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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 14th Mar 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

Economy, Tariffs and Border Controls

  • Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade at the Institute of Directors, slammed the government`s approach to setting new tariffs in the event of a No Deal, calling them `cack-handed` and `one of the reasons businesses will not be prepared for this outcome on 29th March`
  • Labour attacked the government`s plans for a No Deal TV advert campaign, based around the theme of `Don`t Panic` as comparable to Dad`s Army
  • A statement on the public finances by Chancellor Philip Hammond reminded many that Brexit has become `all-consuming` for this government and public services desperately need investment
  • The UK government published its proposed tariffs for goods coming into the country in the event of a No Deal Brexit
  • The government also confirmed it planned to waive Northern Ireland border custom checks, relying instead on online self-declaration by people crossing the border
  • A UK government minister told an EU Home Affairs committee in the House of Lords that the government did not rule out the possibility of introducing ID cards after Brexit
  • Retailers and business leaders broadly welcomed the vote to rule out a No Deal Brexit in parliament, in any form or circumstance

Panic buying, holiday confusion, exhausted civil servants

  • The supermarket chain Morrisons said it had seen evidence of the public stockpiling in the run up to a No Deal Brexit, citing toilet rolls and painkillers as two examples
  • Sky reported that Brits are putting planned Easter holidays in the EU on hold, as they wait to learn what the new travel and customs restrictions might be
  • With 16 days till the 29th March, The Guardian reported that civil servants are stressed and floundering, unclear as to which path the UK might take amidst the on-going Brexit paralysis

Political Shenanigans

  • MPs voted to `rule out a No Deal Brexit` in all circumstances, with Theresa May warning of a lengthy delay to the UK`s departure from the EU
  • An amendment proposed by Caroline Spellman and Yvette Cooper to the PM`s No Deal motion was accepted by Parliament (312 votes to 308). The amended PM motion was then resoundly approved 321 votes to 278 votes. This was despite Theresa May, at the last minute, ordering her party to oppose her own motion (because of the amendment).
  • Four government ministers defied the Tory Party whip and abstained on the Theresa May No Deal motion, along with a small group of Tory MP`s who voted against it. There were calls by some Tory MPs for Theresa May to sack these ministers: Amber Rudd, David Mundell, David Gauke and Greg Clark
  • Theresa May made it clear she intends to proceed with a third meaningful vote in Parliament on her Withdrawal Agreement within the next seven days. Her motion says the government will request a short technical implementation-based extension if the third vote passes her plan by the 20th March. If nothing is agreed she`ll request a longer Article 50 extension
  • Many commentators stressed that a No Deal Brexit on March 29th was still the default position for the country. As the Parliamentary motion passed on Wednesday was not legally binding, it does not over rule the existing legislation
  • The Eurosceptic bloc the ERG continue to actively campaign for a No Deal Brexit. They are placing opinion articles in the press and lobbying in Brussels to get `friendly right-wing` governments to veto any withdrawal agreement extension for the UK.
  • There are rumours (from Arron Banks) that the right-wing Italian government is extremely receptive to the idea. Deputy PM Matteo Salvini (also a populist) is being actively encouraged to get Italy to block any extension to Article 50 in order to force the UK to leave with a No Deal on 29th March
  • Back in the House of Commons, later today, MPs will vote on whether Parliament believes the UK should get an extension to Article 50.
  • It has been stressed at EU Commission level, and by the Prime Minister, that to get the support of the EU to extend Article 50, the UK must have a clear plan or path to agree some kind of Withdrawal Agreement, a General Election or a Second Vote
  • MPs are also planning to propose a series of indicative votes in the House of Commons today. These will cover soft Brexit options (EEA, Norway etc) and there could also be an indicative vote on a new referendum
  • Finally, Sky News pointed out that the House of Commons rulebook, Erskine May p 397, states that a matter once decided upon by MPs cannot be considered again in the same session of Parliament. Whether that second motion is substantively the same motion as the first one is a `matter for the Speaker to decide upon.` This means that Speaker Bercow (in theory) has the power to rule out a further motion on the May Withdrawal Agreement if he deems it to infringe this rule. If he was to invoke this clause, last used in 1943 so there is precedent, it has huge political ramifications
Jobs at Risk
UK firms react with fury to 'cack-handed' no-deal Brexit plan
Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade at the Institute of Directors, said that while cutting tariffs unilaterally was a necessary and welcome part of a country’s trade policy, the government had failed to do it in an open and consultative way. “The belated, cack-handed way in which the government has handled its no-deal planning is one of the main reasons why many businesses will not be prepared for this outcome by 29 March,” Renison said. “Politicians should be under no illusion: this package of mitigating measures do not help make the case for no deal. They are rather a reminder of the spike in invidious choices we would face as a country amidst a backdrop of chaos.”
No-Deal Brexit Would Decimate Britain's Auto Industry, Or Maybe Not
Forbes questions some of the assumptions that underpin the Moody's and Fitch reports into the prospects of the UK automotive sector under a No Deal Brexit scenario. The author feels initial trade disruption would spark an agreed solution 'of sorts' pretty quickly and a set of agreed tariff rules would reduce the sting until a full agreement could be reached. Therefore, he believes the impact predicted by Moody's and Fitch is overstated at best
WATCH: No-deal Brexit TV advert compared to Dad's Army
The government’s no-deal TV adverts have been compared by Labour to Corporal Jones’ warnings in Dad’s Army not to panic. But shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said the possibility of “thousands of job losses” is “no joke”. He told the Commons today: “The country is hanging on a no-deal cliff-edge, and today we read the government’s latest idea; a ludicrous TV advert saying to the public from Friday onwards ‘don’t panic’. “A bit like Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army. But this is not the Home Guard in the 1940s is it? And the prospect of thousands of job losses and the shortages of food and medicine and so on, it’s no joke.”
Economic Impact
Sterling leaps after UK lawmakers vote down no-deal Brexit
Sterling shot higher on Wednesday after British lawmakers voted resoundingly against leaving the European Union in 16 days’ time without a transition agreement. Britain’s parliament voted against the risk of a “no-deal” Brexit, 24 hours after a second defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce agreement left Britain heading into the unknown. Lawmakers will vote on Thursday on delaying Britain’s EU departure beyond March 29. The pound strengthened on hopes of a delayed Brexit, a move which investors said could increase May’s chances of getting her deal with the EU through parliament or lead to Brexit being called off altogether if a second referendum is held.
Dow Jones up as UK Parliament rejects no-deal Brexit
The Dow Jones is up as the UK Parliament voted 321-278 against the UK leaving the European Union (EU) without a plan in place. This comes just a day after rejecting another Brexit deal from UK Prime Minister, Theresa May.
No-deal Brexit: transport crisis could leave cities short of police
Ministers have voiced concern that already stretched police resources will be diverted from Britain’s cities to help contend with any traffic and transport problems arising in Kent from a no-deal Brexit affecting the Channel ports. The plans form part of Operation Snow Bunting, which aims to coordinate the policing response to Brexit, but Whitehall sources said there was unhappiness in cabinet with the idea of diverting so many officers to the county. “I can’t believe we are planning to take officers off the street at a time knife crime is rising,” one cabinet source said, arguing that the public will start to understand the impact of a no-deal Brexit as the government finally spells out its plans.
Public services desperately need investment. But Brexit is all-consuming
The underlying causes of this and all the other crises – underfunding, poverty and soaring need – are, inevitably, never addressed in these panicky forays. That nearly nine years of austerity cuts are themselves a turbo-generator of far more costly demand for services – in social care, housing benefit support, mental health services and child protection, to name just a few – is for ministers a truth that must remain universally unacknowledged. That the cuts drive crime, hunger and ill health is even more forcefully ignored.
UK to remove tariffs, waive Irish border checks in no-deal Brexit
Tariffs would be maintained to protect some industries such as poultry, some dairy products, agriculture, and meat products such as beef and poultry. This would mean that 82% of imports from the EU would be tariff-free, lower than the current 100%. The UK government also said that they will not introduce any new checks or controls, or require customs declarations for any goods moving from across the border from Ireland to Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Administrative Fall Out
Business leaders welcome rejection of no-deal Brexit but urge action
Business leaders welcomed MPs’ vote to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances but urged the Government to turn it into action. The pound appeared to rise significantly after the vote on Wednesday as fluctuations in Sterling were driven by "politics instead of economics”, according to one expert. MPs have “voted in the interests of businesses and households” by voting to rule out leaving the European Union without a deal, according to the City of London Corporation’s policy chairwoman Catherine McGuinness. The move is a “victory for common sense”, she said.
Retailers welcome Commons no-deal Brexit rejection
The two main retail bodies in Northern Ireland and the Republic have welcome the rejection of a no-deal Brexit in the Commons On Wednesday night, a majority of MPs voted in favour of an amended motion ruling out the UK leaving the EU without a deal at any time and under any circumstance. While the motion is not legally-binding, Retail NI chief executive Glynn Roberts said it provides "some degree of certainty" for businesses and said the Commons must now agree to seek an extension to the Article 50 departure date of March 29.
UK VFX industry weighs the cost of Brexit
In either a deal or no deal scenario the cost of the government’s current immigration proposals could see work relocated away from Soho, denting the health of the wider creative industries. “If there is a down-turn in the UK VFX industry as a result of a restricted talent pool, I believe the loss will not only be an economic one,” says Antony Hunt, CEO of the Cinesite Group. “The UK film industry will also lose some of the ‘soft power’ – or cultural influence –we currently have in the world. That loss cannot be quantified but will be hard felt.”
Brexit: How will the new tariff system work?
A no-deal Brexit has always meant that the UK would have greater flexibility to set its own trade tariffs. The government has now set out its plans on how it would take advantage of that opportunity. It has said it will cut tariffs to zero on 87% of the goods it imports if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal in place. Business Secretary Greg Clark told the BBC before Wednesday's publication of the plans that the changes would have "big implications" for some sectors
ID cards a possibility after Brexit, says UK immigration minister
Ministers could potentially consider some type of post-Brexit ID card system for the UK, the immigration minister has said, saying this would be a response to the sheer complexity of residence rules once free movement ends. Giving evidence to the EU home affairs subcommittee in the House of Lords, Caroline Nokes said particular difficulties could arise in the event of a no-deal Brexit, as there would be seven separate ways under which EU nationals could legally be in the UK.
Morrisons sees signs of Brexit stockpiling by shoppers
Morrisons has revealed evidence of hoarding by customers as the clock ticks down to Brexit with the outcome still unclear. With just 16 days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, the supermarket chain admitted it had seen sales growth in the high single digits for some essential items. Chief executive David Potts said: "We've seen quite a tick up in painkillers and toilet rolls this financial year. "Whether that's got any bearing on how people are feeling about the Brexit process, I don't know."
Holidays on hold and uncertainty over pets as Brexit confusion continues
As the outcome of Brexit remains unknown, people in Derby are putting holidays on hold as they wait to understand what they might need when travelling to the European Union.
Civil service stressed and floundering amid Brexit paralysis
With just 16 days until Brexit, evidence is emerging of deep tensions in Whitehall as the civil service battles to plan for a no-deal scenario. Civil servants say they have been frustrated by political paralysis, gripped by inter-departmental rows and shorn of key staff while trying to implement the biggest change to the state’s machinery since the second world war. Bob Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, said the root of this frustration was the failure of UK politicians to decide on a plan to leave the EU. “For every task in hand there are at least two streams – the deal and the no deal – and with it a duplication of tasks. What I am getting from them is a desire to serve the government but they cannot do so without instruction and time is running out to prepare properly, one way or the other.
Political Shenanigans
Meaningful vote 3 in the next seven days
Theresa May’s extension motion makes clear that she intends to bring her deal back for another vote in the next seven days. The motion states that if a meaningful vote has been passed by the 20th of March, then the government will request a short technical extension to pass the necessary Brexit legislation. (This request would be made at the European Council meeting next Thursday). But if no deal has been passed by the 20th, the UK would request a much longer extension — which would require the UK to participate in the EU Parliament elections.
A no-deal Brexit could still happen, even if MPs vote against it – and this is why
There will be more MPs voting for a no-deal Brexit because they think the government needs to use the threat of the economic disruption it would cause as negotiating leverage in the final days of talks with the EU, but the outcome is nevertheless about as certain as it can be. But even if parliament votes against it tonight, as we expect, the UK could still leave the EU without an agreement. The votes tonight are merely expressions of opinion. As the prime minister pointed out last night, the only way to be sure of avoiding a no-deal Brexit is for the Commons to vote for something else. It has to vote either for a deal or to delay Brexit. The only way to take no-deal off the table permanently, other than approving a deal, would be to revoke the Article 50 notice – that is, to cancel Brexit altogether. And there isn’t a majority in the Commons for that either, yet.
Yvette Cooper: amendment was a 'vote against chaos of no deal'
Yvette Cooper said that she decided to press an amendment that ruled out no deal because Theresa May “has refused to consult or build consensus” and “refused to allow votes on other Brexit options”. It fell upon the Labour backbencher to push the “no to no deal” amendment to a vote after its initial sponsor, Conservative MP Caroline Spelman, had said she wanted to let it drop in favour of the government’s weaker proposal that only ruled out exiting without a deal on 29 March. As a result, Cooper said, “the House of Commons has voted decisively tonight against the chaos of no deal”, a defeat that she said will force the prime minister to resolve the Brexit crisis, or leave backbenchers to try to take control of the process.
Jeremy Corbyn says a Brexit delay is now 'inevitable'
Jeremy Corbyn has said a Brexit delay is now 'inevitable' after MPs rejected both Theresa May's withdrawal agreement and a no-deal exit. The Labour leader said Article 50 would be extended but said a delay with no clear objective was 'not a solution'. Speaking in the Commons he called on Parliament to 'take control', saying Labour would take part in cross-party talks to find a 'compromise solution' with 16 days to go until Brexit day. He did not renew his calls for a general election but raised the prospect of a possible second referendum on Brexit.
Give us Brexit options or parliament will take over Brexit - Labour MP
The government must come up with plans to allow parliament to vote on a series of options to break the impasse over Brexit or lawmakers will take over Britain’s departure from the European Union, a Labour MP said on Wednesday. “The government should come forward with plans to hold indicative votes on different options, including a customs union, so we can get on with this,” said Yvette Cooper, a lawmaker who has led efforts to wrest control of Brexit from the government. “If the prime minister won’t sort this out and build some consensus on the way forward then Parliament will need to instead,” she said in a statement.
@Peston @SteveBakerHW reminds @Peston that the law currently states we're leaving the EU on the 29th March and the ERG may have something up their sleeves to keep it that way #Peston
@SteveBakerHW reminds @Peston that the law currently states we're leaving the EU on the 29th March and the ERG may have something up their sleeves to keep it that way #Peston
Group of MPs plan to force indicative votes on Brexit options
A group of MPs is planning to force indicative votes in parliament on a series of Brexit options, including a second referendum and a softer departure, as several cabinet ministers suggested it could be the only way to resolve the political impasse. If MPs vote down the possibility of a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday night, they will vote on Thursday on whether to seek an extension to article 50. Efforts are under way to persuade Theresa May to announce plans then to hold debates on Brexit options the following week in order to determine a new path for parliament during a short extension. If May does not propose indicative votes herself, a coalition of MPs, including the Conservative Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, plan to force the votes by laying down an amendment on Thursday that would pave the way for legislation to ensure the votes took place.
Article 50: Why delaying Brexit is not as straightforward as you think
Speaker of the House, John Bercow, revealed that the Government's motion proposes extending the deadline for Brexit to 30 June. The European parliament's new term is due to begin on 2 July. The government does have the power to revoke Article 50 but it has to be done before exit date and the EU won't agree to an extension unless a specific pathway for the UK to follow is made clear to them
ERG signals it could back May's Brexit deal if legal advice is clearer
Senior Tory Eurosceptics believe they and the Democratic Unionist party could be persuaded to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal if Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, gave clearer legal advice about how the UK could withdraw from an international treaty. It is understood the DUP is back in talks with senior government figures about what it would take for them to back May’s deal at a third Commons vote. A party source said: “Channels are open.” However, discussions are taking place around a point that Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG chair, raised in the House of Commons before Tuesday’s vote, relating to “how article 62 of the Vienna convention could be used”.
Tonight’s Brexit vote makes it clear – the PM must end the parliamentary dance and put it to the people
There is a fundamental choice at this point. Leave on the terms the government has reached with the EU, or see sense and remain in the EU. A Final Say would settle that question
Brexiters lobby for European veto of article 50 extension
Veto by a country such as Italy or Poland could lead to a no-deal Brexit this month...Leave.EU touted its connections with Eurosceptic forces in Europe on Wednesday, tweeting: “The British establishment would do well to remember the Eurosceptic scene is a close-knit group across the continent and on the rise – some are now in power! If our politicians betray Brexit and vote for delay, Matteo Salvini can defend the 17.4 million and veto!” Salvini is Italy’s deputy prime minister and a Eurosceptic.
Tory MP calls for abstaining no-deal ministers Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke to resign
Ministers who defied the government by abstaining in the no-deal Brexit vote should resign, according to a Tory MP. Andrea Jenkyns called on the likes of Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark to step down after they failed to back the government - despite being whipped. MPs voted to take no-deal off the table entirely under all circumstances. Despite being whipped, Downing Street has decided not to sack ministers who abstained, something which has caused outcry in the Conservative Party.
MPs have taken control of the Brexit process, but they don't know what to do with it
The only way to avoid a hard collision is to open your parachute: in the case of Brexit, that means either revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit, or ratifying some form of exit agreement. MPs don’t like May’s deal but they are yet to assert themselves in favour of another. May has blundered her way into crisis, but the smell of failure isn’t only coming from the government, but from the legislature as well.
MPs could vote again on May’s EU agreement after ruling out no-deal Brexit
Theresa May has held out the prospect of a third “meaningful vote” on her EU Withdrawal Agreement within the next week after MPs dramatically voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit. A Government motion for debate in the House of Commons on Thursday offers to seek a one-off extension delaying Brexit to June 30 if MPs approve the deal negotiated with the EU by next Wednesday. But the Prime Minister warned if the deal – which has already been twice rejected by massive majorities – is not approved, a longer extension will be needed, requiring Britain to take part in the European Parliament elections in May.
What will happen now MPs have rejected a ‘no-deal’ Brexit?
The next 24 hours will be crucial in deciding when – and if – the UK leaves the EU. Tomorrow MPs will vote on whether Parliament wants to seek an extension to Article 50 – delaying the UK’s departure beyond the current March 29 deadline. In order to get an extension the Prime Minister will have to convince the other 27 EU states to support it. They will probably agree to it if the extension means there’s a prospect of a deal being reached or alternatively a second Brexit referendum or general election being called.
Brexit to be delayed by at least three months as Theresa May gives MPs one week to pass deal
The Prime Minister said MPs have just seven days to back her deal or face the risk of the UK remaining in the EU for years. Mrs May's desperate gambit came after the Commons defied her to vote to permanently rule out a no-deal Brexit. Up to 20 ministers - including four Cabinet ministers - defied a three-line whip to abstain on the key vote. But in a clear sign that Tory Party discipline has completely broken down, they were assured that they would not be sacked for doing so.
MPs to vote on three-month Brexit delay as PM warns of 'lengthy' extension to Article 50
MPs have voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit in all circumstances, with Theresa May warning of a lengthy delay to the UK's departure from the EU. The prime minister suffered fresh humiliation in the House of Commons on Wednesday night - accompanied by a ministerial resignation - as MPs voted rejected leaving without a withdrawal agreement in a 321-278 vote. Although non-binding, the result comes as a fresh blow for Mrs May, who had only supported the rejection of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March. MPs spurned her proposition by instead backing the ruling out of no deal completely.
Six reasons why Brexit Britain can’t trust Donald Trump – Henry McLeish
The idea that the US is anxiously poring over every twist and turn of Brexit so that negotiations can be started on an exclusive trade deal is fiction. The US administration is more interested in weakening the EU, as it drives towards the Trump ideals of economic nationalism, bilateral trade deals and MAGA – Make America Great Again – a euphemism for protectionism, ­dismantling regulations and lowering standards. The US wants two of the biggest industry groups, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, who are powerful lobbyists on Capitol Hill, to be let loose in the UK.
An old rule means Bercow could take drastic action on Brexit
According to the Commons' rule book "Erskine May", there is a clear precedent that a matter, once decided upon by MPs, cannot be considered again in the same session of parliament (which usually lasts a year - this current session has gone on for longer and will expire in the summer). Buried deep within on page 397, there lies: "A motion or an amendment which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided during a session may not be brought forward again during that same session." It continues: "Whether the second motion is substantively the same as the first is a matter for the chair." In principle then, it would be in John Bercow's gift to say that parliament has voted on a matter already and whether a second, third or fourth iteration is sufficiently different to merit further consideration.
MPs defy May to reject no-deal Brexit, to vote on three-month delay
The British parliament on Wednesday rejected leaving the European Union without a deal, further weakening Prime Minister Theresa May and paving the way for a vote that could delay Brexit until at least the end of June. After a day of high drama, MPs defied the government by voting 321 to 278 in favour of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances. While the approved motion has no legal force and ultimately may not prevent a no-deal exit, it carries considerable political force, especially as it passed thanks to a rebellion by members of May’s own Conservative Party and her cabinet.
Brexit set for long delay as MPs vote to reject ‘no-deal’ completely
MPs are expected to delay Brexit for months after dramatically ruling out a ‘no deal’ under any circumstances. In a surprise move, the Commons voted 312 to 308 – a majority of four – in favour of stopping Britain crashing out of the European Union without a deal. And the vote was later confirmed by a more emphatic 321 votes to 278, overriding a Government motion which would have left ‘no deal’ on the table after 29 March – Britain’s scheduled departure date.
No deal Brexit ruled out by MPs in all circumstances as chaos deepens
MPs have rejected the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in any circumstances as Parliament took control of Britain’s divorce from the bloc. A cross-party amendment to do so, narrowly passed, despite the Conservative government whipping its MPs to block. Several ministers abstained and other Tory MPs supported it
Theresa May launches bid for third ‘meaningful’ vote that would delay EU departure until June
Britain’s departure from the EU looks set to be delayed until June after Theresa May launched a desperate last-ditch bid to make MPs vote on her Brexit deal a third time. On a farcical night in Westminster, Ms May was forced to concede she would go to Brussels and ask for the short extension – but only if the Commons approves her deal next week. If MPs reject her deal at the third time of asking, she warned that a longer extension would leave Britain at the mercy of EU demands for new concessions and mean the UK must take part in European elections in May.
Brexit: Chancellor Philip Hammond calls for cross-party compromise
The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said the chancellor's comments are likely to be seen as support for moves by senior cross-party MPs to forge an alternative Brexit agreement. This could include holding a series of indicative votes on different options, which would show what next steps MPs would be prepared to back.
MPs to vote on Article 50 extension as May warns they might be kissing Brexit goodbye
Theresa May is urging MPs to back a three-month Brexit postponement or face the threat of a much longer delay, in a desperate bid to persuade her pro-Leave rebels to back her withdrawal agreement next week. After a cabinet "gang of four" and several more ministers abstained and 17 backbenchers voted against the government in a Commons vote ruling out no deal, the Prime Minister has issued an ultimatum to Tory Brexiteers. In what many MPs see as a last roll of the dice for the beleaguered PM and her Brexit deal, she is effectively challenging her rebel MPs who have now defeated her deal twice: Back me or risk losing Brexit altogether.
Czech PM says new Brexit referendum option cannot be ruled out
British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected a second referendum on leaving the European Union in a telephone call on Saturday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday. “I told her the best solution would be for Great Britain to stay in the European Union. Therefore I am convinced it is worth calling a new referendum,” Babis said on Twitter, saying he had discussed Brexit with May at the weekend. “She rejected this, but according to me it is still not ruled out.” British lawmakers handed May a second humiliating defeat for her Brexit plan on Tuesday, plunging the country deeper into political crisis with almost no clues as to how it will emerge from the Brexit chaos.
Brexit: UK ‘must make up its mind’ before we’ll says yes to delay
The European Union has called for a “clear answer” from the UK about its next step in the Brexit process after MPs rejected Theresa May’s deal. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier again insisted there will be no further offer from Brussels apart from the deal already on the table, and it is now “the responsibility of the UK” to suggest a way forward.
Brexit: Chaos in the Commons as MPs vote to block No Deal FOREVER
Theresa May has signalled she could hold a third vote on her Brexit plans as the only way to avoid a lengthy delay, after MPs voted to reject No Deal on a dramatic night at Westminster. The PM's deal could be put to another vote as soon as next week - despite being defeated twice already - following Wednesday's fresh humiliation in the Commons, where Remain MPs hijacked her plan to end the immediate risk of No Deal on March 29. Amid chaotic scenes, MPs voted twice against No Deal as a raft of pro-EU ministers abandoned the PM in a crucial vote and abstained. In the main division, MPs voted 321 to 278 to rule out No Deal. The new defeats prompted Mrs May to tell MPs they have a week to agree her Brexit deal or face delaying the country's exit from the EU - potentially for years.
Brexit news: Labour abandons support for referendum on Theresa May's deal
The Labour Party had originally believed in putting the agreed Parliamentary withdrawal agreement to the country in a referendum, as part of its move towards backing a Second Referendum. Now that the deal has been comprehensively rejected twice by parliament it no longer does, so its position has become less clear
Political Setbacks
Theresa May urged to SACK Remainer rebels who defied her to block a No Deal Brexit
Theresa May is under pressure to sack Remainer ministers tonight who defied her to block a No Deal Brexit. Ex-Tory Vice Chair Ben Bradley called on the PM to get rid of those in her top team who abstained on the final Brexit vote tonight.
Jeremy Corbyn announces cross-party Brexit talks as Labour leader seeks to capitalise on Government defeats
Jeremy Corbyn announced cross-party Brexit talks in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's Government defeats as Philip Hammond and Michael Gove suggested MPs should be offered indicative votes on the way forward. Mr Corbyn said MPs had “decisively rejected” both the Prime Minister’s deal and the prospect of a no-deal divorce from the EU as he said “Parliament must now take control”. He said he will now meet with MPs from across the House of Commons to “find a compromise solution”. Meanwhile, the Telegraph can disclose Mr Hammond warned Theresa May she should not waste "time and capital" on a third vote on her Brexit deal if it looks like it will be defeated.
Blaming Theresa May and the EU is delusional — Brexit is defeating itself
The problem is not that May has failed to deliver on the Leave campaign’s promises — the problem is that no prime minister could have done so. In 2016, the Brexiteers vowed to end free movement, retain the economics benefits of EU membership, withdraw the UK from the customs union and avoid a hard Irish border — aims that were inherently irreconcilable.
How Europe's newspapers reported May's latest Brexit humiliation: 'The Tories are decomposing'
Spain’s El Mundo claimed Britain is “perhaps the European state where populism has most corrosively affected traditional parties”. “While Labour has moved towards Jeremy Corbyn’s Eurosceptic, far-left position, the Tories have entered into a process of internal decomposition,” it added
EU on no-deal Brexit motion: 'like Titanic voting for iceberg to move'
A European commission spokesman offered a withering assessment of the decision by MPs to ignore Theresa May’s assertion that no deal was the default position unless there was a deal in place by the time of the UK’s departure. “We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening,” the spokesman said. “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal – you have to agree to a deal. We have agreed a deal with the prime minister, and the EU is ready to sign it.”
May loses a vote against herself in a crazed night of parliamentary drama
It was as if all the qualities of the Brexit debate came together in perfect unison. It had everything: the cynicism, the inadequacy, the lies, the total collapse of moral or political authority. And it ended with the prime minister whipping her own MPs to defeat her and then inadvertently, by force of her own errors, voting for no-deal. It was a masterpiece of haplessness. Peak Brexit. Except that presumably things will somehow become even more ridiculous tomorrow.
An old rule means Bercow could take drastic action on Brexit
Deep in the Commons rule book is a line that gives outspoken John Bercow the power to block a third vote on the PM's Brexit deal. Buried deep within on page 397, there lies: "A motion or an amendment which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided during a session may not be brought forward again during that same session."
@Peston - @AngelaRayner says it would be disastrous to go back to the people now on Brexit #Peston
@AngelaRayner says it would be disastrous to go back to the people now on Brexit #Peston
Brexit news latest: MPs tell of ‘utter chaos’ in Government after no-deal is taken off the table
Cross-party MPs have hit out at the “utter chaos” of the Government after a vote to take a no-deal Brexit off the table. MPs voted to reject crashing out of the European Union without a deal "under any circumstance." Mrs May was defeated by 321 votes to 278, a margin of 43, on a motion to rule out a no-deal Brexit at any time and under any circumstance. Work and pensions secretary Sarah Newton quit after defying the whips to vote for the cross-party proposal.
MPs vote to prevent no-deal Brexit after Theresa May’s deal suffered second defeat
MPs have voted to instruct the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit in any circumstance after voting for an amendment tabled by Dame Caroline Spellman, Jack Dromey and Yvette Cooper. Despite Spellman indicating to the speaker she did not wish to move the move, Cooper indicated she did want to continue with a vote. Consequently politicians voted in support of the motion by 312 votes to 308. But confusion reigned as the government was then forced to whip MPs against their motion after the amendment was passed. It still passed by 278 votes to 321 votes with 17 Tory MPs still supporting it and 11 ministers abstaining. Best for Britain supporter Rupa Huq MP said: “This is another significant rejection of the no-deal disaster option which would decimate industry, costing thousands of jobs up and down the country, and cripple key public services.
MPs vote to reject no-deal Brexit
In a night of high drama in the Commons, MPs surprised the government and voted by 312 to 308 to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. The vote is not binding - under current law the UK could still leave without a deal on 29 March. On Thursday, MPs will vote on whether to ask the EU for permission to delay the date for departure. There could be a short extension - or a much longer one - depending on whether MPs backed the prime minister's existing withdrawal deal that has been agreed with the EU by 20 March, the government says. That means Theresa May could make a third attempt to get her deal through Parliament in the next few days.
Parliament is betraying voters, but a clean Brexit is the best option
John Redwood MP defends the concept of a No Deal Brexit in an opinion article in which he dismisses a second referendum vote. A key point he maskes is 'leaving on 29 March will not mean leaving with no deal. There will be a range of deals. There are agreements in place for air transport to fly, for lorries to cross borders, for trade to continue under WTO rules and for cooperation to continue in various areas. As we leave, more such arrangements will be agreed. The EU has as much interest as us in continuing the trade. No EU pharmaceutical company will refuse to sell us medicines and no UK port will block their passage to our hospitals.'
The Brexit crisis shows that the Conservatives have lost the ability to change
A party that was once capable of adapting to new forces has been trapped by its own rigidity. Paul Mason goes on to say the Labour Party has played a 'perfect hand at every stage of the Brexit debate.' his article concludes: if Parliament ends up at a Norway-plus solution, it is so unlike what the xenophobic right fought for that it provides an even greater rationale for a second referendum to ratify it. If you would rather remain and reform the EU, giving parliament a shot at a negotiated soft Brexit and putting it to the people is the only remaining route to that.
Losing control of Brexit
The defeat for the prime minister may help her win the war of attrition with hardliners in her Conservative party. She has always needed a moment of confrontation: to narrow the choice between her Brexit deal and a long extension from Article 50. It now seems that moment will arrive next week. Mrs May will play on the fears of Brexiters about kicking back exit day. They know that public opinion is gently shifting and Britons may change their minds on holding a second referendum.
May’s final warning to Tory rebels: back me or lose Brexit
Theresa May will attempt one final desperate roll of the dice on her Brexit deal, issuing a stark warning to mutinous Brexiters that they must approve her offer by next week or face a long article 50 extension. The prime minister was humiliated yet again amid chaotic scenes on Wednesday night in parliament, as her cabinet ruptured three ways and MPs inflicted two more defeats on the government to demand no deal should be taken off the table permanently. In an unprecedented night of Tory splits, four cabinet ministers, Amber Rudd, David Mundell, David Gauke and Greg Clark, defied their party’s last-minute whip and refused to vote against the government’s own motion, after it was amended to rule out any prospect of no-deal Brexit.
Half of UK voters want Theresa May to resign: poll
British voters want Theresa May to resign as prime minister following the humiliating defeat of her Brexit deal, and for MPs to block no deal while voting to extend Article 50, according to an exclusive snap poll. The POLITICO-Hanbury poll of 500 Britons, carried out in the hours after the U.K. prime minister’s deal was overwhelmingly rejected for a second time Tuesday evening, reveals widespread discontent with the amended agreement May brought back to the Commons. The survey also shows growing support for no-deal and a second referendum — as well as for remaining in the EU.
Nobody wants this Brexit - it's time to grow up, and ditch this miscarriage of democracy
If you have to blackmail the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament; threaten your friends; ignore the predictions of businessmen, scientists and experts; commit the grossest breach of campaign finance law in history; steal people's data' rely on Russian bots, fake news algorithms and racists; paint lies on a bus and keep Chris Grayling in a job because he was one of the people who thought this was all a great idea, then it's almost certainly a festering dungheap of a plan and it should be ditched before the cack hits the spreading device.
Trade Deals/Negotiations
UK sets out trade plans to limit no-deal Brexit damage
The price of food and cars imported from Europe would jump under a no-deal Brexit, UK officials revealed on Wednesday in a bid to pressure Conservative MPs to vote to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. The British government set out the long-awaited trade plans after Theresa May’s exit agreement with the EU suffered a humiliating second defeat on Tuesday. The plans, which would apply both to imports from the EU and from outside the bloc, would eliminate 87 per cent of tariffs but introduce 10 per cent duties on cars, and levies on beef, chicken and pork as well as protections for the ceramics industry
Ireland’s no-deal Brexit tariff fears
EU farmers, particularly those from Ireland, would find it much harder to compete and enter the U.K. market, a major export destination for the country. Up to 65 percent of Ireland's cheddar cheese exports go to the U.K. along with large shipments of butter and infant formula. In total, 30 percent of Ireland’s dairy production is sold to the U.K, according to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. Ireland’s food exports to the U.K. made up 35 percent of the total in 2017. "The proposed tariff levels are deeply unwelcome, would put Irish butter and cheddar under severe pressure in the U.K. markets at current consumer price rates and would necessitate [price] increases at consumer level in the UK — something that their government desperately wishes to avoid," Dairy Industry Ireland said reacting to the announcement in London.
UK sets out trade plans to limit no-deal Brexit damage
The price of food and cars imported from Europe would jump under a no-deal Brexit, UK officials revealed on Wednesday in a bid to pressure Conservative MPs to vote to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. The British government set out the long-awaited trade plans after Theresa May’s exit agreement with the EU suffered a humiliating second defeat on Tuesday. The plans, which would apply both to imports from the EU and from outside the bloc, would eliminate 87 per cent of tariffs but introduce 10 per cent duties on cars, and levies on beef, chicken and pork as well as protections for the ceramics industry.
No-deal Brexit tariffs: The winners and losers
After years of fruitlessly asking for certainty and clarity, many across British business will again feel that they've been presented with a complex, brave new world - and a headache. If these rules come in at the end of the month, it's hard to think anyone will be ready.