A YouGov survey for The Times showed Labour is backed by just 18 percent of voters, two points down on a week ago. The Tories have climbed two points to stand at 24 per cent while the Brexit Party is up one point to 23 percent and the Liberal Democrats also up one to 20 percent. Meanwhile fears of the impact of a no deal withdrawal have been stoked by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay who could not rule out a recession, price rises in the supermarkets, or traffic jams on the roads if Britain fails to leave without a deal.
He told Sky News: “As a former Treasury minister no one can ever rule out what could happen in the future.
“The question is are we doing everything we can to prepare and are we trying to get a deal in the first instance, but if not how do we prepare in a sensible and professional manner?
“And that is what we’re working extremely hard for the Government to do.”
And ahead of Theresa May’s trip to Scotland to give a speech on why Scotland should not seek independence, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage suggested EU withdrawal was more of a priority than preserving the United Kingdom.
He told ITV’s Peston: “Look, being an independent self-governing nation is the number one.
“If there were parts of the United Kingdom that didn’t wish to stay part of it that would be deeply regrettable but I just don’t believe that to be the case – I really genuinely don’t believe it.”
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9.17am update: Tories “high-handed, arrogant and dismissive” of Scotland since the Brexit
Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May of being “high-handed, arrogant and dismissive” of Scotland since the Brexit vote three years ago.
The Scottish First Minister said: “Scotland is heading inexorably towards independence – that will be Theresa May’s legacy.
“The Tories’ behaviour towards Scotland in the three years since the Brexit vote has been high-handed, arrogant and dismissive.
“They have demolished any notion of a respect agenda and have destroyed their own claims that the union is in any meaningful way a partnership of equals. People across Scotland can now see that more plainly than ever.”
8.30am update: May tells successor to preserve United Kingdom
Theresa May will warn her successor his Brexit plans must prioritise preserving the United Kingdom.
In a speech in Scotland, the Prime Minister is expected to say: “I am confident that whoever succeeds me in 10 Downing Street will make the union their priority.
“He will be building on work done over the last three years, during which time strengthening the union has become an explicit priority of government.
“The job of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings with it privileges and responsibilities which you only really feel once the black door closes behind you.
“One of the first and greatest is the duty you owe to strengthen the union.
“To govern on behalf of the whole United Kingdom, to respect the identities of every citizen of the UK – English and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish.
“And to ensure that we can go on facing the future together, overcoming obstacles together, and achieving more together than we ever could apart – a union of nations and people.”
7.30am update: Starmer tells Johnson MPs will block no deal Brexit
Keir Starmer has warned Boris Johnson that MPs will “do everything to stand in his way” if he tries to force through a “bad deal or a no-deal Brexit”.
Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to be Britain’s next prime minister, has suggested he will “disaggregate” Theresa May’s “otherwise defunct” withdrawal agreement and implement its less contentious elements.
But research commissioned by Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, from the House of Commons library suggests this would still require the government to bring legislation before parliament, which MPs could then reject or amend.
The library’s experts said: “Without an act of parliament, the UK cannot ratify the withdrawal agreement.”