Today’s political headlines include the UK retreating on its demand over the backstop after the latest defeat, Cliver Lewis saying Labour will be finished if it supports the Government on Brexit, NHS England chairman describing the health service as dysfunctional and Javid to prevent the return of IS bride.
Britain to retreat on its demand over the backstop after May suffers another Commons defeat
The Times reports that Britain will no longer attempt to renegotiate the Irish backstop issue. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay suggested to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier during talks this week that the Government could accept legal guarantees that fell short of renegotiating the draft withdrawal treaty.
Shadow Minister says Labour will be finished if it supports the Government on Brexit
The Guardian reports that Shadow Minister for the Treasury Clive Lewis has said that the party would never be forgiven if its MPs voted to facilitate a Conservative Brexit deal. Another shadow minister, Paul Sweeney, also backed a second referendum on the final Brexit deal for the first time on Thursday.
NHS England chairman describes the health service as dysfunctional
The Times reports that Lord Prior of Brampton has said the NHS staff suffer from ‘learned helplessness’ in a dysfunctional system. He said that targets, competition and reliance on inspectors had all led to a disjointed system and demoralised staff. Lord Prior, whose role is guiding the health service’s strategy, said that the main aim of a ten-year plan was to overcome organisational divides that had ‘riven the NHS over the last 25 years’.
Home Secretary says he will try to prevent return of IS bride
Dominating the front pages this morning is the story of a British teenager who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State group wanting to return to the UK. Metro reports that Shamima Begun, who was 15 when she became a jihadi bride in 2015 and is now pregnant with her third child, wants to return to the UK to have access to the NHS for her baby. Sajid Javid has said he ‘will not hesitate’ to block the return of those who have supported terrorist organisations abroad. The Telegraph says Begum’s wish to return to the UK has prompted a fresh row over the treatment of returning jihadists. It reports that the United States is ‘fed up’ with what it calls the UK’s ‘soft approach’ and plans to send British IS fighters to Guantanamo Bay.
Dozens of Labour MPs vote in favour of extending Article 50
The Independent is reporting on the decision last night of 41 Labour MPs to back an SNP amendment calling for an immediate delay to Brexit. The SNP are seeking to extend Article 50 by ‘no fewer than three months’ after 29 March, with the Labour rebellion reportedly down to confusion amongst MPs over Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on delaying Brexit. Corbyn had ordered his MPs to abstain on the vote, despite Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry saying the party backed an extension.
Over 100 MPs to holiday next week despite cancellation of recess
The Sun has revealed that over 100 MPs are planning to take holiday next week, despite the fact that their parliamentary ‘half term’ break has been cancelled by the Government in order to continue work on Brexit. MPs from all parties will be absent, with sources saying both Labour and Conservative MPs have been ‘paired off’ for votes so they can take leave. Some are claiming that the cancellation was a PR stunt, with chief whip Julian Smith saying recently that pre-planned trips or family time could still go ahead.
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