Theresa May requested the part of her proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement that could lock the UK to the European Union’s (EU) trade laws in the long term, the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator has revealed. According to the withdrawal agreement the Prime Minister proposes to make official this week, the UK will remain in a customs union with the bloc if a trade deal is not agreed, and this will form the “basis” for a future relationship. Inside a customs union, the UK will have no control of trade policy and must follow EU rules with no say in making them, and the UK cannot leave it without the EU agreeing to it. The plan was widely seen as a victory for the EU, allowing it to control the UK after Brexit, and leading to claim the bloc has bullied Britain into submission and even into colony-like status.
The transition period after the UK leaves the EU could be extended to 2022, Theresa May has said. The Prime Minister’s comments came after the EU signalled it was open to letting post-Brexit arrangements remain in place for nearly four years. Addressing businesses at the CBI annual conference, Mrs May said extending the transition period is an “alternative to what has become known as the backstop“. “I want the future relationship to be able to be in place in January 2021,” she said.
THERESA May admitted today that Britain could be tied to the EU for another four years. The Prime Minister told businesses she couldn’t guarantee that she wouldn’t need to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020. She would only promise we would be out of the EU’s rules by the next general election – not scheduled to take place until 2022. Addressing business leaders today at the CBI’s annual conference, Mrs May defiantly told her critics she was the one to deliver Brexit.
The government wants the option of extending the Brexit transition period up to the end of 2022, the business secretary, Greg Clark, has said, a move likely to further enrage the Conservative party plotters who hope to remove Theresa May this week. Amid predictions from hardline Brexit-backing Tories that the crucial mark of 48 MPs seeking to depose May could be reached on Monday, Clark endorsed an idea raised by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, which could keep the UK tied to Brussels rules for up to two further years.
THERESA May has rejected a fresh move from Brussels to try to keep Britain tied into the EU’s single market for an extra two years. As she launched a charm offensive to sell her Brexit deal to business leaders, the Prime Minister dismissed reports that preparations are being made to extend the UK’s transition out of the European bloc until the end of 2022. Instead, she insisted she wanted to stick to the current deadline of ending the so-called “implementation period” of continuing close ties to Brussels by December 31 2020.
Theresa May confirmed this morning that her “Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in full”, flying in the face of any potential change of heart or direction. It is what it is. Remaining Cabinet Brexiteers Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling had seemingly refused to resign because they wanted to re-write the May plan. That simply isn’t going to happen. So will they now sit as senior Brexiteers who supported the Leave campaign in a Cabinet pushing a plan through which will hook the UK into the European Union’s orbit indefinitely?
Theresa May today insisted Britain will be able to strike trade deals around the world and that the transition deal will end before the 2022 General Election and she issued a rallying cry to business to back her Brexit deal. The PM hailed her divorce agreement as a ‘good’ deal which would finally let the country regain control of its borders, laws and money. Facing down her mutinous MPs, she mounted another robust defence of the package thrashed out with Brussels despite the threat of a no-confidence vote by her own backbenchers.
The prime minister is facing threats from all sides, with the DUP adding to her list of headaches by firing a “warning shot” hours after she said she was “determined” to deliver Brexit. The Northern Irish party flexed its muscles by refusing to support a crucial government finance law. It effectively breached the confidence and supply agreement that keeps Mrs May’s government in power. The deal binds 10 DUP MPs to “support the government on all motions of confidence; and on the Queen’s Speech; the budget; finance bills”.
Theresa May was abandoned by her Commons partners last night in a move that all but killed off the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to keep her in power. The Northern Irish party breached the terms of the confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Party by lining up behind Labour MPs to vote against the Finance Bill. The DUP declined to vote alongside the Conservatives on four parts of the bill, abstaining on three and voting with Labour on a fourth to review the impact of the increases to the personal tax allowance on child poverty.
The Democratic Unionist Party made its unhappiness with the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal clear last night by abstaining from crunch votes on the Budget. It refused to vote on the Finance Bill as a warning to Theresa May over her plans for the Irish backstop. The move put the Government on notice that the DUP is edging closer to ripping up the ‘confidence and supply’ agreement that allows the Conservatives to govern. The party’s ten MPs prop up Mrs May’s minority administration through a formal deal that obliges them to vote for the Budget, the Queen’s Speech and Brexit legislation.
Theresa May had a warning shot fired across her bows Monday night as Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members of Parliament abstained from key votes on the Finance Bill, the legislation which permits the government’s programme of taxation from the budget. The Northern Irish DUP members withheld their votes from the government, in a show of strength to the Prime Minister as she pushes on with her Brexit deal which, the party says, has crossed her red lines and betrayed the British region to the European Union.
Theresa May’s grip on power was slipping tonight as the DUP tore up the voting agreement keeping her in Number 10. The hardline Northern Irish party had promised to vote with the Government on key legislation, in a pact worth £1 billion. But last night, DUP MPs abstained on a string of key budget votes, signalling their willingness to scrap the so-called ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement over her Brexit deal. The loss of DUP support leaves Mrs May vulnerable to a vote of no-confidence in her government, which would trigger a general election.
THERESA May has drawn up a secret plan to scrap the controversial Irish backstop in a bid to win round angry Tory Brexiteers. It has emerged that the PM has quietly won agreement from the EU to abandon the emergency plan if both sides can agree on “alternative arrangements” to keep the border open. Ground breaking new technology that could be used to keep the border invisible is now being studied afresh in No10 as one option to meet the new aim. A technological solution to the border dilemma, known as ‘maximum facilitation’, was initially proposed by former Brexit Secretary David Davis but rejected by Mrs May last summer.
Tory Eurosceptics have admitted an attempt to unseat Theresa May has stalled as bitter in-fighting broke out among Brexiteers. Despite confident predictions from Tory rebels that a no confidence vote would be held as soon as Tuesday, the extra letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger a ballot failed to materialise on Monday. The confidence vote now appears to be on hold until after Parliament votes next month on Mrs May’s Brexit deal, which will itself be seen as a referendum on her leadership.
TORY Brexiteer rebels yesterday refused to drop their demands for a no-confidence vote in Theresa May despite apparently failing to gather enough support to trigger the ballot. By Sunday afternoon, around 26 backbenchers had publicly confirmed they had written letters to the head of their parliamentary ruling body requesting the poll on the Prime Minister’s future. Kettering MP Philip Hollobone became the latest to join their number yesterday, but the total remained well short of the 48 letters required under party rules for a no-confidence vote to be held.
The tally of Tory MPs who have publicly declared that they have no confidence in Theresa May remained stuck at 24 yesterday as hard Brexiteers squabbled over tactics and who should stand in a leadership contest. Recriminations between declared rebels and those who have promised to act but have not yet submitted letters demanding a vote of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, fuelled speculation that the attempted coup against the prime minister was failing.
Cabinet ministers have begun working up plans to engineer a more successful second vote on a Brexit divorce deal in the Commons next month in the event that Theresa May loses the first. Downing Street is being “way too confident” about its chances of getting the meaningful vote through when it hits the floor of the Commons in mid-December, prompting mounting anxiety amongst senior cabinet allies.
France is leading a push for the EU to issue uncompromising official statements alongside any Brexit deal setting out the bloc’s red lines on issues such as fishing and regulatory alignment. The EU statements, known as side declarations, are often used by Brussels in negotiations to clarify the EU’s internal interpretation of any deal. However, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has warned that the move could make it more difficult for Theresa May to sell any Brexit compromise to her already mutinous party.
Against all expectations, the EU-27 has remained remarkably united in the face of Brexit. Now as the negotiations enter their endgame could the bloc’s much-vaunted unity finally be splintering? Before the Brexit process began, David Davis had been convinced that any deal would be done over the heads of the European Commission with the leaders of EU governments. “The first calling point of the UK’s negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal,” Mr Davis, who would go on to become Brexit secretary, tweeted on May 2016, before the referendum.
Plans by France and Germany for a European army to rival Nato are an “absolutely crazy idea” that would undermine long-term peace and security, the defence secretary has warned. Gavin Williamson criticised the countries for not spending 2 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence, a Nato guideline. Mr Williamson told the Daily Mail that the proposal by President Macron and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, would not be supported by the UK. “You can absolutely rest assured that Britain will never become part of a European army on my watch,” he said.
The EU’s desire for a European army that would rival Nato is an ‘absolutely crazy idea’ that would undermine peace and security, the Defence Secretary has warned. Gavin Williamson’s comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ‘true European army’. He also criticised both countries for not spending 2 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence, a Nato guideline. Speaking about the prospect of a European army, he told the Daily Mail: ‘You can absolutely rest assured that Britain will never become part of a European army on my watch.
Labour could bring down the government in an effort to block a no-deal Brexit. The party has declared “no deal is not an option” despite refusing to support the Prime Minister’s withdrawal plan. Keir Starmer MP, Shadow Brexit Secretary, told a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party he is prepared to work with MPs from across the Commons to prevent the UK crashing out of the European Union without a deal. Labour would be prepared to use any parliamentary measures at its disposal, including tabling a motion of no confidence in Theresa May’s Government.
Labour will consider calling for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government if her Brexit deal is voted down and it appears the UK is at risk of crashing out of the EU without a deal, the party’s Brexit spokesman has said. Sir Keir Starmer told members of Labour’s parliamentary party on Monday night he was confident parliament would be able to prevent a no-deal scenario, and if necessary the opposition would stage a vote to call for an early election. “It would be politically unsustainable for any government to deliver a no deal without the consent of parliament,” Starmer told MPs.
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says his party will try to stop Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement if Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal is rejected by Parliament. Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry that “neither the Cabinet nor Parliament would endorse such an extreme and frankly dangerous course.” He said “Labour will not countenance a no-deal Brexit,” which could cause upheaval for businesses and people. But it is unclear what would happen if Parliament rejected the deal when it is put to a vote, likely next month.
Spain has threatened to withdraw support for the draft Brexit divorce deal if its Gibraltar “veto” does not apply to a future trade deal between the UK and the EU. Josep Borrell, Spain’s foreign minister, warned that both sides should prepare for “last-minute surprises” as splits appeared among EU member states over the in-principle deal agreed with the UK last week by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. “We want to make sure the interpretation of this text is clear and shows that what’s being negotiated between the EU and the UK does not apply to Gibraltar,” said Mr Borrell.
SPAIN has threatened to block the Brexit deal unless it spells out that a future trade deal won’t automatically cover Gibraltar. Foreign minister Josep Borrell said Madrid was shocked by the Withdrawal Agreement and is demanding an urgent explanation from Michel Barnier. Meanwhile France wants “side declarations” on fishing and following EU rules to be included in the trade blueprint to show Britain the cost of leaving. Paris is insisting on the clauses, including one demanding access to UK waters and another on tough Level Playing Field provisions, despite Mr Barnier warning they could torpedo the deal.
Theresa May is facing a fresh threat to her Brexit deal after Spain warned it would reject it unless Madrid were granted a special veto to prevent any future EU trade agreement with Britain that covers Gibraltar. As the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, sought to sell the withdrawal agreement to both its critics in the UK and member states who have expressed concerns, the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, threw a spanner in the works.
Theresa May tonight hurtled towards a clash with Spain over Gibraltar’s future after Brexit. As both the Prime Minister and EU chief Michel Barnier declared the deal ‘agreed in full,’ Mrs May remained in Westminster, facing down Brexiteer rebels as more of her own MPs called for her to be ousted. And she struggled to convince critics of her deal that it would not keep Britain in the EU for four more years. Spain last night threatened to withdraw support for the Prime Minister’s draft divorce deal, unless the territory is excluded from a future trade deal between the UK and EU.
Spain has said it will not agree to the draft Brexit withdrawal deal without clarity over how talks on the future status of Gibraltar should be handled. Foreign minister Josep Borrell insisted that talks about the territory were “separate negotiations”. The country will not agree to the draft deal until that is clarified, he said following a meeting with EU ministers. Spain maintains a claim to Gibraltar, which was ceded to the British crown under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Spain – along with Ireland and Cyprus – has conducted separate talks with the UK about specific border issues. Gibraltar’s
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn will join education trade unionists, campaigners, parents and children on a march through central London today to call on Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding to British schools. National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary Mary Bousted said Mr Hammond has “displayed his ignorance of the seriousness” of the funding crisis by offering £400 million for “little extras” in the Budget last month. She said: “This was widely viewed by teachers, head teachers and support staff as an insult, at a time when schools are suffering a £2 billion shortfall in funding per year.
An open letter is being circulated among left wing National Union of Students officers and students who, outraged with the “claimed”massive deficit, have demanded yet more spending as a response. They are demanding a bigger NUS conference, more money for part time NEC members, and no cuts to campaigning budgets. “We demand no cuts to democracy, representation and campaigns.” The only cut the letter suggests making is to the CEO’s £100,000 salary, which even if it were stripped back to the minimum wage, would have last year cut the NUS Group deficit down from £5,436,526 to just £5,424,332…
Almost four million homes across northern England could be converted to use hydrogen gas for heating and cooking by 2034 under a £23 billion scheme to tackle climate change. Boilers and gas cookers would need to be replaced or converted under the plan, which would add more than £50 to the annual energy bill of every UK home, according to three companies involved in gas supply. Tens of thousands of kilometres of existing gas pipelines could be used, however, which the companies say would make the scheme cheaper and less disruptive than other “green” heating options.