Article 50 has been triggered

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 09.15.19‘Nine months after Britain voted to leave the EU, the countdown on a two-year negotiating period began when Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, was handed a letter by Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s permanent representative at the EU, invoking Article 50 at lunchtime. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, described it as “a magnificent moment”, while in the House of Commons, there was jubilation from MPs as Mrs May announced: “The Article 50 process is now under way.”’ – Daily Telegraph



Davis: We will build a great, global trading nation

teleg‘I genuinely believe our future outside will be better and brighter. Leaving will allow us to get out into the world and show how great this country really is, standing on its own two feet. For the first time in over 40 years, we’ll be free to make all of our own laws, forge trade deals of our own with the fastest-growing economies of the world, and be in complete control of our own borders. Put simply, Britain will be a truly sovereign nation once again. We can build a great, global trading nation that’s respected around the world and stronger, fairer and more united at home.’ – David Davis, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Money for the EU. A pause before migration falls. An interim role for the ECJ. Fine – but May must remember that Brexit means Brexit.

Verhofstadt suggests May is trying to ‘blackmail’ the EU over security co-operation

times‘Theresa May was accused last night of trying to blackmail the EU over a Brexit trade deal. In a show of steel that angered Brussels, the Prime Minister suggested she could withdraw co-operation on security unless a fair agreement was struck. She used her Article 50 letter, which launches a two-year divorce process, to warn the EU against trying to damage Britain at such a dangerous time. The 28-state bloc leans heavily on UK intelligence and policing expertise. Mrs May’s warning was described as tantamount to blackmail by Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator.’ – Daily Mail


Merkel says trade talks must wait until after Brexit disentanglement

metro‘Angela Merkel has pushed back against Theresa May’s attempt to speed through a new trade deal with Europe, as the British premier set in motion two years of difficult talks on Brexit. Even as European diplomats welcomed the conciliatory tone in Mrs May’s formal notification of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the German chancellor struck a hard line on the sequencing of the talks, insisting the terms of the UK’s future relationship could be discussed only after exit terms are agreed. Ms Merkel said she wants the Britain and the EU to remain close partners but added that the negotiation must focus first on disentangling the close links developed in 44 years of EU membership. The UK’s rights and obligations had to be addressed first, she said.’ – FT

  • The Government wants both issues discussed in parallel – FT
  • Hammond contradicts Boris on ‘have our cake and eat it’ – The Sun
  • The main points for the negotiation – The Sun
  • May faces a battle with her own backbenchers – The Sun
  • Is Nicky Morgan the biggest hypocrite in politics? – Leo Mckinstry, Daily Mail
  • Cameron says he has always been a Eurosceptic – The Times (£)

>Today: Dan Dalton on Comment: I’m a fan of the Single Market. But it’s clear we must leave it.

Sturgeon: I haven’t been listened to

cityam‘The triggering of article 50 is also politically and constitutionally reckless. The full effects on Northern Ireland, which currently faces the possible reintroduction of direct rule, remain to be seen. Similarly, there has been no serious attempt to engage with compromise proposals that would keep Scotland – which voted decisively to remain in Europe – inside the single market. The result is that we must now ensure that people in Scotland are given a choice between the hard Brexit deal now being negotiated, and independence.’ – Nicola Sturgeon, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s column: Brokenshire threatens direct rule if no deal reached in Ulster

Truss pledges to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in fighting stalking and domestic abuse

‘Plans to order courts to get tough on stalking, revenge porn and domestic violence were unveiled yesterday. Justice Secretary Liz Truss vowed to “leave no stone unturned” as new guidelines on harassment, stalking, controlling and coercive behaviour and domestic abuse were published. Offenders who send explicit pictures to victims’ families or set up websites to cause maximum humiliation will face the harshest penalties. It’s the first time guidelines have been drafted for courts dealing with malicious exes who post intimate sexual pictures of former partners without their consent. The offence, which currently carries a maximum prison term of two years, was introduced in April 2015.’ – The Sun

  • Neuberger joins chorus of judicial criticism – FT
  • He’s also pressing for the retirement age to be raised – The Times (£)

>Today: Profile: Elizabeth Truss, who does not quite know how to talk to the judges, and vice-versa

NHS Federation: patients must choose between swift operations and A&E

NHS_Logo‘Patients must be told they cannot have routine operations quickly if they also want short waits for A&E, cancer care and other treatments, an NHS leader has said. Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, is being urged to relax targets for waiting times as he prepares to lay out his reforms to the service today. Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents all health service organisations, said that it was unrealistic to pretend that patients could have everything they had come to expect when money was so tight. “It’s not reasonable to say that all the current targets have to be met,” Mr Dickson told The Times.’ – The Times (£)

  • The NHS forces nursing assistants to become sole traders – The Sun
  • Pay more or accept reduced services – The Times Leader (£)

Glover: Why doesn’t the Government sell off Channel 4?

‘It should not be the Government’s first consideration to safeguard programme makers. No, its foremost responsibility is to reduce the national debt by selling off what it does not need to own. And there could be no more obvious candidate than Channel 4. When launched, it faced commercial uncertainties and, despite a zeal for privatisation, the Thatcher government felt it needed the protection that public ownership would confer. Moreover, it was then a serious TV channel committed to making programmes of a quality…Channel 4 no longer offers a distinct voice. It is no better, and often worse, than the BBC…As for its news coverage, the famously Left-leaning Channel 4 News even outdoes the politically correct BBC in its embrace of fashionable causes.’ – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

  • Netflix pushes the average age of BBC viewers over 60 – The Times (£)

Livingstone speaks out about…guess who?

Hitler Portrait‘Ken Livingstone has defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism by claiming a Nazi policy “had the effect of supporting” Zionism. Jeremy Corbyn suspended the former Labour MP last year after he invoked Hitler to defend a colleague over anti-Semitic remarks and claimed that there was a “well-orchestrated campaign” against the party by the “Israel lobby”. He said there is “no real evidence” against him, adding that “only a biased and rigged jury could find against me.”’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Daniel Hannan’s column: A century since the Communists began their mass slaughter, some still have not learned the lessons

MPs want newspapers fined for misleading science coverage

‘Newspapers should answer to a press regulator when they are judged to have misreported science stories, a committee of MPs has said. The politicians called for a “robust redress mechanism”, possibly including fines, for outlets that write about research in an “inaccurate or outlandish way” or fail to state its limitations. It was unclear who would adjudicate on claims of distorted science reporting or what the assessment criteria would be. The cross-party science and technology committee said journalists had lost the trust of the public through faults such as “false balance”, in which two views are presented as equally valid when the weight of the evidence lies on one side. They also said that the media “often have an agenda which allows inadequate place for opposing evidence”.’ – The Times (£)

Two new reviews into Parliamentary security

PARLIAMENT‘John Bercow has announced two reviews into security at Parliament after a knife wielding terrorist ran into New Palace Yard and murdered hero cop PC Keith Palmer last week. He told MPs he was setting up an “external independent review” of how the Palace of Westminster is “secured and protected”. In the moments before reaching Parliament evil attacker Khalid Masood had ploughed through crowds on Westminster Bridge killing three more. A further probe will be an “externally-led” review of what lessons can be learnt in the future. The first will report by April, and the further investigation asked to wrap up by June. Parliamentary authorities and the police have faced questions over last Wednesday’s attack after it emerged the first armed line of defence were bodyguards for the Defence Secretary rather than machine gun-wielding policemen.’ – The Sun

News in Brief

  • Type 2 diabetes is ‘not a real disease’, says leading doctor – Daily Mail
  • May criticises uSwitch – The Sun
  • Helicopter missing over the Irish Sea – Daily Mail
  • Allies drop 500 bombs a week in Mosul – The Times (£)
  • The Government is failing in its duty to Hong Kong – Catherine West, The Times (£)
  • Health targets threaten the size of chocolate bars – FT
  • Some rural areas may never get broadband – The Times (£)