambulance-chasing lawyers advertise on wards and in waiting rooms. The Health Secretary will introduce fines for trusts that continue to allow law companies to distribute flyers on their premises. Jeremy Hunt said he was becoming ‘increasingly concerned’ at how lawyers are ‘intimidating’ patients and families. He also paid tribute to the Mail for exposing the ‘aggressive and opportunistic tactics’ used by these firms to win new business.” – Daily Mail

  • Ban on nurses working agency shifts is dropped after protests – The Times (£)
  • NHS chief abandons waiting time targets for non-emergency surgery – The Independent

Comment:

  • Four radical ideas that really would save the NHS – Kate Andrews, Daily Telegraph

Javid condemns developers using Help to Buy to trap people in punishing leaseholds

“Developers are abusing the Government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme by selling new-build homes with punishing leases. By the end of last year, leasehold houses made up 15 per cent of properties in the taxpayer-funded project. But the arrangement means buyers do not own their home outright and are forced to pay yearly ground rent to the freeholder – with some fees doubling every decade… Communities Secretary Sajid Javid this week criticised the ‘practically feudal practices’ of developers who build new houses and sell them as leasehold and is planning a clampdown.” – Daily Mail

Hilton joins campaign for Osborne to resign from the Commons

Steve Hilton“Steve Hilton, the former No 10 strategist, backed a crowdfunding campaign yesterday to force George Osborne out of the Commons. The former Downing Street guru, known for his blue-sky thinking, had a fraught relationship with Mr Osborne when the pair worked alongside David Cameron. Mr Hilton left his role as strategy director in 2012 as tensions escalated. Despite a close friendship with Mr Cameron that went back to the 1990s, Mr Hilton proceeded to criticise his former boss’s policies and manner of governing. Now he appears to have turned on Mr Osborne. He linked on social media to the fundraising campaign, which is calling on the Tatton MP to give up his seat now that he has accepted the editorship of the Evening Standard.” – The Times (£)

  • Cameron starts to ‘put some hay in the barn’ on £120,000-a-time speaking circuit – Daily Mail

Warsi wants Britons who fight for Israel prosecuted

“British citizens who volunteer for the Israeli army should be prosecuted like others who fight for foreign forces, according to Baroness Warsi. The former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said people should only be legally allowed to fight for the state they are a citizen of.  It is currently possible for anyone to join the Israel Defence Force (IDF) through the “Mahal” program if they meet specific background and age requirements. But while people fighting for various foreign forces have faced prosecution upon there return  to the UK – including some who claim to have been opposing the Assad regime in Syria – those who temporarily join up with the IDF have not. Baroness Warsi said the UK government’s current policy on the issue was not “brave enough”.” – The Independent

Fresh poll blow for Corbyn

LABOUR dead rose“Jeremy Corbyn is less popular in London than the leader of Ukip despite the capital having voted strongly for Remain in the referendum. The Tories, meanwhile, have closed the gap with Labour under his leadership in the capital. A poll of London voters by YouGov found that Mr Corbyn is the least popular of all the national party leaders. The overwhelming majority of 2015 Labour voters in the city believed that he was doing a poor job, with 60 per cent saying he was doing badly and 25 per cent saying he was doing well.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Fifty grammar schools change admissions to favour poorer pupils – Daily Mail
  • Taxpayers’ £31 million debt to Google – The Times (£)
  • Venezuela’s Supreme Court shuts down parliament – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump demands solution to US trade deficit with China – FT
  • Le Pen’s request for a £2.6 million loan from Russia – The Sun
  • Biggest rail spending cuts since the crash ‘could endanger lives’ – The Independent
  • Expenses watchdog accidentally leaks salaries of MPs’ aides – Daily Mail
  • Congress set ablaze as riots sweep Paraguayan capita – The Guardian
  • Spending on Scottish pupils falls by £1bn in seven years – The Scotsman
  • Northern Irish parties invited to ‘intensive’ talks to restore devolution – Belfast Telegraph

26 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 1st April 2017

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