The new deal is the latest attempt from the Prime Minister to win over critics throughout the House of Commons who have already voted down her Brexit agreement on three occasions. Theresa May will put the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Parliament early next month, while a defeat could accelerate her departure from Number 10. The Prime Minister has offered MPs the chance to vote on whether to put her Brexit deal to a second referendum or not. The vote would only be able to happen if Mrs May’s Brexit bill passes the first stage of voting in parliament.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is the vehicle which gets the UK out of the EU and it is vital to find a way to get it over the line
She told the Cabinet: “The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is the vehicle which gets the UK out of the EU and it is vital to find a way to get it over the line.”
Following the meeting, Mrs May’s spokesman said: “The discussions included alternative arrangements, workers’ rights, environmental protections and further assurances on protecting the integrity of the UK in the unlikely event that the backstop is required.”
He added the talks covered the “whole range of topics” related to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, including customs arrangements and calls for a second referendum.
Mrs May held a crunch meeting lasting three hours with her feuding Cabinet as she desperately searches for ways to respond to cross-party talks with Labour and the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Brexit news: Theresa May has received the backing of her Cabinet for her new Brexit plan
The Prime Minister is still trying to win the support of opposition politicians for her Brexit deal, reportedly including potentially offering a much tighter customs relationship with the European Union.
The proposals could include a new law to provide for a customs union-style arrangement with Brussels so there would be no need to checks on goods crossing the UK border.
This could appeal to Labour, which is calling for full permanent membership of a customs union with the EU.
Mrs May still considering whether to press ahead with the customs plan when she puts the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to a vote in the House of Commons next month.
But the Prime Minister risks sparking further fury from her Cabinet, with resignations from major names even possible.
Mrs May has promised to take Britain out of the EU’s customs union in order to strike free trade deals with other countries around the world.
Prominent Brexiteer MPs and those with plans for challenging for leadership of the Conservative Party would be most likely to quit if she abandons this red line.
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Chuka Umuna wants to try and heal Brexit divides
10:24pm update: Prince Charles shows support for UK and Ireland maintaining links after Brexit
During a visit to Ireland, Prince Charles has insisted the UK and Ireland must maintain “vital links” to each other.
Without mentioning Brexit specifically, he said: “What makes it so special coming to Ireland, apart from the wonderful welcome, is being able to celebrate and remind ourselves of all those absolutely vital links between us that go back so many hundreds if not thousands of years.”
Prince Charles has been visiting Ireland with the Duchess of Cornwall.
10:18pm update: Nicola Sturgeon warns May SNP will not vote for her Brexit deal
Sturgeon warned that the SNP will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite the Prime Minister promising a vote on a second referendum.
The First Minister of Scotland said the SNP will not support a deal that takes Scotland out of the EU against its will.
9:44pm update: Chuka Umunna calls for a self-service checkout tax to heal Brexit divide
The UK’s Brexit divide could be healed by the introduction of a new 1p charge to use self-service check-out machines, a panel of MPs chaired by Chuka Umunna has claimed.
Tensions between staunch Remainers and Brexiteers have been bubbling away in communities since the 2017 controversial referendum vote and the MPs believe this could help to improve relationships.
8:25pm update: Boris Johnson has strongly criticised May’s new Brexit offer
Boris Johnson tweeted: “With great reluctance I backed MV3. Now we are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum.
“The Bill is directly against our manifesto – and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better – and deliver what the people voted for.”
Brexit latest: The European Commission said no changes would be made to Theresa May’s deal
7:03pm update: Sir Vince Cable has said Mrs May’s new deal is “doomed to fail”
The Lib Dem leader has put out this statement in response to Theresa May’s speech.
He said: “The prime minister’s last ditch attempt to get her withdrawal agreement through the Commons without a confirmatory referendum attached is doomed to failure. Her authority is draining away.
“Unless and until the government concedes that a people’s vote must be in the legislation, she will not win our support.”
5:33pm update: Jacob Rees-Mogg describes Mrs May’s proposals as “worse than before”
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Prime Minister’s latest proposals are worse than before and would leave us bound deeply in to the EU. It is time to leave on WTO terms.”
5:20pm update: MPs continue to act in anger against May’s speech – ‘The PM must go’
Brexiteer Tory MP Steve Baker said: “Reaction to this speech has been extremely adverse so far among MPs and campaigners.
“Of course, I will vote against this muddled implementation of a failed deal which only adds yet more uncertainty.
“A truly awful situation.”
Zac Goldsmith tweeted: “I supported the PM’s rotten deal last time as I felt we could then draw a line and select a new PM to pick up the pieces.
“But I cannot support this convoluted mess. That it takes us towards a rigged referendum between her deal and no Brexit is just grotesque.
“The PM must go.”
5:06PM update: MPs react with anger to Theresa May’s speech
MPs have reacted with anger to Mrs May’s latest speech and attemtp to come to a solution on Brexit.
Tory MP Simon Clarke said: “I supported the PM at MV3, to try to get us out on 29 March. But this speech from the PM means there is no way I will support the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”
Iain Duncan Smith said: “There is nothing new or bold about this bad buffet of Brexit options.”
Tory MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “There’s nothing new or bold about this deal.”
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said: “This is even more of a dog’s breakfast than the last deal”.
4:09pm update: Theresa May lays out new proposals for getting her Brexit deal over the line – promises ANOTHER referendum
Mrs May will offer votes on a second referendum and customs options.
The speech comes as current polls ahead of Thursday’s EU election ballot showed the Brexit Party has more public backing than the Conservatives and Labour combined.
May warned this was the last chance to avoid “a nightmare future of permanently polarised politics” and her deal would be guaranteed to last for “at least this Parliament”.
She said: “If MPs vote against the second reading of this Bill they are voting to stop Brexit.
“If they do so the consequences could hardly be greater – reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal any time soon will be dead in the water and what would we do then?
“… If not no-deal then it would have to be a general election or a second referendum that could lead to revocation and no Brexit at all.”
She also proposed a ‘free vote’ on a second referendum which was condemned by the Tory Party before adding she wanted to “respect the referendum result”.
3:45pm update: Electoral Commission defends visiting The Brexit Party’s offices to review its funding
Nigel Farage has accused the watchdog of acting “in bad faith” and “interfering in the electoral process”.
However the watchdog has said there was “significant public concern” about the party’s finances.
Defending his party, Mr Farage said: “We make it very clear, we only want your money if you’re on the UK electoral roll.
“We’re looking for irregularities, if we see things that have come from overseas, we simply send it back.”
2.53pm update: Farage to stand in next general election as Brexit Party candidate
Nigel Farage has reaffirmed his intention to stand in the next general election as a candidate for the Brexit Party.
The Brexiteer, who has previously run as an MP on seven separate occasions, said it was his “duty” to put himself forward as leader of the newly-formed group.
Asked if he would stand, he told the Press Association: “I guess so. I’ll have to, won’t I? It will be my duty as leader.
“Although I’m very tempted not to because Beppe Grillo didn’t stand in the Italian elections.
“What he did was tour Italy supporting the Five Star candidates and, guess what, they won.
“There are many different ways to approach this. I would see it as my duty to stand but there is an argument that I could do more good for the party by not.”
2.32pm update: JPMorgan raises probability of no deal Brexit and extension of Article 50
The US investment bank has raised its probability of a no deal Brexit from 15 percent to 25 percent, saying its base case is that Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, followed by a general election and then another delay to Britain’s exit to the end of the year.
JPMorgan also raised the probability of an Article 50 extension from 50 percent to 60 percent, and cut the probability of an exit from the EU on the terms of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement to 15 percent from 35 percent.
The bank’s Malcolm Barr said in a research note to clients on Tuesday that their base case was that: “Boris Johnson becomes PM in early September on a ‘no deal if we have to’ platform. The EU refuses his central objective of removing the backstop from the Withdrawal agreement.”
“The Commons begins the process of legislating to force Johnson to seek an Article 50 extension, and Johnson calls a general election seeking a mandate for his approach,” the note added.
“The UK and EU agree to extend Article 50 to end December to allow time for the general election to take place and for discussions to follow it.”
2.25pm update: Manufacturers stockpiling at ‘rapid pace’ under Brexit contingency plans
Research by the CBI has indicated order books have deteriorated in recent months, especially for exports.
A third of the 279 manufacturers surveyed said their order books were below normal.
The business group said the polls showed stocks of finished goods were t their highest for a decade.
CBI deputy chief economist Anna Leach said: “These results provide further evidence that manufacturers have been stockpiling at a rapid pace as part of their Brexit contingency plans.
“When combined with a sharp decline in order books, it’s clear why manufacturing firms are so keen to see a swift end to the current Brexit impasse.
“With investment down, stockpiling up, and the threat of a no deal ever present, we desperately need Parliament to thrash out a viable deal in the national interest.
“Where the cross-party talks failed, Parliament must succeed, or continued economic paralysis will see us hurtle ever closer to disaster.”
Brexit latest: International Trade Secretary Liam Fox leaves the three-hour Cabinet meeting
1.31pm update: Labour WON’T abstain on Withdrawal Agreement Bill
When asked if the party would be doing so, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told a Westminster briefing: “No. I think Members of Parliament will want to fulfil their duties by expressing a view on this.”
But he said: “These are the dying days of an administration and it’s very difficult to see that they can provide any form of security that would enable Labour MPs to vote for this.
“And the noises-off from the individual candidates for the Conservative leadership certainly don’t inspire confidence.”
1.23pm update: Labour still unlikely to back May’s Brexit deal
Labour MPs are unlikely to be persuaded tp back the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal when she puts it to a vote in the House of Commons next month, the party’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said.
He told reporters he would wait to see details of Mrs May’s revised offer, but that what had been reported to be included so far “doesn’t inspire confidence, and I don’t think that many of our members will be inspired by it either.”
Mr McDonnell added regardless of what the Prime minister offers, there was an overriding problem with the long-term stability of her Conservative Party.
1.10pm update: Farage accuses Electoral Commission of being ‘absolutely full of Remainers’
Mr Farage made the claim as the watchdog visited the Brexit Party’s headquarters amid a review into its donations system.
He claimed the regulator is staffed by establishment figures and was not a neutral organisation, believing his party is “more compliant” than any others standing in the European elections.
Discussing the Brexit Party’s donation system, Mr Farage told the Press Association: “I’ve got a team of four qualified accountants looking after our money, our income. I bet we’re more compliant than any of the other parties in this election.
“I’ve crossed with the Electoral Commission before – they are not a neutral organisation, absolutely full of Remainers, full of establishment figures.
“We are about not just leaving the European Union, the Brexit Party is about changing politics for good – getting SW1 and Westminster to reflect the country more broadly and the Electoral Commission are part of that huge reform that is needed.”
An Electoral Commission spokesman said: “Last week’s meeting with the Brexit Party was an opportunity to meet with representatives of this newly formed party. Today’s visit is about taking a closer look at the systems the party has in place to receive funds.
“It gives us active oversight of the rules and this includes helping those regulated to understand them and to ensure there are systems in place to comply with them.
“As a newly registered party running a national election campaign who have put information into the public domain about the level of their fundraising, it is right and proper for the regulator to be in regular contact with the Brexit Party.
“We have been talking to the Party since it registered, discussing the rules and the party’s systems. But recently we have seen significant public concern about the way the party raises funds.
“We have not seen evidence of electoral offences, but the law in this area is complex and we want to satisfy ourselves that the party’s systems are robust.
“Our regulatory work during this campaign – for the European Parliamentary elections – has not deviated from our usual approach. We are an independent and impartial organisation which is accountable to Parliament.
“We regulate as is proportionate to the issue, regardless of a party’s politics. Our decision to visit is not related to comments made by the former prime minister.”
1.18pm update: Hammond speaks of ‘concern’ over ‘significant’ effects of no deal Brexit
Speaking during Commons Treasury questions ahead of a major speech at the CBI tonight, the Chancellor said: “There are two separate effects of a no-deal Brexit that concern me.
“First of all there will clearly be short-term disruption which will have an unpredictable, potentially significant effect on our economy.
“Probably more importantly all the analysis that the Government has done and published and that external commentators have published shows that there will be a longer-term effect which means that our economy will be smaller than it otherwise would have been.
“And I didn’t come into politics in order to make our economy smaller, I came into politics to make our economy bigger and make our people better off.”
Brexit latest: Nigel Farage launched a furious attack against the Electoral Commission
12.45pm update: May to make statement at 4pm on new Brexit offer to MPs
The marathon Cabinet meeting has finished, and MPs are now leaving Downing Street.
Theresa May will make a statement on her new Brexit offer to MPs shortly at 4pm after reportedly receiving much-needed Cabinet support for her deal.
Her spokesman said: “The discussions included alternative arrangements, workers’ rights, environmental protections and further assurances on protecting the integrity of the UK in the unlikely event that the backstop is required.”
He added the talks covered the “whole range of topics” related to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, including customs arrangements and calls for a second referendum.
12.30pm update: Bank of England warned over interest rates
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned the Bank of England should not look to increase interest rates until Brexit uncertainty clears, and forecast the hike would not come until 2020.
The organisation said inflation, which has been running below the Bank of England’s two percent target, should give it enough time to keep rates on hold at 0.75 percent given the worries over Brexit.
The OCED said: “With inflation close to target, but with large uncertainties remaining, the policy interest rate should be kept constant until there are clear signs of accelerating prices.
“The fiscal authorities should stand ready to respond, should growth weaken significantly as a result of Brexit.”
12.10pm update: Desperate May ‘to offer MPs SECOND REFERENDUM to get deal through
Theresa May could attempt to lure Remain-supporting MPs to back her Brexit deal by promising to deliver a second referendum, it has emerged.
The Prime Minister is so desperate to get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament she could dangle the prospect of a second vote in front of them as she runs out of options.
Downing Street could urge MPs to back the deal initially and then promise to amend it later – with the prospect of a second referendum or customs union added to the agreement.
One cabinet source said: “That’s the only way left to thread the needle.”
Brexit latest: The key moments in the lead up to Brexit
11.50am update: No deal Brexit will NOT harm Britain’s security, says Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Said Javid risked triggering a fresh Cabinet row over Brexit last night by insisting Britain’s security would not be undermined by a no-deal departure from the EU.
In a warning to hard-line Remainer ministers, the Home Secretary and Tory leadership contender said: “Whatever the outcome of EU Exit, the UK will still have the capacity and the capability to protect itself.”
He also ordered officials to step up contingency preparations at the Home Office to help ensure Britain is ready for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit in October.
His intervention, in a speech about security, came ahead of a detailed Cabinet discussion about the Brexit crisis in Downing Street today where pro-Brussels ministers, led by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, are expected to again press the Prime Minister to keep the option of a no-deal Brexit off the negotiation table.
In his speech, Mr Javid said that cooperation on international crime-fighting initiatives including the European police agency Europol and European Arrest Warrant will continue after any type of Brexit.
10.49am update: Chaotic Brexit would send ‘CHILL’ throughout multibillion pound manufacturing sector
A disorderly Brexit would put skilled manufacturing jobs and millions of pounds of investment at risk, a new study has warned.
Research from the GMB union suggested manufacturing employs 2.5 million workers and contributes £118billion a year to the UK economy, and also supports a further five million jobs in areas including supply chain.
The union warned studies have shown many employers plan to cut jobs after the UK leaves the EU, while investment intentions are being hit by the continued uncertainty.
GMB national officer Jude Brimble said: “The prospect of a chaotic Brexit is sending a chill throughout manufacturing.
“We have already seen job losses and paused investment in foundational industries such as food manufacturing, car production and ceramics.
“The situation will only get worse if we end up with a rushed and disorderly Brexit.
“That’s why it is vital that politicians from all parties rule out a no deal Brexit that would be devastating for our manufacturing and export industries.”
Brexit latest: Sajid Javid insisted a no deal Brexit would not harm Britain’s security
10.21am update: Laura Kuenssberg reveals ‘BOLD’ additions to May’s Brexit bill – will anger Brexiteers
Theresa May’s new “big and bold” withdrawal bill contains one element that many Tory MPs and Brexiteers will find extremely difficult to stomach, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has revealed.
The bill, which will be voted on in the House of Commons in early June, is designed to entice members of the Labour Party to back it, giving it the extra push that other meaningful votes failed to muster.
One of these efforts is well known to be a relaxing of policy surrounding leaving the EU customs union.
But Ms Kuenssberg explained to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that another will take the form of some kind of vote on a second referendum.
9.47am update: Hammond attacked over no deal Brexit comments
Tory MP Priti Patel has criticised Chancellor Philip Hammond’s claims that a no-deal Brexit would be “damaging”.
Ms Patel, the former International Development Secretary, said it was “not acceptable” for Mr Hammond to warn against leaving the EU without a deal.
She told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I never want to run my colleagues down, certainly not the Chancellor.
“But I think it’s wrong to effectively make remarks that rule out what the British public voted for.”
“I don’t think it is acceptable anymore to constantly rule out no deal. We had a Prime Minister who said over 100 times no deal is better than a bad deal.”
Brexit latest: Theresa May’s cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn collapsed last week
9.40am update: May’s Cabinet to consider alternative Irish border proposal in meeting
Theresa May’s Cabinet will consider a legally-binding commitment to agree alternative arrangements for the Irish border by the end of 2020 to be included in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
This would the latest in a range of measures aimed at winning much-needed support ahead of a crucial vote on the Bill in the House of Commons next month.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We have announced already £20 million in funding in relation to alternative arrangements and one area we can look at is making sure MPs have assurances that we’re working towards having alternative arrangements in place by December 2020 to ensure we never have to enter into the backstop,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
“The EU have already made that commitment themselves that they want to work with us with the ambition of having alternative arrangements in place by December 2020. We obviously have not reflected that in domestic legislation up to this point.”
9.30am update: Pound falls to FOUR-MONTH LOW against US dollar
Sterling to a four-month low against the US dollar and euro ahead of expectations Theresa May will fail to persuade her Cabinet to back an amended version of her Brexit deal.
The pound slipped 0.2 percent to $ 1.2688 while against the euro it dropped 0.14 percent to 87.88 pence.
BNY Mellon strategist Neil Mellor said: “There’s been an accumulation of disappointments since the start of this month as it’s become clear the talks with Labor had stalled.
“The possibility of some kind of agreement had generated relative stability since late-February but that’s over now.”
9.17am update: PM’s vow to get Brexit deal changed RUBBISHED by EU – ‘Nothing we can do’
Theresa May suffered another round of fresh embarrassment after she vowed to get changes made to her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement were rejected by officials in the EU.
The EU commission said no alterations would be made to the Prime Minister’s deal after she claimed that Parliament would get the chance to vote on an improved deal.
According to the Independent, a spokesperson for the commission claimed that despite talks between Labour and the Conservatives over improvements which could be made to the deal, there was “nothing that we can do at this stage”.
Mrs May faces rebellion from her MPs over her deal and has already been forced to confirm her departure from Downing Street after a fourth vote on her deal is concluded in the week beginning June 3.
The spokesperson added: “I think it’s clear that we’re in a situation where London talks to London, so there is nothing that we can do at this stage, as we think we said on many occasions in the past.
“When this process in London is over, then of course we are here, within the caveats that you all know, ready to engage, and of course, keeping always the 31 October deadline very present in the picture.”
9.05am update: Brexit ULTIMATUM: Leadsom warns May must deliver Brexit amid MASS resignation fears
Theresa May has been offered a Brexit ultimatum on her “bold” withdrawal bill amid fears of mass ministerial resignations.
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom told the teetering Prime Minister that she would only back the bill as long as it clearly “delivers Brexit”.
She made the comments to BBC’s Nick Robinson the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday morning.
Mr Robinson asked: “I want to know whether you’re going to back it because there are some reports suggesting that Downing Street is braced for resignations.
“And you’re one of the ones who has always been fairly robust on these issues.
“Are you backing the plan?”
Ms Leadsom initially replied equivocally, saying: “I will want to see that it delivers Brexit.
“On the other hand, I know that some of the measures in the bill will be to promote alternative arrangements to the backstop – something that has been of great concern to some of my colleagues.”
Brexit news: Philip Hammond will send a huge warning to Brexiteer Tories
8.50am update: Electoral watchdog to visit Brexit Party HQ to review financial systems
The Electoral Commission will visit the head offices of the Brexit Party today as it launches a review into the systems it has in place to receive donations.
The move comes after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for an investigation to be carried out into the finances the newly-launched party.
An Electoral Commission spokesman said: “The Brexit Party, like all registered political parties, has to comply with laws that require any donation it accepts of over £500 to be from a permissible source.
“It is also subject to rules for reporting donations, loans, campaign spending and end of year accounts. We have already been talking to the party about these issues.
“As part of our active oversight and regulation of these rules, we are attending the Brexit Party’s office tomorrow to conduct a review of the systems it has in place to receive funds, including donations over £500 that have to be from the UK only.
“If there’s evidence that the law may have been broken, we will consider that in line with our enforcement policy.”
8.40am update: Hammond attacks Brexiteer Tories over no deal ‘HIJACK’
Chancellor Philip Hammond will warn the next Tory Prime Minister will not have the power to take Britain out of the European Union with no deal.
In a speech to the CBI, he will warn there is “no mandate” for such an outcome and that even with “all the preparation in the world” it would be hugely damaging.
In an attack on Prime Minister candidates such as Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, Mr Hammond will say: “There is a real risk of a new prime minister abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging no-deal exit as a matter of policy.
“To advocate for no deal is to hijack the result of the referendum and in doing so knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards.
“We have an absolute obligation to protect Britain’s jobs, businesses and future prosperity.”