“Do we trust the people?” – Davis kicks off Article 50 debate

Commons‘Theresa May is on track to win MPs’ approval to begin the Brexit process as opposition to Britain’s EU exit drained away at the start of an emotional parliamentary debate. The prime minister looked on from the House of Commons front bench as David Davis, Brexit secretary, introduced the bill that will allow her to invoke the Article 50 exit clause, declaring: “We are considering a very simple question: do we trust the people or not?” Mrs May and Mr Davis are confident the answer to that question will be Yes when MPs vote on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) bill at the end of a two-day debate on Wednesday.’ – FT

  • Tory MPs want final say on the deal – The Times (£)
  • Clarke says Brexit is a fantasy that would amaze Powell – The Times (£)
  • Up to 100 MPs might vote against – Daily Mail
  • Shadow Minister warns that blocking Article 50 would provoke ‘civil unrest’ – Daily Mail





>The debate:

Trump 1) Rudd warns the travel ban will aid ISIS

‘Amid fresh outrage in Westminster over the US President’s crackdown, Amber Rudd admitted that terrorists could use the ban to “create the environment they want to radicalise people”. She told MPs: “So it is a propaganda opportunity for them, potentially.” And she appeared to question the effectiveness of the ban by saying the main terror threat facing Britain wasn’t coming from the seven Muslim countries blacklisted by the White House. She said the biggest problem was not from countries such as Iran or Syria but from home-grown militants brainwashed by Da’esh.’ – The Sun

  • Is Trump really worse than Assad, Mugabe or Ceausescu? – Daily Mail
  • Farage accuses Khan of hypocrisy for meeting states that ban Israelis – Daily Mail
  • The President hits back at his US critics – The Times (£)
  • He has made his Supreme Court nomination – The Times (£)


>Today: Rebecca Coulson’s column: Watch Trump like a hawk. Focus on the essentials. Judges should restrain him, women should sue him.

Trump 2) Seventy MPs want him banned from speaking in Parliament

TRUMP Donald second presidential debate‘More than 70 MPs have backed a demand for Donald Trump to be banned from making a speech in Parliament on his controversial state visit. A motion has been laid in the Commons insisting the President must not be allowed to speak in the historic Westminster Hall or any other room in the Palace. The demand emerged as MPs agreed to hold a debate on a petition signed by 1.7million people insisting the state visit be cancelled. No 10 today insisted the invite to Mr Trump stood despite claims it had put the Queen in a ‘difficult position’ because of the controversy surrounding it.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: It would be better for everyone if Trump’s state visit is called off – including him

Davidson accuses Sturgeon of deploying ‘the language of the bully pulpit’

‘Ruth Davidson has accused Nicola Sturgeon of attempting to bully Scots into “yet another fratricidal conflict” by riding roughshod over their strong opposition to a second independence referendum. The Scottish Tory leader said the SNP has failed to persuade voters that another independence vote is necessary in the wake of the EU referendum and is“now hoping to soften us up” by pretending they have no choice but to accept a rerun. She accused Ms Sturgeon of using the “language of the bully pulpit”, a term that refers to politicians using a platform to aggressively push an agenda, and claimed this showed the SNP is becoming increasingly desperate.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The SNP considers reversing the burden of proof in foxhunting cases – Daily Telegraph
  • Rees-Mogg reminds Nationalists voters ‘blew a raspberry’ at independence – The Scotsman

>Today: Michael Veitch on Local Government: The Conservatives can defeat the SNP in East Lothian

Cameron ‘tried to get Dacre sacked’ as Daily Mail Editor over his support for Leave

Daily Mail masthead‘David Cameron pressed the owner of the Daily Mail to sack his avowedly pro-Brexit editor, Paul Dacre, in the run-up to last year’s EU referendum, according to a report by the BBC’s Newsnight programme. In an account denied by a spokesman for Cameron, a source told the programme that Lord Rothermere, whose family owns the newspaper, told Dacre that the then-prime minister had suggested he sack him. The Mail was one of the most vociferous voices for Britain to leave the EU before the 23 June referendum. According to Newsnight, Cameron personally met Dacre in his Downing Street flat on 2 February 2016, the day after Cameron’s planned new deal with the EU to ward off Brexit was announced…A spokesman for Cameron said he “did not believe he could determine who edits the Daily Mail”, but had sought to persuade Rothermere and Dacre over Brexit.’ – The Guardian

Inequality warning

‘Rising high street prices and welfare cuts are set to trigger the biggest rise in inequality since the 80s, a think tank claims. The Resolution Foundation said incomes across the poorest half of households are expected to fall by 2 per cent between now and 2020 – the first fall over a Parliament since the 60s. At the same time the richest Brits will enjoy a 5 per cent rise. The think tank blamed the Government’s £12 billion benefits crackdown and rising high street prices from spiralling inflation as the Pound sinks.’ – The Sun

Elphicke fears diesel drivers will be treated as cash cows

ELPHICKE Charles Dover‘Millions of motorists could be ‘demonised’ for driving diesel cars as councils consider hitting them with higher charges and turning them into ‘cash cows’, MPs warned last night. Local authorities in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Leeds and Southampton are thought to be considering drastic measures to crack down on diesel to improve air quality. Birmingham council yesterday became the second in days to unveil plans for extra penalties for diesel drivers…In the letter to Mr Hammond, signed by 17 MPs, Mr Elphicke accused local authorities of using diesel drivers as a ‘cash cow’, adding: ‘Our first concern is that local authorities may view the pollution worries people understandably have as an opportunity to tax motorists more.’ – Daily Mail

  • Mayors and ministers must clear the air on green policies – FT Leader
  • New rail ticketing system to always guarantee the lowest price – Daily Mail

Vine: We, not the state, must care for our elders

‘Before the war, multi-generational living was not uncommon in Britain. But then along came the Swinging Sixties and old-fashioned ideas of family were cast aside in favour of selfish individualism. For this new generation of baby boomers, the idea of co-existing with those whose values they were so busy rebelling against seemed anathema. The irony is, of course, that it is they who now need our help. They must look to my generation to preserve their dignity in old age. I can’t begrudge them that help because I know a little bit about what the alternative looks like. And I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, let alone my flesh and blood. The minister is right: these are the people who wiped our tears and our bottoms. They deserve all the love and care we can give.’ – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

  • Mowat urges people to look after their parents – The Guardian

Doctors to face tough new skills test

NHS‘Thousands of newly qualified doctors are unprepared to do basic tasks such as taking blood, say regulators who will now make them sit a standard test alongside foreign applicants. The General Medical Council (GMC) announces plans for a single test today that all new doctors will have to pass. They say it is unfair and “bizarre” that 34 medical schools are allowed to set their own criteria for licensing doctors. Foreign doctors will have to sit the same examination because the GMC plans to use Brexit as an opportunity to agree a common standard to practise in Britain.’ – The Times (£)

Harman says old sexist habits ‘die hard’ in Parliament

‘Parliament has not moved into the modern world yet when it comes to sexist habits, Harriet Harman has said, after a Conservative MP barked at a female SNP colleague in the House of Commons this week. The former acting Labour leader, who was also the elected deputy under Gordon Brown, said there needed to be a change in the culture and atmosphere of the Commons, as women were still experiencing misogyny. Harman said there had been a great deal of progress since the times when MPs found it “easier to have an affair than a family” as a parliamentarian and she was summoned to the serjeant at arms to explain why she was trying to hide a baby as she went through the voting lobby, when she was simply carrying weight from her pregnancy.’ – The Guardian

French Presidential hopeful embroiled in taxpayer-funded nepotism scandal

French flag‘The British woman hoping to become First Lady of France had no identification badge or email address during a decade ‘working’ as a highly paid parliamentary aide, it emerged on Tuesday. Instead Wales-born Penelope Fillon just stayed at home and pocketed up to £800,000 for doing next to nothing, it is claimed. Police on Tuesday raided the parliamentary offices of her husband, would-be president Francois Fillon in connection with the fraud enquiry that threatens to destroy his career. It also emerged that the couple had two of their children on the payroll, paying them a total of £82,000 as ‘parliamentary assistants’ while they were still students.’ – Daily Mail

  • Student charged with Quebec mosque attack was obsessed with Le Pen – The Times (£)

Young people are more economically right wing and socially liberal than previous generations

‘A paper published in the British Journal of Political Science found that the generation growing up in the period of Conservative rule starting with Margaret Thatcher — aged 41 to 58 today — hold more rightwing values than their predecessors. Meanwhile “Blair’s babies” — those aged 27-40, who came of age while Tony Blair and New Labour were in power in the late 1990s and 2000s — are even further to the right of the political spectrum, the research team found, after analysing responses to the British Social Attitudes Survey from 1985 to 2012. Although younger people are more socially liberal on matters of equality and women’s rights than preceding generations, they are “more consumerist and individualistic” on issues such as the welfare state.’ – FT

News in Brief

  • Green could keep his knighthood for years – The Times (£)
  • 49,000 gay and bisexual men to be pardoned – Daily Mail
  • Animal rights campaigners criticise wargame company for ‘fur’ on sci-fi figurines – The Times (£)