It looks like this is being taken out of the Prime Minister's hands. Emanuel Macron of France has said enough is enough, he will oppose any extension of Article 50 in Council tomorrow: https://www.lepoint.fr/politique/emmanuel-berretta/emmanuel-macron-refuse-de-reporter-la-date-du-brexit-20-03-2019-2302680_1897.php …

British Prime Minister Theresa May ‘Weak, weak, weak’; Scottish National Party’s Peter “Pete” Wishart

‘Weak, weak, weak’ – May battered from both sides at PMQs
‘Weak, weak, weak’ – May battered from both sides at PMQs

Brussels opposes Theresa May request for Brexit extension until 30 June but will accept long delay – AIWA! NO!

Lloyd Evans, THE SPECTATOR

The Brexit kerfuffle has been so much fun that she wants three more months of it. That was the PM’s message to parliament today. At the start of this rowdy session some members seem to think they could terminate May’s career live on TV. Pete Wishart, the first member called, laid into her mishandling of Brexit and flung three blunt syllables at her, ‘weak, weak, weak.’

Evening Standard European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier kisses Theresa May's hand as she arrives in Strasbourg
Evening Standard European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier kisses Theresa May’s hand as she arrives in Strasbourg

This struck the wrong note. Too brutal. And rather cheap to use a phrase coined by Tony Blair to undermine John Major.

There was a hint that the PM wishes to retain control of her destiny. She laid special emphasis on her official rank when she said, ‘as prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30th June.’ Is that a promise to resign? Good news for May-bashers. Order the fizz and send out the party invites. The trouble is that her political methods are far from straightforward. She treats promises like pancakes. Always worth flipping over.

She discovered her gift for dissembling while she was in Downing Street and she knows that a talented fibber always ignores a difficult question and instead answers an easy one. When Bill Cash asked her why Britain should not quit the EU in nine days time, ‘as parliament has enacted,’ she came over all helpless and tinkly. ‘What I have done today is to ask for a short extension till the end of June.’ She sounded like the Head Girl ordering extra fruit juice for the netball team. In reality this may be the most precipitate climbdown in parliament’s history. On 108 occasions she has ruled out any delay to Brexit, as Peter Bone reminded her. He called today’s letter to Donald Tusk ‘betrayal’, and he asked her to tear it up. Deliberately breaking protocol to intensify his effect, he spoke to her directly.

‘Prime minister it is down to you. History will judge you.’

Bone is usually a source of merriment at PMQs but his chilly tone sounded ominous.

Blairite voices pulled the PM in the opposite direction. Ed Miliband made a short, vigorous speech describing her as ‘the roadblock’ that prevented agreement. Yvette Cooper worked herself into a tearful lather on behalf of her beloved EU. ‘I beg you,’ she whimpered,’ in the interests of the nation, think again.’

Anna Eagle urged the PM to strike a deal that enjoys ‘the support of majority in parliament.’ A deal to Remain, in other words. ‘Stop kowtowing to Brextremists’, she said, referring to the handful of MPs who want to honour the referendum and get Brussels out of British politics.

Anna Soubry made history and became the first member of the TIGs to be called at PMQs. Her name was greeted by a collective gasp of pain, as if parliament had stubbed its toe.

She quoted David Lidington who last week described any delay to Brexit as ‘downright reckless.’ It seems that yesterday’s recklessness has become today’s masterstroke. Throughout the session, Mrs May argued for her postponement as if it were a political triumph which historians will one day speak of with awe and wonder.

A price may be demanded. Natalie Loiseau, France’s Europe minister, has asked for a specific ‘purpose or initiative’ as a pre-condition of extending A50. She means a People’s Vote, of course. And that would fit in perfectly with the EU’s democratic principles. Britain can leave the EU once it holds another referendum neutralising its decision to leave the EU.

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Walking hand in hand with those affected, Ardern’s focus was on grieving and commiserating with the affected community. The alleged killer Brenton Tarrant was not representative of New Zealanders’ values and beliefs, she said. Quite simply he was: “Not us”. “The everyday discourse in New Zealand since the attacks hasn’t been one of hate and anger, it’s been we can do this, we can heal, we can come through this,” says Professor Jennifer Curtin, director of the Public Policy Institute at Auckland University. “She has shown a quiet, strong leadership, and been very focused on looking after the people who are most affected straight away. The killer has barely been mentioned.”

Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern: the face of sincere and compassionate leadership in times of crisis

I wish an American leader can say "they are us". I might want to move to NZ
All New Zealand Asked Trump For Was ‘Love’

The only thing New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern asked of President Trump was to ‘send sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.’ – AIWA! NO!

CRIMSON TAZVINZWA||The 38-year-old prime minister has been tested like no other New Zealand leader before by the worst terrorism attack in the nation’s modern history

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern receives a hug from a student during her visit to Cashmere high school which lost two students during Friday’s mass shooting in Christchurch. Photograph: Kai Schwörer/Getty Images
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern receives a hug from a student during her visit to Cashmere high school which lost two students during Friday’s mass shooting in Christchurch. Photograph: Kai Schwörer/Getty Images

Walking hand in hand with those affected, Ardern’s focus was on grieving and commiserating with the affected community. The alleged killer Brenton Tarrant was not representative of New Zealanders’ values and beliefs, she said. Quite simply he was: “Not us”.


Everyone in New Zealand and internationally is reading the same stories I read. And my response is no different. Yes, I have a role I need to play. I feel the grief, I hear the grief. But I also have a duty of care to the people involved in this to also keep going. And so if the imam who stood at the front of a mosque and saw firsthand the loss of his worshippers in front of him can keep going, then I definitely can.


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern

“The everyday discourse in New Zealand since the attacks hasn’t been one of hate and anger, it’s been we can do this, we can heal, we can come through this,” says Professor Jennifer Curtin, director of the Public Policy Institute at Auckland University.

Everyone in New Zealand and internationally is reading the same stories I read. And my response is no different. Yes, I have a role I need to play. I feel the grief, I hear the grief. But I also have a duty of care to the people involved in this to also keep going. And so if the imam who stood at the front of a mosque and saw firsthand the loss of his worshippers in front of him can keep going, then I definitely can.
Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern is a New Zealand politician serving as the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand

“She has shown a quiet, strong leadership, and been very focused on looking after the people who are most affected straight away. The killer has barely been mentioned.”

Jacinda Ardern visits Christchurch as first victims are laid to rest | Nine News Australia

New Zealand terror attack : Police release frightening new details in Christchurch terror attack

New Zealand shooting: Family of Christchurch suspect left ‘gobsmacked’ over attack

Christchurch shooting: officials including New Zealand Prime Minister call it “right-wing extremist terrorist attack” – AIWA! NO!

SAMANTHA HAYES, NEWSHUB|Police have given more details into how the attack that cost 50 lives unfolded.

They’ve given a clearer timeline from first 111 call to when the accused shooter was apprehended – and they’re convinced the gunman was on his way to a third location to kill even more people.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Mike Bush revealed police suspect the alleged killer’s deadly rampage was far from over when he was apprehended.

Takapuna Beach vigil for those who lost their lives in Christchurch. #kiakahanz
Takapuna Beach vigil for those who lost their lives in Christchurch. #
kiakahanz

“We strongly believe we stopped him on the way to a further attack,” he says.

Bush won’t say where the man was headed.

“We absolutely believe we know where he was going and we intervened on the way.”

Who are the attackers? | Nine News Australia

The first and most deadly attack was on the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue. The gunman then drove seven kilometres to Linwood Mosque. Two police officers apprehended the alleged gunman on Brougham Street.

So what was that third target they stopped him from reaching?

In the accused gunman’s manifesto, he said it would be the Ashburton mosque, more than an hour’s drive down the southern motorway. There were 20 people at the Ashburton Mosque on Friday afternoon.

“All the people in the mosque they were very very worried and I call the police, the Ashburton Police. Yeah we were very very stressful actually,” says Mohamed Diab, Ashburton Muslim Community president.

Police have also given a new timeline of how they responded.

Police received its first 111 call at 1:41pm. The offender was apprehended at the roadside on Brougham Street 21 minutes later.

“I can tell you that within five minutes and 39 seconds, our first responders, armed on the scene, ready to respond,” Bush says.

New Zealand cabinet agrees to change gun laws after Christchurch attacks | ABC News

“Within 10 minutes our armed offenders squad were on scene ready to respond, and within 21 minutes the person that is now in custody was arrested.”

The alleged gunman was in a cell at the Justice Precinct within 36 minutes of that first 111 call.

American FBI agents are working on the ground in Christchurch and in Wellington bolstered by Australian Federal Police and assistance from New Zealand’s Five Eyes partners.

Theresa May has admitted the country faces a political crisis as she prepares to ask the European Union to allow Britain to delay Brexit. She will deliver her plea for extra time ahead of a Brussels summit on Thursday at which EU leaders are expected to spell out their exasperation over the chaos surrounding Brexit. The turmoil has been triggered by two crushing Commons defeats for her withdrawal plans and her continuing failure to win over Tory Eurosceptics and DUP MPs to supporting her Brexit blueprint. Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-theresa-may-crisis-eu-withdrawal-agreement/

Theresa May admits Britain is ‘in crisis’ as she asks EU for extra time to negotiate a deal

Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet office signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on March 28, 2017 [Getty Images]

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/brexit-theresa-may-crisis-eu-withdrawal-agreement/
Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet office signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on March 28, 2017 [Getty Images]

The turmoil has been triggered by two crushing Commons defeats for her withdrawal plans – Nigel Morris, i News

British Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted the country faces a political crisis as she prepares to ask the European Union to allow Britain to delay Brexit.

She will deliver her plea for extra time ahead of a Brussels summit on Thursday at which EU leaders are expected to spell out their exasperation over the chaos surrounding Brexit. The turmoil has been triggered by two crushing Commons defeats for her withdrawal plans and her continuing failure to win over Tory Eurosceptics and DUP MPs to supporting her Brexit blueprint.

It has been compounded by Speaker John Bercow’s warning that she cannot make a third attempt to win approval for her proposals unless they are substantially rewritten.

Crisis plea

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said she told MPs last week that “we would be in crisis” if they rejected her plans. EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says something new is needed if Article 50 is to be extended [Getty Images]

Read more: Cabinet at war as MPs threaten to resign posts over Article 50 extension

Referring to Mr Bercow’s surprise intervention, he added: “I think events yesterday tell you that that situation has come to pass.” Downing Street has admitted that time has run out for Britain to leave the EU on its scheduled departure date of 29 March and acknowledged the need for more time. Its preference is to hold a third “meaningful vote” next week – possibly on Thursday 28 March – followed by a short extension to pass the legislation required to pass the necessary legislation for Brexit.

Brexit postponed

Mrs May will make her case in a letter to Donald Tusk, the European Council president, to be sent on Wednesday. She is expected to call for postponement of Britain’s departure by at least three months, although reports have suggested that she could raise the prospect a far longer delay. However, Brussels warned that she will only be granted a lengthy delay if she produces a “concrete plan” for using the extra time.

The ultimatum was delivered by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. In words that appeared to open the door to a soft Brexit, second referendum or even general election, Mr Barnier said extra time would be granted for a “new event or a new political process”.

Is an extension useful?

It came as Germany, France and Ireland signalled their frustration at the latest impasse in the Brexit process. But Mr Barnier told journalists: “It is our duty to ask whether this extension would be useful because an extension will be something which would extend uncertainty and uncertainty costs.” He warned that the UK would need to propose “something new” to justify a lengthy extension, he said. It has been suggested that Mrs May could ask for a lengthy extension to Article 50, with the option of an early break in May or June if she manages to get her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament. But Mr Barnier said it was time for the government to spell out a clear preference, adding: “it’s either one or the other, isn’t it?”

Michael Roth, Germany’s Europe minister, said EU member states were “really exhausted” by the UK’s approach to talks, warning the situation was “not just a game”. His French counterpart Nathalie Loiseau said Ms May would have to present “something new” that did not just result in an extension of “the same deadlock”. Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, said Britain would need to provide a “very persuasive plan” to accompany its request for a delay to Brexit. He added: “It’s also been very clear that there is absolutely no appetite to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement or the detail of that.” 

UK government ‘in crisis’ as Theresa May to ask EU for Brexit delay

Anti-Brexit protesters drive through Whitehall as Theresa May holds crisis talks (Image: AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit protesters drive through Whitehall as Theresa May holds crisis talks (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

The PM’s spokesman said that May would be writing to Donald Tusk ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels in relation to an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process – AIWA! NO!

Theresa May has admitted the UK Government is “in crisis” as she prepares to write to European Council president Donald Tusk in relation to an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process.

John Bercow provoked uproar at Westminster on Monday when he ruled that the Government could not bring the Prime Minister’s deal back for a third “meaningful vote” unless there were substantial changes.

May voiced her “absolute determination” that MPs should have another chance to vote on her Brexit deal, despite the bombshell intervention of the Commons Speaker.

May’s spokesman said the Prime Minister had made clear if her deal was voted down in the second “meaningful vote” – as happened last week – they would be “in crisis”.

He said events on Monday suggested “that situation has come to pass”.

The spokesman said that May would now be writing to European Council president Donald Tusk ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels in relation to an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process.

Andrea Leadsom voiced fears that the Cabinet would not deliver Brexit (Image: REUTERS)
Andrea Leadsom voiced fears that the Cabinet would not deliver Brexit (Image: REUTERS)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “What you can see from the Prime Minister and her colleagues is an absolute determination to find a way in which Parliament could vote for the UK to leave the European Union with a deal.

“The Prime Minister has been very clear throughout that she wants that to happen as soon as possible.”

Nevertheless, there was said to concern among some ministers that Brexit appeared to be slipping away.

The Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom is understood to have told the meeting: “This used to be the Cabinet that would deliver Brexit and now from what I’m hearing it’s not.”

In a further blow to May, the government’s talks with the DUP, which has 10 lawmakers in parliament, have reportedly stalled and a breakthrough is unlikely at the moment.

The Prime Minister previously said if the deal was defeated in last week’s vote there would have to be an extended delay to Brexit, with the UK staging elections to the European Parliament in May.

JOHN BERCOW: GOVERNMENT CANNOT HOLD ANOTHER MEANINGFUL VOTE UNLESS IT IS SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT
JOHN BERCOW: GOVERNMENT CANNOT HOLD ANOTHER MEANINGFUL VOTE UNLESS IT IS SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT

However the spokesman said: “She has said in the House of Commons that she does not want there to be a long delay and that she believes asking the British public to take part in European elections three years after they voted to leave the EU would represent a failure by politicians.”

Downing Street confirmed discussions were continuing with the Democratic Unionist Party – which props up the Government at Westminster – in an effort to build support for the deal after last week’s 149-vote defeat.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson – one of the most strident opponents of the Withdrawal Agreement – was also seen entering the Cabinet Office for talks.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “She is speaking with and having meetings with colleagues and a lot of those meetings have been focused on Brexit.”

Speaker John Bercow's ruling sparked uproar (Image: PA)
Speaker John Bercow’s ruling sparked uproar (Image: PA)

Earlier, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay acknowledged Bercow’s ruling made it “more unlikely” there would be an attempt to stage another vote before May heads to Brussels, as No 10 had hoped.

However, he insisted that May’s agreement remained “the only deal on the table”.

“What we need to do is secure the deal,” he told Sky News.

“This is the only deal on the table. The EU is clear it is the only deal on the table. Business needs the certainty of this deal and it is time that Parliament comes together and gets behind it.”

While Bercow cited previous rulings dating back to the 17th century in his Commons statement, Barclay said he had previously made clear the House should not necessarily be bound by precedent.

“What the Speaker has said in his ruling is there needs to be something that is different. You can have the same motion but where the circumstances have changed,” he said.

“So we need to look at the details of the ruling, we need to consider that in the terms of earlier rulings that don’t particularly align with yesterday’s.

“The fact a number of Members of Parliament have said that they will change their votes points to the fact that there are things that are different.”

With less than two weeks before Britain is still formally due to leave on March 29, there was exasperation among leaders of the remaining EU 27 over the continued deadlock in Westminster.

Arriving for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Germany’s Europe minister Michael Roth said they needed “clear and precise proposals” from the UK regarding any Article 50 extension.

“Dear friends in London, please deliver. The clock is ticking,” he said.

“It’s not just a game. It’s an extremely serious situation.”

Meanwhile, Irish premier Leo Varadkar has held talks in Dublin with Tusk ahead of the Brussels summit.

The Irish government has been adamant it will not accept changes to the Northern Ireland backstop – intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border – which remains the main stumbling block to an agreement for many MPs.