Top story: ‘Consider the consequences of your actions’ This is Alison Rourke bringing you the top stories in this crucial Brexit week. As the fate of Brexit hangs in the balance at Westminster, Theresa May will make one final appeal to MPs to back the referendum result to leave the EU. With the crucial vote…
Top story: ‘Consider the consequences of your actions’
This is Alison Rourke bringing you the top stories in this crucial Brexit week.
As the fate of Brexit hangs in the balance at Westminster, Theresa May will make one final appeal to MPs to back the referendum result to leave the EU. With the crucial vote in the Commons coming up tomorrow, the PM will warn that not going through with Brexit could undermine people’s faith in the democratic process. “I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy,” she will say in a speech at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, where more than two-thirds of people voted to leave the EU. “What if we found ourselves in a situation where parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote? People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm. We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.”
Her appeal comes as the EU is preparing to delay Brexit until at least July after concluding that May is doomed to fail in getting her deal through parliament. A special leaders’ summit to push back Brexit day is expected to be convened by the European council president, Donald Tusk, once a UK request is received.
Meanwhile, the archbishop of Canterbury has warned a no-deal Brexit would hit the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK. Justin Welby said he was praying for Theresa May and other politicians who have crucial decisions to make this week.
If you’ve lost track of the nitty-gritty of what might unfold in this most tumultuous of Brexit weeks, you can read our handy guide here. Top billing goes to the expected Commons vote on Tuesday night … and the potential fallout for all sides in the days after.
Hillsborough trial – Nearly 30 years since the tragedy at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground, the police officer who was in command of the match, David Duckenfield, will stand trial on a criminal charge of gross negligence manslaughter. Sheffield Wednesday’s club secretary and safety officer at the time of the disaster, Graham Mackrell, will stand trial alongside him, on two counts of breaching his duties under safety legislation. Both have pleaded not guilty in pre-trial hearings.
‘Devastate Turkey economically’ – President Trump has issued a blunt warning to Ankara if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the US pullout from Syria. In his latest bout of Twitter diplomacy, he called the US’s surprise pullout from Syria “long overdue” but said his country would still hit “the little remaining Isis territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions”. The posts drew a swift response from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin: “Mr @realDonaldTrump It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG,” he wrote on Twitter. “Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honour our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda,” Kalin said. Trump’s tweets came as reports emerged that the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran.
Macron’s ‘great national debate’– France’s president has written a 2,330-word open letter to the country, launching a public consultation he hopes will take the sting out of the gilets jaunes movement. The letter, published in French newspapers today, marks the start of a nationwide consultation in which citizens are invited to give their views on, among other things, tax, the organisation of the state and its public administration, and citizenship and democracy. “No questions are banned,” Macron writes, saying that the proposals collected during the debate would build a new “contract for the nation”.
Air pollution – The government will set out new regulations for farmers, wood-burning stoves and diesel cars today in new plans to improve air quality. Under the proposals farmers will be required to reduce their fertiliser use and only the cleanest forms of biomass stoves will be available from 2022. Critics say the plans are short on detail, with no deadlines for meeting the World Health Organization limits.
Australian scorcher – As the UK braces for a bitter cold snap, spare a thought for the residents of outback New South Wales, who are facing temperatures of 47C, as a heatwave hits large parts of Australia. The hottest spot in the eastern state is expected to be Menindee, 1,000km west of Sydney, with forecast temperatures of 45C on Monday rising to 47C on Thursday, and Friday. Andy Murray and his Australian Open competitors can expect to face temperatures of 35C in Melbourne, which could allow players to take breaks under the tournament’s new heat policy.
Today in Focus podcast – China’s Muslim detention camps
Up to a million Muslims are being held in detention camps in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The Guardian’s Lily Kuo visits the region where authorities are expanding the camps and increasing surveillance on ethnic minorities. Plus: in opinion, the writer Bella Mackie on how running helps her cope with anxiety.
Lunchtime read: Portion sizes – how much is too much?
We’ve long been told that we eat too much sugar, saturated fat and salt but how much we eat has figured less in the debate about obesity. A new guide to portion sizes from the British Nutrition Foundation spells out how much of each sort of food – starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables and oils and spreads – constitute a healthy diet within the 2,000 calories a day that women need and 2,500 for men. Two hands cupped together will hold about the right amount of pasta; two thumbs together about the right amount of cheese. The guide also offers “spoon” measurements, which may be easier in daily life than continually getting out the scales.
David de Gea, a genius-level lime green octopus of a goalkeeper, said the Premier League was now seeing “the real Manchester United” after they won 1-0 at Tottenham to extend Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s perfect start to his time as the club’s caretaker manager. The first grand slam of the year is underway in Melbourne, but there would be no fairytale debut for British qualifier Harriet Dart when she was double bagelled by the player she admires more than any other, Maria Sharapova. Saracens became the first team to qualify for the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a bonus-point victory over Lyon and they will secure the position of top seeds if they defeat Glasgow at Allianz Park.
It was a case of new year, same successful England, as Tracey Neville’s netball team began their quest for a first Quad Series title on a compelling note with victory over New Zealand in Liverpool. Manchester United Women’s Championship game against Charlton was abandoned following a serious injury to the Addicks defender Charlotte Kerr.
South Yorkshire and Merseyside have recorded the strongest levels of jobs growth in the decade since the financial crisis, according to a new report by the thinktank Resolution Foundation. It found employment rose by 6.5 percentage points to 71.7% in South Yorkshire, which contains Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley. Merseyside – which comprises the city of Liverpool and the surrounding metropolitan boroughs of Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens – recorded the second-biggest rise in the past decade of 6.4 percentage points. However, its employment rate still lags the national average at 69.3%, among the lowest in the country.
The pound is buying €1.12 and $1.28.
It’s going to be a big week of Brexit news and the front pages reflect that today. The Guardian leads with its exclusive story “EU ready to delay Brexit as May makes final bid to save her deal”, the Times has “May warns Brexiteers of EU trap” and the FT reports “May warns Tory Eurosceptics to back her deal or risk losing Brexit”. The Telegraph has “Remainers unite to call for second Brexit poll”, as well as quotes from Boris Johnson’s weekly column in which he calls for a end to “parliamentary jiggery-pokery” and the Daily Mail has: “Revealed: Brexit coup plotters’ blueprint for power”. The Sun and the Express run identical headlines: “24 hours to save Brexit”, the i has “PM’s last-ditch plea to MPs to save her Brexit deal – and her government”.
The Mirror is the only paper not to lead on Brexit, with a story about: “Docs are asked: would you help a sick patient die?”
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