Brexit could be delayed until 2021 under plans being explored by the EU’s most senior officials, at a time of growing exasperation over Theresa May’s handling of the talks, the Guardian can reveal. A lengthy extension of the negotiating period is gaining traction as the EU’s default position should the Commons continue to reject May’s deal, and a request emerge. Replacing the 21-month transition period with extra time as a member state would allow the UK and the EU to develop their plans for the future relationship with the aim of making the contentious Irish backstop redundant. Brussels is determined to avoid offering a short extension only to have to revisit the issue in the summer when the government again fails to win round parliament.
EU chiefs are drawing up a plan to delay Brexit until 2021 to do away with a need for any Irish backstop. Under the latest thinking in Brussels, Britain’s 21 month transition period after exit day on March 29 would be scrapped for continuing membership instead. The move would mean a trade deal could be agreed by the end of December 2020, leaving no need for a backstop that Brexiteers argue will trap the UK forever. The idea to break the current deadlock is favoured by EU Council President Donald Tusk, but would be bitterly opposed by Leave backing MPs.
Theresa May has just 48 hours to persuade Remainer cabinet ministers against backing plans for parliament to seize control of Brexit and delay Britain’s departure from the EU. The prime minister will make a statement urging members of her own front bench not to support the proposal on Wednesday, despite also revealing that the historic vote on her new Brexit deal is now likely to be just 17 days before the UK is set to depart. Pro-EU cabinet ministers who previously threatened to back delaying Brexit have indicated they will “listen carefully” to Ms May, but the chances of the prime minister suffering a damaging defeat over it this week look high.
THERESA May last night promised that a revamped Brexit deal is “within grasp” as she set the date for a crunch Commons showdown just 17 days before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU. Confirming that the nerve-jangling negotiations will go right to the wire, the Prime Minister announced that the expected “meaningful vote” for Parliament to approve her Withdrawal Agreement is to be held on March 12. The also faced down resignations threats from a trio of pro-Brussels Cabinet rebels demanding the right to vote against a no-deal Brexit by insisting they must back her back her or quit the Government.
Brexit will be delayed for up to two months under plans being considered by Theresa May to extend Article 50, The Telegraph has learned. Downing Street officials have drawn up a series of options in a bid to avoid resignations by ministers determined to support a backbench bid to take no deal off the table this week. The Prime Minister said she will delay a meaningful vote on her deal by up to two weeks until March 12, just 17 days before the UK is due to leave the European Union.
DOWNING Street officials have drawn up plans which will make a formal request to Brussels to delay Brexit – if Theresa May cannot pass her deal by March 12. The plans do not specify the length of this extension but ministers they believe it will be no longer than two months, according to the Telegraph. As a result, the UK would not participate in the European parliament elections. Number 10 has drafted a series of options looking to avoid resignations by ministers supporting taking a no deal off the table this week. Theresa May will delay a meaningful vote on her deal until March 12.
Theresa May is facing growing calls to say she would delay Brexit rather than leave the EU if no deal is in place by the end of March. A new plan from moderate Tory MPs says ministers could postpone Brexit until 23 May “to conclude negotiations”. It is being suggested as an alternative to cross-party proposals which would see MPs take control of the process. The PM is holding talks with EU leaders at a summit in Egypt, as she presses for more concessions to her deal.
MPs may have to wait until March 12 for a “meaningful” vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal – just 17 days before the UK is due to leave, the Prime Minister revealed today. Her first plan was crushed by a record 230 votes in January, forcing her to rethink. She will update the Commons this Tuesday before her latest test on Wednesday, when MPs will try and force her to take a no-deal departure off the table. But finally confirming what was widely thought in Westminster, she admitted MPs will not get a full, second “meaningful vote” on a revised Brexit deal this Wednesday.
Theresa May embarked on a high-stakes gamble last night after revealing a final vote on her Brexit plan could be delayed until just 17 days before Britain is due to leave the European Union. Defying Cabinet calls to delay departure and take No Deal ‘off the table’, the Prime Minister appealed to Remainer ministers for another fortnight to win concessions from Brussels. Mrs May said she was making progress in talks but not enough to hold a second ‘meaningful vote’ this week.
Theresa May was told last night to rule out no-deal or face ministerial resignations after it emerged that she would make MPs wait until 17 days before Brexit for the crucial vote on her revised exit plan. The prime minister revealed yesterday that she would not ask the Commons to ratify an amended divorce agreement this week, setting a new deadline of March 12. The latest delay means that Downing Street will now spend the start of this week desperately attempting to head off cabinet resignations before MPs are given the opportunity to vote on Wednesday.
MPs may have to wait until 12 March for a meaningful vote on the government’s final Brexit deal, Theresa May has said in an intervention that will deepen splits in her cabinet. The prime minister confirmed on Sunday that she would not hold the vote this week as she flew to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, where she is due to discuss Brexit on the margins of an EU summit with Arab leaders. It is a critical week for May, with many in the House of Commons having been expecting to vote on her deal.
Eurosceptics hoping to install a Brexiteer in No 10 by June were slapped down by Theresa May yesterday. The Prime Minister indicated she wanted to remain in Downing Street long after Brexit and set out plans for an extensive domestic policy programme. She said: ‘My job is not just about delivering Brexit. Actually, there’s a domestic agenda that I’m delivering on, that reflects what I said on the doorstep of No 10 when I first became PM.
Theresa May has dropped her strongest signal yet that she intends to stay on as prime minister after Brexit, despite some ministers reportedly wanting her to quit as early as the summer. Speaking from Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt amid the first-ever conference of EU and Arab leaders, Mrs May said she was determined to push ahead with her domestic agenda once Britain leaves the trading bloc on 29 March. Hours after sparking anger in Westminster by delaying another meaningful vote on her Brexit deal until 12 March, the prime minister indicated that she wanted to continue in Number 10 to deal with issues like the NHS.
Theresa May has insisted that she will stay on in Downing Street beyond Brexit despite pressure from cabinet colleagues to step down, after she angered MPs by conceding that there would be no “meaningful vote” this week on a revised withdrawal deal. The prime minister sparked a fierce backlash on Sunday by admitting that the vote may now not be held before 12 March because her team are still negotiating with EU officials on changes to the deal that she hopes will reassure MPs. “My team will be back in Brussels on Tuesday.
Theresa May has signalled she will defy calls to quit and let someone else negotiate the second stage of Brexit . The Prime Minister has faced demands to walk away once the UK has formally left the EU, allowing another figure to seize the No10 keys and thrash out the terms of Britain’s future relationship with Brussels. But she is desperate not to be remembered as “the Brexit PM” and wants to forge a domestic legacy. She told the Tories’ backbench 1992 Committee in December that she would not fight the 2022 general election. But she has refused to outline a timetable for her departure.
Prime Minister Theresa May denied accusations by some in her governing Conservative Party that she had “a problem with immigration”, saying on Sunday that while it had been good for Britain, people just wanted more control. Last week, Anna Soubry, a Conservative MP who quit May’s party over what she called the government’s “disastrous handling of Brexit”, accused May of having “a problem with immigration” that had tied her hands in Brexit negotiations. Asked if she had a problem with immigration, May said: “No. As I have consistently said immigration has been good for this country.”
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has said Jeremy Corbyn must intervene and personally order the expulsion of antisemites to help resolve his party’s problems. Mr Watson also criticised one of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies, saying reforms that were supposed to tackle racism in the party implemented by new general secretary Jennie Formby had “very patently” been unsuccessful. The shadow cabinet member went on to call on colleagues including Emily Thorberry to “dial down the rhetoric”, after the shadow foreign secretary said she would “rather die” than leave the Labour Party.
LABOUR’S support for a second EU referendum could cost it the next general election, it was claimed last night. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell gave his strongest hint yet that Labour might back a second vote last Friday. But backing Remain would risk the party losing vital votes, according to politics expert Richard Johnson, a lecturer at Lancaster University. Labour’s only chance of securing a majority in the Commons at the next general election is by winning in marginal seats that backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, Dr Johnson suggested.
THE firm line taken by Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry at the weekend rally in Broxtowe gives a lead to our movement on how to respond to breakaway MPs. “Not understanding where we have come from is a bad mistake,” the Labour leader charges. He is correct: the Labour Party is a unique phenomenon in British politics. The original two-party system that evolved from the 17th to 19th centuries in Britain was top-down. The Whigs and the Tories, later to evolve into the Liberals and the Conservatives, were alliances of MPs formed within Parliament – just as the so-called Independent Group is.
The Independent Group
Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has claimed fellow MP Chuka Umunna only helped to form the Independent Group because “he knew he could never be the leader of the Labour Party”. The show cabinet member also cast doubt on antisemitism as a primary motivation for most of the defecting Labour MPs. Several of the eight opposition MPs who announced earlier this week they were joining a new independent collective cited the party’s failure to tackle antisemitic abuse as a key reasons for quitting.
Chuka Umunna has said he wants to “play the biggest role” in the breakaway Independent Group (TIG) of MPs, whose 11 members will hold their first formal meeting on Monday. Umunna, who represents Streatham in south London, is one of eight former Labour MPs who have joined forces with three former Tories to make a new group in the House of Commons. TIG does not have a leader or a detailed policy platform, but an Opinium poll for the Observer puts the group’s support at 6%, a point ahead of the Lib Dems.
The cabinet row over a no-deal Brexit has reignited after Leave-supporting ministers hit back against colleagues who are trying to exclude the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. Environment secretary Michael Gove warned the three members of the cabinet who wrote an open letter demanding Brexit be delayed that they were making a “mistake”. Fellow Brexiteer Liam Fox argued that backing a plan in parliament to achieve a delay would “fundamentally weaken our position” in Brexit negotiations, while Andrea Leadsom wrote that moves to delay or prevent Brexit were going against “democracy”.
A national conference of Conservative activists has delivered a resounding message to MPs: get us out of the European Union on 29th March this year, as promised. The National Conservative Convention voted on a motion that read: “The National Convention supports the commitments the Prime Minister has made to the country to honour the European Union referendum result of 2016, that having triggered Article 50 we will leave the European Union on the 29 March 2019. “Another referendum, a delay beyond the European Elections, taking ‘No Deal’ off the table or not leaving at all would betray the 2016 People’s Vote and damage democracy and our party for a generation.”
IRISH leaders have “created a monster”, Brexiteers blasted today as Dublin prepared to put up new border posts. The country’s government is spending €4million on border checks in case of a No Deal Brexit. PM Leo Varadkar is still taking a hard line in talks with Britain – insisting the Brexit deal can’t be rewritten. The pair are set to hold talks on the sidelines of an EU summit in Sharm El-Sheikh today and tomorrow. Mr Varadkar’s deputy Simon Coveney today said there can’t be a time limit or exit mechanism for the backstop proposal which is designed to keep the Irish border open.
The Republic of Ireland is “not playing chicken” with its stance on the Brexit backstop, Leo Varadkar has warned. The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) was speaking in Egypt on Sunday as Theresa May attempts to seek changes to her rejected withdrawal agreement. He reiterated that his government would not accept a time limit on the backstop or a unilateral exit clause for the UK. “We are not playing poker, we are just standing by our position which has been solid since day one,” he said.
Heathrow’s new runway over the M25 may lead to more accidents because of drivers being distracted by aircraft landing, according to roads officials. An assessment of the airport’s plan for a third runway warns that the sight of huge passenger planes landing could cause motorists to take their eyes off the road. Highways England has told Heathrow to introduce measures to “reduce driver distraction” on the affected section of the M25, Britain’s busiest stretch of motorway. This could include lengthening the tunnel under the runway or simplifying the road layout to cut down on the number of decisions that drivers have to make.
Some white working class boys are so far behind classmates they should get special treatment like traveller children and the disabled, says the equalities and human rights commission. It says there has been an inconsistent response to the Public Sector Equality Duty which was imposed on public authorities to combat inequalities between different ethnic groups from schools to police and health. It now wants the Government to introduce new regulations which would require ministers and public bodies to set out clear objectives and action plans to reverse the biggest inequalities in their areas.
Working class white boys struggling at school should get the same treatment as traveller’s children, it was claimed last night. Some white boys are so far behind their peers in their studies that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission say they should be treated similarly to traveller and disabled children at school. They are urging the government to bring in regulations so white working class boys can get the help they need if they are behind. ‘Attainment is an issue particularly for white boys on free school meals or from disadvantaged backgrounds, whereas exclusion rates are higher for Gipsy, Roma, traveller boys and black boys,’ a spokesman for the commission told The Daily Telegraph.
Former teachers and those trained overseas are shunning jobs in British schools despite efforts to attract them. A report says today that the recruitment crisis needs to be addressed urgently. Some schools are receiving little or no response to job adverts or have to rely on teachers who are unqualified in the subject they teach. The workforce analysis by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) suggested that the problem was growing because of rising pupil numbers, a shortfall in trainees and a lower retention rate. It found that one in five teachers felt tense about their job all or most of the time, compared with one in eight similar professionals.
Parents say the government is jumping the gun in announcing compulsory sex education with lessons on gay and trans relationships. A parliamentary debate is due to be held today, triggered by a petition opposed to the new guidance, and could lead to the proposal being blocked. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, will say that pupils of all ages will have health education from September next year alongside compulsory relationships education for primary-aged children.
More than half a million people have signed a petition against allowing Islamic State supporters back into Britain. The huge petition, that has gone virtually ignored, reads: “Ban all ISIS members from returning to the UK, remove their citizenship and passports. “By banning all returning ISIS members and by removing their citizenship and passports it would help keep the UK safe from terrorists and their actions. “It would also save hundreds of thousands of pounds and time of the police and security services. It would also send a message to others that membership of terrorist organisation will not be tolerated.”