This comes as a cutoms expert who has been advising Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group has said the EU “wants to teach the British a lesson” – and warned Prime Minister Theresa May has “no knowledge” about Brexit policies.
After a recent invitation invited to Downing Street for tea, Dutchman Hans Maessen, 61, said: “Theresa May has no knowledge, her ministers don’t, and her advisers don’t. It is very serious. “I explained how a non-physical border could be possible. “In the end, May said ‘we do not want any customs formalities’, but I told her that they had to be there if the United Kingdom leaves the EU.”
Read More: Brexit deal MUST change or I’ll BLOCK third vote, John Bercow says in urgent statement
Meanwhile, Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC’s Nick Ferrari hinted he may be willingly to BACK Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement, offering the Prime Minister fresh hope of getting her deal through Parliament this week.
Mrs May and her colleagues are making strenuous efforts to persuade the DUP to support her, with a Government official confirming “all eyes” are now on the Northern Irish party.
She is widely expected to table a third vote in a desperate bid to get the blessing of Parliament, and has warned if MPs fail to give her proposals the thumbs up, a long delay to Brexit is likely, with the possibility of it not even happening at all.
The Prime Minister is likely to need to support of the DUP’s 10 MPs to get her deal over the line, and believes if she can secure their backing, it is likely to persuade rebel Tories to fall in line as well, with a Government official saying “all eyes are on the DUP talks”.
It comes as Mrs May is rumoured to be on the verge of sacking chief negotiator Olly Robbins in a bid to get backing from Tory MPs for her deal.
SEE BELOW FOR UPDATES:
Theresa May was not warned about Bercow’s announcement
10:44pm Anonymous ciivl servant claims Civil Service is ‘trying to sink Brexit’
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the civil servant wrote: “As a civil servant I can tell you large parts of the Whitehall machine are systematically working against leaving the EU.
“I have met thousands of civil servants in the past few years: I can only recall five who voted for Brexit.”
10:27pm update: Speaker’s motive was to ‘rule out a meaningful vote this week’
A Government source said: “Leads you to believe what he really wants is a longer extension, where Parliament will take over the process and force a softer form of Brexit.
“But anyone who thinks that this makes no-deal more likely is mistaken – the Speaker wouldn’t have done it if it did.”
10:13pm update: Gordon Brown has called for a year-long Brexit delay to ‘consult’ voters
The former Labour leader has said parliament has “proved itself totally incapable of resolving the Brexit issue”.
Mr Brown has said an extension to the Article 50 negotiation period wad needed to “allow the country to be consulted”.
He said to Sky News: “And we’re now faced with the situation where we’re going to have economic chaos if we go ahead with Brexit, we’re going to have a constitutional impasse because they’ll never pass the legislation in time.
“The country is ever more divided and yet we don’t have any idea what the final resolution to this is.
“The only way to deal with this impasse is to have an extension of the negotiating period.
“But an extension for three months would be inadequate because it would just be the same old squabbling.”
9:36pm update: Tory MP Anna Soubry has called for a People’s Vote to solve the Brexit crisis
Ms Soubry tweeted: “Here’s the solution – bring back the PMs deal and put it to a ‘people’s vote’ with Remain on the ballot paper.”
The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee said in an article for the newspaper: “There is more hope, now that Bercow has asserted the supremacy of parliament. Who knows if anything like her bad deal is to be put again? But the spirit of the Kyle-Wilson motion will live on, so that any plan she has can’t pass without a confirmatory vote of the people.”
9:17pm update: Taxpayers to face £28 million bill from ferry companies if Brexit is delayed
The contracts due to provide extra Channel crossings in the event of a no deal Brexit involve a huge cancellation cost.
The Financial Times has put the cost of a delay to Brexit at £28 million.
8:49pm update: Tory MP says Theresa May should call a snap general election to break the Brexit deadlock
Crispin Blunt said: “I would suggest she goes to the country”.
In December the former minister submitted a letter of no confidence in Mrs May’s leadership.
8:46pm update: Ministers believe there is a ‘slim chance’ Brexit deal will pass at the third attempt
Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng said to the Commons: “In a spirit of optimism I still believe there is a chance, it maybe a slim chance, that the meaningful vote will go through.
“People can scoff and laugh but I still believe that.
“In the event it doesn’t go through we’ll have to ask for an extension and then the SI (statutory instrument) will be laid and there’ll be an ample debate next week as to what the House might wish to do in the longer extension period.”
8:24pm update: UK government says it is considering the statement by John Bercow made today
A spokesman for Mrs May said: “We note the speaker’s statement. This is something that requires proper consideration”.
Tusk and Merkel are meeting ahead of the March 21-22 summit of EU leaders in Brussels
7:23pm update: UK negotiators have made a trade agreement with Iceland and Norway for the European Economic Area
Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, tweeted: “This is the second biggest agreement we’re rolling over and trade with the European Economic Area is worth nearly £30 billion.
“This is on top of the agreement we’ve signed with Liechtenstein.”
The Uk is trying to replicate around 40 bilateral trade deals ahead of its exit from the bloc.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, existing bilateral trade agreements will stop applying.
6:48pm update: British junior Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng believes parliament will still approve May’s EU deal
Despite Bercow’s announcement, Mr Kwarteng said: “I still think there is a chance that the deal can come back and go through the house”.
Mrs May has said if parliament approve her Brexit deal before March 20, she will request a 3-month delay to Britain’s March 29 exit date.
6:26pm update: France’s Europe Minister has named her cat Brexit as he is “reluctant to leave”
Minister for European Affairs, Natalie Loiseau, has declared she has named her pet Brexit.
She said to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper: “He wakes me up every morning miaowing to death because he wants to go out, and then when I open the door he stays in the middle, undecided, and then gives me evil looks when I put him out”.
6:17pm update: MPs are speculating that Bercow’s announcement could mean a General Election is around the corner
Tory MP Zac Goldsmith tweeted: “We are likely heading towards a GE.
“A majority of today’s MPs will be standing again. They will have a very hard time persuading anyone to take the slightest notice of their manifestos.”
Bercow’s announcement means that Theresa May’s Brexit deal has been ruled as ineligible to be voted on for a third time.
The EU have stated that there is no chance of reopening negotiations on Mrs May’s deal, meaning that any “substantial changes” remain extremely unlikely – especially not before the March 29th Brexit deadline.
5:37pm update: Universities warn research funding is at risk with a no-deal Brexit
Universities UK has waned the UK could miss out on millions of pounds in research grants in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Academics who have applied for grants from the European Research Council (ERC) are due to find out if they are successful on April 8, but the Government has not said what happens in the event of a no deal.
5:22pm update: Peers have been warned they could have to work on Saturdays to deal with Brexit
The Government’s chief whip in the Lords, Lord Taylor of Holbeach said it was possible the House could sit on Saturdays to get through the necessary legislation.
The Lords, like the Commons, has already given up its usual recess in February to deal with regulations and legislation linked to leaving the EU.
5pm update: Solicitor General Robert Buckland has said the poltiical situation is a “constitutional crisis” following Mr Bercow’s announcement
The Solicitor General Robert Buckland said the ruling by Speaker John Bercow would have “huge reverberations” for the Brexit process.
He said to BBC News: ”We are in a major constitutional crisis here.
“There are ways around this – a prorogation of Parliament and a new session. We are talking about hours to March 29. Frankly we could have done without this.
“Now we have this ruling to deal with, it is clearly going to require a lot of very fast but very deep thought in the hours ahead.”
John Bercow has been criticised by May’s spokesman for not giving her warning of his statement
4:50pm update: Speculation rises about the chances of no deal Brexit after Bercow’s announcement
Political editor of The Daily Telegraph, Gordon Rayner, said on Twitter: “Has Bercow just increased the chances of a no deal Brexit?
“If May can’t hold a third vote on her deal, the EU could refuse an extension on the basis that May has no plan. That would mean a no deal Brexit.”
Sky News political editor Faisal Islam said: “Two Government ministers genuinely really shocked by this – no chance now of Meaningful Vote this week, though that was looking doubtful already.”
4:20pm update: Theresa May’s spokesman has said the Prime Minister was not warned about John Bercow’s statement
A spokesman for Mrs May has reportedly said Mrs May was not aware about what Mr Bercow would say today.
3:40pm update: Commons Speaker has said the government can not re-submit the same Brexit proposal in Commons statement
Mr Bercow has made a statement in the House of Commons, he said: “If the government brings forward a new proposition that is neither the same this would be entirely in order.”
The Commons Speaker has made it clear that the government can’t legitimately put the same deal back to the House.
Mr Bercow reportedly gave the government no notice he was about to make this statement.
Political editor at the BBC, Norman Smith, described the Speaker as “defiant”.
He wrote on Twitter: “Speaker defiant. “I have never been and never will be pushed around by the Government.”
3:25pm update: Jon Bercow to make an announcement on Theresa May’s deal with the DUP
The speaker of the house will make an annoucnemount at 3:30pm.
The Prime Minister is expected to delay a third meaningful vote amid last-ditch talks with the DUP.
However ITV journalist Robert Peston said it is now “almost 100% certain that there will be no deal between the DUP and the government this week and therefore Theresa May will not risk third meaningful vote this week”.
Jon Bercow has said Theresa May can’t bring the same deal back to the House of Commons
1.53pm update: Cable calls on Corbyn to back People’s Vote
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable is calling on Labour opposite number Jeremy Corbyn to back his calls for a second referendum.
Mr Cable tweeted: “A cross-party group of Leaders for a £peoplesvote have invited @jeremycorbyn today to discuss the best way to secure a public vote with the option to Remain, and to enshrine Parliament’s rejection of No Deal in law.
“An opportunity for him to implement Labour conference policy.”
1.48pm update: Farmers urge DUP to back May’s deal
Farmers in Northern Ireland are overwhelmingly in favour of Theresa May’s Brexit deal – and are rapidly losing patience with the Democratic Unionist Party’s reluctance to back it, Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ivor Ferguson has said.
Mrs May is likely to bring her withdrawal agreement back to the House of Commons for a third time this week in a desperate bid to get it ratified by MPs, with support from the 10 DUP members likely to be crucial.
With negotiations ongoing, the DUP, which has grave concerns about the backstop insurance policy for the border with the Republic of Ireland, is far from certain to give her their backing.
However, Mr Ferguson told the Financial Times: “By far the vast majority of our members support the Prime Minister’s deal.
1.27pm update: Travelodge seeks parent workers to bridge post-Brexit staffing gap
Budget hotel chain Travelodge is hoping to looking for parents looking to return to work in a bid to fill a possible post-Brexit staffing gap if EU worker numbers fall.
The hotel chain is planning to open 100 new hotels, creating 3,000 extra jobs, by 2023, and is aiming t[o attract parents by offering flexible hours and school hour roles.
The firm, which seven years ago was on the brink of administration, reported strong sales and profits for last year.
Travelodge said sales rose 8.8% to £693.3m in 2018.
1.17pm update: “Young people will overturn Brexit,” brags Verhofstadt
Arch-Europhile Guy Verhofstadt believes the generation of voters who will overturn Brexit “already exists” in the UK.
Speaking in the European Parliament, the former Belgium Prime Minister predicted young Britons will grow up to realise Britain belongs inside the EU.
Mr Verhofstadt, who has previously pleaded with the UK to rethink Brexit but last week warned Europe against extending Article 50 without a concrete plan from Theresa May, added he was “sure” the voters would “bring Britain back into the European family”.
In a video posted by the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator on social media, he said: “I think that the place of the UK is inside the European Union.”
1.12pm update: No third vote without DUP backing, says Hammond
Theresa May’s unpopular Brexit deal will not be voted on for a third time unless it is backed by the DUP and Tory MPs, the chancellor has said.
Philip Hammond said the twice-rejected plan did not “yet” have the support of the DUP or enough Eurosceptics in Mrs May’s party, describing it as “a work in progress”.
Mr Hammond refused to rule out a cash settlement for Northern Ireland if the DUP, which has 10 MPs in the Commons, threw its weight behind Mrs May’s deal, amid claims the government is trying to buy the support of the ultra-conservative party.
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, he said even if the backing was secured, it would still be “physically impossible” for the UK to exit the EU on the March 29 deadline.
12.55pm DUP breakthrough “unlikely to happen today”
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is unlikely on Monday to reach a breakthrough with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on her Brexit deal, UTV’s political editor said.
Theresa May is trying to persuade the Northern Irish party to back her withdrawal agreement, despite ongoing concerns oversee backstop proposals for the border with the Irish Republic.
But Mr Reid tweeted: “A breakthrough in the DUP-Government talks unlikely today.”
12.50pm update: Greening tables urgent question on Article 50 procedure
A Government minister will be called to Parliament later on Monday to answer an urgent question table by Tory Remainer and former Government minister Justine Greening on the procedure for extending Article 50, the negotiating period covering the country’s exit from the European Union.
The urgent question would take place at approximately 1615 GMT, the House of Commons said on Twitter.
The Brexit department was unable to immediately confirm who would answer the question on behalf of the government.
The House of Commons tweet
12.57pm update: “We are f*****,” said official Brexit report on impact on Scotland
An official report on the impact of Brexit on rural Scotland has included the quote: “We are f*****”, it can be revealed.
A document published by Scottish Rural Action (SRA) featured a side banner on page four with the statement.
It was one of a number of banners attributed to participants in a workshop which asked them to imagine what newspaper headlines they might expect to see after Brexit.
Amanda Burgauer, SRA chairwoman, said that the exercise had been used as an “icebreaker” and that several of the participants had used “earthy language” in describing their feelings towards Brexit.
The comments are only explained on the following page, stating they had been put forward by those taking part in the workshop event.
12.43pm update: DUP leader Foster “has no plans to travel to London today”
Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster has no plans at this stage to travel to London where her Northern Irish party are continuing Brexit talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, a DUP spokesman said on Monday.
May is trying to convince the pro- party’s 10 members of parliament, who prop up her minority government, to vote for the withdrawal deal she has agreed with the European Union.
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds is leading the process in London, the spokesman told Reuters.
12.28pm update: Tory Baron vows to vote down May’s plan unless “flaws” are removed
Conservative MP John Baron said he will vote against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement unless “flaws” are removed at the eleventh hour.
Mr Baron said: “The deal remains flawed. The backstop’s legal risk remains unchanged – we could be trapped indefinitely. I will vote against.
“The law as it stands says we are leaving on March 29 with or without a deal. I intend to honour that. It is now up to Parliament if it wishes to ignore the result of the largest democratic exercise this country has ever seen.”
Mr Baron was not among the 23 Tory MPs who signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph stating their intention to vote against Mrs May’s deal.
Mrs May needs the support of Arlene Foster’s DUP
12.15pm update: Third vote decision hinges on there being “realistic prospect” of success
Downing Street has said ministers will want to be sure there is a “realistic prospect” of success before deciding to call a third “meaningful vote” this week on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that if the deal was passed by the Commons she would go to the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday to ask for a short “technical” extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process.
If there is no Commons vote for the deal, the spokesman said she would ask for a longer delay which would mean Britain holding elections to the European Parliament.
The spokesman said that if a vote was to be held before Mrs May goes to Brussels, the Government will have to table a motion by the end of business on Tuesday at the latest.
12.12pm update: Robbins “could be sacrificed to get deal approved”
Prime Minister Theresa May could sacrifice her chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins in a last ditch attempt to get her divorce deal approved, the Evening Standard has claimed, citing unidentified lawmakers.
The paper said: “One MP was told that the Prime Minister would ‘update her negotiating team’ before the next phase of talks, while another was told that Mr Robbins, a bete noir of the European Research Group of Tory (Conservative) MPs, would ‘go as soon as the deal is through.”
The paper said the mooted offer to move Robbins had not convinced Tory MPs, who want her to leave office before Brexit talks move to trade.
12.08pm update: DUP talks ongoing, says PM’s spokesman
Negotiations with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party are ongoing on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said as ministers seek to secure the support they need to win a vote in parliament on the government’s Brexit deal.
The spokesman said May had been speaking to lawmakers over the weekend. When asked about media reports that some would support May’s deal if she set a date when she would quit, the spokesman said the prime minister was focused on winning the vote.
The spokesman also said there would be no further negotiations with the European Union on the Northern Irish backstop.
11.54am update: May’s deal “will lock Britain in”, says Howe
Senior Brexit-backing lawyer Martin Howe QC has said if Theresa May’s deal is voted through, the UK “we will not have left the EU in anything but name”.
Mr Howe, a member of the pro-Brexit Lawyers for Britain, made his remarks in a column published on the Brexit Central website yesterday.
He warned: “The threat of an Article 50 extension is causing anxiety for some sincere and committed Brexiteers. Some say they should back Theresa May’s deal to “get Brexit over the line”. But the deal won’t deliver Brexit. Worse than that, it’ll lock us in to not delivering Brexit for many years to come.
“If the deal goes through, the next day we will not have left the EU in anything but name. For at least 21 months of “transition” – extendable up to four years – we will have to obey the EU’s laws and rules, and be subject to the Commission and the ECJ as now.”
11.45am update: Hunt fears “Brexit paralysis”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today warned Britain could be plunged into “Brexit paralysis” unless MPs support Theresa May’s deal.
Mr Hunt insisted the Government is “re-doubling” its efforts to ensure the third “meaningful vote” on the Prime Minister’s deal is a success.
But he poured cold water on the potential of the vote being held this week unless Mrs May is “confident we can get the numbers”.
Speaking on the fringes of an EU foreign affairs meeting, Mr Hunt told reporters: “I think there are some cautious signs of encouragement, we’ve got people like Matthew Elliott who led the Vote Leave campaign, Norman Lamont, Esther McVey, people who are strong critics of the deal who are now saying they will support it.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned of “Brexit paralysis”
11.43am update: Extension request could come after EU summit, says diplomat
Britain could ask the European Union for a Brexit delay even after the bloc’s March 21-22 summit, a senior diplomat said, suggesting that the decisive moment for the stalled divorce deal might still be some time ahead.
The other 27 EU member states staying on together after Brexit would need to agree unanimously to Britain’s request for any Brexit delay beyond the current leave date of March 29 at midnight (2300 GMT).
EU diplomats told Reuters on Monday national leaders of the 27 do not necessarily need to meet physically to approve any such request – if it came from London.
The diplomat said: ”It’s not necessary to meet, we also have written procedure. We have to have all our procedure completed one hour before midnight, Brussels time.”
11.39am update:”The penny did not drop”
Mr Maessen added: “I explained how a non-physical border could be possible.
“In the end, May said ‘we do not want any customs formalities’, but I told her that they had to be there if the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
“I said to her that the goal is not to have customs infrastructure at the border, but the penny did not drop.
“What you have to do is move the checks from the borders to the companies themselves. This already exists under European law.”
11.35am update: May has “no knowledge”, claims ERG adviser
A customs expert advising Tory MPs of the European Research Group has said that Theresa May has “no knowledge” about Brexit policies and that the EU “wants to teach the British a lesson”.
After recently being invited to Downing Street for tea, Dutchman Hans Maessen, 61, told local media: “Theresa May has no knowledge, her ministers don’t, and her advisers don’t. It is very serious.”
Mr Maessen is advising the ERG, the pro-Brexit Tory party caucus led by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, on customs policies.”
Conservative MP Priti Patel
11.25am update: “Nothing’s changed,” claims Patel
peaking at the launch of a report on overseas aid by the TaxPayers’ Alliance, former International Development Secretary Ms Patel said: “My views have been clear on not just the meaningful vote, but, actually, the Withdrawal Agreement.
“And on January 29 I voted for alternative arrangements when it came to the Withdrawal Agreement.
“And so nothing has changed.”
11.15am update: Patel “must see changes” before backing May’s deal
Former Cabinet minister Priti Patel has said she will not back Prime Minister Theresa May unless she sees tangible evidence of changes to her Brexit divorce deal.
Ms Patel said: “If there’s no changes then, obviously, I’m not going to support it.
“We don’t know when the vote is going to be yet.
“I’d like to see changes. And if there are changes I will absolutely look at it.
“I will absolutely be open minded, and, of course, if there are changes I will look at them, but unless there are changes I just don’t see where this meaningful vote is actually going to go.”
11.07am update: Salvini could block Brexit deal “as favour to Farage”, claims Brok
Eurosceptic Italian leader Matteo Salvini will block any Brexit delay as a favour to Nigel Farage, senior German MEP Elmar Brok has revealed.
Mr Brok, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, insisted there were “very different views” across the EU over Theresa May’s request to extend the bloc’s Article 50 exit clause.
He admitted there was a “deep frustration” with the British, saying: “There are only majorities against something, not for something.”
But the 72-year-old politician said it could be “game over” for a Brexit delay if Mr Salvini steps in to assist his friend Mr Farage.
11.03am update: Tory MPs told to prepare for Parliamentary elections
Downing Street officials have ordered Conservative MEPs to begin preparations for the upcoming European elections amid growing concerns that Brexit will be delayed, sources revealed today.
The Conservative delegation in Brussels have been asked to reflect on whether they wish to stand again as a British MEP. Express.co.uk has obtained a note from Ashley Fox, the leader of Tory MEPs, sent to his 17 colleagues after close consultation with Downing Street officials.
In the note, Mr Fox urged colleagues to “reflect over the weekend whether you wish to stand as a Conservative candidate”.
He added: “I will speak with you all individually after the meaningful vote three next week. If you want to discuss this further please message privately.”
10.59am update “Don’t travel unless you have to,” Eurostar tells passengers
Eurostar is urging passengers to avoid travelling until after Wednesday unless their journey is “absolutely necessary”.
The cross-Channel rail operator warned that industrial action by French customs workers will continue to cause delays and long queues over the coming days.
French customs officials are demanding more pay and resources ahead of .
Passengers were forced to queue for more than five hours over the weekend.
Eurostar said in a statement: “French customs officers at Paris Gare du Nord continue to take part in industrial action.
“As a result, the regular pre-departure security checks are taking longer than usual and this is causing delays on departure in Paris.
“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing passengers, and to provide as much flexibility as possible we are offering a free exchange or refund to any passenger who would prefer to postpone their trip.”
10.56am update: ERG’s Kawczynski ready to back May’s “Hobson’s choice” plan
ERG member Daniel Kawczynski has said he is ready to vote for the “Hobson’s choice” of Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal, warning the Conservative Party would be “decimated” if it fails to deliver Brexit.
The MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham has also predicted Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement will either squeak through, or be defeated by a dramatically reduced margin if it it put to the vote this week – and suggested she would come back for a FOURTH attempt if she is unsuccessful.
And he warned the Democratic Unionist Party against pushing too hard when it came to the backstop, suggesting their opposition to Mrs May’s plans put them out of step with public opinion in Northern Ireland.
Mr Kawczynski confirmed his intentions in a letter to ERG colleagues yesterday, in which he urged them to back Mrs May’s deal “to get it over the line”.
10.52am update: No-deal odds slashed to 7-2
The odds have dropped on the UK leaving the EU with no deal, with bookmaker Coral now making it just a 7-2 shot. The odds have come down from 6-1 at the start of the month and 5-1 as recently as last week.
Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead said: “It seemed an inconceivable option a few months ago but as the saga rumbles on the odds are dropping by the day on a no deal exit. We’ve cut our odds down from 5-1 to 7-2 in the last week and we simply aren’t ruling anything out at this stage of the chaos.”
Theresa May remains odds on, at 1-3, to be replaced as Prime Minister this year. It is currently 4-1 that she exits Number Ten this month.
Mr Aitkenhead said: “It’s still seeming very much like a banker that Theresa May will not end 2019 as Prime Minister, but when she exits Number Ten is still a hot topic of debate. It’s currently 4-1 that she departs this month, and a slightly bigger 6-1 for an April retreat.”
10.50am update: Article 50 extension pointless with “clarity”, says German politician Beer
German politician Nicola Beer has said delaying Article 50 is pointless unless the UK offers a clear plan of action.
Speaking on the television show “Morgenmagazin” on the ARD channel, Mrs Beer, a candidate for the Federal Democratic Party in May’s European Parliamentary elections, said: “I think this really is a key week for the European Union.
Calling for “clarity”, she did not rule out the possibility of the Commons backing Brexit agreement negotiated by Mrs May with Brussels in a third vote, which could happen this week.
10.27am update: “If we don’t leave now, we never will,” says Rees-Mogg
ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg has said if Britain does not leave the EU now, it never will.
Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “Mrs May’s deal, however bad it is, means that we are legally outside the European Union.
“If we remain, we will never leave. We have got as close to leaving as we will ever get under these circumstances.
“If it is thwarted now no one is ever going to allow us another chance to have a vote.
“The whole weight of British establishment opinion will prevent that ever happening again.”
10.23am update: McVeigh issues stark warning to May deal opponents
Brexiteer Esther McVeigh has said failure to back Theresa May this week could result in Britain being locked in the EU.
The fomer Work and Pensions secretary had been a vehement opponent of Mrs May’s plans – but signalled last week she would support it if Parliament votes on the proposal a third time.
She tweeted: “Clinging onto what choices we had before last week’s votes in the House is not going to get us Brexit instead it will see us remaining in the EU.”
10.14am update: May’s deal “violates Tory manifesto”, says Redwood
Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals “violates the Conservative Party manifesto”, Eurosceptic Conservative MP Sir John Redwood has said.
Sir John told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It violates the Conservative manifesto in many important ways. The manifesto is very clear that no deal is better than a bad deal.”
He said that “a lot” of Conservative MPs shared his concerns, but declined to estimate how many would vote against Mrs May’s deal in a third meaningful vote.
“It’s a lot of people, and it goes far wider than the ERG (European Research Group), who have been particularly keen to have the right kind of Brexit.”
Sir John urged Mrs May to tell this week’s EU summit Britain was leaving on March 29, but would like a free trade agreement with the EU.
9.46am update: Brexit “has already damaged financial sector”, claims adviser
Brexit has already caused “unprecedented damage on the UK’s financial services industry which makes up about 6.5 per cent of Britain’s GDP”, a financial adviser has claimed.
Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of independent financial advisory organisation deVere Group said: “The actual process of leaving the EU itself is now increasingly irrelevant. Indeed, even if the UK didn’t leave, unprecedented damage to the UK’s financial services industry has already been done.
“Following years of uncertainty and a lack of firm leadership from all parties, firms across the sector have had to take precautionary action to safeguard their interests.
“With no meaningful access to the EU’s single market, the UK’s financial services sector is bracing itself for what is likely to be a long and steady decline, ultimately losing its coveted ranking as the world’s top financial centre.”
9.41am update: “Risk of no-deal has receded,” says Hunt
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday the government still had work to do to secure parliament’s backing in a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and that it would be redoubling its efforts to get there.
May is expected to bring her European Union withdrawal deal back to parliament for a vote this week, after it was previously rejected twice by lawmakers.
Mr Hunt told the BBC: ”There are some cautious signs of encouragement… but there is a lot more work to do
“The risk of no deal, at least as far as the UK parliament is concerned, has receded somewhat, but the risk of Brexit paralysis has not. That’s why we will be redoubling our efforts this week.”
Asked if the vote would be held on Tuesday he said: “We hope it will, but we need to be confident we can get the numbers.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Mrs May’s deal is “better than staying in the EU”
9.38am update: Rees-Mogg laments “extradordinary divergence between MPs and British people”
Mr Rees-Mogg said as things stood, no-deal was “the law”, with any extension to Article 50 requiring the assent of both Parliament and the EU.
However, in a possible indication of a softening in his approach, he added: “No deal is better than a bad deal, a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union in the hierarchy of deals.
“The tactics used to be to threaten people on both sides.’
“What we saw last week was an extraordinary divergence or disconnection between our elected representatives and the British people.
“Those people voted to leave and by two-thirds to one-third the House of Commons voted to obstruct leaving.”
9.21am update: May’s deal “is basically remaining in the EU”, says Rees-Mogg
ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted he is still deciding whether or not to back Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement if it is put to the vote this week – but said any lengthy delay to Brexit was “basically remaining in the EU”.
Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “I’m waiting to see what the DUP will do. The deal is still a very bad deal. It does not deliver on the policies in the Conservative Party manifesto and it does not deliver on the referendum result in full.
“The question people like me will ultimately have to answer is can we get to no-deal instead.
“If we can get to no-deal instead that is a better option.
“It means we will have left and we will have restored our nation’s independence but I am concerned that the Prime Minister, in spite of her previous commitments, feels determined to stop no-deal, that she has come to the conclusion that it is either her deal or some form of remain.
“I think a two-year extension is basically remaining in the European Union.”
9.03am update: Intelligence chiefs will “despair” if Parliament blocks May’s deal yet again, warns Minister
Security and intelligence chiefs would “despair” if Parliament prevents Theresa May from finalising a Brexit deal with the EU, a minister has claimed.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said the agencies tasked with protecting the UK “want us to get on with delivering a Brexit”.
He said that delivering the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement – twice rejected by MPs by large majorities – would enable the Government to continue providing them with the support and resources they need.
Mr Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This morning I will meet the intelligence services and I will meet the police and all the people who protect us.
“They want us to get on with delivering a Brexit.
“They are professionals and they are looking after our safety, and if I were to look them in the eye and say ‘Should we just headlong fall into a collapse in Government or a collapse in Parliament?’, they would just despair.”
8.51am update: “It’s good to talk,” says German Foreign Minister Maas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said it is worth London and Brussels having another round of talks before it comes to a hard Brexit, in a hint of EU flexibility.
However, Mr Maas also warned the longer Brexit is delayed, “the harder it will get”.
Mr Maas told reporters before a meeting of EU foreign ministers: “Before we get to a hard Brexit it’s worthwhile having another go rather than just arguing about what a hard Brexit means, namely a lot of disadvantages for both sides.
Asked about whether Brexit could be extended beyond the European elections in May, he replied: “The longer the time is pushed back, the more difficult it becomes.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned of the dangers of a hard Brexit
8.43am update: “Absurd” to hold vote before EU summit, says Johnson
Mr Johnson said Mrs May’s agreement would leave the UK “in a position of almost unbearable weakness” for subsequent talks on trade, risking transforming the country into “a kind of economic colony of Brussels”.
The backstop arrangement – under which the UK remains in a customs union until both sides agree a trade deal – gives the EU “an indefinite means of blackmail”, Mr Johnson claimed.
He added: “Unless we have some change – and at present, in the immortal phrase, nothing has changed – it is hard to ask anyone who believes in to change their mind.
“There is an EU summit this week. It is not too late to get real change to the backstop.
“It would be absurd to hold the vote before that has even been attempted.”
8.40am update: “Delay the vote unti you get more concessions,” Johnson urges May
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has called on Theresa May to postpone another vote on her deal, warning it would be “absurd” to bring it back to the Commons without first securing change from Brussels.
It was not possible that “anybody who believes in ” could back the Prime Minister’s deal in a so-called “meaningful vote 3” unless the proposed backstop arrangements for the Irish border are revised, he said.
But Mrs May received a boost from former chancellor Lord Lamont, who urged fellow peers to focus on the “prize” of leaving the EU and back her deal.
Downing Street was scrambling for support for the deal – particularly from the Democratic Unionist Party – in the hope of bringing it back before Parliament ahead of an EU summit on Thursday.
8.30am update: May “must step down” for MP to back deal
Tory MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke has said Theresa May must step down as Prime Minister in order for him to back her Brexit divorce deal.
Mr Elphicke told the BBC’s Sunday Politics South East: “What I am clear on is that if we are going to support it, there needs to be a change of negotiating team.
“So I think we need to have a change of leadership, and a new face and a new team to take us forward to the future relationship.”
Asked if his vote was “up for grabs”, Mr Elphicke added: “We’ve got to get the right future relationship sorted, and that also means having the right team to do it.”