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Brexit talks 1) Divisions over divorce bill addressed

“Divisions over the UK’s Brexit divorce bill were laid bare on Tuesday as British negotiators pushed back against a mooted €75bn (£66bn) Brexit charge-sheet. On the second day of detailed Brexit negotiations, the British team peppered the Brussels side with questions over how to pay for unwinding 44 years of the UK’s European Union membership. An earlier session of talks on Monday was so intense officials did not take a coffee break and were running out of water.” – Guardian

Brexit talks 2) But will the discussions stall?

“EU diplomats have hit out at Britain’s failure to agree it must pay a hefty financial settlement for Brexit, suggesting the controversy will “stall” the talks. The second round of the negotiations appeared to have run into trouble within 24 hours of resuming in Brussels, over the vexed issue of the so-called “divorce bill” Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, was preparing to tell the British side that the negotiations served little purpose until Britain engaged seriously with the issue of payments.” – Independent

Comment

  • Davis is on a collision course with reality – Rafael Behr, Guardian
  • Why aren’t they talking about immigration? – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • The Konta question highlights current confusions over citizenship – Louise Burke, Daily Telegraph

>Today: 

Brexit talks 3) Labour MPs call for more women on negotiating team

“Theresa May has been urged to review the gender balance of the government’s EU negotiating team in a letter signed by 56 female Labour MPs who say: “Brexit is now becoming just another job for the boys.” The signatories – including Seema Malhotra, Yvette Cooper, Harriet Harman and Labour’s women and equalities minister, Sarah Champion – argue that leaving the EU will have a significant impact on the lives of the whole population, yet there is only one woman among the nine senior civil servants listed by the Department for Exiting the EU as members of the core team for the two years of talks.” – Guardian

  • They claim it’s just another “job for the boys” – Independent
  • Meanwhile, BBC admits gender pay gap – FT
  • And Corbyn commits to law change to allow transgender self-identification – Guardian

Comment

  • There aren’t enough women in local government either – Jane Roberts, Guardian

Backbenchers to back May if she sacks disloyal cabinet members

“Theresa May has been told that she has the backing of Tory backbenchers to fire disloyal cabinet ministers described by a leading activist as behaving like “ferrets in a sack”. Charles Walker, a vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee, said Mrs May had been told that Tory MPs would back dismissals from the cabinet at a private meeting last week. “We unanimously made it clear to her that if she had to remove secretaries of state then she would have our support,” Mr Walker told World at One on BBC Radio 4.” – The Times (£)

  • Vice-chairman of 1922 pledges support – Independent
  • And says May “should fire” malicious briefers – Herald
  • May calls for cabinet-table unity – FT
  • She tells them to act responsibly – The Sun
  • “Agreement” among ministers to stop leaking – Independent
  • Rudd says “most” of them are behind May – Daily Mail
  • Cameron gives May “pep talk” – The Sun

Editorial:

>Today: Andrew Gimson in Interviews: “Well, it’s very flattering. But I’m not taking it seriously.” Rees-Mogg says he won’t stand for the Conservative leadership

Hammond asked to apologise over claim that public sector workers are overpaid

“…In the Commons, the Chancellor Philip Hammond faced calls to apologise after all but admitting he told last week’s Cabinet meeting that public sector workers are “overpaid”. John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, also warned that an NHS pension scheme could be undermined as low wages have forced many to opt out. “Low pay has forced many public sector workers to opt out of their pension scheme,” he told ministers at Treasury questions. “Eleven per cent of NHS staff have opted out of their pension scheme, a figure that, if it continues to rise, potentially will undermine the whole scheme whatsoever.”” – Independent

Sketches

May to talk Brexit with business leaders tomorrow

“Theresa May will on Thursday hold Brexit talks with business leaders at 10 Downing Street, formally marking the end of a year-long spell in which the prime minister put relations with corporate Britain into the deep freeze. Mrs May has invited chairmen and chief executives of several FTSE 100 companies to the first meeting of a new business council, which is intended to become a regular forum for them to put concerns directly to the prime minister. The move signals a new approach by Mrs May, who is reeling from the Conservative party’s poor performance at last month’s general election and has since promised to try to build a “national consensus” on Brexit.” – FT

Emergency debate on tuition fees rises to take place today

“Labour has been granted an emergency three-hour debate tomorrow on the Government’s plans to raise tuition fees at the start of the academic year by £250. Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, made the application for a debate in the Commons after a previous one scheduled for 19 April – the day after Theresa May called the general election – was cancelled. MPs had been due to debate a decision made last year to raise university fees to £9,250 from £9,000 per year from 2017 and then with inflation in subsequent years.” – Independent

Conservative MPs claim some students cast multiple votes for Corbyn

“Tory MPs fear students collected their friends’ polling cards and cast multiple ballots in a bid to get Jeremy Corbyn elected, the Telegraph can reveal. In one of the most shocking cases an MP reported two students to the authorities after it emerged that neither of them were registered for postal or proxy votes but both cast a ballot in the election despite being out of the country. The MP revealed that despite his complaints after the election no action has been taken as he warned the authorities are not taking the problem seriously enough. Other MPs reported groups of students bragging about voting as many as six times each by taking the
polling cards of friends who did not intend to vote and pretending to be them.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • There’s something “sinister” here – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Finkelstein: Here’s why I think it’s time to say yes to assisted dying

“I want, if I may, to try a thought experiment. Imagine it was already legal to allow terminally ill patients a bit of control over the way they die. And then answer my question — do you think anyone would dare try to take that right away? Imagine that someone like Noel Conway, a man dying a terrible death, didn’t have to petition the court, as he has this week. Instead, think where we would be if he already had the ability to seek help to end his life. … Can you imagine such a law being repealed?” – The Times (£)

  • The “shaded overlap” of the Conway and Gard cases – Anjana Ahuja, FT

Cable “to become Lib Dem leader” tomorrrow

“Sir Vince Cable will be crowned leader of the Liberal Democrats on Thursday with pledge to become Britain’s second biggest party by membership. The former Cabinet minister will be unveiled as the party’s leader at a Westminster hotel at teatime on Thursday and say that he wants the LibDems to become bigger than the Tories. The LibDems had 101,000 members at the end of May – behind the Tories which last year said they had 134,000 members, down from 253,600 in 2005.” – Daily Telegraph

Trump names nominee for US ambassador to Moscow

“Donald Trump has named Jon Huntsman, the 56-year old former missionary, as his nominee for one of the most sensitive posts in contemporary international diplomacy – US ambassador to Moscow. If confirmed, Mr Huntsman would take over the post amid ongoing investigations into contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. The son of Jon M Huntsman, the billionaire head of global chemicals producer Huntsman Corporation, Mr Huntsman is a moderate republican who launched a failed bid for the White House in 2012.” – Daily Telegraph

  • President criticises reports of his “secret dinner” with Putin – Daily Telegraph
  • And says it’s “fake news” – Daily Mail
  • But White House confirmed it happened – Guardian
  • The meeting took place during G20 summit – Daily Express
  • GCHQ reports election-day energy hack by Russians – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump asks GOP to “let Obamacare fail” – Guardian

Comment 

  • Putin’s the problem – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • Trumpcare could be a “great legacy” – Justin Webb, The Times (£)
  • The US has become weak – Martin Sandbu – FT

News in Brief

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit concentration camps – Daily Mail
  • Euratom questions continue – The Sun
  • Watchdog reports ex-Whitehallers’ confusion over lobbying ban – Daily Telegraph
  • New tenner unveiled – Daily Telegraph
  • It has a tactile feature to help the blind – Belfast News Letter
  • Credit card charges to be dropped – The Times (£)
  • Academy chain CEO calls for legislation to prevent racial segregation in schools – The Times (£)
  • There’s been a dip in inflation – FT

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