BREXIT LIVE: May's last stand! Ireland reveals PM's eleventh-hour STRASBOURG SHOWDOWN

Posted on Mar 11 2019 - 11:41pm by admin

Mrs May will head to Strasbourg later this evening in a last-bid attempt to save her Brexit deal and break a deadlock in negotiations with the EU, as she prepares for a showdown in the Commons tomorrow. Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said today: “The negotiations are ongoing. Many had hoped we would have clarity at this stage, particularly in advance of the vote tomorrow. We don’t yet. “The British prime minister is travelling to Strasbourg this evening, I understand, to try to finalise an agreement, if that is possible, to be able to put that to a meaningful vote in Westminster tomorrow.

Downing Street has refused to confirm that, saying only: “We have not confirmed anything at this stage.”

This comes as former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair told Mr Macron to “hold firm” over the Brexit deal, so Parliament will be forced to accept a customs union or even call for a second referendum, sources in Paris have confirmed.

Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic Conservative MP, told the Daily Telegraph: “It is totally unacceptable for a former prime minister to go around the heads of European countries and undermine the Government’s position. I’m not sure we could find another time in modern history when this has happened.

“Tony Blair has to realise he has had his time as prime minister and I’m surprised and disappointed he has done this. I doubt he would have liked it if his predecessors had done this to him.”

EU bosses will demand a £13.5 billion payment if Prime Minister Theresa May calls for a Brexit delay this week.

Member states are “hardening” their stance towards an extension of Article 50, and are demanding a multi-billion pound increase to the £39 billion Brexit divorce payment.

Mrs May will face a showdown with her MPs in Tuesday’s crunch vote, before Parliament will vote later in the week on whether to extend Article 50.

The Prime Minister has called for a three-month extension to negotiations, but EU diplomats will demand more money if this is prolonged.

An EU source told the Daily Telegraph: “Lines are hardening against extension… Anything more than a few weeks will come with legal and financial conditions attached.”

See below for live updates:

Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford demanded that the vote to delay Brexit goes ahead on Thursday (Image: PARLIAMENT)

4.10pm update: SNP Westminster leader insists vote to delay Brexit must go ahead

Ian Blackford said it was “crucial” the vote to delay the Article 50 deadline went ahead as planned on Thursday.

He added: “The truth is the politics of the UK has become a farce.

“The lack of leadership from the Tory and the Labour parties has left people across the UK at a loss – panicking about their futures, abandoned by their so-called leaders.

“To dither and delay yet again would be another act of grave cowardice.”

Mr Walker replied: “Amidst his rhetoric, he spoke about the interests of the Scottish people – and of course the interests of the Scottish people are in our strong union of the UK.”

3.50pm update: Walker warns of Brexit delay if deal is rejected

Mr Walker urged MPs to back Mrs May’s deal to avoid a delay to Brexit.

The Tory MP said: “The meaningful vote will take place tomorrow and the motion will be tabled today ahead of that debate.

“It is then this House will face a fundamental choice – back the Brexit deal or risk a delay which would mean months more arguing about Brexit, prolonging the current uncertainty, uncertainty that would do nothing but pass control to Brussels and increase the risks.

“It is incumbent on this House to deliver on the will of the British people and to provide certainty.”

Mr Walker said that every MP should “take that opportunity to move forward and provide certainty”.

3:40pm update: Corbyn asks urgent question on changes to Brexit deal

Mr Corbyn accused the Prime Minister of not achieveing “one single change” to her Brexit deal in three months of further negotiations.

He said: “She’s simply, as we’ve often said, running down the clock between her deal or the chaos of leaving the EU without any agreement with anyone.

“It was a bad deal in December when it was first tabled, it was a bad deal in January when it was rejected by the largest parliamentary margin ever in history that a government has been defeated, and it’s still a bad deal today.”

Deputising for the Prime Minister, Worcestershire MP Robin Walker confirmed that the Government will make a statement later today with an update on the progress of discussions and the Attorney General’s legal advice will be published before tomorrow’s vote.

Robin Walker

Tory MP for Worcestershire Robin Walker responded to Mr Corbyn’s grilling (Image: PARLIAMENT)

2.42pm update: The UK will have to pay EU billions in a no-deal Brexit

The EU will insist Britain must settle its divorce bills with the EU following a no deal Brexit – which is likely to cause severe economic disruption – before commencing future trade talks.

An envoy who follows Brexit for one EU member state told Reuters: “Imagine all the bad blood and acrimony should we end up with a no-deal after two years of negotiations.

“Yes, we would need to engage with them again. But not right away. And not before they show us the money.”

2.25pm update: Jeremy Corbyn wants Theresa May to respond to his urgent question

The Labour leader wrote on Twitter: “The Prime Minister cannot keep dodging scrutiny after failing to get changes to her overwhelmingly rejected deal.

“Theresa May must come to Parliament this afternoon and face up to the mess her government has made of the Brexit negotiations.”

2.10pm update: Downing Street does not confirm Mrs May’s trip to Strasbourg

Downing Street has refused to confirm Mrs May will be heading to Strasbourg, saying only: “We have not confirmed anything at this stage.”

2.08pm update: Tony Blair dismissed accusations he secretly briefed Mr Macron on ways to stop Brexit

The Tony Blair Institute has claimed the former Labour leader only talked about issues surrounding immigration and Freedom of Movement between the UK and EU, which he said must be discussed if Britain decides to hold a second referendum.

They wrote on Twitter: “Contrary to ill informed, inaccurate reports Mr Blair hasn’t said to President Macron or anyone else ‘hold firm and Britain will stay’. That is literally an invention from the so-called Tory source.”

1.55 pm update: Iain Duncan Smith insists Mrs May is unlikely to pass Brexit deal through MPs if no changes are made

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One today, the Former Tory leader said: “If the deal that she puts forward is the same deal as she put forward last time it doesn’t take the brains of a mathematician to figure out that it’s likely that will not pass.”

Mr Duncan Smith added: “The Prime Minister is there at least until the autumn of this coming year and therefore that means she has got to make the decisions that are relevant.”

Brexit news: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney

Brexit news: Mr Coveney confirms Mrs May will travel to Strasbourg this evening (Image: GETTY)

1.35pm update: Irish Foreign Minister confirms Mrs May will travel to Strasbourg today

Simon Coveney has said Mrs May will fly to Strasbourg, France tonight to finalise an agreement with the EU and bring an end to a Brexit deadlock.

He says there are still obstacles in negotiations, and the EU will not compromise on issues to ease concerns over the Irish backstop.

1.20pm update: Labour finance spokesman blames Chancellor Philip Hammond’s “cowardice” for negative economic outlook

John McDonnell claimed Mr Hammond has “abdicated” his responsibility as Chancellor, insisting his “political weakness and cowardice” over Brexit has brought about a poor economic outlook.

He said: “I think all this was avoidable were it not for the political weakness and yes, these are strong words, the cowardice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Failure to stand up for our economy and failure to stand up for the interests of our country.”

Brexit news: Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell

Brexit news: Mr McDonnell blames the Chancellor for Britain’s poor economic outlook (Image: GETTY)

1.05pm update: Mrs May likely to go to Strasbourg in France today, BBC reports

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg wrote on Twitter: “Hearing PM likely to go to Strasbourg later – not confirmed tho, ‘fluid’ the polite way of describing what’s going on at the moment.”

She added: “Certainly the case Number 10 have been increasingly seeing Juncker as the deal maker here – EU 27 sources say meeting btw the two for tonight not in the diary yet.”

1.00pm update: Brexit Secretary will make a statement to parliament today

The Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will inform MPs on Mrs May’s Brexit position in response to an urgent question from the Commons, the Labour Whips office has said.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it was “imperative” that Theresa May respond to the question.

He said: “Accountability for the complete mess we are in lies with her.”

12.50pm update: Theresa May held another phone call with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker today

The Prime Minister’s spokesman confirmed talks between the UK and EU were continuing.

Mrs May spoke to EU leaders over the weekend, but did not achieve a breakthrough in talks.

12.40pm update: Jeremy Corbyn challenges Mrs May to explain Brexit deadlock

The Labour leader has been granted an urgent question asking the Prime Minister about “progress made in achieving legal changes to the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the timetable for approval in this House through a meaningful vote”.

12.30pm update: Pound Sterling has drops as investors brace Brexit uncertainty

The pound-to-euro exchange rate has dipped to 1.1590 and is expected to drop further this week as Mrs May prepares for a parliamentary showdown on Tuesday.

Investors expect the pound to strengthen if Mrs May chooses to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit talks, while an agreement would cause the pound to rise dramatically.

Brexit news: Yvette Cooper Theresa May

Brexit news: Ms Cooper says Mrs May will be telling a “straight up lie” if she halts Tuesday’s vote (Image: GETTY)

12.15pm update: Labour MP Yvette Cooper said Mrs May will be telling a “straight up lie” if she cancels Tuesday’s meaningful vote

Speaking about Mrs May, the Labour MP said: “She gave me her word, she gave Parliament her word, and I don’t believe the PM would straight up lie on something as important as this.”

11.35am update: Europen Commission said it is now up to the House of Commons to make “important decisions” on Brexit this week

President Juncker spoke to Prime Minister May on the phone last night, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

No talks between the UK and EU but they will remain in close contact over the week, Mr Schinas said, adding that the EU is “open and willing” to hold talks with UK “at any time”.

11.28am update: Mrs May spokesman confirms meaningful vote will be held on Tuesday

The Prime Minister is focused on getting on with Brexit and making progress to secure parliamentary approval, her spokesman said.

The Government will publish a motion later this evening.

Brexit news: Philip Hammond arrives at Downing Street

Brexit news: Philip Hammond arrived at Downing Street (Image: GETTY)

11.25am update: UK Junior Defence minister says meaningful vote will go as planned

Tobias Ellwood told BBC today: “Tomorrow, we understand, there is a vote on the meaningful vote. As far as I understand, that will continue to go ahead.

“If that fails, then the following day, there has to be a vote on no-deal… The clock is ticking down.”

11.15am update: Mrs May will make a written statement to MPs this afternoon

The Prime Minister is expected to inform MPs on her latest Brexit discussions with the EU, as she faces a deadlock in negotiations.

Mrs May will meet MPs tomorrow for a crunch meaningful vote.

11.10am update: Tory former minister warns Mrs May will lose confidence in Parliament if she snubs Tuesday’s meaningful vote

Responding to speculations Mrs May might switch her meaningful vote to a provisional vote on Tuesday, Tory former minister Nick Boles said: “I am sure that the Prime Minister will honour these three commitments.

“If she doesn’t she will forfeit the confidence of the House of Commons.”

11.07am update: Irish Prime Minister warns Article 50 must have a purpose and not lead to “rolling cliff edge”

Irish Premier Leo Varadkar has urged Mrs May to only extend Aricle 50 with a purpose, warning against Brexit talks prolonging for months on end.

He said Brexit delays cannot be an excuse for “tough decisions” to get put off.

Brexit news: Theresa May faces a deadlock in negotiations

Brexit news: Theresa May faces a deadlock in negotiations with the EU (Image: GETTY)

11.00am update: Labour MP Yvette Cooper said Mrs May must build unity with Parliament or else MPs will take control over Brexit

Ms Cooper said in a speech at the Centre for European Reform: “There are practical steps the prime minister can take now, not easy ones, but sensible ones – step by step to build more consensus around a way through this.”

“Now if she won’t find a way through, then parliament has a responsibility to do so instead. And once again, we will be ready to work cross-party on amendments to do that

10.40am update: David Cameron lashes out at a no-deal Brexit

The former Prime Minister declared his support for Mrs May, and hit out at the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal.

He told ITV news: “I don’t think no-deal is a good idea at all.”

10.25am update: Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has entered Number 10

BBC Laura Kuenssberg wrote on Twitter: “Brexit Sec has gone into Number 10 (afraid it is going to be that kind of day where we have to try to work out what’s going on by spotting which politicians are going in and out of which buildings around SW1).”

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay arrived at number 10 this morning (Image: GETTY)

10.10am Michael Gove urges Tory MPs to back Mrs May and save Brexit

The Environment Secretary has called on MPs who “believe in democracy” to support the Prime Minister’s deal.

He has warned Tory MPs that exiting the EU without a deal will not “honour” those who voted leave in the Brexit referendum.

10.00am update: Britons are willing to accept more immigration for increased trade deals after Brexit, but only from three countries – SHOCK poll

61 percent of Britons were willing to accept higher levels immigrants from Canada, Australia and the US, according to a survey by BMG Research.

Only 35 percent said the same for immigrants from thriving economic hubs such as India and South Korea.

The survey sampled 1,514 British adults aged 18 and over.

Brexit news: Theresa May will likely change Tuesday's meaningful vote

Brexit news: Theresa May will likely change Tuesday’s meaningful vote to a provisional vote (Image: AFP/GETTY)

9.30am update: Mrs May told to delay meaningful vote or face another crushing defeat

In phone calls with Downing Street, leading Conservative MPs told the Prime Minister she could suffer another three-figure loss if she went ahead with her plan. 

A senior party source told The Times: “As it stands, her deal is going to be defeated. It has been made clear to Downing Street that it would be eminently sensible to avoid that by proposing a motion that the party can support.

“Whether they listen or not is another matter.”

9.20am update: Mrs May most likely to change Tuesday’s meaningful vote to provisional vote

The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said on Twitter: “PM meeting with senior aides in No10 now to plot a way through this week’s carnage.

“I’m told it’s most likely she will decide to change tomorrow’s vote from a meaningful one to a provisional one.”

Brexit news: Theresa May will meet with MPs on Tuesday

Brexit news: Theresa May will meet with MPs on Tuesday for a crunch vote (Image: AFP/GETTY)

9.05am update: Tory MP demands Theresa May QUIT after Brexit

Tory MP George Freeman insisted Britain needs a new leader with “vision” of conservatism so as to “reunite the nation” and move forward.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I hope the Prime Minister can get withdrawal through and then I do think we need to choose a new leader for a new generation with a new vision of a conservativism that can make sense of Brexit and reinspire and reunite the nation.

“I hope we can do that having secured a sensible Withdrawal Agreement. A panicked change of leader now will solve nothing, we have got to get this through.

8.55am update: David Davis warns Brexit delay is “stepping stone” to stopping Brexit

The former Brexit Secretary urges against the extension of Article 50, which he claims is being spearheaded by a “remainer parliament”.

He told Channel 4 news:  “Parliament is a Remainer Parliament, and the risk of a delay is just a stepping stone to stopping it altogether.”

Referring to what it would take for him to vote on a deal, he added: “The ability to leave in our own time. As is the truth with every other international treaty in the world.”

Brexit news: Mrs May is expect to travel to Strasbourg

Brexit news: Mrs May is expect to travel to Strasbourg today to finalise her Brexit deal (Image: GETTY)

8.40am update: Theresay May will NOT go to Brussels despite deadlock in talks

The Prime Minister has no plans to go to Brussels on Monday, a government source said, as she faces a deadlock in negotiations with the EU.

The anonymous source said Mrs May was not getting her way with Brussels over changes to her Brexit plan, which she insists is necessary in order to pass her deal through MPs in Tuesday’s crunch vote.

8.20am update: Tory MP said ministers must present evidence to the EU urging them to change the backstop agreement

Brexiteer Tory Marcus Fysh told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “That really is all the evidence the EU should require.

“I think it would be worth reiterating that and actually putting the detail of the proposals which we worked up with the Government over recent weeks on the table so that the EU could be fully aware and discuss what it was exactly we were proposing.”

Additional reporting by Latifa Yedroudj.

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