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EU ‘turns off life support’ for May’s Brexit proposal

‘The prime minister had hoped to unite her cabinet and overcome the final hurdle in negotiations with the EU by offering to create an “independent mechanism” to oversee how the UK might leave a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapsed. But this weekend senior EU officials sent shockwaves through No 10 by rejecting May’s plan, sparking fears that negotiations have broken down days before “no-deal” preparations costing billions need to be implemented. The mechanism was seen by key members of the cabinet, including the attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, as crucial to preventing the so-called Northern Irish “backstop” being used to force the UK into being a “never-ending rule-taker from Brussels”. A Whitehall source described the plan as the government’s “life-support machine”, adding: “By rejecting the proposal, the EU has just turned off the oxygen.”’ – Sunday Times

The ERG and DUP jointly warn they will vote against any deal she might secure based on it

‘Senior members of the Eurosceptic grouping of Tory backbenchers and the Democratic Unionist Party figures today publicly unite to insist they will vote against Mrs May’s proposals unless she backs down. Their intervention came as senior government figures warned that the deal would still fall in Parliament even if it were forced through a reluctant Cabinet this week. A defeat for Mrs May would be likely to spark a leadership challenge. The warnings come amid opposition from across the Conservative Party to a proposed “backstop”, or insurance plan, for the UK’s relationship with the EU if no alternative deal is reached. – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Jonathan Clark on Comment: Is it time to sweep away our political parties – and clear the decks for Leave v Remain?

Greening accuses Downing Street of handing power to Brussels

‘Theresa May was accused last night by a former cabinet colleague of planning the “biggest giveaway of sovereignty in modern times”, as she faced a potentially devastating pincer movement from Tory remainers and leavers condemning her Brexit plans. The day after Jo Johnson, the pro-remain brother of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, resigned from the government and called for a second referendum on Brexit, former education secretary Justine Greening launched an attack on the prime minister, saying her plans would leave the country in the “worst of all worlds”. Piling yet more pressure on May, Greening – who resigned from the cabinet in January – backed the former transport minister’s call for another public vote and said MPs should reject the prime minister’s deal. Greening told the Observer: “The parliamentary deadlock has been clear for some time. It’s crucial now for parliament to vote down this plan, because it is the biggest giveaway of sovereignty in modern times.” – The Observer

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: We need better political leaders. Here’s how to go about getting them.

The MoD is to start recording suicides among veterans

‘The Ministry of Defence will start recording the number of suicides among military veterans in a victory for The Sunday Times’s Save Our Soldiers campaign. Tobias Ellwood, the defence minister, said the move was crucial for the government to “better understand” the toll of modern conflict on ex-servicemen and women. We have identified 56 veterans and serving personnel believed to have killed themselves since January. Last month, there were 14 deaths, with five taking their lives in as many days. Last week, a former soldier in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was found dead on his 46th birthday. The death toll since November 2003 has reached 274.’ – Sunday Times

The nation marks the centenary of the Armistice

‘A procession of 10,000 people to the Cenotaph in central London will give “a nation’s thank you” to those who laid down their lives in World War One. Members of the public chosen by ballot will pay their respects at the memorial while the Prince of Wales will lay a wreath on behalf of the Queen. It marks 100 years since Armistice Day, when WW1 officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…The day’s events started at 06:00 GMT with pipers across Britain playing the Scottish lament “Battle’s O’er”. At 08:30, portraits of casualties of the war appeared on beaches around the country as part of an event created by film director Danny Boyle…Renovations of Big Ben have been paused so the bell can chime before and after the traditional two minutes of silence at 11:00. At 19:00, starting at Westminster Abbey, more than 1,000 beacons will be lit across the UK. The lights are intended to symbolise the end of the darkness of war and a return to the lightness of peace.’ – BBC News

>Today: ToryDiary: The unknown names that live for evermore

Hancock considers a ‘tax on age’ to fund social care

‘Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, told the Telegraph he was “attracted to” a cross-party plan for a compulsory premium deducted from the earnings of the ­middle-aged and over-65s to fund the cost of their care in later life. The proposals, set out by two Commons committees, are based on the system in Germany under which all workers over 40 pay 2.5 per cent of their wages into a pot formally earmarked for social care. The plan also includes offering cash payouts to young and elderly adults ­receiving care, to enable them to pay carers, including family members. It is more radical than an idea Mr Hancock previously disclosed he was considering, of an “opt-out” proposal similar to the auto-enrolment system of pensions. The premiums would be compulsory and only levied on older workers, leaving ministers open to ­accusations of a tax on age. Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Tory chairman of the Commons health committee, one of the two panels that proposed the scheme, said it was intended to avoid putting an “unfair” burden on “working-age young employed adults”.’ – Sunday Telegraph

Leadsom criticises Commons authorities over their failure to address bullying

‘Andrea Leadsom has launched an attack on the House of Commons authorities, accusing them of failing to get a grip on the bullying and harassment scandal that has rocked Westminster. The leader of the Commons has waged a year-long campaign to stamp out misconduct of this kind after a series of scandals. In an unprecedented move, she has accused the Commons leadership of burying their heads in the sand and has urged them to either “stand up and be counted — or consider their positions”. Leadsom’s intervention comes weeks after an independent inquiry led by Dame Laura Cox found that parliament’s leadership was incapable of changing the widespread culture of abuse.’ – Sunday Times

  • Report identifies Parliament as ‘one of the worst places to work’ – The Sun on Sunday
  • Information Commissioner investigates email campaigns – The Observer

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: There’s a serious discussion to have about data and electoral law, but it is yet to take place.

Labour conference delegate’s anti-semitic image

‘The Labour Party allowed a member who was being investigated for anti-semitism to be a delegate at its recent conference — despite Jeremy Corbyn pledging in his speech to make the party “allies” of the Jewish community. Kayla Bibby, 33, represented the Liverpool Riverside constituency at the conference in September, when she had been under investigation for more than three months over an image she posted on Facebook. According to Labour, she has since been found “guilty” by the party and will receive training about anti-semitism. It is unclear whether attending this course is a condition of her remaining a party member. The image showed the Statue of Liberty being blinded and smothered by an alien creature with the Star of David, the symbol of the Jewish faith, on its back. Bibby, who posted the image in March, called it: “The most accurate photo I’ve seen all year!” It had been taken from a far-right website, Incogman, where it illustrated an article that depicted Jews as “parasitic” and said they got away with “financial heists of entire nations”.’ – Sunday Times

  • Driver accused of hate crime for beeping her horn – Sunday Times
  • Naz Shah is earning thousands from the NHS for leadership workshops – The Sun on Sunday
  • One of the women MPs welcomed to Downing Street this week wants gay people jailed for life – Sunday Times
  • Kate Osamor and her drug dealer son live in social housing despite sizeable income – The Sun on Sunday
  • The absurdity of self-identification must be laid bare – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times

Phillips: Stop pussyfooting around the reality of gang warfare in modern Britain

‘We need to be clear about who is dying and who is doing the killing, and we must be honest that there is a racial component to the violence. The deaths are taking place in the urban semi-ghettos of London, Manchester and other big cities, especially those which have become home to refugees from war zones in Eastern Europe, Africa and elsewhere. Many of these young people have grown up with the extreme violence of modern warfare – rape, beheadings, executions – and are traumatised in a way that is a danger to them and to others unless it is treated. Membership of a gang brings protection and a sense of belonging and the promise of a slice of the profits of the illegal drugs trade. So the forlorn attempts by politicians and media to ignore this truth – to avoid ‘stigmatising’ minority communities – has been counterproductive, a hand-wringing dereliction of responsibility. It might make ‘right-on’ white liberals feel better. But the price of their smugness is an ongoing bloody massacre of black children with a casualty list that seems to lengthen by the day.’ – Trevor Phillips, Mail on Sunday

Funding shortfall for Special Educational Needs revealed

‘A crisis in funding for children with special educational needs is plunging councils across the country deeper into the red and forcing parents into lengthy legal battles to secure support, according to an Observer investigation that reveals a system at breaking point. Council overspending on children’s special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has trebled in just three years and is continuing to increase, with councils having to raid hundreds of millions from their overall schools budget to cope. The Observer has identified 40 councils that have either cut special needs funding this year, are considering making cuts or are raiding other education budgets to cope next year. Data from freedom of information requests and council reports shows that the combined overspend on “high needs” education budgets among councils in England soared from £61m in 2015-16 to £195m in 2017-18. It is already expected to hit £200m this year. The figures cover 117 of England’s 152 councils, meaning the true figures will be higher.’ – The Observer

News in Brief

  • Another day, another Johnson backs a second referendum – The Spectator
  • A century since Poland was reborn – Wojciech Pawlus, RUSI
  • The UK’s free speech crisis – 1828
  • Do the Lib Dems still exist? – Country Squire
  • The pioneering women scientists who helped to win the Great War – Unherd

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