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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 1st Apr 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

EU is nervous
  • The EU is expressing a mix of impatience and unease at what is happening in the UK. The FT and the Independent reported that it views matters as a choice between passing a withdrawal deal or asking for a long extension
Letwin's Indicative Votes are back
  • With the House of Commons set to takeover the Order of Business today, the second part of the Letwin Amendment on Indicative votes is on Parliament's schedule
  • The Speaker, John Bercow, is expected to rule out last week's options with the fewest votes, such as a No Deal brexit, most likely leaving the choice to be between a customs union with the EU, a Norway-style EEA membership or a second referendum
6m now want to Revoke Article 50
  • The Revoke Article 50 petition also comes up for debate later today. The government has already declared it will not agree to it, but as it now has 6 million signatures it would unwise not to give the petition serious consideration
  • There was a DeltaPoll, reported by the Mirror, which said Revoke Article 50 was the most popular option amongst people surveyed scoring 36%
Last week's Indicative Votes were undermined
  • The Sun confirmed Tory junior ministers plotted with Tory colleagues to deliberately undermine all eight indicative vote options last week, getting them to vote No to all of them to stop them winning a majority - a tactic they may use again
Are DUP Remainers now?
  • The DUP's Nigel Dodds told BBC Newsnight he thought it better to cancel Brexit than risk the break-up of the United Kingdom.
  • Hundreds turned out in demonstration on the Irish border against Brexit on Saturday
Blukip Insurgency makes Dominic Grieve
  • Leading Remain MP, Dominic Grieve, lost a motion of No Confidence in his Beaconsfield constituency on Friday, due to a suspected UKIP-led insurgency
  • The result in Grieve's constituency has also put other Tory Remain MPs on notice, as a number of them have been targeted for No Confidence votes by UKIP insurgents
Vote Leave admits its guilt
  • Vote Leave finally gave up its legal attempt to contest a ruling of guilty and accepted a fine of £61K against it for unlawfully breaking spending limits during the Brexit referendum
Brexit Violence on Friday
  • Lord Heseltine and BBC presenter Jeremy Bowen expressed disgust at some violent behaviour by Brexit supporters in and around Westminster on Friday evening
May's government teetering on edge of collapse
  • All the heated political talk was about Theresa May risking the collapse of her government. The PM's threat of a possible General Election, to break the Brexit deadlock, angered both Remain and Brexit MPs in her party. It is also going back on her promise not to lead the party into the next General Election.

Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement could return from the dead one more time

  • May is considering bringing her Withdrawal Agreement to Parliament for a 4th vote at the end of the coming week, in a sort of run-off against the preferred Indicative Vote favourite. Theresa May believes the ticking clock towards 12th April could turn her deal into the least worse option as the No Deal EU exit deadline looms into sharper focus
Every route for May is a dead end
  • Theresa May is under pressure from Remainers and Brexiteers if she makes any move towards accepting a Customs Union, which hardliners would see as a Betrayal of Brexit. Meanwhile, Remainers are adamant about not counternancing a No Deal Brexit - with 6 ministers saying they are prepared to resign. But this wing of the Tory Party will consider a softer Brexit option
  • So logically, the Mirror reports of the Tories at war over a customs union made some sense. The paper also predicted it could see the worst Tory party split since the Corn Laws battle of the 1840s
Could May turn the Customs Union to her own political advantage?
  • ITV's Robert Peston, though, saw a way for Mrs May to use a Customs Union plan to her own advantage. Such a plan will net her another 15-20 votes for her own withdrawal agreement. Then if she were to add a Labour amendment which called for MPs to have a strong role in future negotiations with the EU - she may well scoop up the further votes she needs to get her deal through
  • The Tories announced a new One Nation Conservative group had formed, which intends to act as a counterbalance to the more hardline European Research Group
  • There were reports that ministers and official in Whitehall are exasperated because No Deal preparations, which kicked in recently, mean government decision making is effectively in paralysis
  • The Scottish government blamed Brexit for a delay in the planned £900m investment in the nation's NHS
  • Post offices are running out of No Deal Brexit driving permits for people intending to drive on the continent
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the Brexit app for EU citizens will work on iPhones by the end of the year
  • Global Affairs Canada has warned Canadians travelling to the UK to look out for random acts of violence linked to Brexit
  • The workers at Honda Swindon marched against the decision of the company to shut the plant in 2 years time with the loss of 3,500 jobs
Jobs at Risk
Honda workers join protest march against Swindon car factory closure
Union officials will go to Japan to ‘press’ company bosses over jobs losses, says Unite chief Len McCluskey
Economic Impact
The cost of Brexit to December 2018: Towards relative decline?
The UK economy is 2.5 per cent smaller than it would be if Britain had voted to remain in the European Union. The knock-on hit to the public finances is £19 billion per annum – or £360 million a week. The latest update of the Centre for European Reform’s cost of Brexit calculation, which covers the period from the referendum to the fourth quarter of 2018 shows a slight increase compared to our third quarter estimate, which put the cost at 2.3 per cent.
Consumers Buoy U.K. Economy as Brexit Hits Business Investment
Consumers helped to keep the U.K. economy growing in the fourth quarter as firms cut investment amid the escalating chaos over Brexit. The Office for National Statistics left its growth estimate at 0.2 percent, a sharp slowdown from an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in the previous three months. The performance would have been worse but for consumers, who are enjoying record employment and the fastest wage growth for a decade. Households spent 0.3 percent more, slightly less than the pace of the third quarter but enough to offset the damage from a fourth consecutive fall in business investment. Strong government spending also contributed to growth.
Administrative Fall Out
Travel advisory for Canadians in Britain warns of ’acts of violence’ linked to Brexit
Global Affairs Canada has issued a travel advisory for Canadians in Britain, warning them of possible violence in the wake of today’s latest twist in the country’s Brexit drama. The department issued the updated advisory as British politicians rejected the latest attempt to coalesce around a path out of the European Union. In the advisory, officials warn of “acts of violence” and confrontations between demonstrators and security forces around the parliamentary buildings and near Westminster Abbey in London.
Brexit app for EU citizens to work on iPhones by end 2019 – Javid
Sajid Javid has announced that the controversial Brexit app for EU citizens’ residency rights will finally work on iPhones. The home secretary has struck a deal with Apple a year after the Home Office was ridiculed for developing an app that only fully worked on Android phones, even though iPhones account for 48% of the market.
Post Offices running out of 'no-deal Brexit driving permits' - what you need to know
UK drivers have expressed anger after some Post Offices around the country have run out of the driving permits required to travel in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The backlash comes because if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on April 12 EU countries will not recognise a UK driving licence without an additional permit. In a statement to ITV News, the Post Office confirmed a high demand for the permits and assured worried travellers that more stock would arrive by 2 April.
Cash for NHS repairs 'delayed by Brexit'
The Scottish Government has blamed Brexit for its failure to deliver a long-awaited investment plan to help address a £900m maintenance backlog in the NHS. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the medium-term NHS Capital Investment Strategy had been held up because of Brexit uncertainty and its impact on the Scottish budget.
Photos: Lorry park works underway at Manston airport site
Works are being carried out at the Manston airport site in preparation to stack up to 6,000 lorries when (or if) the UK exits the European Union.Some £4.9million of government funding is being spent to increase the capacity to hold 6,000 – rather than the initial projection of 4,000 – lorries.
Political Shenanigans
EU expresses doubts on alternatives to May’s Brexit plans
If Britain wanted to pursue Brexit — rather than revoke the Article 50 exit process altogether — there were only two options: “Either the UK asks for an extension beyond May 22, in which case it must participate in the European Parliament elections, or it must adopt the withdrawal agreement.” While Emily Thornberry, the foreign affairs spokesman of the UK opposition Labour party, suggested on Sunday that a “side protocol” could allow the UK to sidestep the European elections if it was still in the bloc, Jean-Claude Piris, a former senior EU lawyer, emphasised on Twitter that the EU had taken a final decision on the matter “which has been formally accepted by the UK government”.
Brexit: Jean-Claude Juncker warns EU's 'patience coming to an end' as he urges MPs to find solution to impasse
The EU is running out of patience with Britain over Brexit, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has warned. In an interview with Italian state TV, Mr Juncker said he would like MPs in the UK to be able to reach an agreement over the way forward in the coming days. “We have had a lot of patience with our British friends but patience is coming to an end,” he told RAI. The commission president added: “So far we know what the British parliament says no to, but we don’t know what it might say yes to.” Asked if a second referendum might be possible, Mr Juncker said that was an issue exclusively for the British people.
Margaret Beckett: why Brexit has to go back to the people
“I have become increasingly worried that the house could decide something which is so far away from what people thought they were getting when they voted to leave that it could cause serious ructions. Some very strong Leavers say they don’t think people should have a second opportunity to be consulted because they might have changed their minds. That seems to me to be incredibly dangerous as well as completely indefensible.”
Theresa May 'could ask the Queen to stop soft Brexit', lawyers claim
Two lawyers drew up the eyebrow-raising paper as MPs prepare to go over Theresa May's head to approve a soft Brexit. In the paper, lawyers Stephen Laws QC and Prof Richard Ekins argue Theresa May could stop any Parliamentary Bill promoting a softer version of Brexit at its final stage - being signed off by Her Majesty. "But if legislation would otherwise be passed by an abuse of constitutional process and principle facilitated by a rogue Speaker, the Government might plausibly decide to advise Her Majesty not to assent to the Bill in question. "It would be MPs, not the Government, that had by unprincipled action involved the monarch." It would set up a constitutional crisis with the Queen, who is famously completely neutral on political matters in public.
Hard Brexit, Dark Money: Links Between These Secretive Campaigns Raise New Questions For Facebook About Political Ads
BuzzFeed News reported that Facebook’s transparency measures were under fresh scrutiny because of Britain’s Future’s sudden and mystifying emergence as a major force in political campaigning. In just a few months, the site has spent more than £410,000 lobbying MPs to oppose Theresa May’s Brexit deal — overtaking the UK government, the three major political parties, and Remain-supporting campaigns backed by corporate heavyweights — while giving no information about its origins or sources of funding other than to say it is funded by donations.
One Nation group to fend off hardliners
A new socially liberal group championing “compassionate Conservatism” has been launched to seize back the initiative from the party’s Eurosceptic wing. Led by Amber Rudd, Damian Green, Nicky Morgan and Sir Nicholas Soames, the “One Nation” group will promote progressive Conservative values and seek to become a powerful counterweight to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group. The group, which is already 50-strong, will seek to influence domestic policy and is united in its opposition to a no-deal Brexit. Other high-profile members include Greg Clark, the business secretary, David Gauke, the justice secretary, and David Mundell, the Scottish secretary. In recent weeks the group has been meeting daily amid fears the party is being hijacked by hardline Brexiteers. The group, whose board is co-chaired by Rudd and Morgan, is seeking to influence any leadership contest by hosting hustings.
Brexit fine: Ex-Vote Leave chairwoman does not apologise over spend
The ex-chairwoman of the official pro-Brexit campaign has sidestepped calls to apologise after the group dropped its appeal over a spending fine. The Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave £61,000 after ruling it exceeded spending limits during the referendum. Asked by the BBC if she would say sorry, Gisela Stuart instead defended the organisation's record. The watchdog had said: "Serious offences such as these undermine public confidence in our system." Vote Leave - which was fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - was fined in July for spending more than the £7m spending limit. The campaign said at the time the watchdog's findings were "wholly inaccurate" and politically motivated.
PM may have to accept soft Brexit if Commons backs it, says minister
Theresa May will have to consider the possibility of accepting a softer Brexit if the measure is supported by parliament this week, the justice secretary, David Gauke, has said. With 12 days before the UK is due to leave the EU, and parliament plunged into a political stalemate, Gauke, a soft-Brexit supporter, said the prime minister would have to “look very closely” if MPs back a customs union in a fresh round of indicative votes that begin on Monday. “I think she would need to look very closely at that,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
Archaic, authoritarian, unequal to the challenge – parliament is broken
The Brexit shambles exposes the weaknesses of Westminster, which have grown starker since the 1998 devolution settlement. The House of Commons includes repulsive opportunists, bone-headed pedants and a few real scoundrels. But most MPs are well-meaning men and – especially – women. Yvette Cooper, wise Joanna Cherry, Anna Soubry the maenad with blazing eyes: they and their sisters have been the stars of these awful weeks. Best of all, none of them did that “womanly” number of trying to mediate between gnashing, stomping males. They gnashed too, and with a furious clarity. And it was Nicola Sturgeon who gave Theresa May the smartest epitaph: “The only leader in modern times who tried to fall on her own sword and managed to miss.”
Brexit: Tories at war on customs union as MPs warn of worst split in 173 YEARS
The Conservative Party has erupted into open warfare over whether to bow to mounting pressure and back soft Brexit this week. Furious Tories warned of the worst split for 173 years as MPs hold a bombshell new round of votes tomorrow on the way out of the deadlock.The "indicative" votes are widely expected to single out a customs union - keeping close EU ties and favoured by Labour - as the most popular option. But following that policy would break the Tories' 2017 manifesto and stop the UK signing its own trade deals around the world. Tory Cabinet minister David Gauke today warned Theresa May it would be "unsustainable" to ignore the will of MPs if they choose a customs union. But 170 Tory MPs wrote to the Prime Minister urging her to take the UK out of the EU quickly as possible - WITHOUT a customs union. The letter is said to be backed by 10 Cabinet ministers including Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Penny Mordaunt.
May can still pass her Brexit deal on the fourth try – here’s how
First Ken Clarke's Customs Union plan wins the support of the Commons. That drives a wedge straight down the middle of the One Nation Tories and the ERG. This will prise lose 15 more votes for May's deal. Then add the Nandy/Snell amendment (MPs shape future negotiations) - hey presto! May has another votes
Thornberry sparks Twitter storm after appearing to claim 70% wanted out
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry bemused viewers after she appeared to claim that 70% of the United Kingdom supports leaving the EU. Thornberry then appeared to claim that 70% supported leaving the EU, before saying “some honesty needs to be injected into this”. She said: “I personally don’t really understand why 70% of the population at this moment don’t want to remain in the EU. But they don’t. I personally think the reason for that is because we’ve not had the sort of debate we need to have.”
Cabinet Brexiteers heap pressure on Theresa May over customs union 'betrayal'
According to The Sunday Times, the top ministers used an emergency conference call this weekend to plan a mass walkout if Mrs May backs a customs union or tries to get the UK to take part in European elections in May. One Cabinet minister told the paper: "We have got to stick by our manifesto commitment not to join a customs union. It would be deeply damaging to hold EU elections. If they are going to happen, Labour MPs will have to vote for them." Another accused those pushing for a customs union of an "absolute betrayal of the referendum result and of this country". They warned: "I cannot understand how any of them can describe a customs union as any kind of Brexit. You may as well revoke Article 50."
Positioning herself for a tilt at the Tory leadership, the chief secretary to the Treasury
Positioning herself for a tilt at the Tory leadership, the chief secretary to the Treasury has taken to wearing primary colours. Her politics are similarly bold. That means using the “vast majority” of the £27bn Brexit war chest saved by the chancellor to fund big tax cuts for business and young people. Truss says: “We need to reshape the state and not just think the answer to our problems is spending more money. The most likely age group to agree with that are younger people. We have lowered business rates. Currently we spend £18bn on business support. I’d like to cut the taxes on business — not give them back their own money.”
Conservative leadership: Ex-cabinet minister Esther McVey signals she will run to succeed Theresa May
Former cabinet minister Esther McVey has signalled she will run for the Tory leadership as senior Conservatives gather support for their bids to succeed Theresa May. The ex-work and pensions secretary, who presided over part of the botched rollout of universal credit, said she would put herself forward to be the next prime minister if she thought she had “a fair shot”.
Tom Watson hints at government of national unity to break Brexit deadlock
Tom Watson has hinted that he would be willing to serve in a government of national unity in an attempt to break the Brexit deadlock. The Labour deputy leader said "if needs must, we have to then do what’s right", as Parliament struggles to agree a way for the UK to leave the European Union. Mr Watson's comments are likely to spark an angry backlash from many Labour members, who would be bitterly opposed to their party going into government with the Tories as well as MPs from other parties.
History will favour those who do right by the will of the people on Brexit — and condemn those who try to usurp it
The Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement has been voted down three times. It’s had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. Even now we are told that it is not dead yet. There is speculation there may well be a showdown next week between the PM’s deal and an insistence that the UK remains in the customs union. If unreconciled Remainers in Parliament are allowed to hijack negotiations, we will get Brexit in name only, or no Brexit at all. It’s a terrible state of affairs and I wish the Government had had the courage to maintain the possibility of a No Deal exit. It would have given leverage to our negotiating position and delivered a better deal.
Furious Tory MPs tell May: we’ll block snap Brexit election
Conservative MPs from across the party are threatening to vote down any attempt by Theresa May to lead them into a snap election, warning it would split the Tories and exacerbate the Brexit crisis. In a sign of the collapse in authority suffered by the prime minister, cabinet ministers are among those warning that there will be a serious campaign by Conservative MPs to vote against an election headed by May, a move she hinted at last week to break the Brexit deadlock.
Conservatives and Labour could both split over Brexit divisions, Vince Cable says
Asked about the prospect of a possible split in the main parties, he said: “I think for the first time in my lifetime this is possible. “In the last few days I’ve been having conversations with deep-dyed Tories – the kind of people you would never regard as wet or one-nation Tories. “They say ‘we’ve just had it up to here – we just cannot take any more of it. Our party’s been infiltrated by the right-wing equivalent of Momentum, we’ve been threatened in our seats, we’ve had to get legal advice. They’re in a terrible state these moderate Tories. “And then on the Labour side you have one desperate effort being made by [deputy leader] Tom Watson, who is a very formidable and impressive guy, to try and save the Labour Party, but even those who like him and hope for the best are pretty pessimistic because the hardliners have complete control.
Brexit: Cabinet faces COLLAPSE as 'six ministers threaten to quit over no deal'
Senior government ministers have reportedly threatened to quit the cabinet if Theresa May heads for a no-deal Brexit . Mrs May faces the risk of resignations from senior ministers on both sides of the Brexit divide, depending on what decisions she makes next week.
Labour’s plan for a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal can heal the country
I think Labour should embrace European elections just as we should welcome a general election that might get rid of this broken government. If we go into either contest with a positive policy on Brexit and say any final deal must be put back to the people, I am confident Labour can win. We already have a fund raised by local parties to pay for the campaign and I’ve asked our NEC to develop a plan to get grassroots members involved in selecting candidates.
Led by Donkeys: How four dads made asses out of Westminster
“We stumbled on a formula that really works,” says Richard. Chris adds: “We have a news cycle where everything flies past at a million miles an hour. There’s something powerful about slapping a tweet on an old-school method of communication, a billboard, that makes people stop and consider in a way they don’t with Twitter.” Newspapers have been calling the featured politicians to ask them to respond. Most say “no comment”, although Jacob Rees-Mogg took objection because his quote was said in Parliament not on Twitter.
@SkyNewsPolitics "There is clear evidence that there was an orchestrated campaign by my UKIP opponent."
"There is clear evidence that there was an orchestrated campaign by my UKIP opponent." Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve has spoken out after suffering a vote of no confidence by his local party.
Mueller’s report is a warning – and Britain won’t listen
In Britain, we don’t have the bandwidth or the resolve or the understanding of the bigger picture to want to even try to understand this web of interconnected relationships. We stand by as Arron Banks and Nigel Farage ape Donald Trump. We remain incurious about the ties that connect them and the money behind them. We watch as they attack the press and seek to undermine our institutions. The Mueller report is a warning that we won’t heed. He’s exposed Russia’s attack on America’s presidential election for what it was – a system exploit. The same system that underpins our democracy – with the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
The remainer MPs now under pressure after Dominic Grieve's no confidence vote
Pro-Remain MPs are facing increasing pressure after Dominic Grieve suffered a vote of no confidence by his local Conservative Party. Tories in the long-time MP's constituency, Beaconsfield, took a stand against the former Attorney General after a "robust discussion." Grieve among a number of pro-EU Conservatives to come under pressure in their constituencies.
Theresa May Is Planning To Bring Her Brexit Deal Back Again And Threatening An Election If It Fails
Theresa May is planning to bring her Brexit deal back for another vote in Parliament next week and ... A veteran Conservative backbencher told BuzzFeed News: “I do not see how she can call an election. There is not a chance in hell we will vote for it
Brexit’s fate to be decided by an X Factor-style run-off of Commons votes between PM’s deal, soft Brexit and a second referendums deal, soft Brexit and a second referendum
Speaker John Bercow is expected to narrow down Parliament's options to just three choices when Indicative Votes are held on Monday. But this time, Speaker John Bercow is expected to rule out the options with that attracted the lowest number of votes, such as a No Deal Brexit - most likely leaving the choice between a customs union with the EU, Norway-style EEA membership and a second referendum. Mrs May is expected to wait until the options are narrowed down to just one, when she will then pit her divorce deal against it.
Nigel Dodds: Better to cancel Brexit than risk the break-up of the United Kingdom
Speaking to Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt, Mr Dodds warned his party would be prepared to ditch their support for Brexit if it meant protecting Northern Ireland's position within the UK. “I would stay in the European Union and remain rather than risk Northern Ireland’s position,” he said. "That’s how strongly I feel about the Union. "So yes, the answer must be something that works for the whole of the United Kingdom - that’s our first and main priority.”
SECRET BREXIT PLOT Tory junior ministers devised secret plan to frustrate the alternative Brexit vote
The group persuaded dozens of fellow Tories to vote down all eight alternatives, from customs union to second referendum, in order to boost the chances of Theresa May's deal passing
@BBCNewsnight "I would stay in the European Union and remain, rather than risk Northern Ireland's position,"
"I would stay in the European Union and remain, rather than risk Northern Ireland's position," DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds tells BBC's Nicholas Watt @nicholaswatt | #newsnight | @NigelDoddsDUP
Political Setbacks
Sky Views: The world used to see UK as bastion of stability - Brexit has changed that
I would find myself wondering how the UK population - so used to living in relative (compared with a lot of the world) comfort - would cope if ever faced with a real crisis. Fast forward 15 years and fears about fuel and food shortages - whether or not they come to pass - are actually being talked about in the event of border disruption if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal. While for the rest of the world, Britain and Brexit have become one of the biggest (for them) foreign news stories around, with debates in the House of Commons - including meaningful votes and speaker John Bercow shouting "order" - regularly making headline news.
Brexit: Chief whip attacks cabinet's post-election strategy
The government should have made clear after the 2017 election that it would "inevitably" have to accept a softer Brexit, the Tory chief whip has said. In a BBC documentary, Julian Smith is also strongly critical of the cabinet's behaviour and lack of discipline. It is unprecedented for a chief whip to publicly attack his own government and comes as the cabinet is deeply split over whether to move to a softer deal. MPs hold further indicative votes later on options to resolve the deadlock.
Tories threaten to stop Theresa May triggering election as poll puts Jeremy Corbyn in reach of Number 10
Theresa May has been warned by her own MPs against plunging the country into a fresh general election as a new poll put Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party five points clear of the Tories.The latest Deltapoll study for the Mail on Sunday shows that a seven-point Conservative lead has evaporated over the past month amid ongoing political turmoil over Brexit. Labour currently stands at 41 percent, five points ahead of the Tories on 36.
Remain stalwart Dominic Grieve faces Tory deselection after losing no confidence vote
Prominent pro-Remain Conservative MP Dominic Grieve is facing deselection after he suffered a vote of no confidence by his local party. The no confidence vote was passed 182 to 131 by the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association. The chairman of the association, Jackson Ng, said the motion was passed at the association’s annual general meeting on Friday.
Tories need 'experience' at the helm, says Cabinet minister
The Conservative Party must appoint a senior Tory Eurosceptic to lead it through the next phase of the Brexit negotiations and delay a full scale leadership contest until after the 2022 election, a Cabinet minister has said. The comments by Chris Grayling, who previously served as Mrs May's campaign manager in 2016, will be seen as an effort to streamline the race to replace Theresa May, amid speculation that as many as two dozen MPs could slug it out in a campaign that could go on for months.
Theresa May's cabinet close to collapse
Brexiteers and Remainers are threatening to walk out. Theresa May will be warned today that her government faces total collapse unless she passes her Brexit deal — as the prime minister’s aides were at loggerheads over whether to accept a soft Brexit or call a general election this week. In an emergency conference call last night Brexiteer cabinet ministers agreed they would resign if May accepted a customs union or got Tory MPs to vote for the UK to take part in European elections in May. They will deliver their threat when the prime minister consults her cabinet today. More than half her Commons party, 170 MPs and ministers, have signed a letter telling May to pursue a no-deal departure from the EU rather than accept a soft Brexit. It also demands that the UK leave the EU by May 22.
How can the DUP support Brexit when Northern Ireland does not?
The party propping up the Tory government puts the union before everything – even its own electorate
Brexit: More than a THIRD of people back revoking Article 50 in bombshell poll
Revoking Article 50 is the most popular of any Brexit option with the public, a bombshell poll suggests today. The survey of 1,010 people found 36% want to abandon leaving the EU entirely, despite the nation voting by 52% to 48% to leave in the 2016 referendum. The second most popular option was to crash out with no deal on April 12 unless the EU makes further concessions - a choice backed by 26% of people. Those options were followed by 'Don't Know' on 13% and backing Theresa May's deal on 12%. The result came as the number of people signing a petition to revoke Article 50 - the two-year countdown to Brexit Day - hit 6million.
Brexit petition to revoke Article 50 hits 6 million signatures
A petition calling on the government to halt the Brexit process and keep Britain in the EU has passed six million signatures. The Revoke Article 50 petition - which will be debated by MPs on Monday - has the highest number of signatures of any parliamentary e-petition in history. At one point, nearly 2,000 signatures were being added every minute and it was so popular that the website crashed.
No 10 hopes to delay Tory leadership contest until October
Downing Street hopes to delay any Conservative party leadership contest until October in a move that will hamper the campaigns of established candidates such as Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid. As Tory contenders began manoeuvres this weekend to replace Theresa May after the third defeat of her Brexit deal, sources confirmed that those close to her will push for a new prime minister to be chosen after the party’s conference at the end of September.
MP Joanna Cherry hopeful of 'revoke Article 50' motion support
A Scottish MP has said she is hopeful of winning cross-party support for her bid to rule out a No-Deal Brexit. The SNP's Joanna Cherry is planning to table a motion on Monday that would call on the government to revoke Article 50 if no extension can be obtained. Ms Cherry said she had worked closely with some Labour MPs to craft it in a way they could support. Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney said the move was a "sensible safeguard".
Anger in Whitehall as Brexit strife delays key policies and legislation
Ministers and officials said to be exasperated as no-deal preparations result in paralysis. Brexit is delaying key pieces of policy and legislation, angering ministers and officials, amid reports of paralysis across Whitehall as the government focuses on solving the current crisis, the Guardian has learned. Legislation meant to limit the prosecution of soldiers, create an online regulator and curb drug dispensing errors have been held up or postponed as the government tries to gain enough support for a deal to leave the EU. It comes as Whitehall departments divert senior staff to work on Brexit-related matters in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Tory tensions rise as Theresa May faces agonising choice on Brexit
When Dominic Grieve, a Conservative MP and former attorney-general, was heckled by party members shouting “traitor”, the forces ripping through his party were plain for all to see. Mr Grieve, who lost a vote of confidence brought by his local party association on Friday, is one of a clutch of pro-EU Tory MPs targeted for deselection by local members. He has blamed his reversal on “entryism” by anti-EU activists into the local party, but the transformation in the Conservatives’ ranks goes far beyond his Beaconsfield constituency. Mrs May now faces the huge challenge of trying to get her deal through the House of Commons — without provoking a revolt in what has largely become a Brexit party.
Remain MP Dominic Grieve says he'll not quit despite local party no confidence vote
Pro-Remain MP Dominic Grieve has insisted he will not be standing down in the wake of suffering a vote of no confidence by his local Conservative Party. Party members in Beaconsfield voted 182 to 131 in favour of the no confidence motion on Friday evening, meaning Mr Grieve faces possible deselection. The former attorney-general said he would listen very carefully to the views of local members but, when asked by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand whether he would resign, said: "I was elected by 36,000 people of Beaconsfield who voted for me and I'm answerable to them.
@carolecadwalla Do you believe this man?? Watch this video. He was co-convener of Vote Leave. He received daily briefings. Yet he claims total ignorance.
Do you believe this man?? Watch this video. He was co-convener of Vote Leave. He received daily briefings. Yet he claims total ignorance. Even in incredible event, he didn’t know, it still happened on his watch. If we had an opposition, they would surely call for him to resign
Tinpot Brexiteer vandals have been rumbled
Compromise be damned: we can’t give an inch to the liars and rascals who’ve brought our country to the brink of ruin. Compromise be damned. We’re looking at an assemblage of ninnies and rascals here, and they’re well on their way to being rumbled. Yet again I remind you of the words (to me) of Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary, the late Ian Gow. “In the Lady’s view, once you’ve got the crocodile on to the sandbank you don’t help it back into the deep. You stick the knife in.”
Hundreds protest against Brexit along Irish Border
Hundreds of people have taken part in a number of mass demonstrations on the Irish Border in opposition to Brexit. Border Communities Against Brexit organised the protests to mark the day after Britain had been due to leave the European Union. Border demonstrations took place along a number of crossing points in Co Tyrone, Co Louth, Co Donegal, Co Fermanagh, Co Cavan and Co Monaghan. Demonstrators set up a mock check-point on the Old Dublin Road in Carrickcarnon which was manned by people dressed as customs officers. The road was closed to members of the public as protesters carried anti-Brexit placards and EU flags.
Lord Heseltine: Pro-Brexit populism is 'unacceptable and repugnant'
Michael Heseltine has condemned the rise of pro-Brexit populism as “unacceptable and repugnant” after Friday's Brexit Day protests. Although the majority of demonstrators at the rally were peaceful, police arrested two people on suspicion of assault and another on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. The former deputy prime minister, who campaigned to remain in the EU, told talkRADIO’s James Whale he feared pro-Brexit protesters would use “physical force and intimidation” as political tools. “What appals me is that those who have strong feelings think that the legitimate weapon in their hand is physical force and intimidation,” Lord Heseltine said. “We have all seen what happens when people say there will be civil unrest and start muscling up in a crowd, yesterday we saw a lot of posters torn down in parliament square and then somebody got roughed up.
@gabriel_Pogrund Dominic Grieve loses confidence vote at Beaconsfield Conservative Association by 182 to 131 votes; paves way for deselection
Dominic Grieve loses confidence vote at Beaconsfield Conservative Association by 182 to 131 votes; paves way for deselection
Brexit: Theresa May's aim to prove deal is least worst option
When does determination become delusion? Number 10's answer to that may be - not yet. There is every chance that the prime minister will again - with routes outside the normal boundaries - try to make a version of her Brexit deal the end result of all of this. Despite a third defeat, despite the embarrassment of repeated losses, don't imagine that she is ready to say a permanent farewell to the compromise deal she brokered with the EU or, straightaway, to her time in office. There is still a belief in the heart of government that there could be a way round, perhaps to include the prime minister's agreed treaty as one of the options that is subject to a series of votes that will be put in front of the Commons next week. The aspiration, strange as it sounds, for some time now has been to prove to MPs that the deal is the least worst of all the options, for time to expose the impossibilities of the new compromises some MPs seek politically for the Tory party, and for the cost of a long delay to Brexit to be too great to allow Parliament to find a new way too.
Dominic Grieve loses confidence vote held by Beaconsfield Tories
The remain-supporting Conservative MP, Dominic Grieve, is facing deselection by his party after losing a confidence vote held by his local association by 182 to 131 votes. The Conservative association in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire – Grieve’s constituency – said it no longer had confidence in the former attorney general after he put his case to members at a meeting on Friday. And, while he remains its MP for the time being, a meeting will soon be convened to discuss his future.
Lady Warsi says she fears Michael Gove becoming PM
Some of Gove’s opinions were expressed in Celsius 7/7, a controversial book he wrote in 2006 about Islamism in the UK and elsewhere. Asked in a Guardian interview what she thought about the idea of Gove succeeding Theresa May, Lady Warsi said: “I just don’t even want to imagine it. I’ve sat in too many meetings, I’ve done everything from rolling my eyes, to thinking, gosh, thank God he’s not prime minister.” Celsius 7/7 was written shortly after the 2005 London tube and bus bombings, which killed 52 and injured many more, and Gove stated that “a sizeable minority” of Britain’s 1.8 million Muslims held “rejectionist Islamist views”. To support that argument, Gove cited polling data from the time that showed 46% of British Muslims considered themselves Muslim first and British second, and emphasised that a minority – 12% of those aged 18-24 – said suicide bombing could be justified in the UK.
May risks 'total collapse' of government in Brexit impasse - Sunday Times
British Prime Minister Theresa May risks the “total collapse” of her government if she fails to get her battered Brexit deal through parliament, the Sunday Times newspaper said, amid growing speculation that she might call an early election.
Furious Tory MPs tell May: we’ll block snap Brexit election
Conservative MPs from across the party are threatening to vote down any attempt by Theresa May to lead them into a snap election, warning it would split the Tories and exacerbate the Brexit crisis. In a sign of the collapse in authority suffered by the prime minister, cabinet ministers are among those warning that there will be a serious campaign by Conservative MPs to vote against an election headed by May, a move she hinted at last week to break the Brexit deadlock. The threat of an election immediately angered both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain MPs. May would need a two-thirds majority in the Commons to secure one, meaning a serious rebellion by Tories could block it. May would then be forced to secure an election by backing a no-confidence vote in her own government, which only requires a simple majority of MPs.
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove under fire on Vote Leave’s law-breaking
Conservative leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are facing growing calls to account for illegal behaviour by the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign. The group has dropped its appeal against the Electoral Commission’s ruling that it broke the law by channelling hundreds of thousands of pounds of donations to an ostensibly independent campaign group, BeLeave. When the Observer revealed evidence a year ago that Vote Leave had broken spending rules, Johnson attacked the report on Twitter as “utterly ludicrous” and said it had “won … legally”. A Johnson adviser said on Saturday that the former foreign secretary would not comment on the end of the appeal.
The future of the Conservative party needs to be as the Brexit party - says Jacob Rees-Mogg
The future of the Conservative party needs to be as the Brexit party. It ought not to cede this title to any other contenders as the nature of its opposition to the EU grows out of its core beliefs. The Tory party in all its guises, over many centuries, has had the view that society is best organised from the bottom up rather than the top down.
Brexit: Vote Leave quietly drops appeal against £61,000 fine for breaking electoral law
Official Brexit campaign says it has run out of money to pursue appeal after Electoral Commission found it coordinated illegally with another group
Theresa May must step down as prime minister: for the sake of Brexit, her party and democracy itself
riday was supposed to be Brexit day. Instead, the Government spent it trying to heave its Withdrawal Agreement over the line, with the threat that it could be this or no Brexit at all. They did their best; a few Tory sceptics were converted. Nevertheless, the deal died in the lobbies for a third time. Theresa May had told the 1922 Committee that she would resign if the Agreement passed. What will she do now that it has been beaten yet again? She cannot continue. The Prime Minister needs to consider her position urgently, bearing two things in mind: the longer this goes on, the softer Brexit will become and, second, that the public is losing faith not just in the Government or the Conservative Party, but in the political process itself too
Tweeted: RT @BowenBBC: I’ve seen this kind of thuggish intimidation in ...
RT @BowenBBC: I’ve seen this kind of thuggish intimidation in nasty places around the world. Horrendous to see it in the UK https://t.co/5O…
Tensions run high as five people arrested at Brexit protest in London
The Metropolitan Police said five people were arrested following the Brexit protests in Westminster on Friday. Some journalists were intimidated by aggressive Leave supporting protestors
Compare the peaceful march for a Final Say with nasty threats of violence from the Brexit far right
Spot the difference: on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to peacefully request a democratic vote in a march to Parliament Square where a rally was held. Today hundreds of people in the same place threaten rioting and violence in an attempt to push the opposite point. Quite a contrast isn’t it. But that’s roughly how it’s been ever since David Cameron stuck a knife into the heart of Britain in the hopes of settling a debate in the Conservative Party, which his successor Theresa May set about twisting with the same aim in mind. One side politely requests a vote, the other responds with a pair of hobnailed boots. Or hobnailed heels in the case of May, who’s comments could be seen as inciting violence against MPs.
@MarkUrban01 @FabianPicardo Chief Minister of Gibraltar has written to Theresa May asking her to revoke Article 50. "in preference to a long extension of membership of the EU or a no-deal departure from the EU"
Following today's Commons defeat @FabianPicardo Chief Minister of Gibraltar has written to Theresa May asking her to revoke Article 50. "in preference to a long extension of membership of the EU or a no-deal departure from the EU"
May hopes to hold fourth vote on Brexit deal
Government sources suggested May was first likely to make another attempt to force her deal through parliament in a third “meaningful vote”. This might happen in a “run-off” against any successful alternative from Monday’s indicative votes. The government has been discussing with the Speaker, John Bercow, whether there is a way to hold MV3 that would not fall foul of his insistence that the same proposition cannot be put before parliament again. A Downing Street spokesman highlighted the fact that May’s margin of defeat, 58, was smaller than the 149 majority she lost by earlier this month, and the crushing 230-strong defeat in the first meaningful vote in January. “We are at least going in the right direction,” the spokesman said.
@thejaytoday This is what the pro-Brexit march became in the end. Men and women drinking cans of beer and abusing the police.
This is what the pro-Brexit march became in the end. Men and women drinking cans of beer and abusing the police.
How Theresa May Went From “The New Iron Lady” To The Leader Who “Betrayed Brexit”
The prime minister’s promise to stand aside if her Brexit deal passes will bring an end to one of the shortest and most turbulent premierships in modern British history. ...
ANALYSIS An Englishman's Betrayal: What next for the DUP?
The alliance between Rees-Mogg, he who once said he takes the whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than Julian Smith, and the DUP was one of the more innocuous thrown up by Brexit; aside from sovereignty, one wonders what he spoke with Sammy Wilson et al about when he was the star attraction on the DUP after-dinner circuit. As recently as Wednesday, he was repeating his protestations that he “would not abandon the DUP” - then he broke with them and voted for May's deal
Tories could become the nasty party again
The temptations of two particular doctrines have made the Tories all but ungovernable. The first is the appeal of sovereignty-based nationalism. There is a breed of Eurosceptic in the Conservative Party that loathes the European Union so much that they are not even prepared to vote to leave unless they can stick their fingers up to it as they go. Their vision of national sovereignty in a world of alliances, treaties and trade and capital flows is a century out of date and their assumption that taking back control from Europe is the answer to the problems Britain faces is simply fatuous. Yet they have got religion and cannot be reasoned with.
Brexit: Man found in contempt of Parliament Dominic Cummings urges Vote Leave activists to form party
Dominic Cummings has issued a rallying call to former Vote Leave activists to start building a new political party or campaign to fight for Brexit. The former director of the campaign that won the 2016 EU referendum urges supporters to "start rebuilding our network now" in a post on his blog. He says winning another EU referendum would be "easier than in 2016". It comes as he was found "in contempt of Parliament" by the Commons Privileges Committee.