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May appeals to her colleagues for compromise and unity

‘Theresa May has issued a desperate plea to Conservative MPs to unite and deliver on Brexit, urging her party to ‘move beyond what divides us’ and sacrifice ‘personal preferences’ for the national interest. The Prime Minister’s rallying cry follows another tumultuous week in Westminster which saw tensions in the party reach boiling point, with one minister accusing Eurosceptic colleagues of ‘treachery’. Mrs May, in a letter to all 317 Conservative MPs after her Brexit plans suffered a humiliating Commons defeat on Valentine’s Day, said the result was ‘disappointing’ but vowed that the Government would continue its work to secure changes to the Irish border backstop. She announced that she will return to Brussels for further talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker next week, and revealed plans to speak to the leaders of every EU member state over the coming days.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • The Prime Minister deploys Cox as her gunslinger – Mail on Sunday
  • ERG messages discuss ‘pointless’ May plan – Sunday Times
  • The Conservatives have lost a seven-point lead and are now level in the polls with Labour – The Sun on Sunday
  • Blair still thinks exactly what he has always thought about the EU – Sunday Times
  • Remainers are planning a(nother) march – The Observer

Opinion and editorial

>Today: MPsETC: “History will judge us all.” May’s letter to Tory MPs: full text

Dark economic clouds pile pressure onto EU leaders

‘While Ireland and Holland have already reported an influx of companies relocating away from the UK, both are highly exposed to a no-deal Brexit that threatens to wipe out any gains from relocations. The Dutch government unveiled a furry blue mascot dubbed the “Brexit Muppet” last week to inform businesses how to prepare for Brexit. Yet even with careful planning and information campaigns, Holland faces a €10bn decline in trade, according to an analysis by the country’s Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. If there is no deal, four percentage points could be cut off Ireland’s economic output in the first year alone, according to its central bank. Germany — which skirted close to recession in the second half of 2018 — could lose more than 100,000 jobs, many within its automotive sector, while France could lose about 50,000, according to the Halle Institute for Economic Research. There is no sign that these forecasts will lead the EU to abandon its commitment to the Irish backstop. But they will increase pressure on leaders to grant more time when they face the deadline question.’ – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Letwin’s wildcat executive would reduce ministers to marionettes

Javid: I’ll do all I can to keep extremists out, and control those who manage to return

‘As home secretary, my priority is to ensure the safety and security of this country — and I will not let anything jeopardise that… The decisions available to us include banning non-British individuals from the UK and stripping dangerous individuals of their British citizenship. This “deprivation” power has so far been exercised more than 100 times… And as we will not make individuals stateless, we must be realistic that those whom we are unable to deprive of their British citizenship may seek to make their way back to the UK. Those who do manage to return should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted — regardless of their age or gender. Last week parliament approved our new Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act, which extends the list of offences committed overseas to include recklessly expressing support for a banned terrorist organisation and sharing its publications or propaganda. Our police and security services closely monitor any returnees who pose a risk and we impose strict controls on the most dangerous individuals where prosecution is not possible. Through terrorism prevention and investigation measures, and temporary exclusion orders, we can impose strict requirements including travel restriction and mandatory deradicalisation sessions. New laws also give the home secretary the power to ban British citizens from entering designated terrorist hotspots without an extremely good reason.’ – Sajid Javid, Sunday Times

  • She is remorseless – Mail on Sunday
  • Begum’s family offer to take custody of her child – Mail on Sunday
  • Take back 800 ISIS fighters or we’ll release them, Trump tells Europe – Mail on Sunday
  • The US hopes to prosecute ‘Beatles’ in special traitors’ court – Sunday Times
  • ‘Extremist’ forbidden from raising her own child is living freely in East London council flat – Mail on Sunday
  • Radicalisation expert claims Javid’s stance encourages extremism – The Observer
  • The women the world forgot – Mail on Sunday
  • The battle for ISIS’s last strip of territory – Mail on Sunday
  • RAF drone crews to get medals for flying missions from Lincolnshire and Nevada – Mail on Sunday

Opinion and editorial

Hammond’s trip to China is cancelled after Williamson speech

‘Philip Hammond will not visit China this weekend amid reports that Beijing pulled out of trade talks after Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson threatened to deploy a warship in the Pacific. The Chancellor was expected to meet Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua, but Treasury sources said the trip was never confirmed. It follows reports in the Sun newspaper that Mr Hu scrapped the plans hours after Mr Williamson announced that he would be sending HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Pacific region.’ – Sunday Telegraph

Johnson delivers One Nation leadership pitch to MPs

‘Boris Johnson has mounted a stealthy below-the-radar campaign to persuade Tory MPs that he is about ‘more than just Brexit’. With the party on standby for a leadership contest if Theresa May steps down after Brexit, the former Foreign Secretary is discreetly courting MPs with his ‘One Nation’ political vision. Mr Johnson is seen as the most popular choice to succeed Mrs May among party members but if Tory MPs do not vote him into a run-off of the final two candidates then the members will not get the chance to back him. The 54-year-old set out his political credo in a speech to former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice think tank last week. He told a group of 30-plus MPs that the Tories were ‘the party to promote social justice and equality’, as they did it ‘better than Labour’, adding: ‘Our One Nation Tory values will knock Corbyn out of the park.’ One MP said: ‘It came across as a clear Boris pitch to us that he was more than just a Brexiteer constantly agitating against Theresa May’s cop-out to Brussels. There was a lot of talk about fighting crime, building infrastructure, expanding home ownership, cutting taxes, all that sort of thing.” – Mail on Sunday

>Today: Fabio Conti on Comment: A plea for Conservative unity in these fractious times – and how we must plan for the challenges of the future

HS2 staff’s travel expenses top £50,000 a week

‘Travel costs for the under-fire HS2 project have topped £2.5million for the whole of last year, Ministers have revealed. Overnight accommodation for employees staying away from home cost £600,000 in 2018 around £10,000 per week. Records show eye-watering spending also includes £5.6 million on agency staff – the equivalent of a £120,000 annual salary. The figures came to light this week after Ministers were said to be “actively considering” scrapping the HS2 scheme. The PM has faced to calls to kill off the project that will cut travel times and boost capacity between the capital and Birmingham.’ – The Sun on Sunday

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: The capitalism of the future demands a bigger role for the state

BBC changes policy on abortion advice after Mordaunt and Doyle-Price intervene

‘The BBC has bowed to pressure to provide viewers with information about abortion after two ministers intervened in a row sparked by an episode of the drama series Call the Midwife. Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, and Jackie Doyle-Price, a health minister, wrote to the BBC to complain about its initial refusal to provide information about terminations after the February 3 episode in which a character died after a backstreet abortion. A letter signed by nearly 100 MPs has also been sent to Lord Hall, the BBC’s director-general, criticising the decision to “withhold information about women’s reproductive healthcare services which have been legal and have been part of the NHS for over 50 years”. Diana Johnson, a Labour MP, organised the letter after the BBC said it could not offer advice to viewers via its Action Line without sending them to organisations that “take a particular stance” on a “contentious” issue.’ – Sunday Times

Navratilova: Current rules on trans athletes are unfair and legitimise cheating

‘To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair. Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy. Indeed, if a male were to change gender in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable.’ – Martina Navratilova, Sunday Times

  • Several sporting organisations are reviewing their policies due to questions of fairness – Sunday Times
  • Why are we so scared to admit many people regret changing gender? – Sunday Telegraph
  • Doctors fear NHS gender clinic is risking harm to children – Sunday Times
  • There are estimated to be 1,400 transgender prison inmates – Mail on Sunday
  • Parliament spends £19,000 on a Lego suffragist – Mail on Sunday

Record numbers of NHS staff quit over work-life balance

‘Record numbers of burned-out NHS staff are quitting because they are fed up with spending too much time at work and not enough with their families, research reveals. The number of personnel leaving the NHS because of a poor work-life balance has almost trebled in the past seven years, analysis by the Health Foundation thinktank shows. Between June 2010 and June 2011, 3,689 employees cited that as the reason they had decided to stop working for the NHS in England. But that figure was 10,257 for the 12 months to June 2018 – a 178% increase. Many of those who left were nurses, where the numbers quitting over work-life balance almost tripled, from 1,069 to 2,910 over those seven years. The figures are slightly lower for doctors: 270 medics quit over work-life balance in 2017-18, a 169% increase on the 101 who did so in 2010-11.’ – The Observer

Corbyn ‘linked’ to local Labour official leading the drive to get rid of Berger

‘Dr Scott-Samuel met Mr Corbyn in 2016 over what he claimed was the ‘victimisation’ of anti-Zionists’ in the party, saying as much on Twitter. He was also given a centre-stage position as Mr Corbyn took to the stage at last year’s Labour Party Conference in Liverpool – during which Ms Berger needed an armed guard to protect her against militant Corbynistas. Mr Corbyn was photographed warmly greeting Dr Scott-Samuel as he stepped on to the podium. A friend of Ms Berger’s said: ‘Luciana could justifiably fear that the entire party apparatus from London to Liverpool is sinisterly acting in concert to prevent her stamping out this cancer. It would be bad enough at any time, let alone when she is about to give birth’.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • The Labour Leader’s own constituency chairman claims the anti-semitism scandal is a ‘smear’ by Israel – Mail on Sunday
  • The grim history of how his leadership saw the return of an old evil – Mail on Sunday
  • A majority of voters think he has been ineffective in dealing with the problem – Sunday Times
  • Questions over whether Corbyn could have done more in response to the Islington abuse scandal – Mail on Sunday
  • Patel proposes Parliamentary lock to protect firms from nationalisation – Sunday Telegraph
  • MPs planning to quit the party are seeing therapists to cope with the stress – The Sun on Sunday
  • Corbyn’s son rents out former social housing flat – Mail on Sunday

Opinion and editorial

Maduro’s ‘death squad’ kills 200 people

‘Armed and masked members of Venezuela’s ‘Death Squad’ have killed more than 200 people over the last year, according to the country’s leading rights’ group. President Maduro established the Bolivarian National Police’s Special Action Forces (FAES) in 2017, ostensibly to tackle emergency situations such as terrorism and hostage-taking. But rights groups say the uniformed squad, who possess elite military training and weapons, are responsible extra-judicial killings of hundreds of people in non-extraordinary situations.’ – Mail on Sunday

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