The Syrian Refugee Chasing His Dream Of Being a Professional Footballer

Odai Al Jburri, a Syrian refugee, dreams of turning his passion for football into a professional career.

 In 2011, his family fled Homs to find a better life in Lebanon. 

But despite the arduous journey, he has not given up his childhood dream of playing for a major European football club. 

 

 

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Final 2017

He and partner Katya Jones faced Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson in the final
Joe won despite Alexandra topping the leader board with 89 points compared to his 88
It was the first time the four finalists had danced all three dances
Judges Pick: American Smooth to ‘Wouldn’t It Be Lovely’ from My Fair Lady. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 33)
Showdance: ‘There’s No Business Like Showbusiness’ by Ethel Merman. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 
Favourite Dance: Jive to ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 39)
Judges Pick: Viennese Waltz to ‘Somewhere My Love’ from Dr Zhivago. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 (originally scored 32)
Showdance: ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39
Favourite Dance: Charleston to ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ by Ella Fitzgerald. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 36)
Judges Pick: Salsa to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Boys Town Gang. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 for their (originally scored 35)
Showdance: ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ by Vaults. Score: 9+9+10+10 = 38
Favourite Dance: Argentine Tango to ‘Por una Cabeza’ by Carlos Gardel & Alfredo Le Pera. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 38)
Judges Pick: Paso Doble to ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay. Score: 39+9+10+10 = 38 (originally scored 35)
Showdance: ‘Show Me How You Burlesque’ by Christina Aguilera. Score: 8+9+10+10 = 37
Favourite Dance: American Smooth to ‘Downton’ by Petula Clark. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 (originally scored 38)
At the start of the series, there were claims it was one of the weakest line-ups in recent years, but once again, ‘Strictly’ has proved it doesn’t need star power to dazzle.

The class of 2017 have made this run the most watched in its history, with over 11 million tuning into each episode – a rare feat in TV land, as how many other long-running shows can say they are more popular now than when they began 13 years ago?

Viewers have been completely enthralled and enchanted with Strictly’s magical mix of dance, sequins and campery, and the series has found a deserving champion in Joe McFadden.

The former ‘Holby City’ actor has certainly had the biggest journey of all the finalists, given he had little prior dance experience compared to Debbie and Alexandra.

That said, a victory for Alexandra would have been extra sweet given she was arguably the most talented dancer. It also would have been a victory over the trolls and certain sectors of the press who tried to drag her down during her time on the show.

I guess we will just have to settle for a long-awaited third album from her instead.

How do you keep your smile on your face with his hand between your legs? Darcey Bussell to Debbie McGee about Giovanni Pernice
I thought it was dreadful… as I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it. Craig Revel Horwood on Alexandra Burke’s American Smooth
If I had an 11 paddle for that fleckerl, you’d be getting one. Shirley Ballas on Joe McFadden’s Viennese Waltz
It was quiet, it was small, it was understated, it was classy, it was elegant. In fact it was everything Blackpool is not, darling. Craig Revel Horwood on Gemma Atkinson’s American Smooth
Claudia Winkleman attempting the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift in a way only she can
The excitement of the final proves too much for an accident-prone Bruno 
Alexandra’s Jive – somehow even better the second time around

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Final 2017 – HuffPost Verdict

K E Y   P O I N T S

  • Joe McFadden crowned winner of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ 2017
  • He and partner Katya Jones faced Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson in the final
  • Joe won despite Alexandra topping the leader board with 119 points compared to his 118
  • It was the first time the four finalists had danced all three dances
  • At 42, he is the show’s oldest ever winner

S C O R E   B R E A K D O W N 

1. Alexandra and Gorka = 119/120

  • Judges’ Pick: American Smooth to ‘Wouldn’t It Be Lovely’ from My Fair Lady. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 33)
  • Showdance: ‘There’s No Business Like Showbusiness’ by Ethel Merman. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 
  • Favourite Dance: Jive to ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 39)

2. Joe and Katya = 118/120

  • Judges’ Pick: Viennese Waltz to ‘Somewhere My Love’ from Dr Zhivago. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 (originally scored 32)
  • Showdance: ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39
  • Favourite Dance: Charleston to ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ by Ella Fitzgerald. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 36)

3. Debbie and Giovanni = 117/120

  • Judges’ Pick: Salsa to ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ by Boys Town Gang. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 for their (originally scored 35)
  • Showdance: ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ by Vaults. Score: 9+9+10+10 = 38
  • Favourite Dance: Argentine Tango to ‘Por una Cabeza’ by Carlos Gardel & Alfredo Le Pera. Score: 10+10+10+10 = 40 (originally scored 38)

4. Gemma and Aljaz = 114/120

  • Judges’ Pick: Paso Doble to ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay. Score: 9+9+10+10 = 38 (originally scored 35)
  • Showdance: ‘Show Me How You Burlesque’ by Christina Aguilera. Score: 8+9+10+10 = 37
  • Favourite Dance: American Smooth to ‘Downton’ by Petula Clark. Score: 9+10+10+10 = 39 (originally scored 38)

S N A P   V E R D I C T

At the start of the series, there were claims it was one of the weakest line-ups in recent years, but once again, ‘Strictly’ has proved it doesn’t need star power to dazzle. 

The class of 2017 have made this run the most watched in its history, with over 11 million tuning into each episode – a rare feat in TV land, as how many other long-running shows can say they are more popular now than when they began 13 years ago?

Viewers have been completely enthralled and enchanted with Strictly’s magical mix of dance, sequins and campery, and the series has found a deserving champion in Joe McFadden. 

The former ‘Holby City’ actor has certainly had the biggest journey of all the finalists, given he had little prior dance experience compared to Debbie and Alexandra.

That said, a victory for Alexandra would have been extra sweet given she was arguably the most talented dancer. It also would have been a victory over the trolls and certain sectors of the press who tried to drag her down during her time on the show. 

I guess we will just have to settle for a long-awaited third album from her instead. 

B E S T   L I N E S

How do you keep your smile on your face with his hand between your legs?Darcey Bussell to Debbie McGee about Giovanni Pernice

I thought it was dreadful… as I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it.Craig Revel Horwood on Alexandra Burke’s American Smooth

If I had an 11 paddle for that fleckerl, you’d be getting one.Shirley Ballas on Joe McFadden’s Viennese Waltz

It was quiet, it was small, it was understated, it was classy, it was elegant. In fact it was everything Blackpool is not, darling.Craig Revel Horwood on Gemma Atkinson’s American Smooth

B E S T   M O M E N T S

Claudia Winkleman attempting the ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift in a way only she can

Name a more iconic duo, we'll wait. #StrictlyFinalpic.twitter.com/XejYeDJJIF

— BBC Strictly (@bbcstrictly) December 16, 2017

The contestants’ epic entrance

YAS QUEEN @alexandramusic#StrictlyFinalpic.twitter.com/P1Wa0fMlO7

— Ryan Love (@RyanJL) December 16, 2017

The excitement of the final proves too much for an accident-prone Bruno 

Downtown? Man down. Bruno is off his chair. 🤣 #Strictly#StricltyFinalpic.twitter.com/zn7lglbjcV

— BBC Strictly (@bbcstrictly) December 16, 2017

Alexandra’s Jive – somehow even better the second time around

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ 2017 Winner Announced As Joe McFadden

Joe McFadden has been announced as the winner of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ 2017. 

The ‘Holby City’ actor lifted the Glitterball Trophy with professional partner Katya Jones in Saturday (16 December) night’s grand final. 

<strong>Joe McFadden and Katya Jones win 'Strictly Come Dancing' 2017</strong>

The pair, who were the bookies’ favourite to win going into the final, triumphed over fellow contestants Joe McFadden, Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson.

However, their win came despite the fact Alexandra and partner Gorka Marquez actually topped the leader board on the night.

Alexandra and Gorka were awarded a total of 119 points out of a possible 120 for their three dances, compared to Joe and Katya’s 118. 

But the final vote was purely down to the public to crown the winner, with the judges’ score purely there for guidance.

<strong>Joe faced Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson in the final</strong>

Of their win, Joe told hostsTess Daly andClaudia Winkleman: “It feels completely surreal, and I’m completely in awe of everyone that started all those weeks ago.”

A moment they'll never forget RT to send huge congratulations to your #Strictly 2017 winners @mrjoemcfadden and @Mrs_katjones! #StrictlyFinalpic.twitter.com/6NDbaaUh2g

— BBC Strictly (@bbcstrictly) December 16, 2017

The final had seen Joe and Katya perfom three dances – a judges’ pick, a showdance and their favourite dance. 

They triumphed after dancing their Viennese Waltz to ‘Somewhere My Love’ from Dr Zhivago, a showdance to ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates and their Charleston to ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ by Ella Fitzgerald. 

After they ended this year’s competition with their Charleston, Head Judge Shirley Ballas remarked: “This is definitely the way to close the show. You never gave in, not an inch.

“You’ve done things that I never, ever thought you’d be able to do. You have truly turned into a magnificent dancer.”

While this series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ may be over, there’s still a festive helping of the show to enjoy, airing on Christmas Day at 6.30pm on BBC One.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Final: Bruno Tonioli Falls Off His Chair Amid Finale Excitement

Just a few weeks ago, Craig Revel Horwoodfell off his chair while doing an impression of his fellow ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ judge Bruno Tonioli.

Well, it turns out it was somewhat of a premonition, as during Saturday (16 December) night’s final, it happened for real. 

<strong>Bruno Toniloi fell off his chair during the 'Strictly Come Dancing' final</strong>

Bruno fell off the judges podium as he got over-excited about the grand finale of the BBC ballroom show. 

Craig was in the middle of critiquing Gemma Atkinson and Aljaz Skorjanec’s Blackpool-themed American Smooth, when he made a quip about the seaside town that had Bruno in stitches. 

Downtown? Man down. Bruno is off his chair. 🤣 #Strictly#StricltyFinalpic.twitter.com/zn7lglbjcV

— BBC Strictly (@bbcstrictly) December 16, 2017

“It was quiet, it was small, it was understated, it was classy, it was elegant. In fact it was everything Blackpool is not, darling,” he said. 

The next moment, a giggling Bruno was seen crashing towards the floor

<strong>Bruno's co-stars couldn't help but laugh</strong>

“I knew this was going to happen!” he shrieked as his fellow judges fell about laughing. 

Host Tess Daly also joked: “It didn’t happen all series and now Bruno falls of his chair during the final.” 

After picking himself up, Bruno revealed he had snapped one of the cables attached to the judges’ desk, before waving it around for those at home to see.

Saturday’s final saw ‘Holby City’ actor Joe Mc Fadden and partner Katya Jones lift the Glitterball Trophy. 

They were crowned winners over fellow contestants Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson. 

While this series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ may be over, there’s still a festive helping of the show to enjoy, airing on Christmas Day at 6.30pm on BBC One.

Tulse Hill Hit And Run Latest: Five Drivers Now Traced Following Police Appeal

Five drivers who may have been involved in a suspected multiple hit-and-run in which a woman died have been traced, police said.

The 29-year-old pedestrian, who was Polish but had been staying in Wandsworth, south London, was hit by a lorry as she used a pedestrian crossing while the traffic lights were green.

It is thought she was then struck by another lorry and up to three cars, and officers said none of the drivers stopped at the scene in Tulse Hill, also south London, on Monday morning.

A 49-year-old man who was driving the first lorry was interviewed under caution earlier this week while a 52-year-old driver of the second car was released under investigation following his arrest on Tuesday evening on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

The driver of the first car and second lorry have now also been traced and spoken to, as has the driver of a third car which police believe may also have struck the woman.

None of these three people – for whom the police did not give ages or genders – have been arrested.

CCTV released earlier by police showed a white lorry and a black car which are thought to be the second and third vehicles involved in the collision.

Scotland Yard said further analysis of footage established that a third car may also have hit the woman, whose family arrived in London on Friday to formally identify her.

A post-mortem examination revealed her provisional cause of death was multiple injuries.

Despite tracing the five drivers, officers are continuing to appeal for information from witnesses, the Press Association reported.

Acting Detective Sergeant Alastair Middleton said: “Even though we have traced all the vehicles that we believe were involved, I continue to appeal for anyone who witnessed the collision and the moments afterwards to contact us immediately.

“We want to hear from anyone who travelled from the South Circular junctions of Norwood Road going towards the junction of Brixton Hill between the hours of 6.30am and 7am on the day of the collision.

“We are particularly interested in any dashcam footage that may have captured some of the incident before or after the collision.”

Anyone with information or footage can call 020 8543 5157 or contact police through @MetCC.

David and Victoria Beckham ‘plan to build huge treehouse’

It has been reported that David and Victoria Beckham have plans to build a huge tree house for their four children in the grounds of their estate.

‘Tell Us What You Want!’ Italian Minister Cranks Up Pressure On May Over Brexit

<i>Italy&rsquo;s Europe Minister Sandro Gozi</i>

The EU is still not clear what Britain wants from Brexit, according to a top Italian politician who has urged Theresa May to spell out her plans.

Italy’s Europe Minister Sandro Gozi, who spent ten years working for the European Commission before being elected to the Italian parliament, told HuffPost UK Theresa May needs to be clearer in her demands and the “ball is in the British court.”

His words were echoed by Ireland’s Europe Minister Helen McEntee, who told HuffPost UK “intensive talks” were needed in order to bring “clarity” to Britain’s position.

The pressure from the European politicians comes ahead of a crunch meeting of May’s cabinet next Tuesday, where ministers will for the first time be able to set out their visions for the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Speaking to HuffPost UK in Brussels on the day it was officially agreed that phase one of the negotiations had been completed, Gozi said January and February of next year would be used by the EU to prepare “the framework agreement on the future relationship” between the UK and the bloc.

He said the talks were moving at the “right rate”, but added: “It is not clear what Britain wants from the transition period, it is not clear what Britain wants for the future.

“The ball is in the British court and it’s up to the Brits to tell us how they see the transition period and how they see the future relationship.

“From an Italian perspective I do believe that transition period could be organised around a couple of years and based on the Single Market and the Customs Union.

“The closer the transition period is to the current situation the better for us, but it’s up to the Brits to tell us how they want to start the negotiations.”

Listen to the interview in the Commons People podcast

<i>Ireland's Europe Minister Helen McEntee</i>

Ireland’s Europe Minister Helen McEntee told HuffPost UK that while Britain has always been clear it wants “a very close relationship” with the EU, there now needed to be flesh on the bones of any future deal.

“Setting that out and what that means is what we’re going to do now in phase two.

“Particularly around transition, we know that maybe views have changed throughout this period of time and I think that’s why we need to have these intensive talks in the New Year to get a bit of clarity around what the UK is thinking and how that matches up with the EU so that we’re moving forward knowing what it is that everybody wants and everybody’s agreed to.”

In a document released on Friday afternoon, the EU set out its vision for what a post-Brexit transitional deal would look like.

The UK would still “participate” in the Single Market and Customs Union – meaning it would have to abide by laws around free movement of people, goods, capital and services.

It would also remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and have to abide by any new laws passed during the expected two-year period.

However, the UK would have no role in EU institutions or decision making, meaning there would be no British MEPs in the European Parliament and the Prime Minister would be locked out of future summits.

Donald Trump Praises FBI Graduates Just Hours After Trashing Bureau

Donald Trump has given a confusingly mixed message to the FBI, lamenting the “very disgraceful” sactions of the organisation before travelling to address new graduates and telling them he’s a “a true friend and loyal champion”.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Friday morning, the President said people are “very, very angry” at what he sees as political bias amongst agents investigating the Russia allegations under special counsel Robert Mueller.

He added: “It’s a shame what happened with the FBI but we’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever.

<strong>Trump with Jeff Sessions at the FBI Academy on Friday.</strong>

“Everybody ― the level of anger at what they’ve been witnessing with respect to the FBI is certainly very sad.”

Trump then travelled to Quantico, Virginia, to address graduates at the FBI Academy and in a sharp change of tune, said: “I am here not only to congratulate you, but to honour you for your courage and for your devotion and I want you to know that with me as your President, America’s police will have a true friend and loyal champion in the White House, more loyal than anyone else can be.

“The President of the United States has your back, 100 percent.

“I have so many friends that are police officers, so many people in the FBI, these are great, great people. These are really heroes to all of us.”

You are always there for us – THE MEN AND WOMEN IN BLUE.

Thank you to our police, thank you to our sheriffs, and thank you to our law enforcement families. God Bless you all, and GOD BLESS AMERICA! #LESMpic.twitter.com/9ejiddVL9h

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2017

Trump’s relationship with the FBI has been extremely fractious since he took office, culminating in the sacking of Director James Comey back in May.

In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the FBI but revealing testimony from Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June hinted at another scenario.

He said during a dinner in January with just himself and the President present, Trump asked him if he wanted to stay on as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

Comey said he became concerned that Trump was trying to create “some sort of patronage relationship.”

In the statement Comey added: “That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the executive branch.”

<strong>James Comey testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.&nbsp;</strong>

In May it was reported Trump told Russian officials at the White House that firing FBI Director James Comey relieved “great pressure” and described him as “crazy, a real nut job”.

Trump has continued in his attempts to smear Comey’s legacy and just this month tweeted:

After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017

Although he seems to be alone in his assessment:

Nope. Not letting this go. The FBI’s reputation is not in “tatters”. It’s composed of the same dedicated men and women who have always worked there and who do a great, apolitical job. You’ll find integrity and honesty at FBI headquarters and not at 1600 Penn Ave right now

— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) December 3, 2017

The FBI is in “tatters”? No. The only thing in tatters is the President’s respect for the rule of law. The dedicated men and women of the FBI deserve better.

— Sally Yates (@SallyQYates) December 4, 2017

“I want the American people to know this truth: The FBI is honest. The FBI is strong. And the FBI is, and always will be, independent.”
Me (June 8, 2017) pic.twitter.com/OZ1ZiBrMNL

— James Comey (@Comey) December 3, 2017

And then today there was this:

President Trump: "I don’t want to talk about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We’ll see what happens."

— Matt Viser (@mviser) December 15, 2017

Wait. Hold. Up. The President of the United States is signaling to a cooperating witness he may get pardoned???!?! https://t.co/AUHXIwnEiF

— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) December 15, 2017

Brexit Briefing: Done – EU Have Been

You can sign up for this briefing by clicking here, and you’ll receive it straight to your inbox every Thursday afternoon.

If you like what you read, make sure you subscribe to our Commons People podcast here for even more analysis about what goes on in Westminster. 

1) Done, Done, On To The Next One

Stage one of the divorce/trade/ratification triathlon is over.

Theresa May earned applause from EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday as the divorce section of the Brexit negotiations officially came to an end, and today the EU27 signed off on the completion of phase one of the talks, meaning the attention can now turn to trade.

In a press conference after the decision, European Council President Donald Tusk suggested substantive negotiations will wait until March 2018, as there needs to be “exploratory talks” first to establish just what kind of post-Brexit relationship the UK wants with the EU.

Alongside the EU27 published its guidelines for moving forward, with much of the focus on any transition period.

Contained within the three pages of text are some words which will make hard Brexiteers blood boil. The two-year transition period will keep the UK in the Single Market and customs union, maintain the ‘four freedoms’ (including freedom of movement), and continue the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Indeed, any changes to EU rules during the transition period “will have to apply both in the United Kingdom and the EU.”

But it’s not all good news! The UK will have no representatives at any EU institutions, nor “participate in the decision-making of the Union bodies, offices and agencies.”

In other word, two years of obeying the EU’s laws and rules, with absolute no say in what they are. The Government will counter that as it takes so long for EU laws to be signed off, it is very unlikely anything new will introduced which affects the UK during those two years.

Still, this is going to be a hard sell for May back in the UK. Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have already warned against her “red lines” fading, and accepting the ECJ for two more years might make them pinker than a piglet.

But that is a battle for another day, and May will just be mightily relieved to have got phase one over by Christmas.

Huff Post UK’s Executive Editor, Politics, Paul Waugh sets out what happens next here.

2) In Case You’d Forgotten, Theresa May Did Really Badly In The Election

Before the sweet smell of success in Brussels, there was the stench of defeat in Westminster.

Eleven Tory MPs conspired to inflict Theresa May’s first Parliamentary defeat as Prime Minister on Wednesday, over whether a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal should be written into law.

The Government opposed the plan, fearing it would restrict the UK’s negotiating hand in the Brexit talks. Despite last minute concessions that there would indeed be a meaningful vote, the Government couldn’t avoid defeat, going down 309 to 305.

One man paid with his job: Stephen Hammond, who was sacked as vice-chair of the Tories.

For May, the defeat was a frustration, an embarrassment, but not a fatal blow by any means.

With such a slim majority, and on such a contentious issue as Brexit, the odd defeat is to be expected. Having already conceded on Henry VIII powers on Monday, Downing Street will feel they had bent as far as they could.

I’ve written here on why the result could actually be a Pyrrhic victory for the rebels, as it could give Hard Brexiteers the opportunity to vote for the UK leaving the EU without any deal whatsoever.

Of course, for that to happen, an awful lot of Labour MPs would have to support them. And there’s no way Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes would endorse a plan which could ultimately bring down the Government, trigger a General Election and potentially install the Labour leader in Number 10…is there?  

3) Theresa May Is Clearly In The Mood For Striking Deals

The fall out from the vote was played out on Twitter. Tory MP Nadine Dorries called for the rebels to be deselected, a sentiment backed by Brexit-supporting Conservative commentator Tim Montgomery.

Rebel leader Dominic Grieve revealed he had received death threats, and the Daily Mail tried to outdo the Telegraph’s infamous ‘Mutineers’ front page by branding the former Attorney General and his allies “self-consumed malcontents.”

Excuse me while I trawl through the archives to find all the times the Mail chastised anti-EU Tories for voting against Government orders…I may be some time.

If the Mail and other Brexiteers hoped their attacks on the rebels would scare them into towing the line, they seem to be mistaken.

Nicky Morgan told BuzzFeed News:“If you label people in life, they will tend to live up to those labels.

“If you label them as mutineers or rebels then you think, ‘Well, fair enough, why not?’”

The next clash was set for Wednesday, with the rebels determined to stop the Government from writing the precise time and date of Brexit into the EU Withdrawal Bill. This time, it is the rebels claiming they are trying to stop the Government’s hands being tied by in the negotiations, arguing that if the UK is close to a deal by March 29 2019, and wants to get an extension to the talks, the unamended legislation would prevent that.

It seems that a deal has been reached this evening, with a new amendment being put forward seeming to have the support of the Government and the rebels. The date will still be put into law, but there will be a get-out clause if more time is needed to finalise a deal. 

It’s fudge for everyone this Christmas.

Commons People Special

Here’s a special Brussels edition of Commons People, featuring interviews with Italian Europe Minister Sandro Gozi, Irish Europe Minister Helen McEntee and El Pais journalist Lucia Abellan.