"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 3rd Apr 2019
Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge
- After a marathon Cabinet meeting yesterday the Prime Minister risked a walkout by the Brexiteers in her Cabinet, as she threw an olive branch to the Opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and announced she has pivoted towards a soft Brexit in the withdrawal process
- Political pundits seem startled by the PM's strategic shift 'May prepared to blow up her Tory family and put Brexit in Labour's hands' or 'May chooses a deal over party unity'
- In a statement shortly after the Cabinet meeting broke-up, May confirmed she was going to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline beyond April 12th to break the logjam in Parliament
Could it be a trap?
- One respected pundit, Ian Dunt, said 'although May's move looked genuine on the surface, it could be a No-Deal trap. If the UK passes the April 12th deadline without agreeing to contest the European Elections it cannot remain inside the EU. This creates a danger zone in which May could put her deal to Parliament for a 4th time, safe in the knowledge that no further extensions of Article 50 were possible'
- The EU still needs to agree to an extension, although the May 22nd deadline is in place, subject to conditions. With trust in Theresa May's ability to deliver an approved withdrawal agreement ebbing away, the EU is preparing to offer the UK a long extension with conditions attached
- Theresa May, though, said she wanted a short extension, just enough time to pass the necessary enabling legislation to support any deal Parliament passes. This difference in intepretation led to Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, accusing May of simply kicking the can down the road to avoid making any decision on how to compromise
- Therefore, Labour's Lexit/Brexit priorities of a customs union, access to a single market and protections for the consumer, environmental and workers rights are now 'on the negotiating table'
And what about the DUP?
- Michael Gove told Reuters the government still hopes to get the DUP to back Theresa May's Brexit approach and that conversations with them are still ongoing
- But the DUP told BBC Northern Ireland that the PM's handling of Brexit has been lamentable and that her decision to involve Jeremy Corbyn is 'sub-contracting the future of Brexit to Mr Corbyn'
Being Brexit partners does not guarantee success
- Brussels chief negotiator remains cautious, arguing that a No deal outcome remained likely
- Leading Tory Eurosceptics have already spoken publicly at their anger over her dealing directly with Corbyn calling it 'frankly grotesque' and ERG chair Rees-Mogg was said to be furious at May's plan to work with a 'known Marxist'
- Around 180 Conservative MPs signed a letter calling for a Managed No Deal Brexit and to leave immediately, So Theresa May's decision to reach out to Corbyn puts her at odds with over half of her Conservative Party. Meaning her near total dependence on Labour to pass her deal, when they desire a General Election, above all else
The Cabinet Secretary's letter
- Theresa May's change of heart, and apparent decision to rule out a No Deal Brexit, points in the direction of Sir Mark Sedwill's letter to ministers as playing a key role. Ten percent rise in food prices, a recession, direct rule in Northern Ireland and social unrest may well have moved the Prime Minister from her rigid red lines
- It also says a lot about the fourteen ministers in her government who remain happy to go for a Managed No Deal, presumably confident in the government's preparations to date
Ford Europe is at the crossroads
- Ford Europe chair, Steven Armstrong, said the company is going to take a long hard look at the future of its UK investment, if the government proceeds down the road of a No Deal Brexit
- CNN lists 10 dire warnings about Brexit from business. In a piece which recaps the last two years and the many Brexit linked business announcements, CNN discusses: Siemens, EasyJet, Citigroup, Airbus, Sony, Nissan, Ford, BMW and Schaeffler - and the likely impact on the UK stemming from their Brexit-linked business decisions
- Siemens UK CEO, Jurgen Maier, told the BBC Today programme 'enough is enough,' and that Britain is 'trashing its fabulous relationship with the rest of Europea because of its failure to secure a Brexit deal
- The CBI's Carolyn Fairburn said the Tories now need to compromise on red lines over Brexit and Labour must come to the table in good faith to find a solution. 'No excuses any more, no time wasting, no more party politics'
A 'para-military' style Brexit attack
- Two malicious obstructions have been found on railway lines and are linked to Brexit. British Transport Police said short-circuiting devices were left on tracks near Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, and Netherfield in Nottinghamshire last month. It was a deliberate attempt to cause significant sabotage to the rail network. Attached to the devices was a note saying 'we will bring this country to its knees if we don't leave'
Ford to take 'long hard look' at UK future in no-deal Brexit
Ford has stepped up warnings over a no-deal Brexit, saying it would take a "long hard look" at its UK operations in that event. As Theresa May scrambles to find a way forward following a series of "no" votes on Brexit options in parliament, the chairman of Ford Europe told Sky's Ian King Live the company had a duty to protect itself from the prospect of becoming uncompetitive. Steven Armstrong said Ford, which employs just under 13,000 staff in the UK including workers at its Dagenham and Bridgend engine plants, had already spent tens of millions of euros preparing for no-deal.
Brexit leaves Ford at crossroads on long-term British plans
Ford is spending tens of millions of euros preparing for a possible British exit from the European Union without a trade deal and has yet to decide on its longer-term plans for Britain, Ford Europe chairman Steven Armstrong said on Tuesday. “We love being in Britain, but it has to be competitive and if it’s not competitive then we’ll have to take whatever actions we’ll need to take to protect the business,” Armstrong told Reuters at an event in the Netherlands. Ford, which makes 1.3 million engines at two British locations, Bridgend and Dagenham, and cars in Germany, has warned it could face $1 billion in tariff costs in case of a so-called hard Brexit. While the company has announced 5,000 job cuts in Germany, its second-biggest European market, it has yet to make major decisions in Britain, which is its biggest.
UK business: 10 dire warnings about Brexit
Frustration is now boiling over. Here are 10 of the most dire warnings about Brexit from business leaders this list includes: Siemens, Easyjet, Citigroup, Airbus, McDonalds, Sony, Nissan, Ford, BMW, Schaeffler
Goldman Sees a ‘Big Finish’ for Brexit, Opportunity in the Pound
Instead of a prolonged stalemate or a chaotic no-deal scenario, Zach Pandl said a soft Brexit approach, which may include a permanent customs union packaged with a second referendum, could come within the next day or two. “Sterling is maybe the biggest opportunity among developed market exchange rates today,” Pandl said.
Brexit: NI potato firms 'unable to export to EU' in no-deal
Northern Ireland potato firms will not be able to export to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Hundreds of tonnes of table potatoes and bulk shipments of chips are sent to the Republic of Ireland every week. But government guidance says trade to EU countries will face restrictions in the absence of an agreement. One of NI's biggest processors Wilson's Country said it had lorries crossing the border six days a week to supply southern supermarkets.
Brexit: Councils left in the dark, MPs say
The government needs to stop leaving councils "in the dark" over Brexit and urgently provide more support, MPs say. The Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government committee said ministers should prioritise making sure that EU funding will be fully replaced after the UK leaves the EU. Its report said plans for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund need to be fast-tracked to fill the gap. The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 12 April. The government has said that after Brexit it will replace EU funds for poorer parts of the UK with the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund to reduce inequalities across the country.
Brexit: UK risks 'trashing relationship' with Europe, says Siemens boss
Britain is at risk of "trashing its fabulous relationship" with the rest of Europe because of its failure to secure a Brexit deal, a top businessman says. Jurgen Maier, the UK chief executive of Siemens, told the BBC's Today programme: "We are at a point of crisis right at this moment in time. "We need to find a way forward so we can re-establish that trust to give us the confidence to invest here again." Confidence in Britain would return once the situation was resolved, he added. Mr Maier said: "If I was going to go to my board today and say here is another factory that I want to open for a major infrastructure project in the UK, I can tell you that with this turmoil right now, we would not be putting that over the line. "I'm saying to our parliament, 'enough is enough' and this is the week where a decision needs to be made.
Two malicious devices found on railway lines 'linked to Brexit', police believe
Two “malicious obstructions” found on railway lines in the UK are linked to Brexit, police believe. British Transport Police (BTP) said short-circuiting devices were left on tracks near Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, and Netherfield, Nottinghamshire, last month in “a serious and deliberate attempt by someone to cause significant sabotage and disruption to Britain’s rail network”. Detectives investigating the attempted sabotage “believe it relates to Britain’s exit from the European Union”. The devices, installed at Yaxley on 21 March and Netherfield on 27 March, were detected by Network Rail workers and removed without disrupting services. A note found attached to the devices warned: "We will bring this country to its knees if we don't leave."
CBI chief's warning to politicians amid Brexit stalemate
While business groups gave a cautious welcome to the domestic olive branch, Ms Fairbairn said: "Welcome steps must be breakthrough not false dawn. "Business confidence slumping, growth stalled and UK reputation in tatters. "Tories must compromise on red lines and Labour come to table in good faith. No excuses, no time wasting, no party politics. Enough is enough."
Brexit: Bickering MPs ignore stark reality of no-deal – Scottish Retail Consortium
While eyes are transfixed on the unfolding political drama, the stark reality is firms are spending valuable money and effort on contingency planning for a disorderly Brexit. A lasting trade deal would have genuine benefits for Scots. It would help retailers keep down prices and ensure shoppers continue to have the widest possible choice on shop shelves. A ‘no deal’ Brexit by contrast would hit the poorest, who typically spend proportionally more of their family budget on groceries, clothing, and medicines. This is because these items can attract import tariffs. Thin margins in retail mean extra costs are likely to be passed on to consumers. Also, a significant portion of the food we buy comes from the EU, and needs transported quickly.
Brexit has already irreparably damaged research
A no-deal Brexit could be catastrophic for research. A timely reminder of what’s at stake came on 28 March, when UK-based scientists once again won the largest share of the prestigious European Research Council advanced grants, claiming more than 21% of the awards and €112 million (US$126 million) in total. A no-deal exit would instantly sever the United Kingdom from the scheme. Everyday research would take a hit as supplies, clinical trials, data collection and travel suffer disruption.
Polish mum blames attitudes to Brexit for failing residency test at Jobcentre
A young Polish mother says she believes attitudes to Brexit are responsible for her failing a residency test, leaving her without benefits despite living in Scotland for eight years. Agnieszka Maziarek, 26, from Edinburgh, who passed her first residency test two years after arriving in Scotland in 2011, says she is now dependent on loans from friends and food vouchers.
The Rare Businesses That Can’t Wait for Brexit
Unlike the vast majority of British business leaders, though, Lance Forman isn’t worried. In fact, he isn’t really worried about Brexit at all. The fourth-generation owner of Britain’s oldest salmon curer told me that his family’s company has survived fires, floods, and displacement. “What we learned from each of those catastrophes is that change provides great opportunity for renewal,” Forman said. He believes Brexit will do the same
May prepared to blow up her Tory family and put Brexit in Labour's hands
The fall-out from this gambit is eye-wateringly high risk: by reaching across the chamber to Mr Corbyn she is tacitly preparing to water down her own red lines and place the success of Brexit in her opponents' hands. If that fails, she will proceed to indicative votes to find a way through. Both options point to the same thing - a far softer Brexit than (most in) her party and cabinet would want. It goes without saying that her MPs are incandescent.
Theresa May deals triple blow to Tory hardliners
The second, bigger blow for the Eurosceptics came when the prime minister opened the door to a softer Brexit, announcing cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, to try to find a mutually acceptable exit deal. And in a third setback for the Brexiters, Mrs May said that, if cross-party talks failed, she would hold a run-off in the Commons between her thrice-rejected Brexit deal and a so-far undefined alternative — almost certain to be a softer option including a customs union with the EU.
No.10 statement: Look out for Theresa May's no-deal trap
The European elections are a crucial moment in the Brexit process. The EU has been clear that if the UK does not take part in those elections, it cannot remain inside, because it would mean that the European parliament would potentially be illegally constituted. The danger was always that May would use this fact to pivot parliament into a place where it had to choose between her deal or no-deal. The elections are on May 23rd. But the last date Britain can pass the domestic legislation to take part is April 12th. This creates a kind of danger zone, a time window in which May could put her deal to parliament in the knowledge that no further extensions of Article 50 were possible.
May’s Brexit gambit hands initiative to Corbyn
Nevertheless it would be a mistake to dismiss Mrs May’s gambit. She has ruled out no-deal; she has, after three attempts, abandoned her entire political strategy of trying to get her deal through with Tory votes alone. In advance of the decision, the cabinet was briefed on Tory prospects in a snap election. Given the decisiveness of Mrs May’s move, the outlook must have been grim indeed. The inevitable consequence, if she sticks to this plan, is that Brexit is about to get a lot softer, if it happens at all.
Brexit: May chooses a deal over party unity
She was for budging. Today, the prime minister made her priority leaving the EU with a deal, rather than the happy contentment of the Brexiteers in the Tory party. For so long, Theresa May has been derided by her rivals, inside and outside, for cleaving to the idea that she can get the country and her party through this process intact. But after her deal was defeated at the hands of Eurosceptics, in the words of one cabinet minister in the room during that marathon session today, she tried delivering Brexit with Tory votes - Tory Brexiteers said "No". Now she's going to try to deliver Brexit with Labour votes. In a way, it is as simple as that.
What do Labour and Jeremy Corbyn want from the Brexit plan?
Theresa May is to hold talks with Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to break the Commons deadlock on Brexit negotiations. The Labour leader said he would be “very happy” to meet the prime minister and would not “set any limits” ahead of their discussions, but he vowed to ensure his party’s Brexit priorities remained “on the table”. Labour wants a softer Brexit than Ms May’s withdrawal agreement proposes. Its priorities include a customs union with the European Union (EU), access to the single market, and protections for consumer, environmental and workers’ rights.
EU draws up strict conditions for long Brexit extension offer
The EU is preparing to offer Theresa May a long Brexit delay with strict conditions attached, including the need to hold European Parliament elections and a possible “gentleman’s agreement” over Britain’s future conduct as a member state. Measures under consideration in Brussels include the EU postponing Brexit to January or April 2020. In one extreme scenario, such an offer could be made even if Mrs May makes no request for an extension before next week’s summit
Gove still hopes Northern Irish DUP will back May's Brexit approach
The British government still wants the support of Northern Irish unionists to pass its Brexit deal despite pivoting in its strategy to consult the opposition Labour party on the way forward, environment minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have said they will never support May’s deal so long as the so-called Irish border backstop is in place, contributing to three defeats in parliament for the withdrawal agreement with the EU and forcing a change of approach. “We want the DUP to support our approach as well,” Gove told Sky News after May said she would ask for another Brexit delay to sit down with the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “Conversations are ongoing with the DUP,” he added.
How seven hours of rows and recrimination at Cabinet produced a surprising shift towards a soft Brexit
It was billed as the ultimate Brexit showdown and in the end the seven-hour marathon cabinet meeting ended in rows and recriminations after a cabinet majority for no deal was ignored in favour of a customs union consensus with Jeremy Corbyn. The fact that the epic political pow wow started with a brief delay should have acted as an omen. Ministers had initially been summoned to Downing Street for 8.30am only for it to be announced six minutes later that the meeting had been postponed to 9.30am and that the afternoon session might be cancelled.
Brexit: Theresa May to ask EU for further extension
Theresa May will ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline to "break the logjam" in Parliament. The PM says she wants to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan on the future relationship with the EU. But she insisted her withdrawal agreement - which was voted down last week - would remain part of the deal. Mr Corbyn said he was "very happy" to meet Mrs May, and would ensure plans for a customs union and protection of workers' rights were on the table. The cross-party talks offer has angered Tory Brexiteers, with Boris Johnson accusing ministers of "entrusting the final handling of Brexit to Labour". The former foreign secretary said Brexit was "becoming soft to the point of disintegration" and he could never agree with staying in a customs union.
Brexit: Michel Barnier accuses Farage and Brexiteers of trying to destroy the EU
Brussels chief Michel Barnier has accused Brexiteers of trying to "destroy" the EU. The bloc's chief Brexit negotiator claimed Nigel Farage had another motive for campaigning for Britain to leave than simply regaining sovereignty for the UK. Mr Barnier said Mr Farage and other Brexiteers wanted to tear the Union apart from the inside and from the outside. And he warned remaining member states to "take good care" of the Union. Mr Barnier recounted talks he held with Mr Farage during the negotiations during a meeting of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Council.
May gambles on talks with Labour to unlock Brexit, enraging her own party
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she would seek another Brexit delay to agree an EU divorce deal with the opposition Labour leader, a last-ditch gambit to break an impasse over Britain’s departure that enraged many in her party. In a hastily arranged statement from her Downing Street office after spending seven hours chairing cabinet meetings on how to plot a way out of the Brexit maze, May said she was seeking another short extension to Brexit beyond April 12.
Does Theresa May really think Jeremy Corbyn is stupid enough to walk hand-in-hand with her to a Tory Brexit?
Another anti-climax, then, from the queen of the let down, Theresa May. She really is debasing the currency of the set-piece Downing Street statement. It used to be reserved for declarations of war or general elections or tearful prime ministerial resignations. Next time she'll probably make a solemn promise to get the next round in. In truth it appears to be an exercise in the blame game – tying to pin the failure of Brexit on Jeremy Corbyn this time. The rhetoric about national unity is incredible from someone who has so studiously ignored and disdained parliament for the past few years. And it is a flimsy, transparent effort to get Jeremy Corbyn to back what he has always called a “Tory Brexit”.
Brexit: Theresa May tears up strategy as she opens door to softer exit with Jeremy Corbyn's backing
Theresa May has dramatically torn up her Brexit strategy, paving the way for a softer withdrawal in a bid to secure Jeremy Corbyn’s backing to pull Britain out of the EU. The prime minister confirmed the UK would seek a further short delay to Brexit beyond 12 April in a Downing Street statement that infuriated Eurosceptic Tories. Government insiders believe the two big parties’ positions on future customs arrangements are not so far apart and could form the basis of a new deal.
The Newport West byelection could vindicate Labour’s Brexit policy
Paul Flynn was the MP for longer than I’ve been alive, and was immensely popular in the area: while I was at school, he championed the satirical group Goldie Lookin’ Chain and was mentioned on their album sleeves and at gigs. The band commemorated his death in February by penning a song that included the line: “Paul, you were the best, forever representing Newport West.” It was significant, as a teenager demonstrating against the Iraq war, to have the vocal support in your city of one of the minority of Labour MPs who opposed the conflict.
FM Mark Drakeford would stop Brexit to avoid no deal
Wales' first minister has said he would back stopping Brexit if it was the only way to stop leaving the European Union without a deal. But Mark Drakeford said the move would have profound political consequences. He spoke after MPs failed for a second time to back alternative Brexit proposals on Monday night. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said the position of Carolyn Harris as deputy Welsh Labour leader was untenable after she abstained on a further public vote. Labour whipped its UK MPs to support the measure. 24 of them voted against. In Wales two abstained - Ms Harris and Islwyn's Chris Evans. Ms Harris said that her voting reflected "the majority view of my constituents".
Where do cabinet ministers stand on soft Brexit v no deal?
It seems that a majority of cabinet ministers could now back a no-deal Brexit over a long delay and a customs union, with former remainers such as the Treasury chief secretary, Liz Truss, and the home secretary, Sajid Javid, now among the voices calling on Theresa May to seek this option. Ten cabinet ministers have signed a letter coordinated by Chris Heaton-Harris, the Brexit minister in charge of no-deal planning, urging the prime minister to leave without a deal. Here’s how the cabinet splits in favour of no deal versus a softer Brexit compromise – and those who could go either way.
MPs attack Brexit in debate on 6m-strong petition
MPs have urged Theresa May to listen to the 6m people who signed the biggest petition in British history, calling on the UK prime minister to revoke the Article 50 EU exit process and stop Brexit. In a debate in Westminster Hall, Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North, called Brexit an “all-consuming exercise in futility”, arguing that most of the public “want this national nightmare to be finally over”. Chuka Umunna, a member of the pro-EU Independent Group of MPs who have defected from the Labour and Conservative parties added that, “whether people voted Leave or Remain there is no majority for the mess that has unfolded”.
All eyes on the 'Furious Fourteen': May faces cabinet resignations as she shuns 'clear majority' of ministers who backed No Deal and sets up Soft Brexit surrender talks with Jeremy Corbyn instead
Theresa May risked a Cabinet walkout last night by defying the wishes of 14 of her ministers, throwing an olive branch to Jeremy Corbyn and pivoting towards a soft Brexit. More than a dozen senior Tories including Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox spoke out against a long delay to Brexit in a seven-hour ministerial marathon at Downing Street. But the Prime Minister went with the minority - a group of 10 ministers including Amber Rudd and Michael Gove who backed a further delay - in a move which enraged Brexiteers and could trigger a Cabinet walkout. Mrs May vowed to 'break the logjam' in Westminster by offering talks with Mr Corbyn - who favours a customs union - in a last-ditch bid to find a compromise, saying she would ask Brussels for more time to reach a deal.
Brexit: Theresa May to ask EU for further extension
Theresa May will ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline to "break the logjam" in Parliament. The PM says she wants to meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan on the future relationship with the EU. But she insisted her withdrawal agreement - which was voted down last week - would remain part of the deal. Mr Corbyn said he was "very happy" to meet Mrs May, and would ensure plans for a customs union and protection of workers' rights were on the table. The cross-party talks offer has angered Tory Brexiteers, with Boris Johnson accusing ministers of "entrusting the final handling of Brexit to Labour".
Macron: EU 'will not be hostage to Brexit crisis'
The European Union will not be hostage to a "political crisis" in the UK, France's president has said.
Sturgeon: Prime minister 'kicking the can' over Brexit
Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May of "kicking the can" after the prime minister said she would ask the EU for a further Brexit deadline extension. Mrs May called for talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to "break the logjam" in the Commons over Brexit. Ms Sturgeon said the prime minister was "kicking the can and delaying making any decision" on how to compromise.
The macho drama queens of Brexit are about to be knocked out by reality
From ‘hardman’ Steve Baker to Mark Francois of the TA, posturing ‘no dealers’ are dragging us towards Armageddon
There is a glimmer of hope on this dark Brexit day. Your move, Tories
Everyone is exhausted, and everyone is furious. Nick Boles’s choked, emotional resignation from the Conservative party on the floor of the Commons, in despair at its refusal to compromise, will sum up a black mood for many today. Once again parliament has spoken and the only comprehensible word was “no”, with some remainers now digging in for a second referendum as obstinately as leavers are for no deal. It sounds mildly unhinged to suggest this mess gives any grounds for optimism and yet strangely enough, that must be what this unfamiliar feeling is.
Second Brexit referendum plan can be agreed by MPs in coming days, Anna Soubry says
MPs have begun a fresh push to agree an alternative Brexit plan that would be put to a referendum in the autumn, despite throwing out all options last night. Talks will begin to settle on a “composite motion”, combining soft Brexit proposals with a commitment to putting them to the people to confirm – with the alternative of staying in the EU. Anna Soubry, who defected to The Independent Group from the Conservatives, insisted a compromise was still achievable and that supporters of a Final Say referendum were making “huge progress”.
What Would a No-Deal Brexit Look Like?
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned on Tuesday that Britain’s seeming inability to decide on an orderly departure agreement has made a so-called no-deal Brexit more likely with less than two weeks until April 12, the latest deadline. While a further extension of the deadline was possible, nothing was certain.
Brexit: DUP criticises May's 'lamentable' negotiations
The DUP has called the prime minister's handling of the overall Brexit negotiations "lamentable". The party's criticism comes after Theresa May said on Tuesday that she is to ask the EU for a further extension to Brexit. Mrs May also said she has called on Jeremy Corbyn to meet her to find a compromise. The DUP said that Mrs May's plans would be "sub-contracting" the future of Brexit to Mr Corbyn. Mr Corbyn said he was "very happy" to meet Mrs May, and would ensure plans for a customs union and protection of workers' rights were on the table.
Brexit: Theresa May 'whipped Tories to weaken Scottish independence bid'
Theresa May told her MPs to vote against the Common Market 2.0 in last night's indicative votes, because of fears it could weaken the case against Scottish independence, a BBC journalist has claimed. Newsnight reporter Nicholas Watt said the Tory leader believed the proposal put forward by her former minister Nick Boles "would have destroyed main pro-UK argument in a Scottish independence referendum”. The Common Market 2.0, or Norway plus plan, tabled by Boles and backed by MPs from all parties, would commit the Government to joining the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area.
UK’s top civil servant tells ministers No Deal Brexit would spark recession, hit police and send food prices soaring
No Deal Brexit would cause a recession and huge hikes in the price of food, according to Britain's top civil servant. Sir Mark Sedwill wrote to Cabinet ministers claiming No Deal would leave the country unsafe - but his warning was dismissed as a "Whitehall scare story" by Brexiteers.
MPs demand Jeremy Corbyn sack Labour Party chair after he refuses to back second referendum on Brexit
The Labour leadership had issued a three-line whip on Monday calling on all its MPs to vote in favour of backbencher Peter Kyle’s motion to hold a confirmatory vote on any agreed Brexit deal. The bid was defeated by 12 votes after Mr Lavery abstained along with fellow Shadow Cabinet member Jon Trickett. In total, 40 Labour MPs either voted against or abstained on the alternative Brexit option to demand another referendum, including eight junior shadow ministers. It is the second time in a week that Mr Lavery has ignored the party whip to abstain on the motion to put a withdrawal agreement to the public in a confirmatory vote.
Up to 200 Conservative MPs call for 'managed' no-deal Brexit - ITV's Peston
A junior minister in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is said to have collected 200 signatures from Conservative lawmakers for a letter calling for a ‘managed’ no-deal Brexit, ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston said. “DExEU minister Chris Heaton-Harris... is said by several of his colleagues to have collected 200 Tory MP signatories on an old-fashioned paper letter... calling for what is frequently described as a “managed” no deal,” Peston said.
Brexit: MPs unveil new plan to FORCE delay - as indicative votes set for round 3
MPs today unveiled a new plan to force Theresa May to delay Brexit after their "indicative votes" were left in tatters. Labour's Yvette Cooper made the bombshell next move after the House of Commons voted down all four alternative options to the Prime Minister's deal. The result - which failed to approve soft Brexit by just 3 votes - meant Parliament was deadlocked despite two rounds of "indicative voting" with MPs in control. So Ms Cooper has now shifted her focus to a dramatic bid to delay Brexit - in order to block No Deal. She and Tory Sir Oliver Letwin have published a cross-party Bill that would force the PM to delay the April 12 Brexit date to avoid No Deal. Usually it takes weeks, months or even years for a Bill to clear Parliament. Instead the MPs intend to force their Bill through ALL its stages in the Commons tomorrow - culminating in votes at 7pm (on the second reading) and 10pm (on the third reading).
Leaked No Deal Brexit letter predicts UK catastrophe with price hikes, recession and security chaos
An explosive letter has been leaked, revealing Britain will be plunged into catastrophe by a No Deal Brexit. The letter warns of ten per cent price rises, a recession - and direct rule in Northern Ireland. A leaked letter from cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has been obtained by the Daily Mail. It showed that the UK's top civil servant has warned of 10% food price hikes, economic recession and disruption to security if Britain crashes out without a deal. Leaving the EU without any sort of trade deal and relying on what are called World Trade Organisation rules, would also see a 10% spike in food prices. The government is said to have been preparing for a no deal scenario but, during the Brexit referendum, the idea was barely mentioned by Brexiteers or Remainers, the Mirror reports.
'Frankly Grotesque': Tory Eurosceptic Fury As Theresa May Proposes Brexit Compromise With Corbyn
Tory Eurosceptics have vented fresh anger and frustration at Theresa May after the PM offered to sit down with Jeremy Corbyn to hammer out a Brexit deal. Backbenchers called the plan, announced by May outside Number 10 after a tumultuous seven-hour Cabinet meeting drew to a close on Tuesday night, “frankly grotesque” and “appalling”. May said her decision was an “attempt to break the logjam” after MPs rejected her own Brexit deal three times. The two leaders would attempt to agree a withdrawal deal, she said, and if they fail to broker a compromise by April 10 - when the EU Council is next to meet - new options would be put to MPs.
May’s can-kicking changes nothing – MPs must stop a no-deal Brexit
Let us please get real. No deal remains a clear and present danger and that is what we must focus on. Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, spelt out to May’s ministers exactly what it will mean. Prepare for a recession significantly worse than 2008, a police force that can no longer keep order, food prices shooting up by 10% and direct rule in Northern Ireland, his report says.
Brexit: Head of civil service warns ministers of dire impact of leaving EU without deal
Britain's most senior civil servant has privately warned cabinet ministers of the dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, told ministers that leaving the EU without an agreement will result in food prices rising by ten per cent, the police being unable to protect people and the economy suffering the worst recession in a decade. Direct rule would have to be restored in Northern Ireland for the first time since 2007 and the government would come under pressure to bail out companies that had gone bust, he warned. In an explosive 14-page briefing sent to every cabinet minister and obtained by the Daily Mail, Sir Mark said leaving without an agreement would make Britain "less safe" and see pressure on law enforcement authorities "enormously increase".
'I've lost four inches off my waistline due to Brexit'
Conservative MP Huw Merriman has told Radio 5 Live he has gone from a 34 inch waist to almost under a 30 due to the stress of Brexit. The MP for Bexhill and Battle told Anna Foster much of the stress is caused by abuse from his constituents and that he’s also “started seeing a counsellor”. “I've decided that I need to make sure that I'm properly looked after and that we look after our mental health."
Brexit LIVE: Rees-Mogg and Johnson FURIOUS at May plan to work with 'known Marxist' Corbyn
Mrs May further angered the Tory backbenchers by stating her intentions to work with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to “try to agree a plan". Mr Rees-Mogg slammed Mrs May’s strategy to work with ”a known Marxist” and insisted the public “did not vote for a Corbyn-May coalition Government”. European Research Group chairman also warned the Prime Minister history did not show success for political leaders who tried to get policy through the Commons "on the back of Opposition votes". The leading Brexiteer added this approach is “deeply unsatisfactory” and is “not in the interests of the country”.
Barnier: 'No-deal Brexit has become more likely'
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said it has become more likely that the UK will leave the European Union without a Brexit deal. Mr Barnier was speaking at an event in Brussels after MPs rejected four alternative options to Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.
I’m a student who campaigned for Brexit in 2016 – now I know I got it wrong
Vote Leave managed to run a campaign that connected on a much more emotional level than any of the financial threats the Remain campaign rolled out. The urge to “Take back control” was clever – the use of the word “back” hinting that we somehow had lost an advantage, or control, over huge areas. What is obvious now, and perhaps to many was even before the referendum, is that leaving does not allow the UK to gain any control. Leaving the EU actually means losing control, losing power, losing influence and losing opportunities.
Brexit: EU nervous over UK's 11th-hour rethink
The EU has given the UK until 10 April, when it will hold an emergency Brexit summit, to decide what next or to slip - however unintentionally - into a no-deal Brexit. On Monday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said EU patience was running out. It's hardly a surprising comment, nor the first time an EU leader has said something similar.