Today’s Political Headlines include a Labour stance on Brexit, new powers for the Office for Students, Northern Ireland’s status post-Brexit and Lidington’s Brexit speech.
Labour would keep UK in a customs union with EU after Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn is to clarify that Labour would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU after Brexit in a speech today, The Guardian reports. However, he will warn that staying in the single market could stop the delivery of the party’s ‘ambitious economic platform’. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Brexit Secretary David Davis says that the plan ‘would necessitate two serious breaches of Labour’s manifesto’.
Watchdog given new powers over universities
The Times has seen documents detailing the powers to be given to the new Office for Students, which show that the watchdog will force universities to act on high pay, grade inflation and support for disadvantaged students. The regulatory framework is to be put before parliament on Wednesday, with the powers to be taken up in April.
EU’s draft Brexit agreement threatens to break truce over Northern Ireland
The Financial Times warns that the ‘truce’ over Northern Ireland’s status post-Brexit may be ‘shattered’ this week, when the EU publishes a draft withdrawal agreement which leaves out the compromise language secured by Theresa May. The draft omits the commitment to ‘no new regulatory barriers’ between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland, with the EU claiming that it was waiting for ‘workable UK proposals’.
Brexit bill changes will ‘strengthen and enhance’ devolution, Lidington to claim
Speaking at the Airbus plant in Flintshire, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington is to say that ‘very big changes’ to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will ‘strengthen and enhance’ devolution settlements, but the BBC says the Scottish and Welsh governments have described the current proposals as a ‘power grab’. Meanwhile, according to The Sun, Tory whips are planning an away-day ‘bonding session’ for all the party’s MPs.
Energy tariff cap legislation introduced
The BBC reports that legislation to cap expensive energy tariffs is to be introduced to Parliament today, which the Government claims will protect 11 million people. The bill will limit the cost of standard variable tariffs until 2020, with the cap then being extended on an annual basis until 2023. Energy UK said it was vital that the cap did not stifle competition.
New plans will spare domestic violence victims from facing abusers in court
The Times reports that proposals to be announced by Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, today will spare victims of domestic violence from having to come face-to-face with their abusers in court. Instead, they will be automatically eligible to give evidence via video link or behind screens. Writing in the paper, Rudd outlines various proposals which will form part of consultation on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill.
UK targets Indonesia as part of ‘Global Britain’ strategy
The Daily Telegraph says that the UK is targeting Indonesia, in what it claims is ‘one of the first tests of the UK’s post-Brexit “Global Britain” strategy.’ British firms could gain contracts to regenerate Indonesia’s road and rail networks, UK Export Finance is offering ‘increased support’ and there has been a ‘surge’ in bilateral meetings.
Momentum sees membership grow after press attacks on Corbyn
Data seen by The Guardian shows that Momentum, the Corbyn-supporting group, experiences surges in membership immediately after negative newspaper articles about the Labour leader. The organisation claimed that attacks on Corbyn were being seen as a ‘sign of approval’, with negative stories in the Daily Mail being an effective recruitment tool.
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