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Brexit battle over customs union
No means no. The UK will not stay in the Customs Union after Brexit. That’s the message from the government this morning.
The customs Union – something many of us probably hadn’t heard of a year or two ago – is the agreement between EU countries to apply common taxes on imports from outside. It sounds fairly mundane, but has become a key sticking point. Theresa May has made leaving the union central to her whole approach to Brexit, but MPs have been uniting across party lines to demand a change in position – arguing it’ll be better economically and help resolve the Irish border question. Many voices from the business community feel the same. Last week, peers defied the government and voted in favour of staying in, and as a result, MPs will get a chance to debate and vote on the issue later this week.
It’ll be a symbolic vote, but it matters, says the BBC’s political correspondent Eleanor Garnier. Next month, there’ll be a vote on the issue that does count, she points out, and Downing Street is sufficiently worried about the level of sabre-rattling to feel the need to clarify its position today.
Read our Reality Check team’s guide to customs union – or watch a 45-second run-down.
Consumer guru sues
The founder of MoneySavingExpert, consumer rights campaigner Martin Lewis, is suing Facebook over fake adverts which have appeared on the social media platform. Many of the ads, he says, show his name and face alongside endorsements for financial products or firms he hasn’t actually made, and often link to articles carrying false information.
Facebook insists misleading ads are not allowed and any reported are removed, but the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan says this is another big headache for the firm after a difficult few months. It centres around the perennial issue of whether it has legal responsibility for the content that appears under its banner.
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More help for children of alcoholics
An estimated 200,000 children in England live with alcoholic parents, and suffer countless struggles as a result. Now the government is announcing £6m of funding to help improve support. It will pay for mental health care for the youngsters themselves and programmes to treat their parents’ addiction. In a rare move, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his shadow, Jon Ashworth, will announce the funding together on Monday. Mr Ashworth has spoken out about his own experiences of growing up with an alcoholic father and Mr Hunt said he had been moved by his bravery.
Encouraging tolerance in a divided town
By Mark Easton, home editor, BBC News
The virtue of tolerance is regarded as fundamental to the British character. We are taught that our respect for the values, ideas and beliefs of others is somehow written into our national DNA. Indeed, the government has passed a law requiring teachers and other public servants to promote just this idea as a way to deal with the threat from terrorism. Ask the British if they think they really are a tolerant people, as an Ipsos Mori poll for the BBC’s Crossing Divides season did, and a majority (53%) agree. That may not sound emphatic, but the equivalent figure for France, Italy and Spain is around a third. In Hungary it is just 16%.
Read the full article
What the papers say
The Daily Express says it would be “an epic betrayal of Brexit” if the prime minister backs down over the customs union, while the Daily Mail calls it “a shabby plot to keep Britain a captive state”. However, the i claims a “vast survey” shows the public want to stay in the single market, and Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn should both change their position. Elsewhere, the Sun offers its support to Martin Lewis as he prepares to sue Facebook. “He is dead right to challenge this online anarchy,” the paper insists. The Times says the case demonstrates “the moral bankruptcy at the heart of Facebook’s business model”.
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If you watch one thing today
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If you listen to one thing today
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Today French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Birgitte, begin their US visit.
15:00 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend a service to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
On this day
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