BREXIT LIVE: May given THREE-WEEK DEADLINE to close deal – Tories offer PM last chance

Posted on Dec 18 2018 - 11:15pm by admin

It comes after the Prime Minister told the Commons on Monday that MPs will vote on the Brexit deal during the third week in January. Ministers look set to rubber-stamp plans to use a £2 billion Brexit fund to help Britain prepare for a no-deal Brexit. And with only 101 days until Britain leaves the EU and Mrs May’s deal looking  poised to collapse, the cabinet is intensifying its no deal plans.

Theresa May

Theresa May defies Jeremy Corbyn move to bring her down with no-confidence vote (Image: Getty)

Last night, a defiant Mrs May rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a Commons vote on her performance as prime minister, branding it a “stunt”.

In farcical scenes, the Labour leader tabled a no-confidence motion,  accusing Mrs May of failing to allow MPs a vote on the Brexit deal “straight away”.

But in a dramatic twist, he then changed his mind after Mrs May called his bluff and promised a debate in Parliament before Christmas, then again announced he was tabling his motion.

Mrs May taunted Mr Corbyn, saying she would not “go along with political games”.

12.20pm update: Dutch PM accuses UK of “dropping the vase” on Brexit

Britain has “dropped the vase” over Brexit and been left in “chaos,” Holland’s prime minister claims.

Mark Rutte – a close ally of Theresa May – compared the UK to a fragile vase that could now shatter.

In an open letter to Dutch voters, he warned: “We have seen examples of societies where they dropped the vase.

“Look at Great Britain. The politicians and residents have forgotten what they achieved together. Now they are in chaos.”

Mr Rutte’s full-page advert in Dutch paper Algemeen Dagblad comes ahead of provincial elections, with his centre-right VVD facing a challenge from populist parties like Geert Wilders’s PVV.

David Cameron

David Cameron sent Theresa May supportive texts before vote of no confidence, it is claimed (Image: Getty)

12.05pm update: May “getting secret Brexit texts from Cameron”

David Cameron has been secretly texting Theresa May to back her in her battle against hardline Brexiteers.

The former PM fired off the messages to his successor last  Wednesday before Mrs May faced a Tory no-confidence vote in her leadership, the BBC claims.

Mr Cameron is said to have urged her to give MPs a “greater role” if her Brexit deal is rejected.

But Mrs May told the Commons the last time she spoken to Mr Cameron was a month ago and denied he is Brexit’s “backseat driver”.

She said: “He is not giving advice. The last time I spoke to him was when we actually agreed the withdrawal agreement.”

Brexit vote

Goverment legal advice rules out “People’s Vote” on Brexit (Image: Getty)

11.42am update: Government’s legal advice “rules out second referendum”

The government has taken secret legal advice to extend Article 50 which appears to rule out a second referendum.

Britain is legally obliged to participate in next May’s European Parliament elections if Article 50 is extended.

But according to the Daily Telegraph, there would be a “high risk of a successful legal challenge” if Britain does not take part in the EU elections after extending Article 50 as it would breach EU citizens’ rights, according to the goverment’s legal instruction.

The  advice reportedly says July 2 – the date of the start of the next five-year session of the European Parliament – would be the final deadline for extending Article 50.

A second vote would also take a year to prepare, effectively ruling out another Brexit referendum, it says.

11.20am update: Nick Ferrari SAVAGES MPs over 18-day Christmas break

LBC host Nick Ferrari has slammed MPs for taking an 18-day Christmas holiday.

The outraged radio presenter accused MPs of taking the “bloody ridiculous” break despite parliament’s Brexit deadlock.

Speaking on his LBC radio show, he said: “Six hundred and fifty of them, £77,400 each minimum plus extraordinarily healthy expenses so they never actually put their hand in their own pocket and they need 18 days off?

“They have the nerve to tell us how important it is, important we exercise our democratic right, why?

“As soon as you can you just get on the eggnog and lie down for 18 days there’s no way on earth you could run a business like that.”

11.07am update: Tory MP attacks government’s no-deal strategy

A Conservative MP believes government planing for a no-deal Brexit should have started right after the 2016 referendum vote.

Colin Clark accused party leaders of leaving it “late” as it prepares for a possible no deal.

The MP for Gordon told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “I’ve been a businessman my entire life, contingency planning is never a waste of time or a waste of money.

“With the greatest respect to the Treasury, and I only came in here in 2017, immediately after the EU referendum they should have started making preparations and we would now be in a much more solid place to negotiate with the EU.

“I admit, we are right up to the wire, we are very close to the 29th of March.

“I would have liked to have seen them start a lot earlier, I’ve been in business for a long time – I would not have left it this late”.

Lorries

No need to fear no deal Brexit, says “Brexiteers’ Brain” (Image: Getty)

10.45am update: “Brexiteers Brain” claims no-deal Brexit will hit EU 

International trade expert Shanker Singham believes a no-deal Brexit should not be feared.

Mr Singham – dubbed the ‘Brexiteers Brain’ – is adamant no deal’s perils are “greatly exaggerated” and the UK should prepare for a No Deal.

Writing in The Sun, he said: “No Deal would be very bad for the EU. Its agricultural exporters could lose access to our markets overnight. So it is in their interests to play ball.

“Mucking up the EU’s relationship with the City of London would hurt member states.

“Strength means showing readiness for No Deal.”

He added there is “no reason the UK should be deprived of medicines” if Britain unilaterally recognises EU regulations of medicines and processes.

And lorries will continue to flow through UK ports if the UK hikes it customs capabilities.

He also claimed food prices should fall if Britain ditched import quotas and allowed non-EU countries to access the UK.

Housing prices

House prices to stagnate over Brexit fears, say experts (Image: Getty)

10.22am: House prices to stagnate, but 30% drop ‘implausible, say experts

UK house prices will stagnate next year as Brexit fears stalk the property market, experts believe.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS_ claims uncertainty over Britain leaving the EU seems to be damaging confidence among buyers.

But the body said Bank of England’s projections that housing prices would plummet by up to 30 per cent were ‘implausible’, according to This is Money.

The RICS said: “A negative shock to the economy resulting from a no-deal outcome, expected by the majority of economic forecasters, would hit incomes and reduce demand for housing.”

Canary Wharf

City in Brexit boost with more financial high-flyers heading to UK (Image: Getty)

9.58am update: City gets Brexit boost as financiers set to flock to UK

Britain is poised to shrug off Brexit negativity by attracting more high-flying city financiers after Brexit, new research published by financial services firm State Street has indicated.

And City analyst David Buik has said the study is further proof of London’s enduring appeal, predicting attempts to lure companies to Paris and Frankfurt are doomed to fail.

More than a third of institutional investors (34 percent) think the UK will thrive after quitting the European Union, with European firms buying businesses in this country in order to retain a presence.

And almost a quarter of those quizzed (24 percent) believed more European-based fund managers who currently have no base in the UK will look to acquire offices in London and other parts of the country after Brexit.

General Petraeus

Retired US Army general David Petraeus thinks Britain’s Brexit plans are “barking” (Image: Getty)

9.39am update: US general attacks Britain’s “barking” Brexit plans

Retired US general David Petraeus has launched a blistering broadside on the UK’s Brexit strategy.

The esteemed military figure once led the 101st Airborne Division into battle in Baghdad.

But the four-star general admitted to LBC he had been left bamboozled by Theresa May’s plan to leave the EU.

General Petraeus said: “The real question about Brexit is what does it do economically, is there a real hit on the UK economy.

“No one really knows because we don’t know what the form of the agreement will be.

“I watched the Prime Minister speak yesterday in the Parliament and then watched the questions after that and I must confess the word that came to mind is a British one that I’ve heard… barking – which seemed to me to capture that particular situation.”

He added: “It just seemed slightly mad, the disorder, the sheer almost chaos, I know some of this is just theatrical.”

Jacob Rees Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg reiterates support for Theresa May (Image: Getty)

9.20am update: Rees-Mogg backs May after Corbyn no-confidence motion

Jacob Rees-Mogg has again backed Theresa May after he offered her his support on Monday, but said she has more to fear from Remain-supporting MPs.

The European Research Group (ERG) leader was one of the MPs who submitted a letter to the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, which led to last month’s Conservative Party vote of no confidence in Mrs May, which she won.

But with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabling a motion of no-confidence in Mrs May on Monday, the arch-Brexiteer circled the wagons around his leader – despite  rcecently calling for the Prime Minister to resign.

Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ”Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act I will always support the Conservative Government, I will not vote a Conservative Government out of office.

“I would have thought, actually, the Prime Minister is at greater risk in a vote of no confidence from people who see themselves as pro-EU within the party than from people who are Eurosceptic.”

He added: “I’ve had my vote of no confidence in her and I lost, and I’m not going to repeat the exercise. The Prime Minister is secure under the party rules for a year.

“I think to try and re-run something when you have lost it is not reasonable, it is not democratic.”

Penny Mordaunt

Mordaunt under attack for “hypocrisy” over hard Brexit plan (Image: Getty)

9.07am update: Mordaunt under fire for “dishonesty” over hard Brexit support

Penny Mordaunt is being accused of “hypocrisy and dishonesty” over her support for a hard Brexit and of plotting to mount a leadership bid, it is claimed.

The leading Brexiteer, who has been tipped to replace Theresa May, is set to join Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox in calling for so-called “managed no deal”.

But colleagues will reportedly attack the International Development Secretary’s plan, which would see the UK leave the EU without a trade deal after the end of the two-year transition period, but with agreement on key areas like aviation and citizens’ rights.

Ms Mordaunt has reportedly described her plan as a “managed glide path”, but pro-Brexit sources are accusing her of “indecisiveness” and of trying to boost her leadership credentials.

A source told Business Insider: ”She [Mordaunt] has very much kept quiet to see how the dust settles, and will then latch on to the best alternative idea that comes along.”

James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire bats away question on government migration target (Image: Getty)

8.51am update: Brokenshire refuses to confirm No 10 will drop migration targets

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said the government is committed to slashing net migration to “sustainable numbers.”

But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today show, Mr Brokenshire, a former immigration minister, refused to confirm if the government will include its tens of thousands net-migration target in its migration white paper.

Mr Brokenshire said: “We are committed to seeing net migration reduced to those sustainable numbers that we saw back before 1998 when it was less than 100,000.

“It’s the long-term intent and why we have focused on that number, because that is what is sustainable in the long-term.”

When pressed on whether the government would include its manifesto-pledge migration target in its forthcoming white paper, Mr Brokenshire replied “you will have to see the white paper”.

He added: “What I can assure you is that our focus on seeing net migration reduced to those sustainable numbers absolutely remains.”

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock to demand cabinet colleagues step up no-deal plans (Image: Getty)

8.30am update: Javid and Hancock slam colleagues over no deal no-show

Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock reportedly plan to criticise fellow cabinet members for not ramping up no-deal preparations.

The Home Secretary and the Health Secretary are set to cajole colleagues as they flex their political muscle.

Last night, Mr Hancock told BBC’s Newsnight: “We’ve instituted full no deal planning within the NHS already, and I would like to see the whole of government going to that position because it’s the responsible thing to do.”

Meanwhile, Philip Hammond has revealed to The Sun and The Express that only one third of the existing £1.5 billion no-deal funds has been spent.

A source told the Sun: “The chancellor wants to know why that is — and I imagine the prime minister will want to know too.”

8.09am update: ‘Three options’ on cabinet table for Brexit preparations

Theresa May will offer her cabinet a vote on three Brexit options today, it is claimed.

The Prime Minister will present a top-secret paper offering to continue with the current pace of preparations.

She will also offer them the chance to “switch off” no-deal planning, according to The Times.

But the option which senior government ministers expect to be approved is an option to step-up no-deal preparations across Whitehall.

Migration

Government white paper fails to mention cutting net migration to tens of thousands (Image: Getty)

7.58am update: Migration target “not in” government white paper

A government white paper on migration does not mention Conservative manifesto plans to cut net migration to tens of thousands, it is claimed.

The target was set by Theresa May as Home Secretary and again when she was Prime Minister.

But The Independent says it is not in the forthcoming white paper.

A Whitehall source said: “It’s not in there and it won’t be unless someone slips it in at the last minute.”

It adds to the sense of chaos in Westminster, with Mrs May today predicted to ask her Cabinet to vote on three options to prepare the UK for Brexit.

See below for Brexit live updates:

7.41am update: May given three weeks to thrash out Brexit deal

Brexiteer MPs have given the Prime Minister a three-week period to go back to the EU and negotiate before the vote on her Brexit deal is held in the week beginning January 14.

On Monday, even arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg gave Mrs May his backing after Mr Corbyn urged a vote on Mrs May’s performance as Prime Minister.

Mrs May hopes she can extract concessions from Brussels on the Northern Ireland backstop before next month’s parliament vote.

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