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Brexit 1) Might Johnson’s upcoming speech be “eclipsed” by those from five other cabinet members?

“…The foreign secretary’s speech, first revealed by The Times last month, faces being eclipsed by other Brexit speeches, including two by the prime minister, designed to put “meat on the bones” of the plans for Brexit. On Wednesday Mr Johnson will try to ease the fears of Remain voters. On Saturday, Mrs May will give a speech on security ties to Europe at the Munich Security Conference. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, will give a speech on business and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, will talk about global deals. David Lidington, in effect the prime minister’s deputy, will address the consequences of Brexit for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.” – The Times

  • May will set out her “vision” in a series of talks over the coming weeks in a “PR blitz” ahead of Brussels negotiations – Herald
  • Johnson, Davis, and Fox will also give “keynote speeches” on UK’s future – Daily Mail
  • But there’s no speech planned from Hammond – Daily Telegraph 

Brexit 2) May “to call for” UK to remain part of Europol and arrest warrant scheme

“The PM believes the UK should stay part of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and the EU’s law enforcement body Europol, according to sources. In a in Munich next Saturday, she will argue that the EAW – which is valid throughout all the EU’s member states – has helped keep Britain safe. In 2016-17, a total of 196 people were arrested using the warrant after a request from the UK, up from 150 in the previous year. Insiders said Theresa May will use her speech in the German capital to make a “big offer” to the EU to continue security co-operation. It is hoped the offer will make Brussels negotiators more willing to give Britain a bumper post-Brexit trade deal, according to the Sunday Times.” – Daily Express

  • It’s a “bid to sweeten a good trade deal” – The Sun

Brexit 3) Separate arrival-time-based registration systems for EU migrants may not be ready by March

“Theresa May overruled the Home Office to insist that EU citizens who arrived during a Brexit transition period would not have the automatic right to remain in the country. The prime minister made the decision despite warnings from senior officials that they would struggle to create separate systems to register existing EU citizens and new arrivals by March next year. Mrs May announced this month that European citizens who arrived after the country had officially left the EU could not expect the same treatment as the three million citizens already in Britain. The move has caused alarm in the Home Office, with government sources admitting that work on a separate registration scheme had “barely begun” and “almost certainly” would not be ready in time.” – The Times

  • Rees-Mogg says this “would be a sad admission of incompetence at the Home Office” – The Sun

More Brexit 

  • Soubry talks about “joining forces” with pro-EU Labour MPs – The Times
  • Mordaunt says EU countries are “getting frustrated” with EU approach to talks… – Daily Express
  • …Is Barnier facing a rebellion? – The Sun 
  • Soros “to give another £100,000” to anti-Brexit campaign – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • We need to “fudge this year’s negotiation” – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Parliament should step in and lead – Andrew Rawnsley, Guardian
  • Britain needs to embrace unilateral free trade – Geoff Raby, The Times
  • Yes it does. Corbyn knows it was a great left-wing cause – Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: 

>Today: Lee Rotherham in comment: “The EU is a rules-based organisation.” Oh, really? Consider these ten examples to the contrary. And there’s more.

May and Varadkar to meet Stormont representatives today

“Theresa May is due to fly into Northern Ireland today amid growing speculation that a deal to restore the power-sharing government is imminent. The prime minister and Irish premier Leo Varadkar will meet with Stormont’s main political parties as they continue talks aimed at ending the 13-month political stalemate. A Downing Street official said Mrs May will take part in a series of meetings at Stormont House and encourage the parties to resolve their differences. The official added that the PM will make clear that the government remains fully committed to the restoration of power-sharing, devolution and the Belfast Agreement.” – Belfast News Letter

  • He cancels meeting with Welsh first minister – Guardian
  • The NI stalemate has lasted over a year – Independent
  • Is a powersharing deal imminent? – Daily Telegraph
  • Meanwhile, McDonald calls Varadkar “smarmy” – Independent

Patel: The Oxfam scandal is the tip of the iceberg

“The Oxfam prostitution scandal where aid workers were abusing women and possibly children is atrocious, but only the tip of the iceberg. When Secretary of State for International Development, it was my mission to ensure that every taxpayer pound was spent to serve those in need, and met UK development objectives. That meant accountability not just on aid effectiveness, but also the sexual abuse, not just of adults, but also the rape of children. I would like to say that I was supported and presented with facts from the department laying out the long history that UK governments, Labour and Conservative, had in tackling this global problem. Sadly, I can’t.” – Daily Telegraph

Oxfam boss to meet Mordaunt today as ministers investigate abuse allegations

“Ministers have launched an investigation into claims that foreign aid officials brushed off allegations of child abuse committed by aid workers. Priti Patel, who ran the department until November, writes in the Telegraph that the Oxfam prostitution scandal is only “the tip of the iceberg” but that her own officials had “dismissed” her concerns when she raised them. … The charity’s chief executive Paul Goldring will meet Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, on Monday after she threatened to withdraw millions of pounds of government funding.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The secretary for international development has demanded full information… – Independent
  • …and “threatened” to end the charity’s funding… – Guardian
  • …which amounts to £32m per year – FT
  • She calls cover-up “despicable” – Daily Express
  • Meanwhile, she has been attending Johnson’s team meetings – The Times

Comment: 

  • Conservatives will “exploit” the “psychological link” between the scandal and calls for aid cuts – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian
  • The aid budget is an “easy target” – Will Quince, The Times
  • Funding to Oxfam should increase – Matthew Norman, Independent
  • This scandal is bigger than Weinstein – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun 
  • It should come as no surprise – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail 

Editorials:

  • If the government knew and did nothing, “heads must roll” – The Sun
  • There’s a “serious disconnect” policy-wise between the FCO and Dfid – The Times

>Yesterday: Videos: WATCH: Mordaunt – “Aid is good, but we have to reassure donors.”

>Today: ToryDiary: The withdrawal of public funds is the best thing that could happen to Oxfam

Jo Johnson to call for end of diesel trains

“The rail industry should reduce its emissions by “aspiring” to remove all trains that run only on diesel by 2040, according to the new rail minister. Campaigners welcomed the comments by Jo Johnson but questioned the government’s commitment to reducing rail emissions, pointing out that it had cancelled the electrification of key routes last year. In a speech at the British Museum today, Mr Johnson will say: “I would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040.” – The Times

  • The target date is 2040 – Daily Telegraph
  • But the news follows scrapping of electrification projects – FT

More Conservatives

  • Altman criticises DWP spending on appeals and reviews – Guardian
  • Party denies “plans” to take away local members’ power to select candidates – Guardian
  • Westminster Council poses a voluntary tax to highest rate payers to help homeless – The Sun

>Today: 

Criticism over Labour Equalities Conference’s bar on white heterosexual males

“Labour has become embroiled in a new discrimination row after an event organised by the party was found to have barred straight white men from attending. MPs last night accused Labour of abandoning its principles after it emerged that Young Labour’s Equalities Conference would only permit entrants who were disabled, LGBT, female, or from an ethnic minority background. White heterosexual men were not listed as eligible for entry to the event, which will take place on 17 March in central London.” – Daily Telegraph 

More Labour

  • Momentum begins “massive recruitment drive” – Daily Mail
  • McDonnell won’t rule out more “democratic engagement” on Brexit – Guardian

>Yesterday: 

Other parties

>Yesterday: Videos: WATCH: UKIP. Marr – “It’s over, isn’t it?” Bolton – “No, I don’t believe it is.”

News in Brief

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