After a private meeting with the Chris Grayling last August to discuss future plans in the event of a no deal, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) released a press release opposing the minister’s plans. The RHA claims the transport minister left threatening voicemail messages to company bosses. They say Mr Grayling was “trying to silence” the firm – and said he would cut the association, the biggest representative company for freight and truck drivers in the UK – out of his No deal Plans for speaking publicly.
According to a BBC documentary on Britain’s No deal plans, a leaked message appears to show Mr Grayling saying: “I’ve got to say how very disappointed I am.
“I had intended to involve you closely in the planning over the next few months, but issuing a press release straight after meeting like that makes it much more difficult for me to do that”.
But RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said Mr Grayling was “trying to silence an industry that’s trying to help Government guide them”.
Mr Burnett said: “My sense of that message was – either shut up or you don’t engage.
Brexit live: John Redwood has lashed out at the former PM
“You either play ball with us or you won’t be part of the negotiations on behalf of the industry”.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport has since said: “The RHA has been heavily involved in our EU exit preparatory work and we will continue to involve them at every stage of our planning.
“It is extremely unfortunate when details of private conversations held in confidence are made public in a press release.”
Brexit live: Boris is confident the UK will leave on October 31
According to the Telegraph, the freight association confirmed that talks with the Government have continued since the voicemail was allegedly sent last year.
Britain is in the grip of a tory leadership battle, with the two leader, Jeremy hunt and Boris Johnson, both offering different visions of Brexit.
Both leaders have stated they would be prepared to see the UK leave without a deal on October 31. Mr Johnson, who is confident the UK can leave the bloc with a deal, said the EU had to “look deep into our eyes” and realise the UK was prepared to walk away.
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11.35am: Clash of Tories as Redwood attacks former PM Major
Ex-Tory PM John Major has been savaged by John Redwood after the former’s comments to the BBC in which he said Britain was wrong to leave the European Union.
MP and eurosceptic Mr Redwood said: “The BBC did not even ask him why he inflicted so much economic damage on us by joining and staying in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
“That gave us job losses and a recession, a big cost from him being pro EU.”
Mr Major was being interviewed for BBC’s Hardtalk last Friday.
11.25pm update: Hunt calls Trump Administration “effective” after UK ambassador comments
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Hunt criticised UK ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch’s comments that the trump administration was “dysfunctional” and “inept”.
Mr Hunt rejected the criticism, calling the US government “highly effective”, saying: “There are 13,000 people who work for the Foreign Office extremely bright, able, dedicated people.
“And we pay them as taxpayers to give us their frank assessment of the situation in the countries where they are serving, which is what our ambassador in Washington was doing. But it’s a personal view.
“And there will be many people in this building who don’t agree with that view. And, indeed, I don’t agree with some of the views that we saw in those letters.
“I’ve said I think the US administration is highly effective and we have the warmest of relationships, and a partnership based on standing up for shared values.
“I made it clear that I don’t share the ambassador’s assessment of either the US administration or relations with the US administration.”
Hitting back at Mr Darroch’s comments, Mr Trump accused the UK’s ambassador to Washington of having “not served the UK well”, adding his administration was “not big fans of that man”.
Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, Mr Trump added: “So I can understand it and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”
Brexit live: Mr Hunt said Trump’s administration had been “highly effective”
11.20am update: No-deal uncertainty causes biggest investment drop since 2009 recession
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that business spending in the UK economy will decline by about 1.3% in 2019 compared with a year ago.
The group says it would be the steepest drop since the last recession in 2009 – warning uncertainty was preventing companies from investing and risking the UK falling behind G7 competitors.
CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said: “For any business it’s hard to take spending decisions now.
“When the risk of a no-deal Brexit feels very real at the moment, why would you take a big decision now?
“You would wait and see until the end of October. The main risk, though, is we fall off a cliff of no-deal Brexit.”
According to CBI, the potential damage a no-deal Brexit could cause comes at a time when global growth is slow on the back of the US-China trade dispute.
Brexit live: No deal uncertainty is affecting British business, said a leading trade lobby group
10.55am update: Coveney says Ireland to step up preparations for “disorderly” Brexit
Foreign minister Simon Coveney said Ireland will step up its preparations for a disorderly Brexit this week given the chances of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal have never been higher.
With close trade links and a shared land border, Ireland is considered the most vulnerable among remaining EU members to Brexit and lawmakers passed one of the largest-ever pieces of legislation in March to prepare as best it could for a no deal.
He said the updated contingency plan will refine and improve on the actions already in place for March 29 and April 12, the original Brexit deadlines before Britain was given an extension until the end of October.
Origin in the Irish Times, Mr Coveney wrote: ”One of the biggest dangers Ireland faces in the weeks ahead is the ‘boy who cried wolf’ effect, whereby people and business assume that because a disorderly Brexit was averted in March and April the same will happen in October. To assume this would be a serious error. The chances of a disorderly Brexit have never been higher and the Government now considers the risk of this outcome on October 31st as ‘significant’.”
Coveney reiterated the backstop is an integral part of the deal and said the government had in recent weeks observed and listened to some inaccurate utterances about Ireland, the EU and the backstop, writing: “Of course people can have their own opinions, but they cannot have their own facts.”
Mr Coveney said it was more likely than ever before that the UK would leave without a Brexit deal
10.20am update: Vince Cable says electorate hell-bent on wreaking revenge for shambolic Brexit
The Lib Dem leader warned the next Prime Minister “will face an anti-Brexit front more united than ever before” and an electorate hell-bent on “wreaking revenge” for a shambolic Brexit.
Sir Vince Cable said the current leadership race is “not representative” of the UK electorate, as the new Prime Minister will be chosen from just 160,000 Tory party members.
The remain-backing politician said Britain’s new leader will be chosen by party members that are predominantly over 55 and wealthy and described party voters as a “selectorate” – and warned they will face an even bigger uphill battle than before.
Writing in POLITICO on Monday, Sir Cable warned the new leader – which will be decided between frontrunner Boris Johnson and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt – will “face an anti-Brexit front more united than ever before” as they fight their way out of “toxic sludge”.
He wrote: “Parties such as the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Plaid Cymru are starting to work together for the greater good. We’re putting aside our differences and focusing on doing everything collectively to stop a no-deal Brexit — and, indeed, to stop Brexit altogether.”
Brexit live: Mr Cable said Remain policital parties would be “more united than ever before”
9.45am update: Farage creating ‘blueprint’ to scare EU, planning meetings with Trump trade advisers
The Brexit Party leader has revealed he will be taking the Brexit process into his own hands to “massively strengthen” the UK position to allow Britain to leave the European Union by the October deadline.
Mr Farage said he will be attempting to speak to some of Britain’s biggest industrialists in hope of securing a trading blueprint with the US after Brexit.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Farage said: “What I would like to do and what I have been trying to do for the last few weeks is to try to find some big UK industrialists, and I am talking to a few, to start meeting with Trump’s trade advisors so that we can start to get the blueprint together.
“You know, as soon as the European Union realises that we are serious about big all-encompassing deals with countries like America, it massively strengthens our position between now and October 31.”
Brexit live: Mr Farage is planning meetings with Mr Trump’s trade advisers
9.30am update: New EU chief launches scathing attack on bloc leaders
EU chiefs have been warned to deliver significant reforms to make the EU more democratic after withering criticisms of the process to replace Jean-Claude Juncker.
The new president of the European Parliament, David Maria Sassoli, insisted EU leaders had ignored political groups’ wishes after the surprise pick of Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president.
Ms von der Leyen, a German defence minister, was nominated to become the EU’s most senior official after more than 30 hours of horse trading last week.
EU leaders discarded Manfred Weber, a German MEP, and Frans Timmermans, Mr Juncker’s deputy, despite the pair having the support of the Parliament.
Mr Sassoli said: “We believed a lot in the lead candidate. There was the electoral campaign of European political families.
“Everyone expected the process to be respected and from this came the designation of the president of the Commission. This was not the case.”
EU Parliament president urges leaders to reform bloc amid Commission chief fury
9.00am update: Boris says UK will be “match fit” for no deal Brexit
The Tory leadership frontrunner said there would be “no second chances” as he stressed that Halloween was a real deadline, “not a fake one” – a comment aimed at his rival Jeremy Hunt.
Writing for BrexitCentral Mr Johnson took aim at Mr Hunt, who referred to October 31 as a “fake deadline” – before later admitting he should have described his rival’s commitment to leave on that date as a “fake promise”.
Mr Johnson said: “We need a change of direction. That’s why we must treat October 31 as a real deadline for leaving the EU, come what may, not a fake one.”
He restated his promise to protect the rights of EU expats in the UK and to put the £39 billion divorce settlement in a state of “creative ambiguity” to use as leverage to secure a deal.
Discussions about the thorny issue of the Irish border would be put into the talks on the future trading relationship under his plan.
He continued: “If our friends feel they cannot agree, then we will be match fit for no deal.”
8.30am update: Former Brexit chief says UK should “worry” about no-deal
Former minister Philip Rycroft, who resigned from the Department for Exiting the European Union before the original deadline date of March, said the UK faced an “unprecedented situation” with a no deal – the “biggest exercise across government over the last few decades”.
Speaking to BBC’s Panorama, Mr Rycroft said: “This has been an extraordinary exercise to which the civil service is responding brilliantly well.
The planning I think is in good shape, absolutely – but of course what that doesn’t mean is that there won’t be an impact from Brexit, and particularly a no-deal Brexit, because that is a very major change and it would be a very abrupt change to our major trading relationship.”
“The rational outcome over the next few months is to get a deal because that is overwhelmingly in the economic interest of both the EU and the UK.”
Mr Rycroft – who was in charge of preparing the UK for a no-deal Brexit until March this year, continued: “It’s not in the UK’s interest to have no deal, it’s not in the EU’s interest to have a no deal.
“I think everybody should be worried about what happens in a no-deal situation. We would be taking a step into the unknown.”