Ticking clock 1) May will ask for a short Brexit extension, after Cabinet rebellion against a longer one

‘Theresa May will ask for a Brexit extension of no more than three months and then use it to try to force through her deal because Britain is ‘fed up’ of waiting to leave the EU, it was revealed today. Mrs May abandoned her plan to ask the EU for a nine-month Brexit delay or longer after furious Brexiteer cabinet ministers threatened to quit and told her the Tory party would only accept a wait until June. Britain is due to leave the EU next Friday, March 29, but after failing to get her deal through parliament last week the Prime Minister will tomorrow ask the EU to extend the deadline. If they do not, Britain leaves with No Deal. A No 10 insider said today: ‘The PM won’t be asking for a long extension. There is a case for giving Parliament a bit more time to agree a way forward. But people in this country have been waiting nearly three years, they are fed up with Parliament’s failure to take decision and the PM shares that frustration’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Last-minute change of plan – FT
  • Ten Cabinet ministers opposed long delay – The Sun
  • Truss warned a long extension would make Britain ‘a barren land ruled by Jeremy Corbyn’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Members of the government say the Prime Minister appeared ‘undecided’ – The Times
  • She told them that if they mess up Brexit, none of them will get to be Prime Minister – The Times
  • Getting rid of her solves nothing – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • Democracy in the UK is all but dead – Donald Trump Jr, Daily Telegraph
  • TIG is rushing to try to register in time to contest the European elections – The Sun


>Today: ToryDiary: Extension. Never mind the quality, feel the length.

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Yes, voters are nervous about No Deal. None the less, they simply want the Government to get on with leaving.

Ticking clock 2) Barnier: Explain what a delay is for and persuade us it is needed

‘Michel Barnier has told Theresa May to make her mind up about what Britain wants from its future relationship with the EU and explain why the bloc should grant an extension to the Brexit talks before a Thursday summit in Brussels. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator warned Britain and the EU to prepare for ‘no deal’ Brexit yesterday before hinting the only way to avoid it would be through a general election or second referendum. “It is our duty to ask whether this extension would be useful because an extension will be something which would extend uncertainty and uncertainty costs,” he said on Tuesday. He was speaking after a meeting of Europe ministers in Brussels, which ended in yet more frustration over Britain’s inability to deliver a solid proposal on how to break the Brexit deadlock in the House of Commons.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • He is goading us again – Daily Mail
  • He wants a new election or second referendum – The Guardian
  • Corbyn will hold talks with Barnier before May attends summit – The Guardian
  • What if the EU says no? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Juncker says patience is running out – Daily Telegraph
  • He adds that there might not be a decision until next week – FT
  • Backbench Conservative MPs lobby EU governments to reject a delay – Daily Telegraph
  • Orban’s party faces EPP expulsion – BBC News
  • The EU reviews its strategy towards China – FT
  • Germany is set to reduce defence spending below its NATO pledge – Daily Mail

>Today: Daniel Hannan’s column: The EU’s anti-democratic culture. First it corrupted other countries. Now it is corrupting Britain.

Ticking clock 3) ‘Cordial’ chat fails to win over Johnson

‘Theresa May spent 40 minutes trying to persuade Boris Johnson to back the deal on a day of top-level meetings across Westminster that failed to break the Brexit deadlock. The former foreign secretary demanded the prime minister ask the EU for a replacement of the backstop in the meeting, described as cordial. Mrs May emphasised that the failure to back the deal could result in a long delay to Brexit. This is not the first private meeting between the pair and it focused entirely on Brexit, according to a source. Jeremy Corbyn had earlier met other opposition leaders to find a way forward and avoid a no-deal Brexit. The Labour leader held “constructive” talks with the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, Sir Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party. However, Mr Corbyn dismayed others around the table by making clear his lack of enthusiasm for a second referendum, even though it remains one possible option for his party.’ – The Times

>Today: Anthony Speaight on Comment: Six reasons why we are now less likely to be trapped in the backstop

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why – resentfully – I would vote for the Prime Minister’s deal

Bercow said women who complained of sexism were ‘inadequate’

Mr Bercow once said that complaints about sexism by women MPs were “a defence mechanism against their own inadequacy”. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph in 1998, a year after Tony Blair’s election landslide delivered scores of female MPs to the House of Commons, Mr Bercow said new Labour MPs “just don’t know how to behave”. He said: “They think the institution should adjust to suit them, it doesn’t occur to them that they should change to suit the institution”. He added that complaints about sexism were “a defence mechanism against their own inadequacy. You don’t find the competent attractive ones like Yvette Cooper moaning on about sexism”…”Red-blooded Tories would refute that [Labour women are good-looking]. Labour women aren’t prettier than our lot. There’s no individuality, no flair, unlike our Ann Widdecombes”…Friends of Dame Eleanor Laing – one of his deputies – said: “It is time for a speaker who respects the constitution and understands the law.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

Wages up, unemployment down, as employment rate hits highest since 1943

‘Britain’s employment rate has soared to the highest level since WW2 as the jobs market defies the Brexit gloom. Staggering figures yesterday revealed the proportion of over-16s in work rose to 76.1 per cent in the three months to January – the highest since 1943. Some 222,000 more people got a job – fuelled by the biggest rise in women in work for nearly five years. The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate also fell below 4 per cent – to 3.9 per cent – for the first time since the mid-1970s. Stunned economists said the figures were much better than expected and could force the Bank of England to up interest rates this summer. They pointed out there are now just 1.6 unemployed people per vacancy in the country – compared with 5.8 in December 2011. Experts said firms were now under more pressure to pay up to recruit – pushing average wages up 3.4 per cent.’ – The Sun

  • This, not nannying, is what Tories should be about – The Sun Says
  • The proportion of overseas students choosing UK business schools has risen since the referendum – FT
  • Concern that plans for a drastically higher minimum wage could reverse the jobs revolution – FT
  • A cashless world beckons – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Further financial crises are inevitable, we simply choose to prepare or not – Martin Wolf, FT
  • HS2 ‘will deepen regional divide’ – The Times
  • The ISA is 20 years old – Daily Mail
  • Businesses attack Brexit ‘dithering’ – The Times

Javid increases security funding for mosques and churches

‘Sajid Javid today unveiled £6.5million of emergency cash to tighten security at mosques and churches in the wake of the NZ terror attack. The Home Secretary declared he was “absolutely committed” to ensuring people of all faiths can worship and live their lives “free from fear”. Some £1.6million will be earmarked for physical security such as CCTVs, lighting and fencing. A further £5million go towards security training for staff and volunteers. The announcement came just hours after the Home Secretary was urged to open the purse strings at a London event held in memory of the victims of the Christchurch shootings. In a statement, the Home Secretary said the UK stood “shoulder to shoulder” with New Zealand against terrorism. He added: “The horrific events in New Zealand are an attack on the values of tolerance and freedom of worship that unite us all.”‘ – The Sun

  • Ardern’s refusal to name the Christchurch attacker is well-intentioned but futile – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Police work with private sector employers to spot nascent terrorists – FT
  • Utrecht tram killer ‘should have been in jail’ – The Times

Health Secretary undergoes genomic tests to gain insight into new medical technology

‘Matt Hancock will reveal the results in a speech at the Royal Society on Wednesday, raising ethical questions over genomic medicine. He will call for a national debate to tackle some of the biggest issues facing DNA testing to allow patients to benefit from the technology as soon as possible. Mr Hancock is expected to say: ‘I recently underwent a predictive genomic test to better understand this technology and the ethical issues it presents. ‘(The test) gives a sophisticated assessment of a person’s likelihood to develop certain diseases based on their DNA. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about getting the results. The good news is I’m pretty healthy – below average for most of the 16 diseases (I was tested for). I probably have my grandmother, who lived to a 103, to thank for that. But it wasn’t all good news. I’m at higher risk of prostate cancer. My risk of prostate cancer by age 75 is almost 15%.” – Daily Mail

Vicar of Peterborough calls for Onasanya to go

‘It comes as the first recall petition in England opened yesterday, designed to determine whether a by-election needs to be called for the Peterborough MP’s seat. Onasanya, 35, served 28 days of a three-month prison sentence after being convicted of perverting the course of justice in January and has continued to receive her £77,379 salary. A recall petition for voters in Peterborough opened yesterday and her constituents will have six weeks to sign before it closes at 5pm on May 1 – and should it attract the signatures of 10 per cent of eligible voters – about 7,000 people – she will be forced out and a by-election called. Now, the vicar of Peterborough, the Rev Canon Ian Black, has called for the MP to go, saying ‘it’s time’, after the 35-year-old MP released a video – recorded in front of an image of the New York City skyline – pleading her innocence…’I think she is someone going through a personal turmoil and for that she does have my profound sympathy and prayers, but I think her days as our MP should come to an end.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Daniel Stafford on Local Government: Recall petitions should be introduced for local councillors

Catholic commentator investigated by police for ‘misgendering’ a trans person

‘A devout Catholic and mother of five has been asked to attend a police interview after being accused of using the wrong pronoun to describe a transgender girl. Caroline Farrow was contacted by officers from the Surrey force to inform her they were investigating an allegation that she had made transphobic comments on Twitter. Mrs Farrow is being investigated for a possible hate crime under the malicious communication act, an offence that carries a maximum two-year prison sentence. While the 44-year-old has been invited to attend the interview on a voluntary basis, she claims she has been warned that she could face arrest if she fails to attend. Posting on Twitter she wrote: “I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will happily do jail time for my right to say that people cannot change sex.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • Police should focus on knife crime – The Sun Says
  • It isn’t their job to dance to the tune of the hate crime lobby – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Trans activists fail to block academic study suggesting that gender dysmorphia may be contagious – Daily Telegraph
  • Soaring numbers of children ‘enslaved’ by drugs gangs – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove and Grayling consider criminalising failure to stop after running over a cat – The Sun

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