News Daily: Backstop discussions start and Sala plane wreckage found


The UK and EU flags

Brexit: MPs discuss backstop ‘alternatives’

If not the backstop, then what? Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is beginning three days of discussions with MPs and government officials, after the Commons voted last week to find another way of avoiding a hard Irish border after the UK leaves the EU.

The backstop is described as an “insurance policy” – designed to avoid a hard border “under all circumstances”. And it’s proved the single biggest sticking point in getting MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit agreement with the EU.

According to Downing Street, Mr Barclay’s Alternative Arrangements Working Group, including Conservative Leave and former Remain MPs, meets amid “significant support” for the so-called “Malthouse Compromise”. This includes extending the transition period for a year until the end of 2021 and protecting EU citizens’ rights, instead of using the backstop.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid says “existing technology” can be used to ensure there’s no hard Irish border, but Irish PM Leo Varadkar says it’s “very frustrating” that the UK government is referring to this idea. BBC Reality Check looks at what might happen.

Matters are undoubtedly complex, so here’s our simple guide to Brexit.

Emiliano Sala plane wreckage found

Accident investigators will later inspect the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala. The Piper Malibu N264DB, lost on 21 January, was found off Guernsey on Sunday. The 28-year-old Argentine striker and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, were the only people on board. “I cannot believe it,” Mr Sala’s father told Argentinian broadcaster Cronica TV. “This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate.”

Hermes to offer pay benefits to couriers

Parcel delivery firm Hermes has agreed to offer couriers paid holiday and guaranteed wage rates under what it calls a “self-employed plus” status. It has reached a deal with the GMB union, allowing workers to opt in to receive up to 28 days’ paid leave and choose pay rates of “at least” £8.50 an hour. In return, Hermes couriers will have to follow routes set out by the firm, to ensure they are working efficiently.

‘The day I went to prison, I got my life back’

Written by Jon Kelly, BBC Stories

As she sat in the dock, waiting for the judge to send her to prison, Lilly Lewis found to her surprise that she couldn’t stop laughing. She didn’t understand why. It wasn’t nerves, exactly, and there wasn’t anything remotely funny about her situation. Lilly’s lawyer had warned she was looking at an eight-year sentence.

But somehow the entire court case had seemed unreal to her, like a huge, elaborate joke.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Newspaper headlines index image

The Guardian reports that a life-extending drug for patients with cystic fibrosis has been priced by manufacturers at more than £100,000 per patient per year. The i speaks to campaigners who say this means some children are being denied the treatment. Meanwhile, the Times leads on Nissan’s decision not to build one of its new cars at its Sunderland plant, saying ministers could withdraw a £60m support package for the Japanese car manufacturer. And the Daily Telegraph quotes Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss saying that women should be less “squeamish” about making money.

Daily digest

John Worboys case Parole Board system to be reviewed

21 Savage Atlanta rapper really from UK, says US immigration

US-Mexico border Pentagon to deploy an extra 2,000 troops

The week ahead Four things you really ought to know


11:30 The UK’s Committee on Exiting the European Union meets in Brussels to question representatives from EU institutions.

20:00 West Ham United host leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.

On this day

1938 Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town debuts on Broadway.