A no-deal Brexit is now a top priority for the Government and other non-essential business will be suspended, the Cabinet will be told on Tuesday. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, will unveil plans to step up no-deal planning as Parliament remains locked the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. Ministers will be told that a no-deal Brexit will now be considered a “default” option if Parliament is unable to sign off a deal. Government business which is not considered essential will be cancelled. The Cabinet will discuss how the £2billion committed to funding preparations for a no-deal Brexit should be spent.
Planning for a no-deal Brexit is expected to be ramped up this week with up to £2bn to be allocated to government departments after the cabinet signs off on the contingency plans at its weekly meeting on Tuesday. Theresa May wants the increasingly serious no-deal preparations to dominate the Brexit discussion at cabinet, even though ministers worried about the stalled negotiations with Brussels are openly canvassing alternatives. The prime minister’s official spokesman said there would be an announcement “shortly” about spending the Treasury’s £2bn contingency fund, and insiders indicated that would happen later this week after Tuesday’s meeting.
The European Commission will put forward measures to reduce the worst damage of a no deal Brexit when it publishes delayed contingency plans for Britain crashing out of the EU on Wednesday but will rule out any British hopes of a “managed no deal”. The strategy will, if backed, allow the EU will unilaterally declare the extension of agreements in selected sectors for between six to nine months to give its member countries time to strike bilateral agreements with Britain. The plans are likely to be seized upon by some Brexiteers as evidence that Brussels could accept a “managed no deal” but, according to the commission, no deal will mean an end to all Brexit negotiations with the UK.
BREXITEERS won a huge boost today as Brussels blinked over plans to manage a No Deal outcome. The EU will announce proposals this week which will keep planes in the air and goods flowing across the Channel until at least 2020. It means there won’t be a “cliff edge” exit even if we leave the EU in March without a full deal with Brussels. The news is a victory Brexit-backing MPs who insisted all along that Eurocrats would act to avoid total chaos in a No Deal scenario. Jacob Rees-Mogg told The Sun: “This fits in with the idea of a managed No Deal.” Eurocrats will announce a series of emergency measures on Wednesday to reduce the impact on both sides’ economies.
THERESA May is being advised by ‘Brexit-crisis adviser’ David Cameron as her deal continues to be troubled, ITV journalist Robert Peston has sensationally revealed. Mrs May took over from Mr Cameron after he stood down following the UK’s decision to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, which he called. The former Prime Minister urged the country to vote Remain in the EU referendum but he was defeated by 52 percent to 48 percent. Mr Cameron has kept a low profile since he stood down from frontline politics but according to the reporter, he will be making a comeback to try and fix the crisis. Mr Peston said in a Facebook post: “If you want a symbol of the catastrophe Theresa May faces over Brexit here it is: her predecessor David Cameron is advising her how to get some kind route out of the EU – that isn’t the fast one over the cliff – through parliament.” Mr Peston compares the bizarre situation to the “pope asking the chief rabbi on the true meaning of the Eucharist”.
It looks like yet another Remainer is advising Theresa May on Brexit: former Prime Minister David Cameron. After bailing out after the referendum having made no contingency planning for a Leave vote, Cameron has kept mostly quiet, though last week he did say: “Of course I don’t regret calling a referendum. I made a promise in the election to call a referendum and I called the referendum. Obviously I’m very concerned about what’s happened today. “But I do support the Prime Minister in her efforts to try and have a close partnership with the European Union, that’s the right thing to do and she has my support.”
Theresa May has rejected reports she is taking advice from her predecessor David Cameron on what to do in event of a Brexit deadlock in Parliament. Sources have told the BBC the former PM has been in touch with Mrs May about giving the Commons a “greater role” if her proposed deal is vetoed by MPs. Some ministers want alternatives to her deal to be considered and voted upon. But Mrs May told MPs that the last time she had spoken to her predecessor was in the middle of November. Asked about it in the Commons, the prime minister said she had spoken to Mr Cameron and another former prime minister “as a matter of courtesy” when the UK’s Brexit agreement with the EU was finalised on 14 November.
Theresa May will ask her cabinet to vote on three options today for how the country prepares for Brexit in a move that is likely to see a rapid acceleration in no-deal planning. Details of the approaches are so sensitive that ministers will only be allowed to study a paper setting them out inside No 10 before today’s meeting, according to one. The Times understands that senior government figures acknowledge that the cabinet is likely to back the option that would see no-deal preparations stepped up and centralised across Whitehall. It will hammer home to Theresa May the diminishing confidence in her Brexit deal and the prospects for getting it through the Commons.
Theresa May dug in her heels today and insisted there would not be a second referendum, a vote on her Brexit deal before Christmas or an extension to Article 50. The PM faces her fractious Cabinet tomorrow to discuss preparations for no deal amid deep splits over the way forward if and when her deal is defeated. The PM said she is still hoping to secure more ‘political and legal assurances’ from the EU on the Irish border backstop, and as a result the showdown in Parliament will not take place until the week commencing January 14. Appealing for MPs to get behind her plan, Mrs May said European counterparts had made clear ‘they do not want to use’ the insurance policy in the agreement. She also delivered a stinging rebuke to those calling for a second referendum, saying it would only lead to ‘disaster’. The defiant statement to the Commons comes as Mrs May wrestles to stop the Cabinet descending into chaos, with ministers openly floating alternatives to her Brexit plan.
The EU has said it does not expect to hold any more meetings with the UK government over the Brexit deal despite continuing claims by Theresa May that she can secure more concessions. The prime minister on Friday said the UK and EU “will be holding talks in coming days” to discuss changes to the backstop after leaders rebuffed her at a Brussels summit. But on Monday the chief spokesperson for the European Commission said: “The deal that is on the table is the best and only deal possible. We will not re-open it. It will not be renegotiated.
THE UK could be forced to continue to send politicians to Brussels post-March 30 next year if Britain decides to extend Article 50 due to the deadlock in negotiations, secret legal advice has revealed. The advice given to the Government explains if they extend the negotiations, a successful legal challenge will likely be launched. Any such challenge would see Remainers demand they continue to be represented by MEPs. As such it could see the UK forced to participate in another set of European elections in May next year. According to the Daily Telegraph, there is a “high risk” of a successful legal challenge to force the UK to participate in the fresh rounds of elections for the start of the next five-year session of the European Parliament on July 2. The chance of another set of elections to Brussels has caused fury among Brexiteers who demand the UK split with the bloc after March.
Theresa May has effectively challenged Jeremy Corbyn to call a parliamentary vote of no confidence in her Government. The Labour leader tried to force Mrs May to accept a vote of no confidence in her leadership in a purely symbolic move. The PM decided to call Mr Corbyn’s bluff after winning the support of both Tory Eurosceptics and the DUP who, while opposed to her deal, were unwilling to vote with Labour. Downing Street sources dismissed it as a “silly political stunt” and instead challenged Mr Corbyn to call a full vote of no confidence in the Government. If passed it could lead to the collapse of the Government and a general election.
Theresa May challenged Jeremy Corbyn last night to call a vote of confidence in her government after securing the backing of Tory Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party for her continued leadership. In a move to wrongfoot the Labour leader, Mrs May rejected his demand for a Commons vote on her performance as prime minister. Instead she called his bluff and promised parliamentary time for a debate before Christmas — but only if it were one of full confidence in her government. If the prime minister were defeated in such a motion, a general election could be triggered within two weeks. Were Labour to lose, however, Mr Corbyn would face intense pressure from his own Remain-supporting backbenchers to change strategy and back a second referendum.
A cynical Labour attempt to embarrass Theresa May backfired last night. On a shambolic day for Labour, Jeremy Corbyn tabled a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister – minutes after shadow chancellor John McDonnell ruled out the idea. Mrs May stalked out of the Commons chamber moments later. The non-binding vote was designed to exploit Tory divisions over Brexit and send Mrs May into Christmas on the back of a Commons humiliation. But it stopped short of a formal no-confidence vote in the Government which could result in a general election – the outcome Mr Corbyn claims to want.
Jeremy Corbyn has called for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May, but backed away from the official mechanism that could actually trigger an election to oust her. The Labour leader said he was tabling the motion because Ms May had refused to allow parliament a vote on approving her proposed Brexit deal which was supposed be to held earlier this month. However, the government says it will not allow parliamentary time for a vote on the motion, a Downing Street source said. “We won’t allow time for what is a stunt. The FTPA (Fixed Term Parliament Act) applies if Labour wants to put down a motion under the terms of that.” Mr Corbyn was immediately accused of “bottling” it by other opposition parties who are instead calling for him to back a move under the official motion of no-confidence procedure as set out in law, something the Labour leader has so far refused to do.
The Government has taken secret legal advice on extending Article 50 which it argues effectively rules out a second referendum, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The advice states that Britain will be legally obliged to take part in European Parliament elections in May of next year if it extends Article 50 and subsequently send British MEPs to Brussels. It warns that there will be a “high risk of a successful legal challenge” if the UK refuses to take part in the elections because doing so will be breaching people’s rights as EU citizens.
Leading figures from the 2016 Vote Leave campaign are confident that they would win a second referendum with the slogan “tell them again” — a plea for voters to give politicians the same message they did two years ago. Brexit-supporting Tory MPs are steadfastly resisting another vote, with not one who voted to leave the EU publicly calling for another referendum. Leave supporters want to frame any new vote as a “Remoaner” referendum pushed by “sore losers” who are refusing to listen to the will of the people. Many are attracted to the slogan “tell them again” as a way to reinforce the result. Private conversations are taking place between the architects of the 2016 EU vote.
MORE than half of voters think a second Brexit referendum would “break faith with the British people”, a new poll shows. A majority of 51 percent of those polled by Sky Data agree with Theresa May, who today urged Parliament to stick with the result of the 2016 referendum and “deliver Brexit.” They agreed with the statement: “Do you think holding another referendum would or would not break faith with the British people?’” Just 42 per cent disagreed with her, while seven percent were unsure. And among Brexiteers, nine out of ten are united behind a Prime Minister who has consistently ruled out a fresh vote on the issue.
The Ministry of Defence is to ring-fence £160million from its budget to develop innovative military capabilities, the government will announce tomorrow. The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, will use a speech to Parliament on Tuesday to conclude the long-awaited Defence Review, known as the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP). In what is billed as a ‘final update’, the Defence Minister will announce plans for a new team of specialists to analyse and map future threats, as well as a new fund worth up to £160million to tackle them. There will also be a new series of programmes focused on harnessing cutting-edge technologies for a range of issues, such as tackling threats to submarines and using artificial intelligence.
Households across the country will have to separate more recycling and manufacturers will have to say how long their goods will last, as part of a ‘green’ revolution to be unveiled on Tuesday by Michael Gove. ‘Best before’ dates on fruit and vegetables could be scrapped, more homes offered free garden and food waste collections and a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles extended to plastic coffee cups under a major new waste strategy. Mr Gove, the Environment secretary, said the country had to “move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource”.
Renault and Nissan are the worst performing motor manufacturers for air pollution, with the average new diesel car they produce emitting 11 times the legal limit, a study has found. Jaguar Land Rover is the best performing company but its new diesel cars still emit more than double the legal limit of 0.08g per km for nitrogen oxides (NOx), according to the largest roadside testing programme to date. The average new diesel car emits six times as much NOx on the road as in the official laboratory test, which does not reflect real world conditions. Air pollution contributes to 40,000 deaths a year in the UK and diesel vehicles are one of the largest sources of pollutants.
A deposit return scheme for plastic bottles will be introduced in England by 2023, the Government has announced. In a victory for the Daily Mail in its battle against the scourge of plastic waste, shoppers will be charged an up-front deposit when buying drinks in single-use containers. They will get this back when returning the empty container – and, in doing so, help prevent plastic bottles from littering the landscape. In another measure, makers of single-use plastic packaging will be forced to pick up the £1billion tab for clearing it up, also within five years.
Passengers will be allowed to shun failing train operators in favour of better-performing rivals under plans to allow companies to run the same routes. More competition will be introduced to the rail network from April, to cut fares, boost the overall number of trains at quiet times and drive innovation. The regulator will allow “open-access” operators to run services, provided that they pay a bigger share of costs for the upkeep of the railway. They will compete directly against established franchise operators that are handed government contracts — usually lasting about ten years — to provide services on a dedicated stretch of the line.
The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination. It is particularly important for the Republic of Ireland which transports the majority of its exports to the EU across the UK “land bridge”. More evidence that sensible contingency deals will be signed in a “managed no deal” scenario…
Airlines will be forced to be more transparent about their terms and conditions so that passengers are not hit with “hidden fees”, under government standards designed to improve air travel. The aviation strategy, published by the Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday, said that airlines would have to sign up to a code amid concern over the high price of extras such as allocated seating, carry-on luggage and printing boarding cards. The strategy, open to public consultation until April, said that the Civil Aviation Authority would be responsible for ensuring that airline terms and conditions were transparent, prominent and fair.