One MP said it was “certainly a possibility” the Prime Minister would inform the influential groups of backbenchers when she intends to step down. Meanwhile Brexiteer MPs led by Sir Bill Cash have written to Mrs May warning of their “serious legal objections” to her decision to delay Article 50, and hence Brexit, beyond March 29. And in a further blow to the PM, Brexiteer Sir Christopher Chope has even suggested Tory MPs could back a Labour motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister should one be tabled.
Sir Bill Cash has written to Mrs May suggesting her Article 50 delay was not legal
If we lose control of the process then we are heading for an election
Ministers have unexpectedly been called back to No10 after this morning’s emergency Cabinet meeting, with Mrs May now due to be meeting Cabinet sub-committees all afternoon.
The atmosphere in Westminster following the latest developments has been described as “twitchy” by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
The Prime Minister’s fragile authority suffered another blow last night when three more ministers resigned to back a Commons amendment enabling MPs to take control of Commons business to stage a series of “indicative votes” on alternatives to her deal.
They were among 30 Conservative MPs to defy the whips and support the cross-party amendment which was passed by 329 to 302 – a majority of 27 – in another humiliating reverse for Mrs May.
The defeat heaps further pressure on her position and could increase the chances of an early general election if MPs back plans for a softer Brexit which would be unacceptable to the Prime Minister or Tory Eurosceptics.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said a third election in four years would be the logical conclusion of the Government losing control over the country’s departure from the European Union.
And his warnings were echoed by fellow ministers Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom and Alan Cairns who agreed an election was increasingly likely. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told a meeting of the Cabinet that failure to pass Mrs May’s plan in the coming weeks would almost inevitably lead to an election.
A Cabinet insider said: “If we lose control of the process then we are heading for an election.
“We’ll either lose a confidence vote – in which case you could even get Corbyn without an election – or we will be forced to go for an election ourselves.”
SCROLL DOWN FOR LIVE UPDATES
Theresa May is driven away from Parliament after another defeat last night
19.53pm update: MPs may get “all or nothing” choice
MPs have proposed letting parliament choose between leaving the European Union without a deal or stopping Brexit altogether as an option to be voted on as part of a series of indicative votes to be held on Wednesday.
Jo Maugham, a lawyer and campaigner, tweeted details of the cross party proposal and said: “If No Deal and Revoke (Article 50) are all that is left Prime Minister Theresa May must put the choice between them to MPs.”
7.45pm update: Article 50 petition set for Parliamentary debate
The Revoke Article 50 petition signed by more than five million Remainers is to be debated in Parliament.
The petition exceeded the 100,000 signatures required for it to be discussed in the House of Commons this coming Monday, with the current total standing at 5,757,400 as of 6pm this evening.
The result of the petition, teamed with a People’s Vote march over the weekend that saw a million Remainers hit the streets of London in protest over Brexit, means the petition will be up for debate in Parliament.
Though the Government have already said despite the booming number of signatures, they will not be revoking Article 50.
7.42pm update: Umunna confirms support for Beckett amendment calling for second referendum
Mr Umunna tweeted: “Tomorrow @TheIndGroup will be championing the cross party £PeoplesVote amendment in the name of Margaret Beckett – all our MPs are signatories.
“It has just been tabled in the @HouseofCommons.”
Fellow MPs Anna Soubry, Mike Gapes and Chris Leslie also took to Twitter to express their support for the amendment.
7.36pm update: Professor Brian Cox reaffirms anti-Brexit stance
Astrophysicist Professor Brian Cox has reaffirmed his opposition to Brexit by stressing his belief “disentanglement” from the European Union would have an inevitable “impact” on the UK.
And he also made a pointed reference to the importance of international cooperation, which appeared to cast doubt on the prospects of Britain’s space sector thriving after the country quits the EU, whenever that may be.
Prof Cox is an outspoken opponent of Brexit, confirming via Facebook he had signed an online petition calling for the revocation of Article 50 which is now pushing towards six million signatures.
The host of Wonders of the Solar System told Express.co.uk: “The charitable way to put it is, the unbiased way to put it, is that when you disentangle yourself, and this occurs quite aside from Brexit, from a structure you’ve been a part of for a long time, then it will have an impact.”
7.32pm update: Rees-Mogg likely to back PM, says Johnson
ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg was now likely to back Mrs May’s deal, Mr Johnson predicted.
His claim drew a shocked reaction from members of the audience, with one shouting: “You’re a defeatist.”
7.28pm update: “She got rid of the Leavers”
Mr Johnson also said Mrs May had ignored his advice on Brexit.
The former Foreign Secretary explaind: “I said to the Prime Minister she should use all the leavers of Government – and then she got rid of the Leavers.”
7.11pm: “Appreciable risk” of no Brexit if MPs vote down May’s deal, warns Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has warned of an “appreciable risk” Brexit could be derailed if MPs fail to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal – while insisting he was not yet persuaded to vote for it himself.
Mr Johnson made his remarks at a Daily Telegraph event entitled Boris Live.
He said: “If we vote it down again there is an appreciable and growing sense that we will not leave at all. That is the risk’.”
However, pressed as to whether he was therefore considering supporting it, he said: I don’t think so. My association says to me don’t give an inch.”
Mr Johnson stressed he would not change his mind “unless I hear clearly that there will be a Canada style deal, that there will not be regulatory alignment”.
6.49pm update: Davis claims May has “reasonable chance” of getting deal through Commons
Former Brexit secretary David Davis said that Mrs May now had a “reasonable chance” of getting her deal through Parliament.
Mr Davis told the BBC: “It’s not a good deal but the alternative is a complete cascade of chaos.
“We are going to see proposals being put up that are all worse than her proposal.
“I think she’s got a reasonable chance. She’s got to get the DUP onside.”
Mr Davis’s remarks come on the same day the DUP’s Sammy Wilson wrote in the Telegraph: “If the deal goes through, we have lost our right to leave the EU”.
6.46pm update: Extra police could be drafted in to deal with traffic chaos in Kent after Brexit
Up to 140 police officers a day could be drafted into Kent to deal with traffic chaos anticipated by Brexit.
As well as helping to manage the “complex” travel arrangements including the contraflow and reduced speed limits on the M20 under Operation Brock, officers could also tasked with tackling protests and disorder should it arise, Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling said.
The force is thought to be the only one to be handed extra money by the Government to police Brexit as Kent is thought most likely to be affected.
The Home Office has given it £4.3 million so far, and more could be handed over in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at a press briefing in Maidstone on Tuesday, Mr Ayling said: “We have been able to benefit from the mobilisation of additional officers into Kent so in the event we do exit from the EU up to 140 officers a day are likely to be brigaded into Kent from across the UK to help us manage what is a fairly complex traffic management plan.”
6.37pm update: Don’t be “democracy saboteurs”, says Jenkyns
Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns has said MPs would become “democracy saboteurs” if they fail to take Britain out of the EU.
Ms Jenkyns tweeted a link to a youtube clip of her talking about the issue, posting: “Politicians have a choice, do they want to be democracy saboteurs or defenders of democracy.
“Brexit belongs to the people.
“We will fight on to ensure we get Brexit.”
6.23pm update Tory backbench committee secretary Evans pushes for Prime Minister’s resignation
Conservative MP Nigel Evans, a joint executive secretary of the backbench 1922 Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s PM: “The Prime Minister will be addressing the 1922 tomorrow at 5pm.
“I am encouraging her in that speech to give the timetable for her departure.
“A number of Brexiteers are reluctant to support her deal because they think if it gets over the line, she will then say ‘Look what I’ve achieved, I’m staying’.
“A number of them want to make absolutely certain she’s nowhere near the negotiating table when we start talking about the future trade relationship with the EU.
“If the Prime Minister announces a timetable of departure, I think that’s going to swing a lot of people behind her deal, we could get it over the line.”
6.17pm update: One-year delay is preferable to May’s “rotten” deal, says DUP’s Wilson
DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson has said a one-year extension to Article 50 is preferable to backing Theresa May’s “rotten” Brexit deal.
In a piece written for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Wilson said: “There are some colleagues who I admire greatly and who have stood firmly with us in defending Northern Ireland who now take the view that the Withdrawal Agreement, even though it is a rotten deal, is better than losing Brexit.
“To them I say that, if the deal goes through, we have lost our right to leave the EU.”
He suggested that a long extension to Article 50, keeping the UK in the EU, was a better option than the Withdrawal Agreement even if it meant leaving without a deal at the end.
He added: “Even if we are forced into a one-year extension, we at least would have a say on the things which affect us during that time and would have the right to unilaterally decide to leave at the end of that one-year period through the simple decision of not applying for a further extension.”
6.08pm update: Government “confident” legal interpretation is correct
The Government is confident a proposed law change altering the Brexit date is “legally correct” in response to concerns raised by lawyers.
Ministers were pressed over the legality of the statutory instrument (SI) to change the exit day of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU by Lord Pannick, who successfully led the Supreme Court Article 50 case against the Government.
Seeking assurances from the Government at Westminster after it emerged five Tory MPs, including Sir Bill Cash, had written to Mrs May about the issue, the independent crossbencher warned that adopting an invalid piece of secondary legislation on such a critical matter would be “a complete and absolute disaster”.
The concern centres on the SI, due to be debated by peers and MPs on Wednesday, containing two alternative exit days.
Conservative leader in the Lords Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, who sits in the Cabinet, said: “We are confident that the instrument is legally correct.”
6.01pm update: Boles proposes “Common Market 2.0”
Tory Remainer Nick Boles is proposing a Common Market 2.0 arrangement after Brexit as part of a series of indicative votes due to be held on Wednesday.
MPs will wrest control of the Brexit process from the government in order to try to find a majority for an alternative way forward that could break the parliamentary deadlock.
Mr Boles’ motion is unlikely to endear him to Brexiteers in his own party.
5.52pm update: Five MPs including Bill Cash have signed letter, says Hewitt
ITN political correspondent Daniel Hewitt tweeted: “Sir Bill Cash and 4 other Conservative MPS have written to the Prime Minister questioning her right to delay the UK’s exit from the EU until April 12th, claiming the govt’s attempt to gain approval after the event has “called into question the lawfulness of its actions.”
Mr Hewitt also quoted extensively from the letter, which suggests MPs have been presented with a “fait accompli” adding that it was “incumbent on the Government to respect the normal practice of allowing Parliament to approve any necessary legislative changes before entering into a binding international obligation”.
It alleged unlawful use of the “Royal Prerogative” in agreeing to delay Article 50, explaining: “Any purported exercise of the Royal Prerogative that is inconsistent with the intention of Parliament is unlawful.”
Furthermore, they claim the extension represented a violation of international law.
5.40pm update: Brexiteers voice “serious doubts” about legality of Article 50 delay
Brexiteer MPs have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to raise “serious legal doubts” about the UK’s decision to delay Article 50.
Mr Cash, who along with seven others, including six MPs, is a member of the so-called “star chamber” of Eurosceptic lawyers who have been scrutinising Mrs May’s deal, has been a vocal critic of the plan to delay leaving the EU.
Yesterday he tweeted: “There is grave concern that there was no lawful UK authority for the decision to extend the exit date.
“Did the Prime Minister consult the Attorney General beforehand which is required under the Ministerial Code?”
5.30pm Dip in mortgage approvals, with buyers wary ahead of Brexit
The number of mortgage approvals made dipped slightly in February, figures from trade association UK Finance show, suggesting home buyers may be cautious in the lead-up to Brexit.
Some 39,083 home loans were approved for house purchase, edging down slightly on the 39,910 approvals recorded in January, although February’s figure was still higher than December 2018, when 38,905 deals were approved.
The figures also show 26,890 re-mortgage loans were approved in February, which was lower than in January but slightly up compared with December 2018.
Recent housing market reports have indicated some buyers may be taking a “wait-and-see” approach amid current Brexit uncertainty.
5.22pm update: Poll is no guarantee of different referendum result, says expert
British voters may be changing their minds about leaving the European Union, Britain’s leading polling expert has said – but not to a degree which would guarantee a different result in another referendum.
The British Social Attitudes survey compiled by NatCen Social Research, a research body, and analysed by academic John Curtice, included a summary of polls which showed voter intentions last month pointing to a 55-45 percent vote in favour of remaining in the EU. The 10 percentage-point gap compared with a lead of eight points for Remain in June last year.
Mr Curtice said: “Polling is enough to raise doubts about whether, two-and-a-half years after the original ballot, leaving the EU necessarily continues to represent the view of a majority of the British public.
“But given the potential frailties of all survey work the Remain lead in our data is not sufficiently large for anyone to be sure what the outcome of any second ballot would be.”
5.05pm update: Brexit could “rip Labour apart”
Labour could be “ripped apart” by Brexit as the party’s split widen over backing a second referendum or the Norway-plus model.
Jeremy Corbyn is expected to be put under increased pressure at today’s shadow cabinet meeting to commit to another Brexit vote while support among Labour leavers is leaning towards a closer relationship with Brussels after Britain leaves the EU.
A source from the People’s Vote campaign, the group behind Saturday’s mega central London protest, told The Times they would be relaxed if Labour continued to back a soft Brexit but only if the party also supported putting their version to voters.
He added if Jeremy Corbyn did not eventually come around to supporting their campaign it would “rip Labour apart”.
5.01pm update: “No secret plan” to deliver Brexit, admits minister
Theresa May’s divided Government has “no secret plan” to finally deliver Brexit, a Cabinet minster has sensationally claimed.
The Prime Minister last night lost control of the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union after the Commons approved Sir Oliver Letwin’s amendment to give a larger say to Parliament.
Now, one minister has admitted the Government has no strategy to break the deadlock. One senior Cabinet minister told The Times: “There is no secret plan.” When asked what next, they replied: “Let’s see what tomorrow brings, shall we?”
The cross-party motion back in Parliament gave MPs control of the Commons agenda and hold indicative votes on the way forward for Brexit.
Norman Tebbit asked how many people who signed the petition “were foreigners”
4.59pm update: “How many petition signatories were foreigners?” asks Tebbit
Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit asked how many of the signatories were “British subjects and how many are foreigners”.
Lord Callanan said some doubt had been cast on some of the signatures on social media.
He added: “But I don’t doubt the vast majority were British citizens.”
Nevertheless, he stressed the need to respect the result of the referendum and the vote of 17.4 million people in favour of leaving the EU, which he said was “bigger than the five million who have signed the petition”.
4.55pm update Callanan rejects calls for Brexit rethink despite five million petition
The Government has rejected calls to change tack on Brexit after more than five million people signed a petition demanding Parliament revokes Article 50.
Brexit minister Lord Callanan acknowledged at question time that the number of people signing the petition to stay in the EU was “impressive”.
But he told peers that the UK had government by the ballot box and Parliament, not by internet opinion polls.
Lord Callanan said: “Of course we respect everybody who signed the petition. It’s an impressive number of people.”
But he said that under Labour 750,000 people marched against the Iraq war and “we know the result of that”.
4.50pm update: Macron ally takes snide dig at Brexiteers
The head of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party list for upcoming European elections launched her campaign on Tuesday with a snide dig at Britain’s pro-Brexit leaders.
Speaking as she said announced her resignation in order to lead the LREM party into the May 26 European Parliament election, European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau said: “Do you remember the slogan ‘take back control’?
“It was a good slogan but the wrong answer, and we can see the state they’re in now.”
Ms Loiseau, a career diplomat who previously headed France’s elite ENA civil service college, added:
“Taking back control of our destiny can only be achieved with Europe.”
Nathalie Loiseau has taken a potshot at Leave campaigners
4.43pm update: Benn and Letwin plan allows MPs to table Brexit motions
Under a plan put forward by Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour’s Hilary Benn, MPs will be able to table motions in support of their favoured Brexit option for debate tomorrow.
Commons Speaker John Bercow will then decide which motions will be voted on.
At 7pm on Wednesday, MPs will vote on the various options, with the Commons sitting suspended for half an hour for the process to take place.
Mr Bercow will then announce the results later in the evening.
Further votes could take place on Monday, April 1 under the plan.
4.40pm update: Brexit will be a severe blow to Ireland’s economy, admits Irish banking chief
A no-deal Brexit would cause a severe economic and financial blow to the Irish economy, the Central Bank of Ireland has warned.
But it added that the country’s ability to withstand a no-deal scenario is “much better” than it would have been a few years ago.
Central Bank chief Philip Lane said Brexit posed a permanent disruption to the Irish economy and challenges to industries, firms and regions across the country.
He said: “We are all waiting to see what happens in Westminster.”
4.35pm update: “We’re playing with fire,” Kawczynski warns ERG colleagues
“I think when we debated this issue last night, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other when it came to the speakers, both for and against.
“There is definitely a palpable shift. It was a trickle, now it’s a flow.
“We Brexiteers are playing with fire, and we could get very, very burnt if this deal doesn’t get through.”
4.33pm update: ERG’s Kawczynski offers hope to PM
Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, a member of the European Research Group, has said a “trickle” of ERG members supporting the Prime Minister’s deal has become a “flow”.
Mr Kawczynski said: “I addressed the ERG last night, as did some of my other fellow Tory MPs, and we basically said to them the time has come now to back the Prime Minister’s deal.
“The Prime Minister’s deal turns out to be the least worst option out of all the options which Parliament are now putting forward.
“We were very concerned about aspects of it but frankly it’s a dream compared to a full blown customs union, another referendum or a single market agreement with the European Union that doesn’t fulfil what our constituents voted for.
4.20pm update: May’s deal “even worse” than staying in the EU, says Farage
Arch-Brexiteer and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said Theresa May’s Brexit deal is even worse than staying in the EU.
Mr Farage, who retweeted a Daily Telegraph post suggesting ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg was considering backing Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint, posted: “This is not a deal, it is a legally binding international treaty.
“We are being asked to swap one for another, the new one is even worse.”
Nigel Farage is implacably opposed to Mrs May’s deal
4.12pm update: Parliament to vote on alternative Brexit options tomorrow at 7pm
Parliament will begin voting on alternative options for the way forward on Brexit at 7pm tomorrow, under plans put forward by MPs who have taken control of the process from the government.
Labour’s Hilary Benn posted a picture of the so-called Business of the House Motion on Twitter, which sets out that lawmakers will have half-an-hour to record their votes on a range of Brexit proposals selected by the Speaker of parliament.
The results will then be announced by the Speaker at some point before parliament finishes for the day.
The motion also states that lawmakers plan to take control of parliamentary time again on Monday April 1 for another debate on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Hilary Benn tweeted a copy of the Parliamentary schedule
4pm update: Chope warns Tory MPs could back Labour motion to sink May
Veteran Conservative Eurosceptic Sir Christopher Chope accused Mrs May of “chicanery” over her Brexit deal and said some Tory MPs could be prepared to vote for a Labour motion of no confidence in her.
Sir Christopher said while Conservative MPs were unlikely to support a Labour no-confidence motion in the Government – which could trigger a general election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – they may do so if it was aimed at the Prime Minister personally.
He said: ”That might be a way in which the leader of the opposition could try and entice some members of the Conservative Party to come across and express a parliamentary lack of confidence in the Prime Minister without it being a lack of confidence in the Government.
“If that was to happen it would be for the leader of the opposition to initiate it. A motion of no confidence just in the Prime Minister would not have an impact under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.”
3.58pm update: MPs being denied “real choice” of leaving on WTO terms, says Brexiteer MP
She said the “real choice” should be for the UK to leave the EU on April 12 on World Trade Organisation terms.
she told a meeting of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group: “I am still of the opinion that we are being given a false choice of a deal which is not Brexit – it is Remain in all but name – or an extension.
“I am not buying into that choice.”
Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP and a member of the ERG, confirmed last week he would now reluctantly back Mrs May’s deal after taking soundings in his Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.
3.56update: ERG is split over May’s deal, admits Braverman
Former Brexit minister Suella Braverman has acknowledged there are differences with the European Research Group (ERG) over whether they should now drop their opposition to Theresa May’s deal.
ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the alternative to the Government’s deal may be “no Brexit”.
However, Ms Braverman, a former ERG chairman, said that while she respected the views of her colleagues, she was not prepared to support the deal.
3.52pm update: “Nobody knows” what will happen with Irish border, admits Varadkar
Ireland’s leader Leo Varadkar has told Theresa May he and his Government will hold Britain to its commitments to ensure free movement of people and trade after Brexit.
Speaking in the Dail parliament, Mr Varadkar said: “We will hold the UK Government to its existing commitments – its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement to ensure free movement of people and free trade north and south, its commitments made in 2017 to maintain full regulatory alignment.”
Mr Varadkar said talks with the European Commission had been taking place “at official level” exploring different contingencies which could exist.
However, the Taoiseach admitted nobody could say for sure what would happen to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU.
3.46pm update: Brexit “an extraordinary situation”, says Swedish migration official
Tobias Lundin, head of the Swedish Migration Agency’s North Region, in the capital city of Stockholm, said the agency was prioritising British applications because of Brexit.
And Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) spokeswoman Lisa Danling confirmed: “Brexit is an extraordinary situation and the Swedish Migration Agency is therefore prioritising matters regarding British citizenship.”
She said top priority was being given to cases involving Brits who were clearly eligible for citizenship and had included all the necessary information and documents.
3.44pm update: Sweden fast-tracks citizenship applications from Britons as Brexit looms
Immigration officials in Sweden are fast-tracking applications for citizenship from Brits after the number of applications reportedly more than doubled amidst Brexit fears.
More than 1,300 Brits have already applied for Swedish citizenship so far this year – compared to less than 2,000 for the whole of 2018, according to local media.
That would mean more than double the number of applications compared to last year should the current trend continue.
3.42pm update: Leadsom warns MPs they must offer “negotiable options”
House of Commons leader Andrea Leadom called on MPs to be realistic in their expectations when it came to talks with the EU over Brexit.
She said: “Any options that are passed by this House must be negotiable, so they have to be deliverable in negotiations with the EU and they would also have to take account of how long those negotiations would take.”
She said: “It would not be possible for different parties to accept proposals that their party manifestos rejected at the last general election.
“Well the shadow Brexit secretary was clear in the House yesterday that Labour would reject certain potential outcomes as inconsistent with the Labour manifesto… It’s absolutely vital that this House delivers outcomes that are negotiable and are feasible and in line with the will of the manifestos and the referendum that we all stood on.”
3.37pm update: ERG “sees the instruments of torture laid out before them,” says former Tory Whip Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell, a former Conservative Chief Whip, said: “No two members of Parliament think precisely the same way on all these issues. Most of us are trying to do our very best to look after the interests of those who sent us here to represent them.
“It is quite late, and that is a troubling factor. With hindsight clearly we should never have moved away from the EU (view) that nothing is decided until everything is decided. With hindsight, moving Article 50 before we knew where we were going was a mistake, but we were all complicit in that.
Mr Mitchell addedL ”With the assertion last night of the role of Parliament, my friends and colleagues in the ERG can see the instruments of torture laid out in front of them, and may be they will, as clever Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg have been beginning to sound a lot less hostile to Mrs May’s deal.”
Andrea Leadsom talking in the Commons earlier
3.33pm update: MPs could work through Easter holidays to agree Brexit deal, hints Leadsom
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom has suggested the Easter recess for MPs could be cancelled.
It is scheduled to take place from when the Commons rises on April 4 until April 23.
She said: “I have announced the dates for Easter recess but as is always the case recess dates are announced subject to the progress of business.
“We will need time in the House either to find a way forward or to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and I think the country will rightly expect Parliament to be working flat out in either scenario, so further announcements on future recess dates will be announced in due course in the usual way.”
Some MPs on the opposition benches could be heard saying “recess is cancelled”.
3.28pm update: No change in DUP’s Brexit position, confirms spokesman
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) position on Brexit remains unchanged, a spokesman for the party propping up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Tuesday in response to a report that it favours a long delay.
Sky News quoted a source close to talks between the DUP and the British government as saying the party’s lawmakers were moving towards “a long extension, perhaps a year or more, which would mean a change of leader and a different approach.” The DUP said publicly earlier on Tuesday it would prefer no Brexit deal to the prime minister’s deal.
The spokesman said: “Our position remains unchanged and as previously set out. We will judge all proposals and scenarios on the basis of our objectives to maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom and deliver on the referendum result,” the spokesman said.
3.23pm update: Bookie cuts odds of Article 50 being revoked to 5-2
Bookmaker Coral has cut the odds on the UK revoking Article 50 to 5-2 (from 3-1), after MPs voted to take control of the Brexit process.
Another EU referendum before the end of 2019 can be backed at 2-1. This is the shortest price it has been for some time. It also means that a no deal Brexit is longer odds than both, at 3-1.
Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead said: “There is definitely a feeling that we are getting closer and closer to either another referendum, or even the revoking of Article 50. The odds have dropped considerably on either outcome over the last week or so and most recently we have slashed our odds on Article 50 being revoked.”
Coral are rate the possibility of a general election this year odds on at 4-5, that there is General Election this year. The Conservative Party remain favourites to gain the most seats the next time the UK does go the polls, also at 4-5, with Labour at at 11-8.
1.38pm update: Commons Leader confirms debate on new Brexit date
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has confirmed MPs will debate the statutory instrument to change the exit day of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU tomorrow.
She told the Commons: “The first business tomorrow will reflect the decision taken by the House yesterday.
“At the conclusion of that business, the Government will bring forward the draft European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 Amendment Regulations 2019 for consideration.”
Ms Leadsom said the Prime Minister was having ongoing discussions “so that we can, if possible this week, approve the deal and guarantee Brexit”.
The draft statutory instrument that the Government hoped to bring forward tomorrow “will provide for two durations that were agreed with the EU 27”.
She said: ”Exit day as amended would be the 22nd May if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved before 11pm on 29th March, otherwise it would be 11pm on 12 April.”
1.16pm update: DUP “would prefer long Brexit delay”
The DUP would prefer a long Brexit extension to Theresa May’s hugely unpopular withdrawal agreement, it has emerged.
Party leaders have been in talks with deputy prime minister David Lidington over the Government’s offer of a “Stormont lock” to ensure new EU laws applied in Northern Ireland would be accepted by the rest of the UK under the backstop arrangements.
It is understood the talks broke up over fears such an arrangement would never be acceptable to some Tory Brexiteers or the other devolved administrations.
A source close to the talks told Sky News the party’s MPs are moving towards “a long extension, perhaps a year or more, which would mean a change of leader and a different approach”.
12.54pm update: Lewin to table Commons motion on indicative votes
Commons Speaker John Bercow said Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin will table a motion linked to the indicative votes procedure at approximately 4pm on Tuesday.
He told the Commons: “I understand that Sir Oliver will be tabling a business of the House motion at approximately 4pm.
“Members have until the rise of the House this evening to table motions to be considered tomorrow under the indicative votes procedure.
“The indicative votes procedure itself, I must advise the House, will be set out in the amendable motion which the House will debate tomorrow.”
11.55am update: Leadsom to make Commons business statement
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom is due to make a business statement at 12.30pm when she is expected to cover the topic of the indicative votes included in the amendment voted for by MPs last night.
11.46am update: Brexiteer predicts snap election
Tory Brexiter John Baron has said he thinks a general election is becoming more likely.
He said: “A snap general election is becoming more likely. Whatever the outcome of the votes on Wednesday, the numbers inside the current remain-dominated House of Commons will not change.
“It may be that an election is necessary to redress the balance in favour of MPs willing to implement the referendum result, for history suggests it is unwise for any parliament to distance itself from the people.
“The events of the next few weeks will be critical.”
11.08am update: May to address 1922 Committee
Theresa May will address Tory MPs at the 1922 committee at 5pm tomorrow and party grandees are understood to be expecting her to announce the date of her resignation at the meeting.
One MP said it was “certainly a possibility” the Prime Minister would inform the influential backbench committee when she intended to step down.
10.27am update: Ireland faces huge employment shock if UK walks away without a deal
Ireland’s employment would be 3.4 percent lower if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, a shock Brexit poll has found.
Ireland’s 2.3-million-strong workforce would create 80,000 fewer jobs over the next 10 years through a combination of job cuts and roles that would otherwise have been created if Britain leaves without any orderly transition for trade, a government-commissioned report has found.
Ireland’s Finance Ministry had forecast 50,000 fewer jobs in a similar scenario.
10.25am update: Rees-Mogg predicts “deal or remain” choice for MPs
Jacob Rees-Mogg believes MPs will have to choose between Theresa May’s Brexit deal or staying in the European Union.
The chairman of the pro-hard Brexit European Research Group made the prediction in his latest ConservativeHome podcast.
He said the Prime Minister would not deliver a no deal Brexit which meant the choice eventually boiled down to “deal or no Brexit”.
He said: “Whether we are there yet is another matter, but I have always thought that no deal is better than Mrs May’s deal, but Mrs May’s deal is better than not leaving at all.
“Leaving the European Union, even leaving it inadequately and having work to do afterwards, is better than not leaving at all”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said Brexit may now need to be viewed as “a process rather than an event” and described it as a “process of unravelling and diverging which will take time”.
9.55am update: Ministers arrive for Cabinet meeting
Ministers have arrived in Downing Street for a crunch Cabinet meeting with the Government facing a fresh crisis over Brexit.
Liam Fox and Matt Hancock have arrived at Number 10 followed by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.
Cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt, Andrea Leadsom, Gavin Williamson, Liz Truss, James Brokenshire, Sajid Javid, Damian Hinds, Jeremy Wright and Penny Mordaunt have arrived alongside Conservative Chairman Brandon Lewis.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay
9.41am update: Brine hopes MPs bid to take control will “focus minds”
Steve Brine, who resigned as a health minister last night to vote for the Letwin amendment, said the prospect of the Commons taking control of Brexit could persuade some Tory Brexiters to back Theresa May’s deal.
He said: “Maybe what last night will do is focus some minds
“Those on my side who don’t like the deal, maybe they will realise that the House of Commons is prepared to act. And, anything from here, as far as they are concerned, gets softer in terms of Brexit.”
Mr Brine said if the Commons failed to deliver a way forward “everything is on the table”, including a referendum and revoking Article 50.
9.14am update: Lord Heseltine warns Prime Minister is playing with fire
Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has warned Theresa May she is “playing with fire” if she ignores the results of indicative votes in the Commons tomorrow.
Lord Heseltine, who served in the Thatcher and Major governments and is a former Deputy Prime Minister, said: “I think she’s playing with fire when she says that she is not going to take any notice of what the House of Commons says.
“Her premiership has been hanging by the flimsiest thread now for some weeks.”
Lord Heseltine was one of the high-profile politicians at the Put It To The People rally in Westminster on Saturday.
Lord Heseltine said Theresa May was ‘playing with fire’
9.07am update: Hancock warns Brexit has put constitution under stress
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he feared “many, many parts of our constitution are being stressed” in the process of trying to deliver Brexit.
Mr Hancock said: ”We don’t have a God-given right to be successful.
“But one of the reasons we have been so successful in the past is because our constitution has worked well and been flexible.
“I worry about what happens when we start breaking those conventions.”
8.47am update: German MP welcomes Commons victory
German MP Norbert Roettgen, head of the foreign affairs committee in Germany’s lower house of parliament, has welcomed the Commons’ decision to vote on a range of Brexit options on Wednesday.
He said: ”Finally MPs are taking control of Brexit. Short extension therefore almost certainly off the table. This is good news!”
Alistair Burt resigned from the Government last night
8.27: Alistair Burt: “We are running out of time”
Alistair Burt, who resigned as Foreign Office Minister last night, said in a statement that he had opted to defy the whip “for the country’s sake”.
He said: “With great sadness I resigned from the Government last night.
“Having accepted the result of the referendum, I have worked and voted consistently for the best outcome for the country and constituency, which is to leave the EU with a good arrangement for the future.
“Despite the best and determined efforts of the Prime Minister, her agreement with the EU continues to be rejected by Parliament.
“We are running out of time for an alternative, and the risk of leaving without a deal, and continuing serious and disruptive uncertainty is affecting the UK profoundly.”
8.07am update: Ex-minister fears “democratic deficit”
Richard Harrington, who resigned as business minister to oppose the Government on the issue of indicative votes, said Parliament had to face up to the political impasse created by Brexit.
He told the Today programme: “It’s absurd that now we are in a position of political impasse and Parliament hasn’t actually talked about it on the floor of the House of Commons.
“That’s what I call a democratic deficit. And Parliament has got to talk about it.”
Mr Harrington said it would be legitimate to have another referendum if MPs backed revoking Article 50.
He said: “I don’t think that’s likely.
“If that were the case then I think it would be very plausible for the Prime Minister then to say I don’t want this because this is totally different from the last time the public were consulted in the first referendum.
“Therefore, I feel it would be very legitimate before taking such a dramatic move as revoking Article 50 to have another referendum, to see where the public are at.”
Richard Harrington has warned of a democratic defecit
7.30am update: Majority of Britons think Brexit handled badly
More than 80 percent of the country think the Government has handled the Brexit negotiations badly, a new poll suggests.
A survey by NatCen Social Research found that just 7 percent of Britons thought ministers had done a good job in the talks, while 81 percent said they were handling them badly.
The researchers asked more than 2,600 adults last month about their views on Brexit – and compared them with data from 2017.
It suggested that public faith in the negotiations has dramatically fallen.