Dozens of MPs and peers, including some with vast inherited wealth, own or manage farms that collectively have received millions of pounds in European Union subsidies. An analysis by the Guardian and the environmental group Friends of the Earth identified 48 parliamentarians who claimed £5.7m in farming subsidies under the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP) in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available. The largest single payment – £473,000 – was paid to a Sussex farming firm run by the 18th Duke of Norfolk, a large landowner whose estate dates from the middle ages.
Theresa May fears rebel Tory MPs will this week write a ‘blank cheque’ to Parliament which could allow Brexit to be delayed for a year or longer – or even stopped entirely. The Commons is expected to vote tomorrow on various amendments – including one to seize power from ministers and hand it to backbench MPs so they can influence the timing of Britain’s departure. Supporters of the plan – led by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and former Tory minister Nick Boles – say the amendment is designed to stop a damaging No Deal exit, as it would postpone the March 29 leaving date by nine months if a deal is not secured by February 26.
Ministers today praised amendments tabled by senior Tories that would endorse Theresa May’s Brexit deal – as long as she can overhaul or time limit the Irish border backstop. Health Secretary Matthew Hancock welcomed the changes being pushed by 1922 chair Sir Graham Brady and former minister Andrew Murrison as a key part of ‘building a majority’ for the package. In a thinly-veiled appeal for Brexiteers to stage a show of support in crucial votes on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said he ‘understood the impulse’ behind the tweaks. Sir Graham has put forward a text calling for the Irish backstop to be replaced with ‘alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border’, but adding that the House would ‘support the Withdrawal Agreement subject to this change’.
Theresa May must commit to securing her Brussels deal within just two weeks if she is to avoid resignations over no-deal, Remain ministers have said during a secret conference call. The Telegraph has learned that a dozen pro-European ministers held a conference call on Sunday night to discuss their approach to a back-bench plan to force the Government to extend Article 50. Cabinet ministers on the call included Amber Rudd,the Work and Pensions Secretary, Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, and Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister.
Theresa May is poised to throw her weight behind a Tory ‘unity’ proposal designed to secure concessions from Brussels, it emerged last night. In a high-stakes gamble, she could back an amendment calling for the controversial Northern Irish backstop to be ditched in tomorrow’s crunch Brexit vote. The plan, which was put forward by influential Conservative grandee Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, would instead call for ‘alternative arrangements’ to be put in place to avoid a hard border.
THERESA May has privately told Cabinet ministers that she will not take Britain out of the EU without a deal, The Sun has learnt. The PM told members of her top team that she is not yet prepared to rule out no deal in public because it would remove a key bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU. But a Cabinet source who has sat in meetings with the PM and ministers over the last week told The Sun: “The PM has made quite clear that she’s not going to go for no deal.” Another senior Tory told The Sun that Remainer ministers have succeeded in influencing the PM to privately oppose a no deal Brexit.
A PLAN to avoid financial chaos if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on March 29 has been revealed by a leading British economist. Roger Bootle, chairman of independent macroeconomic research consultancy Capital Economics, has said Britain and the EU should sign a temporary agreement committing not to impose tariffs on each other’s imports and exports while a new free trade agreement is negotiated. Mr Bootle argues the deal would be permissible under World Trade Organisation and has questioned why the government has not yet suggested this proposal to Brussels.
BRITAIN should leave the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms to free a future Labour government from single market rule, the Communist Party declared at the weekend. The pro-EU Tory minority regime and the EU Commission “cannot be trusted” to strike a withdrawal deal that does not serve the interests of “big business and the capitalist class,” the party said at the first meeting of its new executive committee. The meeting concluded that any withdrawal agreement revamped by the government would continue to bind Britain to the single market.
MPs seeking to delay Brexit claiming they are doing so to avoid a no-deal scenario are sneakily trying to overthrow the result of the 2016 referendum, a Tory has claimed. Nick Herbert, who led his party’s campaign to Remain, has accused MPs of keeping the public in the dark about their true intentions when demanding a delay in the UK’s divorce date from the European Union. The Arundel and South Downs MP said many of the 384 MPs who voted to trigger Article 50 in March 2017 seem to have forgotten that in doing so they vowed to stay true to the referendum result, even if that means leaving the EU without a deal.
Student backing for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has fallen amid growing support for a Final Say referendum on Brexit, a new poll has found. The survey revealed that backing for Labour among the core group of young supporters who have helped maintain Mr Corbyn’s power dropped 10 percentage points in a year. At the same time the group’s desire to see a new referendum take place on the outcome of Brexit has risen as the clock ticks down to 29 March. The poll commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) comes after a cross-party group of MPs, including several from Labour, accused Mr Corbyn of “standing in the way of the younger generation having a say” on Brexit.
HOLDING a second Brexit referendum would show that politicians had “failed the public”, a top Labour MP has warned as she tore apart her party’s calls for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’. Angela Rayner said she is “really worried” about what a new Brexit poll would mean for the UK, warning that it would likely deliver a result the British public had not been expecting and place the country in a “very difficult” situation. The Shadow Education Secretary said while she would vote Remain if another vote took place, she advised against holding one at all.
Angela Rayner risked fuelling Labour’s Brexit civil war today by warning holding another referendum would be political ‘failure’. The shadow education secretary said she did not believe the public wanted a fresh national vote on the issue – despite dozens of her colleagues demanding one. The intervention comes as Jeremy Corbyn desperately tries to avoid being pinned down over how he would handle Brexit. The veteran left-winger was a Eurosceptic for decades, and is believed to be deeply resistant to the idea of another vote. But he has been forced to keep the possibility on the table as party activists and large numbers of MPs – including in the shadow cabinet – support it.
A top Labour MP has shredded calls for a second EU referendum, saying she is “really worried” it won’t solve the Brexit crisis. Angela Rayner revealed she’d vote Remain if there is a new public vote – but warned holding one at all would show MPs had “failed the public”. And she said the public don’t want to delay Brexit – despite Labour being poised to do just that, and the Shadow Brexit Secretary warning it may be “inevitable”. The Shadow Education Secretary’s comments emphasise a split in the Labour party on whether Jeremy Corbyn should swing behind a so-called ‘People’s Vote’.
Conservatives who backed Theresa May’s Brexit plan when it was heavily defeated this month are preparing to abandon her and push for a softer agreement if parliament blocks a no-deal exit tomorrow. MPs who are loyal at present to the prime minister will get behind alternative plans for leaving the European Union if a proposal by the former Labour cabinet minister Yvette Cooper results in a delay to the withdrawal date. One MP who voted for the deal two weeks ago said that they could not afford to wait for Mrs May to try to secure more concessions on the Irish backstop before mobilising behind a softer Brexit.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is holding dinners for MPs at his Westminster home in support of Boris Johnson. Mr Rees-Mogg, a leading backbench Brexiteer, said that he would back the former foreign secretary if there were a Conservative Party leadership election tomorrow. While Mr Johnson has a loyal following among the grassroots, the party’s leadership rules mean that he would first need the support of a significant number of his fellow MPs. In a Conservative leadership contest MPs whittle the number of candidates down to a final two who are voted on by the party membership.
ONE of Britain’s top barristers, Paul Diamond, will be unveiled as the head of a legal team set up to help Conservative associations de-select Remainer MPs. The Campaign for Conservative Democracy confirmed it was establishing a legal fund for Tory associations across the UK to support association officers who want to hold their MPs to account. The move means that Remainer MPs including Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield), Heidi Allen (South Cambridgeshire), Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury), Anna Soubry (Broxtowe), Sarah Wollaston (Totnes), Nick Boles (Grantham), Sam Gyimah (East Surrey), Nicky Morgan (Loughborough), Phillip Lee (Bracknell) and Justine Greening (Putney) are under threat from being booted out by their associations.
THERESA May has sided with top Tory Brexiteers against the EU’s continual demands for a backstop and is plotting a return to Brussels with calls for them to drop the hated clause in the Withdrawal Agreement, the Health Secretary has hinted. Matt Hancock said ditching the backstop through an amendment tabled by the chair of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady is the only way the EU will be able to get a deal that works for the bloc too. Mr Hancock revealed Theresa May’s plan to the BBC, saying: “I think we have got to listen very carefully to people who are willing to vote for the deal subject to some amendments.”
Irish deputy PM Simon Coveney upped the stakes in the bitter Brexit battle today by warning that the EU will never allow the backstop to be ditched. Mr Coveney said even if member states agreed to abandon the mechanism for guaranteeing there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, MEPs would veto it. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock accused him of negotiating tactics – pointing out that a no deal outcome would be the biggest risk of creating a hard border. The clashes came as Theresa May faces another gruelling week as she tries to keep her Cabinet together and fend off a bid by cross-party Remainers to force her to delay Brexit.
THERESA May has been dealt a Brexit blow by Ireland’s foreign minister who has warned the Prime Minister there is no chance of changing the backstop. Mrs May was boosted last week as the eurosceptic ERG, who represent the vast number of Tory MPs who voted against the Withdrawal Agreement earlier this month, suggested they may be willing to support her deal if the backstop is removed. The backstop, which is designed to make sure there is no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland, has become the major sticking point and represents Theresa May’s final hurdle to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The backstop element of the Brexit plan is “not going to change”, Ireland’s deputy prime minister has said. The proposal – aimed at preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – played a major part in Theresa May’s deal being voted down by an historic margin last week. But Simon Coveney told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the EU would not ratify a deal without it. Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the comments a “negotiating position”. Mr Hancock also denied reports that the government was “specifically” planning for martial law if the UK left without a deal – but he did not rule it out. He said that the government “looks at all the options in all circumstances,” but when pressed by Andrew Marr, the health secretary added: “It remains on the statute book, but it isn’t the focus of our attention.”
Theresa May is planning to fight for a “freedom clause” from Brussels in a move that will win the “full-throated” support of the entire nation if she succeeds, Boris Johnson says. Writing in The Telegraph, the former Foreign Secretary says he has heard “from the lips of very senior sources” that the Prime Minister is planning to go to Brussels and renegotiate the Northern Ireland customs backstop. Describing the plans as “unadulterated good Brexit news”, he says an exit mechanism or sunset clause will “defuse the booby trap” and give the UK a “way out” to negotiate a Canada-style trade deal with the EU.
Theresa May’s bid to get EU concessions on the Northern Ireland Brexit backstop has been strongly rejected by Dublin. The Prime Minister has anchored her attempts to try and re-sell her Brexit strategy to Parliament on a push to change the backstop proposals which have been roundly condemned by prominent Leave supporters. However, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney firmly insisted the EU was not prepared to accept changes to the deal which is aimed at preventing the return of a hard border.
Ireland has launched a last-minute effort to warn Theresa May off any attempt to unravel the backstop, two days before a crucial Commons debate that may decide the next move for the UK’s rudderless Brexit policy. Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, insisted the backstop – the mechanism to ensure there will be no hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland if Britain and the EU fail to strike a free trade deal – was “part of a balanced package that isn’t going to change”.
Ireland has dealt a blow to Theresa May’s hopes of obtaining the changes to her Brexit deal needed to secure the backing of her own Conservative MPs. The country’s foreign minister Simon Coveney said the Irish backstop that Ms May wants to renegotiate “isn’t going to change” despite the prime minister’s deal being comprehensively rejected by the House of Commons. On Tuesday Ms May hopes to secure backing for a move to go back to Brussels and ask for changes to the backstop, in order to put it to another full vote in the coming weeks. Tory rebels and her DUP Northern Irish partners in government have both indicated they could back her deal if she can secure changes to the backstop
A cross-party group of MPs is confident it will be able to use an amendment to the immigration bill going through parliament to stop people being held indefinitely in immigration detention centres. Harriet Harman, the chair of the joint committee on human rights, has persuaded the former Brexit secretary David Davis and other former Conservative ministers to back the move, which would stop thousands of foreigners facing deportation every year being held in detention for more than 28 days. The Home Office has yet to approve the proposal but Harman, a former deputy Labour leader, said she was “very confident” her amendment would be accepted because of the strength of her case and the breadth of cross-party support.
A major supermarket is to introduce US style paper bags as part of the escalation on war on plastic. Morrisons said it would charge 20p per paper bag as part of a trial which will also see it raise the cost of long-life plastic bags rise from 10p to 15p. The supermarket said the eight-week trial at eight stores was in response to customers saying that reducing plastic is their top environmental concern. Morrisons removed 5p carrier bags early in 2018 which led to a 25 per cent reduction in overall bag sales. The new US-style paper grocery bags have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags.
Heavy snow is expected to fall over much of the country this week and a snow warning has been issued for southern, central and eastern England for tomorrow night. The Met Office issued the yellow alert for most of Essex and the whole of London and East Anglia. It stretched almost to the Severn estuary in the west and as far north as Lincoln and Derby. Forecasters said that some villages could be cut off by snow that will fall from 9pm tomorrow to midday on Wednesday. “There is a small chance of travel delays on roads with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel,” the Met Office said.
BRITAIN is set to be gripped in yet another icy blast as forecasters warn of four inches of snow in London and the South East combined with 70mph gale force winds. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow across the south and southeast of England on Tuesday and Wednesday. Weather forecasters warn of sub-zero temperatures this week and freezing air blowing from the North Pole which will bring the most low-level snow the UK has seen this winter. The Met Office yellow snow warning says to expect heavy snow overnight on Tuesday, continuing into Wednesday. Snowfall could even hit the North East and North West as early as today, followed by widespread rain from Wednesday in northern areas.