Theresa May was widely expected to trigger article 50, setting in motion the process of Britain's withdrawal from the European Community, on or around the Ides of March – Wednesday 15 March – after the formal passage of the Brexit bill through both houses of parliament. She was not expected to heed the Lords' amendment which would have given EU nationals living in the UK – the so-called 'bargaining chips' – automatic right to remain. The Commons foreign affairs committee said it had found no evidence of serious contingency planning by the government in the event of negotiations with the EU breaking down. The Brexit secretary, David Davis, gave an unconvincing assurance that the UK would be 'prepared' for such an eventuality. The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, notorious for his false claims during the referendum campaign, made an equally hollow boast: 'It would be perfectly okay if we weren't able to get an agreement, but I'm sure that we will'.

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was reported to be ready to throw a grenade into the proceedings by demanding a second independence referendum in the autumn of next year. Labour's disastrous leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was 'fine' about that prospect, undermining his own party's leadership north of the border, which is opposed to a second referendum. The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, said he too would vote against it, saying that a re-run of the 2014 campaign would be 'divisive'. A new opinion poll in the Herald newspaper giving the Union a 52-48 lead tended to support that assessment.

Forty-eight people were killed by a landslide which engulfed a landfill site in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, where hundreds of the city's poor attempted to make a living scavenging. Many children were among the dead. In one of the sillier international incidents of recent times, The Netherlands expelled a Turkish government minister who was visiting the country in order to make a speech. Turkey threatened reprisals. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, set out a 'strategy' to deal with data abuse and fake news. GCHQ warned that cyber attacks by Russian hackers could threaten British democracy by infiltrating political parties, constituency offices, think tanks and pressure groups, as well as parliament itself. After the recent risible claim that a television presenter, Richard Whiteley, had been a spy, a second unlikely agent of MI6 emerged: the late pop singer Adam Faith, who was alleged to have been hired to keep an eye on Fidel Castro. An academic's appearance on television was interrupted by the appearance of two small children who walked into the room. They were removed by his wife, Jung-a-Kim, who was promptly assumed by the followers of social media to be the family nanny.

Britain's youngest MP, Mhairi Black, who represents the interests of Paisley and Renfrewshire South, who was widely hailed as a star of the future after her maiden speech, but of whom next to nothing had been heard for some time, told the Sunday Post that she hates Westminster so much that she may not stand for re-election. Two thousand people in the Borders took part in a night-time cross country race, the Mighty Deerstalker, organised by an outfit called Rat Race Adventure Sports. One of the competitors, a 48-year-old woman, took ill and died one hour into the race. BBC Scotland promoted as one of its main items of news on Sunday that Ramblers Scotland had appointed a new president, someone described as a blogger.

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Mrs May's bargaining chips

Could I please be free of the
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