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"News from the Brexit Cliff Edge" 8th Apr 2019

News Highlights

Welcome to the Brexit Cliff Edge

Manufacturers group says in event of no deal revoke Article 50

JLR shutters its factories for a week due to Brexit

  • Jaguar Land Rover is to shut down production for a week, due to uncertainties surrounding Brexit. It will affect thousands of staff at Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside. from Monday. The company said it needed Brexit certainty and said that a No Deal Brexit would cost it more than £1.2bn in profit each year

Northern Ireland dairy farmers worried about a No Deal Brexit

NFU says farming industry confidence is now at a decade low

Google Pay moves its Euro-business to Dublin

Customs expert slans UK customs readiness

Daffodils are not for picking

Will Grayling save Scottish seafood?

UK SME's deeply worried about implications of a No Deal Brexit

Brexit linked medicine shortages could harm patients

Theresa May invokes her 'fireside chat' straight to camera Brexit plea

Jobs at Risk
Brexit: Revoke Article 50 if deal fails, Theresa May urged
Manufacturers are calling on Theresa May to revoke article 50 if she can’t strike a Brexit agreement next week, in the latest sign that the looming possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal is hammering confidence in the sector. Make UK, the lobby group that represents 20,000 manufacturing firms, last night wrote to May and Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, saying it is “critical for the future of UK manufacturing businesses and their workforces that we bring the current uncertainty to an end”. The letter from Make UK’s chief executive, Stephen Phipson, seen by The Sunday Times, comes after two-thirds of the group’s members backed revocation of article 50 if May does not reach a deal by the new deadline of April 12.
Jaguar Land Rover to start Brexit shutdown
Jaguar Land Rover is to shut down production for a week because of uncertainties around Brexit. It will affect thousands of staff at Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, and Halewood on Merseyside, from Monday. The shutdown is in addition to a scheduled closure the following week for Easter. Unite the union said the move was agreed in January when the UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March. The company said it needed more certainty around Brexit, and warned that a "no-deal" Brexit would cost it more than £1.2bn in profit each year.
Dairy farmers: No-deal Brexit could put us out of business overnight
People living and working on the Irish border say they have no option but to prepare for a no-deal Brexit on Friday. Northern Irish farmers fear an immediate loss of trade with the Republic could put hundreds of them out of business overnight. Damian McGenity, a part-time farmer from Jonesborough, one mile on the northern side, says the economic impact would be "catastrophic".
Dudson: More than 300 jobs go at Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm
Jobs are lost with immediate effect as 200-year-old Dudson in Stoke-on-Trent collapses. Representatives from the GMB union said staff were told to leave the premises "with no notice whatsoever" and called it a "devastating blow". Administrators PWC said it was "not commercially viable to continue trading the company". A total of 318 people have been made redundant with immediate effect. In March, Wedgwood - another of the city's potteries - announced plans to cut its workforce by about a third.
Administrative Fall Out
The NHS is underprepared for a no-deal Brexit – and I am one of the thousands that might die as a result
On Wednesday night, BBC Newsnight revealed some life-saving drugs have proved impossible to stockpile – including those used to treat epilepsy – and that the doctors who had been given this information had been told to keep quiet. Back in January the health secretary Matthew Hancock told parliament that the requisite medicine supplies had been stockpiled in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Last night we learned that was not the case. Currently, a no deal would mean potential shortages of three important drugs for epilepsy, bipolar disorder and neuropathic pain. This would be life threatening for patients.
Google Pay tells Euro users it has ditched UK for Ireland ahead of Brexit
Google Pay has this week shifted its service provision for all non-UK users in the European Economic Area from Britain and into Ireland ahead of Brexit. Up until now, the Google Payments terms of service have been offered by Google Payment Limited, a company incorporated in the UK. But the ad and search giant this week revealed it had had to change the terms due to the UK's "evolving" relationship with the European Union. UK residents' payments will continue to be processed in Blighty. In an email sent to all users in the EEA except those in the UK, and seen by The Register, it said the terms of service would, as of 4 April, be provided by Google Ireland Limited.
Customs industry 'not ready for Brexit'
Britain's customs system is not ready for Brexit - and could still take another three years to be prepared. That is the view of one of the most high-profile figures in the British customs industry, who chairs a key committee advising the government. He told Sky News that plans had been "left to the last minute". Peter MacSwiney is chair of the Brexit committee at the Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC). It represents the leading players in the industry and liaises with both the government and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about the implications of Brexit.
First British passports without 'European Union' printed on cover issued
British passports without the words European Union on the front cover have been issued despite the Brexit delay. The burgundy passports were introduced from March 30, the day after Britain was expected to leave the EU. Some passports including the words European Union will continue to be issued while the remaining stock is used up. But those applying for a new travel document will not be able to choose between the two. Dark blue passports, reminiscent of travel documents before the UK joined the EU, will be available from the end of the year.
As the UK updates its .eu Brexit advice yet again, an alternative hovers into view
On Friday, the UK government again updated its advice for Brits with .eu internet addresses. If we were to summarize it in a sentence it would be: god knows what's going to happen but you should probably prepare for the worst. That updated advice comes after the company that operates the .eu registry, EURid, was forced, yet again, to change its advice. A notice on EURid's dedicated Brexit webpage now reads: "Due to ongoing uncertainties over the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, EURid has placed on hold any plan regarding domain names registered to individuals and undertakings located in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar."
No-deal Brexit would be 'catastrophic', farmers warn
The National Farmers' Union says confidence levels among British farmers are at their lowest since the start of the decade. Cereal farmers have told Sky News leaving the EU without a deal would be "catastrophic" and the continued uncertainty is having a huge cost to business. Unlike some livestock farming, arable farmers have not been offered any protection against cheaper imports and also face the prospect of an increase in export tariffs
Home Office makes £2m a month from child citizenship fees as parents driven into debt
The Home Office makes £2m a month from child citizenship fees, figures show, as campaigners warned charges are driving parents into debt and even forcing them to skip meals. Data obtained through a freedom of information request by community organising group Citizens UK, reveals the department is raking in £24m a year – or around £500,000 a week – on charges for children to register for British citizenship. That is the equivalent of £71,429 each day The cost of a citizenship application for a child is £1,012 while cost of processing is £372. This means Home Office makes an estimated £640 profit from each child application it receives. All the fees are non-refundable so are not returned if the application fails.
Cornish daffodils left to rot from lack of eastern European workers due to Brexit
The lack of manpower has been described as a devastating blow for the daffodil picking industry which generates around £45m a year for the UK economy. Britain is by far the world’s largest producer of daffodils, with about 75 per cent grown in Cornwall.
Dig deep to bloom after Brexit | Ireland
Cash-flow fears are taking root among Irish firms reliant on the UK, but a rainy day fund will help to weather the storm
Brexit plea over Scotland's perishable exports
Scotland's transport secretary has called for time-sensitive exports to be given priority in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Michael Matheson has written to his UK counterpart Chris Grayling asking for goods such as Scottish seafood to be given space on ferries. He warned that livelihoods were being put at risk by this "lack of support for exporting businesses". The UK government said it was preparing for "all possible" Brexit outcomes. Mr Matheson claimed that the Department for Transport had failed to take action despite the issue being raised in previous correspondence from the Scottish government. He said: said: "With an annual value of £944m, seafood accounts for 58% of Scotland's total food exports. "Seafood is highly perishable and therefore dependent on the sort of swift and reliable transport connections which would be damaged by a disorderly UK exit from the EU."
Small firms at Brexit’s sharp end
Well over one million UK SMEs, around a quarter of the total, were concerned about how Brexit would affect the success of their business. We also examined how Brexit uncertainty varies according to the size and location of companies and their business orientation. SMEs represent a core part of the UK economy, accounting for 99% of all UK firms and 60% of total private sector employment. They are crucial for innovation and productivity growth and have disproportionately driven job creation since 2010. They are also particularly affected by institutional and political uncertainty and less resilient when it comes to unforeseen events such as Brexit.
Political Shenanigans
‘Flextension’ and just tension in Brussels as UK requests another Brexit delay
It's official: Brexit doesn't mean Brexit. At least not on April 12. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May formally appealed to the EU Friday for yet another extension of the U.K.'s departure date, perhaps until June 30. Or maybe until May 22. Or maybe sooner. The two-and-a-half page letter to Council President Donald Tusk sparked alarm in Brussels. Significant concerns remain that the continued uncertainty poses a threat to the integrity of the European Parliament election and that a half-in-half-out U.K. could adopt a policy of future non-cooperation that the EU would be unable to control. EU leaders still have not had an answer to the questions they asked when they delayed Brexit day last time: What exactly would such an extension be for, and how would it achieve a different outcome?
Labour’s Thornberry calls for Brexit inquiry
Britain should hold an inquiry into how Brexit has been handled, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said. “When all this finishes, we will need to look at how it happened,” Thornberry told a live taping of Politico EU Confidential podcast in London on Sunday. “We will need to look at why it is that we spent billions of pounds on no deal. You know, why David Cameron had a referendum without telling the civil servants to prepare in case he lost the referendum,” she said. “And also, frankly, we will need to look at a lot of Cabinet minutes where they are discussing what’s good for the Tory Party and not what’s good for the country,” Thornberry said.
Theresa May Invokes The 'Fireside Chat' With Straight-To-Camera Brexit Plea
Theresa May has adopted a new ‘natural’ approach in an attempt to get her Brexit message across and shed her ‘Maybot’ reputation after weeks of tumult. In what appeared to be a loosely-scripted video message, the Prime Minister made a plea for “compromise on both sides” as talks with Labour continued. May even forced a chuckle as she admitted that the public might be confused over why leaving the European Union has yet to happen almost three years after the referendum. She began by admitting people have been asking her “what on earth is happening with Brexit” as she was filmed on a shaky camera and with a large tumbler of water placed in the foreground. Filmed at her Chequers country retreat, May was in ‘fireside chat’ mode: an oft-used political device made famous by radio addresses from US President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. She addressed the ongoing talks with Jeremy Corbyn, which she now appears to think are the only way out of the Brexit deadlock.
Labour’s Thornberry demands referendum on any Brexit compromise
Emily Thornberry, the U.K. shadow foreign secretary, demanded any Brexit deal between her party and the government be put to a second referendum as she suggested Labour MPs from Leave-supporting constituencies were “misunderstanding” their own voters. Speaking at a live taping of POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast in London on Sunday, Thornberry said any deal agreed between Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would prove controversial. “The question will be — is this what anybody wants? Or do we end up with a compromise that just makes everybody unhappy?” Thornberry said. “I think whatever it is, it will be controversial. And I think that in those circumstances, it’s right for us to be saying to the British people: 'During that referendum, did you vote for this? Do you want this? When you said you wanted to leave, did you want to leave like this?'”
Brexit news latest: Eighty MPs write to Jeremy Corbyn calling for People's Vote guarantee
Eighty Labour MPs have called on Jeremy Corbyn to secure a guarantee of a second referendum in any Brexit deal he reaches with Theresa May. The group, which includes shadow ministers, wrote to the Labour leader on Saturday and stated that a public vote should be the "bottom line" in the negotiations. The letter warns any concessions secured in the cross-party talks - which have so far failed to produce a breakthrough - cannot be guaranteed, meaning a referendum is a necessary safeguard.
Is there any way back from a Brexit cliff edge?
Every option, from a no-deal Brexit to a referendum, or even revocation of the decision to leave, leads to some combination of UK nations (England versus Northern Ireland and Scotland) or social groups (to simplify, nationalist low-income Brexiters versus internationalist wealthier Remainers) shouting treachery and betrayal. There is no Brexit peace to be had. For many years. Or at least none I can see. And that sure knowledge will condition how EU leaders decide on Wednesday whether and what postponement of the date we leave the EU to grant us. A no-deal Brexit on 12 April, the current official Brexit date, is not a de minimis probability. And nor is either parliament voting for a referendum or straightforwardly to revoke Brexit, if MPs see the sole alternative to those desperate acts of evasive action as leaving the EU with no deal. But any of those outcomes would lead to different combinations of acute strife in politics, economy, society. We’ve muddled though to a precipitate cliff edge - and we don’t know which cliff it is and how steep the drop may be. Heaven help us.
Labour would ‘consider very, very strongly’ revoking Article 50 and forcing the UK to remain in EU
Labour would 'consider very very strongly' voting to revoke Article 50 and forcing the UK to remain a member of the EU, if the alternative were the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a shadow cabinet minister said today. Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary and part of Labour's Brexit negotiating team, said the move would be considered if an 'extremely damaging' break from the bloc without an agreement was the other option. Pressed by Andrew Marr this morning, on whether Labour would be prepared to revoke Article 50, cancelling Brexit, if the UK was heading towards a no-deal Brexit on Friday, she said: 'We have promised our party members and our constituents that we will do all we can to avoid a no-deal situation and it's something that we would consider very, very strongly.'
Theresa May rules out fourth meaningful vote and no-deal Brexit as she prepares for customs union climbdown
Theresa May has signalled she will not seek a fourth vote on her Brexit deal as she appeared to rule out the UK leaving the European Union without an agreement. The Prime Minister said MPs had already rejected her divorce deal three times and “as things stand, I can’t see them accepting it”. She warned the choice was now between leaving the EU with a deal “or not leaving at all” as she seemed to finally ditch her long standing mantra of no-deal being better than a bad one. Mrs May said cross-party talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would continue in the hope of finding a compromise Brexit deal capable of winning the support of a majority of MPs.
Jeremy Corbyn is 'unfit to be PM', says Jewish Labour Movement as it passes no confidence motion in him
The Jewish Labour Movement have passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn and concluded he is “unfit to be prime minister” as the party’s anti-Semitism crisis worsened. The JLM accused Mr Corbyn and the Labour leadership of having “fundamentally failed” to address the problem and said a government led by him “would not be in the interest of British Jews”. The motion was passed “almost unanimously” at the group’s annual general meeting despite a plea from a leading ally of the Labour leader not to “personalise” the issue.
Brexit: furious Tories will try to oust May if UK fights Euro elections
Theresa May’s mutinous MPs are warning her that they will move to oust her within weeks if the UK is forced to take part in European elections next month and extend its EU membership beyond the end of June. Tory MPs are increasingly angry at the prospect of voters being asked to go to the polls to elect MEPs three years after the Brexit referendum, in an election they fear will be boycotted by many Conservatives and be a gift to the far right and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party. Senior Tories said one silver lining of a long extension would be that it would allow them to move quickly to force May out, and hold a leadership election starting as soon as this month.
Amber Rudd poised to back Boris Johnson for Conservative leader
Amber Rudd is preparing to back Boris Johnson to be the next Tory leader after MPs approached her allies urging the work and pensions secretary to join a “dream team” alliance that they have dubbed “BAmber”. Rudd thinks Michael Gove is the most “attractive” candidate and Jeremy Hunt is best placed to succeed Theresa May. But she believes that Johnson is the one who can win a general election. Allies say Rudd will not make a public declaration about who she is supporting until the contest is under way, after she moved early to back Johnson in 2016, only to see his campaign implode.
Andrea Leadsom: no-deal Brexit next week would not be so grim
A no-deal Brexit at the end of next week would be “not nearly as grim” as many believe, one of Theresa May’s senior ministers has said, as both the government and Labour indicated that cross-party talks to resolve the situation remained deadlocked. Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, said preparations would mitigate many adverse effects of no deal. She also said the idea of a departure extension long enough to require the UK to hold European elections was “utterly unacceptable”. Her comments came as May used a video statement to talk up the hopes for ongoing cross-party Brexit negotiations with Labour, saying “compromise on both sides” could still deliver a solution.
Corbyn climbs aboard as May tries to save her sinking ship
It was, a minister present remarked, “the saddest moment of cabinet”. Theresa May, her administration and reputation on the line, laid out why she needed to change the government’s Brexit policy, despite making the ultimate sacrifice. “I offered my resignation and still the deal didn’t go through,” she said, reflecting on the three crushing defeats her deal with Brussels had suffered at the hands of MPs.
Asking the impossible: can Theresa May keep her Brexit deal alive?
It is another week where Theresa May must make seemingly impossible demands of her cabinet, her party, Labour MPs and EU negotiators. By Wednesday the prime minister must present the European council with a credible reason for extending the UK’s Brexit negotiating period once more – and every reason she could give is also one that could split her party at home. Labour sources are insistent they have not walked out of the negotiations, but those close to the talks were amazed at how little appeared to actually be on offer from the government. If Yvette Cooper’s bill on extending article 50 passes its final hurdles in the House of Lords on Monday and gains royal assent, parliament will be given time to decide what length of extension May should request.
Sinn Féin will contest North's EU elections - McDonald
The Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said her party will contest European Parliament elections in Northern Ireland, if they are held as a result of a long Brexit extension. Speaking in Dublin she said: "If an election happens, we will fight the election. We are ready." She said irrespective of whatever outcome there is to Brexit, Sinn Féin wanted to ensure that "... promises made to Ireland over our peace process, economy and people will be protected." Deputy McDonald said she was going to meet the British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London tomorrow to discuss Brexit.
Brexit: Germany's CDU leader hopes for second referendum
"I no longer care so much how Brexit ends," you often hear. "As long as it ends." "Brexit has been a strain on all of us. In some ways it has paralysed us," Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told me in Berlin in a UK exclusive interview. She's the leader of Germany's CDU party, very close to Angela Merkel and widely tipped to be the next German chancellor. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer - also known as AKK - is far from detached when it comes to Brexit. She and a number of other German politicians penned a letter to the Times newspaper back in January, appealing to the UK to change its mind. Now, the EU's determined attempt to show unity at all times over Brexit means it has been frustratingly difficult to get EU leaders to agree to in-depth, on-the-record Brexit interviews .
Prime Minister poised to bind Britain into the customs union
Theresa May was last night poised to mount a humiliating climbdown over a customs union as the price of winning Labour support for her Brexit deal. According to senior sources, Tory negotiators have told Labour that the Government would accept UK membership of a customs union – a 'red line' for Brexiteers – but on condition that they 'call it something else' to avoid inflaming anger among Eurosceptic Conservatives. It is understood that Jeremy Corbyn has also been offered a 'lock' mechanism, which would prevent any future pro-Brexit Prime Minister such as Boris Johnson from unravelling the deal by having it written directly into legislation.
Oh do look at the tin-pot Brexiters, having their moment in the spotlight
Sick of Brexit? Yeah, me too. Partly because it becomes clearer with each chaotic day that for some of the second-tier “Brexit ultras” no one much cares about (Mark Francois, Steve Baker, Andrew Bridgen, Bernard Jenkin et al), this is the most attention they’ve ever had and are ever likely to get in their sad, blustering, self-important lives. While it’s Remainers who are supposed to be the soppy drama queens, just look at this bunch – flapping about the media, mouth-breathing through their camera-time, sparkly eyed with their own significance. Brexit as a debilitating national crisis? Hardly. They’ve never felt so
Theresa May bids to save deal with a Boris-proof Brexit
Theresa May is preparing to offer Jeremy Corbyn a legally binding soft Brexit deal with a “Boris lock” that would make it difficult for a future Eurosceptic prime minister to tear up after she leaves No 10. In a last-ditch attempt to leave the EU this year, May’s team is drawing up plans to enshrine in law a guarantee that MPs would have the ultimate say on a final deal with Brussels. Senior figures in Downing Street will tell Tory MPs that they face a “stark choice” — accept a rebranded customs union with Brussels or “lose Brexit”. Cross-party talks stalled on Friday after Labour complained that May was not prepared to rewrite the political declaration with Brussels, which maps out what Britain wants from the second phase of negotiations. But in a sign that May is prepared to soften her approach, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said the government had “no red lines” left.
Attempt to secure delayed departure from EU could leave UK on course for no-deal Brexit, senior lawyer warns
An attempt by Parliament to direct Theresa May's attempts to secure a delayed departure from the EU could in fact leave the UK on course for a no-deal exit, a senior lawyer has suggested. Lord Pannick, a leading QC, said provisions in a bill drawn up by Sir Oliver Letwin and Yvette Cooper could “damage” attempts to reduce the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. The barrister, together with Lord Judge, the former Lord Chief Justice, are planning to table an amendment to the legislation on Monday, which would restore powers for Mrs May to negotiate a new exit date with EU leaders on Wednesday if they reject the June 30 cut-off that she has proposed.
Brexit: Majority of public now back Final Say referendum amid chaos in Westminster, poll shows
Most of the British public now back having a Final Say referendum on Brexit whatever the outcome eventually is, an exclusive poll for The Independent has found. Amid the chaos in parliament, backing for a new public vote, which has simmered just below 50 per cent for months, finally broke through into a majority in April, according to the BMG Research survey. Major players in both main parties have signalled that a referendum could be the way forward, including chancellor Philip Hammond and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry.
May says choice between leaving EU with deal or no Brexit - The Observer
Prime Minister Theresa May said there was now a clear choice between Britain exiting the European Union with a deal or not leaving at all as she tries to find a compromise with the opposition Labour Party, The Observer newspaper reported. “Because parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, we now have a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all,” May was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all.”
Corbyn - I'm waiting for May to move Brexit 'red lines'
Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to move the “red lines” that have blocked a deal for Britain to leave the EU, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday, after May launched talks with him in a last-ditch bid to save Brexit. “I’m waiting to see the red lines move,” he told the BBC. “I hope we can reach a decision in parliament this week which will prevent a crashing out.” No talks have been arranged yet between the two sides for this weekend, a Labour source told Reuters. May’s decision to seek an agreement with Corbyn was an astounding reversal after months of saying her plan for Brexit was the only possible course. It reflects weeks of high drama in parliament that saw May’s deal rejected by a historic majority but no agreement emerge on an alternative plan.
UK PM May has plan to offer Labour Brexit customs arrangement
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has a plan to enshrine in law a customs arrangement with the European Union in a bid to win over the opposition Labour Party to back a Brexit deal, The Sunday Times newspaper reported. “Under the new plan, the prime minister would offer to rewrite the government’s withdrawal bill to enshrine a customs arrangement in law,” the newspaper said. May is trying to win over the main opposition party after her negotiated Brexit deal was voted down by parliament on three occasions.
Pro-Europeans must unite around the opportunity of the EU elections
One is that Brexit has fomented in Britain the biggest pro-European movement on the entire continent of Europe: 6m people signed a petition to revoke Article 50; hundreds of thousands, perhaps more, marched. A second is that no matter what form of Brexit is chosen — if one is ever agreed — the UK is likely to continue following EU law. The two-year transition period which Mrs May has negotiated in the withdrawal agreement requires it. For both reasons, elections to choose British MEPs seem like a good idea: we must ensure democratic accountability over an organisation we are still tied to, at least for the time being.
Theresa May rules out no-deal Brexit in last-ditch push for Tory votes
Theresa May has explicitly ruled out a no-deal Brexit for the first time, in what Conservative MPs are interpreting as a last-ditch attempt to win support ahead of a fourth vote on her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister warns this evening: “Because Parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, we now have a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all. “My answer to that is clear: we must deliver Brexit and to do so we must agree a deal.”
Brexit extension veto by EU unlikely, says Leo Varadkar
It is unlikely an EU 27 country will veto a UK request for a delay to Brexit, the Irish prime minister has said. Leo Varadkar said a country "wouldn't be forgiven" if it vetoed an extension as that decision would cause hardship to Ireland and other EU countries. The UK is set to leave the EU on 12 April but a deal has not been approved by Westminster.
Brexit: I had no choice but to approach Labour - May
Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she had to reach out to Labour in a bid to deliver Brexit or risk letting it "slip through our fingers". The PM said there was a "stark choice" of either leaving the European Union with a deal or not leaving at all. And shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey says if no-deal became an option Labour would consider "very, very strongly" voting to cancel Brexit. Some Tories have criticised the PM for seeking Labour's help on her deal. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said the Tories were working with Labour "through gritted teeth", adding that no deal would be better than cancelling Brexit.
Merkel throws May a lifeline over UK’s Brexit departure date
Angela Merkel is open to backing Theresa May’s request for a short Brexit extension as the German chancellor seeks to maintain the pressure on British MPs to support the withdrawal agreement, according to senior EU sources. In the face of moves from elsewhere in the EU to insist on a longer delay to Britain’s departure, Merkel is keeping all options on the table ahead of this week’s EU summit and is said to be willing to back 30 June as an exit date. She is thought to be concerned that Donald Tusk’s proposal of a year-long extension, with an option to exit earlier on ratification of the withdrawal agreement, could be self-defeating.
Now the British public is fully aware of the consequences of Brexit, it’s clear they want a Final Say
But even if there was some grand Lab-Con coalition on Brexit, it would still need the approval and consent of the British people. There are forces pushing to give the UK little if any room for manoeuvre, led by President Emmanuel Macron who has apparently picked up support in Belgium and Spain. This threatens a rapid no-deal Brexit even if the British government and parliament have outlawed it. That French tactic will probably not be enough to stop Chancellor Merkel exercising good sense and backing Mr Tusk, but it is a risk. Therefore the choice may very soon – next week – be between the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal and no transition period, or revoking Article 50 unilaterally and staying in the EU.
Second Brexit vote would be 'ultimate betrayal': leader of lower UK parliament
A second public vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union would be the “ultimate betrayal”, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons or lower house of parliament, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
Brexit blamed for 'poisonous' atmosphere in the Senedd
Brexit has been blamed for creating a "poisonous" atmosphere in the Senedd by a number of AMs. Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood said there has been a noticeable deterioration in the Welsh Assembly, with exchanges there less civilised. Labour's Llanelli AM Mr Waters believes this a reflection of the division in broader society caused by Brexit. It follows almost three years of heated debate in the House of Commons around the UK's exit from the EU.
UK's May says greater risk of no Brexit the longer it takes to find compromise
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Saturday that the longer it takes to find a compromise with the opposition Labour Party to secure a parliamentary majority for a Brexit deal, the less likely it is that Britain will leave the European Union.
Welsh Lib Dem leader presses case for new Brexit poll
There must be a new referendum on any Brexit deal, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has insisted. Jane Dodds told party supporters: "We demand a People's Vote and we will not waver in our stand." Ms Dodds, who took on the role in 2017, also said Wales has the expertise to be a world leader in green energy technology. She was speaking at the party's spring conference that took place in Cardiff on Saturday. In her speech, Ms Dodds said the Liberal Democrats were "at the heart of a movement of millions to give the people the final say on the deal".
Opinion: Amid the chaos of Brexit, Scotland is a beacon of sense in a sea of madness
As the parliament in Westminster continues its descent into anarchy you could be forgiven for thinking that British politics has reached a state of such utter dysfunction that it may never recover. Thank God then for Scotland which - in an increasingly lunatic world - looks like it will emerge from the morass of Brexit with its dignity intact. There is no denying that those most aggressively seeking Scottish independence have seized on Brexit as a powerful propaganda weapon to advance their cause. While that is certainly true, it does a disservice to Nicola Sturgeon and her administration to suggest that advancing Scottish independence is the only reason that they have so vigorously fought to stop Brexit.
UK Labour leader waiting for government Brexit red lines to move
Britain’s Labour Party is waiting for the government’s Brexit “red lines” to move after talks with the governing Conservatives aimed at ending the deadlock, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday, according to the BBC. Corbyn said he is “waiting to see the red lines move” in talks with the government and “next week something will have to happen in parliament”, according to a BBC reporter on Twitter. Earlier finance minister Philip Hammond said the government had no red lines in the talks.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s plot to thwart Boris Johnson from delivering clean Brexit by setting their unity deal in stone
Theresa May is plotting to thwart Boris Johnson from delivering a clean Brexit if he becomes the next PM. She has bowed to Jeremy Corbyn’s demands to make any “unity” deal they strike legally binding. And in a message to voters last night she insisted that doing business with her Marxist foe was the only way to stop Brexit “slipping through our fingers”. But writing the compromise into law would tie the hands of her successor – and make it impossible for them to rip up the agreement and start again. The move has infuriated Tory MPs who want her to quit No10 as soon as she has led Britain out of the EU. They fear she will crumble to Labour demands to keep Britain in a customs union – a move which is fiercely opposed by leadership hopeful Mr Johnson.
UK minister sees Brexit deal with Labour, opposition wants flexibility
The British government is optimistic about reaching some form of deal with the opposition Labour Party to end a deadlock on Brexit as work on a compromise continues, Britain’s finance minister Philip Hammond said on Saturday. But Labour said the governing Conservatives needed to be more flexible and had not shown any movement on a political declaration of intent on the future relationship between London and Brussels once Britain has left the European Union.
Brexit crisis: Labour 'disappointed' by talks as EU offers 'flextension'
Labour has accused the government of failing to offer real change or compromise during talks to end the Brexit stalemate - as new exit dates are considered. In a statement following more talks between the opposition and a team appointed by Theresa May to agree a way forward, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "So far, the government isn't proposing any changes to the deal. In particular, it's not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the political declaration.
European governments dismiss Theresa May's 30 June Brexit delay request
European governments have criticised Theresa May’s request for a Brexit extension until 30 June, warning that the UK could end up leaving the EU without a deal. Amelie de Montchalin, the French Europe minister, said that the UK could not continue to ask for extensions without “clear and credible political backing”. “In the absence of such a plan, we would have to acknowledge that the UK chose to leave the EU in a disorderly manner,” she continued. Spain and Belgium are also thought to back France's hardline stance, paving the way for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April. However, at a meeting of diplomats from the other 27 member states, the German insisted: “There are positive elements to the letter”.
France, Spain and Belgium 'ready for no-deal Brexit next week'
Chance of May getting 30 June extension appear slim after notes of EU meeting emerge. France has won the support of Spain and Belgium after signalling its readiness for a no-deal Brexit on 12 April if there are no significant new British proposals, according to a note of an EU27 meeting seen by the Guardian. The diplomatic cable reveals that the French ambassador secured the support of Spanish and Belgian colleagues in arguing that there should only be, at most, a short article 50 extension to avoid an instant financial crisis, saying: “We could probably extend for a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves in the markets.”
The People’s Vote campaign is about Brexit, not patching up broken parties
People’s Vote sprang from Open Britain – an amalgam of people passionate about the benefits of being in the EU, horrified at the referendum result, and determined to mitigate the various harms Brexit will cause our country. This diverse coalition brought Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Dominic Grieve of the Conservatives to the same table, it united grass roots campaigns such as More United and Scientists for EU, and campaigners of every political hue. In time we agreed the only way out of the growing Brexit crisis was a People’s Vote.
Dominic Grieve hosts French minister for Brexit discussions on Article 50 and second referendum
Remain Tory MPs will meet on Thursday with senior members of Emmanuel Macron's government to discuss extending Article 50 as a path to a second referendum, The Telegraph can reveal. Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, will hold a meeting with Nathalie Loiseau, the French Europe minister, and other senior French politicians in his office. It came as Nick Boles and Oliver Letwin, two Tory MPs pushing for a softer Brexit, held a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss their plans.
France maintains hardline stance on no-deal Brexit
France has reiterated its opposition to Britain being granted any further Brexit extension if it does not have a concrete plan with clear support in the House of Commons, saying that without that Britain must be deemed to have chosen to leave the EU without a deal.
The EU should offer a long Brexit extension so the UK can rethink
The EU should say “no” to Theresa May’s request to delay Brexit until the end of June. It is too short an extension to be useful. Instead, the 27 other countries should say she can have a delay of a year — with the option to end it earlier if she gets a deal through parliament. The UK prime minister probably knows that such a year-long “flextension” is in the national interest. She just couldn’t bring herself to ask for it because she is worried about causing yet more uproar in her Conservative party. Every delay to Brexit drives the hardline MPs mad. But that is no reason for the leaders of the EU27 to go along with a proposal that is bad for them, too. They should make a counter-offer, just as they did last month when Mrs May asked for her first extension to the Article 50 process. Then they gave her less time than she wanted. Now they should give her more.
May asks for Brexit extension to June 30; EU could offer a year
Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Friday that talks with the government on a last-ditch Brexit deal had made no progress, as EU leaders said Prime Minister Theresa May had not convinced them that they should let Britain delay its departure next week. May wrote to Brussels asking European Union leaders to postpone Britain’s exit from next Friday until June 30. But they have insisted that she must first show a viable plan to secure agreement on her divorce deal in the deadlocked parliament. Labour, which she turned to reluctantly after failing three times to get her deal passed, said the government “has not offered real change or compromise” in three days of talks. “We urge the prime minister to come forward with genuine changes to her deal,” a statement said.
Brexit: Theresa May asks for June 30 extension but EU wants year long 'flextension'
Mr Tusk is preparing to put the option to EU leaders at a crunch summit next Wednesday in a bid to prevent the UK crashing out of the bloc on April 12, according to the BBC. Mrs May's request was sent this morning to spell out the UK's plans in a letter to Mr Tusk in sufficient time for the other 27 leaders to consider them before they gather in Brussels on Wednesday evening. A source close to the French President has already slammed talks of granting a further delay as premature. The French diplomatic source slammed as "clumsy" comments by an EU official mentioning a "flexible extension" of the date of the country's exit from the European Union of up to one year. Under the EU's plan the UK’s nominal last day would likely be 10 April 2020 - but would be expected to leave well before then when a deal is agreed.
Donald Tusk will tell EU to back Brexit 'flextension' for UK
Theresa May has written to Donald Tusk to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 30 June while she battles to win cross-party agreement on a way forward. Rather than the year-long flexible extension to article 50 recommended by the European council president, the prime minister suggested 30 June as the new departure date, but with an option to leave earlier if the necessary legislation has been passed. That is the same date requested by the government last month but rejected by EU leaders in Brussels. Unless a new date is signed off at an emergency EU summit on Wednesday, Britain is due to leave without a deal on 12 April.
The Best Brexit Is Still No Brexit
With or without May’s withdrawal agreement, Brexit will be a prolonged process, involving years of further negotiation, debate, lawyering, rule-writing, bean-counting, politicking, infighting and generalized tedium. It will be costly, complicated and socially corrosive. Avoiding Brexit altogether is still the best way forward, even if it means further delay and the costs that go with it. The right result is possible even now, if Britain’s politicians finally start putting the country’s interests first.
Donald Tusk floats 1-year Brexit ‘flextension’
Britain can have another year to think on Brexit — provided it joins the European Parliament election next month, a senior EU official said. European Council President Donald Tusk raised the idea after hours of meetings and consultations Thursday to plan for next week's summit of EU leaders. “The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension," the senior official quoted Tusk as saying. "I would call it a 'flextension.' How would it work in practice? We could give the U.K. a yearlong extension, automatically terminated once the Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons.
Theresa May begs Brussels to delay Brexit to June 30 – but EU want it to be a year
Theresa May today wrote to Brussels begging for another delay to Brexit, keeping us in the EU for three more months. The PM asked EU leaders to sign off on a new agreement which would see Britain leave on June 30 - but they're likely to push for a year-long extension instead. The delay is likely to include a "break clause" meaning it would end early if Parliament approves a Brexit deal. But furious Brexiteers warned that if the EU forces us to stay another year, Britain should sabotage it from the inside by blocking plans for expansion.
Brexit: UK asks EU for further extension until 30 June
Theresa May has written to the European Union to request a further delay to Brexit until 30 June. The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 12 April and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs. The government has been in talks with the Labour Party to try and find a compromise to put to the Commons. But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Tory negotiating team had offered no changes to Mrs May's original deal.
Why Labour's Brexit talks with Government are on verge of collapse
I am not sure whether it’s me or ministers who are the more naive. Because last night I was persuaded by Cabinet sources a breakthrough was nigh in talks to resolve the Brexit deadlock between the Government and Labour. But the talks are already on the verge of collapse - with each side making charges it is the other side which is negotiating in poor faith. Labour sources say the memorandum sent by the PM to Jeremy Corbyn this afternoon shows Theresa May has not shown the flexibility her colleagues expected.
Travel after Brexit: EU parliament votes to give UK citizens visa-free access after no-deal – if it’s reciprocated
The European Parliament voted in support of plans that will allow UK nationals to carry on enjoying visa-free travel across the European Union after Brexit, as long as the same is reciprocated by London to all member states. MEPs backed the proposals by 502 to 81 with 29 abstentions in a vote in Brussels on Thursday. The legislation means UK nationals will not require visas to stay in the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The legislation should be incorporated into EU law by 12 April, the extended final date for the end of the Article 50 process, when the UK finally leaves the EU. It will continue to apply even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
May's deal has sacrificed services as price of ending free movement
It would be far better for the government to use any extension to rethink its strategy in favour of an approach based on honesty and evidence rather than subterfuge. After all, the Irish backstop may have exposed one giant hole in Mrs May’s plan relating to treatment of goods. But there are other important holes in the government’s Brexit plans that continue to go almost entirely unexamined. Perhaps the biggest relates to the treatment of services.
Scottish Conservatives urged to split from UK party
A call is being made to the Scottish Conservative conference next month urging it to split from the UK party and set up as a separate organisation. It follows tensions between the UK and Scottish party over Brexit and the prospect a hardline Eurosceptic such as Boris Johnson could succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Brexit: Leo Varadkar and Angela Merkel to hear views of people from Northern Ireland
Irish premier Leo Varadkar will hold Brexit talks with German leader Angela Merkel in Dublin today. The Taoiseach will host Ms Merkel at Farmleigh House where their discussions are set to focus on the latest developments ahead of the special European Council meeting next week.
Political Setbacks
Second Brexit vote would be 'ultimate betrayal'
A second public vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union would be the “ultimate betrayal”, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons or lower house of parliament, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. “The ultimate betrayal would be a second referendum,” wrote Leadsom, a Brexiteer. “It would require lengthy delay, it would reignite the divisive debate, and since Parliament has so far failed to follow the first result, there is no reason to believe it would honour a second referendum either.”
The Guardian view on no deal: Theresa May must expose it as a fantasy
There are too many Tories calling for no deal on the basis that the EU will not let us be stupid enough to do it. This is irresponsible gambling. The danger of no deal might have receded, but the threat of “no-dealism” as an ideological frame for looking at the UK’s relations with Europe is alive and well. It needs rebutting, and it needs rebutting by the prime minister. The few remaining grownups in the Tory party need to take on the ambitious colleagues who will say anything to appeal to the fanatical leaver grassroots, who, in the absence of a general election, will choose the next prime minister. Even if her very worst decision was to deploy the language she used about no deal, her second worst may have been to trigger a leadership contest where the winner will be chosen by those who believed her rhetoric.
MP Owen Paterson lobbied government for firm he worked for
A former cabinet minister helped to lobby the government to seek contracts for a multinational firm he is paid to advise. Owen Paterson, a former environment secretary and leading pro-Brexit campaigner, is paid nearly £100,000 a year by Randox, a private forensic testing firm, to act as a consultant. Whitehall documents obtained by the Guardian show that Paterson and Randox lobbied the Department for International Development to secure contracts from the department.
MPs ordered to cut out on hurling ‘clickbait’ insults at each other in bid to return Brexit debate to normal
Hysterical MPs have been ordered to cut out the insults and show more respect to their colleagues. Senior figures are alarmed by the angry and offensive language used by politicians on social media, TV, radio and in the Commons. They fear fury and fatigue stoked up by Brexit has spawned a new era of “clickbait conduct” and made-for-Twitter soundbites. Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has called for them to adopt a calmer tone. She has drawn up a new code of conduct for the 50-strong One Nation Caucus of MPs in a bid to “return normal debate to the airwaves”. Some MPs are stressed and on the brink of collapse as tempers fray over the long-running and divisive Brexit process. Last week Tory ex-minister Mark Francois launched a blistering attack on Chancellor Philip Hammond telling him: “Up yours.”
Oh do look at the tin-pot Brexiters, having their moment in the spotlight
Sick of Brexit? Yeah, me too. Partly because it becomes clearer with each chaotic day that for some of the second-tier “Brexit ultras” no one much cares about (Mark Francois, Steve Baker, Andrew Bridgen, Bernard Jenkin et al), this is the most attention they’ve ever had and are ever likely to get in their sad, blustering, self-important lives. While it’s Remainers who are supposed to be the soppy drama queens, just look at this bunch – flapping about the media, mouth-breathing through their camera-time, sparkly eyed with their own significance. Brexit as a debilitating national crisis? Hardly. They’ve never felt so
Brexit is ‘slipping away’ May in urgent warning UK heading for second referendum
It comes as Theresa May today warns that unless Parliament can get a deal over the line in the next week then there is a strong possibility of Brexit not happening at all. With talks between Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn’s teams ongoing it is understood that yesterday SAT saw progress towards an agreement. But the Sunday Express has learnt that former Vote Leave ground teams have been asked to start getting their operations together again in preparation of a second vote by former Vote Leave officials.
British manufacturers want Theresa May to revoke Article 50 if no Brexit deal is agreed
Two thirds of the UK's leading manufacturing lobby group members back a straight revocation of Article 50
I was a strong Brexiteer. Now we must swallow our pride and think again
It’s nearly three years since I, along with 17. 4 million other Britons, voted for Brexit. Today I have to admit that the Brexit project has gone sour. Brexit has paralysed the system. It has turned Britain into a laughing stock. And it is certain to make us poorer and to lead to lower incomes and lost jobs. We Brexiteers would be wise to acknowledge all this. It’s past time we did. We need to acknowledge, too, that that we will never be forgiven if and when Brexit goes wrong. Future generations will look back at what we did and damn us. So I argue, as a Brexiteer, that we need to take a long deep breath. We need to swallow our pride, and think again. Maybe it means rethinking the Brexit decision altogether.
Liam Fox 'joked that Emmanuel Macron was sleeping with his grandmother' after Brexit extension block
Liam Fox was at the centre of a ‘dirty tricks’ row last night over claims he joked about French President Emmanuel Macron ‘sleeping with his grandmother’. Onlookers say the International Trade Secretary made the remark as he emerged from last Tuesday’s marathon Cabinet meeting which backed Mrs May’s decision to try to seal a Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn.
Conservative candidate compares Remainers to people who voted for Nazis
A Conservative candidate standing in city council elections in Nottingham has reportedly compared the millions of Remainers who have signed the petition to revoke Article 50 to those who voted for the Nazi party. Carl Husted has deleted the Facebook post made about anti-Brexit campaigners, along with a series of other recent comments on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Yet the remarks, which Mr Husted called “jokes”, were screengrabbed and published by The Nottingham Post. “The petition to revoke Article 50 now has the same number of signatures as the number of people who voted for Hitler’s Nazi party in 1930 Germany,” he wrote on 3 April. “Although Hitler didn’t have the benefit of petition signing bots and signatures from North Korea, Syria, Russia etc. So not quite as popular as 1930s nazism but edging closer. #godwinslaw.”
Sky Views: Britain too busy for global role because of Brexit crisis
.It is instead an example of how the protracted Brexit crisis is impacting on the UK's ability to do anything else, particularly on the foreign policy front. A chunk of Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff are engaged in a range of Brexit-related preparations and contingency planning in case of a no-deal, instead of their normal diplomatic day jobs. A summit of NATO prime ministers and presidents will still take place this anniversary year - in December - but this time the venue will be the UK not the US, a mark of the Britain's status as a global power, provided the country is not still consumed by Brexit.
Greens warn Labour will 'never be forgiven' if they usher in Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn has been told his party may never be forgiven if it works with the Conservatives to bring in a “hard-right Brexit”. That was the warning from Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie, as he told party activists to “get into campaign mode” in case the UK takes part in European Parliament elections next month.
Germany once pleaded with Britain to stay in the EU. Now the love has cooled
''Brexit is one big s***show!" German MP Michael Roth, Germany's Minister for European Affairs said on Saturday. "I say that now very undiplomatically. I don't know if even William Shakespeare could have come up with such up a tragedy like this one. Who will foot the bill in the end?'' Roth continued to say that ''90% of the MPs in the British government don't even know how workers think, how they live, work and behave. But they have managed to up-end everything. And now someone else is going to have to take responsibility for their actions.''
Labour chairman attacks Corbyn over ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn was warned by Labour party chairman Ian Lavery that he risked going down in history as the leader who split his party if he backed another referendum on Brexit, in an extraordinary outburst during a meeting of the shadow cabinet last week, according to senior party sources. The outburst stunned shadow cabinet members who said it would have sparked a full-scale shouting match if MPs had not been called to vote at the very moment he made his intervention. At the same meeting several senior figures, including shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and deputy leader Tom Watson, spoke out in favour of Labour backing a “confirmatory referendum” on any deal agreed by MPs, with remaining in the EU as the alternative on the ballot paper.
Britain’s Brexit struggles become campaign rhetoric in Poland
Poland’s opposition coalition launched its campaign for next month’s European Parliament elections with a threat: Poland’s ruling party could lead the nation toward its own Brexit. Polish citizens have an overwhelmingly favorable view of the European Union. According to a Pew Research Center study from last month, 72 percent have a favorable view of the E.U., and 54 percent have a favorable view of the European Parliament — the highest of any country surveyed. Poland’s Law and Justice party, which came to power in 2015, has never actually floated the idea of leaving the E.U. Nevertheless, Law and Justice is sometimes referred to as a Euroskeptic party.
Philip Hammond deepens Tory civil war after claiming there are 'no red lines' in Brexit negotiations with Labour
Philip Hammond has risked deepening the civil war in his party after suggesting the Government has “no red lines” in its Brexit negotiations with Jeremy Corbyn. In a bid to save the talks from collapsing, the Chancellor said he was “optimistic” ministers would be able to reach an agreement with Labour and “should be open to listen to suggestions”. However, his intervention has provoked a furious backlash among Brexiteers, who accused him of “deliberately touting his own view” and attempting to push Theresa May into signing up to a customs union.
EU slaps down Jacob Rees-Mogg for suggesting UK should deliberately cause chaos if Brexit is delayed
Brussels has slapped down Jacob Rees-Mogg after the leading Brexiteer suggested the UK should wilfully cause chaos at the EU institutions if Brexit was delayed. A spokesperson for the European Commission suggested that the Tory MP was essentially irrelevant and not involved in negotiations. “This gentleman is not our interlocutor and I would say then that the principle of sincere cooperation does apply, as prime minister May herself makes clear in her letter,” the spokesperson told reporters in Brussels. “I would also say that this is a hypothetical question because it supposes, or presupposed an extension, which is yet to be seen by our leaders.” Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, also piled in. Seizing on Mr Mogg’s comments, he said: “For those in the EU who may be tempted to further extend the Brexit saga, I can only say, be careful what you wish for.”
Tory MP says joining in EU elections would be ‘existential threat’ to party
The education minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s important that parliament acts quickly now to decide what it is in favour of. We need to do that quickly because I think going into the EU elections for the Conservative party, or indeed for the Labour party, and telling our constituents why we haven’t been able to deliver Brexit I think would be an existential threat. “I would go further and say it would be the suicide note of the Conservative party.”
European Parliament elections: A quarter of public would boycott poll
A quarter of the public say they would boycott European Parliament elections if they happen in the UK in May, a Sky Data poll reveals. Some 26% of Britons say they would sit out elections in protest, while 47% say they would vote in them, and 17% admit they would not vote in them anyway. A higher proportion say they would vote than turned out in the 2014 EU elections in the UK - 36% of potential voters turned out five years ago, though usually more claim they will get to the ballot box than actually do so.
A shambles on which the sun never sets: how the world sees Brexit
Rapt observers around the globe are confused, amused and saddened by a crisis that has torn Britain’s reputation for stability to shreds
Brexit: Majority of public now back Final Say referendum amid chaos in Westminster, poll shows
The survey of a weighted sample of more than 1,500 people in early April asked: “Would you support the British public having the final vote on Brexit, whatever the outcome of negotiations – whether a deal is reached or not?” Some 52 per cent of people supported a new vote, 29 per cent “strongly” and 23 per cent “somewhat”, while just 24 per cent opposed, to some degree, having another referendum. The remaining 24 per cent replied: “Don’t know.”
Nigel Farage: 'I'll stand in European elections - but I'm not happy about it'
Nigel Farage has confirmed he will stand in the EU elections if the UK hasn't left the bloc but says he is "not happy" about it. The Brexit Party leader told Sky News he would lead his new party into the elections next month, after Theresa May said she would begin contingency plans for holding the votes as she requested another extension to Article 50.
EU issues 'no deal, no meal' Brexit threat to British fish and chips
Britain could face a crippling shortage of fish and chips, the national dish, if there is a no deal Brexit, EU officials warned yesterday. As things stand, EU boats will lose access to British waters and vice versa, if there is a no deal Brexit on April 12. Brussels wants Britain to agree a short-term emergency fix giving the EU fleet guaranteed access to British waters until 2019. But that could prove politically toxic for the prime minister, who has promised to make Britain as an independent coastal state, and Britain has given no formal signal to the EU over its intentions. An EU official said that Britain could soon run out of white fish such as haddock and cod, which are the most popular...
May is seeking a short extension to Brexit. How utterly contemptuous
The truth is that the last five months have been – by far – the worst in modern British politics. Because of May. From the moment that she pulled the vote on her withdrawal agreement (because she knew that our democratic institutions would not consent to it) she has consistently placed her own, narrow interests above those of this country. She has ignored and misled parliament. She has acted as a demagogue, giving licence to those who threaten and harass MPs. She has burned bridges with our European partners and has treated the British people with contempt.
UK in Disarray : Amid Brexit Chaos, Theresa May's Conservative Party Implodes
The Conservative Party was once seen as Europe's best-oiled political machine. But Brexit and Theresa May have turned it into a smoldering wreck. Now, the party faces the dire prospect of EU elections. It was a small group of Conservatives, blinded by nationalism, that brought on the referendum in the first place. It is that same group that has also ensured that every attempt to bring Brexit to a conclusion -- any conclusion, really -- has failed miserably. Yet it was only on Tuesday evening, almost three years after the referendum, that Theresa May made her first desperate attempt to free herself from the hardliners by offering to meet with Labour to find a joint way out of the chaos. It could very well be that May will be able to pull her country back from the brink at the very last second. But for her party, it may already be too late.
Week in Review: Theresa May's only consistency is failure
What a full-time, 24/7, every-day-including-Christmas moral abyss she is. The prime minister has spent the last three years insisting that holding a second referendum would destroy people's trust in the democratic process. And this is how she behaves. This is how she treats elections. As something to be dismissively engaged in and then cast aside, like a bogey you can't flick off your fingers. She really is absolutely shameless. There is no competition anymore, there is no question: She is, quite simply, the worst British prime minister of our lifetime, and quite possibly of anyone else's.
Brexit is finished. A Leave constituency just voted in a Remain MP
Only a handful of lunatics still want Brexit - it's game over, gammons. The more extreme Brexit becomes - the more a screaming Stephen Yaxley-Lennon puts himself at the head of the marches, the more Mark Francois behaves like an angry Sunday roast on the evening news - the less appealing it is to the vast majority of Britons. Combine that with the unappealing facts that the IRA has been reactivated, the NHS is stockpiling toilet rolls like the rest of us, and Parliament is officially answering "don't know" to all questions asked of it, then we ought to have a country that's falling to pieces. Instead, if Newport West is a barometer of these things, we've got a country that just can't be arsed with this any more.
UKIP councillor's post on remainers 'repugnant' says council leader
A UKIP councillor has sparked a row over a Facebook post describing EU remain voters as "traitors" who should "face the death penalty". Swale Borough councillor Padmini Nissanga's online post has been described as "appalling and repugnant". At a council meeting on Wednesday it was revealed all opposition members had received printed copies of the post. Council leader Roger Truelove is calling for her name to be removed from ballot papers for the local elections. Ms Nissanga posted the comments on Facebook in August, and opposition councillors recently received screenshots in their pigeonholes, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. Mr Truelove, of Labour, is calling for Ms Nissanga, a UKIP councillor for the Sheppey East ward, to be taken off the ballot paper for the local elections in May if the post is verified by council officers.