pTop story: ‘This ticks every single box’ This is Alison Rourke bringing you the final briefing for the week. Labour is moving towards a compromise plan that would allow Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass but make clear that parliament “withholds support” until it has been put to a public vote. Those involved in talks…
pTop story: ‘This ticks every single box’
This is Alison Rourke bringing you the final briefing for the week.
Labour is moving towards a compromise plan that would allow Theresa May’s Brexit deal to pass but make clear that parliament “withholds support” until it has been put to a public vote. Those involved in talks said the Labour leadership was in favour of a redrafted amendment proposed by backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which would see the party abstain on the Brexit deal if a second referendum were promised on those terms. “I have every reason to believe that this will get the necessary support when the time comes,” Kyle said.
The amendment is expected to be put to a parliamentary vote on the same day as May tries to get her revised Brexit deal through the House of Commons – before or on 12 March. “This ticks every single box and is the only credible proposal on the table right now,” Kyle said, adding he had spoken to a huge breadth of MPs – from John McDonnell and Keir Starmer to a number of people in May’s own cabinet, as well as more junior ministers – and was confident it could pass.
Jared Kushner– Donald Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law a top-secret security clearance, according to reports in the New York Times. It’s alleged senior administration officials were troubled by the decision, which prompted the White House chief of staff at the time, John Kelly, to write an internal memo about it. The White House counsel at the time, Don McGahn, recommended against granting the clearance. The paper said the memos contradicted a statement made by Trump in an interview with the newspaper in January that he had no role in Kushner’s receiving his clearance. Meanwhile, the House oversight committee chairman, Elijah Cummings, has said he will seek interviews with Donald Trump’s children and some of his closest allies after public testimony by the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
‘Collective failure’– Almost 500 Labour supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have signed an open letter apologising to the Jewish community for the party’s “collective failure” over tackling antisemitism. It follows MP Chris Williamson’s suspension from the party after appearing to downplay the significance of complaints and saying the party had been “too apologetic” over antisemitism.
Independent Group– Chuka Umunna has been named spokesman as the breakaway MPs draw up policy responsibilities and roles. The former Labour MP said TIG had no immediate plans to appoint a leader as it was not yet a political party, adding that “all the members of our group have the right to be heard and a responsibility to provide leadership”. Luciana Berger becomes home affairs, health and digital cultures spokesperson, while the former Conservative Heidi Allen will take a welfare, social care and business brief. Anna Soubry, a Conservative defector and former minister, will become Brexit spokeswoman, while Chris Leslie, a longtime ally of Umunna and a former shadow chancellor, will take the economics brief.
Nuclear talks– The US and North Korea have offered different accounts of why the summit between them collapsed without a deal. Donald Trump said the deal had broken down because Kim Jong-un wanted complete sanctions relief for dismantling the main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, but the US wanted other nuclear facilities, including covert sites, disabled as well. North Korea disputed this. At an abruptly scheduled midnight press conference in Hanoi, the North Korean foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said Pyongyang had only demanded partial sanctions relief in return for closing Yongbyon. He said the US had wasted an opportunity that “may not come again”. In spite of this, North Korean media reported the talks in glowing terms.
‘Lost Caravaggio’– Sellers of a painting that they insist is a lost Caravaggio and worth in excess of £100m have announced it will be sold this summer without a reserve. The large painting of Judith beheading Holofernes was found by accident in a Toulouse attic in 2014. It has been pored over by art history experts and scientifically analysed and a highly convincing case has been made that it is from around 1607 and by Caravaggio. In 2016 the French government placed an export ban on the painting to allow investigations and time for the Louvre to consider whether it should be bought.
Today in Focus podcast: Labour’s antisemitism crisis
The party’s handling of cases came under scrutiny again this week as it suspended MP Chris Williamson. The move came after the resignation of Luciana Berger, who claims she was bullied out of the party for being Jewish. The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot looks back at two years of controversy, plus Jon Swaine on Michael Cohen’s explosive testimony against his former boss Donald Trump.
Lunchtime read: Can we still listen to Michael Jackson?
His records were woven into the lives of millions – but the Leaving Neverland documentary appears to make clear the King of Pop was a paedophile. So can we divorce the music from his actions? We asked seven music and popular culture writers and critics for their verdict. Alex Petridis, the Guardian’s head rock and pop critic, says allegations that Jackson was a paedophile will undoubtedly lead to more calls for his music to be treated the way Gary Glitter’s was – unofficially banned from radio and TV, never mentioned in public.
Greg Tate says his African American community recognised MJ’s special kind of self-destruction decades ago.Having seen only the trailer for Leaving Neverland, he says, “whatever confessional justice was intended by its two informants is compromised by its director’s hackneyed, tabloid true-crime approach. “It doesn’t mean the testimony is untrue, just that it depends on the film-makers selling several racially burdened oxymorons at once: white-male innocence, white-male fragility and white-male truth-telling,” he says. Priya Elan, editor of the Guardian’s Guide, says his reaction was “to throw Off the Wall in the bin”. American author and essayist Chuck Klosterman, whose work focuses on American popular culture, says Jackson is “too massive to cancel”. You can read their full take on the King of Pop here.
Fulham have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after just over 100 days and sixteen games in charge, concluding a disappointing return to English football for the mastermind of Leicester’s 2016 Premier League fairytale. As Paul Wilson writes, there was no dilly-ding dilly-dong in London and no pizza-based incentives for the well-regarded Italian.
Rugby union’s World League plans have come in for serious criticism, with Pacific Island nations being excluded from the proposed 12-team league for economic reasons, writes Robert Kitson.
A monster score against West Indies gives England’s cricket team fresh inspiration, Ali Martin reports, after successfully defending a monster score of 418-6 against a Chris Gayle-led home side.
And, Manchester City have ditched Nike as their kit sponsor, signing a lucrative £650m ten-year deal with German sportswear giants Puma.
The high street clothing store Gap is closing more than 200 stores worldwide as part of a restructuring programme. The retailer’s San Francisco-based parent company, Gap Inc, will split into two companies, one of which will consist of Gap and others including Banana Republic. A second company will solely house its Old Navy brand, which has been out-performing its stablemates. The company has not said where shops will shut or how many jobs will be affected. Gap has 152 stores in Europe, the majority of which are in the UK.
Asian shares rose on Friday, driven by a rally in Chinese markets. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up more than 0.3%.
The pound was buying $1.33 and €1.17.
Many of the papers cover the case of Sally Challen, who was granted a retrial for the murder of her husband. “Judges give hope to women who killed abusive husbands” is theTelegraph’s headline. TheGuardianhas “‘Delight’ for Sally Challen”. The main story is devoted to wage disparity: “Lack of fines is ‘making a mockery’ of pay gap fight”. TheMirror’s headline is: “Our loving mum killed dad … but she was never a murderer”, with a picture of Challen and her husband Richard. Theialso carries a picture of Challen on their front page: “Abused wife wins appeal over hammer murder case”. TheDaily Mailasks: “So is this justice at last for abused wives”.
TheTimessplashes on “Four-hour waiting limit for A&E to be scrapped”. It also carries a picture of conductor André Previn who has died, aged 89, being “memorably manhandled by Eric Morecambe in one of television’s most celebrated comedy sketches”.
TheFT’s main story is: “Activist Bramson funds attack on Barclays with loan from BofA”, detailing activist investor Edward Bramson’s $1.4bn loan from Bank of America, part of his bid to try and force his way on to Barclays’ board of directors.
TheSunsplashes on the Holby City actor John Michie confronting his daughter’s former boyfriend, who was found guilty of killing her after giving her a lethal dose of drugs at Bestival. “You are evil” is the headline.
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