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May ‘woos Labour MPs with cash’…

“Theresa May is preparing to entice Labour MPs to support her Brexit deal with a cash injection into deprived areas that supported Leave, including former mining communities. The prime minister’s allies believe that she needs the backing of about 20 Labour MPs for a modified agreement to offset the number of Tory rebels, even if she wins the support of the DUP. Potential Labour backers are now being wooed with the promise of local investment as Downing Street increases efforts to build a parliamentary majority before a second vote. “There’s a willingness to look again at coalfield communities and make good the promises that former Labour governments failed to deliver,” a well-placed government source said… No 10 declined to comment. Senior government sources acknowledged that the cash injections were under consideration but emphasised that they were not finalised. Mrs May will spend the coming days in talks with members of her own party and the DUP as she attempts to agree a new negotiating stance with Brussels over the Irish backstop.” – The Times

  • Voters back new talks with Brussels – Daily Mail
  • North unveils £70 billion high-speed rail plan – FT

Negotiations:

  • Brussels orders UK to pay £39 billion even without a deal… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but Kwarteng says they wouldn’t get a penny – The Sun

More:

  • Pro-EU Tories ‘plot revenge’ in Valentine’s Day vote – FT
  • Party unity ‘already evaporating’ – The Guardian
  • MPs lose ten-day break in ‘scramble’ to pass bill – The Times

>Today: Profiles: Philip May, the Prime Minister’s closest and greatest sounding board

>Yesterday:

…as Juncker and Barnier insist that ‘nothing has changed’

Michel Barnier criticised Theresa May for ‘distancing herself’ from the Brexit deal she struck with Brussels before attacking former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab for playing a “blame game” with the EU. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels that they would reject any British efforts to renegotiate the Irish border backstop. Mr Barnier and Mr Juncker said that nothing had changed in the EU’s position despite the House of Commons voting for the Brady amendment, which called on the prime minister to renegotiate the backstop. Both men warned the vote had increased the chance of a no deal Brexit and vowed the EU would never abandon Ireland at a plenary session of the parliament on Wednesday… Mr Barnier attacked David Davis and Dominic Raab, who have been vocal critics of the Brexit deal after resigning as Brexit secretaries.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May warned that shift risks ‘disorderly’ Brexit – FT
  • Up to you to solve impasse, Tusk tells Prime Minister – The Guardian
  • No ‘magic solution’, EU insists – Daily Express
  • Merkel prepared to ‘go to the edge of the precipice’ – The Times
  • Prime Minister ‘digs in her heels’ – The Sun
  • Poland demands May is given a deal which can pass the Commons – Daily Express

More:

  • Raab claims Varadkar ‘leaked falsehoods’ from meeting – The Times
  • Patel launches ‘blistering attack’ on the EU – Daily Express
  • DUP pushing May to exploit ‘logical flaw’ in Brussels’ position – News Letter

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: May clashes with Corbyn ahead of cross-party talks on Brexit

Is Robbins still leading the talks for Britain?

“Theresa May has appointed three senior cabinet ministers to take charge of the new Brexit negotiations to try to broker an agreement between Brussels and her warring party. David Lidington, the prime minister’s de facto deputy, is expected to lead the talks on her behalf. A former Europe minister who is widely respected in Brussels, he will be supported by Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, and Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general. Government sources said that Oliver Robbins, Mrs May’s chief Europe adviser who led the detailed negotiations on the withdrawal agreement, would have a less prominent role. Some Brexiteer critics of Mrs May’s original deal privately claimed that he had hampered the negotiations by pushing her to accept EU demands on the backstop. Mr Robbins raised concerns about the government’s decision to back Sir Graham Brady’s amendment demanding radical revision of the backstop because he did not think the EU was willing to make significant changes…” – The Times

  • Brexiteers accuse Prime Minister of breaking promise on negotiators – The Sun
  • Robbins warned May against Brady amendment… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and business echoes concerns – FT

>Today: Richard Tice in Comment: Robbins must go – the EU negotiations need a fresh face

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The eight Tory MPs who rebelled to vote against the Brady amendment

Corbyn is accused of turning a blind eye to anti-EU rebels

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused by his own MPs of turning a “deliberate blind eye” to Labour rebels who helped thwart a bid to delay Brexit. Remain-supporting Labour MPs were left furious after eight shadow ministers were among 25 members of the Opposition who defied Mr Corbyn’s orders to back a plan to extend Article 50. They believe the Labour leader gave the rebels permission to ignore his instructions because he secretly did not want the plan to pass. But Mr Corbyn’s official spokesman denied the claim and insisted “there was no nods or winks”. It came as Mr Corbyn held Brexit talks with Theresa May in her parliamentary office as he was denied the chance to be seen entering 10 Downing Street. The meeting was described by Labour as “a useful exchange of views” with the pair agreeing to meet again. But speaking afterwards Mr Corbyn said he was “suspicious” Mrs May was trying to “run down the clock” on Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Opposition MPs angry that rebels face no action – FT
  • Labour Brexiteer condemns fellow MPs in ‘extraordinary’ rant – Daily Express
  • Corbyn says May will raise Labour concerns over backstop – The Guardian
  • Talks erupt into ‘new row’ over allegations of u-turns – The Sun

More:

  • People’s Vote campaign admit they are losing momentum – The Times
  • Remainers ‘scramble to rescue’ campaign for second vote – The Sun

Comment:

  • Labour leader’s dearest wish is a messy Brexit, then an election – Francis Elliott, The Times
  • If he gets his hands dirty, the Labour leader can avert a hard Brexit – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Why aren’t Corbyn’s pro-Brexit mates punished for rebelling? – Jacqui Smith, Times Red Box
  • Dire performances show he’s utterly implausible as Prime Minister – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Labour’s strategy of Brexit ambiguity is coming under more and more pressure

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The eurozone teeters on the brink of a third recession

“The real risk of a third eurozone recession in a decade greatly raises the stakes of a no-deal Brexit. Seen through the ‘global macro’ lens of hedge funds, the EU position is weaker than it may appear to those living in the Westminster or Berlaymont bubbles. This is not to predict how the EU will react to Theresa May’s demand for renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement. Europe’s authorities are prone to error. They drifted into the double-dip recession of 2011-2012 with astonishing ineptitude, and persisted in austerity overkill even after the destructive effects were obvious. They may equally mismanage Brexit. But what should be clear to everybody in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, or Rome is that the eurozone cannot withstand a second episode along the lines of 2011-2012.  Southern Europe is already a populist powderkeg. Latin societies will not tolerate another round of swingeing austerity cuts.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Find a compromise and a deal is within reach – Henry Newman, Times Red Box
  • Why our plan is the one to get the UK moving again – Nicky Morgan MP, The Guardian
  • Brussels’ backstop stance is ridiculous – Daniel Hannan MEP, The Sun

More:

  • The EU cannot rescue Britain from Brexit chaos – Philip Stephens, FT
  • ‘Unicorn’ could sort backstop, but Parliament must stick to its guns – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • Avalanche of Brexit law could overwhelm Parliament – Baroness Smith, Times Red Box
  • May toys with Labour compromise as Brexiteer pitch unravels – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • So when exactly will the City press the no-deal panic button? – Nils Pratley, The Guardian
  • EU always haggles aggressively, then caves in – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Hannan – Unilateral free trade is the key to cushioning a no-deal split with the EU

Ministers 1) Javid talks about deep concerns over violent crime

Sajid Javid has revealed the rise in street violence keeps him awake at night as he unveiled new Asbo-style orders that could jail children as young as 12 if caught carrying knives. Announcing the orders that would also place curfews on young suspects and ban them from social media, the Home Secretary revealed his own concerns for his children’s safety when they are out at night. Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, he said: “When my teenage daughter goes on a night out with friends, I will often lie awake in bed until I know she is safely home. I’m sure this happens in homes up and down the country.” The new orders, which would carry jail sentences of up to two years if breached, come just days after figures revealed knife crime rose by 8% last year to a record high of almost 40,000 offences last year with murders at a ten-year high. Mr Javid said that “as parents we want our streets to be safe” and his “number one job” was to protect the public by stopping the “senseless bloodshed” and “worrying” rise in serious violence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Police given extra powers to tackle knife crime – FT
  • Home Secretary introduces ASBO-style prevention orders – The Guardian

More:

  • Social media giants face legal duty to protect children online – Daily Telegraph
  • Javid urged to offer citizenship to 295 Hong Kong soldiers – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • I am redoubling efforts to end bloodshed on our streets – Sajid Javid, Daily Telegraph
  • We must learn from the tragic Russell case – Jeremy Wright, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Immigration policy must be made for everyone – not just for business

Ministers 2) Hunt says political correctness is hindering efforts to protect Christians

“Jeremy Hunt yesterday warned political correctness has harmed efforts to fight Christian persecution around the world. The Foreign Secretary said people have been too scared of being linked to “misguided imperialism” while Christians are hounded and slaughtered. He made the warnings as he launched an independent review of Britain’s support for persecuted Christians. It comes days after ISIS blew up a cathedral in the Philippines during Sunday service – murdering 20 and wounding dozens more. Mr Hunt said 80 per cent of global religious persecution is against Christians. He singled out China and India for criticism and vowed to build an international coalition to protect Christians. The Bishop of Truro Philip Mounstephen, who is leading the review, said “post-colonial guilt” may have resulted in the UK being “blind to this issue”. He said the review “is not about special pleading for Christians” but about fighting religious persecution of any kind.” – The Sun

Ministers 3) Cox could be asked to intervene on ‘lenient’ Onasanya conviction

“The jailed MP Fiona Onasanya could have her “unduly lenient” sentence increased after Government officials indicated the Attorney General would intervene. Amid a public outcry over the former Labour whip’s refusal to resign, The Telegraph has been told it is “almost inevitable” her sentence will be challenged due to the high-profile nature of the case. A senior Whitehall source added they expected a formal request for review to be submitted to Geoffrey Cox QC, the Government’s chief legal adviser, when the Peterborough MP’s appeal process ends in several weeks time. Onasanya was jailed for three months on Tuesday after she was found to have lied to police officers to avoid a speeding fine, becoming the first sitting MP in 28 years to be sent to prison. However, she has refused to resign as an MP, with her lawyer telling the Old Bailey that she had clung onto her seat because her £77,000 salary was her “only source of income”.” – Daily Telegraph

SNP MP warns party against trying to ‘bounce’ voters over second referendum

Aleading SNP MP has warned his party against trying to “bounce” the country into a new independence referendum. Stewart McDonald, SNP defence spokesman, said it would be the “height of irresponsibility” to rehash the Yes campaign of 2014 and would lead to the same result again. His comments are a further sign of a split in the party over plans for another referendum, with Nicola Sturgeon aiming to set out her preferred timetable in the coming weeks. Mr McDonald said the SNP needed to renew its case for breaking up Britain and should rethink its claim five years ago that independence could be delivered in just 18 months… He added that a new campaign should “look, sound and feel differently”… He also said the SNP should learn lessons from Brexit and plan how to unite Scotland in the event of a Yes vote, suggesting a “government of national unity” during a transition phase, with all parties taking part.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Nationalists warned to prepare for election of Sturgeon can’t pass Budget – The Scotsman

SDLP divisions deepen over republican alliance

“Divisions within the SDLP over its newly-announced alignment with Fianna Fail have publicly deepened, after a long-standing SDLP veteran said that the move could damage relations with unionists. Divisions within the SDLP over its newly-announced alignment with Fianna Fail have publicly deepened, after a long-standing SDLP veteran said that the move could damage relations with unionists. Alban Maginness, former MLA for North Belfast, wrote that unionists will be “apprehensive” about the new partnership with Fianna Fail – a party created by Eamon De Valera from the more hardline side of the Irish Civil War. Its official name is ‘Fianna Fail –The Republican Party’. Meanwhile yesterday, two key SDLP figures – including ex-leader Mark Durkan – declined to offer clear backing for the plan.” – News Letter

News in Brief:

  • May has been given a second chance to save Brexit… she’d better not blow it – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Tory officials prepared to accept two-month exit delay – Emilio Casalicchio, PoliticsHome
  • Deal or no deal, Britons will need skills to pay their bills – John Ashmore, CapX
  • As an Irishman, I’m appalled by Varadkar’s antagonism over Brexit – Adam MacCarthaig, Brexit Central
  • A partial defence of Fintan O’Toole – Finn McRedmond, Reaction
  • The bitter truth about Millennial burnout – Peter Franklin, UnHerd

And finally… Powell’s wife provides portrait of a marriage

It was when she faced the melancholy task of dealing with her late mother’s personal effects that Jenny Powell fully understood what a remarkable legacy her mother had left behind.  Pam Powell had led a well-ordered life. She kept a precise record of everything. Both her daughters, Jenny and her older sister, Susan, had been aware of this all of their lives. They knew about the lists – indeed the lists of lists – upon which the smooth functioning of their family was founded, but it is only since Pam’s death just over year ago that her children have realised that her meticulous catalogue of everyday life amounted not only to a portrait of a marriage, but also an extraordinary behind the scenes snapshot of political life in the second half of the 20th century. Rather like a curious chapter from an updated version of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – with politics thrown in for extra flavour. Pam was married to Enoch Powell.” – Daily Telegraph

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