{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/not-enough-progress-as-theresa-may-insists-brexit-deal-still-possible-1-4816930","id":"1.4816930","articleHeadline": "'Not enough progress' as Theresa May insists Brexit deal still possible","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539876679702 ,"articleLead": "

A special summit to try and break the deadlock over Brexit will only take place “if and when” decisive progress is made on the issue of the Irish border, the UK has been warned as EU leaders departed Brussels without moving closer to a solution.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816929.1539876926!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

EU Council president Donald Tusk said “not enough progress” had been made to schedule a summit in November, adding to uncertainty over whether a Brexit deal could be reached before time runs out.

At the close of the EU Council summit, Theresa May said Brexit talks “were always going to be tough” and insisted a deal could still be reached.

READ MORE: Theresa May open to extra year under EU rules as she seeks ‘creative’ exit
But German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that \"each and everyone ought to prepare for a no deal” at the close of an EU gathering that had been earmarked as the decisive moment to reach a deal, but passed without progress.

“These were always going to be tough negotiations and they were always going to get tougher as we got to the closing stages,” Mrs May said in a press conference. “There are some difficult issues we are still working through.

\"Crucial among those is this issue of the Northern Ireland backstop and ensuring that we can provide for a solution which is not the solution that was produced by the European Commission initially, which would have effectively carved Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

\"That is unacceptable to the UK Government. On that issue further solutions have been put forward.

\"But what we want to do is to work to get through that so that we can actually get to the deal that I believe will be good for the British people.\"

European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker said an extension to the 21-month post-Brexit transition period “will probably happen” after the idea was floated during this week’s summit, risking further anger by Brexiteers in Mrs May’s party.

READ MORE: Scottish fishermen hit out at suggestion of longer Brexit transition
The Prime Minister sought to explain the proposal, saying: \"What has now emerged is the idea that an option to extend the implementation period could be a further solution to this issue of the backstop in Northern Ireland,” she said.

“We are not doing is standing here proposing an extension to the implementation period.\"

“What we are doing is working to get solution on the backstop.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816929.1539876926!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816929.1539876926!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816929.1539876926!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-fishermen-hit-out-at-suggestion-of-longer-brexit-transition-1-4816775","id":"1.4816775","articleHeadline": "Scottish fishermen hit out at suggestion of longer Brexit transition","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539865799220 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish fishermen have hit out at the suggestion the UK could extend the post-Brexit transition, saying it would “make no sense whatsoever” to remain under EU fishing quotas for up to another year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816774.1539865989!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

At a summit in Brussels, the UK and EU discussed the possibility of extending the 21-month transition period, during which single market and customs union rules will continue to apply.

Brussels has suggested an extension of up to a year in order to provide enough time to negotiate the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU, and in a bid to break the deadlock over the Irish border.

Downing Street insists this would only be for a matter of months, and would never come into effect because both issues can be dealt with in the existing timescales.

READ MORE: Fishing industry's anger as UK and EU strike Brexit transition deal
A year-long extension would potentially see the UK remain bound by quotas and restrictions within the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), despite losing a seat at the table where those quotas are set on an annual basis from Brexit day.

That would mean three and a half years of CFP quotas where the UK would have no say.

A statement from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said there was “genuine fear” that the UK could become entangled in fresh restrictions on its catches “for years to come”.

“We understand the logic for some of an extension to the implementation period, but for fishing it would make no sense whatsoever to force the industry to operate under the Common Fisheries Policy beyond 2020,” the SFF statement says.

“All the practical international processes for the UK to become an independent Coastal State, exercising its rights and responsibilities accordingly, are already in place.

READ MORE: Brexit: Danes demand right to fish in UK waters under EU deal
“Further postponement would erode if not endanger our emergence as one of the primary Coastal States in the North-East Atlantic.

“There is a genuine fear among fishermen that any extension to the UK’s time in the Brexit waiting room would be used by the EU to place conditions on the return of fish stocks that are rightfully ours via long-term agreements that would be difficult to disentangle in years to come.”

Scottish Conservative MPs, who have argued strongly for a swift exit from the CFP, have voiced their unhappiness at the prospect of a longer transition.

Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson said that in comparison, “no deal, which would give us immediate and total control of our waters and our money... is far more preferable”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816774.1539865989!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816774.1539865989!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816774.1539865989!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/high-profile-tory-mp-launches-foul-mouthed-tirade-at-government-1-4817023","id":"1.4817023","articleHeadline": "High-profile Tory MP launches foul-mouthed tirade at Government","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539890944000 ,"articleLead": "

A high-profile Tory MP has branded the Government a “s**t show” and questioned whether the party still shares his “values and ethos”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4817022.1539890940!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Johnny Mercer. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Ex-British Army officer Johnny Mercer, who was only elected in 2015, said he would not have run in Plymouth Moor View “if the situation was like it is now”.

In an interview with The House magazine, he warned that if Tory internecine rows over Brexit let in Jeremy Corbyn “I don’t think we’d be forgiven for a generation and we wouldn’t deserve to be”.

The 37-year-old father of two said that with hindsight his pre-MP self “wouldn’t vote”, adding: “There’s no doubt about it that my set of values and ethos, I was comfortable that it was aligned with the Conservative Party.

READ MORE: Case of Mad Cow Disease confirmed on farm in Aberdeenshire

“I’m not as comfortable that that’s the case any more.”

Mr Mercer is an Afghan veteran who served with 29 Commando, part of the Royal Artillery, before becoming an MP.

READ MORE: Theresa May ready to delay Brexit by ‘matter of months’

He took his Devon seat from Labour in 2015 and increased his majority to more than 5,000 last year, but warned the party was being led by “technocrats and managers” who were exposing it to “ridicule” over Brexit.

Since being elected he has joined the Defence Select Committee and campaigned for veterans, including those with mental health problems and others facing prosecution for alleged crimes during the Troubles.

He gained notoriety and column inches after being elected when it emerged he had appeared in a shower gel advertisement, in which he was shown soaping himself while half naked.

It is not the first time Mr Mercer has criticised the Conservatives from within.

In November he told the Telegraph the party “still seems punch-drunk” and was “in danger of losing credibility” after the snap general election in 2017 which saw the Tories lose their majority in Westminster.

The Remain supporter, who describes himself as being centre-right, told The House that Theresa May’s Chequers deal was “your classic professional politician’s answer” that pleases no one.

“People who pay our wages and vote for us expect us to make decisions and get on with government, not be fixated on us retaining our position,” he added, warning that the party had “lost this ability to fight, to scrap for what we believe in”.

He added: “The party will never really change until you have somebody who is leading the party who has won a seat and knows what it’s like to go out every weekend and advocate for what you just voted for that week.

“I sat down with a colleague the other day and I was stunned when [she] told me she had never been canvassing.

“A lot of these candidates, these safe seats come up and they just bounce around one to the other. It becomes something I don’t really recognise.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4817022.1539890940!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4817022.1539890940!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Johnny Mercer. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Johnny Mercer. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4817022.1539890940!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/new-research-shows-beer-duty-and-tourist-tax-put-pubs-at-risk-1-4817012","id":"1.4817012","articleHeadline": "New research shows beer duty and tourist tax put pubs at risk","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539889856000 ,"articleLead": "

Campaigners are warning that Scotland stands to lose one in ten of its pubs within five years unless the ­Chancellor reduces beer duty in the autumn Budget next Monday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4817015.1539889852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "21/03/17 .GLASGOW. Stock shot of schooner glass. schooner with beer. For Sean Murphy story."} ,"articleBody": "

Research for the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) suggests if closures continue at the current rate, 561 Scottish pubs will close their doors in the next five years – equivalent to 12 per cent of Scotland’s total number of pubs.

The data was provided by Britain’s Beer Alliance, the organisation representing regional, independent and international breweries, for the SBPA.

READ MORE: Theresa May ready to delay Brexit by ‘matter of months’

A recent study has predicted that if duty on beer continues to increase in line with the Retail Price Index measure of inflation there could be 12,500 job losses across the UK over the next four years. The sector contributes around £1.7 billion to the Scottish economy and pays just under £1bn in taxes.

READ MORE: Case of Mad Cow Disease confirmed on farm in Aberdeenshire

The SBPA also warned that the imposition of a “tourist tax” in Edinburgh would hammer the pub sector.

The concerns were raised as the SBPA responded to Edinburgh City Council’s consultation on proposals to charge either 2 per cent or £2 per room, per night, to all guests in all forms of accommodation. The tax – or “transient visitor levy” (TVL) – would be charged all year round but it would be capped at seven nights.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said: “A consultation by the City of Edinburgh Council for a ‘tourist tax’ is of real concern to the beer and pub sector.

“In Scotland, our industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs and contributes £1.73bn to the economy – it is also a ­crucial part of the nation’s tourism offer, with a visit to a traditional pub third on the list of things tourists do when they visit.

“Pubs have faced a number of challenges over the last decade and still face increasing and considerable tax pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT.

“Any introduction of a ‘tourism tax’ in Edinburgh will see tourists having less money to spend in the city and only add to the challenges. Any introduction must therefore be accompanied by a reduction in tax elsewhere.

“The UK ranks almost bottom on any list on price competitiveness for tourists and unlike most countries in the EU does not offer reduced VAT on either accommodation or food. We also have some of the highest rates of air passenger duty in the world. It is vital that any levy is hypothecated back into the sector to attract more visitors to the city and help those businesses which will be impacted by this tax.”

She added: “On average, every pub contributes £100,000 to their local economy each year, and with tourism being such an important backbone to Edinburgh’s economy, a ‘tourism tax’ on one of Edinburgh’s most successful businesses could be bad news.”

On the prospect of pub closures due to beer duty rates, Ms Simmonds urged people to support the Long Live the Local campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4817015.1539889852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4817015.1539889852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "21/03/17 .GLASGOW. Stock shot of schooner glass. schooner with beer. For Sean Murphy story.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "21/03/17 .GLASGOW. Stock shot of schooner glass. schooner with beer. For Sean Murphy story.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4817015.1539889852!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/fox-withdraws-from-saudi-conference-amid-concerns-for-journalist-1-4817014","id":"1.4817014","articleHeadline": "Fox withdraws from Saudi conference amid concerns for journalist","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539889697000 ,"articleLead": "

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is pulling out of an international investment conference in Saudi Arabia amid concerns over the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816496.1539889694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)"} ,"articleBody": "

A government spokesman said Dr Fox had decided the “time is not right” for him to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh later this month.

“The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance,” the spokesman said.

READ MORE: Case of Mad Cow Disease confirmed on farm in Aberdeenshire

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin also said yesterday he will not attend the conference, tweeting that his decision was taken after a White House meeting with president Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

READ MORE: Theresa May ready to delay Brexit by ‘matter of months’

Turkish government sources have claimed that Mr Khashoggi – a critic of the government in Riyadh – was murdered during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

The UK government spokesman said: “We encourage Turkish-Saudi collaboration and look forward to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conducting a thorough, credible, transparent and prompt investigation, as announced.

“Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account.”

French finance minister ­Bruno Le Maire and his Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, also announced they were pulling out of the event, which had been dubbed “Davos in the desert”. Mr Le Maire said the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi was a “serious” matter and needed to be explained by ­Saudi authorities.

Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said a Dutch trade mission to Saudi Arabia planned for December was also now unlikely to go ahead.

A number of senior top business executives have already cancelled their plans to attend the conference, as has the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde.

Allan Hogarth of Amnesty International UK said the British government should now re-appraise its “overly-cosy” relationship with the Saudis in the light of their “appalling” human rights record.

He said: “Liam Fox’s cancellation appears to be a recognition of the fact that cheer-leading for business in Saudi Arabia when the country is accused of murdering a journalist is simply beyond the pale.”

The latest moves come amid growing international pressure on the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to explain what happened to Mr Khashoggi, who has has not been seen since entering the consulate on 2 October.

Saudi officials have dismissed allegations that he was tortured, murdered and then dismembered by a hit squad flown in from Riyadh as “baseless”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816496.1539889694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816496.1539889694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816496.1539889694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/dup-criticise-plans-to-extend-brexit-transition-period-1-4816965","id":"1.4816965","articleHeadline": "DUP criticise plans to extend Brexit transition period","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539880281000 ,"articleLead": "

An extended transition period would not solve a fundamental problem with the EU’s backstop proposals, the DUP said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4804017.1539880276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "DUP Leader Arlene Foster. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The UK would continue to pay contributions to the bloc while having no say post-Brexit, deputy leader Nigel Dodds warned.

He said: “Such an extension would cost United Kingdom billions of pounds, yet our fundamental problem with the EU proposal remains.”

He repeated his party’s criticisms of the EU’s Irish border backstop position.

READ MORE: Not enough progress as May and EU end summit

“I am glad that it is not just unionists in Northern Ireland who recognise the dangers of the EU proposals on the backstop to the Union.

“Such a backstop is unacceptable to many others from right across the United Kingdom.”

Meanwhile, his Sinn Fein counterpart Michelle O’Neill said Prime Minister Theresa May had refused to hold a joint meeting with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s main anti-Brexit parties.

She said Mrs May had turned down a request for talks with the leaders of Sinn Fein, the nationalist SDLP, cross-community Alliance Party and the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: Theresa May ‘could delay Brexit’

Mrs O’Neill said: “In order to preserve her toxic alliance with the DUP, she is trampling over the rights of citizens by acquiescing to that party’s refusal to share power (at Stormont) on the basis of equality.

“And by refusing to meet their representatives, Theresa May is also ignoring the democratic will of the majority in the north who voted to reject Brexit.”

She said the British Government was incapable of acting responsibly or with any semblance of impartiality while it remained wedded to the DUP.

“Theresa May is showing nothing but disdain for the people of the north, for the Good Friday Agreement, for our economy and rights and for the peace process.

“It is an appalling failure of her responsibilities as a co-equal guarantor of our peace and political process and there is an onus on the Irish Government and EU27 to defend our best interests during this critical stage of the Brexit negotiations.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4804017.1539880276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4804017.1539880276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "DUP Leader Arlene Foster. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "DUP Leader Arlene Foster. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4804017.1539880276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/edinburgh-man-walks-63-miles-for-indonesia-tsunami-appeal-1-4811305","id":"1.4811305","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh man walks 63 miles for Indonesia tsunami appeal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539873169551 ,"articleLead": "A brain tumour survivor and former frontline army officer is walking across Scotland to support the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) appeal for victims of the Indonesian Tsunami.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4811304.1539873171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: DEC"} ,"articleBody": "

Archie Douglas, of Edinburgh, who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour five years ago, is walking the length of the Forth/Clyde and Union canals across Scotland to support DEC’s latest appeal for the victims of the recent Indonesian tsunami.

Archie, who has twice served in Afghanistan with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, has made a remarkable recovery with the help of pioneering surgery and aggressive radio an chemotherapy but the neurological side effects mean he is currently unable to work.

Instead he has decided to put all his efforts into his personal therapy regime of a strict balanced daily lifestyle along with walking, learning to act, sing and play golf all in an effort
to raise funds for DEC.

Archie set off from Bowling on the Clyde in West Dunbartonshire yesterday (Wednesday 17 October) and is due to arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow on Friday, a total distance of 63 miles over three days.

Along the way, Archie wants to meet as many people as possible to tell them about the life saving work of the DEC and of course, encourage people to walk with him and support the
current appeal for the Indonesian tsunami.

More than 2,000 people have been killed, more than twice that number are missing, feared dead.

Another 10,000 have been injured with 80,000 displaced by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Across the UK, £17 million has been raised for the appeal, with more than £1.5 million in Scotland alone.

Archie says: “Learning to act, sing, and play golf gives me hope for a future in work.

“Fundraising for the Disasters Emergency Committee to help save the lives and improve the life chances of thousands of people in communities ravaged by disaster gives me a

He is one of a number of people across Scotland who are now mobilizing to help drive the fundraising total even higher in the coming days.

Indonesian students are being supported in in a number of campuses around the country.

Many other organisations across the public and private sector are now rallying behind this latest appeal.

The funds raised will be directly used to provide thousands of families with desperately - needed clean drinking water and food as well as medicines, tents and tarpaulins to make emergency shelters.

As the local rainy season approaches, there is a pressing need to help those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly, children, people with disabilities, and pregnant women.

The DEC is urging people to continue donating as £30 could provide emergency shelter for a family, £50 could provide them with food for a month. Donations can be made at
www.dec.org.uk or by texting SUPPORT to 70000.

Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC Indonesia Tsunami Appeal. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and
more information go to www.dec.org.uk


" ,"byline": {"email": "sarah.devine@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Sarah Devine"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4811304.1539873171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4811304.1539873171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: DEC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: DEC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4811304.1539873171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/tory-politician-unable-to-understand-snp-mp-due-to-glaswegian-accent-1-4816724","id":"1.4816724","articleHeadline": "Tory politician unable to understand SNP MP ‘due to Glaswegian accent’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539861894000 ,"articleLead": "

A breakdown in communication left a Scottish MP unable to get answers in Parliament.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816723.1539861701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP's David Linden, MP for Glasgow East, asked about improvements to disability access during House of Commons Commission questions."} ,"articleBody": "

The SNP’s David Linden, MP for Glasgow East, asked about improvements to disability access during House of Commons Commission questions.

Representing the commission, former minister Sir Paul Beresford twice asked Mr Linden to repeat himself because he could not understand what he had said.

Conservative Sir Paul, who holds dual New Zealand and British citizenship, said: “I’m sorry, it must be something to do with my antipodean background.

“Could you please repeat the question because I didn’t follow it?”

There was laughter and a comment of “oh wow” from the SNP benches as Mr Linden despondently said “oh well, I’m very popular today” and repeated the question at a slower pace.

Sir Paul still struggled and asked again for Mr Linden to repeat it “more slowly and in antipodean English”.

Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who has a robust Lancashire accent, intervened at the impasse, saying: “I think the answer might be helped if he can reply in writing.”

Mr Linden then resorted to sign language across the Chamber to confirm he would write to his colleague.

He is not the first SNP MP to have difficulties making himself understood.

Last year, SNP MP Alan Brown revealed ministers have so much trouble understanding his thick Ayrshire accent that he rarely receives direct answers to his questions when he speaks in the Commons chamber.

Reporters at Hansard, the official verbatim report of Parliament, struggle with the same problem and pass notes to the SNP backbencher asking him to write out what he said whenever he rises to speak.

Mr Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) told the Press Association the issue has become “a running joke” with colleagues and that, whenever he gets up to speak, he notices the minster sink back into their green leather bench and put their ear right up against the speaker embedded in it.

The parliamentary sketch writers are also known to scratch their heads when he is speaking.

Mr Brown said: “Sometimes Hansard ask what other people say but I make the joke that they must have an Ayrshire translator in now but the Ayrshire translator doesn’t understand my colleagues.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816723.1539861701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816723.1539861701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The SNP's David Linden, MP for Glasgow East, asked about improvements to disability access during House of Commons Commission questions.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP's David Linden, MP for Glasgow East, asked about improvements to disability access during House of Commons Commission questions.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816723.1539861701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5850346239001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/voters-will-not-forgive-any-surrender-to-eu-on-brexit-warn-senior-tories-1-4816679","id":"1.4816679","articleHeadline": "Voters will ‘not forgive any surrender to EU on Brexit’ warn senior Tories","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539856739000 ,"articleLead": "

Voters will not forgive Theresa May if she surrenders to Brussels in the Brexit negotiations, Boris Johnson and David Davis have warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816678.1539856735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "MP Boris Johnson responds to Prime Minister Theresa May update on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations in the House of Commons. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, they claim her plans for future relations with the European Union are less popular than the poll tax and call on her to “deliver the Brexit which people voted for”.

It was signed by former Cabinet ministers Mr Davis, Mr Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Priti Patel, as well as Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the Conservative European Research Group of Brexiteer Tories.

The letter, published by The Telegraph, states: “We urge you to make clear that you will not bind the UK into the purgatory of perpetual membership of the EU’s customs union, whether by a backstop or any other route.”

It adds: “Talk of either a UK or a Northern Irish backstop is inimical to our status as a sovereign nation state. Both are unnecessary: indeed they are a trap being set by the EU which it is vital we do not fall into.”

The group called on Mrs May to “reset” the negotiations and ditch her Chequers Brexit blueprint.

“We urge you not to engage in a show of resistance and a choreographed argument followed by surrender and collapse into some version of the backstop and Chequers,” they wrote.

“Instead we urge you to say to the EU at the summit: ‘Let us agree that we need to reset our negotiations. Our objective is a free trade agreement that benefits the UK and EU and millions of our citizens.’

“This would command a majority in Parliament, unlike the unpopular Chequers plan. Let us seize the opportunity and create a better future for the UK.

“We are close to the moment of truth. Brexit offers the prize of a better future, global free trade deals and political independence.

“But if these potential gains are sacrificed because of EU bullying and the Government’s desperation to secure a deal, the British people will not forgive us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816678.1539856735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816678.1539856735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "MP Boris Johnson responds to Prime Minister Theresa May update on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations in the House of Commons. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "MP Boris Johnson responds to Prime Minister Theresa May update on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations in the House of Commons. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816678.1539856735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/row-erupts-over-commons-meaningful-vote-on-brexit-withdrawal-bill-1-4816531","id":"1.4816531","articleHeadline": "Row erupts over Commons ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit Withdrawal Bill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539844816000 ,"articleLead": "

MPs must make an “unequivocal decision” about Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Parliament, with anything other than approval risking “huge uncertainty for business, consumers and citizens”, Dominic Raab has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816530.1539849632!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dominic Raab has riled some MPs after appearing to suggest Parliament might not get a "meaningful vote" on any deal."} ,"articleBody": "

The Brexit Secretary was accused by Labour of trying to silence Parliament after sending a letter and document on a so-called “meaningful vote” on the Withdrawal Agreement to a committee of MPs.

MPs will have to vote on any agreement Mrs May brings back from Brussels, with opposition parties and even some of the Prime Minister’s allies warning that they may not back it, which would risk a no-deal Brexit.

Both Remainer and Brexiteer MPs have suggested that the vote legislation could be amended to make changes either keeping the UK closer to the EU or moving it further away than the deal might allow.

READ MORE: Theresa May faces backlash over delay to final EU departure

But in a memo sent to Procedures Committee chairman Charles Walker last week and published on Wednesday, the Government warned that any amendments “could have the effect - whether deliberately or accidentally - of inhibiting the Government’s legal ability to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement”.

In an accompanying letter, Mr Raab said: “Once the deal is presented to Parliament, the procedure through which it is voted upon must allow for an unequivocal decision, and one which is clear to the British public.

“Anything other than a straightforward approval of the deal will bring with it huge uncertainty for business, consumers and citizens.”

But shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: “Labour doesn’t accept that the choice facing Parliament will be between whatever deal Theresa May cobbles together or no deal.

“That is not a meaningful vote and ministers can’t be allowed to silence Parliament.

“MPs must be given the opportunity to scrutinise, consider and, where appropriate, amend any resolution the Government puts forward.”

There were tense scenes in Parliament over the summer as Brexit legislation went through the Commons and Lords, with amendments seeking to give MPs a greater say ahead of the vote.

The Prime Minister saw off several revolts from her own MPs and the Lords with scenes including ill and heavily pregnant MPs being brought into the Commons for tight votes.

Tory Nicky Morgan, a pro-Remain MP involved in some of those attempts, said on Twitter: “This appears to be an attempt by the Executive to frustrate our sovereign Parliament - it is clumsy, it won’t succeed & it shows how hollow ‘taking back control’ was for some people.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “The evidence provided at the request of the Procedure Committee simply sets out the different ways in which you could take amendments during the vote on the final deal.

“It also sets out the issues that could arise if the vote does not lead to a clear outcome that provides legal certainty. We look forward to hearing their views.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816530.1539849632!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816530.1539849632!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dominic Raab has riled some MPs after appearing to suggest Parliament might not get a "meaningful vote" on any deal.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dominic Raab has riled some MPs after appearing to suggest Parliament might not get a "meaningful vote" on any deal.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816530.1539849632!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/universal-credit-sees-people-seeking-rent-arrears-advice-up-by-47-report-1-4816516","id":"1.4816516","articleHeadline": "Universal Credit sees people seeking rent arrears advice up by 47% - report","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539843734000 ,"articleLead": "

The roll-out of Universal Credit has contributed to the number of people seeking advice over rent arrears rising by more than 45% in five years, according to a new report.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816515.1539843730!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The roll-out of Universal Credit has contributed to the number of people seeking advice over rent arrears rising by more than 45% in five years"} ,"articleBody": "

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) published the paper on Thursday, which notes the increase covers the period in which the social security changes have been introduced.

Former prime ministers Gordon Brown and Sir John Major are among the political heavyweights who have recently criticised the roll-out of Universal Credit.

CAS spokesman Rob Gowans said: “The rise in rent arrears is one of the most worrying trends we see across the Citizens Advice Bureau network at the moment.

“While there are a number of factors driving this, we have no doubt that the flaws in Universal Credit are one of the main ones.

READ MORE: Universal Credit row explained as pressure mounts on Theresa May to change policy

“For the past 18 months we have been calling for a halt and fix to Universal Credit.

“We have set out again today the key flaws that need to be addressed, including reducing the waiting period before payment, cutting out processing delays and reducing deductions.

“These are relatively simple changes that could make a huge difference to millions of people.”

Figures from 2012/13 show there were 5,340 people seeking advice after getting into difficulty with rent payments, while in 2016/17 that number was 7,856 - a rise of 47%.

The report recommends issues with the social security changes are addressed, but also calls for efforts to be made to keep accommodation affordable.

Further recommendations include that benefits should cover the cost of housing and landlords follow “best practice” when dealing with those in arrears.

Additional causes for those finding themselves in difficulty were identified as being rent increases, low wages and lack of support for those in need.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “Rent arrears are complicated and they cannot be attributed to a single cause.

READ MORE: Scots are ‘driven to starvation’ due to Universal Credit claims says SNP minister

“Our research shows that many people join Universal Credit with pre-existing arrears, but the proportion of people with arrears falls by a third after four months in Universal Credit.

“Managed payments to landlords are available as part of the alternative payment arrangements in Universal Credit, to minimise the risk of claimants failing to pay their rent.

“And we are rolling out the Universal Credit landlord portal to social landlords, which is helping us target support for vulnerable people.”

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville added: “With every passing day, there is more and more evidence of the damage being caused by the roll-out of Universal Credit. Families already struggling to get by are facing further debt, rent arrears and misery.

“We have done what we can with our limited powers, providing recipients with choices on the frequency of their payments and paying housing costs directly to their landlord.

“But Universal Credit is a reserved benefit and the UK Government should pay heed to the growing number of voices, from former prime ministers to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and more importantly from families the length and breadth of Scotland.

“They must call a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit and use the Budget as the first step towards a fundamental review of this deeply flawed system.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816515.1539843730!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816515.1539843730!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The roll-out of Universal Credit has contributed to the number of people seeking advice over rent arrears rising by more than 45% in five years","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The roll-out of Universal Credit has contributed to the number of people seeking advice over rent arrears rising by more than 45% in five years","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816515.1539843730!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/theresa-may-faces-backlash-over-delay-to-final-eu-departure-1-4816512","id":"1.4816512","articleHeadline": "Theresa May faces backlash over delay to final EU departure","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539842613000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May was facing a backlash from Brexiteers after indicating she is ready to consider extending Britain’s transition out of the EU for a further year, to the end of 2021.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816511.1539847442!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May was facing a backlash from Brexiteers after indicating she is ready to consider extending Britain's transition out of the EU for a further year"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister told a crunch European Council summit in Brussels that she was “ready to consider” the extension floated by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to give time to resolve the intractable problem of the Irish border.

If agreed, the change would mean the UK remaining within the single market and customs union and subject to EU rules and regulations for almost three years after the official date of Brexit in March 2019, and more than five years after the referendum vote to Leave.

Furious Brexiteers said that the move would delay yet further the moment when the UK could sign new trade deals around the world, and would cost taxpayers billions of pounds in additional contributions to the EU.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said that it would delay full withdrawal almost until the general election scheduled for May 2022 and “may mean we never leave at all”.

Tory MP Nadine Dorries repeated her call for former Brexit secretary David Davis to replace Mrs May as leader.

“We cannot find the money to fund our frontline police properly, we cannot find the £2 billion for the vulnerable on Universal Credit, but we can mysteriously find billions to bung to the EU for the unnecessary extra year Clegg and Blair asked Barnier for to waylay Brexit,” said Ms Dorries.

READ MORE: May open to extra year under EU rules as she seeks ‘creative’ exit

And Mr Davis’s former chief of staff Stewart Jackson asked: “If you can’t - or in the EU’s case won’t - resolve the backstop issue now because it’s an issue of principle than why will it take another three years to resolve it? Will it not be an issue of principle once we have coughed up billions more in UK taxpayers’ cash?”

Leaders of the 27 remaining EU leaders ditched proposals for a special Brexit summit in November, after chief negotiator Michel Barnier told them he needed “much more time” to find a way to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

With just 160 days to go to the official date of Brexit, Mrs May urged the EU27 to find a “creative” way out of the current dilemma.

“We have shown we can do difficult deals together constructively,” the PM said. “I remain confident of a good outcome.”

And she told them: “The last stage will need courage, trust and leadership on both sides.”

After her Chequers plan for Brexit was humiliatingly rejected in Salzburg last month and efforts to seal a last-minute deal foundered last weekend over the EU’s demand for a “backstop” arrangement for Ireland, Mrs May was fighting to keep the door open for an agreement to deliver an orderly withdrawal.

EU leaders gave her 20 minutes to make her pitch before discussing Brexit in her absence over a dinner of turbot cooked in wheat beer.

The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, said: “Both sides mentioned the idea of an extension of the transition period as one possibility which is on the table and would have to be looked into.”

A senior EU official later said Mrs May had indicated she was “ready to consider” a longer transition period.

Mrs May initially suggested an “implementation period” of around two years after Brexit, to give the UK’s authorities and companies time to prepare for the new arrangements.

But she later accepted a 21-month transition offered by the EU, ending on the last day of December 2020.

It emerged on Wednesday that Mr Barnier was ready to discuss a further year’s extension to allow time to find a solution to keep the Irish border open.

UK officials stressed that the Prime Minister was not proposing any extension to the period already agreed.

This week’s summit had been billed as “the moment of truth” when agreement was needed to allow time for ratification in the Westminster and European parliaments.

But Mrs May did not come forward with the new “concrete proposals” on the border issue which European Council president Donald Tusk said were needed to break the deadlock.

While expressing their willingness to work for an orderly UK withdrawal, a number of EU leaders said their countries were beginning preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

In a speech to the German parliament before travelling to Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the possibility of a Brexit deal was “still there”, but added that Berlin was making plans for a no-deal withdrawal.

And in Paris, Emmanuel Macron’s government published details of legislation to authorise preparations for a no-deal Brexit, which could see the restoration of customs checks and health inspections for animals at French ports, and even a requirement for Britons to seek visas for stays of three months or more.

Mr Macron, who held separate talks with Mrs May ahead of the three-hour dinner, said it was time to “accelerate” talks.

But Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite said there would be “no breakthrough” this week because Mrs May lacked a strong mandate from her party and parliament.

Britain needed “to decide finally what they want and to rally behind the Prime Minister all together, not split”, she said, adding: “Today we do not know what they want. They do not know themselves what they want. It is a problem.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816511.1539847442!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816511.1539847442!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May was facing a backlash from Brexiteers after indicating she is ready to consider extending Britain's transition out of the EU for a further year","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May was facing a backlash from Brexiteers after indicating she is ready to consider extending Britain's transition out of the EU for a further year","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816511.1539847442!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/theresa-may-open-to-extra-year-under-eu-rules-as-she-seeks-creative-exit-1-4816493","id":"1.4816493","articleHeadline": "Theresa May open to extra year under EU rules as she seeks ‘creative’ exit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539842172000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has told EU leaders she is ready to keep the UK under single market and customs union rules for an extra year after Brexit in the absence of any solutions to the impasse over the Irish border.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816492.1539842168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, hugs Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as they meet in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 when European leaders meet to negotiate on terms of Britain's divorce from the European Union. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)"} ,"articleBody": "

At the start of a summit that had previously been earmarked as the deadline for a breakthrough, both sides admitted the deadlock would take more time to untangle and said they were willing to extend the post-Brexit transition until the end of 2021.

The admission will anger Brexiteers in the Conservative Party and pose a particular challenge to Scottish Conservative MPs, who have argued strongly for a swift exit from the Common Fisheries Policy.

READ MORE: Horrific footage emerges claiming to show Scottish shearers ‘punching sheep in the face’

Remaining under single market rules could see fishermen forced to adhere to EU quotas and restrictions, even though the UK will not have a seat at the table when those quotas are set beyond 2019.

The Prime Minister addressed EU leaders for 15 minutes in Brussels last night, setting out the UK’s position on Brexit talks before leaving the summit while they discussed her comments over dinner.

“We have shown we can do difficult deals constructively,” Mrs May told the EU27 leaders. “I remain confident of a good outcome.”

READ MORE: Six-year-old boy wins right to sue Orkney-based diving company after death of father

She added: “The last stage will need courage, trust and leadership on both sides.”

A UK source said the Prime Minister issued an appeal “to find a creative way out of this dilemma” on the Irish border and reiterated she was “fully committed to finding a legally operative backstop” that guarantees no hard border in Ireland.

However, despite a call from European Council president Donald Tusk for “new facts” on the Irish border, there was little evidence of fresh proposals to break the stalemate.

Speaking after hearing Mrs May’s address to EU leaders, European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said: “There was a message of goodwill and readiness to reach an agreement, but I didn’t perceive anything substantially new in terms of content as I listened to Mrs May.”

Mr Tajani added the Prime Minister had said she was willing to consider a proposal from the EU to extend the transition period.

An EU source confirmed Mrs May was ready to consider adding an extra year.

Arriving at the summit, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had told reporters that “much more time” was needed to reach a breakthrough.

“We are not there yet ... we will continue the work in the next weeks calmly and patiently,” he said.

EU leaders must now decide whether to hold an emergency summit next month, despite warnings from leaders including French president Emmanuel Macron that no further meeting could take place without progress on the Irish border.

A November summit could be used to focus on preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

A final Brexit deal could now be put off until as late as December – beyond the point at which Mr Barnier had said an agreement was essential.

The French Government yesterday published draft no-deal legislation that could require British citizens to obtain a visa before travelling to France following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

EU leaders voiced frustration at Mrs May’s inability to command the full support of her party.

Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite claimed the Prime Minister didn’t have a “strong mandate”.

Ms Grybauskaite said it was difficult for the EU to “negotiate with a person who has no full support of the position”.

And Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said last night: “We are concerned because we see it is difficult in the British Parliament to have the same views on the future of the relationship between the EU and UK.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816492.1539842168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816492.1539842168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, hugs Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as they meet in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 when European leaders meet to negotiate on terms of Britain's divorce from the European Union. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, hugs Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as they meet in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 when European leaders meet to negotiate on terms of Britain's divorce from the European Union. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816492.1539842168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kenny-macaskill-tory-civil-war-worse-than-snp-fight-that-saw-me-expelled-1-4816159","id":"1.4816159","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: Tory civil war worse than SNP fight that saw me expelled","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539838800000 ,"articleLead": "

All political parties are coalitions encompassing a wide range of views and maximising membership, otherwise they’d be some doctrinaire cult. However, there’s usually enough of an agreed consensus to hold everyone together.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816157.1539780621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May and Boris Johnson at a Cabinet meeting before he resigned over her Brexit plan (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

After all, there are few that agree with absolutely everything that their party stands for, whether it’s on the left, right or centre and wherever it stands on major constitutional issues. But, they join as a declaration of faith for the general principles. On many specific matters, they’ll simply disagree and if they become fundamental points of principle, then they’ll leave.

I’m a case in point, joining the SNP many years ago for the general support for independence even if I disagreed with the then positioning of the party and with some particular policies.

On many aspects, it’s the party that’s changed over the years rather than me and on other issues I’ve just kept my powder dry or expressed concerns in private. There are still policies I disagree with but I’ve retained my membership card through general support for the cause.

None of that’s a problem unless you hold elected office where discipline is not just expected but required. The oft-called-for parliament of independents would be anarchic and the discipline that goes with groups is essential. Derided they may be, but political parties are absolutely essential for democracy.

Even there though, latitude is given and not just on conscience issues that all parties allow for. Local pressures and particular views can oft times be accommodated, though not always. Slack, for example within the SNP, was always given to MSP and MPs from the north on some social issues. Others facing particular pressures for whatever personal or political reason were also sought to be assisted. Other parties do likewise.

But, once in a leadership role and most certainly when in government, then discipline and an acceptance of agreed policy is necessary. There were government policies I was never quite comfortable with when I sat in Cabinet. However, the privilege of holding high office and the need for collective responsibility saw me hold my tongue.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson launches attack on Theresa May’s Brexit approach

Since demitting office, I’ve indulged myself in this column and elsewhere in being able to speak my mind whether on votes for prisoners or drug policy. When I was in government, they were a distraction or for another day in my view, not anywhere near a resignation issue even if I could feel uncomfortable with aspects. The need for unity and the opportunity to change other areas offset any qualms or doubts. Now that I’m a private citizen and simple party member, I’m no longer constrained in any way.

Yet this system is all breaking down for Theresa May as her Cabinet and Government fall apart and then fall upon themselves. This is the end game for the Prime Minister and it’s not going to end well for her and probably for all of us in the country. It’s only a matter of time before she’s pushed or jumps but the end is nigh.

Discipline has broken down, disrespect for her and disloyalty to her evident and the animus within the Tory group for each other palpable. It’s bad enough having senior members publicly rebuke her but even worse is the obvious contempt in which they hold her. Being lampooned by the buffoon Boris Johnson was the very nadir, but the fact that it happened and was laughed at by many is terminal.

Her authority – fragile after the lamentable election performance last year – has evaporated as quickly as any supposed strategy on Brexit. And not just among those who have walked from her Cabinet and who scorn her without a hint of shame for what they previously endorsed. When a third of your Ministers meet the night before a crucial Cabinet for a very public pre-meeting over pizza, then frankly your authority and you are toast.

So far, what has kept the Tories together has been the extent of the division with no obvious successor given the deep split on Brexit. Allied to that has been the fear of forcing an election and perhaps letting in a Corbyn-led Government. But, none of those will be able to sustain her for long.

READ MORE: Brian Monteith: Brexit no longer means Brexit

Despite the Tories’ lamentable performance on almost every aspect of governmental life, they still hold a clear lead over Labour. That means the fear any individual MPs may have of losing their seat is lessened and, in any event, the focus moves from the enemy without to the enemy within.

For another old political adage is that the opposition is across from you, but the enemy behind you. Never has that been shown more starkly than in the current Tory Party. The venom towards the likes of Anna Soubry from Brexiteers has been truly poisonous and the contempt that she and others like Dominic Grieve spit out over supposed colleagues obvious to all. It’s simply not sustainable and sooner rather than later will result in the fratricide that’ll bring May down.

I’ve been through civil wars in my own party many years ago. You lose focus on the formal opposition and concentrate on the internal enemy. The early 80s saw SNP splits and myself and others, including the former First Minister, and current Environment Secretary, expelled. For months and indeed several years that dominated and defined priorities and debate. Opposition parties and other issues could wait, what mattered was winning within the party. That transcended everything and anything and so it has become within the Tories. Paying back May for her sins and winning internally is more important than preserving the Union, as warned by John Major, or even party unity. Everything else can wait.

The Tory group has zealots prepared to damage the Government irrevocably but they won’t care, as that’s where they see the real battle and enemy. Hell mend them, I say, but God help us given the seriousness of the situation and the positions they hold.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kenny MacAskill"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816157.1539780621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816157.1539780621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May and Boris Johnson at a Cabinet meeting before he resigned over her Brexit plan (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May and Boris Johnson at a Cabinet meeting before he resigned over her Brexit plan (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/WPA Pool/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816157.1539780621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/tom-peterkin-pg-wodehouse-was-no-traitor-despite-nazi-broadcasts-1-4816434","id":"1.4816434","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: PG Wodehouse was no traitor despite Nazi broadcasts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539838800000 ,"articleLead": "

PG Wodehouse was captured in France during World War Two and later made broadcasts on Nazi radio, but he was naive, not treacherous, and deserves to be honoured with a plaque near Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, writes Tom Peterkin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816432.1539802446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeeves, seen played by John Gordon Sinclair at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, and Bertie Wooster, played by James Lance, are two of PG Wodehouse's most famous characters (Picture: Robert Perry)"} ,"articleBody": "

The great English humorist PG Wodehouse is not noted for his sympathetic portrayal of Scottish characters. The Scots in his novels and short-stories tend to be rather one-dimensional, especially when compared with the glorious tapestry of comic figures and garrulous English eccentrics that bring his works to life.

Grumpy gardeners employed by English aristocrats or taciturn golf professionals – usually called Angus McAllister or Sandy McHoots – are the lot of Scots in the Wodehouse canon. The skill of these individuals with a pair of secateurs or a mashie niblick contrasts violently with their vocabulary, which rarely extends beyond the use of the word “mphm”.

Wodehouse, of course, was also responsible for coining an oft-quoted denunciation of the Scottish personality.

“It’s never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine,” is a quotation from the Blandings Castle series, which rejoiced in the adventures of Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth and his prize-winning pig.

Given the author’s fondness for a particular type of Scottish stereotype, it would be easy to imagine that many Scots might be tempted to nurse a grievance against him. Not so. The sheer brilliance of Wodehouse’s wit, the sublime ridiculousness of his plots and his exquisite use of language are usually more than enough to seduce readers north of the border regardless of how they compare to a ray of sunshine.

READ MORE: Book review: PG Wodehouse, a Life in Letters

I witnessed Wodehouse’s ability to cross the Scottish/English divide a couple of years ago when I attended a quintessentially Scottish event – a bagpipe competition in Edinburgh. In addition to a set of pipes, my Kilberry collection of piobaireachd and some spare reeds, I armed myself with copy of Wodehouse’s “Psmith, Journalist”. For the uninitiated, it should be pointed out that piping competitions are not for the faint hearted. Each piobaireachd can last around 15 minutes when tuning time is taken into consideration. When there are upwards of 25 competitors, it can be a bit of a marathon for even the most hardened music lover.

The idea was that dipping into Wodehouse would give me some respite from the piping during the long stretches when I wasn’t competing (unsuccessfully, as it turned out). As I read, I couldn’t help notice that many pipers commented favourably on my choice of reading material – a splendid caper that saw Psmith take charge of the magazine “Cosy Moments”.

One well-known piper waxed lyrical about holidays in Speyside which began with his father – another well-known piper – insisting the family listened to recordings of Jeeves and Wooster stories on the drive north.

This was a piper for whom drones did not necessarily refer to the parts of the bagpipe which produce the sustained chord that is such a distinctive part of Scotland’s national music.

For him, the word could also refer to the “Drones Club”, the London gentlemen’s club that serves as a home from home for Bertie Wooster and the various other “eggs, beans and crumpets” whose entertainment value is only rivalled by their idleness.

READ MORE: ‘Piping brings a special fraternity because there are no class boundaries’

Given Wodehouse’s enduring popularity across the English-speaking world (including Scotland), it is, therefore, only right that Westminster Abbey is finally going to recognise him as one of the great writers.

The recently announced memorial, which is likely to be near Poets’ Corner, marks the rehabilitation of the writer, whose hideous naïvety during the Second World War led to an episode far removed from the carefree world of Blandings Castle and the Drones Club.

To this day, there are those to whom mention of Wodehouse conjures up vague thoughts of an English Lord Haw Haw thanks to a terrible misjudgment that saw him make a series of broadcasts that were used as Nazi propaganda.

Captured by the Germans while living in France, he agreed to make a series of broadcasts from Berlin over the Nazi radio network.

Wodehouse thought his whimsical musings would reassure his American readers that he was surviving the war, but in Britain they were seen as treacherous. During his lifetime, his reputation never really fully recovered.

After the war, he lived in exile in the United States and he was not knighted until a matter of months before his death aged 93 in 1975.

These days most would agree that the broadcasts were the act of an innocent abroad rather than a deliberate act of treachery. To Wodehouse lovers, the quality of his writing transcends his foolish mistake, while other great writers regard him as a master of his craft.

“Mr Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale,” said Evelyn Waugh. “He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”

The latest recognition of his comic genius by the Dean of Westminster is a reminder of the delight in retreating to that idyllic world with its rich young wastrels, resourceful valets, terrifying aunts, eccentric aristrocrats, beguiling chorus girls and even monosyllabic Scots.

Like a healthy slug of Mulliner’s “Buck-U-Uppo” or an anecdote from the Oldest Member, the world of Wodehouse offers an escape from the harsh reality of life. Take it from me, it’s lot more fun than Brexit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816432.1539802446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816432.1539802446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeeves, seen played by John Gordon Sinclair at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, and Bertie Wooster, played by James Lance, are two of PG Wodehouse's most famous characters (Picture: Robert Perry)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeeves, seen played by John Gordon Sinclair at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, and Bertie Wooster, played by James Lance, are two of PG Wodehouse's most famous characters (Picture: Robert Perry)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816432.1539802446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-we-must-look-after-beating-heart-of-our-communities-1-4816430","id":"1.4816430","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: We must look after beating heart of our communities","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539838800000 ,"articleLead": "

A perfect storm of problems has hit the high street so it may need some help.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816429.1539802415!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Places like Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow should be vibrant places, full of people (Picture: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

The shops and other businesses that make up the heart of our cities and towns have been hit by what could be called a perfect storm of high rents, business rates rises and the growing popularity of internet shopping.

And, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming larger every day, the situation could be about to get considerably worse.

The trend is so marked that concern has been growing all over the world about what are called ‘donut cities’ in which few people actually live, work or shop in the centre. If this was allowed to happen, it would be a bizarre and inefficient way to arrange human habitation.

Part of the problem is the rapidity of the changes taking place to the way we live.

READ MORE: Scotland has more vacant high street shops than anywhere else in UK

With perhaps one foot in the past, some property owners may still expect a certain level of rent and government officials a certain amount of rates that, in some cases, are no longer sustainable based on the profits being made.

The high street has already seen some high-profile casualties and if the amount of money being spent online continues to grow, the situation will only get worse.

Much of this trend is an inevitable part of the march of progress. But as a society we need to try to manage the situation to ensure that any adverse side-effects are minimised.

City and town centres should be vibrant places, full of people. Urban decay is a sign that we are getting it wrong.

The direction of travel seems to be fairly doggedly headed towards fewer shops and more restaurants and places of entertainment.

READ MORE: Five shops close every week on Scotland’s high streets

As that continues, city planners may need to reconsider issues like pedestrianisation. Someone going into town to buy shoes, books and a raincoat might welcome a handy parking space on a nearby street, but those looking to enjoy a leisurely meal are likely to find this more pleasant on a quiet street free from traffic noise and pollution.

So, yesterday’s appeal by the Scottish Retail Consortium for a business rates freeze should be seriously considered. Governments need to raise tax revenue but they also need to be alive to the consequences of doing so, particularly when the situation on the ground changes.

Helping existing retailers, even those with a limited future, will give us time to repurpose our town centres to ensure they remain the beating heart of our most important communities.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816429.1539802415!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816429.1539802415!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Places like Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow should be vibrant places, full of people (Picture: John Devlin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Places like Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow should be vibrant places, full of people (Picture: John Devlin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816429.1539802415!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/bill-jamieson-can-t-i-just-self-identify-as-bill-1-4816431","id":"1.4816431","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: Can’t I just self-identify as ‘Bill’?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539838800000 ,"articleLead": "

Individual privacy is being eroded by the politicisation of gender, sexuality and identity, writes Bill Jamieson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816428.1539802414!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Harry said he and Meghan were happy whether their child is a boy or a girl. But will it be that simple? (Picture: Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

Thank Heavens for royal babies. Even for those largely indifferent to monarchial affairs, news that the Duchess of Sussex – aka Meghan Markle, wife of Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne – is expecting a baby has brought a welcome and all-too-rare break in the bleak depression that Brexit has become.

But beware. Prince Harry was reported as saying that the couple welcomed the arrival of their baby “whether it’s a boy or a girl”. But today is it so straightforward?

With the relentless in-tide of identity politics and transgender assignment, how can he have any certainty whether his offspring will really be a boy or a girl? What may be assigned to babies at birth may not be at all the gender identity the child later chooses.

Such is the new wisdom that it will be up to the child to decide later which sex it thinks it is – or wishes to be. So those waiting in due course to hear whether the new arrival is a boy or a girl may in time be disappointed.

“Gender fluid” may be the safer description at this stage, rather than any presumptive declaration that could prove false. Equally, care should be taken not to rush to embrace some speculative set of initials – LGTB, or something more inclusive in the ever-lengthening spectrum of sexual identity acronyms.

You may think the debate about gender identity is already grossly overblown, of concern only to a tiny fraction. Across most households, it is heard with utterly bemused puzzlement. We keep our heads down, stay silent and hope no-one asks us for our opinion.

READ MORE: Bill Jamieson: Transgender politics is a minefield

It is a passing fad, a spasm of minority interest that will run its course. But there is an alternative view – that this is only the start of a profound cultural re-casting of notions of gender identification, conventional modes being abandoned in the way that a snake sheds its skin. Look at the change that has come in just 30 years – attitudes and behaviour once commonplace and which routinely featured in popular entertainment are now regarded as unacceptable, offensive and beyond the pale.

Nor should we imagine the debate over transgenderism is confined to the outer margins of social media. Earlier this week, the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour devoted the whole of its programme to a discussion of transgender politics. This featured, inter alia, the fiery debate between feminists and transgender activists. Feminists fear that the entitlement to self-identify will expose women to opportunistic assault by males and the loss of so-called ‘safe spaces’ when males, self-identifying as women without need of medical certification, can lay claim to previously female-only areas in schools, work places and rest rooms.

But there is a wider and more pervasive movement to raise the profile of the transgender phenomenon and promote gay, lesbian and transgender identities in the name of gender diversity.

The latest manifestation is list of recommendations contained in a document entitled LGBT Culture and Progression: A report on Career Progression and Culture at the BBC. This grew out of an internal census conducted earlier this year with the aim, according to the Corporation’s director of diversity, to ensure that the BBC “should act as a mirror to the UK and a voice for the UK in the world”.

READ MORE: Michael Gove: SNP represent identity politics, not Brexit

The numbers revealed in this internal census were astonishing. The number of BBC staff who recorded themselves as transgender was a remarkable 417, or one in every 50 on the payroll. Is there any other organisation – in the private sector or public – where the number of transgender employees is so high? The audit had also found that LGBT staff comprised 11 per cent of the entire workforce, including 12 per cent in “leadership positions”.

As the Conservative Woman website commented, “Not only do these percentages far exceed the proportions of the general population, they are well ahead of the Corporation’s own target of eight per cent by 2020. Reason enough, one might have hoped, for that part of the Beeb’s diversity circus to fold its tents and for the money it absorbs, which is extorted from TV viewers, to be redirected into programming that licence fee-payers might actually want to watch.”

The Corporation also reports that employees who are LGBT (to be replaced by the more inclusive LGBTQ+) experience a “heteronormative (sic) culture, particularly around language in the workplace”; and that “inclusive language, particularly around non-binary gender, isn’t always used, particularly by our third-party suppliers”.

To effect cultural change, the Corporation is to introduce a “straight allies” lapel badge to promote LGBT issues, with the badge wearers likely to include “content makers and senior decision-makers”, whom the BBC will “encourage to join BBC Pride as allies”.

Is this accelerating onrush of identity politics really liberal progression by another form, or, as some believe, bullying, made respectable by lofty theorising? Equally worrying is the growing tendency of organisations, particularly in the public sector, to insist on a categorisation of people by a set of initials.

As if the ‘Big Brother’ endgame of all this is not concerning enough, just how particular and specific might this identification become? If my self-identification as “Bill” is not sufficient declaration of “who I am”, and “LGBT” does not pay sufficient respect to the new sensibilities, what about LGBTQIAGNC? Or LGBTTTQQIAA – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, 2/Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally? Do keep up at the back – this baffling alphabet spaghetti gets longer by the month.

To draw a line against this is nothing to do with a rejection of male or female homosexuality, but resistance to a politicisation that is deeply divisive and corrosive of individual privacy. The way things are going, that very objection may put us “on the wrong side of history” and open to fiery denunciation on social media. But with the cultural tsunami now breaking around us, who will stand in the way of it? And in this rush to self-identification with public labels and initials, how may we be more certain, or less, of who we really are within?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Bill Jamieson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816428.1539802414!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816428.1539802414!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prince Harry said he and Meghan were happy whether their child is a boy or a girl. But will it be that simple? (Picture: Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Harry said he and Meghan were happy whether their child is a boy or a girl. But will it be that simple? (Picture: Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816428.1539802414!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/sanction-russia-over-cyber-warfare-eu-told-1-4816505","id":"1.4816505","articleHeadline": "Sanction Russia over cyber warfare, EU told","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539811800000 ,"articleLead": "

Russia should face tough new sanctions following a campaign of cyber attacks on western institutions, Theresa May will tell EU leaders today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816504.1539809769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May will discuss cyber attacks."} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister will call for new penalties for cyber warfare in the wake of the attempted hacking by Russian agents of the chemical weapons watchdog that investigated the Salisbury chemical attack.

Russian hackers have also been accused of a string of attacks on western electoral systems. At a session on internal security at the European Council summit in Brussels, she will say new sanctions for chemical weapons violations agreed by EU leaders this week should be matched by action on cyber warfare.

“Individual efforts to protect ourselves, and to call out irresponsible behaviour, are not enough,” Mrs May will say.

“Malign cyber activity causes harm to our economies, and undermines our democracies. As well as protecting ourselves against attack, we must impose proportionate consequences on those who would do us harm.

“We have an opportunity to show our collective political leadership... malicious actors too must face the real consequences of their actions.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816504.1539809769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816504.1539809769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May will discuss cyber attacks.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May will discuss cyber attacks.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816504.1539809769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/blackford-in-last-ditch-appeal-for-single-market-and-customs-union-1-4816503","id":"1.4816503","articleHeadline": "Blackford in last-ditch appeal for single market and customs union","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539809651000 ,"articleLead": "

Keeping the UK in the single market and customs union after Brexit is “the only deal that will get through” parliament, the SNP’s Westminster leader has warned Theresa May.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816502.1539809648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Ian Blackford made a last-ditch appeal for the Prime Minister to pursue a soft Brexit as she prepared to face EU leaders at a crucial summit in Brussels.

At PMQs, the SNP MP reminded Mrs May of a 2016 interview where she said “people’s jobs would be put at risk” if the UK leaves the EU, and echoed a similar warning from former Prime Minister John Major this week.

“It is in all our interests, for jobs in particular, that the Prime Minister comes back from Brussels with the right deal,” Mr Blackford said.

Highlighting the opposition to her Chequers proposals for Brexit from within her own party, he added: “We will act as a constructive opposition. The enemy is behind her.

“Prime Minister, go to Brussels, act in the interests of all citizens across the UK and negotiate to keep us in the single market and customs union,” Mr Blackford said. “That will command a majority in the House of Commons.”

Mrs May replied that if the SNP was “interested in ensuring that the interests of everyone in Scotland are taken into account”, it would commit to quitting the Common Fisheries Policy by leaving the EU.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816502.1539809648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816502.1539809648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Blackford. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816502.1539809648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/concerns-raised-over-cardboard-baby-boxes-1-4816499","id":"1.4816499","articleHeadline": "Concerns raised over cardboard baby boxes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539809231000 ,"articleLead": "

Concerns have been raised over a lack of evidence on the safety of cardboard baby boxes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816498.1539809227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Government baby box."} ,"articleBody": "

There is a “scarcity” of observational evidence that such sleeping items can be used safely, according to a letter published in The BMJ.

Baby boxes have become popular in Britain – a number of NHS trusts offer them to new mothers as well as private companies.

The Scottish Government made them available to all new mothers last year and an average of 1,000 per week were delivered to parents of newborns in the first year of the programme, representing an uptake of 85 per cent.

The idea of the boxes originates from Finland.

The authors of the letter, including academics and Francine Bates, chief executive of the safe sleep charity the Lullaby Trust, said that the use of the baby box in Finland and the relatively low rates of cot death - also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) - in the country are “not evidence that the boxes reduce SIDS”. Cot death rates in Sweden and Denmark are equally low, despite them not traditionally providing the boxes, the article adds.

The authors also raised concerns over fears the promotion of the boxes could undermine current messages about safe sleeping for babies.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816498.1539809227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816498.1539809227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Government baby box.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Government baby box.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816498.1539809227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/battling-high-streets-to-face-rates-increase-of-16-million-1-4816490","id":"1.4816490","articleHeadline": "Battling high streets to face rates increase of £16 million","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539808336000 ,"articleLead": "

Retailers have warned that department stores in Scotland’s city centres are being put at risk as they bear the brunt of a £16 million increase in their annual business rates bills next year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816484.1539808331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frasers on Princes St has closing down signage in place 15/10/18"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Retail Consortium said spiralling business rates bills were damaging beleaguered high street businesses and called on the UK and Scottish government to freeze the levy.

The call coincided with the publication of inflation figures, which are used to calculate the amount of business rates that firms will have to pay next year.

Yesterday’s ONS Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation put the rate for September at 2.4 per cent compared with the 2.7 per cent recorded in August.

READ MORE: Scottish cyclist to smash record after round-the-world adventure

The September inflation figure is used by the UK government to calculate the non-domestic rates multiplier for the following year. In last year’s Budget, the UK government committed to set the rise in line with CPI, having previously used Retail Price Index measurement, which gives a larger figure for inflation.

The Scottish Government also used CPI to calculate the Scottish non-domestic rates poundage in last year’s Budget.

READ MORE: Probe launched into gas dangers in disused mines across Scotland

According to the SRC, if the Scottish Government take the same approach when it unveils its budget in ­December, Scottish retailers will face an extra £16m on their annual business rates bill from April next year.

Ratepayers as a whole in Scotland would see a £73m hike in their rates bills.

Should the Scottish Government not repeat last year’s decision to limit rises to CPI, but instead use RPI, which is 3.3 per cent, the SRC calculated the £16m figure could rise to more than £21m.

Businesses most affected by business rates are either those in highly valued areas such as city centres or those operating from larger properties. That means department or large clothing stores tend to be the most affected.

According to the SRC, those stores are in most direct competition with online competitors. The SRC pointed out Scottish businesses also pay a higher large business supplement in Scotland and all ratepayers who operate out of town face the prospect of a new rates surcharge under minsters’ plans.

SRC head of policy Ewan MacDonald-Russell said: “The spiral of ever-increasing rates bills is a crucial factor in the struggle faced by property-based retailers to survive. It’s absurd to pretend it’s sustainable to continue heaping this burden on these businesses.

“That’s why retailers are calling on the Chancellor to freeze business rates this year – and why we want the Scottish Government to follow suit. The retail industry is the engine of the Scottish economy. The Government needs to reduce the strain if it doesn’t want to cause irreparable damage.

“Rising rates bills affect the whole retail industry disproportionately. However, for some retailers, especially those operating in desirable city centres such as Edinburgh or from large buildings, this will be a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Businesses such as large department stores which are already investing heavily in online operations and in keeping prices competitive are likely to find any increases very onerous, adding to the considerable pressure they already face.

“Inflation raises two big challenges for the retail industry. Consumers face higher bills, which limits their ability to spend on discretionary items. That particularly impacts high-street retailers whose non-food products are exactly those consumers have cut back on this year.”

Scotland’s high streets have had to withstand much turbulence over the past few months. Businesses such as House of Fraser, Poundworld, Maplin, Toys ‘R’ Us have been forced into administration. 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to delivering the Barclay Review as part of our commitment to maintaining a competitive non-domestic rates regime for businesses in Scotland. We have consulted widely on its implementation and are currently analysing responses to inform the delivery of these reforms.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816484.1539808331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816484.1539808331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Frasers on Princes St has closing down signage in place 15/10/18","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frasers on Princes St has closing down signage in place 15/10/18","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816484.1539808331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/probe-launched-into-gas-dangers-in-disused-mines-across-scotland-1-4816468","id":"1.4816468","articleHeadline": "Probe launched into gas dangers in disused mines across Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539806290000 ,"articleLead": "

A nationwide study into the dangers of carbon dioxide gases in former coal mines has been launched by the Scottish Government amid fears over future housing developments.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816467.1539806287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Newbyres Crescent in Gorebridge which has had a number of houses demolished due to Carbon Dioxide ingress into the properties."} ,"articleBody": "

Ministers are looking into the prospect of modifying building regulations after homes on a new-build estate in Gorebridge, East Lothian had to be destroyed a few years back after residents became ill when elevated levels of the gas were discovered.

Sirling-based RSKW will now lead a project to examine the extent of the problem Scotland and potential impacts on future housing developments.

READ MORE: Unions call on Glasgow to stand united ahead of biggest strike in city since 1970

The project will be jointly delivered by RSKW and RSK’s geosciences division, which is based in Glasgow.

“We are very pleased to be carrying out this important research project for Scottish Government to assess the prevalence of carbon dioxide in disused mineral mines and the implications for residential buildings. We look forward to working with all the relevant stakeholders,” said Andrew Gunning, project manager and partner, RSKW.

READ MORE: Scottish cyclist to smash record after round-the-world adventure

The three-month desk-based research programme will cover all the former mining areas in Scotland and advise on necessary action.

An incident management report by NHS Lothian published last December 2017 into the Gorebridge incident found 22 residents from a total of 165 in a council estate complained of headaches, dry coughs, dizziness and anxiety between September 2013 and September 2014.

The investigation concluded that the high levels of carbon dioxide in their properties came from historic coal mines in the area.

The incident management team’s report made recommendations about Scottish building regulations and new builds. It advised that mine gas mitigation measures should be mandatory in new residential developments designated as former mining areas by the Coal Authority.

Tom Henman, project technical adviser, RSK said: “This work will build on our previous experience of undertaking environmental research projects and supporting the development of technical guidance on ground gases.”

Twenty-six of the 32 Scottish local authorities have former mining areas, including most of the heavily-populated Central Belt.

The ground gas was most likely from elevated levels of oxidising coal deposits producing carbon dioxide in the abandoned coal workings. Changes in atmospheric pressure and other factors had caused the carbon dioxide to migrate to the surface.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816467.1539806287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816467.1539806287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Newbyres Crescent in Gorebridge which has had a number of houses demolished due to Carbon Dioxide ingress into the properties.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Newbyres Crescent in Gorebridge which has had a number of houses demolished due to Carbon Dioxide ingress into the properties.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816467.1539806287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/crackdown-on-excess-parking-fees-in-scotland-1-4816437","id":"1.4816437","articleHeadline": "Crackdown on excess parking fees in Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539802682000 ,"articleLead": "

New laws are to be introduced in Scotland which will end excessive parking fees dished out by private parking operators.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816436.1539802678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Car Parking. Picture: File"} ,"articleBody": "

Measures will be introduced in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Transport Bill which are expected to see charges capped, possibly at around the £60 level. The overhaul of the system could also see a new independent regime introduced to deal with disputes over penalties. It comes after some drivers faced exorbitant charges of £180.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser had published a members’ bill last year which would have proposed a £60 cap, but has now dropped this after assurances from transport minister Michael Matheson that such demands would be met in the new Bill.

He said: “Cleaning up the rules, creating uniform conditions, maximum penalties and an independent appeals service has the support of the Scottish Government. The Transport Bill offers the quickest route to seeing these plans become reality. Ultimately what matters most getting the best deal for parkers.”

The number of private parking firms has increased over the past decade.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4816436.1539802678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4816436.1539802678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Car Parking. Picture: File","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Car Parking. Picture: File","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4816436.1539802678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/benefits-bill-of-over-1-5bn-set-to-be-owed-1-4816424","id":"1.4816424","articleHeadline": "Benefits bill of over £1.5bn set to be owed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539802273000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK Government is facing a benefits bill of more than £1.5 billion after underpaying tens of thousands of disabled claimants, newly released documents have shown.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4815818.1539802270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "180,000 people are due arrears payments of nearly �1billion"} ,"articleBody": "

An estimated 180,000 people are due arrears payments totalling £970 million after under-receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) papers have shown.

And the cost of paying them extra after their claims have been corrected is estimated to add another £700m over the next seven years, taking the total extra bill to £1.67bn.

The papers noted: “The Department estimates it will pay £970m in historic underpayments largely over the financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20.

“In addition, it will pay higher awards to active claimants after their claim is corrected.”

The payout results from a decision by work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to ditch a policy of refusing to reimburse missed payments dating back before October 2014.

The DWP analysis estimates the average back payment to each claimant owed money will be £5,000, although the average paid back so far is £7,000. DWP minister Sarah Newton said it was looking into 570,000 cases.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4815818.1539802270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4815818.1539802270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "180,000 people are due arrears payments of nearly �1billion","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "180,000 people are due arrears payments of nearly �1billion","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4815818.1539802270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/what-to-expect-from-crunch-eu-summit-on-brexit-1-4816391","id":"1.4816391","articleHeadline": "What to expect from crunch EU summit on Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539798206000 ,"articleLead": "

Considering that she is heading into a summit full of European leaders who fundamentally disagree with her, it might seem strange that Theresa May could be forgiven for feeling a sense of relief ahead of the crunch talks.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4815289.1539798201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal, or any other, appears to lack enough support in the Commons to make it happen (Picture: WPA Pool/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

However, with domestic problems mounting up, and challengers to her leadership said to be sharpening the knives, a do-or-die gathering of world leaders could be considered something of a holiday for the beleaguered Prime Minister.

As Mrs May heads to Brussels for the last full EU summit (at least of those scheduled) before the mid-November deadline that European leaders have set for a final deal, there remains an extraordinary amount of stumbling blocks to a deal.

Also extraordinary is the seeming inability of either side to budge from the initial proposals they set out at earlier stages in the talks.

With things at an impasse, we look at what to expect ahead of two days of high drama in the Belgian capital.

No deal?

There might be agreements, at least informally, that will be finalised at this meeting of all 27 EU leaders.

However, those expecting that a final deal that will formalise the UK’s exist on mutually beneficially terms in March 2019 are as naïve as they are optimistic.

READ MORE: Brexiteers issue warning ahead of EU summit

EU leaders not only need to negotiate as 26-team bloc with the UK, but will need to thrash out any divisions among their own group that may arise. Recent elections in Italy and Germany could yet complicate matters, but there remains, at least for now, a sense that the remaining countries in the EU are united.

That appears to not be the case with the UK Government, where Theresa May has just about managed to drag her cabinet along with her proposals ahead of the crunch talks in Brussels, but with work to do in convincing a majority in parliament.


‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ has been the phrase of choice for those urging calm as hopes of a deal appeared to fade, and that remains the case.

That doesn’t mean that the current impasse means that negotiations are either at a virtual standstill or doomed to fail, as some have suggested.

Mrs May talked of ‘significant progress’ in her discussions with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, and there are stirrings on the continent that suggest the Frenchman is seriously considering a recent proposal for a temporary customs arrangement with the UK.

READ MORE: David Mundell accused of ‘flip flopping’ over quit threat

The European Union is also said to be warming to the idea of extending the formal transition period, which was previously designed to be only two years to allow as little disruption as possible, but which could under new plans last three at least.

Barring a disaster, there will certainly be warm words at the end of the two-day meeting, with much talk of progress made and relationships improved upon.

However, the real mark of how successful the chances of a deal are may lie several hundred miles away from Brussels.

Domestic Considerations

While the eyes of the British and European media will be trained upon Brussels, it is perhaps more significant to see the reaction in the four nations of Britain to any rumours of compromise to guage what chance a deal has of passing muster in the House of Commons.

Theresa May’s colleagues in the DUP are firm in their ‘blood red lines’ of avoiding a border in the Irish Sea, and it is to them that many will turn if there is a sense from the summit that such an agreement may be the only way to solve the Northern Irish problem.

Holding arguably even larger sway over the Prime Minister are ‘hard Brexit’ members of her own Conservative party.

Figures like Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and David Davis will be quick to take to the airwaves if it emerges that a deal that is unpalatable to them is close to be struck.

Whatever happens in Brussels, it is always wise to expect the unexpected.

With modern politics, and is especially with Brexit, it has never been more apparent that anything can happen.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4815289.1539798201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4815289.1539798201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal, or any other, appears to lack enough support in the Commons to make it happen (Picture: WPA Pool/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal, or any other, appears to lack enough support in the Commons to make it happen (Picture: WPA Pool/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4815289.1539798201!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}