Fiona Onasanya an MP for Peterborough won the seat by just 607 votes at the last election, was today found guilty of perverting the course of justice by lying to police about who was behind the wheel of a speeding car. Her departure could trigger a by-election in hyper-marginal Peterborough, which Mrs May’s Conservatives would hope to recapture just 18 months since losing it to Labour in 2017.
Earlier a Brexit row has erupted between Guy Verhofstadt and Brexiteers who have warned the EU chief to back off from telling Britain what to do, as a no deal exit from the bloc edges closer.
Tory Brexiteer MP Steve Double lashed out at the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator telling him “its not your job to tell UK MPs what to do”.
Mr Double warned the Brussels chief it will be “as much the responsibility of the EU” if Britain leaves without a deal because it had backed the UK into an “untenable position”.
He tweeted: “Dear Mr Verhofstast (sic). It’s not your job to tell UK MPs what to do in representing our constituents. No one here is glorifying no deal but neither are we afraid.
“If no deal is the outcome it will be as much the responsibility of the EU for backing the UK into an untenable position.”
His rant comes after Mr Verhofstadt said those glorifying a no deal Brexit.
He tweeted: “Those, like Jeremy Hunt, who glorify a no–deal #Brexit are totally irresponsible.
READ MORE: 100 DAYS TO GO! May veers towards no deal Brexit
Brexit latest: Suspended labour MP could trigger a by-election
“It is not the job of politicians to make the people they lead poorer, remove opportunities, rights & make lives more uncertain. There is no such thing as a ‘managed no deal’.”
Iain Duncan Smith also joined in on the attacks against Mr Verhofstadt saying he is “not crowing today” and is “actually worried rather than being on top”.
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10:40pm update: Rudd comments ‘massive moment for our campaign’
Labour MP Owen Smith, a supporter of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign, has praised Amber Rudd for coming out against the government stance.
Mr Smith said: “Amber Rudd May be the first Tory Cabinet member to say she’d rather have a people’s vote than allow a catastrophic no deal to unfold, but she won’t be the last.
“This is a massive moment for our campaign.
“These ministers have seen the real assessments of what no deal would look like for Britain and they know we can’t ever afford to go there.
“I just hope they can persuade Mrs May to see sense too.”
10:15pm update: Amber Rudd BREAKS RANKS and says second referendum COULD happen – ‘Plausible argument’
Theresa May has been dealt another Brexit blow after Cabinet minister Amber Rudd said there is a “plausible argument” for another referendum.
The Work and Pensions secretary defied the Prime Minister’s stance that MPs had to back her deal or risk crashing out of the EU with no deal.
The possibility of another vote has been widely ruled out by Mrs May but this rhetoric from a senior cabinet minister has undermined her and is likely to cause more friction in her divided inner-circle.
Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Ms Rudd said: “I don’t want a people’s vote, or a referendum in general, but if Parliament absolutely failed to reach a consensus I could see there would be a plausible argument for it.”
8:50pm update: Businesses queue up to condemn governments immigration stance
Business leaders have heavily criticised the governments immigration plans with one calling the proposals “disastrous”.
Josh Hardie, deputy director general of the CBI, said: “A new immigration system must command public confidence and support the economy. These proposals would achieve neither.”
Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, acting general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “When the starting salary for a nurse is £23,000, a minimum salary threshold above that for international nursing staff won’t work.”
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: “Firms will be dismayed by any proposals that require job roles to be on a government-approved list before they can get a visa.”
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The Government seems hell-bent on ignoring the business community when it comes to its immigration policy, as demonstrated by this disastrous White Paper.”
Brexit news: Amber Rudd has entertained the prospect of another Brexit vote
7:45pm update: Veteran Labour MP says PM’s words ‘could not be less true’
A veteran Labour MP has accused Theresa May of misleading MPs and the public over Brexit stating it will not be over even if parliament backs the withdrawal agreement.
Margaret Beckett said the Prime Ministers actions has made people “utterly disillusioned with politics”.
Dame Margaret said: “One of the simplest promises the Prime Minister made – vote for my deal and it will all be over – could not be less true.
“It won’t be over, it has barely begun and the worst, the most difficult negotiations are still to come and that will rumble on for years and years.
“I can’t think of anything more likely to make people utterly disillusioned with politics and politicians than realising they have been told you have left the EU when it doesn’t mean any of the things they thought it would mean.”
7:30pm update: Met Commissioner warns no-deal Brexit brings ‘extra risk’
A no-deal Brexit will bring “extra risk” to the force, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has confirmed.
Cressida Dick said the force had been looking at potential contingencies in a “pretty cold, calm, sober way” and making sure it would be ready for when the UK leaves the European Union.
Ms Dick said she did not think the public would see tangible differences to policing over the next few months, but this could change come March next year.
She said: “It’s quite hard to estimate how much extra risk or how much extra investment is required, but we are working closely with the Government to talk through those scenarios and work out what would be the sensible ways to deal with this, that would keep UK citizens reasonably safe and at what extra cost.”
The Met chief was still unsure of the direct implications Brexit will have on the police because of the lack of clarify over the deal.
She added: “I can’t say there is going to be an impact on policing the streets of London because we just don’t know how it will go.
“We don’t know where the police might be required to take action if other parts of the system, for example borders, changes pressure on the police, we just don’t know how that will work, we don’t know what the protest scenario may be.”
7:10pm update: Sturgeon labels May’s re-assurances ‘a wee bit nebulous’
Nicola Sturgeon has echoed the words of Jean-Claude Juncker and said Theresa May’s plans for securing re-assurances from Brussels on her Brexit deal are “a wee bit nebulous”.
Following talks with the PM in Downing Street, the First Minister echoed the controversial remarks from the European Commission president which saw the Prime Minister confront him at last week’s EU27 summit.
Ms Sturgeon said it was “unacceptable” for the PM to delay the vote in the hope of “running down the clock” to Brexit and leaving MPs with the choice only between her deal and no deal.
When asked if the PM had spelt out what was being done, Ms Sturgeon said: “It was a wee bit nebulous. There’s not a lot of detail there.
“She says she’s working with the EU, trying to find assurances. I pressed her to give a bit more detail on that. I have to say it wasn’t forthcoming.”
6:50pm update: Welsh First Minister says second referendum ‘unavoidable’ if no breakthrough
Welsh First Minister has said a second referendum would be “unavoidable” if there was no Brexit agreement in parliament and there was no general election.
Mark Drakeford also stated there is still enough time for alternatives and it was not just a choice between Theresa May’s deal and no-deal.
Mr Drakesford told reporters in Downing Street: “The Prime Minister should put her deal to the House of Commons and see what support she can mobilise for it and see whether there are any alternatives – a Norway-plus arrangement for example – that might have a better chance of responding to where the centre of gravity in the House of Commons may currently lie.
“If the House of Commons is deadlocked we need a general election and a new House of Commons.
“If we are denied that, then it seems to me unavoidable that the decision would have to go back to the people.”
Brexit news: Sir Kier Starmer has hit out at no-deal Brexit spending
6:30pm update: Suspended MP could lose seat to the Tory’s in by-election
Theresa May has received an unexpected boost ahead of the Brexit vote in the new year following the news Labour has suspended one of its MPs.
Fiona Onasanya MP was today found guilty of perverting the course of justice by lying to police about who was behind the wheel of a speeding car.
The 35-year-old solicitor, who now faces a possible jail sentence, was accused of colluding with her brother Festus after her car was clocked going 41mph in a 30mph zone in the village of Thorney near Peterborough.
Her departure could trigger a by-election in hyper-marginal Peterborough, which Mrs May’s Conservatives would hope to recapture just 18 months since losing it to Labour in 2017.
Ms Onasanya snatched the seat by just 607 votes and it is 13th on the list of Tory target constituencies, requiring a swing of just 0.64% to fall to Conservative party.
A victory in the marginal seat still leave the Tories 12 seats short of an overall majority in the House of Commons and dependent on their Democratic Unionist Party allies to get legislation through Parliament.
If she is sentenced to fewer than than 12 months, there may not be a by-election and Ms Onasanya could hold on to her seat – at least until the next general election – and remain in the Commons as an independent unless the Labour whip is restored.
5:25pm update: ‘A choice between bad and even worse is not a meaningful choice’ – Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer has reiterated Labour will not be forced into accepting Theresa May’s deal in order to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The shadow Brexit secretary who accused the PM of ”running down the clock” on Brexit was speaking after he secured an emergency debate in the Commons this afternoon on the issue.
He said: “I don’t think for one moment that this House if going to accept the binary choice that the Prime Minister will attempt to put before us.
“A choice between bad and even worse is not a meaningful choice. Nor is leaving the EU on March 29 next year without a deal viable.
“It has never been viable and as every day goes past it becomes less and less viable.”
Sir Keir added of Mrs May: “If she stands at that despatch box and says she intends to take the UK out of the EU without a deal, I genuinely believe Parliament, this House, will do everything it can to stop this course of action.”
4:55pm update: Northern Ireland to recruit over 300 more Police officers to prepare for Brexit
More than 300 new police officers and staff are to be recruited in Northern Ireland by 2020 for Brexit preparations, the force has said.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) received a £16 million windfall from the Chancellor.
The additional staff will be needed if there is a ‘hard border’ in Ireland after the implementation period has ended in December 2020.
Chief Constable George Hamilton said: “Since the referendum result, PSNI have been working with our partners to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to any changes presented by Brexit.
“We welcome this additional funding which will allow us to recruit a total of 308 additional officers and staff by April 2020 and make some investment in our estate, IT and infrastructure.
“The ethos of policing with the community has been central to our planning and I want to reassure the communities we serve that this money will be used to keep people safe, by preventing harm, protecting people and bringing offenders to justice.”
4:35pm update: Speaker approves emergency debate over Brexit
Speaker John Bercow has approved Labour’s application to hold an emergency debate on the Government decision to ramp up no-deal planning.
4:30pm update: Labour says Javid has “slammed the door of opportunity’ in the controversial immigration plans
The Home Secretary has “slammed the door of opportunity behind him” over his immigration proposals according to David Lammy MP.
The Labour MP for Tottenham hit out at the Government’s proposals to impose a minimum salary threshold, as Sajid Javid set out in the Commons the shake-up of the immigration regime that will apply following the post-Brexit implementation period.
Mr Lammy said: “The Home Secretary was right to pay tribute to his parents, his own father a bus driver, my mother worked at Camden Town Tube station – a generation that took so little and gave so much.
“They are like today’s care workers, security guards and fruit pickers. He knows that they didn’t earn anything like £30,000 in the prices of the 70s and the 80s. How is he going to look his children in the face and say that he slammed the door of opportunity behind him so that he and I could be in our seats today?”
4:15pm update: ’I said stupid PEOPLE!’ Corbyn DENIES calling May ‘stupid woman’ and DODGES punishment
Jeremy Corbyn has denied calling Theresa May a “stupid woman” during a heated debate in the Commons today, despite claims that footage from the exchange shows that he had.
The Labour leader insisted he had mouthed “stupid people”, not “stupid woman” after the Prime Minister ripped into his dithering approach to a no confidence vote earlier this week.
Returning to the chamber to clarify his remarks this afternoon, Mr Corbyn said: “During Prime Minister’s Question Time today, I referred to those who I believe were seeking to turn a debate about the national crisis facing our country into a pantomime as ‘stupid people’.
“Mr Speaker I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the Prime Minister or anyone else, and am completely opposed to the use of sexist or misogynist language in absolutely any form at all.”
Brexit news: Jeremy Corbyn has denied calling Theresa May a “stupid woman”
4:00pm update: EU to continue to support peace in Northern Ireland in a no-deal Brexit
An EU initiative to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland would continue until the end of 2020 under a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission has confirmed.
As part of its no-deal contingency planning, the Commission reiterated its commitment to ensuring programmes between the border counties of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can continue in all scenarios.
It said: “Given its importance, the commission has today made a proposal for a regulation to continue the Peace programme in Northern Ireland until the end of 2020, in the event of a no-deal scenario.
“As for the period after 2020, the commission has already proposed as part of its proposals for the next multi-annual financial framework to continue and strengthen cross-border support for peace and reconciliation in the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland.”
3:50pm update: Sturgeon labels immigration proposals ‘an act of vandalism’
Nicola Sturgeon has branded the UK Government’s immigration proposals “an act of vandalism” as she called for a visa allowing Europeans to work in Scotland even if they earn less than £30,000.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that low-skilled workers and those earning under the £30,000 threshold will no longer have the automatic right to work in the UK after Brexit.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The UK Government’s immigration blueprint is an act of vandalism on Scotland’s economy, communities, NHS and public services.
“Yet again, they are intent on imposing disastrous policies on Scotland with no consultation with the Scottish Government, despite our repeated attempts to engage.”
She added: “Our proposal is for a visa specific to Scotland, to allow people to come and work in Scotland, under the threshold of the £30,000 salary band. It is time for the UK Government to listen to the needs of Scotland and act accordingly.”
2:15pm update: Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the post-Brexit immigration system will ‘make us all poorer’
Javid told the Commons the system would ‘serve our national interest’ as he was criticised by the Labour Party and the SNP.
The SNP’s immigration spokesman Stuart McDonald said: “These proposals will make us all poorer, economically, socially, and in terms of opportunity.
“They do not signify a global Britain but an inward-looking Government and a Prime Minister still obsessed with net migration targets.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “It will not meet the needs of migrants for certainty, it will not meet the needs of employers for a stable, skilled workforce.
“And above all, this statement, although it may read well for people who see migration cracked down on, this statement does not meet the need of the hour.”
1:45pm update: UK government ramps up no deal Brexit preparations
The government has sent letters to 140,000 firms urging them to plan ahead and 3,500 troops will be put on standby to maintain essential services.
They will also distribute 100-page information packs to businesses this week.
Javid makes a statement about the proposals immigration White Paper
11.42 update: European Commission has released no deal Brexit papers
Brussels has released its Contingency Action Plan covering 14 areas where a no deal scenario would create “major disruption for citizens and businesses” in the remaining 27 EU states, including financial services, air transport and customs.
The commission said: “They are limited to specific areas where it is absolutely necessary to protect the vital interests of the EU and where preparedness measures on their own are not sufficient.
“As a rule, they will be temporary in nature, limited in scope and adopted unilaterally by the EU.”
10.45am update: Leo Varadkar torn apart by furious Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage accused Leo Varadkar of playing “the biggest game of poker” with his refusal to allow any fresh Brexit negotiations on the controversial Irish backstop that threatens to sink Theresa May’s deal.
The Brexiteer said the Irish prime minister has put farmers and exporters in his own country at risk with his commitment to the European Union.
10.13am update: Economist warns of rise in unemployment with no deal Brexit
Barret Kupelian, senior economist at PwC, said: “Last year, the big economic news was centred around advanced economies creating around 4.5 million jobs.
“We expect this trend to gradually moderate in 2019 with some economies like the US, Canada and Germany hitting structural floors in their unemployment rates, and wage growth starting to gradually pick up.
“Assuming an orderly Brexit, we expect the UK to also see unemployment flattening off, though a disorderly Brexit could lead to a marked rise of unemployment.”
9.42am update: GBP slips against euro as businesses warned to BRACE for no-deal Brexit
The pound is slipping against the euro this morning as businesses and households are urged to “make preparations” for a no-deal Brexit, while the latest inflation figures are due for release this morning.
As of 08:30 GMT, the pound has dropped 0.15 percent to trade at €1.1110 after opening at €1.1127.
9.09am update: Remainers threaten to resign over Brexit no deal
Tory MPs Anna Soubry and Nick Boles have threatened to bring down their own Government if Prime Minister Theresa May does not get a Brexit deal with the EU.
The two former ministers said they would back Labour in a no confidence vote in order to stop Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal.
Mr Boles said: “If at any point between now and 29 March the government were to announce that ‘no deal’ Brexit had become its policy, I would immediately resign the Conservative whip and vote in any way necessary to stop it from happening.”
8.42am update: Gina Miller sparks fury over ‘people’s vote’
Gina Miller appeared on France 24 as a proponent of a ‘people’s vote’ explaining that, in the event of a second referendum, the vote would need to be “about the lives of real people.” But many people were not happy and took to the internet to vent their fury.
One YouTube user said: “Real people did vote already and real people were given a choice about the future of Britain and real people want to save their nation and their sovereignty.”
Brexit latest: Steve Double warned Guy to not tell Britain what to do
8.35am update: Sajid Javid talks post-Brexit immigration
Theresa May’s interior minister said the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans will not include a specific target to reduce annual net migration.
The government previously had a longstanding target to reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year.
Mr Javid told BBC Radio: “We remain committed to our objective of bringing net migration down.
“We’re not abandoning any pledge. We’ve committed ourselves to bringing net migration to sustainable levels.”