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Mass demonstration in London against brexit: ‘best deal is not a brexit’

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the move in central London to demand a new referendum on the Brexit. They carry banners with texts such as “The best deal is not a Brexit” and “Let the people speak.” The demonstrators walk from Park Lane to the parliament building. There are speeches by, among others, Scottish Prime Minister Sturgeon, Deputy Labor leader Watson and London Mayor Khan. According to the organizers, there are around one million demonstrators. It is unknown whether that is true, but it is clear that resistance to the Brexit is growing. An online petition for the withdrawal of the Brexit has been signed more than 4 million times. “We are here today because we feel we are being robbed of our future,” an 18-year-old demonstrator told Reuters news agency. “Our generation has to live with the consequences of this disaster. It will be harder to find a job.” The demonstration comes a few days after the European Union has given the United Kingdom a few weeks’ delay to arrange the Brexit. According to the campaigners, it is therefore now the right time to launch a referendum and reverse the brexit. If the lower house next week agrees with the draft agreement May has concluded with the EU, the United Kingdom will get until May 22 before it leaves the union. If the House of Commons says ‘no’ again and there is no other plan, the British will leave the EU on 12 April.

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Leaked memo reveals ministers warned of Brexit plot to keep UK in permanent customs union with EU

Ministers have been warned that MPs supporting an amendment to delay Brexit could “politicise the monarchy” and lead to a “full blown constitutional crisis” causing the Government to “lose its ability to govern” according to leaked documents seen by the Telegraph. The explosive memo advising the cabinet as Theresa May battles to win Tuesday’s second meaningful vote – warns that supporting any amendment re-tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tories Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles could pave the way for a bill to change the day of our EU exit and bind the Government into a permanent customs union. It comes as at least five Cabinet ministers are poised to vote to block no deal next week if Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement is rejected, prompting the Prime Minister to consider offering Tory MPs a free vote on the matter to avoid a mass resignation. Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and Matt Hancock are all expected to rebel against the Government. If Mrs May’s deal is voted down and there is no support for leaving the EU without a deal in parliament, MPs will then given the option to vote to delay Brexit. Warning that a passed amendment on a vote to delay Brexit would be turned into a bill that would be “fast tracked” into both Houses, the memo states: “Once passed, the Government would have no option but to advise the Queen to give Royal Assent. The Government would have no control of the Chamber. It would have lost its ability to govern. A cross-party majority in the House would effectively have seized control of Brexit policy and would be directing legally binding outcomes.” The advice comes after sources are understood to have told Number 10 that those rewording the amendment are now seeking to not only delay Brexit but “direct” it by imposing requirements on the Government in relation how to use the extension period. The advice predicts that the amendment will call for a legally binding Commons vote on any new negotiating mandate, which it predicts will “likely lead to a Commons majority being expressed for a permanent customs union, which Government would have no choice but to then implement.” The memo warns: “We can expect a legally binding imposition by the House on Government to ensure at the very least: Extension of Article 50, a cross-party negotiating mandate (which we assume will lead to a permanent customs union) and possibly a requirement to legislate for a second referendum”. It suggests the largely remain-backing Lords would expedite any legislation to ensure its passage in the next fortnight, potentially giving rise to the Queen having to give royal assent to a “soft” Brexit bill days before March 29. It adds: “The monarchy categorically cannot be politicised in an attempt to thwart the majority view of the two Houses – any attempt to do so would lead to a full blown constitutional crisis”.

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In about five weeks there will be the decision: a hard one, a soft one, a new referendum or no Brexit at all. English people tend to think that it is only UK politics. It is much more. When I visit her Ladyship from 21 till 24 March, I can travel as usual under the present rules. But when Pierre and I visit her Ladyship in June for a full “Somersethian” week, we could be obliged to have a visa. And the present situation at Labour, where seven people leave Jeremy Corbyn and start a new party, that gives only more confusion. There is no business any more at Brussels. The European Union has had it with everything about “Brexit”. I was happy that her Ladyship told me, that she was a “remainer” just after the cruise in 2016. But she has other problems now: the Balmoral docked in San Diego for three unexpected days, as the ship got caught up in fishing rope, and broke a propellor seal!!! The stays in San Francisco and Los Angeles are due to be shortened.

Image result for Balmoral cruising ship

January 19: Southampton, 23/24: Funchal, 31: Bridgetown, February 02: Kralendijk, 04: Cartagena, 05: Colon, 08: Puntarenas, 13: Puerto Vallarta, 14: Mazatlan, 15: Cabo San Lucas, 19/20/21: San Francisco, 23: Los Angeles, 24: San Diego, March 01: Acapulco, 03: Acajutla, 08: Oranjestad, 10: Philipsburg, 17: Ponta Delgada, 20: La Coruna, 22: Southampton.

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Theresa May is greeted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte upon her arrival in The Hague, Netherlands

Theresa May meets with Dutch PM Mark Rutte in The Hague

Theresa May and Mark Rutte

Theresa May and Mark Rutte

Theresa May will be told on her European tour to stop trying to appease her mutinous backbenches by throwing them the “red meat” of Brexit promises she can never deliver upon, EU diplomatic sources have told The Telegraph.

As Mrs May embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the EU, including the Netherlands, Germany and Brussels, diplomats expressed growing exasperation at Mrs May’s constant attempts to placate the impossible demands of clean-break Brexiteers with unrealistic promises. The message will be the same one Mrs May received from Europe over the weekend, when the Telegraph understands Mrs May was directly warned against feeding unreasonable expectations. “She was told ‘don’t keep feeding them red meat. We know how this ends. You get eaten up last,” said a senior EU diplomat. The uncompromising tone comes as Mrs May seeks a “legally binding assurance” that the UK will not be trapped indefinitely in the Irish backstop arrangement that puts the UK into a customs union with the EU to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland. After Mrs May pulled today’s the ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons, the race is now on to secure concessions from Europe that might convince opponents of the deal to change their minds, particularly on the question of the Irish backstop.

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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands have wrapped up their UK state visit with a meeting in Downing Street hosted by British Prime Minister Theresa May and a formal farewell with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. It was the first UK state visit by the Dutch monarchy in 36 years. The last state visit from the Netherlands was by Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus in November 1982, while Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip paid a state visit to Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in March 1958.

Donald Trump cancels UK visit, blaming Barack Obama for a ‘bad embassy deal’, as Sadiq Khan says he ‘finally got the message’

US president Donald Trump has confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy next month, blaming the decision to relocate the building to an “off location”. Hitting out at former US leader Barack Obama, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter early on Friday that he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, in a 1.2 billion dollar (£886 million) project was a “bad deal”. He wrote: “Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts’, only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Prime Minister Theresa May was the first world leader to visit Mr Trump in the White House and the US president accepted at the time an invitation for a state visit. But that idea was fairly swiftly pushed into the long grass, given the scale of expected protests and opposition within the UK. A petition against a state visit gained more than a million signatures last year. Mr Trump was then reported to be considering a “working visit”, with some publications reporting that a date had been set for the end of February. The visit was due to coincide with the opening of the new US embassy. Writing on Twitter at 4.57am on Friday, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square was a “bad deal”.

Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming his predecessor Obama, the US announced its plans to move to the new embassy site in October 2008 – when George W Bush was in the White House. The new building will open on January 16. On the embassy web page about the project, it said: “The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.”

The new US Embassy in Nine Elms in Wandsworth

Mr Trump had also been scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week. The president was not due to meet the Queen until a full state visit at a later date. But now Mr Trump has decided to postpone even the scaled-down February visit. Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, will instead represent the US at the embassy opening. In December, US Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: “I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.” He said the new embassy was a “signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better”. Mr Trump’s decision not to head across the Atlantic comes despite Mrs May saying that a future visit was still on the cards last week. A Downing Street spokesman said: “Our position is that an offer for a state visit has been extended and accepted.” Sources claimed that the lack of “bells and whistles” and royal involvement in next month’s planned visit might have discouraged Mr Trump.

One of the interior gardens that is filled with cacti to evoke the south west American desert landscapes

Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit – officially on behalf of the Queen – when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year. Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.

‘Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram’: Reaction to cancelled visit

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said that it appears Trump has “finally got that message” that “many Londoners” would not welcome the US President to the capital.  He said: “Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. “This reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”

Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, suggested on Twitter that planned protests had dissuaded the president from visiting the UK, saying: “Nobody wanted you to come.”

Others, including David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, was clearer in his views on Twitter:

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jo Swinson said: “News that Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram and cancelled his trip to the UK will be welcomed by all of us who reject his abhorrent views. “But it’s a disappointing sign of how weak May’s leadership is that she wasn’t brave enough to call the visit off herself. “The Prime Minister should be ashamed that she was so keen to roll out the red carpet to a man who spreads hate and division at every turn, and goes out of his way to undermine British values.” Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter that Trump “wanted the red carpet treatment and cheering crowds”, but was instead facing “big protests”.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested that Mr Trump was more aware of opposition in the UK than in other countries he had visited because it was expressed in English. “I think it’s a great shame; the United States is very much one of our closest allies, but the alliance isn’t based on who lives in the White House and who lives in Number 10, it’s based on shared values, common interests and absolute commitment to the international rules-based system which we have both spent the best part of 70 years upholding through Nato, through the United Nations and through various other treaty organisations around the world,” he told Today. “While I think it’s a shame, I think – if I’m honest – it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, Korean and other languages and we criticise in English, and it’s much easier for him to read English.”

Other MPs line up to react to news

Nigel Farage suggests ‘mass protests’ behind Trump’s decision

Nigel Farage Donald Trump

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of the US president, suggested that concerns about protests might have been the real reason for the visit’s cancellation. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Well, he is the real estate guy. I can’t comment on that. He has made rather a lot of money over the years doing it. “It is disappointing. He has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest. “I would say it is disappointing. Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.” Speaking on the same programme, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was “very welcome he is not coming any more”, adding: “He runs counter to British values.”

How May and Trump fell out over anti-Muslim videos

Mrs May and Mr Trump fell out spectacularly in November over his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted online by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group, Jayda Fransen. At the time, the PM said Mr Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos, and the US president hit back at Mrs May on Twitter by telling her to focus on “destructive radical Islamic terrorism” in the UK, rather than on him.

Donald Trump asks why US accepts immigrants ‘from s——- countries’

Donald Trump has reportedly expressed frustration at the United States’ immigration policy, asking a White House gathering of politicians why the US accepted people from “s——- countries”, reports Harriet AlexanderMr Trump convened Thursday’s meeting to discuss reforming immigration policy, and one of the politicians inside the Oval Office suggested that a deal could be reached if Mr Trump agreed to restore protection for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. “Why are we having all these people from s——- countries come here?” the president responded, according to two people who spoke to The Washington Post. The paper said he was referring to African countries and Haiti. He then reportedly suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met on Wednesday. The White House did not deny his remark, which triggered widespread outrage, but issued a statement saying Mr Trump supports immigration policies that welcome “those who can contribute to our society.” His remarks reportedly left the assembled politicians “taken aback”, the paper said, with Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for South Carolina, and Richard Durbin, Democratic senator for Illinois, among those in the room.

Trump claims to have developed positive relationship with Kim Jong-un

Mr Trump also claimed that he has developed a positive relationship with North Korea’s leader. “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,” Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal, despite there being no formal contact between US and North Korean officials in decades. “I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.” Asked if he has spoken with Mr Kim, Mr Trump replied: “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.” The president has called the nation’s leader a “maniac,” a “bad dude,” mocked him as “short and fat,” and referred to him repeatedly as “rocket man.”  Mr Kim in response has warned he would “tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”. Mr Trump told the paper, however, that his Twitter insults were simply part of his game plan. “You’ll see that a lot with me,” he said about combative tweets. “And then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.” The president said he approved of North Korea’s participation in next month’s Olympic Games, and acknowledged that Pyongyang may be trying to separate Washington and Seoul. “If I were them, I would try,” he said. “The difference is I’m president, other people aren’t. And I know more about wedges than any human being that’s lived.”