BREXIT LIVE: Labour in CHAOS as Watson STORMS OUT of Brexit meeting – End for Corbyn?

Posted on May 1 2019 - 10:26am by admin

Tom Watson left this morning’s Shadow Cabinet while it was still ongoing as senior figures split over whether to demand a second referendum. A source claimed he “stormed out” after Jeremy Corbyn’s team refused to hand out hard copies of Labour’s draft EU elections manifesto. Mr Watson admitted he left the meeting but strongly disputed claims he “stormed out”, saying: ” There was no rancour at all. Everyone was calm.”

Ahead of the meeting Labour’s Shadow Cabinet was due to discuss the document for the elections on May 23.

But a row erupted when Jeremy Corbyn’s aides did not hand out hard copies of the manifesto.

SEE BELOW FOR UPDATES… 

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Brexit latest news: Tom Watson has stormed out of the Brexit meeting (Image: GETTY•PA)

8.10pm update: May to wrap up Brexit deal with Corbyn in eight days

Theresa May has set herself the ambitious target of wrapping up a Brexit deal with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in just eight days in a last-ditch bid to break the deadlock and avert the need for the UK to field candidates in next month’s European Parliamentary elections.

Ministers have been in discussions with Labour heavyweights including shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer for the best part of a month in an effort to find a way forward after her withdrawal agreement was voted down for the third time in the House of Commons.

As a result, Mrs May was forced to travel to Brussels to request a further delay to the implementation of Article 50, until October 31.

Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington struck an optimistic note yesterday when he said he was “encouraged” after sensing sensing agreement on the need to “inject greater urgency”.

7.45pm update: Establishment could ‘rig the game’ in second referendum

The political elite in Britain could “rig the game” in a second Brexit referendum in desperate hope of keeping the nation in the European Union, economist Richard Wellings has warned.

Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Research Director for the Institute of Economic Affairs, outlined “several problems” with dismissing the vote of 17.4 million Britons in a second Brexit referendum. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Wellings said the first issue would be with deciding on a question to put the people.

He continued: “If you don’t just have a straight choice between two options then it becomes quite complicated as to how you would actually arrange the rules.

“That means that potentially the establishment could rig the game against Brexit, which I think is probably the intention.”

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Chuka Ummuna has openly said he wants to stop Brexit (Image: GETTY)

6.30pm update: Nigel Farage slams EU membership – ‘We can’t AFFORD to stay!’

Nigel Farage claimed Britain cannot afford to stay in the EU while accusing former Prime Minister Tony Blair of sacrificing a large chunk of Margaret Thatcher’s rebate in return for “absolutely nothing”, unearthed reports reveal.

Support for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party has recently shot up the polls to put them side to side with Labour ahead of the European parliamentary elections on May 23.

In yet another devastating blow for Theresa May, the latest poll from Opinium suggests the prominent eurosceptic is set to rake in 28 percent of the vote next month.

The study also revealed that Mr Farage would make a dent in Conservative support if a general election was called, with the Brexit Party expected to take 17 percent of the vote.

6.20pm update: Change UK blasts Labour’s Brexit stance

Change UK has heavily criticised Labour’s stance on Brexit.

They said in a statement: “Whatever contortions or forms of words Labour may come up with today, it is clear that large, influential parts of the leadership will not oppose Brexit.

“Every single one of our 70 Change UK candidates supports a people’s vote. Every single one of our Change UK candidates are enthusiastic supporters of the UK remaining in the EU.

“It’s time to change our country and end the divisions and damage of this Brexit disaster.”

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Premier inn bosses blamed Brexit for its sales slump (Image: GETTY)

5.35pm update: PM ‘more evasive’ in answering questions than any of last Tory predecessors in No10

Theresa May has proved more evasive in her responses to questions than any of her last three Tory predecessors in No 10, researchers have claimed.

Academics at the University of York have been studying the way Mrs May dealt with broadcast interviews and compared it with the responses of David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

They found that in the course of two interviews after she became Prime Minister in 2016 and four during the course of the 2017 general election, Mrs May only answered 27 percent of the questions put to her.

In contrast, Mr Cameron answered 34 percent of questions in the 2015 general election, while both Mr Major in the 1992 election and Margaret Thatcher in 1987 answered 39 percent of questions they were asked.

5.20pm update: Premier Inn bosses blame Brexit for 40 percent plunge in annual profits

Premier Inn owner Whitbread has posted a near 40 percent plunge in annual profits.

The firm warned of a slowdown in holidaymaker demand for hotel rooms amid Brexit uncertainty.

4.50pm update: Labour stance on Brexit exactly the same as before – despite mammoth eight-hour meeting 

Labour’s ruling body has come to an agreement on the party’s position on a second referendum after an eight-hour meeting – which is EXACTLY the same as its existing one.

The party’s manifesto for the European Elections will commit to supporting a second referendum if it cannot get a general election, or if the government will not change its policy on Brexit.

A Labour Party Spokesperson, said: “Labour’s European Elections manifesto was agreed at the NEC today and it will be published soon. “Labour is the only party which represents both people who supported Leave and Remain.

“We are working to bring the country together after the chaos and crisis created by the Tories.”

4.40pm update: Senior Tory demands vote of no confidence in Prime Minister

A senior Tory has presented a petition calling for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Former minister Sir Christopher Chope said signatories, including some from his own Christchurch constituency, are dissatisfied with Theresa May’s handling of Brexit.

Sir Christopher told the Commons: “This petition asks this House to hold a debate of no confidence in the Prime Minister at the earliest opportunity. It is a petition from residents of the United Kingdom.”

4pm update: Change UK appeals for Labour support to stop Brexit and adopt ‘Remain position’

Change UK has urged Labour members disillusioned over their party’s position on Brexit to “lend” it their votes in the European elections.

Chuka Umunna, Change UK spokesman, said Labour had nothing to offer but “prevarication” when it came to a second EU referendum.

Speaking at a rally in London, he told supporters the better Change UK did in the European elections on May 23, the more likely it was that Labour would swing behind another popular vote.

He added: “The better we do, the more likely you are to see the Labour leadership adopt a People’s Vote and Remain position.”

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Brexit latest: May could end Brexit talks with Labour next week (Image: REUTERS)

3.20pm update: Small businesses blast May’s handing of Brexit – 53 percent demand snap election

Almost half of Britain’s small businesses have blasted Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit process.

According to the latest Citibase Business Confidence Index, 44 percent of small UK businesses think the Prime Minister has failed to negotiate a decent deal with the EU, leading to 53 percent demanding a snap general election.

Data was collected from 1,057 small businesses.

Steve Jude, Citibase CEO, comments: “Because of the uncertainty around these historic negotiations with Europe it’s no surprise that UK SMEs crave flexibility, affordability and agility, which is why office contacts between one and three years are the most desired.

“SMEs are cautious about the future and don’t want to commit to anything that may stifle their success, which is why the flexible office sector is sector growing at a record rate, as more and more businesses reject the traditional long lease model.”

2.53pm update: Should May END Labour talks as Tory COLLAPSE predicted? – Express.co.uk poll

Express.co.uk is asking do you think the Prime Minister should end Brexit talks with Labour immediately? VOTE HERE

 

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Brexit latest news: Corbyn is under pressure to back a second referendum (Image: REUTERS )

2.17pm update: Labour will NEVER oppose Brexit 

Former Labour MP Mike Gapes has said the party will never oppose Britain leaving the EU.

Mr Gapes, who now sits with the breakaway Change UK group, said Jeremy Corbyn had voted against membership of Europe in the 1975 referendum and had “kept the faith” ever since.

He told a Change UK rally in London: “Jeremy Corbyn and those he has appointed around him like (communications director) Seamus Milne have never wanted to stop Brexit.

“Corbyn whipped Labour MPs to vote for Article 50, he whipped Labour MPs not to support a people’s vote.

“Whatever contortions and forms of words they come up with today, it is clear that large, influential parts of the Labour leadership will not oppose Brexit.”

“Corbyn whipped Labour MPs to vote for Article 50, he whipped Labour MPs not to support a people’s vote.

“Whatever contortions and forms of words they come up with today, it is clear that large, influential parts of the Labour leadership will not oppose Brexit.”

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Brexit latest news: Theresa May could end talks with Labour next week (Image: GETTY )

1.47pm update: Labour will face ‘drubbing’

Labour MP Jess Phillips warned the party would face a “drubbing” if it went into the European elections without a clear promise on a second referendum.

Ms Phillips told ITV News’ Acting Prime Minister podcast: “I think people who voted Remain and voted Labour will not vote Labour again.

“I do think we’ll get a drubbing in the European elections. All the main parties are going to get a drubbing in the European elections.”

Ms Phillips added: “These are people who love to vote, people who vote in the European elections. And they’ll be shrewd and won’t want to waste it, so if Labour have got a Remain message, I think they could vote Labour.”

The Birmingham Yardley MP, whose constituency voted 60 percent Leave, said she would prefer a “softer Brexit deal” which could be put to the public in a referendum, but said she would revoke Article 50 if faced with a no-deal departure from the EU.

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Brexit latest: Change UK will hold their first Remainer rally today (Image: GETTY )

1.27pm update: May wants talks with Labour to end NEXT WEEK 

The Tory government wants talks with the opposition Labour Party on a Brexit compromise to reach a conclusion by the middle of next week, according to sources.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government are seeking to forge a consensus with Labour to help get a Brexit deal approved by parliament and deliver the result of the 2016 referendum vote to leave the Brussels bloc.

Reporters from the BBC, the Guardian and Politics Home tweeted that the government wanted the talks to be concluded by the middle of next week. But Mrs May’s spokesman had declined to set an end date for the talks, and described the latest round of talks as “serious and constructive”.

He added: “Further talks will now be scheduled in order to bring the process toward a conclusion.” 

1.08pm update: More Tory-Labour Brexit talks planned 

More talks are planned between the Tory government and the opposition Labour Party to find consensus over a EU withdrawal agreement, with no firm date for the discussions to end.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said the talks so far had been serious and constructive and there was full understanding among senior ministers on the need to make progress.

 

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Brexit latest: Tom Watson reportedly stormed out of a Labour meeting (Image: PA )

11.58am update: Blair insults ‘ignorant’ Brexiteers in scathing attack

Tony Blair has launched a blistering attack on “ignorant” Brexiteers who “don’t care” about the “strain” Brexit will put on the UK.

The former Labour leader accused Brexit supporters of being “profoundly ignorant of our history” as he argued the UK’s exit from the bloc would mean it would be very hard for England to resist demands for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Mr Blair said he was “shocked” at the Brexiteers who just “shrug their shoulders and say ‘well, we don’t care’”.

Speaking to the Institute for Government, he said: “I’m quite shocked by the amount of people who are Brexiteers in England who, when you put to them that Brexit could cause a strain on the Union, just kind of shrug their shoulders and say, ‘well, we don’t care’.

“I mean, it’s just really shocking, actually. Because that’s just profoundly ignorant of our history, what’s brought us to here and the way the world is changing outside the UK.”

His scathing attack comes as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched her desperate bid to use Brexit to drag Scotland out of the Union by calling for a second referendum on independence.

He said the only way out of the “Brexit mess” was to remain in the EU.

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Tony Blair launched a scathing attack on Brexiteers (Image: GETTY)

11.15am update: Change UK to hold first Remain rally 

Change UK will hold its first People’s Vote Remain rally for the European Elections today in London, with the theme of a Britain open to all.

Speaking at the rally will be Change UK MEP candidates for London, Gavin Esler, Jan Vincent Rostowski and Jessica Simor QC, as well as Change UK’s Interim Leader Heidi Allen MP and Change UK’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Mike Gapes MP.

Change UK MEP candidate for London and Chancellor of the University of Kent, Gavin Esler will say: “Britain is now at a great moment of decision.

“There are two visions for our country. One is the vision of Nigel Farage who claims we are racially divided, who wants to turn us away from real cooperation with Europe and who, just like his friend Donald Trump, has stirred up a meanness in our society. I utterly reject that vision.

“The vision I want is to live up to the best of our traditions – open to ideas, open to new talent and new thinking, cooperating and standing up against hate speech. That’s why we welcome students, nurses, doctors, vets, teachers and others from the European Union. All the big problems in the world – climate change, terrorism, racism, poverty – are international. The Farage-Trump vision of building walls and barriers is wrong for Britain, and especially wrong for our young people.

“We need a People’s Vote, and no ifs no buts, we’ll be campaigning to Remain.”

10.28am update: William Hague says Remainers increased chances of a no deal EU exit

The former Tory leader, has attacked Remainers for having “blown” the European elections and increasing the chance of a no deal Brexit.

Mr Hague said the outcome of the upcoming European elections will gather more support for Brexit. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he explained how the elections will be the most influential of all. The elections have seen two new political parties, the Brexit Party and Change UK, join the contest.

Mr Hague explained the outcome of the European elections is “more likely to be a reassertion of support for Brexit than a defeat for it.” 

10.01am update: GBP Sterling treading water against euro ‘as markets await fresh Brexit news’

The pound remains flat against the euro and US dollar this morning with analysts suggesting lack of major Brexit movement is keeping Sterling on muted ground.

The pound is struggling to breakthrough €1.16 and $ 1.30 this week as the UK currency’s main mover continues to be Brexit.

There has been a significant lack of political updates on Britain leaving the European Union this week, which currency watchers suggest could be the reason why Sterling is treading water. As of 9.10am UK time, the pound is worth €1.1580 after rising marginally against the euro. Versus the US dollar, Sterling is at $ 1.2962.

9.47am update: More Labour MPs back second referendum 

Twelve more Labour MEP candidates have signed up to a pledge to campaign for a second Brexit referendum and to campaign for Remain if a public vote is called.

They bring the total number of signatories to 34 out of the party’s 70 candidates across Britain.

The new signatories are: Claude Moraes MEP (London), Alvin Shum (East of England), Clare Penny-Evans (North East), Erica Lewis (North West), Claire Cozler (North West), Emma Turnball (South East), Lubna Arshad (South East), Simon Burgess (South East), Rachael Ward (South East), Eloise Todd (Yorkshire & the Humber), Martin Mayer (Yorkshire & the Humber) and Alison Hume (Yorkshire & the Hum

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Brexit latest: Corbyn is facing bitter divides in his party (Image: PA )

9.32am update: Santander reveals plunge amid Brexit uncertainty 

The High street banking giant has revealed a 35 percent plunge in first-quarter profits after being knocked by Brexit uncertainty and competition in the mortgage market.

The Spanish-owned lender reported pre-tax profits of £270 million for the first three months of 2019, down from £414 million a year earlier.

Underlying pre-tax profits fell 13% to £352 million in the first quarter.

The group said results suffered as the wider economy has been held back by Brexit fears, as well as mortgage margin pressure, costs of its swingeing overhaul, and charges related to ring-fencing to keep personal and small business banking services separate.

9.11am update: Jeremy Hunt issues warning over Tory- Labour Brexit deal 

Mr Hunt appeared to warn the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues that a deal with Labour would alienate Tory MPs, preventing a deal clearing Parliament.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “There is always a danger of doing a deal with Labour that (means) you lose more Conservative MPs than you gain Labour MPs, but I think the essential question is whether Labour are serious about delivering Brexit.”

The Foreign Secretary, who is on a trip to Africa, also said he found it “very difficult” to imagine that the two sides would announce a compromise.

8.56am update: Bitter splits in Labour party over second referendum 

Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure to commit Labour to a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal when his party’s governing body meet later to agree its European election manifesto.

The ruling National Executive Committee is to gather on Tuesday for a crunch meeting to finalise the party’s position on Brexit for next month’s polls.

Some 115 MPs and MEPs signed a letter to NEC members organised by the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit group urging them to explicitly back a referendum in the manifesto.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson used his Twitter account to urge followers to lobby NEC members to back a public vote.

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Brexit latest: Theresa May is under pressure to resign (Image: REUTERS)

8.42am update: Labour-Tory talks break impasse 

Cross-party talks aiming to break the impasse continue, with the de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington describing discussions on Monday as “positive” and “productive”.

Mr Lidington and Chancellor Philip Hammond led the Government side in talks in Whitehall with a Labour team including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Mr Lidington said Monday’s talks were “positive” and “productive”, the BBC reported.

8.31am update: Tories force emergency summit to oust May 

Theresa May faces a fresh challenge to her leadership after Tory grassroots chiefs forced an emergency summit on whether to demand she should step down, it has been reported.

A meeting of 800 constituency chairmen and women and senior activists is expected to take place in June after enough of them signed a petition to hold an emergency general meeting.

According to The Sun, they will vote on whether to demand the Prime Minister’s resignation for failing to deliver Brexit.

Such a move by grassroots Tories is said to be unprecedented in the party’s 185-year history and, while non-binding, losing the vote would put huge pressure on Mrs May to step down.

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