Brexit 1) May’s plan for a Global Britain

UnionJack arrows angled‘Theresa May will promise a clean break from the EU today – ruling out any deal that ‘leaves us half-in, half-out’. Setting out her detailed plan for Brexit, the Prime Minister will reject partial or associate membership in favour of a ‘brighter future’ outside the Brussels bloc. Her 12-point plan will see Britain regain full control over borders and quit both the single market and European Court of Justice. She will insist the UK can become a great, outward-looking trading nation. ‘We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU,’ she will say. ‘Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out.” – Daily Mail



>Yesterday: Gerard Lyons on Comment: Britain should embrace the opportunities offered by Clean Brexit

Brexit 2) She will confirm we are leaving the Single Market

‘Mrs May will say for the first time that Britain will not retain its access to the single market as it delivers voters’ desire to take back control over immigration. She will remain vague about what sort of immigration system would be imposed, however, to avoid worsening a cabinet split on the issue. The prime minister was last night reported to be leaning in favour of a work permit system that supporters say would allow ministers to tailor EU migrant numbers to economic needs. Lord Hague, the former foreign secretary, recently spelt out an alternative approach that would allow any EU national with a job to work in Britain but retain an “emergency brake”.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Nick Boles on Comment: Liberal Conservatives must abandon impractical dreams of staying in the Single Market

>Yesterday: Rishi Sunak on Comment: Why Britain must leave the Customs Union

Brexit 3) Labour says Britain is ‘too small’ to strike trade deals

Emily_Thornberry_2111‘Remain campaigners were accused of talking down Britain last night after claiming the UK was too small to strike a good trade deal with the United States. They warned a rushed agreement could wreck the environment, spark the privatisation of the NHS and force supermarkets to stock ‘chlorine-soaked chickens’. Senior Tories last night hit back at the ‘unbelievably negative’ comments and urged Theresa May to embrace the opportunity to strike an early deal with the US…Gerald Howarth said the ‘pathetic’ comments risked undermining Britain. The former Tory minister said the UK’s international standing would be ‘enhanced’ by Brexit, which he said would prevent Britain from being eclipsed by the EU’s growing foreign policy ambitions. ‘Britain is a major player in the world,’ said Sir Gerald.’ – Daily Mail

  • Open Britain – formerly Stronger In – attacks the idea of a trade deal with the US – The Times (£)
  • Gove says Trump’s offer of a quick deal will strengthen our hand in Brussels – Daily Mail
  • We should scope out the deal as soon as possible – The Sun Says
  • Corbyn’s MPs demand a clearer stance on Brexit – The Guardian
  • The SNP suggests the EU is economically more important than the UK – Daily Telegraph


Brexit 4) Carney: “dynamism” of the British economy has overcome uncertainties

‘British households have ignored Brexit doom-mongering and continued to splash out since the vote to leave the European Union, the governor of the Bank of England declared last night. Mark Carney – who has been accused of taking part in the Project Fear campaign against Brexit – admitted that the economy has fared better than expected following the referendum last June. He put the strength of the UK down to British consumers – adding that the ‘flexibility and dynamism’ of the economy stood the country in good stead for the future as ‘new opportunities with the rest of the world open up’.’ – Daily Mail

  • He defends the merits of ‘a little inflation’ – The Sun
  • IMF upgrades UK economic forecast – The Sun

Johnson blocks EU statement on Israel

Israel flag‘Boris Johnson enraged France and other European foreign ministers yesterday by blocking an EU statement expressing support for Sunday’s Paris conference on the Middle East to avoid upsetting Donald Trump. At a meeting of Brussels ambassadors, Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s new permanent representative to the EU, raised concerns that the declaration would harden positions “days before the transition to a new American president, when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement”. EU foreign policy statements must have unanimous backing and the veto angered European diplomats because it came shortly after Mr Trump urged Britain to block any international resolutions critical of Israel.’ – The Times (£)

  • European diplomats attack the decision – FT
  • The Paris talks have produced nothing but hot air – Daily Telegraph Leader

Stormont election called for March

‘James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland secretary, announced that the province will go to the polls on March 2, weeks before Theresa May is due to begin the EU exit process. Mr Brokenshire urged restraint in campaigning amid growing signs that a rancorous atmosphere may stop the power-sharing executive from resuming work after the election. Under the Good Friday agreement, unionists and nationalist politicians must work together in the devolved government. Refusal to co-operate would result in direct rule from London for the first time since May 2007, a major headache for Mrs May.’ – The Times (£)

  • Could it delay Brexit? – The Sun

Lewis attacks the idea of Cameron running NATO

CAMERON knives‘David Cameron’s cuts to Armed Forces and intervention in Libya should rule him out of the top job at NATO – a senior Tory has claimed. Julian Lewis MP added the ex-PM’s incendiary claim Brexit could trigger World War Three also meant he was not the right man for the job. The MP – chair of the powerful Commons Defence Select Committee – said: “David Cameron is a man of charm and ability. But those talents do not include wisely judging strategic issues.” One unnamed Minister before the New Year said: “We’ve got to find a role for him – he has so much to offer.” But in a speech as part of the Speaker’s Lecture series, Mr Lewis said the story was “obviously planted”.’ – The Sun

  • Britain’s approach to Yemen increases the terror risk, warns Mitchell – Daily Telegraph

MPs urge businesses to hire less qualified applicants due to social background

‘Bosses should give jobs to applicants from poorer backgrounds ahead of rivals who are better qualified, MPs declared yesterday. They called for the dice to be loaded in favour of those from less well-off families and areas to counter the advantages of wealthy backgrounds and private education. Even doctors should be chosen using social factors instead of their level of skill and knowledge, the MPs said in a report backing ‘contextual recruitment’. Entitled The Class Ceiling, it said thousands of talented young people will be shut out from obtaining jobs unless firms tilt the scales in their favour.’ – Daily Mail

Morris: Corbyn can’t be a populist when he’s so unpopular

LABOUR dead rose‘For the vast majority of people it is self-evident that we have to prioritise British interests over those of the rest of the world, yet it is impossible to imagine Corbyn saying he will put Britons first. The concept is alien to him, the language too blunt. Corbyn’s improbable model for his new populism, Donald Trump, embraced both left-wing and more socially conservative currents. He pledged to “drain the swamp” so lobbyist money wouldn’t reign in Washington, but he also called out “bad hombres” as justification for his wall…Corbyn’s speech on Saturday lacked both Trump’s outspoken language and his ideological “agility”.’ – James Morris, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Corbyn is even demolishing Labour’s reputation on the NHS

Trump’s criticism stuns Merkel

‘Angela Merkel is pressing for a meeting with Donald Trump after he caused “astonishment and agitation” among European leaders with broadsides at Nato, the EU and the German chancellor herself. Mrs Merkel has been unable to arrange an appointment with Mr Trump in New York or Washington and has spoken to him only once. In an interview with The Times published yesterday the president-elect praised Brexit and predicted that other nations would follow suit. He criticised Mrs Merkel for the “catastrophic mistake” of letting in more than a million “illegals” over the past two years. He singled out the German car giant BMW, which is building a plant in Mexico, with a threat of 35 per cent tariffs on imports to the United States. BMW shares fell 1.5 per cent yesterday.’ – The Times (£)

Twenty hospital trusts will check ID to combat healthcare tourism

NHS_Logo‘Patients will be told to show a utility bill and passport before routine operations as part of a new crackdown on health tourism. Staff in 20 hospital trusts are being ordered to carry out identity checks on patients having certain procedures. This will include women planning to give birth as well as anyone having hip or knee replacements, cataract surgery or kidney dialysis. The checks are part of a joint pilot which is being run by the Home Office and the hospital regulator, NHS Improvement.’ – Daily Mail

  • The NHS hunts for health tourist who cost £350,000 – The Times (£)
  • Struggling hospitals plan to close A&E departments – The Times (£)
  • Stevens should resign to save the NHS – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • HMRC wasted millions on failed benefit sanctions outsourcing deal – The Guardian

News in Brief

  • Istanbul terror attack suspect arrested – Daily Mail
  • Tunisian security forces ‘deliberately’ delayed their response to beach attack – The Times (£)
  • Last man to walk on the moon dies – The Guardian
  • Families of British soldiers murdered by the IRA demand justice – Daily Mail
  • MH370 search called off – The Guardian
  • Courgette shortage begins to bite – The Times (£)
  • Budget rabbits should be killed off – FT