BREXIT LIVE: What is Corbyn THINKING? Westminster CHAOS after Labour’s SCREECHING U-turns

Posted on Dec 19 2018 - 5:26pm by admin

Earlier today Jeremy Corbyn threatened to slap Theresa May with a no-confidence motion unless a date for a vote on the Brexit deal was announced. After Mrs May announced the date today it appeared Labour had withdrawn their threat – before Mr Corbyn shockingly tabled the motion after hours of debate in the House of Commons. Earlier today the Prime Minister had admitted her deal was “not perfect” but warned no other terms were on offer.

She claimed that her talks with European leaders last week had yielded some concessions from Europe, adding: “Do not imagine that if we vote this down, a different deal is going to miraculously appear.” 

Mrs May also said the ‘meaningful vote’ on her deal – which was delayed last week in the face of certain defeat – would take place in mid-January.

She told MPs: “We must honour our duty to finish the job.

“I know this is not everyone’s perfect deal – it is a compromise. But if we let the perfect be the enemy of the good, we risk leaving the European Union with no deal.”

In response, Jeremy Corbyn accused Mrs May of leading Britain “into a national crisis” and disputed the PM’s claim that she had secured any additional concessions from the EU.

The Labour leader said the “cold reality” was Mrs May had achieved “nothing” last week after returning to Brussels to seek further assurances over the Irish border backstop.


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Brexit news: Theresa May is facing a crisis in her cabinet (Image: GETTY IMAGES/PARLIAMENT UK)

10.22pm update: May opponents join forces to table no-confidence motion amendment

Opposition parties have tabled an amendment to Jeremy Corbyn’s no-confidence motion in Theresa May, claiming it beefs it up into a full confidence vote in the Government.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have backed the change, laid down to trigger the legally binding FTPA provisions.

The SNP’s Ian Blackford MP, who signed the amendment, said: “It is clear the Prime Minister’s tactic has been to run down the clock and deprive Parliament of any alternative to her deal.

“Jeremy Corbyn seems happy to let her – presumably to avoid having to make a decision on a second EU referendum.

“This is not acceptable – people deserve better.

“If Labour are serious about wanting a general election, they must accept our amendment.”

7.45pm: Sturgeon attacks Labour’s strategy

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has criticised Jeremy Corbyn for Labour’s decision to push for a non-binding vote against Theresa May rather than a binding motion against the Government.

The SNP had last week urged Mr Corbyn to demand a vote against the Government, but Labour resisted the calls insisting it would wait until victory was most likely.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Labour tabling a motion just in the PM rather than in the entire Government begs the question, which Tory do they want to see as PM?”

7.20pm: Pro-Brexit ERG ‘will back May in vote’

Members of the Tory party’s European Research Group (ERG) will support Theresa May in any confidence motion, Brexiteer Tory Steve Baker said.

The Eurosceptic group had previously called for the Prime Minister to step down over her Brexit deal but failed in its bid to topple Mrs May last week.

Following Jeremy Corbyn’s tabling of a no confidence motion this afternoon, Mr Baker said Eurosceptic Tories would now support Mrs May.

He said: “Eurosceptic Conservatives are clear that we accept the democratic decision of our party to have confidence in Theresa May as PM.

“We will vote against Labour in any confidence motion.”

6.00pm: Jeremy Corbyn calls no-confidence motion in Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn has sparked chaos in the Commons by calling a no-confidence motion in Theresa May.

His motion – which targets the PM herself and not the government, meaning a general election is not a threat – was issued after another day of drama in Westminster. 

Labout had earlier warned they would table the motion if Mrs May did not announce a new date for a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal. 

When the PM did announce a date, it appeared the threat of a shock motion had passed, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell celebrating a Brexit victory by provoking the PM into confirming a date. 

But despite this, Mr Corbyn concluded today’s debate by reverting to his earlier stance and tabling the motion. 

5.30pm: David Cameron ‘NOT giving Brexit advice’

Theresa May refuted reports that she has been receiving advice from former Prime Minister David Cameron in the course of her Brexit negotiations.

Responding to a question from Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, the PM said: “He is not giving advice, the last time I spoke to him was when we actually agreed the Withdrawal Agreement, when I spoke to two former prime ministers as a matter of courtesy to indicate to them what had been negotiated with the European Union.”

5.15pm: DUP demand CLARITY over EU concessions

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds called for clarity about what concessions the Prime Minister is seeking from the EU.

The DUP’s 10 MPs are adamantly opposed to the inclusion of any backstop in the withdrawal treaty because they believe it could separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Mr Dodds said European leaders had spoken about “clarifications and reassurances” but ruled out reopening negotiations.

He said: “There is a need for clarity from the Prime Minister about exactly what she is asking for to deal with the key concerns about the legally binding indefinite nature of the backstop with no right for the United Kingdom to exit on its own terms.

“The EU’s response to the summit was not surprising, but the Prime Minister must decide whether she will stand up to such tactics or once again accept a deal on Europe’s terms alone.”

4.55pm: May refuses to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit

The PM hit out at suggestions the best course of action is to extend the Article 50 period to give herself more time to get a deal agreed.

Tory former minister Andrew Mitchell made the suggestion, saying it would be “wiser” than leaving with no deal.

But Mrs May replied: “I don’t think it’s right to be seeking that extension to Article 50.”

She said: “I continue to believe we can leave with a good deal and that this is it.”

4.45pm: Jacob-Rees Mogg says PM ‘commands my confidence’

The leading Brexiteer congratulated Mrs May on winning the Tory confidence vote last week, adding “she therefore commands my confidence too”.

The confidence vote was a secret ballot but it is likely that Mr Rees-Mogg was one of the 117 MPs who voted against her.

He added: “On the issue of the second referendum, better known as the ‘losers’ vote’, I support the PM’s opposition to this, not only because is undemocratic and would be decisive, but also because it would be very hard to deny a second referendum in Scotland if we had a second referendum on membership of the European Union.”

4.30pm: Anna Soubry makes case for second referendum – ‘people would NEVER forgive us’

Tory backbencher Anna Soubry has urged Mrs May to hold a second referendum, warning that failure to consult the British public again now the full implications of Brexit are known would be “the biggest betrayal of democracy in this country”.

Addressing the Prime Minister, she said: “Does she not understand, if we leave the EU, not having a People’s Vote, knowing what Brexit looks like, then it turns out the people of this country, knowing what Brexit looked like, didn’t want us to leave the European Union, would be the biggest betrayal of democracy in this country.

“The people of this country, especially the young people, would never forget or forgive us.”

Brexit news: Theresa May in the Commons

Theresa May told MPs no other deal would be on offer (Image: PA)

4.10pm: What did Theresa May say in her Commons address?

– Warned MPs that they can either get behind her deal or leave the EU with no deal

– She said the European Union has gone further than it has with any other country to provide assurances on the Irish backstop.

– There is no EU “plot” to trap the UK in the backstop arrangement, she said.

– Mrs May said a second referendum would only serve to further divide the country at a time when people should be working together.

– Debate on her Brexit deal will resume on the week commencing January 7, with the meaningful vote scheduled to take place the following week

3.50pm: Corbyn warns of ‘national crisis’ over Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn accused Theresa May of leading Britain into a “national crisis” over Brexit and claimed her deal has lost Cabinet support.

The Labour leader said: “We face an unprecedented situation – the Prime Minister has led us into a national crisis.

“If any more evidence was needed of why we face this grave situation, the Prime Minister demonstrated it at last week’s summit.

“There were some warm words drafted and the Prime Minister even managed to negotiate those away to be replaced by words about preparing for no deal.”

3.45pm: It’s my deal or no deal, May tells MPs

Theresa May has told MPs that the only options for Brexit are either her deal or no deal as she warned a second referendum would cause “irreparable damage” to the country.

She said: “Do not imagine that if we vote this down, a different deal is going to miraculously appear.”

3.30pm: Commons chamber filling up ahead of PM’s address

Just a reminder Theresa May is scheduled to address MPs in the Commons at any minute.

She’s expected to rule out a second referendum and say her Government will take Britain out of Europe with no deal unless her deal is backed by MPs.

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Brexit news: Theresa May failed to get reassurances from Brussels (Image: GETTY)

3.15pm: Labour ‘preparing to unleash no confidence vote’

Jeremy Corbyn will reportedly call for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May unless she confirms exactly when MPs will have a chance to vote on her Brexit deal.

The ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons was scheduled to take place last week but was pulled by the Government at the last minute.

Ministers have since insisted MPs will have a say at some point before January 21.

But opposition parties have demanded the Commons be told exactly when the vote will happen, with many MPs saying it should take place before Christmas.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “Sources say Corbyn WILL call for a vote of no confidence in the PM (not the govt) if she does not announce a date for a vote on her Brexit deal asap – expect the move from him in response to PM’s statement at 3.30”

Harvey Gavin taking over from Luke Hawker on live reporting. 

2.50pm update: The UK will still be an attractive proposition for investors – survey finds

Post-Brexit Britain could receive more investment from international fund companies, as many investors try to exploit the “tremendous amount” of expertise within the UK, according to a new survey.

The findings from financial services firm State Street highlight that more than one third of investors believe there will be an increase in merger and acquisition activity by European fund managers looking to grow and acquire UK-based firms after Brexit.

The firm surveyed 100 investors, including hedge funds and private equity firms, and found that 24% believed there will be an increase in the number of European-based fund managers opening offices in the UK.

Meanwhile, 55% of investors believe that UK authorities will make it more appealing to open offices in London in the aftermath of Brexit.

Brian Allis, the head of State Street’s Global Services EMEA product team, said: “Despite the headwinds and complexity that Brexit is causing, the UK is still a hub for a tremendous amount of investment management expertise, and an attractive centre for fund management activity in Europe.

“It is reassuring to see that, however negative the outlook for the UK fund industry may be right now, investors still want to maintain and grow their presence locally.”

2.10pm update: EU EXIT BLUNDER: Gaffe as Brexit plan revealed – is this how May is trying to save deal?

Theresa May’s chief negotiator Olly Robbins was photographed accidentally revealing the Government’s plans for Northern Ireland when he was on Downing Street.

The backstop has caused the Government the biggest headache and sparked weeks of deadlock in the Brexit negotiations.

The Unionist MPs do not agree with the Government’s plans, which would keep Northern Ireland in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

The document shows the Government is planning for a ‘separate agreement’ and they want any use of the backstop “for the shortest possible period”.

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Brexit news: Jeremy Hunt is in favour of a managed no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

1.15pm update: Financial experts fear no-deal Brexit will cause a recession

A no-deal Brexit would “almost certainly” mean the UK’s credit rating would be cut plunging the UK into a recession.

Rating agency Fitch highlighted to Reuters the dangers of crashing out of the European Union next March without a transition deal.

Fitch’s top sovereign analyst, James McCormack, said: “Clearly the deficit would be going up more substantially in the deeper recession scenario and that that would almost certainly reverse the course of the debt-to-GDP reduction and would almost certainly have a rating impact.”

Fitch has kept a ‘negative outlook’ – effectively a downgrade warning – on Britain’s rating since it cut it to AA from AA+ in the wake of the 2016 Brexit vote.

1.00pm: Blackford calls for emergency meeting over Brexit

Ian Blackford has called for an emergency debate over Theresa May’s meeting with EU officials which failed to get the reassurances required by parliament.

The SNP leader at Westminster has been a long critic of Mrs May and has previously called for a no-confidence vote in the government.

Any emergency debate will need to be approved by the Speaker of the House and MPs.

The Labour Whips confirmed the news on Twitter: “Mr Speaker will also hear an SO24 application from Ian Blackford on: EU Council.”

12.15pm update: May still seeking assurances and rules out second referendum

Theresa May is seeking the “extra assurances” needed to get parliament’s backing for her deal to leave the European Union.

Mrs May’s official spokesman later told a Westminster media briefing that there were “no plans” to stage an indicative vote on a range of Brexit options, but did not definitively rule the option out.

He said that all Cabinet ministers who have spoken publicly on Brexit in recent days had made clear their commitment to getting the Prime Minister’s deal through Parliament, which remains the Government’s priority.

Talks by officials were continuing “at all levels” to seek further clarification and assurances on the terms of the existing deal – and particularly the nature of the proposed backstop – as agreed at the European Council last week, he said.

The spokesman added: “The Prime Minister is very clear that we will not be holding a second referendum.”

David Cameron

Brexit news: David Cameron has been secretly advising Theresa May over Brexit (Image: GETTY)

11.50am update: EU stand firm over Brexit ‘It will not be renegotiated’

Theresa May has been dealt another blow after the EU reiterated the deal will not be re-negotiated.

Mrs May has been under severe pressure to come back from the EU27 meeting with Brussels with further reassurances but those were rebuffed by EU leaders.

It is now increasingly likely it will be Mrs May’s deal or no-deal, which has heightened calls for another referendum.

An EU Commission spokesman: “The deal that is on the table is the best and the only deal possible. We will not reopen it. It will not be renegotiated.

“The EU Council has given the clarifications that were possible at this stage so no further meetings with the UK are foreseen.”

11.35am update: GBP Sterling holding ground against euro as May prepares for Brexit WARNING

The pound euro exchange rate is holding steady this morning as Brexit developments continue to be the main influencer for the pairing.

Sterling is trading at €1.1123, according to data from Bloomberg at 10:05 GMT, and is slightly down from the open of €1.1127. Against the US dollar, the pound is trading at up at $ 1.2607.

11.15am update: Post-Brexit budget needs to find an extra £12 billion

Philip Hammond has been dealt a £12 billion blow after statistics officials changed the way student loans are accounted for in the public finances.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will now split the loans into two parts – financial assets and government expenditure – as only part of the borrowings will ever be repaid.

The new approach will blow a £12 billion hole in the public finances at a time when the economy is faltering as Brexit takes its toll.

It means that this year’s deficit, which the Office for Budget Responsibility had recorded at £25.5 billion at the time of the Budget, will grow to around £37.5 billion.

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Brexit news: Amber Rudd is concerned over the consequences of a no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

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Business Secretary Greg Clark has called for an end to ‘uncertainty’ (Image: GETTY)

10.40am update: Desperate May turns to Cameron as ‘Brexit-crisis adviser’

Theresa May has turned to David Cameron for advise on Brexit in a desperate attempt to get a deal through the Commons.

The former Prime Minister “has become her personal Brexit-crisis adviser” as parliament reaches a stalemate over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Robert Peston describes the move as a “symbol of the catastrophe” in government as the UK heads towards a no-deal scenario with the European Union.

The ITV political Editor said: “The former prime minister has become her personal Brexit-crisis adviser, as she desperately tries to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU with a chaotic no deal.

“His advice is conspicuously being taken, at this juncture by her ministers if not publicly by her. Because what he told her – I understand – is that she should “get on with getting parliament to work through the options.”

The Political commentator also stated Mr Cameron has backed Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement and political declaration agreed with Brussels but was also in favour of a ’Norway’ style model if her deal is rejected by MPs.

He added: “Well she is listening to him partly because he has privately endorsed her “partnership” approach to the UK’s long-term relationship with the EU.

“This would be either her Brexit plan, which a majority of MPs detest, or an amended version or some version of the arrangement Norway has with the EU.”

READ MORE: MORE Brexit chaos: Now David Cameron will ADVISE desperate Theresa May on EU crisis

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Brexit news: Theresa May to address the Commons at 3.30pm (Image: PA)

10.00am update: Rudd does not rule out another referendum ‘nothing is off the table’

Amber Rudd has refused to rule out a 2nd referendum in a dashing blow to the Prime Minister.

The Work and Pensions secretary told Sky News “nothing should be off the table, we should consider all options”.

This comes after Ms Rudd who is strongly against crashing out of the EU with no-deal said it is time to “abandon outrage and accusations” and “try something different”.

Ms Rudd wrote in the Daily Mail on Saturday: “We need to try something different. Something that people do in the real world all the time, but which seems so alien in our political culture – to engage with others and be willing to forge a consensus.

“That requires politicians to be more prepared to work with anyone who – like me – is willing to accept you can’t always get what you want.

“It means taking a more practical, sensible and healing approach.”

9.30am update: Boris says a 2nd referendum would be a ‘betrayal’

Boris Johnson has said a second referendum “would provoke instant, deep and ineradicable feelings of betrayal” as momentum gathers for a people’s vote.

The former foreign secretary and Brexiteer warned another vote would cause more division in the UK and said the idea was “sickening”.

He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “We had a referendum. It was a long and toxifying campaign. It divided the country.

“It caused an undue focus on the question of EU membership, normally far from the top of the list of the public’s concerns.

“The public would be utterly infuriated – and rightly – if we now put them through years of that misery and expense again.”

9.05am update: Attorney General told ministers ‘we will REMOVE’ Theresa May after EU exit

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has reportedly told Cabinet ministers that the Prime Minister must be removed following Brexit, for a fresh leader to “take over” and renegotiate her deal.

boris johnson

Brexit news: Boris Johnson said a 2nd vote would be a ‘betrayal’ (Image: GETTY)

8.50am update: Business secretary calls for MPs to end ‘uncertainly’ and says no-deal Brexit would be disastrous

Greg Clark has warned a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be disastrous for business in the UK has urged MPs to back the deal.

Business Secretary told Sky News there needs to be an end to the continued “uncertainty” in Britain.

Mr Clark said: “I hope the deal the prime minister comes back with will be endorsed. What everyone recognises is that we need to come to a resolution of this in the weeks to ahead.

“As you would imagine, I spend most of my week talking to businesses large and small.

“There is a real demand for the end to the uncertainty, and that is available by endorsing a deal, the House of Commons coming to a view on the prime minister’s deal.”

8.35am update: PM not acting in the ‘national interest’

A Tory MP has accused Theresa May of not acting in the “national interest” and has slammed the lack of progress being made.

Sam Gyimah MP, who resigned as a minister last month over the Brexit deal also claimed the government has given up trying to convince the Commons.

Mr Gyimah wrote on Twitter: “Downing St has stopped selling the PMs flawed deal. Instead we have displacement activity designed to distract from last weeks failed renegotiation.

“And a concerted attempt to discredit every plausible alternative as they run down the clock. This is not in the national interest.”

The MP for East Surrey also called for a vote on Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU and did not rule out a second referendum.

He added: “The key issue for Parliament today is not whether a 2nd Referendum is a good idea or whether we should have indicative votes on all the alternative options.

“We need a vote on the govt’s plan. Without resolution on the May plan, we are stuck, and the clock is ticking.”

8.15am update: Prime Minister to address the Commons this afternoon

Theresa May will give parliament an update on Brexit at 3.30pm.

Mrs May will speak about her heated meeting with the EU27 at the Summit in Brussels and will use a statement to MP’s to condemn calls for a second referendum.

8.00am update: MP’s should have more say over Brexit

Parliament should be “invited to say what it would agree with” if MPs vote down the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, Business Secretary Greg Clark has said.

Asked whether he was tempted to give MPs a range of options to vote on, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think, obviously, it’s important once the Prime Minister has finished her negotiations with other European leaders and the Commission that Parliament votes on that.

“If that were not to be successful, we do need to have agreement – we can’t just have continuing uncertainty and I think Parliament should be invited to say what it would agree with, and that’s something that I think businesses up and down the country would expect elected members to take responsibility, rather than just be critics.”

Mr Clark also cautioned against a second referendum, saying it would “continue the uncertainty for many more months”.

Additional reporting by Luke Hawker.

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