The bill, which has not yet been published, looks set to spark outrage among Brexiteers with sources describing it as a “political hand grenade”. Politico said the deal is likely to “enshrine into British law” many aspects of the exit deal Eurosceptics within the Tory party will be angry about. Indeed, sources from the influential 1922 backbench committee have told ITV’s Shehab Khan they have already voted to ensure Mrs May confirms her departure date and will be told she has to go if the deal fails.
It comes as Mrs May is said to be furious at the collapse of collective responsibility in Government and opened a cabinet session by warning colleagues any future breaches would result in their return to the backbenches.
Insiders claim the warning was a shot across the bows for Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who enraged the Prime Minister by calling for greater defence spending in a speech that went further than Government policy.
Many will see his comments as part of a leadership manifesto and the way ministers are openly putting themselves forward as her replacement is stretching Mrs May’s patience to the limit.
A Downing Street source said the Prime Minister want to get on with her job without the distraction of leadership candidates jostling for position.
After the marathon Cabinet meeting yesterday, ministers agreed to continue the cross-party efforts to break the impasse but stressed it was “imperative” for a Brexit deal to get through Parliament by the summer recess.
With Mrs May’s future linked to the passage of a Brexit deal, getting legislation through the Commons and Lords by the summer break could also pave the way for her departure from Number 10.
Ministers spent more than two hours discussing the Brexit situation and despite the apparent lack of progress in talks with Labour decided the process should continue, but with a clear view that “we need to get a move on”.
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Theresa May leaves a tense Cabinet meeting last night
10.00pm update: Sturgeon to accelerate IndyRef2 if Brexiteer becomes PM
Nicola Sturgeon has said she would want to accelerate plans for a second independence referendum if a new Prime Minister opted for a harder Brexit.
The First Minister reiterated her belief that Scotland should have the choice again before the end of this term of the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston programme, she was asked how Brexit plans of a successor to Theresa May would impact on the case for another vote north of the border.
The SNP leader said: “I think it would certainly see a lot of people want to bring that choice for Scotland to be independent as close as possible.”
When asked if that is what she would want to see it sooner, Ms Sturgeon replied: “Yes, I think I would.”
Brexit news: Sturgeon to press forward with IndyRef2 if Brexiteer becomes Prime Minister
8.45pm update: Labour will not abstain from voting on Withdrawal Agreement Bill
The Labour Party will vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union withdrawal bill next month.
The opposition party will also not abstain, if the deal does not meet Labour’s conditions, Emily Thornberry has confirmed.
The Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs told ITV: “We are not going to vote for the withdrawal bill if we don’t agree it, which we don’t.”
8.10pm update: Merkel pleased UK intends to share European security policy
Angela Merkel has confirmed she is pleased the UK will continue to “cooperate” with the EU on security after Brexit.
The German chancellor told an audience in Ravensburg, in southwestern Germany: “Wherever Britain is ready to cooperate, we should take the outstretched hand – that will make us stronger.”
7.15pm update: May says Withdrawal Agreement Bill ‘delivers Brexit’
Theresa May has insisted the Withdrawal Agreement Bill “delivers Brexit” as the Prime Minister preparers the House of Commons for a fourth vote in June.
Speaking after an international summit in Paris, Mrs May said: “What we have been doing is talking with the official opposition, we have been talking with MPs across the House looking at the issues that they have had concerns with in relation to the deal that we agreed with the European Union.
“What this Bill does is delivers on Brexit.
“When MPs come to look at this Bill, when they come to vote on this legislation, I’m sure that they will be thinking of the duty that we have to ensure that we deliver on the vote of the British people.
“This is the Bill that delivers Brexit.”
Brexit news: Theresa May says WAB ‘delivers Brexit’ at the press conference in Paris
6.35pm update: Less than 1 in 5 people think Labour and Tories have a clear Brexit policy – shock poll
Fewer than one in five people think Labour or the Conservative Party have a clear position on Brexit, a new poll has shown.
A YouGov survey found just 13 percent of voters think Labour has a clear Brexit policy, while 17 percent think the Conservatives do.
Meanwhile 59 percent of participants believe Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party had a clear understandable policy on Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The Liberal Democrats were perceived to be the clearest of the anti-Brexit parties, with 41 percent.
YouGov surveyed 1,655 adults in Britain between May 13 and 14.
5.45pm update: Corbyn urges voters to back Labour to tackle rise of ‘far right’
Jeremy Corbyn has urged voters to back his party in the European elections to “help combat the rise of the far right across Europe”.
Writing in Eastern Eye, Mr Corbyn said: “A vote for Labour in the EU elections will challenge the voices in the far right throughout Europe and beyond.
“Labour will address the inequalities that helped fuel the Brexit vote by investing in our communities and people, ending austerity and creating a fairer society.”
Mr Corbyn cited the terror attacks in March on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the 2017 Finsbury Park terrorist attack as “a stark reminder of what happens when we leave far right voices unchallenged and why it’s so important to vote Labour”.
5.00pm update: Conservative chairman concedes MEPs have NO CHANCE in European elections
The Conservatives are facing a total wipeout at the European Parliament elections in just eight days time after the Tory Party chairman conceded its candidates have no chance of winning a seat, the Telegraph reports.
Brandon Lewis has reportedly told Tory candidates if “you are not an MEP already you aren’t winning” a seat in Brussels, when the UK goes to the polls on May 23.
Tory MEPs are set to face the consequences of Theresa May’s failure to deliver Brexit on time following an extension to Article 50 until October 31.
The Tories have already suffered humiliation in the local elections for its failure to honour the 2016 referendum and lost a total of 1,330 seats and control of 44 councils.
READ MORE: TORY WIPEOUT: Conservative Chairman concedes MEPs have NO CHANCE in European elections
Brexit news: Brandon Lewis has warned Tories they face at backlash at the EU elections
4.10pm update: Gove calls for a ‘flexible’ approach to skilled immigrant workers post Brexit
Michael Gove has urged the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid to introduce flexible immigration rules for skilled workers after Brexit to avoid vacancies in certain industries.
The Environment Secretary, who is tipped to stand in the next Tory leadership contest, called on Mr Javid to “look flexibly in how we interpret what a skilled worker is” and criticised the £30,000 salary threshold for immigrant workers.
Mr Gove highlighted potential shortfalls in the fishing and food and drink sectors.
Mr Gove said: “Pitching the level at which you define a skilled worker as someone earning over £30,000 a year wasn’t actually responsive to the particular needs – not just of the fish processing sector – but the food and drink sector overall.”
He added: “One of the points that I have made to the Home Secretary and others is that we look flexibly at how we interpret what a skilled worker is in line with specific industries.”
Brexit news: Michael Gove has called on the Home Secretary to introduce flexible immigration rules
3.50pm update: Mark Reckless reveals he joined Brexit Party to ‘protect democracy’
Former Ukip MP Mark Reckless has confirmed he has joined Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party because it is the only political movement which will ensure the UK leaves the European Union.
Mr Reckless a member of the National Assembly for Wales, told a Press Conference in Senedd: “Brexit is being blocked and the Brexit party group in the Welsh assembly from today will be supporting Nigel Farage, supporting the Brexit party in everything that they are doing to protect our democracy and to ensure that Brexit is delivered.”
Brexit Party MEP candidates James Wells and Nathan Gill, with Mark Reckless and Nigel Farage
3.35pm update: Chuka Umunna slams Corbyn for not ruling out abstaining on Withdrawal Agreement
Chuka Umunna has slammed the Labour Party for refusing to rule out abstaining from the second reading of the withdrawal Agreement Bill and insisted Jeremy Corbyn has given the “clearest indication” he is willing to work with the Prime Minister.
The Change UK spokesman accused the Labour leader of “pressing down on the accelerator” towards a “cliff edge” Brexit.
Mr Umunna wrote on Twitter: “By refusing to rule out abstaining on the 2nd Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the Labour Party is offering Theresa May and her Brexit plan a lifeline. This is the clearest indication yet that the Labour leadership is working with the Tory Government to deliver Brexit.”
He added: “The Brexit car is hurtling towards the cliff edge, and Jeremy Corbyn is not just stood out of the way, but getting into the car and pressing down on the accelerator.”
Brexit news: Chuka Umunna has hit out at the Labour Party for its stance on Brexit
3.15pm update: Brexit Party formed in Welsh Assembly ‘with IMMEDIATE effect’
Four Welsh assembly members (AMs) have sensationally joined the Brexit Party “with immediate effect” to give Nigel Farage’s party its first political representation at a national level.
Those who have joined the grassroots eurosceptic party include former Ukip MP Mark Reckless.
Mr Reckless was joined by David Rowlands, who was still in the party, Caroline Jones, who was briefly the leader of the Ukip group in the assembly, and Mandy Jones who was previously in Ukip but had been an independent as of January 2018.
A Brexit Party spokesman said: “We are delighted that the group has come together to prosecute the result of the referendum in which the people of Wales made clear they wished to leave the EU.”
READ MORE: Brexit Party formed in Welsh Assembly ‘with IMMEDIATE effect’ – Tory and Ukip members QUIT
2.40pm update: Lisa Nandy predicts no deal Brexit outcome
Labour MP Lisa Nandy said opposing sides in the cross-party Brexit talks have had become more entrenched in their positions.
The Wigan MP told the BBC’s World at One: “It felt a few weeks ago that we might be moving a bit.
“But since then, we’ve had both political parties seeming to entrench their positions, rather than compromise and come together and find a resolution.
“I think the most likely consequence of all of this is that we end up with no deal at all. For the last few years, we’ve essentially had a tug of war between two groups, one of whom want to remain in the EU, and the other of whom want to leave with no deal, and as a consequence we’re heading towards a choice between those very stark extremes.
“Of those options, the only default is no deal.”
Lisa Nandy said both sides were becoming more entrenched
1.44pm update: Labour seeks compromise before backing May’s deal
Labour has announced it will not support Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal unless a cross-party compromise agreement is reached.
The Government has been in talks with Labour for weeks in an attempt to find a way forward on Brexit and further negotiations are taking place today.
But a deal has not been reached and Mrs May has now announced plans to bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in early June.
A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed Labour would not support the Withdrawal Agreement Bill unless a cross-party deal was reached.
He said: “There is no agreement and we need the Government to make further moves”
“There is no question of being able to support it without an agreement.
“Without an agreement and real compromise and movement by the Government coming out of these talks then we are talking about a Withdrawal Agreement Bill that is based on the same botched Brexit deal that has been rejected three times already by Parliament.”
The spokesman said the talks with the Government were “not an unlimited process”.
He said: “Jeremy made clear and the shadow cabinet has made clear that we have serious concerns about negotiating with a Government that is in the process of disintegration.”
12.30pm update: Threat of no deal Brexit “under-appreciated”
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has warned people are not taking the threat of a no deal Brexit seriously enough.
Mr Barclay told the the Lords European Union Select Committee: “There is an under-appreciation that no deal can still
“If the House has not passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill then there are growing voices in Europe, not least the French, who want to move on to other issues.
“So there is no automatic right of an extension and in that scenario it would then be a question for the House whether it voted for a no deal and none of can sit here and definitively answer that question.
Stephen Barclay has been grilled by the Lords European Union Select Committee
12.10pm update: May warned she faces fresh defeat in Commons
Theresa May has been warned she faces another defeat over her Brexit deal after promising to bring the legislation to write it into law before the Commons in the first week of June.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker questioned the Prime Minister’s decision to bring the legislation for her “failed deal” before Parliament and suggested it would do little to counter the threat posed by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
He said: “If the Brexit Party were demanding we pass this Withdrawal Agreement, a vote might just make sense.
“But they aren’t. Quite the reverse.
“And driving it through over the heads of the DUP appears to eradicate the Government’s majority.”
Mr Baker, deputy chairman of the European Research Group of Brexit-backing Tories, added: “What is Government thinking?”
READ MORE – PMQs LIVE: COWARDLY CORBYN AND MAY CARRY ON BEXIT SILENCE FOR FIFTH WEEK
11.44am update: Barclay grilled by Lords’ European Union Select Committee
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has told the Lords’ European Union Select Committee Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) will be brought before the Commons for a second reading in the week beginning June 3.
Mr Barclay said the Bill would be published “as soon as possible” but warned the Prime Minister’s deal would be “dead” if it did not pass this time.
He told the committee: “I think if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB then the Barnier deal is dead in that form and I think the House will have to then address a much more fundamental question between whether it will pursue – a no-deal option or whether it will revoke.”
11.20am update: Fox warns of consequences of voting against May’s deal
Liam Fox has repeated Downing Street’s claims that Britain would be left with a choice of a no deal Brexit or no Brexit at all if MPs vote down Theresa May’s deal again next month.
He said: “There will be an opportunity for MPs to decide, after the local elections, after the European elections, whether they want to vote for Brexit or not.
“MPs will need to look and see if they want to continue down a path that inexorably takes us to either the potential of revocation of article 50 or leaving without a deal, and ask if they think that’s the best course either democratically or economically for the UK.
“MPs will have to face that decision.”
Dr Fox’s comments are based on the assumption the EU will not allow a further Article 50 extension but that is not a view shared by those who follow Brussels politics closely.
Liam Fox has warned failure to back Theresa May will mean no deal, or no Brexit
10.52am update: Change UK candidate defects to Lib Dems
Change UK’s lead European parliament election candidate in Scotland has defected to the Lib Dems.
David Macdonald, an independent councillor in East Renfrewshire, said he wanted to avoid splitting the Remain vote across Scotland.
He said: “After a great deal of reflection on the political landscape we are facing in Scotland at present, I have come to the point where I have realised I must do what is best for the future of this country before anything else.
“If things continue as they are the remain vote will split in Scotland and put at risk the representation that supporters of remaining in the European Union so collectively desire.
“For that reason I have decided to end my candidacy for Change UK effective immediately and I am now calling for those in favour of remaining in the European Union, including all supporters of Change UK in Scotland, to do what is best for our collective voice in Europe and to support the Scottish Liberal Democrats in the upcoming European election, to better ensure that they gain representation to secure a seat in these European elections.”
10.36: Fox insists food standards will not drop post-Brexit
International trade secretary Liam Fox has insisted UK food safety standards will not be lowered after Brexit.
Dr Fox told an audience at the Institute for Government he had said until he was “blue in the face” that Britain will not reduce its standards.
He said legislation to protect food standards will not change once Britain leaves the EU.
And he said there were also sound business reasons for maintaining high standards.
He told the audience: “A Barclays survey shows that a majority of Indian and Chinese consumers would pay more for British produce because they see it as high quality.
“The UK cannot compete on low standards. There would be no advantage lowering standards.
“Lowering food standards after Brexit would be bad for UK exports.”
When asked about chlorine-washed chicken from the US Dr Fox said that was about animal welfare rather than food safety.
10.10am: Vince Cable would back Brexit deal but insists on new referendum
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said he would vote for a new Brexit deal but only it was subject to a confirmatory referendum.
Sir Vince described himself as a “hardliner” on Brexit but insisted his party was not blocking progress on the withdrawal.
He said the Lib Dems would be happy to vote for the deal but it had to be subject to a another public vote..
He also said he thought three options should be put to the public in the referendum: the deal, a no-deal Brexit and remain.
Vince Cable said the Lib Dems would back a Brexit deal if it was put to a public vote
10am update: Downing Street issued “no deal or no Brexit” warning
Britain will face either a no-deal Brexit at the end of October or Article 50 being revoked if Theresa May’s Brexit plan gets defeated in the Commons next month, according to Downing Street.
The BBC’s Norman Smith said the argument is based on the assumption the EU would not agree to a further extension of Article 50.
But EU leaders have never said that explicitly and the feeling in Brussels is that a further extension is possible.
Some of Jeremy Corbyn’s backbenches are considering backing Theresa May’s deal
8.36am update: Labour Brexiteers could back May deal as Farage turns up the heat in Leave seats
Labour MPs in Leave-supporting constituencies could switch sides and help Theresa May finally get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill over the line.
Sources said between 20 and 25 of Jeremy Corbyn’s backbenchers are becoming so rattled by the looming threat of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party that they might back the unpopular deal to get the UK out of Europe.
Speaking after the Prime Minister confirmed he deal was going back before the Commons, a Cabinet source said: “There is a chance — I accept it’s a small one — that certain Labour MPs will get cold feet once the actual bill is before them.”
A Labour insider refused to rule out the possibility of battle-weary Labour MPs voting with the Government.
The source told the Mirror: “Up to two dozen backbenchers have said they won’t be able to hold out much longer.
“They’re getting so much grief in their constituencies over the failure to deliver Brexit.
“Some of them have even had death threats.”
8.03am update: Rudd urges Tories to block extremists at EU elections
Amber Rudd has urged the Conservative Party to campaign in the European elections and stop extremist parties filling the political “vacuum”.
The Work and Pensions Secretary used a speech at a party for the centre-right think tank Onward to urge MPs to call out any abuse they suffer.
She said the European election next week is a chance for her colleagues to campaign for Conservative values and beliefs.
Ms Rudd said: “Extremism is coming up to us from the left and from the right and we need to make sure that we fill the middle.
“And we fill it not just with what people sometimes call moderation – we fill it with our ideas, our thoughts and our own Conservative momentum of what we think we can change and what we can do because if we leave that vacuum there will be consequences.”
Amber Rudd leaves Downing Street
7.30am update: ERG vows to vote against May’s Brexit deal
Former minister Owen Paterson has warned Theresa May a majority of members of the European Research Group will vote against her Brexit deal when it is brought back before parliament next month.
Mr Paterson said he was concerned the deal would leave Britain following EU laws after it had left the bloc and said the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s party, feared it will align Northern Ireland more closely with the EU than the rest of the UK.
He told the BBC: “Sadly, we will vote against it again, as the DUP put out a statement, because it doesn’t change the essential nature of the withdrawal agreement, which is unacceptable we will have laws imposed on us by 27 different countries where we are not involved.
“And very importantly for the DUP and us it potentially breaks up the United Kingdom by creating a new entity called UK and I and that means you could end with Scotland wanting to follow and that is really dangerous for the union.”
(Additional reporting by Simon Osborne)