BREXIT LIVE: Downing Street DEMOLISH Barnier deal claim – ‘Take with a BUCKET of salt!’

Posted on Nov 13 2018 - 7:44pm by admin

Earlier today, Downing Street admitted there are still “substantial” obstacles to securing a Brexit deal with hopes fading for the EU summit to sign off a draft agreement this month.

It comes as Mrs May cancelled an emergency Cabinet meeting to approve a Brexit deal, which was scheduled for Monday, as fears grow that time is running out to secure a deal this week.

Meanwhile, the EU’s chief negotiator Mr Barnier updated European ministers on the progress of Brexit negotiations, informing them on Monday no deal has yet been struck.

Earlier, Boris Johnson attacked Mrs May’s plans for leaving the EU as “a recipe for continued strife”,  accusing her of being on “the brink of total surrender” to Brussels. 

Brexit live

Mr Barnier almost ready to table final Brexit text to Mrs May as talks reach crucial stage (Image: Getty)

Arch-Brexiteer Mr Johnson’s attack on the Prime Minister comes just days after his Brother Jo Johnson – A Remainer – quit as transport minister.

He claimed the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals are “a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis”.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Chancellor Philip Hammond are also reported to have raised concerns about Mrs May’s Chequers’ plan.

In Brussels, Mr Barnier addressed EU27 ministers at a general affairs council meeting, with a statement confirming the Irish border remains a major stumbling block.

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier (right) reportedly told EU ministers on Monday final Brexit text is close (Image: Getty)

10:32pm update: Prime Minister announces location of first post-Brexit trade mission.

Theresea May will attempt to secure trade deals with Asia-Pacific nations as soon as the UK leaves the EU.

The Prime Minister announced a trade mission to countries including South Korea and Singapore during a speech at the Lord Mayor of London’s annual banquet.

She hailed those countries, saying it was a region “that is home to some of the most advanced tech-friendly and open economies in the world, with huge demand for British innovation, design and quality”.

Announcing the trade mission for the spring of 2019, she added: “I will do everything I can as PM to accelerate the progress we are making in strengthening relationships across this region.”

10:14pm update: Labour will tomorrow attempt to force the Prime Minister to publish Brexit legal advice

Labour has said it plans to force the Prime Minister into publishing legal advice the government has received on Brexit.

The party wants MPs to be able to scrutinise legal advice from the Attorney General over Britain’s departure from the European Union, including how the Irish border and backstop proposal will work.

The party will call for a special vote tomorrow hoping to force the Prime Minister to make the unprecedented step.

The government does not normally publish or comment on legal advice it receives but Labour says Brexit is of such importance to the UK’s future an exception should be made.

A spokesperson for the party said: “Labour will on Tuesday force a binding vote demanding that the government’s legal advice on the withdrawal agreement – including the Irish backstop – is published once any Brexit deal is ready to be put to parliament.

“Labour will demand that lawmakers are able to scrutinise the Attorney General’s legal advice on the withdrawal agreement, including any Irish backstop proposal, so they can understand precisely what has been agreed and what its implications are for the future.”

Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary, said: “It’s simply untenable for the government to put forward any Brexit deal to parliament without providing the legal advice on what’s been agreed.”

Labour's Brexit secretary has demanded the government publish its Brexit legal advice

Labour’s Brexit secretary has demanded the government publish its Brexit legal advice (Image: GETTY)

9.28pm update: More from the Prime Minister on the state of Brexit negotiations

“Overwhelmingly the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit and I am determined to do that for them and I want them them to know that I will not compromise on what people voted for in the referendum”, she said.

“This will not be an agreement at any cost.

“Any deal must ensure we take back control of our laws, borders and money.

“It must secure the ability to strike new trade deals around the world and it must also be a deal to protect jobs our security and our precious union.

“We will have a new relationship with the EU when we have let but it will still be a close one.

“We will still be neighbours championing the same values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law underpinned by the rules based global order

“But as we leave the EU it is also an opportunity to raise our horizons towards the rest world because the economic and demographic balance of the global economy is shifting.”

Theresa May speaking at the annual Lord Mayor's banquet tonight

Theresa May speaking at the annual Lord Mayor’s banquet tonight (Image: GETTY)

9:13pm update: Theresa May says Brexit negotiations are “in the end game”

Speaking at the annual Lord Mayor of London’s banquet in the Guildhall tonight, the Prime Minister gave an update on the state of negotiations with the EU.

She said: “The negotiations for our departure are now in the end game and we are working extremely hard through the night to make progress on our withdrawal agreement which are significant.

“Both sides want to reach an agreement but what we are negotiating are extremely difficult and I do not shy away from that.

“The Brexit talks are not about me or my personal fortunes, they are about the national interest and that means making what I believe to be the right choices not the easy ones.”

The Prime Minister spoke tonight at the Lord Mayor of London's annual banquet

The Prime Minister spoke tonight at the Lord Mayor of London’s annual banquet (Image: GETTY)

9.21pm update: Brexit forced New Zealand government to open embassy in Dublin

Amid today’s uncertainty over whether the government could secure a Brexit deal with the EU, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister has spoken out about his country’s first reaction after the June 2016 vote.

Winston Peter, who is also the minister for foreign affairs, said opening a new embassy in Ireland was one of the first decisions his government made after the referendum.

Speaking at the opening of the new embassy in Dublin, Mr Peters said: “It was one of the first decisions we made, and we could no longer think of carrying out the service from London, which had been going on in the past, that’s why we made the decision.

“We can be of assistance to the Irish in the Pacific and elsewhere, and we know the Irish can be a big help to us where the European Union is concerned, so if we both put our best foot forward we can deepen our relationship and mutually get more out of it.”

According to New Zealand officials, other reasons for opening the new embassy included Ireland’s growing economy and the influx of New Zealand immigrants to Ireland.

Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand Winston Peters (left) and Ambassador to Ireland Brad Burgess at the opening of the first New Zealand embassy in I

Deputy PM of New Zealand Winston Peters (left) and Ambassador to Ireland Brad Burgess (Image: PA)

7.19pm update: Theresa May announces new Minister of Transport

The Prime Minister has announced who will replace Jo Johnson, who sensationally quit the government last week in a scathing criticism of her handling of the Brexit negotiations.

The brother of Brexiter-in-Chief Boris Johnson will be replaced by Jesse Norman.

Mr Norman has represented Hereford and South Herefordshire as MP since 2010 and was already a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport.

Mr Norman will be replaced in his previous Transport role by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones, Downing Street said.

Jesse Norman MP will replace Jo Johnson as Transport Secretary

Jesse Norman MP will replace Jo Johnson as Transport Secretary (Image: GETTY)

6.40pm update: European markets react to Brexit deal uncertainty

THE dollar stocks were the major winner today as European markets all closed down amid uncertainty over whether a Brexit deal will be agreed this week.

London’s FTSE 100, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 and the Borsa Italina in Milan all fell as hopes faded Theresa May would be able to present a Brexit deal to her Cabinet tomorrow.

The 100 share index lost 0.74 percent, the Paris Stock Exchange fell 0.93 percent while Milan closed the day down 1.05 percent.

The biggest fall of the day was in Frankfurt with Germany markets falling a massive 1.77 percent.

Meanwhile, the pound was almost one percent down on the dollar as Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations were attacked from both her own MPs, Labour and the EU.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.74 percent down today amid Brexit deal speculation

The FTSE 100 closed 0.74 percent down today amid Brexit deal speculation (Image: London Stock Exchange)

6:15pm update: Hopes for a Brexit deal this week have been all but extinguished

Hopes are rapidly fading that a Brexit deal would be signed off this week raising fears of a no-deal probability.

Brexit negotiators had hoped Theresa May could present Cabinet with a deal for approval tomorrow but it is now expected ministers will receive an update on negotiations which went on until 2.45am last night.

Brexit negotiations are still deadlocked over the Irish border and a special Brexit summit in Brussels is increasingly likely to be scrapped if a deal is not agreed this week.

This means the Prime Minister’s hopes of getting a deal signed off by MPs before Christmas look set to be dashed.

However a Number 10 spokesperson rejected the notion this Wednesday is a significant deadline saying Mrs May wants a deal “as soon as possible” but that it “can’t be any any cost.”

5:44pm update: Bond markets fall to new lows over Brexit deal uncertainty

German bonds have fallen to their lowest in almost two weeks as uncertainty grows over a Brexit deal.

The German 10-year Bund yields hit the new low at 0.38 percent.

The euro was also hurt by the precarious situation of the negotiations as it fell to its lowest mark since June 2017 at $ 1.124, down 0.8 percent today.

Sterling was also hit by the uncertainty as investors looked for safer assets until a deal is announced.

5:18pm update: Tory compares May’s handling of Brexit to the fall of Singapore

Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations have been one defeat after another, a Conservative MP has said.

Mark Francois compared the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy to the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in World War 2.

Speaking to the BBC, he said MPs will be “judged at the bar of history” when they vote on any deal Mrs May brings back from Brussels.

The comments are the latest blow to the Prime Minister’s hopes of getting her vision of Brexit through Parliament as a number of MPs have today told her the Commons will not approve her plan.

Brexiteer Mark Francois has compared the Prime Minister's Brexit negotiations to the fall of Singapore

Brexiteer Mark Francois has compared the Prime Minister’s Brexit negotiations to the fall of Singapo (Image: GETTY)

4:36pm update: “No one would escape free” from Brexit, warns German finance minister

Brexit will impact every country in Europe with most able to withstand the consequences, a German finance minister has warned.

Olaf Scholz said Brexit will cause “large economic upheaval” for the whole continent and nobody would “escape free”.

Speaking in Berlin, Mr Scholz said EU leaders are working towards an agreement, amid speculation an announcement of a deal is imminent.

He said: “A hard Brexit would cause large economic upheaval, above all of course in the United Kingdom but no one would escape free.

“Most European countries could withstand this well but there would be consequences and for Britain that would definitely be the worst option.

“We are doing everything to achieve an agreement.

“We regard that as right and necessary.”

Olaf Scholz has issued a Brexit warning as speculation mounts a deal will be announced

Olaf Scholz has issued a Brexit warning as speculation mounts a deal will be announced (Image: GETTY)

3:28pm update: May’s deal is the “worst of all worlds”

Former education minister Justine Greening has criticised Theresa May’s Brexit strategy and said she did not think the Prime Minister could pass her plan through Parliament.

She told BBC radio: “I think it’s the worst of all worlds”, adding the plan was not what Remainers wanted and not what Brexiteers had voted for either.

The comments have raised the possibility of a so-called No Deal option being triggered as negotiators enter a critical 48-hour period to get a deal done.

It is thought if a deal can not be secured over the next two days there is not enough time to present it to European leaders at next month’s EU summit and if that can not be done plans to prepare for a no-deal will be stepped up to meet the March 29 deadline.

Justine Greening has said the Prime Minister's EU plans are the

Justine Greening has said the Prime Minister’s EU plans are the “worst of all worlds” (Image: GETTY)

2.52pm update: ON THE BRINK: Barnier revealed Brexit text “largely defined”

Michel Barnier indicated to EU ministers that the text on a final Brexit deal could be presented to Theresa May’s Cabinet on Tuesday.

The EU’s chief negotiator told EU27 ministers “the parameters of a possible agreement are very largely defined”, according to the Financial Times.

Mr Barnier’s comments, made during talks with EU ministers, have raised hopes a deal could be tabled tomorrow, although its success would depend on backing from Mrs May’s Cabinet.

According to the Financial Times, a witness at Monday’s ministers reported Mr Barnier said: “On the basis of our common efforts, the parameters of a possible agreement are very largely defined.

“On the British side, the cabinet will meet tomorrow [Tuesday] to examine these parameters. We are at an extremely sensitive moment. The smallest public comment from my side could be exploited by those who want the negotiation to fail.”

A diplomat at the meeting said: “We all know that this is it.”

Brexit border

Brexiteers should support Northern Ireland backstop plan, says ex-EU negotiator (Image: Getty)

2.34pm update: Brexiteers should back NI border backstop to AVOID united Ireland, expert believes

A former EU trade negotiator has urged Brexiteers to support a “Northern Ireland-specific backstop” to avoid a hard border possibly leading to a united Ireland.

Paul McGrade, who previously worked at the Foreign Office, believes a hard Brexit is the “biggest threat” to the future of the Union.

And with Northern Ireland’s Catholic nationalist community growing, easy access across the border remained key to ensuring voters in the province wanted to remain part of the UK, he added.

Mr McGrade said: “Brexiteers should accept a Northern Ireland-specific backstop.

“Brexiteers can, with good conscience, support a Northern Ireland-specific backstop as the best way to preserve the Union.”

A backstop to avoid a hard border made it less likely voters in the north would opt for a united Ireland, he said.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown calls for Brexit royal commission (Image: Getty)

2.12pm update: Brown backs royal commission to bridge Brexit divisions

Gordon Brown wants a royal commission to heal divisions in Britain caused by Brexit.

There had been a “breakdown of trust” among voters, the former Prime Minister said, as he called for a second referendum.

“Allegations of betrayal” from politicians had created “a poisonous and toxic atmosphere”, he believed.

Mr Brown said: “Our challenge is to reunite a divided country. Our challenge is to see if there’s a way to end the deadlock.”

He added: ”I for one have always said that I think there will be a second referendum.

“But I also believe we have got to find a far better way of listening and hearing the voices of people.”

The commission would be “charged with hearing the voices of the British people”, he said.

A series of hearings and consultative exercises would address questions about migration, sovereignty and Britain’s long-term economic future.

Theresa May

Downing Street confirms Mrs May faces “substantial issues” to resolve EU deadlock (Image: Getty)

1.32pm update: Number 10 admits “SUBSTANTIAL” problems remain

EU and UK negotiators failed to break the deadlock over how to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border, potentially scuppering chances of a European summit at the end of the month to sign off on a deal.

Talks between British and EU teams which began on Sunday went on until nearly 3am on Monday, but failed to secure an agreement.

Downing Street confirmed there were “substantial issues still to be overcome” over the backstop plan to avoid a hard border.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have made good progress in the negotiations in relation to the withdrawal agreement but there are substantial issues still to be overcome in relation to the Northern Irish backstop.”

Without a breakthrough by the end of Wednesday there can be no European summit for a draft deal to be signed at the end of November.

Jo Johnson

Jo Johnson accuses government of “deceit” over planned Brexit publicity campaign (Image: getty)

12.30pm update: Jo Johnson takes aim at May’s Brexit “DECEIT” 

Jo Johnson has revealed he quit as Transport Secretary due to fears over Mrs May’s Brexit publicity campaign, which he branded a “calculated deceit”.

Leaked notes sen by the BBC last week showed government plans to launch a Brexit charm offensive later this month.

It was suggested the campaign would compare details of a deal secured by Mrs May with a no-deal scenario rather than Britain’s existing situation as an EU member.

But Mr Johnson, a Remain backer, said the move would have been a “deceit” and reiterated calls for a second referendum.

In his first interview since quitting on Friday, he told the Evening Standard: “I challenge the Government to come clean on the cost of Brexit.

“The reason they can’t look us in the eye, it’s because they know this will leave us worse-off and with less control. It’s a gross abuse of civil service impartiality.”

Mr Johnson added: “It’s clear that we are seeing a deepening crisis. The options for a smooth Brexit are non-existent and each day shows this more clearly. We need to consider alternatives, including the public having a final say in a referendum.”

Pedro Sanchez

Pedro Sánchez wants Britain to vote again on Brexit (Image: Getty)

11.52am update: Spanish prime minister wants second Brexit referendum

Pedro Sánchez has demanded a second referendum on Brexit.

Spain’s PSOE socialist Prime Minister said he would back another vote so Britain could “come back to the EU.”

Mr Sanchez said: “If I was Theresa May, I would call a second referendum – no doubt.

“It’s true that we’re now on the verge of signing a transition deal. But I’d like to see the British government calling a second referendum.

“I don’t mean now, but in the future, so that it can come back to the EU. In another way, but back into the EU.”

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer backs option of a second Brexit referendum (Image: Getty)

11.34am update: Keir Starmer claims Brexit can be HALTED

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer believes Brexit can still be stopped and said a second referendum should be on the negotiating table.

Mr Starmer’s view puts him at odds with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who dismissed the idea last week.

In an interview with a German newspaper, the Labour leader said the only points left to decide were what type of Brexit would be delivered.

Mr Starmer told Sky News: “Brexit can be stopped – but the real question is what are the decisions we are going to face over the next few weeks and months.”

A second referendum was “a very strong policy position”, said Mr Starmer, who said Labour would demand a general election if the final deal Mrs May puts to parliament is unacceptable.

Mrs May could put forward her final Brexit strategy at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Nathalie Louisea

Nathalie Louisea (right) has warned Theresa May the (Image: Getty)

11.14am update: French foreign minister: It’s YOUR move, Britain

France’s EU affairs minister has told Britain they need to make the next move to resolve the Brexit deadlock.

Nathalie Louisea believes the success of Brexit negotiations depends on the UK, and the Mrs May needs to give grounds on the Northern Ireland backstop.

Ms Loiseau said: “The ball is in the British court. It is a question of a British political decision.

“I have no crystal ball unfortunately. We are determined, we are committed to find a good deal. We know that it is better than a no-deal.”

A temporary customs union would would allow the UK to end the arrangement when it wished was not acceptable to the EU, she said.

Ms Louseau added: ”If you have any sort of temporary arrangement, this needs to be a bilateral decision from the EU27 and the UK at the same time, and we have to know at that moment what sort of solution there is for the Irish border.”

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier tells EU’s general affairs council meeting there is no Brexit deal yet (Image: Getty)

10.30am update: EU statement confirms no deal “yet”

Michel Barnier has informed the EU27 ministers that no deal has yet been reached with the UK over Brexit.

The Northern Ireland border remains the biggest obstacle to overcoming the ongoing impasse.

An EU statement released on Monday said: “Michel Barnier explained that intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet.

“Some key issues remain under discussion, in particular a solution to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Art, Culture and Media, said “In these final stages of the negotiations, ministers showed again today that we are determined to keep the unity of the EU 27.

“We have reconfirmed our trust in the negotiator. And we support his efforts to continue working towards a deal.”

Ministers confirmed that work was continuing at all levels to prepare for “every possible scenario”.

Jacob Rees Mogg

Rees-Mogg backs Johnson call for Cabinet to challenge May’s Brexit proposals (Image: Getty)

10.18am update: Jacob Rees-Mogg supports Boris Johnson’s Cabinet REBELLION call

Jacob Rees-Mogg has backed fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson’s call for a Cabinet Brexit mutiny, which came after Jo Jonhson resigned as Transport Secretary

The chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) told his LBC radio phone-in that Mr Johnson’s demand was “absolutely spot on”.

Mr Rees-Mogg told listeners a rebellion would just be cabinet asserting its authority.

The ERG, which contains around 50 Conservative MPs, is pushing for a harder Brexit.

Brexit update

EU Court of Justice would analyse UK application of bloc’s subsidies’ rules (Image: Getty)

10.00am update:  EU would TIE UK to Brussels environmental targets after backstop

The EU risks outraging Brexiteers by imposing tough policing of any backstop deal put in place to prevent a hard Irish border, it has emerged.

According to the Financial Times, the EU would monitor how the UK adopted environmental targets that tie member states to drawing 32 per cent of their energy from renewable sources.

Brussels also wants the European Court of Justice to monitor the UK’s application of EU rules on state subsidies to companies.

The UK could remain within the customs union in order to prevent a hard border, with fears that a deal could also mean Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.

But the DUP and Brexiteers have expressed dismay at the proposals, with the Financial Times revelations likely to anger those in the Leave camp who don’t want the UK tied to EU rules.

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier meets EU27 for last-ditch Brexit talks (Image: Getty)

9.30am update: Barnier meets EU27 as UK talks with Brussels reach FINAL COUNTDOWN

Mr Barnier returns to Brussels today to brief the EU27 foreign affairs ministers on Brexit progress this morning.

British negotiators led by Olly Robbins and an EU technical team led by Sabine Weyand will also mount last-ditch talks on Monday.

It comes amid growing concern from some Brussels bigwigs that time is running out to secure a deal.

Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders is adamant a deal is being held up by a lack of progress in Downing Street, with differences still unresolved over Britain’s relationship with the EU if a backstop is introduced to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland.

Mr Reynders said: “I was in London some days ago and we tried to convince it is needed to move on the customs union.

“But till now we are waiting for new news from London, and I’m hoping that will be the case with Michel Barnier.

“We have time but not so much. For this month it’s very difficult to make real progress but before Christmas I’m hoping for it will be possible.”

Theresa May

Theresa May cancels emergency Cabinet meeting (Image: Getty)

9.12am update: Theresa May ABANDONS plans for EMERGENCY Cabinet meeting 

Theresa May’s timetable has been derailed after she was forced to abandon plans for an emergency meeting to approve a deal, following a fresh wave of opposition in her cabinet and in Brussels.

Mrs May was scheduled to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday.

Government ministers were ordered to “Clear their diaries” for a meeting to “approve the deal” meeting on Friday, which was then put back to Monday

But the Prime Minister was forced to cancel the meeting after she was met with resistance from members of her cabinet and Brussels, over her attempted plans to free the UK from being locked into the EU Customs Union.

Resistance to Mrs May from critics at home and abroad over the so-called customs backstop and fishing rights means a new deal may not be ready by Tuesday.

Sajid JAvid

Sajid Javid among the Cabinet members who reportedly have doubts over May’s Brexit plans (Image: Getty)

8.48am update: Will MORE Cabinet members resign over May’s Brexit plans?

Mrs May could face more Cabinet walkouts as she races against time to secure a deal before an EU summit at the end of the month.

There are fears more resignations could follow this week after Jo Johnson as transport minister quit last week.

Several cabinet ministers expressed doubts over Mrs May’s Chequers plans from the start, the BBC has reported.

The Prime Minister’s plans were “worrying”, “disappointing” and “concerning”, the ministers said,

Home Secretary Sajid Javid – a Remainer – is said to be among those who expressed concerns over trade arrangements in the plan.

A common rule book with the EU would be “very worrying”, he is claimed to have said.

8.35am update: Johnson SAVAGES May in latest Brexit broadside

Mr Johnson has penned another scathing criticism of Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

The ex-Foreign Secretary, who quit his Cabinet post after Mrs May unveiled her Chequers plans, accused Mrs May of forcing Britain to accept the status of a “colony”  in EU negotiations.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he called on former colleagues to walk out, but feared it would make little impact.

Mr Johnson said: “The awful truth is that even if the Cabinet mutinies – as they ought – it will make little difference.

Even if we agree with the EU that the UK must have a unilateral break clause, so that we can go our own sweet way at a time of our own choosing, it is irrelevant: Because the programme and ambition of the Government is to remain in captivity, to stay in our cell, even if we are given the theoretical key to escape.”

We are on the verge of signing up for something even worse than the current constitutional position. These are terms that might be enforced on a colony.

“This Government seems to be on the verge of total surrender.”

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