Hello. Here’s your morning briefing:
Boris Johnson seeks to build Brexit bridges
“The road to Brexit” – we know we’re on it, but today we’ll get the first in a series of speeches by ministers under that umbrella title telling us more about the route and eventual destination. Boris Johnson will attempt to reassure angry and alienated Remain voters, praising their “noble” belief in European solidarity and insisting they should feel “hope not fear” for the future. BBC political correspondent Ben Wright says it’s a conciliatory tone we haven’t heard much from cabinet ministers and a recognition of the deep divisions Brexit has opened. Nevertheless, he adds, there’s no crumb of comfort for people who would like to see the process stopped.
Security, the devolution of powers, workers’ rights and trade are all expected to be covered in the Brexit roadshow. It will end in three weeks with a speech from Theresa May. She’s been under increasing pressure from MPs and Brussels alike to set out her vision for the UK’s future and the transition period that’ll pave the way to it.
First famous face quits Oxfam role
Actress Minnie Driver says she has been a supporter of Oxfam since she was nine years old, but the recent scandal involving the charity has led her to quit her role as a celebrity ambassador. In a statement, the star describes herself as “nothing short of horrified” at claims that Oxfam staff in Haiti and elsewhere paid vulnerable people for sex. Her move comes ahead of a speech on Wednesday by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt in which she will threaten to cut government funding to charities that fail to put robust safeguarding measures in place. Speaking of funding, here’s a breakdown of how much Oxfam receives – and where it comes from.
Bennell jury continues deliberations
On Tuesday, ex-football coach Barry Bennell was found guilty of multiple sex offences against 10 boys in the 1980s, including indecent and serious sexual assaults. Today, the jury will be back in court to consider another seven counts. Prosecutors at Liverpool Crown Court described Bennell – who now goes by the name Richard Jones – as a “predatory and determined paedophile”, and compared him to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The low-cost airline changing the way we fly
By Chris Gibson, business reporter, BBC News
Norwegian’s price strategy is based on flying a young fleet of aircraft such as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which burn less fuel per passenger compared with other long-haul aircraft. These offer passengers a more upmarket experience than they may have come to expect from a budget airline with modern interiors and the benefit of free wi-fi. This has especially appealed to millennial travellers and the airline has configured its planes so they can carry more economy passengers seeking adventure at bargain prices. However, Norwegian’s rapid rise has led some to question whether its financial model is sustainable.
What the papers say
Brexit – and Boris Johnson’s ongoing role in it – is back at centre stage. The Daily Telegraph says the foreign secretary will use today’s speech to say that EU laws and regulations being imposed on the UK after its departure would be “intolerable and undemocratic”. Under the headline “Johnson vows to squash Remain insurgence”, the i reports on a warning that “a Boris Brexit would mean Brexile” from a union chief. Elsewhere, the papers continue to focus on the Oxfam crisis, with the Times carrying a new claim that it hired a man who had already been forced out of another British humanitarian agency over sexual misconduct claims. “Oxfam: Now the Backlash” is the front page headline for the Daily Mail, which reports that many major firms are reviewing their relationship with the charity, Visa and Marks and Spencer among them.
Times tables Thousands of eight and nine-year-olds in England’s primary schools will take a new times tables check this spring
Jail break Peru inmate used twin to escape
Pet pledge Labour wants to strengthen the rights of tenants to keep animals in their properties
Xanax sales Prescription anxiety drug being sold illegally to children on social media sites, BBC finds
Israel corruption Police say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged over alleged bribery cases
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11:00 Boris Johnson delivers his speech on Brexit, with sources saying the aim is to unite Remainers and Leavers.
Today Team GB’s tilt at a medal in the curling at Pyeongchang begins in a big way. The men take on world bronze medallists Switzerland and reigning Olympic champions Canada, while the women begin their campaign against “Olympic athletes from Russia”.
On this day
1993 Police confirm that a body found on a railway embankment in Merseyside is that of missing toddler James Bulger.