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The Papers: Brexit revolt ‘looms’ and cabinet ‘war’ over virus

The Papers: Brexit revolt 'looms' and cabinet 'war' over virus thumbnail

By BBC NewsStaffPublishedduration3 hours agoimage captionA Tory rebellion “looms” as Brussels threatens Downing Street with legal action over the UK’s plans to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the Financial Times says. In a “sharp escalation of tensions”, the paper says, the European Commission has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson to withdraw the “offending…

By BBC News



image captionA Tory rebellion “looms” as Brussels threatens Downing Street with legal action over the UK’s plans to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the Financial Times says. In a “sharp escalation of tensions”, the paper says, the European Commission has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson to withdraw the “offending clauses” in the UK’s Internal Market Bill. The FT says Mr Johnson’s “hardball Brexit tactics” have been condemned by some leading figures in his own party, which could spell trouble for him when the bill is put before Parliament.
image caption“Britain shall not be moved” reads the headline on the Daily Express, in support of the PM, who it says will “face down” the EU’s threats to “pull the plug” on trade talks if the UK does not withdraw the Internal Markets Bill. Maros Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President, told Cabinet Minister Michael Gove that if the bill were to be adopted, it would constitute an “extremely serious violation” of international law. The Express brands his words as a “brazen” attempt at giving Mr Gove an “ultimatum”.
image captionThe Guardian says the UK “flatly rejected” that ultimatum within two hours of Mr Gove and Mr Šefčovič’s meeting coming to an end. The latest round of talks are a sign of the “plunging prospects” that a trade deal can be reached, the paper claims. It runs quotes from Germany’s ambassador to the UK, Andreas Michaelis, who tweeted: “In more than 30 years as a diplomat I have not experienced such a fast, intentional and profound deterioration of a negotiation.”
image captionThe ultimatum has set up a “bitter EU divorce”, the i says. It draws attention to the criticism Mr Johnson has faced from “veteran Brexiteers” Michael Howard and Norman Lamont. Lord Howard, a former Tory party leader and home secretary, said: “”How can we reproach Russia or China or Iran when their conduct falls below internationally accepted standards, when we are showing such scant regard for our treaty obligations?” The comments mark the growth of a “Tory revolt”, the paper says.
image captionShould the UK government refuse to back down over the Brexit row, it faces a lawsuit in the European Court of Justice and “potentially huge daily fines”, the Daily Telegraph points out. Despite the furore, the UK and the EU have agreed to resume trade talks next week in Brussels – which the paper says has led to renewed speculation among MPs that the government’s actions were an attempt to force concessions from the EU, rather than bring about a no-deal situation.

image copyrightmsmith3

image captionA government source tells The Times that MPs who vote against the Internal Market Bill would not have the whip removed, unlike those who voted against Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal last year. “We’re not in the same place,” the source adds. The paper also runs a warning from the Royal Statistical Society that the PM’s proposals to give everyone a daily coronavirus test – to allow those who are negative to resume normal life – is “dangerous”, as it relies on tests of “unprecedented accuracy”.
image captionThe Daily Mail revels in the drama of what it calls a “cabinet at war” over the new coronavirus restrictions for England. It says a string of senior ministers opposed the ban on gatherings of seven or more people, which comes into effect from Monday. A cabinet source tells the paper that the so-called “rule of six” was opposed by every member of the PM’s coronavirus strategy committee on Tuesday, apart from Health Secretary Matt Hancock – who, it says, drove the decision across the line.
image captionNicola Sturgeon’s move to copy Boris Johnson’s rule of six, but with children under 12 being exempt, has “piled the pressure” on the UK prime minister, the Metro reports. And MPs warning that England’s “draconian” restrictions might be “worse than the disease itself” are another reason Mr Johnson is being called on to rethink his strategy. Some Tory MPs, the paper says, fear the PM will be seen as the “Grinch” if his rules are still in place for the festive season.
image captionThe Daily Mirror leads on a study which it says lays bare the hostilities between people who stuck to strict lockdown rules, and those who did not. It claims the nation has been “split” by coronavirus – even more so, it suggests, than it was by Brexit. The tabloid pictures a dejected-looking Boris Johnson with the caption: “Chaos.”
image captionAnd the Daily Star leads on a “revelatory” poll “sure to devastate tightwads”. It has got its hands on a list of names of “stingy pubgoers” – that is, those who are supposedly most likely to shirk their turn to buy a round in the pub. “Are you on the list? See inside,” the paper teases.

Relations between London and Brussels dominate many of the front pages.

“Brexit talks on the brink” is the Guardian’s headline as it suggests talks could collapse after the deadline set by the EU was rejected. “Ultimatum sets up bitter EU divorce” is the i’s take.

The Times reports that up to 30 Tory MPs are preparing a Brexit revolt amid growing anger about the breach of international law. But the Daily Express declares: “Britain shall not be moved” by threats from the EU. It insists Boris Johnson will face down the ultimatum given by “brazen” Eurocrats.

The subject provides plenty of meat for the leader writers too. “EU outrage is a threat to jobs and prosperity” is the view of the Daily Express.

It argues that while the UK is proud of its reputation for adhering to international law, it’s unthinkable that a government committed to restoring sovereignty wouldn’t take steps to deny the EU the power to disrupt trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Guardian has a different assessment: that the government’s internal market proposals turn Britain into a “rogue state” whose word cannot be trusted. It says Conservative MPs must use their power to stop this shameful plan.

According to the Daily Mirror, the prime minister has failed to deliver on his “oven ready” Brexit deal – sabotaging negotiations with a hostile act that’s poisoned relations with Brussels, and degraded the UK’s standing on the world stage.

image copyrightJessica Taylor/UK Parliament

image captionEarlier in the week, Boris Johnson urged MPs to support a bill which modifies the Brexit deal he signed with the EU in January

“Cabinet at war over the rule of six” is the Daily Mail’s headline as it reports growing Conservative unrest over the new coronavirus restrictions.

It suggests that almost every minister in the coronavirus strategy committee argued against the limit, but that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had “got his way”.

The Daily Telegraph’s front page claims senior figures are demanding that England follows Scotland’s example, exempting children from the tally.

“Boris hit for six by Nicola” is the Metro’s headline. The paper says Ms Sturgeon’s decision not to count under-12s has increased pressure on the PM to rethink.

“Save Christmas or be labelled the Grinch” is the demand of Tory MPs, according to the Sun.

The paper agrees, labelling the rule of six a “needless disaster” that must be reconsidered.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionEngland, Scotland and Wales are all changing their rules on how many people can meet up at once

“Vir-us and them” is the Daily Mirror’s headline, as it details new research by the think tank Demos that suggests the pandemic may be more socially divisive than the bitter debate that raged about leaving the EU.

The study found that about a third of people who voted Remain resented those who voted for Brexit, while only 20% of Leavers had feelings of animosity towards Remainers.

By comparison, 68% of those who strictly followed lockdown rules held negative views of those who didn’t, with 14% saying they “hated” them.

The Guardian also carries the story, suggesting that the early solidarity witnessed in communities in the pandemic has given way to distrust which could result in deep ongoing social divisions.

The appointment of the first female chief executive at a Wall Street bank is front page news for the Financial Times.

image copyrightReuters

image captionJane Fraser’s promotion to chief executive of Citigroup is a “watershed” moment, the Financial Times says

It describes Jane Fraser’s move from president of Citigroup to chief executive as a “watershed” moment.

It points out that Ms Fraser – originally a native of Fife – has been a pioneer for equality on Wall Street for many years, but that her latest promotion puts her in a small but growing group of women at the absolute top of the financial world.

And the Times brings us life lessons on bartering with a fugitive: don’t. Northumbria police posted the offer of a £1,000 reward on Facebook for information on a man wanted in connection with a drugs investigation.

But the suspect himself responded to the Facebook appeal, saying he’d pay double to anyone who didn’t disclose his whereabouts and that he’d turn himself in for £20,000.

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