"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 9th May 2019
Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge
UK Treasury will lose £1.1bn in carbon credit revenue if it crashes out of the EU with a No Deal Brexit
- The UK Treasury will lose more than £1.1bn in revenue as carbon-emitting companies in the UK escape having to pay for the pollution they cause if the UK crashes out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement at the end of October
Threats to MPs are now at unprecedented levels, according to Metropolitan Police chief, Cressida Dick
- The number of crimes reported by MPs almost doubled in 2018 from 151 to 342 and it was on course to rise much further this year. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told a Parliamentary committee that Brexit was a huge driver and that women and people from ethnic minorities are being disproportionately targeted
Business leaders warn against government plans to curb migrants' dependants
- UK proposals for new immigration rules after Brexit would prevent migrants bringing family members with them. This makes the country far less attractive to talented overseas workers, business leaders are warning. A report by an independent law firm into the propsals calls them 'a significant departure from traditional UK immigration practice'
Nursing and Midwifery Council say there has been a massive fall in nurses and midwives from Europe since Brexit vote
- The number of nurses and midwives registering for the first time was just 968 between April 2018 and March 2019, up from 805 who registered a year earlier, but a massive decrease compared to the 9,389 who registered in 2015-16. Elsewhere the findings stated that Brexit was the reason many left the UK. This prompted Best for Britain and the CEO of the Royal College of Midwives CEO, Gill Walton, to slam Brexit's impact and call for a final say on Brexit in an open letter
ITV blamed Brexit uncertainty for its falling advertising revenue
- Advertising revenue fell 7% during the first three months of the year at ITV. Revenues dropped as much as 16% in March, compared to the same month a year earlier
ITV's Robert Peston sinks sterling with his remarks
- ITV political correspondent's comments about cross-party Labour/Conservative talks on Brexit being at the point of collapse spurred fall in pound
Labour - Brexit talks with the government are near collapse - Robert Peston
- Peston asks if the talks might be pronounced dead as early as today, as Labour will launch its European Election manifesto. Corbyn will be asked about the talks at any launch and can hardly say 'I don't know' to a question about whether a pact on Brexit is possible. BUT...it remains to be seen as to whether Labour's position 'of being all things to both Leavers and Remainers' will stay, after additional consultation with MPs, unions and other supporters
A customs union compromise is a million miles away from Labour demands
- Labour sources said the government had tabled a completely unrealistic draft agreement on a customs union compromise last night. The Tory Party said the talks had been 'constructive and detailed' - Labour commented 'you'd need to ask the government about their choices of adjectives in this instance'
Corbyn always dreamed of a revolution - just not one involving Brexit
- Having rejected a No Deal Brexit, Labour's choices are restricted to a miserable compromise with the Tories, or a slide back to full EU membership. Socialism deferred until the pesky European question has been settle is not much of a rallying cry. Labour need to make a choice and take a stand
Corbyn says Labour 'will heal the divisions opened up by Brexit'
- Jeremy Corbyn plans to say that the party backs the 'option of a public vote' if a 'sensible Brexit deal cannot be agreed' and 'there is not a General Election.' This is the same position which led to the Labour Party losing 82 seats at last week's local elections
Brexit - when will Theresa May actually go?
- 'She's leading us to oblivion. I don't understand why she is hanging on.' 'She is using up the oxygen her successor will need when they take over.' These are genuine frustrations expressed to BBC political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg by MPs who have loyally worked alongside Theresa May and until recently believed she should stay
May buys herself a week in leadership showdown - PM to face senior backbenchers next week
- The Prime Minister will meet with senior backbench Tories of the influential 1922 Committee next Wednesday, after making an agreement to do so with chairman Sir Graham Brady. This came after Theresa May was on the receiving end of some brutal treatment from her own side during House of Commons PMQs earlier in the day
Theresa May's government said it was targetting July 1st as its target for the UK to leave the EU
- Cabinet office minister, David Lidington, said the government was redoubling its efforts to ensure a Brexit deal is passed by Parliament in time to prevent MEPs from taking up their seats in Brussels. If that proves impossible, the government will make sure the EU Withdrawal Agreement is done and dusted before Parliament rises for the summer. This would mean August 1st. This means Theresa May has now set five different dates for Britain to leave the EU
Tories try to limit the European Elections damage by launching a cut-price campaign
- The Conservatives message will be that only the government can deliver Brexit as it pleads with voters not to back Nigel Farage's party. The first leaflet includes a photograph of Theresa May. It is aimed at Conservative Party supporters who think the Prime Minister is doing her best to get a deal over the line and think the delay is not her fault - a source told The Times (good luck with that last point!)
Tug of war over May's exit day is a proxy for the Brexit civil war
- Sky's political correspondent Beth Rigby said the Tories are in freefall as Theresa May has gone from 'Brexit means Brexit' towards 'No Deal is better than a bad deal' and then ending up at 'It's my deal or no Brexit' - almost full circle
Brexit: Behind Closed Doors - 2 part documentary slams the UK Brexit strategy
- BBC camera crews were given access to Brexit officials in the European Parliament. The two part series saw part one broadcast last night. Part one focused on the team around European Parliament Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt. It shows officials having completely lost confidence in the UK's ability to negotiate, with frustration boiling over at the behaviour emanating from London
- Brexit Behind Closed Doors was like watching a car crash in slow motion
- EU official privately branded Theresa May's Brexit strategy as 'insane' and pathetic,' film shows
- David Davis 'did not give a f**k about the Irish border during the Brexit talks, EU figures claim
- Theresa May's 'Dancing Queen' speech was brutally mocked by Guy Verhofstadt and his aides in BBC Brexit documentary
Expenses watchdog in Parliament suspended official credit cards belonging to 377 MPs
- Hundreds of MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and nine cabinet ministers, have had their official credit cards suspended by the expenses watchdog, since 2015, for breaking the rules by not providing receipts or failing to pay back ineligible expenses
Labour Party staff close to strike action after rejecting latest pay offer from bosses
- Staff working for the Labour Party rejected a third and final pay offer from bosses. The decision at an emergency meeting at Labour HQ was resoundly rejected by 137 votes to 37 with some union members shouting 'strike, strike' as the meeting broke up
May promises a new vote on her Brexit deal within the next two weeks
- The FT reports a minister as saying that Theresa May is 'living from day to day now only' and making promises such as this simply to buy time. If she brought forward legislation to ratify her withdrawal treaty in the next two weeks the chances of backing it from MPs still looks minimal
David Cameron is 'distraught about Brexit' according to former adviser Gabby Bertin
- Speaking to The Times, Baroness Bertin insisted the public perception that David Cameron had travelled off into the sunset could not be further from the truth. His former press secretary said he is distraught about the result of the referendum but not that he called it
UK to lose £1.1bn in carbon-credit revenue in event of no-deal Brexit
The UK will lose more than £1.1bn in revenue as carbon-emitting companies escape paying for the pollution they cause if the country crashes out of the EU without a withdrawal agreement in October, according to Sandbag, a climate policy think-tank. From January, Brussels stopped providing carbon allowances, or credits, to the UK government for auction under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, because of uncertainty around Britain’s position in the bloc. Under the cap and trade programme, the UK government receives millions of carbon allowances each year. Roughly 40 per cent of these are given to high-emitting companies, while the rest are auctioned, with the revenue kept by the Treasury to subsidise climate policies. The government has said that a no-deal Brexit would exclude the UK from participating in the ETS from November.
Pound slides to one-week low as Brexit talks falter
Sterling slumped on Wednesday on signs that Brexit talks between Britain's government and the main opposition party may soon collapse. The pound has been falling as negotiations between the Conservative and Labour Parties lumber on with little success and as concerns grow about a challenge to Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership. But a suggestion by broadcaster ITV’s political editor that the talks could be pronounced dead later on Wednesday took sterling down another leg.
Threats to MPs at 'unprecedented' levels, says Met chief
Threats to MPs are at "unprecedented" levels, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said. The Met chief disclosed that the number of crimes reported by MPs more than doubled in 2018 from 151 to 342 and was on course to rise further this year. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told a parliamentary committee Brexit was a "huge driver" behind the increase. Women and people from ethnic minorities were being disproportionately targeted, Ms Dick added. So far this year MPs and staff have already reported 152 crimes and over 600 incidents while incidents involving MPs are now 126% higher than in 2015.
Business leaders warn against curbs on migrants’ dependants
UK proposals for new immigration rules after Brexit that would prevent migrants bringing family members with them risk making the country far less attractive to talented overseas workers, business leaders are warning. The UK has so far provided unusually generous arrangements for spouses and children accompanying migrants with job offers in Britain — including an automatic right to work for dependants. But experts argue that Home Office plans for a tougher regime after Brexit may undermine this approach: a proposed 12-month visa for lower skilled workers excludes dependants. A youth mobility visa for 18- to 30-year-olds, which is due to be expanded to include EU nationals, also does not allow family members. A report into dependant visa rules around the world by the law firm Fragomen described these omissions as “significant departure[s] from traditional UK immigration practice”.
ITV blames Brexit uncertainty for tumbling ad sales, but hopes Love Island will come to rescue
ITV has blamed Brexit uncertainty after advertising sales tumbled 7 per cent in the first three months of the year. The broadcaster said it hopes reality TV hit Love Island will come to the rescue. ITV, which produces shows including Line of Duty, warned that revenues would remain lower for the first half of 2019 because Brexit has reduced demand for advertising. Revenues dropped as much as 16 per cent in March compared to the same month last year. They are set to plummet by around 20 per cent in June as ITV comes up against an “exceptionally strong” June 2018, which was boosted by the Football World Cup.
Figures reveal massive fall in nurses and midwives from Europe since Brexit vote
New figures show that the number of registered nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area registered in the UK highlight the massive fall since the Brexit vote. According to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the number of nurses and midwives decreased by 5.9% between March 2018 and March 2019, from 35,115 to 33,035. The number of EEA nurses and midwives registering for the first time was just 968 between April 2018 and March 2019, up from the 805 who registered in 2017-2018 but a massive decrease compared to the 9,389 who registered in 2015-2016, before the Brexit referendum. Elsewhere in the survey findings, 51% of those nurses and midwives who trained within the EU, left the register and responded to the survey stated Brexit as a reason for encouraging them to consider working outside the UK. It has prompted anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain to publish an open letter, endorsed by the Royal College of Midwives CEO Gill Walton and signed by local midwives across the UK, slamming Brexit's impact on maternity services in the UK and calling for a final say on the Brexit deal.
Brexit: When will Theresa May actually go?
"She's leading us to oblivion - I don't understand why she is hanging on", says one former cabinet minister. "She's using up the oxygen her successor will need to breathe", says another. These are not wild claims from easily over excitable eurosceptics who have been the main cheerleaders to hurry Theresa May from her job. They are genuine frustrations from MPs who have worked alongside Theresa May who until recently have believed she should stay. Again today, Number 10 bought the prime minister more time with the promise that she will meet the 1922 committee next week. And again, the Tory backbenchers did not agree that the situation is so bad for the party and this Prime Minister that she must go. There are also many Tory MPs who believe sending the removal vans to Number 10 would be completely counterproductive, and present once more to the country a picture of a party that loves nothing more than fighting with itself.
Corbyn says Labour will heal the divisions opened up by Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn will claim that Labour can “unite our country” and heal the divisions caused by Brexit as he launches his campaign for the European elections. After a bitter internal row within Labour over whether to support a second referendum, Mr Corbyn will say that the party backs “the option of a public vote” if a “sensible” Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election. He will promise to address the “inequalities that helped fuel” the 2016 Brexit vote, insisting that the “real divide in our country” is not over Europe. The May 23 election will take place because of Parliament’s deadlock over a Brexit deal and the failure of Labour-Tory talks.
Customs compromise a 'million miles away' from Labour demand
Labour last night rejected a Brexit compromise deal put forward by Theresa May, claiming that it was a “million miles away” from what the party would be prepared to accept. After three hours of “robust” talks in Whitehall, Labour sources said that the government had tabled a “completely unrealistic” draft agreement on a customs compromise. Downing Street characterised the talks as “constructive and detailed”, saying that both sides had agreed to meet again to continue the negotiations. Asked about the description, one Labour figure said: “You’d have to ask the government about their choice of adjectives.”
Corbyn always dreamed of a revolution – just not one involving Brexit
Having rejected a no-deal Brexit, Labour’s choices are restricted to a miserable compromise or a slide back towards full EU membership. Neither option has the ring of bold adventure that Corbynism once promised. Socialism deferred until the pesky European question has been resolved is not much of a rallying cry. Meanwhile, the radical right is on the rampage and Labour MPs seem confused as to whether they are defending moderation or opening a new front against it from the left.
Labour Brexit talks with government 'near collapse', writes Robert Peston
Labour's negotiations on a Brexit pact with the Government may well be pronounced dead today - partly because the party is launching its EU elections manifesto tomorrow and would presumably need to say something about a possible pact other than "don't know". To be clear, there are more talks between the two sides this evening. But those involved tell me they have no expectation a breakthrough will be seized from the jaws of futility. Simultaneously Labour's leadership is consulting "all the elements" in and connected to the party, so there's no great backlash from MPs or union leaders as and when the hopes of a Brexit compromise are officially abandoned - which could happen tonight.
Brexit Party candidate for Peterborough by-election Mike Greene is lifelong Tory voter and star of Channel 4's Secret Millionaire
A lifelong Conservative supporter who was an early investor in music app Shazam and appeared on Channel 4’s the Secret Millionaire is the Brexit Party’s candidate for next month’s Peterborough by-election. Mike Greene, a former trustee of Peterborough cathedral and local benefactor, will fight the June 6 by-election in a bid to give Nigel Farage’s party his first foothold in Westminster. Such is the pace of activity in the new Brexit Party that Mr Greene only met Mr Farage for the first time on Tuesday night at a rally in Peterborough. All candidates for the June 6 by-election have to be declared by 4pm on Thursday.
Andrew Adonis: We must spell it out now, Labour is a Remain party
He’s standing for election under a party label that doesn’t quite exist, in a contest that shouldn’t be happening, in a place that isn’t a country — but none of this puts Andrew Adonis off. The Mediterranean sun glints off his EU electric-blue tie as he strides through Gibraltar’s old town, its solid limestone walls reeking of the days when the Royal Navy called this peculiar bastion home. Adonis — academic-turned-journalist-turned-Tony Blair policy wonk-turned-peer — is doing what he has never done before in a long career shaping Britain, and standing in a national election. He’s on the list for the Labour Party in the South West constituency which, thanks to a quirk, includes Gibraltar’s 20,000 voters even though they live as close to Sierra Leone as they do to Plymouth.
Tory MP Mercer withdraws support from PM over veterans
In a letter to the PM, the Plymouth MP said it was "regrettable" that he could not continue to support the government. He called on Mrs May to end the "abhorrent process" of "elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland" to face possible prosecution. He has previously called for legislation to stop this happening. The former Army officer and member of the Commons Defence Committee told the BBC he had withdrawn support for Mrs May and that he would vote with the Conservatives on Brexit but nothing else. In his letter, he said: "As you know, the historical prosecution of our servicemen and women is a matter that is personally offensive to me. "Many are my friends; and I am from their tribe."
Brexit Bulletin: Losing Hope
One of the sticking points in the talks with Labour is that the opposition can’t trust that May’s eventual successor will stand by her team’s commitments. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says it’s like “trying to enter into a contract with a company that’s going into administration.” That problem is getting more acute as Conservatives increasingly lose patience with May. Graham Brady, the head of the rank-and-file Tories, has given May until 4 p.m. Wednesday to set out a timetable for leaving or find it forced upon her, according to the Telegraph. Stay tuned for the prime minister’s next checkmate-defying maneuver.
Andrea Leadsom announces she's 'seriously considering' running for Tory leader
Ms Leadsom described Mrs May's Brexit agreement as "tolerable", but said she would be prepared to leave the EU without a deal. "I don't say that no-deal is better than the Prime Minister's deal. "I think the Prime Minister's deal is the best solution because it protects jobs and supply chains," said the Commons leader. "What I'm saying is at the same time I don't think no-deal would be the disaster some people portray it as."
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower signs book deal
The former Cambridge Analytica employee who spoke out on alleged ties between the data firm and the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union has a book deal. Brittany Kaiser's 'Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and how Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy' comes out on October 22, publisher HarperCollins announced Tuesday. Kaiser will share 'the dramatic and disturbing story' of her time at Cambridge Analytica, the British company where she was the business development director.
Brexit: Panel to advise on Irish border solutions
A Brexit initiative chaired by two Conservative MPs has named a panel of 20 experts to advise them on technical solutions for the Irish border. Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan chair an "Alternative Arrangements Commission". Some members of the panel, such as Dutch customs expert Hans Maessen, have previously advised pro-Brexit groups. The only member with a significant Irish connection is Graham Gudgin, a former adviser to Brexit supporter Lord Trimble.
Tony Blair says Indyref2 could 'fundamentally' damage the UK
Former prime minister Tony Blair has spoken out against the prospect of a second Scottish independence referendum, insisting such a vote should not take place "unless there is a really big groundswell of opinion for it". The one-time Labour leader, whose government created the Scottish Parliament, voiced his fears that a fresh vote on independence could "fundamentally" damage the UK. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already made clear her desire to hold a ballot within the next two years. The SNP leader cites Scotland being removed from the European Union against the wishes of voters north of the border as grounds for another referendum, arguing this is a "material change in circumstances" from the 2014 vote.
May buys herself a WEEK in leadership showdown: PM will face senior backbenchers next week
Theresa May has set up a showdown next week with MPs furious at her refusal to reveal when she will quit over Brexit failures. The Prime Minister will face senior backbenchers on the influential 1922 Committee next Wednesday after making an agreement with committee chairman Sir Graham Brady yesterday. It came after she faced a brutal public assault on her leadership today as backbench anger at her failure to stand down reached fever pitch in a row threatening to tear the Conservative Party apart. She had been given a 4pm deadline to set out a 'roadmap' for standing down but has been given a week's grace to explain her plans to the committee next week
Peterborough by-election: Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK ‘to put forward single Remain candidate’
The Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Change UK are expected to put forward a single candidate between them to fight the upcoming Peterborough by-election. The Lib Dems (Beki Sellick) and Greens (Joseph Wells) have already chosen their candidates for the seat, so at least one of them would have to stand down.
Colum Eastwood: 'Brexit can still be stopped'
The SDLP's European election candidate Colum Eastwood says Brexit can be stopped. The party leader was speaking as he launched his bid to win a seat in the European elections on 23 May. The SDLP leader says the focus of his campaign will be to take a pro-European stance to the electorate and fight to stop the UK leaving the EU. He told the BBC: "The main priority is to stop Brexit and I think we still can."
How Theresa May's departure from No 10 could play out
The prime minister has rejected calls to resign as more Tories demand an exit date - how might her departure play out and when might it occur
EU elections may turn Brexit on its head
On these issues the outstanding guide is “The European Elections and Brexit”, a report by The UK in a Changing Europe, a research group at King’s College London. The May 23-26 elections seem certain to produce a more fragmented European Parliament. The two main party groups on the centre-right and centre-left are set to lose their combined majority. A hotchpotch of rightwing nationalists, anti-establishment populists and anti-EU critics may win 30 per cent or so of the assembly’s 751 seats. All this would undermine the prospects for a quick EU-UK deal on trade, security and other areas of post-Brexit co-operation. In fact, ratification of an EU-UK trade agreement might be a Herculean task in a European Parliament pushed one way by rightwing protectionism and another way by leftwing demands on climate change, regulatory standards and social policy.
David Cameron Is 'Distraught' About Brexit, According To Former Advisor Gabby Bertin
Since informing the country he would be stepping down as PM and humming a jaunty tune as he walked into Downing Street for the last time, David Cameron has said little about the Brexit process he set in motion. In January he surfaced to tell journalists he does not regret calling the EU referendum – just the result – but according to his former press secretary he is actually “distraught” about it all. Speaking to The Times, Baroness Bertin insisted the perception he has “travelled off into the sunset” is far from the truth.
Labour tanked in the north east because it offered no clarity over Brexit, not because notherners are ‘angry leavers’
If your policy is for “all options to remain on the table”, then your intent is for all to remain seated at the table. Last week, many Labour voters in the north of England got up and walked away. Of course local elections are always and rightly about all kinds of local issues. But Brexit was the elephant in the room and, when that’s the case, there is little space for the kind of deliberate ambiguity my party’s leadership has tried to create around the biggest issue facing our country for years. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Barnsley where there as a 17.3 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Sunderland where there was a 13.4 per cent swing to the Liberal Democrats. There was a rejection of ambiguity in Wirral where there was a 11.1 per cent swing to the Greens. Others followed suit.
Anti-Brexit parties considering a Remain candidate for by-election
It has been claimed there will be a Remain unity candidate at the Peterborough by-election to tackle the Brexit Party at the ballot box. Remain campaigners had criticised the likes of Change UK, Lib Dems and Greens for rejecting an electoral pact at the ballot box during the European election campaign after the idea was reportedly floated by Sir Vince Cable. It has allowed the anti-Brexit parties to appear fragmented up against Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, which has surged in opinion polls in recent weeks. But with a by-election set to take place in Peterborough, and the Brexit Party considering standing, it has been reported there may be a Remain candidate representing the smaller parties too
George Osborne: Former chancellor urges cabinet to move against Theresa May
The former chancellor has urged cabinet ministers to move against Theresa May as he says the Conservative Party needs new leadership. George Osborne says: "The Conservative Party in 2017 didn't want to confront the reality. "Eventually the party has to confront the truth. It needs a new leader, a new agenda, it needs to win over supporters who have disappeared and make an appeal to urban, metropolitan Britain that has turned its back on the Conservatives."
Brexit: Theresa May targets July 1 for UK exit but Tories more focused on resignation date
Theresa May is targeting July 1 as the day Britain leaves the EU after abandoning a deadline for a Brexit agreement with Labour. David Lidington, the cabinet office minister, said the British government was "redoubling" its efforts to ensure a Brexit deal is passed by Parliament in time to prevent MEPs taking up their seats in Brussels. If that proves impossible, the government will make sure the EU Withdrawal Agreement is "done and dusted" before Parliament rises for the summer, meaning Brexit day would be August 1. It means that Mrs May has now set five separate dates for Britain to leave the EU.
Who's the MONEY MAN, Nigel?
Ever since Nigel Farage revealed, in an interview with LBC’s Iain Dale, that the Brexit Party has had “one big donor”, questions have rightly been asked as to who this anonymous benefactor might be. It seems peculiar that a ‘grassroots movement’ which sells itself on being different to the traditional parties should be so unforthcoming about something as basic as funding. It’s also in stark contrast to the other new kid on the block – Change UK (also known as TIG – The Independent Group) which, for all its many flaws in presentation and style, has been transparent from the start. Even before it formally became a political party and had a legal requirement to declare its funding, Change UK revealed this on its website.
@ITVPeston Who is funding The Brexit Party @Peston asks @Nigel_Farage #Peston
Who is funding The Brexit Party @Peston asks @Nigel_Farage #Peston
@Peston There is now a war attrition between Theresa May and her own MPs
There is now a war of attrition between @theresa_may and her own MPs. Most of them want her to set an unconditional timetable for her departure. She is refusing to do so, saying she will only go when her divorce deal with the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement, is law.
Tories try to limit European election damage with cut‑price campaign
Candidates received a confidential briefing at Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) on what many admit will be a damage-limitation exercise. Party chiefs are said to be sending only taxpayer-funded mailshots with the first wave of literature targeting postal voters due within days. The Conservatives’ message will be that only the governing party can deliver Brexit as it pleads with voters not to back Nigel Farage’s insurgent Brexit Party, according to a senior figure. The first leaflet includes a photograph of Theresa May. “It’s aimed at Conservative supporters who think the prime minister is doing her best to get this over the line and that the delay is not her fault,” said another source, who had seen a draft.
Sky Views: Tug of war over May's exit date a proxy for the Brexit civil war
In the end, the prime minister chose her side. After months of trying to hold together the two very different wings of her parliamentary party, she finally weighed in behind Remainers. There would be no no-deal, instead there would be delay - for as long as it took to get a Brexit deal across the line. It has been a torturous journey for her party as MPs and members have watched their prime minister move from "Brexit means Brexit", to "no-deal is better than a bad deal", before performing a hand-break turn to "it's my deal or no Brexit" to go full (nearly) full circle on Tuesday and confirm the UK will after all fight the EU elections.From the ill-fated snap election to this Brexit bungle, under Mrs May's leadership the Tories have gone into free fall.
Brexit latest news: Theresa May buys time by agreeing to discuss her future with backbenchers next week
Theresa May has been given a stay of execution by her backbench MPs after agreeing to meet them next week to discuss her future as leader. The Prime Minister had been given a deadline of 4pm on Wednesday to set out a timetable for her departure, but she bought herself another a week in which to set a timetable for her departure
Theresa May’s ‘Dancing Queen’ speech brutally mocked by Guy Verhofstadt and his aides in BBC Brexit documentary
The bitter nature of Brexit negotiations has been laid bare in a BBC documentary due to air on Wednesday night showing European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhoftstadt and his team ridiculing Theresa May‘s Tory Party conference speech. The Brexit: Behind Closed Doors documentary, recorded over two years by Belgian filmmaker Lode Desmet, shows acrimony towards the British Government from many in Brussels.
Michel Barnier accuses Nigel Farage of lying during Brexit referendum campaign
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, has accused Nigel Farage of telling lies during the referendum campaign. Mr Farage denied he lied and challenged Mr Barnier to, “Tell me one thing I said that was untrue”. Mr Barnier was speaking in Zagreb, Croatia at a “citizens dialogue” ahead of European elections later this month, where Mr Farage’s Brexit Party are expected to triumph. He warned that the MEP and former Ukip leader hopes to destroy the EU. Mr Barnier said on Wednesday that the British people were not told of the risks Brexit would pose to peace in Ireland before they voted to leave in 2016.
David Davis 'Did Not Give A F**k' About The Irish Border During Brexit Talks, EU Figures Claimed
At one point, Verhofstadt’s head of office, Guillaume McLaughlin, discusses the meeting with Davis, who eventually quit as Brexit secretary in July 2018. He says: “David Davis explained to us that Ireland is not a problem, they have got lots of control systems, they know everybody who is going in and out across the border, they have automatic... and they will take a loss in the excise duties that they are getting but it doesn’t really matter. “So basically - ’we don’t really give a fuck what goes through our border, in any case we know who the baddies are, there might be a problem with terrorism, and if there’s a problem with terrorism that might be a problem, but okay.’”
EU officials privately branded Theresa May's Brexit strategy 'insane' and 'pathetic', film shows
EU officials involved with Brexit negotiations privately considered aspects of Theresa May’s approach “insane” and “pathetic”, a new behind-the-scenes documentary shows. BBC camera crews were given access to Brexit officials in the European parliament to make Brexit: Behind Closed Doors, a two-part series focusing on the team around Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator. It shows officials having completely lost confidence in the UK’s ability to negotiate, with frustration regularly boiling over at behaviour emanating from the government in London.
Storyville: Brexit Behind Closed Doors was like watching a car crash in slow motion
“What they’re trying to do with Brexit is take an old car and fix it,” announced another, even as a weary Verhofstadt announced he’d spent time with Brexit Secretary David Davis at a vintage car fair: “We discussed nothing, of course.” Things worsened considerably with the arrival of the Irish question. Guy Verhofstadt went to Northern Ireland to learn first-hand about life on the border during The Troubles. Davis said there was no problem with Ireland. The committee collectively sighed. “They might actually stay – the worst possible outcome,” someone noted gloomily. Brexit: it gets to us all in the end.
Swastika painted on building of Jewish Brexit party candidate
Police are investigating after a Jewish candidate standing for the Brexit party at the European elections had a 10 metre (30ft) swastika painted on his company’s building in east London. Lance Forman, a businessman who owns the H Forman & Son smoked salmon company, found his headquarters and restaurant near the Olympic Park had been daubed with an antisemitic mural. Forman’s business is the UK’s oldest salmon curer, which was set up by his great-grandfather in 1905. A Met police spokesman said officers were investigating a suspected incident of race-related criminal damage. It is thought to have occurred shortly before midnight on Tuesday.
Curtain-haired slimeball Guy Verhofstadt proves he’s the most repugnant figure in Brussels
No more repugnant figure struts the corridors of Brussels than the curtain-haired slimeball Guy Verhofstadt. Try as they might, even the drunk Juncker or the peacock Barnier cannot match the Belgian’s detestable blabbermouthed arrogance.
Politics is descending into farce as the intransigent Theresa May still refuses to go
It is now a month since the House of Commons has divided on a motion. To the justified derision of those outside, it has frequently risen in mid-afternoon for lack of anything to do. On Tuesday, the Government trumpeted as an iconic Parliamentary moment the Second Reading of the Wild Animals in Circuses (No. 2) Bill. The ban will affect only two circuses and a grand total of 19 animals. This paralysis is the result of the barely believable intransigence of a Prime Minister consumed by the increasingly deluded aim of passing an Agreement which MPs have thrice told her in emphatic terms is a bad deal. Her response each time has been unmoved: “Pass my deal.”
Brexit latest news: Theresa May buys time by agreeing to discuss her future with backbenchers next week
Theresa May has been given a stay of execution by her backbench MPs after agreeing to meet them next week to discuss her future as leader. The Prime Minister had been given a deadline of 4pm on Wednesday to set out a timetable for her departure, but she bought herself another a week in which to set a timetable for her departure
Sinn Fein claims UK Government ‘assured’ gay marriage in Northern Ireland
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Government of consciously frustrating attempts to circumvent Stormont on the issue of equal marriage. Spokesman Patrick Corrigan said that while Amnesty was not aware of the specific assurances mentioned by Murphy, it believes that there were plans to let backbenchers take control of the process. “As a draft DUP-Sinn Fein deal was shaping up last February, Karen Bradley [then-Northern Ireland Secretary] gave an on-the-record response to a written question from Conor McGinn MP, which committed the Government only to allowing a free vote if backbenchers brought same-sex marriage legislation to Parliament,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
Tories mount lacklustre campaign for European Parliament election
The Conservatives are mounting a lacklustre campaign ahead of the European Parliament election on May 23, as Britain’s governing political party edges towards the poll with a sense of dread. Senior party figures admit they could take a hammering as voters turn to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party to protest against Theresa May and her failure to deliver the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Last week’s local elections, which saw the Conservatives lose almost 1,300 council seats and control of 37 councils, has highlighted how disillusioned many voters are with the party. The Tories are so underwhelmed by its chances in the European elections it is not expected to hold an official campaign launch, or even publish a manifesto.
May promises new vote on Brexit deal in next two weeks
Theresa May has told senior Tories she will make a fourth attempt to break the Westminster deadlock on Brexit before European elections take place on May 23, as she tries to head off growing demands that she quit. But the prime minister has also promised to meet the executive of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs next week to discuss a timetable for her departure. “She’s living from day to day,” said one minister. Brandon Lewis, the Conservative chairman, warned a sullen meeting of Tory MPs on Wednesday night to expect the worst in the European Parliament elections. Downing Street fears that the results will lead to a clamour for Mrs May to step down. The prime minister tried to buy time by telling senior Tories that she would bring forward the legislation to ratify her withdrawal treaty in the next two weeks, even though the chances of winning the backing of MPs currently look minimal.
Tory former minister blasts 'utterly selfish Number 10' in wake of election humiliation
A Conservative former minister has branded Downing Street "utterly selfish" after the party suffered a local elections drubbing. Robert Halfon said failures over Brexit and a lack of strong leadership from Theresa May had weakened the party as he warned its grassroots campaigning power was on "life support." The former deputy chairman of the Conservatives launched the blistering attack on Downing Street after the party last week lost almost a third of the councils it was contesting at the local elections.
My message to the SNP on 'cybernats': Stop perpetuating a Unionist myth
A gentrification of Scottish political engagement is now in full spate. It began to gather pace during the first Scottish independence campaign when the UK’s political elites began to encounter forces they felt unable to control by the usual means. These political classes (and they are by no means confined to the Conservative and Unionist Party) until recent years had always set the order and laid down the rules by which politics is permitted to unfold in this country. Anyone who threatened to reveal the truth of these matters or who refused to abide by the rules set down a long time ago could only hope to get so far before having their collars felt and their lives trashed
Labour staff could take strike action after rejecting latest pay offer by bosses
Staff working for the Labour party could take strike action after rejecting a third and "final" pay offer by bosses. The decision, at an emergency meeting at Labour HQ, came despite the GMB and Unite unions both recommending that they accept the proposal. It is understood that staff voted by 137-37 against the offer, with some union members shouting "strike, strike, strike" as the meeting broke up.
May given until 4pm TODAY to spell out when she will quit
Theresa May has set up a showdown next week with MPs furious at her refusal to reveal when she will quit over Brexit failures. The Prime Minister will face senior backbenchers on the influential 1922 Committee next Wednesday after making an agreement with committee chairman Sir Graham Brady yesterday. It came after she faced a brutal public assault on her leadership today as backbench anger at her failure to stand down reached fever pitch in a row threatening to tear the Conservative Party apart. She had been given a 4pm deadline to set out a 'roadmap' for standing down but has been given a week's grace to explain her plans to the committee next week.
Brexit: Theresa May rejects calls to resign
The PM has rejected calls to quit over her handling of Brexit, saying it is "not an issue about me". Theresa May was replying to Tory Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns, who said she had "failed to deliver on her promises" and had lost public trust. Calls have been growing for the prime minister to name an exit date. The PM's spokesman said she had already promised to leave after delivering the first stage of Brexit and was sticking to that "generous and bold offer". Mrs May has agreed to address a meeting of the 1922 Committee - an elected body of Tory MPs which represents backbenchers and oversees leadership contests - next week. Its chairman, Sir Graham Brady, told the BBC he had had two "very good meetings" with the PM, organised to raise concerns about her leadership.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tears into Theresa May
Nigel Farage has branded Theresa May the most dishonest Prime Minister of his lifetime over her handling of the country's exit from the EU. The leader of the burgeoning Brexit Party said that Mrs May had promised many times that the UK would leave the bloc following the 2016 referendum vote. But speaking on Good Morning Britain today, he slammed her failure to secure an exit and said the only reason she still leads the Conservatives is because 'Tory MPs have not got the backbone to get rid of her'.
Expenses watchdog suspended official credit cards belonging to 377 MPs
Hundreds of MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and nine Cabinet ministers have had official credit cards suspended by the expenses watchdog. They are among the 377 MPs to be penalised since 2015 for breaking the rules by not providing receipts or failing to pay back ineligible expenses. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority tried to prevent the disclosure, saying it would have a ‘chilling effect’ on its relations with MPs.
Theresa May Says She Can Stage Comeback Like Jurgen Klopp And Liverpool
Theresa May tried to channel Jurgen Klopp on Wednesday when she said the Conservative Party could make a comeback on Brexit – just like Liverpool had against Barcelona on Tuesday night. What the prime minister might have forgotten is that the Liverpool manager has said Brexit “makes no sense” and has backed a second referendum.
UK and Ireland agree to maintain common travel area after Brexit
The UK and Ireland have signed a deal to maintain their citizens’ rights to travel freely between the two countries after the UK leaves the EU, in an initiative that some Brexiters said had wider significance for future relations with the bloc. The agreement includes a memorandum of understanding between London and Dublin guaranteeing reciprocal rights to social security, health services and education in Ireland and the UK after Brexit. It also confirms the rights of the two countries’ citizens’ to work and vote in local and national parliamentary elections in each other’s jurisdiction. The move to continue arrangements — known as the common travel area — that have been in place since Irish independence in the 1920s was welcomed by Eurosceptic MPs as a sign that bilateral accords can help ease tensions over the UK-Irish border.
UK and Ireland sign deal to guarantee rights of citizens after Brexit
The government has signed a Brexit side-deal with Ireland to guarantee Irish and British citizens retain special rights in each others countries in the event of no deal. The Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington, and Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, said the deal reflected two years of work to ensure the existing common travel area (CTA) and associated bilateral agreements were secured whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations. “Our message to Irish citizens in the UK is that your rights will not change. You will still be able to move freely between Ireland, the UK and the islands,” said Lidington. “You will still be able to work, study, draw your pension and access social security and public services in the UK. Above all, you will be welcome. And we welcome the similar commitment the government of Ireland makes to British citizens in Ireland.”