"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 9th Apr 2019
Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge
Deal or No Deal
- Most Britons believe a No Deal Brexit is unlikely (62%) but they remain worried by the prospect of leaving without a deal this Friday, according to a Sky Data poll
- The House of Lords approved the Cooper-Letwin Bill, which speedily got Royal Assent, and which now requires the Prime Minister to consult Parliament on the length of any new Article 50 delay and mandates her to try to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal
Red Lines still stuck
- Cross-party talks on a deal to break the Brexit deadlock continue. There are reports that May has not moved from her Red Lines, but Downing Street push back saying the government 'is committed to find a way though' and 'is working at a pace to do so'
Flextension to ease the tension
- EU Commission president is said to be recommending a year long 'flextension' for the UK, to allow it to create a plan to leave the EU and begin negotiating a future trading deal
- An emerging plan for the EU Summit indicates that the countries most affected by Brexit will meet Theresa May in the hours before its start to discuss an agreement and shepherd the debate later on, thereby, avoiding any catastrophic errors
Stricter conditions on UK coming
- Ireland's Leo Varadkar reiterated that he was open to an extension of the UK deadline, while France's Emmanuel Macron is likely to impose stricter conditions. These could involve restrictions on the UK using its presence in the EU to disrupt EU business, as suggested by some Brexiteers, with particular concern about the EU budget being obstructed
European Elections looking likely
- The Conservatives are now officially preparing to fight the European elections in May. This was part of the earlier EU demand that the UK had to meet by April 12th, before an extension could even be considered
EU tells Ireland it has 'got its back'
- Michel Barnier made it very clear to Ireland PM, Leo Varadkar, that the EU pledges full support for the Irish border backstop, regardless of what happens in EU negotiations
China benefiting from EU paralysis
- EU Budget Commissioner says that Brexit has paralyzed decision making in Europe and China has taken advantage to promote its own interests around the world
Politicians in Westminster seen as culpable
- Polls are showing the public is holding Westminster to blame for the Brexit deadlock.
Tories facing big local government seat losses
- Tory pollster Rob Hayward says the Conservatives face a voter deficit, if no Brexit deal is secured by the time of the local elections. He said turnout would dramtically decline and that the Conservatives would see council seats won haemorrhage into big losses
Turning the clock back to 1922
- A delegation of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee visited Theresa May in Downing Street. The group told the PM that the mood among party supporters had turned against her over the weekend, that she is damaging the party with her policies and she should consider stepping down
Britain has becoming a laughing stock
- Former Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne publicly said he has changed his mind over Brexit. He said Brexiteers must swallow their pride and think again, as Brexit has turned the country into a laughing stock
Hardline ERG seems to be shattering
- There were signs the hardline Tory ERG which had opposed Theresa May's deal are shattering into smaller groups. One MP, Daniel Kaczynski, said he had resigned from the hardcore element of the group and that there was now around 28 Tory rebels in that faction
Boris Johnson in hot water
- The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards accused the former Foreign Secretary of not demonstrating the leadership expected of a senior MP in sticking to Commons rules. The Commissioner warned Johnson of more serious sanctions if he flouts the rule book again
Jaguar Land Rover car sales fall across the year
- JLR sold 578, 915 vehicles in the year to March, down 5.8%. While weaker demand in China was a major factor behind the fall, the EU saw sales slump by 4.5% because of diesel and vehicle emissions issues
Operation Brock is not winning friends
- The vice president of ferry operator DFDS said he was not at all impressed by Operation Brock's traffic management plan to date, while Port of Dover officials said they were 'reserving judgement,' whilst still admitting they did not believe Brock to be the best solution
Brexit confusion could EU tenants in the UK
- EU citizens will face problems renting properties in the UK because of Brexit. Some landlords were likely to refuse EU citizens as future tenants as the government has failed to offer any clear instructions about its settled status scheme
Portsmouth could become a No Deal hotspot
- The government has provided only 10% of the money needed for No Deal Brexit plans at Portsmouth, according to the channel port's director, Mike Sellers. He confirmed he has told the Department of Transport contingency plans would cost £4m but he'd only seen around £345,000 to date
Jaguar Land Rover begins Brexit shutdown as sales fall
JLR’s factory shutdowns began as the carmaker, which is owned by the Indian conglomerate Tata, released full-year results. JLR sold 578,915 vehicles globally in the year to March, down 5.8%. In March alone, sales fell 8.2%, mainly because of an 11.4% decline at Land Rover, while Jaguar recorded a 0.2% dip. The carmaker blamed weaker demand in China, whose economy has slowed sharply. JLR sales in China slumped 34%, while sales in Europe were down 4.5% because of uncertainty around the future of diesel vehicles, and the impact of new emissions legislation. The effects of the fuel efficiency and emissions testing procedure, called WLTP, have been felt across the industry.
Home Office denies rejecting Ofsted director's Brexit settled status application
The Home Office has insisted a deputy director of Ofsted hasn't been 'denied settled status' under their scheme for EU nationals. Daniel Muijs, who is Deputy Director of Research and Evaluation for the education watchdog, said he had been “rejected” in a post on Twitter . He wrote: “Have just found out my application for settled status in UK has been rejected. “I now need to find evidence of residence since 2013. Not a good feeling.”
Operation Brock: No-deal Brexit plan is safe despite crashes and breakdowns, Highways England claims
After a series of accidents, criticism from ferry companies and port operators reserving judgement, Highways England has insisted its no-deal Brexit plan is safe and effective. Operation Brock was designed to ease congestion if traffic towards the port of Dover grinds to a standstill. But the vice president of ferry operator DFDS saying he was “not at all impressed” with the plan, while Dover port bosses meanwhile, said they were reserving judgement on the operation's success although they admitted admitted they are not convinced it is the best solution. Highways England however, said there had only been an estimated half a dozen crashes and breakdowns in the contraflow system in Kent since it was introduced on 25 March, although a spokesman admitted he was unable to provide accurate figures.
No-deal Brexit means less food variety - Wales' first minister
Wales could see "less variety of food" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the first minister has warned. Mark Drakeford said there were products on supermarket shelves now which would not be there after a no-deal - something he called a "genuine risk". Although the impact would be "devastating" on industries, he said there would not be food shortages. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the UK food industry was "highly resilient".
Irish funds industry group sets up office in Brussels ahead of Brexit
The lobby group for the Irish funds industry is to open an office in Brussels to beef up its European Union advocacy ahead of Brexit. Amid fears of a clampdown on financial services across the EU in the absence of the UK, its chief advocate, Irish Funds, has appointed former BNY Mellon executive Umar Ahmed as its new head of EU affairs. From next month, Mr Ahmed will lead the industry body’s engagement with the EU institutions, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders. Irish Funds chief executive Pat Lardner described the move as a “a natural extension” of the group’s domestic advocacy strategy but acknowledged Brexit made it that bit more urgent.
City of London alarmed at EU’s no-deal Brexit equity trading plan
Fund managers holding European equities are praying that a no-deal Brexit is avoided this week. Europe operates the world’s most integrated cross-border share trading marketplace but the UK’s possible sudden departure from the EU would cleave this network into two: EU and non-EU markets.
Leaving London: voices from the financial front lines of Brexit
The current trickle of new arrivals is stirring concern about upward pressure on property prices and extra competition for places at international schools. The FT has spoken to people in six of the cities affected by these moves — Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin, Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid — to hear how Brexit is playing out.
Rise in cost of probate has been delayed by Brexit turmoil
Plans to increase the cost of probate for grieving friends and families sorting out the wills of loved ones are being repeatedly delayed by Brexit, amid a widespread backlash against their implementation. The proposals, dismissed by critics as a “stealth death tax”, would introduce a sliding scale of charges to replace the current flat rate of £215 for granting official approval of any will. The increases had been due to come into effect on 1 April but no date has been fixed for a parliamentary motion in the Commons that would pave their way. They were expected to raise £155m a year for the Treasury. Brexit has been blamed for eating into parliamentary time.
Cork hotel sees big decline in UK customers since Brexit vote
Mr Grant’s UK clients traditionally came from two sectors – individual or family clients and tour operators. Yet since the vote for Brexit the numbers coming to him from first category have dropped significantly. He says this is primarily due to changes in exchange rates, which means Ireland is more expensive for British visitors than before. “The change in currency since the vote has made Ireland 22 per cent more expensive purely on the exchange rate, not to mention the fact that costs are also rising here since the recession.
Brexit confusion could hit EU tenants in UK, say landlords
EU citizens will face problems renting properties in the UK because of Brexit, private landlords have said. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said the confusion over Brexit meant some landlords were likely to refuse EU citizens as future tenants because the government had failed to give them clear instructions over the settled status scheme introduced last week. “They do not follow every twist and turn of Brexit and it is unreasonable to assume that they are going to be able to divine the details of the settled status scheme from statements made by Theresa May or government ministers,” said David Smith, the RLA’s policy director.
Brexit: 'No extra funding' for no-deal Portsmouth port
The government has provided only 10% of the money needed for no-deal Brexit plans at Portsmouth, according to the channel port's director. Mike Sellers said contingency plans would cost £4m, but the Department for Transport (DfT) had provided £345,000. He said the government was "not accepting there is going to be a potential issue at Portsmouth". The DfT said the estimated risk of disruption did not warrant extra funding. Mr Sellers said delays at the port, which could be caused by post-Brexit customs checks, could cause congestion across Portsmouth and supply issues to the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. He said there were currently only 13 lorry lengths between the port and the motorway.
Wealthy Chinese Still Beating Path to U.K. Even With Brexit Woes
Political gridlock and years of Brexit drama haven’t dampened demand from wealthy Chinese for U.K. investor visas. Chinese applications for Tier 1 investor visas rose 19 percent to 144 in 2018 from a year earlier, according to data obtained from the Home Office by private equity firm Growthdeck. The number applying has almost doubled since 2016, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union. Chinese comprised 63 percent of the 228 applications last year, up from half in 2017, according to Growthdeck. Hong Kong was second with 26.
Thousands of Brits have made a home in France. Brexit could complicate their lives.
Each E.U. country has established its own plan for how to treat resident Brits in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In 11 of the 27 member countries, British citizens would automatically be allowed to stay as long as they like. But in 17 countries, they would only get a grace period before they would need to try to claim residency. In France, they would have up to a year to get their papers in order, or face losing their medical coverage and potentially deportation.
@YvetteCooperMP Our cross party Bill now has Royal Assent.
Our cross party Bill now has Royal Assent. Parliament has voted tonight against the damage & chaos that No Deal would cause for jobs, manufacturing, medicine supplies, policing & security.
Yvette Cooper Bill: What happens to the attempt to block no-deal Brexit this week?
The European Union Withdrawal (No 5) Bill legally rules out leaving the bloc without a deal and forces the Prime Minister to seek further Article 50 extension. If passed, it would requires the Prime Minister to table a motion seeking MPs’ approval for an extension to Article 50 to a date of her choosing. Mrs May has already written to the EU seeking a further Brexit delay, but the bill would make it UK law that the negotiation period would be extended in order to rule out a no deal. Although Mrs May indicated she would request the postponement, Ms Cooper said her legislation would allow “more clarity” over any delay.
Brexit: Cross-party talks to continue amid impasse
Ministers and their shadow counterparts will continue cross-party talks on Tuesday, Downing Street has said, as they try to break the Brexit deadlock. "Technical" discussions among officials took place on Monday evening. Sources indicated the PM had not accepted Labour's customs union demand, but there was a move towards changing the non-binding political declaration. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there had been no change in the government's "red lines". A Downing Street spokesman said the government was "committed to finding a way through" which requires both sides "to work at a pace".
Six in 10 Britons think no-deal Brexit unlikely this week - Sky Data poll
Most Britons think a no-deal Brexit is unlikely - but many remain worried by the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal this Friday, according to a Sky Data poll. Six in 10 (62%) think the UK is unlikely to leave the EU without a deal this week, while 27% think it is likely to happen - 11% admit they don't know. Parliament has repeatedly rejected the idea of leaving the EU without a deal, and the prime minister has ruled it out - but unless a deal is struck to further delay Brexit in the coming days, a no-deal Brexit will happen automatically on 12 April.
Labour ‘would back revoking Article 50 by the end of this week if the only alternative is a No-Deal Brexit’
Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said that her party would “consider very, very strongly” backing the nuclear option of reversing the 2016 decision should a No Deal be likely
‘Flextension’ and just tension in Brussels as UK requests another Brexit delay
It's official: Brexit doesn't mean Brexit. At least not on April 12. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May formally appealed to the EU Friday for yet another extension of the U.K.'s departure date, perhaps until June 30. Or maybe until May 22. Or maybe sooner.
UK's new Brexit date could be fixed by small group of EU leaders
Britain’s new exit date from the EU, and the conditions attached to a Brexit delay, will likely be fixed in the gilded rooms of the Belgian prime minister’s 16th century Egmont Palace hours before Theresa May addresses the leaders. Under emerging plans, a small group of EU leaders whose countries will be most affected by the UK’s departure will be hosted by the Belgian PM, Charles Michel, on Wednesday afternoon. The guest list is likely to include the leaders of France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. The purpose of the proposed coordinating meeting, three hours before May was set to address the full complement of 27 heads of state and government, would be to try to shepherd the debate that would be held later on, and avoid potentially catastrophic errors, the Guardian has learned.
House of Lords prepares to approve Brexit delay bill
The House of Lords and MPs in the Commons on Monday passed the final stages of a bill requiring prime minister Theresa May to consult parliament on the length of any new Brexit delay, and seeking to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on Friday. The bill, now an Act of Parliament, proposed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and approved by the House of Commons last week, is a key initiative by backbenchers to try to take control of the Brexit process amid the deadlock at Westminster over Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement. The draft legislation had encountered hours of filibustering on Thursday by Eurosceptic peers who want the UK to leave the EU without a deal. But it passed the Lords on Monday, with peers amending the draft legislation to reduce the possibility of an “accidental no-deal Brexit” because Mrs May lacked the authority to negotiate with other EU heads of government.
Data reveals 32,800 new voters in West Yorkshire since Brexit vote
Despite three quarters of youngsters casting ballots in favour of remain in 2016, this would be unlikely to swing the area’s vote in a second referendum. The People’s Vote campaign says there should be a fresh poll on EU membership so these youngsters’ futures are not decided for them. New Office for National Statistics data shows the number of attainers (people who turn 18 and become eligible to vote) by December 1 this year. In West Yorkshire, by the end of the year, there will be 32,848 new voters since the EU referendum in June 2016
In call with PM May, Ireland's Varadkar says open to Brexit delay
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar spoke to Britain’s Theresa May on Monday about her plan to seek a further extension to the Article 50 Brexit negotiating period, the Irish government said in a statement. EU leaders will meet on Wednesday to discuss Britain’s request. The Irish government said that in the call with May, Varadkar had “repeated his openness to an extension of the deadline”.
Jeremy Corbyn says ‘there’s no new Brexit deal yet because Theresa May won’t compromise’
Cross-party talks between Labour and the Government resumed on Monday night after days of little to no progress on Brexit. Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn blamed Theresa May for the two sides failing to come up with a new Brexit deal yet because she won’t give up her ‘red lines’. Meanwhile Tories have confirmed they are already preparing for European Parliament elections at the end of May – admitting Brexit is likely to be delayed until after then
Brexit: Theresa May heads to Paris to plead for extension amid Tory fury in London
Theresa May is heading to Europe to appeal to France and Germany for an extension to Brexit talks that could see Britain locked into what furious Tory rebels have branded “second class EU membership”. The prime minister will plead with President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel for a delay to the UK’s departure to avoid crashing out without a deal. She will likely be forced to accept strict conditions. Mr Macron has indicated he could not stand the UK using its continued presence to disrupt EU business as suggested by some Brexiteers, with particular concern about the bloc’s budget being obstructed
Government sets out plan to comply with Brexit delay law, if it passes
The government’s leader in parliament set out plans to hold a 90-minute debate on Tuesday on Prime Minister Theresa May’s request for a delay to Brexit in order to comply with legislation expected to pass into law later on Monday. The legislation is currently under discussion in parliament’s upper chamber. House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said that if it is approved, the government would later on Monday set out the statement which will be debated.
Brexit news latest: Conservatives officially start preparing for European elections
Applications for European election candidates were being accepted by the Conservative Party this evening amid ongoing talks between the Tories and Labour in an effort to break the impasse over Brexit. The Tories sent an email to potential candidates today stating they would be contesting the elections on May 23, with April 24 the closing date for nominations. It said: “Due to the current situation we will be contesting the European Elections on 23 May 2019 and the closing date for nominations is 24 April.”
Brexit: Furious Tory MPs tell Theresa May her ‘desperate’ decision to seek talks with Corbyn will ‘damage the Conservatives’ for years
Leading Tory Eurosceptics have attacked Theresa May for her decision to seek Jeremy Corbyn’s help in delivering Brexit, warning that her approach will be “disastrous for the nation” and “threatens to damage the Conservatives for years”. The prime minister reached out to the Labour leader last week after MPs rejected her proposed Brexit deal three times. Talks between the two main parties are continuing as they attempt to find a compromise solution to the deadlock gripping parliament. But the decision to turn to Labour for help in getting a Brexit deal through parliament infuriated Conservative Eurosceptics who fear the outcome will be a much softer Brexit or a fresh referendum.
Mark Carney still stands taller than Brexit’s lost leaders
Carney has come to his own support, quite rightly. In an interview with Sky News, while diplomatically not mentioning King by name, he lambasted his predecessor’s claim that the government could easily prepare for a no-deal Brexit by spending six months arranging interim trade agreements in accordance with WTO rules. “Just like that,” as the late comedian-conjuror Tommy Cooper used to say.
Brexit: Will Britain be leaving the EU on Friday?
Thursday April 11 - If the Cooper Bill has been passed by the Lords, it would place new requirements on the PM. If the European Council proposes a different extension date, Mrs May would need to return to the Commons to obtain MPs’ approval. It is also the final date for the UK to take steps to enable European Parliament elections to take place on May 23. Friday April 12 -This is when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU after MPs repeatedly rejected the Prime Minister’s deal. Mrs May has written to European Council president Donald Tusk asking for a further extension to June 30, but the EU 27 will have to agree to it when they meet on Wednesday. If they do not agree to an extension, Britain will leave without a deal at 11pm on Friday.
Barnier pledges EU support for backstop in event of no-deal Brexit
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has pledged support for the Irish border backstop regardless of what happens in the Brexit negotiations. “The EU will stand fully behind Ireland,” Barnier said on Monday at a joint press conference with the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in Dublin. Speaking in English to underline his point, Barnier said that if the UK were to leave without a deal the EU would still expect it to honour the backstop, an insurance policy to avert a hard border on the island of Ireland. “You have our full support,” he said, looking at Varadkar. “The backstop is currently the only solution we have found to maintain the status quo on the island of Ireland ... Let me be very clear. We would not discuss anything with the UK until there is an agreement for Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as for citizens’ rights and financial settlement.”
May to ask Merkel and Macron for short article 50 extension
Theresa May will travel to meet Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel and plead with them for a short extension to Brexit, claiming talks with Labour have a serious chance of reaching a deal. Before an emergency European summit on Wednesday, the prime minister will travel to Paris and Berlin on Tuesday to make the case for extending article 50 for only a few months. She will make the argument that talks with Labour are on the brink of a breakthrough, although those negotiations stalled at the end of last week and no formal meetings are scheduled to start again.
Britain must SCRAP Brexit: Austrian economist calls for SIMULTANEOUS exit and trade talks
Britain must scrap Brexit altogether and restart negotiations - in a scenario where the UK’s exit from the EU and future trading relations are agreed at the same time - a top economist has urged. Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the Kiel Institute for World Economy, pleaded for Brexit to be scrapped and exit negotiations to restarted from scratch. He also argued that the EU exit and future relations should be negotiated at the same time, despite Brussels bosses insisting future relations, like trade, be negotiated after the UK exits the bloc.
PM to meet Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel before emergency Brexit summit
Mrs May's planned travel to Berlin and Paris could yet be interrupted if a bill from Labour's Yvette Cooper and Tory ex-minister Sir Oliver Letwin is passed into law on Monday night. This would force the prime minister to consult the House of Commons, likely to happen on Tuesday, on the length of the further delay to Brexit she is requesting from the EU. A subsequent motion tabled by Mrs May could then be amended by MPs to either shorten or lengthen - or add further conditions - to any Brexit delay. Revealing the scale of anger among Conservative eurosceptics at the prime minister's handling of Brexit, former Brexit minister Steve Baker claimed this week "might be the week when the government and parliament are seen to have betrayed" the 2016 EU referendum result.
Is cancelling Brexit the Prime Minister's new default?
Is the de facto Brexit default now revoking Article 50 this week rather than a no-deal Brexit on 12 April? I ask because the PM is now explicitly saying the choice is a binary one between some version of her negotiated deal and not leaving at all (that is what she said in her sofa chat on Sunday). The point is that she has no power to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 12 April by delaying Brexit; for a delay, she needs the unanimous agreement of the EU's 27 leaders. But she does have the unilateral power to prevent a no-deal by cancelling Brexit altogether, by revoking the Article 50 application to leave the EU. So, have she and Whitehall, who are persuaded (rightly or wrongly) that no-deal on April 12 would be a catastrophe (especially for the integrity of UK), made a huge emotional leap to prepare for the political (if not economic) explosion of cancelling Brexit this week - in that there remains a serious risk that the EU will not grant the UK an extension or an extension on acceptable terms.
Sinn Féin to meet Corbyn for Brexit talks
Sinn Féin leaders are due to hold Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn in London. Party president Mary Lou McDonald says she’ll tell the Labour leader that Irish interests must be protected, whatever the outcome of his negotiations with the Prime Minister. Sinn Féin will also hold meetings with Secretary of State Karen Bradley. Meanwhile the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will be in Dublin to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. They will discuss the latest Brexit developments.
Why UK MEPs voted against visa-free travel to Europe in a no-deal Brexit
British MEPs have explained why they voted against UK citizens getting visa-free access to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Thirty of them voted against a motion tabled by a Bulgarian MEP to grant British travellers the same concession as dozens of “third country” nationalities, including Australia, Japan and the US. They have told The Independent that they were angered by a footnote to the proposal, added by the European Council after pressure from Spain. It read: “There is a controversy between Spain and the United Kingdom concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached.” Labour MEP Claude Moraes, initially in charge of the proposal, was removed from this duty by fellow MEPs after opposing the addition. He subsequently voted against the motion.
Lords approve Brexit law forcing May to consult parliament on delay
Britain’s parliament approved legislation on Monday that gives lawmakers the power to scrutinise and even change Prime Minister Theresa May’s request that the European Union agree to delay Brexit until June 30.
Yes, you can be a Remainer and a patriot
The armies are massing, the war drums are thrumming, Nigel Farage and Tony Blair stand mouthing Gladiator-style pep talks in the mirror before the battle to come. Increasingly it feels as though another referendum is on the horizon. The hoped-for delay to Brexit points to a second vote. Changing demographics point to a second vote. Parliament’s most popular option has been a second vote. If that second vote comes, Remain must be ready to remedy the mistake made last time around: leaving all the patriotic tunes to Leave.
European elections are happening and they will be the most important in British history
Theresa May’s hope is that the prospect of holding European elections will finally scare up a parliamentary majority for her withdrawal agreement. That prospect is, however, slim: that she has already opened up talks with the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, increases the political cost to Labour MPs of breaking ranks to back her accord in its current state. May is at or near the maximum level of support her deal can attract from Conservatives and she may even lose ground among Tory MPs next time the withdrawal agreement is voted on.
Brexit latest news: Michel Barnier urges Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to strike deal on a customs union
Michel Barnier has urged Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to strike a pact keeping Britain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said that the political declaration, which sets out the terms for negotiations over the future relationship, could be reworked very quickly if cross-party talks between Tories and Labour were successful.
Should Labour support a second Brexit referendum?
The facts of course have changed. We now know much more about what is on offer. The political class has been forced to remember that Northern Ireland exists, and has come face to face with the reality of leaving an institution we have become completely integrated with.
The radicalisation of Remainers - Remainers of the day
Since the referendum in 2016 a Remainer rearguard has emerged. Mr Ricks belongs to Bristol For Europe, one of 200 groups which spend weekends and evenings campaigning against Britain’s departure from the eu. They are found all over the country, from Remainer-choked cities like Bristol to Leave-heavy cities like Hull. As Brexit comes to a crunch, their presence is being felt more than ever. On March 23rd about 400,000 of them arrived in London demanding a do-over on Brexit. A petition supporting the revocation of Article 50, which would stop Brexit in its tracks, has so far attracted 6m signatures. Britain has long had a Eurosceptic fringe. Now it has a well organised and increasingly vocal Europhilic one to match it.
A Brexit compromise is in view. A customs union is the only solution
Within the next two days, Theresa May must manoeuvre herself a Commons majority behind a deal that will win another Brexit extension from the EU on Wednesday. That majority deal is now in full view – it would mean the UK leaving the EU with a customs union in place, as agreed with Labour. This would honour the – frankly vague – wish of the 2016 referendum, and it would provide continuity in trade with Europe. It is a palpable compromise, but for either extreme to present it as a national humiliation or catastrophe is absurd. We have been in that customs union without obvious harm for 40 years.
May in diplomatic dash to Berlin and Paris to get support for Brexit delay
The prime minister will today attempt to persuade France and Germany to support her request for another Brexit delay, ahead of an emergency summit of EU leaders tomorrow. Theresa May will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this morning, before later travelling to Paris to hold talks with President Emmanuel Macron. She is expected to urge them to accept her request for a delay until 30 June, despite indications from EU Council President Donald Tusk that a longer extension - potentially through to March 2020 - would be preferred by Brussels.
A confirmatory public vote is our bottom line
The labour movement now must speak with one voice: a confirmatory public vote is our bottom line. Love Socialism Hate Brexit is a group of radical and socialist Labour MPs fighting to stop Brexit. We will be writing a column for LabourList every week until ...
Dr David Smith: A junior doctor’s diagnosis – Brexit is becoming a betrayal of the NHS
Demand in the NHS has never been higher and government funding has failed to keep up with this. Instead of finding more money for the NHS, this Government seeks to drag us out of the EU, simultaneously tearing up decades of carefully written trade deals. The effect of this will be a major hit to our economy, sapping away any hope of a light at the end of the tunnel after years of austerity. Far from the £350m a week promised, Brexit means no extra resources to save our NHS. “It’s okay,” you say. “We can recruit more doctors from overseas.” Don’t bet on it. The end of freedom of movement will make it more difficult for highly-skilled EU doctors to come and work here, while the climate created by the Brexit vote means Britain is increasingly seen as an unattractive place to come, hostile and suspicious of its foreign neighbours. Why would an international doctor want to relocate their life to the UK when they’re made to feel so unwelcome?
Oettinger: China is the ‘biggest winner’ from EU’s Brexit ‘paralysis’
The Brexit deadlock has paralyzed Europe and bolstered China, European Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger said. In an interview with Die Welt published Monday, Oettinger said the prolonged discussions over the U.K.'s exit from the EU has "strengthened others," such as China. "We have been dealing with Brexit for over two years now. That's costing time and effort, nerves and money. There are so many more important things to do," he said."The biggest winner [of Brexit] is China. The Chinese can advance their strategy without disruption and leap everywhere in the world at the opportunities that Europe fails to seize because it's so preoccupied with itself."
British voters say - Give us a strong leader and reform the Brexit-fatigued system
British voters want a strong leader who is willing to break the rules and force through wide scale reform after three years of Brexit crisis pushed confidence in the political system to a 15-year low. The 2016 referendum revealed a United Kingdom divided over much more than EU membership, and has sparked impassioned debate about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and what it means to be British. Yet more than a week since the United Kingdom was originally supposed to leave the EU on March 29, nothing is resolved: it remains uncertain how, when or if it ever will.
Poll finds Westminster blamed for Brexit deadlock as support for Conservatives and Labour falls
Welsh voters overwhelmingly blame Westminster for the state of the current Brexit negotiations. That is according to the latest poll commissioned for ITV Wales and Cardiff University. The YouGov barometer poll found that opinion is split between 39% of people who hold Theresa May and her government responsible - and 39% who think MPs as a whole are to blame. Eight per cent said the European Union and other European governments are more at fault.
Brexit-supporting MP calls for no confidence vote in May
The deputy leader of a pro-Brexit faction in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has called for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May by Wednesday, Sky News reported. “I am writing to you in a personal capacity to express my sincere belief that Theresa May should now resign as prime minister,” Mark Francois, said in a letter to the Chairman of the Conservative Party 1922 Committee, Sky reported. “We simply cannot go on like this, with a weak leader, a riven cabinet and a party in despair. I believe Theresa May has been a failure as leader of our party, which she now threatens to destroy.”
Will Emmanuel Macron veto Theresa May's Brexit extension?
But as Britain seeks to leave the bloc with a withdrawal deal negotiated to avoid economic catastrophe, it is now French President Emmanuel Macron who is threatening to stand in the country's way. Speaking before May's plea for a delay, Macron said that to avoid a chaotic "no-deal" Brexit on Friday, it was up to the U.K. to present a “credible alternative plan backed by a majority” in Parliament before Wednesday's emergency E.U. summit. May has repeatedly been unable to find enough support from British lawmakers for a deal she hammered out with the E.U.
Labour MP’s constituency office windows smashed in ‘Brexit-related attack’
A Labour MP’s constituency office windows have been smashed in what she suspects may have been an attempt at intimidation over her stance on Brexit. The damage to the office of Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland in County Durham, was inflicted on Saturday and comes amid an increasingly febrile atmosphere in Britain over its exit from the European Union (EU). Ms Goodman, who backed Remain in the 2016 but voted to trigger Article 50 two years ago to respect the result of the referendum, is calling for a so-called soft Brexit and late last month voted to keep the UK in a customs union.
Have you changed your mind on Brexit?
Journalists Peter Oborne and Fraser Nelson discuss why they have changed their minds since the 2016 EU referendum. Daily Mail commentator and former Brexiteer, Peter Oborne, told Today that “the economic case for Brexit has collapsed” and that questions around the Irish backstop could lead to “the end of the United Kingdom”. They spoke to Today after Mr Oborne wrote for the political website Open Democracy, calling for a long pause on Brexit.
Conservatives face 'Brexit deficit' at local elections if Theresa May fails to secure deal, says Tory pollster
Theresa May's Conservatives face a voter deficit if no Brexit deal is secured in time for the local elections, according to one of the party's most respected polling experts. With the deadlock over Brexit showing no sign of easing at Westminster and less than a month to go until parts of the country go the polls, Lord Hayward also claimed turnout could dramatically decline. In England alone at the 2 May election there are 8,374 seats up for grabs, including 33 metropolitan councils, 119 district councils, and 30 unitary authorities.
In May’s home county, Tory problems run much deeper than Brexit
Windsor and Maidenhead voted to remain by 54% to 46%; in the local government district of Wycombe, remain also won, with 52% (Baker, who had said he would resign if remain won, said he was “disappointed” but “also surprised”). In both towns, many people I spoke to on either side of the Brexit divide were weary and exasperated by the parliamentary pantomime, and so keen for it all to quieten down that many of them seemed open to settling for whatever compromise the politicians could come up with. What they were most comfortable talking about was what might happen to their immediate surroundings – and, by extension, the future of the country as seen from the perspective of everyday life.
Could Brexit lead to Frexit?
What then if Brexit led to Frexit? And what if the two exits led to a Franco-British Union with a combined GDP ranked 3rd in the world, military power arguably second – and a formidable rugby team. It might solve the Almighty’s nationality dilemma
The Prime Minister has a point: a no-deal Brexit could unravel our United Kingdom
Any approach by a prime minister to the leader of the opposition to work out a joint solution to the nation’s most pressing issue is fraught with risks and dangers. It is undoubtedly infuriating to many government supporters, and has only a slim chance of success. The tempting strategy for an opposition presented with such an initiative is to appear to engage constructively in the talks, draw the government into concessions that further antagonise its own side, and then pull the rug from under it by pronouncing those concessions as inadequate. They would thereby be closer to bringing down the government, their ultimate goal.
Theresa May told 'you are the problem' by backbenchers furious over Brexit paralysis as they urge her to go for good of the party
Theresa May is facing demands from her own MPs to stand down immediately after senior backbenchers told her she is now “the problem”. A delegation of executives from the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers met Mrs May in Downing Street on Monday and said the mood among party supporters had turned against her over the weekend. Mrs May sat in stony silence and refused to discuss her future as the MPs made clear the “damage” she is causing the party, sources said. The meeting will draw comparisons with the final days of Margaret Thatcher's reign when she was visited by "the men in grey suits" and prevailed upon to resign for the good of the party.
People are planning to protest Brexit extension by staying at home and doing nothing | Latest Brexit news and top stories
The “national strike” has been planned for Friday April 12 - the next Brexit deadline which could see the UK crash out of the European Union if there is no extension. The Brexiteer organisers are urging people to switch off their television sets and their mobile phones and stay at home. They believe the protest could cost the country £250 million a day. According to a group on Facebook entitled “Brexit Blackout! 12th of April” the protesters will avoid cars, electricity, and shopping.
Lack of Brexit progress would hit Tories badly in council elections, says polling expert
Brexit is likely have a major impact on next month's town hall elections in England, according to a leading polling expert. If Theresa May successfully delivers Brexit by polling day on 2 May, the Conservatives could reap the benefit at the ballot box. But if she fails and Brexit is further delayed, the Tories could be badly disadvantaged, with smaller parties the main beneficiaries. The predictions have been made by polling guru Robert Hayward, who has accurately forecast the results of recent general elections and referendums.
I was a strong Brexiteer. Now we must swallow our pride and think again
It’s nearly three years since I, along with 17. 4 million other Britons, voted for Brexit. Today I have to admit that the Brexit project has gone sour. Brexit has paralysed the system. It has turned Britain into a laughing stock. And it is certain to make us poorer and to lead to lower incomes and lost jobs. We Brexiteers would be wise to acknowledge all this. It’s past time we did. We need to acknowledge, too, that that we will never be forgiven if and when Brexit goes wrong. Future generations will look back at what we did and damn us.
Conservatives will pay a heavy price for weaponising Brexit
Letting hardliners frame the Brexit debate has exposed the UK to division and humiliation
British public's faith in politics is 'worse than during the expenses scandal', according to damning new survey
The British public's faith in the political system is in a worse state than it was during the MPs' expenses scandal, according to a damning new survey. Some 72 per cent of those polled felt either "quite a lot" or "a great deal" of improvement was needed, while only a quarter were happy with how Brexit was being handled. The findings, reported by the Hansard Society, paint a bleak picture of how potential voters feel about UK politics.
UK poised to embrace authoritarianism, warns Hansard Society
The UK public is increasingly disenchanted with MPs and government and ever more willing to welcome the idea of authoritarian leaders who would ignore parliament, a long-running survey of attitudes to politics has shown. Amid the Brexit chaos, overall public faith in the political system has reached a nadir not previously seen in the 16-year history of the Hansard Society’s audit of political engagement, lower even than at the depths of the crisis over MPs’ expenses. Almost three-quarters of those asked said the system of governance needed significant improvement, and other attitudes emerged that “challenge core tenets of our democracy”, the audit’s authors stated.
Brexit chaos: 28 MPs split from ERG due to 'unicorn hardline element endangering Brexit'
Yesterday evening, Daniel Kaczynski resigned claiming that the “hardcore element” of the party were jeopardising Brexit. The MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham is reportedly now part of a 28-strong group of former ERG MPs who have broken away from the main group due to their hardline Brexit stance, according to talkRADIO. The popular radio station reported: “The 28 remaining Tory Brexit rebels are meeting separately from the rest of the ERG.
Boris Johnson criticised for breaching Commons rules over Somerset property
Boris Johnson was criticised today by Parliament’s standards watchdog for breaching Commons rules on declaring financial interests. Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, accused the former Foreign Secretary of not “demonstrating the leadership” expected of a senior MP in sticking to Commons rules. The Commons Committee on Standards instructed Mr Johnson to attend a “full briefing” from the Registrar of Members’ Financial Interests and warned of more serious sanctions if he flouts the rulebook again. It came after the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP failed to register a 20 per cent share of a property in Somerset within the 28-day timetable of acquiring it.
The Tory Party Has Suspended 14 Members Over A Series Of Anti-Muslim Facebook Posts
The Conservative party suspended 14 of its members on Tuesday and said it would launch an investigation after a series of anti-Muslim comments were posted on a pro-Tory Facebook page. In the most damaging day for the party during its brewing anti-Muslim crisis, the Conservative headquarters acted after BuzzFeed News passed it details of the comments made by members of the "Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group". The page is not affiliated to the Conservatives or Rees-Mogg, but it is used by Tory party members. The comments were highlighted by the @MatesJacob Twitter account.
Theresa May to consider giving MPs vote on second referendum in bid to break Brexit deadlock with Labour
Theresa May is considering giving MPs a vote on whether to hold a second referendum in a bid to break the deadlock in negotiations with Labour, The Telegraph can disclose. The Prime Minister held discussions with Cabinet ministers in Downing Street on Monday about the prospect of holding a Commons vote on whether to enshrine a commitment to a second referendum in law. Mrs May was said to have been "pragmatic" during the discussions and told ministers that securing a deal is not going to be "easy" and will require compromise. Julian Smith, the chief whip, is understood to be "confident" that the Government has the numbers to defeat a bid by Labour to hold a second referendum in the Commons.
Brexit-distracted Tories lose voter trust on core issues: poll
As the U.K.'s Conservatives struggle to deliver Brexit, an exclusive poll for POLITICO suggests the party has lost the trust of voters on core issues. In swing seats across the country, the Tories are trailing Labour on the central issues people most care about, the new POLITICO-Hanbury tracker poll conducted in battleground constituencies has found. But despite the negative view of the party and its handling of Brexit, Theresa May is still seen as the stronger leader compared to her opposition counterpart Jeremy Corbyn.
One Nation Tories invite MPs to dial down Brexit rhetoric
Insults, talk of “treason and traitors”, and references to the second world war must be removed from the Brexit debate, say moderate Conservative MPs attempting to curb politicians’s increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. Despairing at the way some MPs are willing to say anything that will go viral on social media and earn attention, they are asking colleagues to sign up to a code of conduct to stop the worst excesses. The move comes after Mark Francois, Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford and pro-Brexit European Research Group member, said “up yours” in a radio interview to chancellor Philip Hammond in cabinet. The second world war has been raised on several occasions. Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, recently complained that an “ungrateful EU” had not considered the fact the Britain “helped to liberate half of Europe”.
Tory council candidates warn Theresa May party support 'in freefall' over her Brexit stance
Theresa May has been warned by more than 100 Tory council candidates that her move towards a softer Brexit will see the party lose seats across the country in May.