- Theresa May: deal is ‘not perfect’ but history will see it differently
- PM accuses MPs of trying to ‘frustrate Brexit’
- Jeremy Corbyn: It is time for a general election
- Gareth Johnson resigns as Government whip over deal
- Boris Johnson: May’s deal represents worst of both worlds
- Top trade officials say there is nothing to fear about no deal
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Jeremy Corbyn is expected to call for a vote of no confidence in the Government immediately after Theresa May’s deal is defeated in the Commons, as is widely expected.
The Labour leader today said Mrs May faces a “humiliating defeat” on Tuesday, after which it will be “time for a general election”.
It comes as Mrs May told MPs “history” will judge them if they do not vote through her Brexit deal, as she pleaded with the House to support her.
She said she has secured assurances which have “legal force” from the EU, although she admitted they will “not go as far as some would like.”
“Give this deal a second look,” she told MPs. ”No it’s not perfect and yes it is a compromise.”
She warned Brexiteers that they were in danger of a ”paralysis in Parliament that risks there being no Brexit” if they fail to back her deal.
The European Council and Commission chiefs wrote a letter to Mrs May saying they were ”not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with” the Withdrawal Agreement, but they set out in a series of “clarifications” how the backstop would be temporary and was “suboptimal”.
Their comments failed to reassure Brexiteers. Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, said the letters did not “change the legally binding surrender” in the Government’s deal. Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the DUP, said there is “nothing new” in the letter.
This came as Gareth Johnson, the Tory MP, resigned as a government whip after declaring his concerns about the deal leaving the country “perpetually constrained” by the EU.
Meanwhile, a handful of Tories were accused of engineering two “coups” against the Government, one of which would see decision making powers transferred from ministers to the powerful Commons liaison committee.
An amendment drafted by senior backbenchers Sir Oliver Letwin, Nick Boles and Nicky Morgan will be laid tonight, and will be known as the “European Union Withdrawal Number 2 Bill”.
In the event that Mrs May’s deal is rejected, the committee will be tasked with drawing up alternative plans for the UK’s exit.
However, ministers have warned that such an act would be “dangerous” and fundamentally alter the way Parliament and Government functions.
May warns of handing No 10 to Jeremy Corbyn
Theresa May has issued a last-ditch appeal to Tory MPs to back her Brexit plan, warning that defeat in Tuesday’s crunch vote could hand the keys of No 10 to Jeremy Corbyn.
With the Government braced for a crushing defeat, the Prime Minister told a private meeting of Conservatives at Westminster they had a duty to deliver on the EU referendum vote.
She said they had to “keep Jeremy Corbyn as far away from No 10 as possible”.
Following her presentation, and earlier pleas to the Commons some MPs said they detected some movement towards her position.
Former MI5 chief feels ‘pretty queasy’ that Putin supports Brexit
Meanwhile in the House of Lords where peers continue to debate the deal, Former MI5 chief Baroness Manningham-Buller raised “real concern” over the implications of a no-deal for policing.
She also admitted to feeling “pretty queasy” that the Russian leader Vladimir Putin supported Brexit.
Warning over the language used in the Brexit debate, Lady Manningham-Buller said she was “deeply ashamed” at former foreign Secretary Boris Johnson likening the EU’s aims to Hitler, while the current incumbent Jeremy Hunt had drawn comparisons with the Soviet Union.
“Thereby insulting our long-standing friends. Many of them also our closest allies in Nato, which was created after the collapse of Nazi Germany to address the threat from the Soviet Union,” she said.
Boris Johnson rules out all options other than a no deal Brexit
Boris Johnson has claimed that a no deal Brexit is the only remaining option, suggesting that any delay would be seen as a conspiracy.
He said: “The answer is not to have a second referendum and the answer is not to attempt to clamber back into the EU because all this while it has been evolving in an ever more federalist direction.
“We can’t go for the Norway option for reasons that have been extensively chewed over in this House – we would end up taking even more rules from Brussels.
“I don’t think we can seriously contemplate delaying Article 50 because after 2.5 years of procrastination the public would accuse us of deliberately setting out to frustrate their wishes and they would conclude there was some plot by the deep state to kill Brexit.
Mr Johnson went on to claim there was no need to worry about the Irish border so the backstop could be scrapped and any issues overcome with “a spirit of optimism and determination.”
He said this would include: “Scrapping the backstop, agreeing an implementation period in which to negotiate a zero-tariff zero-quota free trade deal, holding back half the £39 billion at least until such a trade deal is concluded.
“And pledging what is obvious to all – that there is no plan, intention or need for a hard border in Northern Ireland…
“I’m sure that whatever the bureaucratic, technical, logistical difficulties there may be… they can be overcome with a spirit of optimism and determination.”
Confidence vote expected tomorrow
Labour is expected to table a vote of no confidence in the Government tomorrow evening if Theresa May’s deal is defeated in Parliament.
Sources tell Harry Yorke Labour’s plan is to raise the prospect of the vote in a point of order after a Government defeat, and then to hold a confidence vote after PMQs on Wednesday.
Boris Johnson: Stop trying to ‘flog this dead horse’ by pursuing May’s deal
Boris Johnson now addresses the House. ”If we vote for this deal we will be negating many of the potential benefits of Brexit,” he says.
The “debilitating wrangle” of the Irish backstop will carry on for years, he said.
“The public would accuse us of deliberately setting out to frustrate Brexit” adding the public would accuse MPs of a “deep state plot”.
He said, “if and when” Theresa May’s deal is voted down, “let us not continue to flog this dead horse”.
Brexiteer MP suggests he may U-turn and support May’s deal
Sir Desmond Swayne tells the House Theresa May’s deal is better than no Brexit at all.
“I will have to consider very carefully over the next 24 hours,” the Brexiteer said, hinting he will support Mrs May’s deal tomorrow after all.
He previously indicated he would vote against it.
Signif poss new switcher for May. Sir Desmond Swayne suggests May deal is better than no Brexit at all. “I will have to consider very carefully over the next 24 hours” he says.
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) January 14, 2019
Dr Sarah Wollaston: Remain should be on the ballot paper
Dr Sarah Wollaston suggests the option to remain in the EU should be on the ballot if there was a second referendum.
The Tory MP suggests asking the country: ”Is this what you mean by Brexit, or would you rather Remain?”
Some supporters of a second vote think should only offer a vote on types of Brexit in order to be considered legitimate.
Karen Buck, the Labour MP, said: “We should not patronise Leave voters by telling them they did not know what they voted for” – but still calls to extend Article 50 and put the vote back to the people.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: Some MPs considering supporting Theresa May deal
Following Theresa May’s address to backbench Tory MPs, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said some who were previously opposed to the deal were now considering supporting her.
Sir Geoffrey, who said at the weekend he would be voting for the deal despite his past opposition, told Sky News: “I have spoken to a few colleagues. They felt it was a very accomplished performance.
“I think there will be a number of people who are thinking this evening very hard about what they are going to do tomorrow.
“I suspect that some of them will change their mind. Whether that will be enough I don’t know.”
Jo Johnson: Many years of ‘purgatory’ of backstop ahead
Jo Johnson tells the House: “I have never rebelled against the Government until this month” before setting out why he plans to vote against Theresa May’s deal tomorrow.
He accuses the Government of not being “straight” with Parliament and the country by not admitting we have “many years of purgatory of the backstop ahead of us.”
“Time for some honesty from the Government,” Mr Johnson, who resigned as a minister over Brexit, said.
“This deal is worse than staying in the EU to begin with,” he said.
More from Theresa May’s meeting with backbenchers
Christopher Hope has been speaking to Tories who were in the PM’s meeting with backbenchers. He writes:
Theresa May warned her MPs voting down the deal would lead to outcomes that will be “deeply harmful” to the UK.
Nadhim Zahawi, an Education minister, said Mrs May talked about her career in Parliament over the past 30 years and “how divisive the European issue has been for the country and of course for the Conservative party”.
He told The Telegraph: “She reminded us of the leaflet that went out to every household which said this will be an instruction to the British people whatever the outcome is, and to keep Jeremy Corbyn as far away from Number 10 as possible.
“Her narrative was without us being able to deliver on Brexit all other outcomes will be deeply harmful to our country. Both our country and the wellbeing of our party are deeply connected in terms of getting a good outcome on Brexit.
“She was relaxed and cracked a couple of jokes. It was one of her best performances. The room was listening, was absorbing and was very reflective of what the real politique is.”
Alastair Burt, a junior minister, gave a mini-speech in which he said he had been an MP for 32 years and he had “accepted the result that he had lost and will walk through the lobbies to leave the European Union.
“His plea to colleagues who campaigned for Brexit was ‘please accept that you have won and come together’.”
Cabinet ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Chris Grayling, Sajid Javid and James Brokenshire attended the meeting.
Cabinet minister urges Government to back Benn amendment
Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who chairs the Brexit select committee, has proposed an amendment aiming to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
The Telegraph spoke to a Cabinet minister who has urged Number 10 to consider backing Mr Benn’s amendment which could mitigate the scale of the expected defeat.
“It is not always best to show how much you bleed in public,” the minister said.
However, pro-EU MPs are expected to vote against Mr Benn’s amendment because they want a straight vote on Mrs May’s deal instead.
The Government has already indicated it is willing to accept two amendments: one by Labour backbenchers which restates a commitment to uphold EU protections on workers’ rights, and another by Conservative backbenchers which gives Parliament more control over the backstop.
Iain Duncan Smith: stop Project Fear ‘nonsense’
The former Tory leader calls out the Government for pushing “nonsense” warnings over Project Fear.
He called on treating members of the public like “grown ups” as opposed to scaremongering about a no deal Brexit.
Corbyn meeting ‘respectful’
While Theresa May speaks to her backbench MPs, Jeremy Corbyn has been addressing the Parliamentary Labour Party.
The meeting was reportedly ”respectful” and more impassioned on non-Brexit topics. There were calls for more clarity on policy if he cannot get a general election.
Sources close to @jeremycorbyn say tonight’s #plp was ‘respectful’ – his critics suggest it was quite dull ‘it was like he was reading out a telephone directory’ -was more impassioned on non Brexit topics There were calls for more clarity on policy if he cant get a gen election
— iain watson (@iainjwatson) January 14, 2019
Theresa May attempts to win over backbench MPs
Christopher Hope reports from outside a meeting room in Westminster where the PM is addressing her party:
Mrs May’s day in Parliament ended with a meeting of the entire Parliamentary party in the cavernous Boothroyd room in the Palace of Westminster’s Portcullis House.
The room has been recently more favoured by party chiefs over more traditional committee rooms for mass meetings with the PM because the heavy doors mean journalists cannot hear what is being said inside.
Fighting through a gaggle of reporters outside the meeting, Mrs May asked: “Do you lot spend all of your time hanging around the Boothroyd room?”
Conservative MPs banged the tables in the Boothroyd room after the PM had finished speaking.
One Tory MP said Mrs May was “the most relaxed I have seen her for years” who appeared to accept tomorrow’s defeat.
The MP said that joked when a solitary MP cheered her saying: “She gave by her standards a light hearted speech which was well received but she knows the game is up.”
One Cabinet minister who is expected to challenge her for the leadership admitted the reception from the 1922 committee was “warm”.
Meanwhile at least two Parliamentary Private Secretaries and a Tory party vice chairman are considering voting against the Government on the Brexit deal and resigning tomorrow.
One of the MPs told The Telegraph as he left the 1922 meeting “I am thinking about it”.
Theresa May addresses backbench MPs
After two hours answering questions in the Commons, Theresa May will now address her backbench MPs.
She is joined by Cabinet ministers including Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Geoffrey Cox.
Mrs May is expected to repeat she has secured assurances from Brussels and warn that not voting for her deal could thwart Brexit.
Bercow: Nothing unusual about my meeting MPs
John Bercow, the Speaker, distances himself from “speculation” he met Dominic Grieve last week ahead of scheduling his amendment, and accused the government of “intimidating” and “spreading misinformation”.
Mr Bercow said he meets MPs regularly and there is “nothing off about that, there’s nothing unusual abut it, there’s nothing without precedent.”
He said: “I have no intention of taking lectures on doing right by Parliament from people who have been conspicuous in denial of and sometimes contempt for it.
“I will stand up for the rights of the House of Commons and I will not be pushed around by agents of the executive branch.
“They can be as rude as they like, they can be as intimidating as they like, they can spread as much misinformation as they like, it won’t make the slightest bit of difference to my continuing and absolute determination to serve the House of Commons.
“Unlike some people in important positions, who are of course elected constituency members but have not been elected to their offices here, I have been elected, reelected, reelected and reelected as Speaker to do the right thing by the House of Commons.
“That’s what I have done, that’s what I am doing and that’s what I will go on doing.”
‘I haven’t been approached by any Member of Parliament’…Bercow dismisses questions about whether Article 50 would be extended by anyone other than a minister.
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) January 14, 2019
Pregnant MP to make history by voting remotely
A heavily pregnant Labour MP is set to make history today when she is set to be allowed to vote remotely on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Christopher Hope writes.
Tulip Siddiq, who is due to have a Caesarean section on the day of the Meaningful Vote, was facing having to vote in a wheelchair.
Harriet Harman, the Mother of the House, told MPs: “She should not have to choose between going through the division lobby, having postponed her Caesarean, or losing her right to vote.”
John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said in his view Ms Siddiq should be allowed to vote remotely.
It was uncivilised that Ms Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, should be “wheeled through the division lobby” to cast her vote on the Brexit deal.
Mr Bercow said he would be happy for Ms Siddiq to be granted a ‘proxy’ vote or be paired with another Tory MP who also would not vote, if Tory and Labour whips agreed.
If the request is granted it will be the first time an MP has been “nodded through” in a vote when they are definitely not on the Parliamentary estate.
Mr Bercow said: “It’s not within the gift of party authorities to allow proxy voting for tomorrow I respect that view although I’m not sure I agree with it.
“I believe that it is absolutely essential for the reputation of this vote that … [Ms Siddiq] should be facilitated tomorrow to vote.
“The notion that she should have to be wheeled through a division lobby would be regarded as by very large numbers of people as completely uncivilised.”
Boris Johnson: I regret dropping out of Tory leadership race
Boris Johnson has spoken for the first time of his regret at dropping out of the leadership contest with Theresa May over two years ago, Christopher Hope writes.
In a radio phone-in yesterday Mr Johnson said he now wishes he had fought Mrs May who eventually was won the election unopposed after the last remaining rival Andrea Leadsom also unexpectedly withdrew.
Asked by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari if he “regretted” withdrawing, he said: “In retrospect if I had my time again, I might have done things differently.
“I certainly have engaged with a lot of heart searching about it ever since.”
On whether if he would stand again for the leadership, Mr Johnson replied that “the plough, the row I am hoeing now is far more important”.
Theresa May: People have not changed their minds over Brexit
Theresa May tells MPs they are wrong to think people have changed their minds on leaving the EU. Describing the response she receives speaking to people across the UK, Mrs may said: “There are people who voted leave who voted Leave who would now vote Remain, and there are people who voted remain who would now vote Leave.”
“They just want the government to get on with it.”
Meanwhile Desmond Swayne, the Brexiteer Conservative MP, called on Theresa May to suspend Parliament until April in order to “guarantee Brexit”.
Assurances a ‘fig leaf’ says Brexiteer MP
Mark Francois, the Eurosceptic Tory MP, tells Theresa May that the written assurances she received from the EU are ”a fig leaf and a small fig leaf at that”.
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP, adds: “She hasn’t really brought anything different back to be honest.”
George Howarth, the Labour MP, says “she has no majority in this Parliament, no authority, and her government serves no purpose.”
Yvette Cooper: Theresa May ‘ducking’ votes
Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP, accuses Theresa May of “ducking and delaying votes”.
Meanwhile Mims Davies, the Tory MP, tweeted a photograph of Theresa May’s speech as the Prime Minister delivered it.
Prime Minister @theresa_may back @HouseofCommons another key statement to House re further assurances from the EU27.Her conclusions are stark as more & more people write to me & make contact-Wanting MPs to listen & act to safeguard our economy & respect referendum #LetsDeliver pic.twitter.com/SwBZtplPww
— MimsDaviesMP (@mimsdavies) January 14, 2019
Would Brexit date be delayed?
Theresa May has left the door open for a possible extension of Article 50, which would delay Britain’s departure form the EU.
She said it is leaving the EU on March 29 is the Government’s ”intent” and “what the Government is working towards”.
Theresa May again softens her language on possibility of extending Article 50, telling Bill Cash in the Commons that leaving the EU on 29th March is “our intent” and “what the Government is working towards”
— Matt Dathan (@matt_dathan) January 14, 2019
Corbyn: It is time for a general election
Jeremy Corbyn said Theresa May faces ”a humiliating defeat” on Brexit because she has negotiated a deal without listening to MPs.
“If the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected tomorrow, it’s time for a general election, it’s time for a new government,” Mr Corbyn said.
Ian Blackford: Time to extend Article 50
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader, said Theresa May has not managed to secure anything of substance from the EU.
“The Prime Minister is in fantasy land,” he said, and has presented a mere “wish list”.
“It is time to face reality, extend Article 50 and let the people decide,” he said.
Theresa May: My deal is ‘not perfect’
Theresa May pleaded with MPs to support her deal.
“Over these next 24 hours, give this deal a second look.
“No it is not perfect. And yes it is a compromise.
“But when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask: ‘Did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union?'”
Her claim that history will see the vote differently was met with raucous laughter in the Commons.
Mrs May had described assurances she received from the EU since December, but admitted: ”These assurances will not go as far as some would like.”
Theresa May: assurances have legal force
Theresa May begins with an update on what has come out of her recent talks with Brussels.
“I returned to Brussels to faithfully an firmly address the concerns of this House,” she said. The upshot was an agreement from the EU to “work speedily” to negotiate the future relationship the UK will have with the EU.
The assurances she secured “would have legal force in international law,” she said.
Theresa May in Parliament
Theresa May has arrived in Parliament. She will make her statement to MPs shortly, kicking off today’s Brexit debate.
It is expected to run until well past midnight.
Labour MP reschedules caesarian to vote on Withdrawal Agreement
Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP, has delayed the birth of her child in order to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal tomorrow.
The pregnant MP for Hampstead & Kilburn has postponed the date of her caesarean section by two days. She plans to be taken through the lobby in a wheelchair by her husband Chris.
Ms Siddiq, 36, told the Evening Standard: “If my son enters the world even one day later than the doctors advised, but it’s a world with a better chance of a strong relationship between Britain and Europe, then that’s worth fighting for.”
Harriet Harman and Rachel Reeves were among MPs calling for Ms Siddiq to be allows to vote by proxy.
John Bercow, the Speaker, said this it would not be right for Ms Siddiq to come in in this way.
This is beyond awful. Tulip should not have to choose between going ahead with her planned caesarean and voting on Brexit. In any civilised workplace you get maternity leave and maternity cover. Parliament needs to catch up with babyleave and NOW. https://t.co/GxSEtF8bex
— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) January 14, 2019
Nick Boles: How Parliament could take control of Brexit
Here is Tory MP Nick Boles’ plan for Parliament to take control over Brexit:
Over past weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship negotiated by the Prime Minister are unlikely to obtain majority support in the House of Commons tomorrow.
During those weeks, a number of MPs across various parties have been working together to secure amendments to the procedures established by the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. Some of these amendments have also involved adjusting the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, so far as they relate to the operation of the Withdrawal Act.
Some of the MPs working on this are strong supporters of the PM’s deal. Others will be voting against the deal on Tuesday. But all of the MPs involved are united in the belief that a no deal Brexit in our current state of preparedness would be against the national interest.
The combined effect of the changes to procedure that have been secured by these MPs is that, if the PM’s deal fails to obtain a majority on Tuesday, then:
1. By 21 January, the Government will need to set out its plan B in a motion.
2. This motion will be amendable.
3. Amendments to the motion may, within certain limits, further adjust Standing Orders in such a way as to affect the handling of parliamentary business relating to the Withdrawal Act 2018.
Against this background, a cross-party group of MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit are intending to lay an amendment to the Government’s motion when it is debated on (or before) 21 January.
If this amendment secures a majority, it will give parliamentary time for an EU Withdrawal (No. 2) Bill to be programmed, taking precedence over Government business. It will also provide for the tabling of an accompanying Business of the House Motion.
The purpose of the Business of the House Motion will be to schedule all Commons stages of the EU Withdrawal (No. 2) Bill for completion on a single day.
We anticipate that if, on the day programmed by the amendment, the Business of the House Motion and the EU Withdrawal (No. 2) Bill succeed in obtaining majorities in the House of Commons, then the Bill will subsequently also secure wide support in the House of Lords and will therefore quickly become law.
The EU Withdrawal (No.2) Bill would:
1. give the Government a few weeks in which to secure both a majority in the House of Commons and the agreement of the EU for whatever is its Plan B.
2. If that fails, the Bill would give the Liaison Committee of the House (the most senior and most comprehensive Committee of the House) a few weeks to propose and obtain a majority in favour of an alternative plan which might include proposals for changes to the Brexit deal and/or proposals for processes to arrive at a compromise (such as indicative votes, citizens’ assemblies, or a referendum). The Government, under the new Act, would be compelled to implement the plan, if it is approved by the House of Commons.
3. If the Liaison Committee cannot agree a plan or if the House of Commons rejects the Liaison Committee’s plan or if the Liaison Committee requests an extension as part of its plan, the Bill would compel the Government to seek an extension of the Article 50 process (and provide for the ‘exit day’ in the original Withdrawal Act to be adjusted accordingly).
I will be presenting the EU Withdrawal (No.2) Bill for First Reading tomorrow. The Bill will have a range of sponsors drawn from different parties.
No deal warnings from Treasury minister
Mel Stride, the Treasury minister, walks out of a Treasury meeting with his notes visible – “no food, no Channel tunnel” written in large handwriting.
The response has been somewhat sceptical, however -though sources close to Mr Stride insist it was “entirely accidental”.
Michael Fabricant, the Tory MP, said: “If ever there were a set up photo, this is one! A minister ‘accidentally’ reveals a note about Brexit. Desperate stuff.”
Gordon Brown doubts May will win her deal vote
The former Prime Minister told CNBC that he didn’t think Mrs May would win her vote, suggesting that she might well try to present it to Parliament in an amended form a few days later.
Cox doesn’t rule out other deals
An interesting caveat from former UK negotiator David Henig to Geoffrey Cox’s assessment that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is “the only politically practicable and available” agreement.
“Available” does not mean that it is the only one possible…
Raab fails to deny leadership interest
Watch Dominic Raab’s less than convincing attempt to swat aside questions about future leadership
“Plenty of aspiration but doesn’t change a jot”
The DUP’s MEP Diane Dodds has issued this blistering review of the letters Mrs May has had from EU leaders
Last-minute exchange of letters between PM and EU includes plenty of aspiration but doesn’t change a jot or tittle of the legally-binding draft withdrawal agreement. Nothing has changed. The backstop is bad for all parts of the UK.
— Diane Dodds MEP (@DianeDoddsMEP) January 14, 2019
Whip resigns over lack of change in deal
Gareth Johnson, who joined the Government as a whip in November, has quit his post in protest at the risk of being “pereptually constrained by the EU” under the deal
Speaking shortly after the news broke, Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC’s World At One that he was “disappointed to hear Gareth has left the government.”
“He’s a good friend and i fully respect what he has to say. I happen to disagree with it,” he said.
He also warned that his fellow Brexiteers who want the departure to happen on time “are really playing into the hands of their opponents” with their discontent “used to essentially frustrate the process”.
Former Tory minister Andrew Selous backs deal
Andrew Selous has confirmed that he now supports Mrs May’s deal
For the people who are insistent he’s always backed the deal, here’s the text of @AndrewSelous‘s Facebook post from December 10. It’s now been deleted, but was originally posted here https://t.co/3wTdBAgGN9@uazadnews for pasting it into an email the day it was posted) pic.twitter.com/XtrXb4zL5W
— Tom Barton (@tombarton) January 14, 2019
How valuable are those reassurances?
Our man in Brussels James Crisp points out that things like promising to publish both the Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration in the Official Journal of the EU will struggle to convince
EU offers to publish the WA and pol dec next to each other in the Official Journal of the EU to highlight close legal link.
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) January 14, 2019
Meanwhile, our Europe editor Peter Foster has gutted the letter forensically on Twitter here. Click through to read what he has unearthed
May refuses to say if she expects her deal to pass tomorrow
The Prime Minister refused the chance to say if she expects her deal to be approved by MPs, saying merely that “I am working to ensure” it happens
May still swears by TINA
Theresa May still swearing by TINA - There is no alternative – as a key part of her Brexit argument. “‘Nobody has come up with an alternative deal that is negotiable and also delivers on the result of the referendum,” she has told reporters.
Theresa May lauds ‘valuable’ EU assurances
The PM has welcomed the ‘valuable’ assurances she has had from EU leaders, such as confirmation that whatever replaces the backstop will look nothing like it.
This refers to the part in the Juncker/Tusk letter in which they say: “Any arrangements which supersede the Protocol are not required to replicate its provisions in any respect, provided that the underlying objectives continue to be met.”
She also was delighted by the apparent confirmation that work on the post-Brexit future could continue as soon as MPs approve of the deal, referring to this bit of the letter:
“We would like to make it clear that both of us will be prepared to sign the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as the meaningful vote has passed in the United Kingdom Parliament. This will allow preparations for the future partnership with the United Kingdom immediately thereafter to ensure that negotiations can start as soon as possible after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”
May feels there is a majority…
“I’ve always believed that there is a majority in the House of Commons for a smooth and orderly exit”, Theresa May says, but she acknowledges that concerns over the backstop have dampened it.
May warns Remainers it would be “height of recklessness” to reject her deal
The PM has said that no deal “would cause significant disruption in the short-term and it would be far better to leave with a good deal”. Turning to Remainers, Mrs May says that they are guilty of the “height of recklessness” in thinking that rejecting her deal waould allow them to stop a no deal happening.
“The only way to guarantee that we do not leave without a deal is to abandon Brexit, betraying the vote of the British people, or to leave with a deal,” she said.
The more likely danger, she indicated, was that there would be a “paralysis of Parliament that risks there being no Brexit”. But will Eurosceptics take her warnings seriously?
May warns MPs about stopping Brexit
The Prime Minister says that stopping Brexit would cause “catastrophic harm” to voters’ faith in democracy and their elected representatives.
Theresa May now speaking
The Prime Minister is in Stoke-on-Trent and you can watch her holding forth on Brexit on our livestream above.
Key bits from Juncker/Tusk’s assurance to May
How much can Theresa May cite in her hopes of assuring MPs about her Brexit deal?
Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk try to argue that what Europena leaders agreed at the December Council does have a “legal value in the Union”, and say that they would view the backstop as a “suboptimal” outcome if it happens.
They indicate that the UK does have a veto over new rules applying through the backstop, and that they’ll are “determined to give priority in our work programme to the discussion of proposals that might replace the backstop with alternative arrangements”
EU/UK letters are out
The assurances are out, with Jean-Claude Juncker publishing the letter he wrote with Donald to Theresa May
I‘m reading it now and will pull out the most interesting bits
Boris hits back at Jaguar boss over Brexit
Boris Johnson has been holding forth on LBC this morning, and my colleague Harry Yorke was listening in.
The former Foreign Secretary hit back at the idea that Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, knew more about car manufacturing than him.
“I’m not sure he does by the way. In one particular respect, I’ll just toss this in for what it’s worth, about six years ago, Ralf came to my office in City Hall and we had a conversation about the future of electric vehicles that I was then trying to champion in London.
London then had 1700 electric vehicles on the road and I was desperate to increase them because I wanted to get down vehicle emissions in London and to tackle the air quality problem.
“I simply said that I thought that EVs did represent the future, that we should be going down that road, but he said ‘no, no…diesel is great, we should stick with it”.
I’m afraid, and I hate to say this, I think events have vindicated me on that point rather than him.
If you look today, Jaguar Land Rover, admittedly in Austria, is producing a very very good electric vehicle, which one day I hope to save up enough money to buy.
I never forgot the conversation because dear Ralf was thumpingly wrong about that.”
Boles’ Liaison Committee idea goes awry
If Nick Boles seriously wanted to put the Commons Liaison Committee in charge of Brexit, he perhaps should have told its members of his plan – as its deputy Pete Wishart is aghast at the “daft” idea
Committee Chairman Sarah Wollaston isn’t enthused either.
The Boles’ plan appears to have been developed with just 2 other MPs and not discussed in advance with the Committee they propose to implement it. So hardly a ‘coup’. Would also point out that Liaison Ctee doesn’t draft legislation or conduct pre legislative scrutiny
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) January 14, 2019
Labour poised to table no confidence motion
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that a no confidence motion against Theresa May was “not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
He told Today that “the call” would be made after the meaningful vote and followed by an announcement by Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr McDonnell said: “Let’s listen to the debate, let’s watch the balance of forces within Parliament itself.
“Those are the sort of judgments we will have to make. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
“It’s just a matter of timing so watch this space over the next 24 hours.”
Mr McDonnell also distanced himself from a motion laid by Hilary Benn to avoid a no-deal Brexit, saying it was “perfectly sound” but that he preferred a “straight vote” on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
Sir Kevin Barron becomes latest Labour MP to back May’s deal
Sir Kevin, who is the former chairman of the Commons standards committee, has this morning warned colleagues that the referendum result must be respected or Labour will face “dire” consequences at the ballot box.
Writing for The Times, the veteran MP said that Mrs May’s deal is the only option that ”truly enacts the promises that I made to my constituents and avoids the horror of a no-deal Brexit”.
In a swipe at colleagues agitating for a second vote, Sir Kevin said it was “truly” saddening to see MPs attempting to “overturn the decision”, adding that he would not ”disrespect my constituents by needlessly trying to block Brexit”.
Labour’s policy is to push for a general election if the Prime Minister loses the meaningful vote on Tuesday.
Jeremy Corbyn said the party will table a motion of no confidence in the Government “at a time of our choosing,” telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s going to be soon, don’t worry about it.”
“Those were also the words of the Labour Party manifesto that all Labour MPs stood on, which clearly stated that we respected the referendum decision and we would support the process of leaving the EU,” he said.
“Once a parliament has handed over the choice in the form of a referendum we must respect the decision that is made. It truly saddens me that so many in the Commons are trying to overturn the decision.
“We cannot allow this and I believe it would have dire political consequences for the Labour Party if it were to happen. A second referendum would be a betrayal of many of our voters and I am almost certain we would never agree what the question should be anyway.”
Sir Kevin said that while Mrs May’s deal is “clearly not a perfect one” his reservations are “far outweighed by the huge risk of a no-deal Brexit”.
The second ‘coup’: Grieve’s referendum bid
A cross-party group of MPs, including Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative attorney general, wants Theresa May to give Parliament a greater say in deciding how Britain leaves the European Union.
The cross-party draft legislation published on Monday by Mr Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, proposes another referendum in which voters would be given a choice between Mrs May’s deal or staying in the EU.
The draft law could in theory be tabled as early as Monday next week, if Mrs May loses on Tuesday and she has to come back to the Commons with a new plan for delivering Brexit. It will require John Bercow, the Speaker, to suspend centuries-old rules and make it easier for MPs to table laws that can be passed.
Mr Grieve, who insists he is not working with Mr Bercow to overturn Brexit, said: “This Bill provides a legally credible way forward, and a politically credible way forward. With no majority in Parliament for the deal, or for ‘no deal’, the legislation provides the Government with an escape hatch.”
The MPs would also have to table a new law to remove the March 29 Brexit date from existing legislation.
Mr Bercow has been heavily criticised by MPs for his handling of last week’s Brexit debate, where he was accused of ignoring parliamentary convention to frustrate the Government’s attempts to take Britain out of the EU.
The first ‘coup’: EU withdrawal bill number two
A trio of senior backbenchers are to publish a bill on Monday night that would hand MPs the power to put together an alternative Brexit deal should Mrs May’s be rejected on Tuesday.
Nick Boles, Nicky Morgan and Sir Oliver Letwin will tonight lay an amendment, which will be known as the European Union Withdrawal Number 2 Bill”, which task the Commons Liaison Committee with drawing up a “compromise” deal capable of securing a Parliamentary majority.
It would provide Mrs May with an additional three weeks to secure more concessions, but should that fail, the committee would step in and takeover.
Mr Boles said all three planned to vote for the PM’s deal but would act if it failed.
He told the Today programme: “This bill would do the following: it would give the Government three more weeks to get a compromise deal, a plan B, through Parliament so that we are leaving the EU on time on March 29 with a deal.
“If that failed, it would then ask the Liaison Committee, which is the committee of all the chairs of select committees and other parliamentary committees, it would give the Liaison Committee the responsibility to try and come up with its own compromise deal, which would have to go back to the House for a vote.
“If the House passed that compromise deal, then the Government would be legally required to implement whatever it was that they had.”
Brexiteers say the plans amount to a coup and point out that the committee, chaired by arch-Remainer Sarah Wollaston, is dominated by Remain MPs.
But Mr Boles insisted that it would only happen if the Government “had failed and failed and failed again” to secure a majority in the Commons, adding that it would represent the will of Parliament.
- Boris goes for the kill: Johnson says Theresa May's deal is 'dead' but the Prime Minister should still step aside even if it is defeated... a day after he agreed to back the plan if she quit as PM after Brexit
- Will John Bercow finish off Theresa May? Fury at 'despot' Speaker as PM's allies admit her fate could rest in his hands after Remainers launch Commons plot to strip powers from government
- 'It's going to be soon': Corbyn hints he could launch bid to oust May THIS WEEK as he demands an election - but refuses to to say if Labour would pledge to deliver Brexit and suggests free movement rules would STAY
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