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Brexit 1) May to speak to EU leaders today. But will they respond?

EU heads of government will deliver another rebuff to the Prime Minister today by refusing face-to-face discussions to break the deadlock in the Brexit talks. Theresa May will try to bypass the stalled negotiating process by appealing directly to her counterparts in the other 27 countries, at a summit dinner in Brussels. She will hope to engage them “in a discussion” to end the impasse, a senior UK government official said, ahead of the EU leaders’ own Brexit talks in Britain’s absence. But The Independent has learned that the EU will stick to its strict rule that negotiations must be carried out only with Michel Barnier – the European Commission’s chosen representative.” – Independent

  • Varadkar says they’re confused about what Britain wants – Independent
  • But leaked documents show Germany thinking about trade deal – Daily Express
  • Corbyn to meet Barnier et al – Herald
  • He’s claiming he’s ready to lead talks – Independent
  • Summit dinner will be brisk after noxious fumes in Egg’s kitchen – Daily Telegraph
  • The venue will be switched – The Sun

Editorial:

  • The EU needs to step up – The Sun
  • May should avoid “divide and rule” – FT
  • We should focus on the good economic news since Brexit – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: The time has not yet come – and may not do so at all – to break off the Brexit talks

>Yesterday: WATCH: May slams Labour’s plan to accept a Brexit deal at any price

Brexit 2) Leave campaigners tell May to commit to “walking away from EU” if no trade talk progress

“Britain must be prepared to walk away from the EU and stop negotiations if European leaders do not agree to trade talks at a crucial summit on Thursday evening, senior figures behind the Leave campaign warned on Wednesday night. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, four former Cabinet ministers, as well as MPs, business leaders and academics demanded she “formally declare” that Britain will leave the EU and conduct trade deals via the World Trade Organisation. The warning from the Leave campaign comes after the EU talks became deadlocked and amid fears the beleaguered Prime Minister will be humiliated at a key summit of EU leaders in Brussels.” – Daily Telegraph  

  • 25 Brexiteers signed letter – Daily Express
  • EU will “let her down gently” says diplomat – Guardian
  • Up to €7bn could be added to bill for rising pension costs – The Times

Editorial:

  • Government needs to take “no deal” option seriously – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • May in office makes “no deal” more likely – Iain Martin, The Times
  • “No deal is the bad deal” – Jens Geier, Guardian
  • It’s all about Germany – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) Next stage for Withdrawal Bill now not expected until mid-November

“Brexit preparations have been plunged into further chaos after the key legislation was shelved for up to a month because of Commons revolts. The flagship European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is not expected to be put back before MPs until mid-November. It was originally due to be debated this week. The move follows an avalanche of amendments – some signed by significant numbers of Tory backbenchers – which threaten the Government with defeat. Labour immediately seized on the delay as further evidence that the withdrawal process was unravelling.” – Independent

  • Leadsom and Baker confirm Commons will scrutinise bill – Daily Express
  • Conservatives worried about rebels – The Sun
  • There are hundreds of “wrecking amendments” – Daily Mail

Brexit 4) British officials believe citizens rights issue is “done and dusted”…

“EU migrants who arrive in the UK over the next 18 months will be entitled to stay in Britain permanently after Brexit, The Telegraph has learned. British officials believe that the issue of citizens’ rights is “done and dusted” after conceding that all migrants who arrive in the UK by March 2019 will be entitled to stay without restrictions. The Prime Minister previously suggested that she could make the cut-off date for EU migrants March of this year, when she triggered Article 50 and formally opened Brexit negotiations. The UK has now dropped that threat. British officials also believe that they have persuaded Brussels to give up a demand for EU citizens to be given the right to bring spouses and other relatives to the UK after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May says “deal is in touching distance” – FT

Brexit 5)…Prime Minister will write to EU citizens living here to confirm they can stay

“Theresa May will issue a direct appeal to EU citizens living in the UK to stay in the country after Brexit, saying there was no intention of using them “as bargaining chips” in negotiations and promising them an easy route to settlement. The prime minister will send an email directly to 100,000 EU citizens offering reassurance as the Brexit negotiations stall, saying: “I couldn’t be clearer: EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay.” Her appeal comes ahead of her trip to Brussels on Thursday for a crucial EU summit to decide whether the Brexit negotiations have made enough progress on the issue of EU citizens rights, Northern Ireland and financial obligations to proceed to talks about trade.” – Guardian

  • This will be case “even if no deal” – Daily Express
  • She says she’s ”putting people first” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • These rights are ours too – Diane Abbott, Guardian
  • Business needs certainty. We need agreement on transitional arrangements – Xavier Rolet, Daily Telegraph

Universal credit rebels envisage reduction in delay before benefit is paid

Universal credit rebels are increasingly confident of a second major concession within weeks, with a reduction in the delay before the benefit is paid from six to four weeks. Yesterday David Gauke, secretary of state for work and pensions, announced a climbdown over the cost of the universal credit helpline, saying that claimants who called would no longer be charged up to 55p a minute. In an effort to head off a Conservative rebellion, Mr Gauke announced before a Commons debate on universal credit that all calls to benefits helplines would be free by the end of the year.” – The Times

  • May says the system is working – FT
  • Hotline charges scrapped – Daily Telegraph
  • The topic was debated yesterday – Independent
  • Wollaston was only Tory to vote with Labour on its “pause and fix” motion – Guardian
  • Conservatives were whipped to abstain – FT
  • Conservative MP missed it for football – Daily Telegraph

Comment: 

  • Most Conservatives want to do good things – Nick Denys, Guardian

Treasury considering freezing personal allowance and higher rate tax, document suggests 

“The Treasury is examining freezes to the personal allowance and higher rate of income tax, a partially visible document carried by a minister yesterday appeared to suggest. Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, was photographed outside No 11 holding papers that were in part revealed by a bent back opaque cover. The document referred to implementing a freeze at £12,500, which is the level the personal tax allowance is set to rise to by 2020-21. At present the allowance stands at £11,500. It also talked about a freeze at £50,000, which is the level the higher rate of income tax, set at 40p, is set to rise to by 2020-21. The higher rate now begins at £45,000.” – The Times

  • Manifesto pledges could still be met – FT

Comment:

Jo Johnson outlines pro-free speech plans for new Office for Students

“Universities that use “no platforming” and “safe spaces” to shut down free speech could face action from the new higher education regulator, the Government has announced. Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said young people and students need to “accept the legitimacy of healthy vigorous debate” as he outlined plans for the Office for Students (OfS). According to the Times, this could include powers to fine, suspend or deregister universities if they do not meet a statutory duty to commit to free speech in their governance documents. But any proposals will form part of a consultation to help establish how the OfS will operate in its regulation of English universities.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Offender institutions will face blacklist – The Times
  • And fines or suspensions – The Sun

Editorial:

May to “de-medicalise” gender changes

Theresa May has said the Government will seek to “streamline and de-medicalise” the process of changing gender to reflect that “being trans is not an illness”. Speaking at the Pink News Awards in London, the Prime Minister told a star-studded audience that changes will be made to the Gender Recognition Act in order to reflect updated attitudes towards being transgender. She said: “We are pressing ahead with inclusive relationships and sex education in English schools, making sure that LGBT issues are taught well. “We’re determined to eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Does this mean no medical checks needed? – Guardian

Brokenshire sets new deadline for DUP-SF deal

“Powersharing talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein have stalled, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said, forcing him to set a new deadline for a deal. Mr Brokenshire said parties would now have to reach an agreement by the end of October, in order for Westminster to have time to prepare to set a budget the following week. He said talks between the parties had made progress but had broken down last week over culture and language issues. Mr Brokenshire made the assessment while giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster. He said: “A breakthrough has not been reached. Whilst if I had given evidence to this committee last week, I might have indicated some momentum, some more positive progress, that momentum stalled at the end of last week.”” – Belfast News Letter 

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s column: Brokenshire needs a plan for if the Ulster devolution talks fail

Deacon: Osborne hands Corbyn economic ammunition to attack May at PMQs

“Speaking at an event hosted by the Spectator last Thursday, Mr Osborne graciously absolved Gordon Brown of blame for “the subprime [mortgage] crisis in America”, and congratulated Labour on doing “what was necessary in a very difficult situation”. At Prime Minister’s Questions today – as Mr Osborne must have known he would – Jeremy Corbyn quoted his comments with glee. When in office, of course, this same George Osborne used to blame Labour for the crisis all the time. But Mr Corbyn didn’t mention that. After all, he wasn’t here to undermine Mr Osborne. He was here to undermine Mrs May. And Mr Osborne had given him all the ammunition he needed.” – Daily Telegraph

More Tories

>Yesterday: 

News in Brief

  • The EU is a bastardisation of Europe – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • The EU is a replacement for America and the UK – New Statesman
  • We must argue again – Nick Cohen, Spectator
  • The poor will die without GMOs – Tirzah Duren, CapX
  • Brexit needs backbone – John Longworth, Brexit Central 

6 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 19th October 2017

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