Labour plans to ambush Theresa May on the Windrush scandal by tabling a Commons motion demanding the release of secret Government papers. Jeremy Corbyn and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott will use the same parliamentary procedure that was successful in forcing the Government to hand over Brexit papers. Using an Opposition Day debate in the Commons, Labour will propose a humble address, which if passed will give the Commons the power to require ministers to release Government papers to Parliament. Since losing its Commons majority last year, the Government has been ignoring Opposition Day motions and not voting against them, which has prompted Labour to use the humble address tactic to demand key documents.
Theresa May could be forced to know what she knew when about the Windrush scandal thanks to an obscure Commons vote. Labour will tomorrow try to force the government to hand over correspondence between ministers, officials and special advisers between May 2010 and 2018. The party will will use a parliamentary procedure known as a “motion for a return” to ask the Queen to direct the documents’ release. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the scandal had “exposed something rotten at the heart of Government” and “full disclosure of the facts” was required. It is the same process that was used to reveal impact studies on Brexit .
Labour is attempting to force the government to publish all internal documents relating to the Windrush scandal to find out who was to blame. The party says it will use the same parliamentary procedure that led to the release of Brexit impact studies. Amber Rudd resigned as home secretary after a series of leaked documents showed she had been told about immigration removals targets. Labour says it now wants to hold Prime Minister Theresa May to account.
Theresa May faces a showdown with David Davis and other cabinet Brexiteers today as she tries to convince them of the merits of a customs plan that will keep existing EU tariffs. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, Liam Fox, the trade secretary, and potentially Michael Gove, the environment secretary, are likely to raise their objections to Mrs May’s plan at a meeting of cabinet’s Brexit sub-committee. The “customs partnership” option is backed by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, who hope it will avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland while maintaining the right to strike trade deals with non-EU countries.
Theresa May has been warned her government will “collapse” if she does not abandon plans for a post-Brexit customs partnership with the EU. Sixty eurosceptic Tory MPs from the European Research Group, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, have sent the Prime Minister a 30 page report detailing their opposition to the plan. Number 10 have been directly warned in correspondence that accepting a customs partnership will lead to a “collapse” of the government because it would mean Mrs May cannot deliver a clean break from the EU and would lose the support of Brexiteers.
THERESA May’s Government could collapse if she agrees to a post-Brexit customs union with the EU, according to a group of Eurosceptic MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg. Sixty MPs from the European Research Group (ERG), which is a Eurosceptic research group for the Conservative society, have sent the PM a 30-page report detailing their opposition to the proposed plan of maintaining a customs union post-Brexit. Mrs May has been warned in correspondence that accepting a customs partnership will lead to a “collapse” in her Government because it would mean the PM cannot deliver a clean Brexit and she would lose support from Brexiteers.
Theresa May has been warned that her government could ‘collapse’ if she goes ahead with plans for a customs partnership with the EU against the wishes of Brexiteers. The Prime Minister faces a showdown in a meeting with her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ today after sixty Eurosceptic Tory MPs sent a 30-page report to Downing Street savaging the plan. The damning report – compiled by the European Research Group, which is led by Jacob Rees-Mogg – claimed the plan would ‘festoon the entire economy with burdensome controls, while crippling the ability of the UK’ to negotiate trade deals.
Theresa May is facing huge pressure from pro-Brexit MPs as her feuding Cabinet ministers prepare to meet in a ferocious showdown on Government policy on customs. The Prime Minister’s so-called “Brexit war cabinet” is meeting to attempt to reach a deal on whether the UK should leave Europe’s customs union or enter a “customs partnership”. The PM has repeatedly pledged that there will be no customs union after Brexit, but is struggling to reconcile the demands of warring Brexiteers and Remainers and avoid more Cabinet resignations. She also faces near-civil war on her backbenches, with pro-Remain Tory rebels threatening to vote with Labour and other opposition parties in the Commons to stay in the customs union.
Senior Brexiteer MPs have delivered an “ultimatum” demanding Theresa May drops one of the government’s preferred post-Brexit customs options. A 30-page document passed to the BBC says a “customs partnership” would make meaningful trade deals “impossible” to forge and render the UK’s International Trade Department “obsolete”. It comes ahead of a key meeting of senior ministers on Wednesday. They will discuss the different options to replace customs union membership. The issue threatens to split the meeting of the Brexit sub-committee and could have long-term implications for the government.
Liam Fox said today that neither post-Brexit customs options to be presented to cabinet ministers tomorrow solve key red lines, amid hints that he would resign if his ability to strike trade deals were curtailed. Theresa May is approaching crunch point on how Britain wants to approach customs arrangements after Brexit, with mounting pressure from Brussels and Ireland, divisions among cabinet ministers and a rebellion among Tory MPs in parliament. The trade secretary said that whatever the option chosen by cabinet ministers, it must ensure near-frictionless trade, provide a “solution” to the Northern Ireland border issue and allow Britain to sign trade agreements with non EU countries.
About time Liam Fox spoke up for his department and made the case for rejecting any form of customs union. Fox told the Today programme that no form of customs union is acceptable and suggested he would resign if the government attempts to further fudge the issue. As Guido reported yesterday, Sajid Javid joining the Brexit sub-committee could tip the balance away from Number 10’s ‘customs partnership’ towards the Brexiters’ preferred Max Fac solution. It’s make your mind up time…
The billionaire behind a think tank with links to Conservative Brexiteers was accused in the Commons today of having links to Russian intelligence dating back to 2002. Bob Seely, the Tory MP for the Isle of Wight, used parliamentary privilege to quote from copies of what he said were Monaco security files containing information from the Monaco police and French intelligence, that identified Christopher Chandler as an “object of interest”.
A Tory MP has claimed the founder of pro-Brexit think-tank the Legatum Institute was under suspicion of having worked for Russian intelligence services. Speaking under the protection of parliamentary privilege on Tuesday, Bob Seely said he and four other MPs had seen documents linking billionaire Christopher Chandler with the Kremlin. The Legatum Institute has described the claims as “complete nonsense”. Seely said he was making the accusation public in order to battle the “malign influence of authoritarian states” such as Russia which present “a real and present danger to our nation”.
THERESA May is being urged to put the Tories on general election alert in a bid to crush the Remainer plot aimed at sabotaging her Brexit plans. Eurosceptic ministers have told the Prime Minister that the threat of a snap poll is needed to bring pro-EU rebels into line. One Brexit-backing minister said: “There could be a general election this summer. With the Remainers becoming so intransigent, the Prime Minister may need to call their bluff by going to the country.” And the pressure for a general election comes as an exclusive Daily Express/ComRes State-of-the-Nation survey reveals Theresa May has a substantial lead over Jeremy Corbyn on the issue of stewardship of the economy.
A NEW plan to kick-start crunch Brexit talks and wrap up the Irish border headache that has hexed Britain leaving the bloc has been conjured up by David Davis. The Brexit Secretary is keen to “move quickly” when stalled talks resume tomorrow on the Northern Ireland hard land border stalemate with hardball EU negotiators. A fresh template has been drafted on the the border question with the solution aiming to balm frictions between Theresa May’s warring cabinet. Taking to Twitter, Mr Davis vowed: “We’ve put forward proposals on the future and look forward to making progress this week. “Our solutions must respect the EU single market and the integrity of the UK.”
The Brexit talks are at risk of collapsing over the future of the Irish border, the EU’s chief negotiator said yesterday. During a visit to Ireland, Michel Barnier urged Theresa May to reconsider introducing a border in the Irish Sea. He called for a “clear and operational solution for Ireland” to be included in the Brexit deal, adding: “Until we reach this agreement, there is a risk [of no deal].” Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, warned that Britain’s “approach to negotiations will need to change in some way” if there is to be agreement over the issue. The EU and Ireland are pressing the UK to spell out its plans for the Irish border before a key European summit at the end of next week.
Brexit talks between British and European Commission officials will resume later this week in Brussels, following a warning from Brussels that time is limited to solve the Irish border issue. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday said the border issue needed “substantive” progress before the European Council summit at the end of June. There are just four more rounds of meetings scheduled before the summit, with officials having paused their meetings last week to take stock. Negotiations will take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – with the UK side being led by Olly Robbins, Theresa May’s Downing Street Brexit chief, rather than Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Theresa May’s new home secretary has been warned of potential problems with the Home Office’s system to register EU citizens just hours after starting his new job. Senior figures from the European Parliament marked Sajid Javid’s first day by sending him a joint letter laying out their concerns – and warning that the Windrush scandal must not be repeated for European nationals caught up in Brexit. The letter comes a day after Mr Javid’s predecessor Amber Rudd resigned in the furore over deportation targets that followed the Windrush scandal, which was branded “deeply worrying” in the EU capital.
House of Lords
A Labour peer has claimed that Theresa May has given the House of Lords a “veto” over Brexit. Baroness Hayter said peers will “mark the Government’s homework” over its negotiations with Brussels. On Monday evening, the Lords voted by 335 votes to 244 for a “meaningful vote” in the Commons that would give MPs the power to force ministers to reopen talks with Brussels in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. Among those voting against the Government were 19 Tory peers, described by one Brexiteer in the Lords as a “cosy cabal of remainers”.
ANTI-BREXIT peers in the House of Lords who voted against the Government to keep Britain in the customs union after Brexit have been slammed for “an act of mutinous lunacy” by a fuming Tory MP. Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, spoke of his bewilderment over the the Lords’ attempt to block Brexit and accused peers of derailing negotiations through restraint. Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Fysh said he was baffled as to why the House of Lords would want to “tie our hands” in the grueling Brexit battle. He said: “Brexit is a voyage not without dangers and as an island nation we are well used to ill winds blowing in from Europe.
THE list of pro-EU peers who voted to force a soft Brexit on Britain last night includes multiple Lords investigated over expenses claims and several with vast EU pensions. Those in the upper chamber who are trying to wreck Theresa May’s flagship EU legislation include Viscount Hailsham – dubbed Lord Moat – and the Kinnocks, a husband and wife team who get thousands of pounds a year from Brussels. Here is a rundown of some of the peers who backed the amendment that would stop the Prime Minister walking away from negotiations without a deal:
Theresa May says the government will be “robust” in its response to a House of Lords defeat which potentially gives Parliament a decisive say on Brexit. No 10 said the cabinet had “strong disappointment” with the vote, adding: “We wish for the bill to go through in the same way it left the Commons.” Some ministers accuse peers of trying to “thwart the will of the people”. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Parliament must be sovereign on this matter and make the final decision.” He said the vote marked a “hugely significant moment” in the fight to ensure Parliament has a “proper role” in the Brexit negotiations and a no-deal situation was avoided.
Theresa May has vowed to overturn an amendment to the government’s Brexit legislation imposed by the House of Lords. The prime minister said that when the proposed change — voted through the upper chamber on Monday evening — comes back to a Commons vote, Downing Street would be “robust” in trying to block its passage. In the Commons today the senior Labour MP David Lammy is also expected host a Windrush event in Parliament at around 4pm with speakers including victims, charity campaigners, high commissioners and the shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
Theresa May and cabinet ministers have expressed “strong disappointment” at a string of fresh defeats in the House of Lords over the EU withdrawal bill, with Liam Fox accusing unelected peers of trying to block the UK from leaving the European Union. Ministers said they were concerned that the amendments risked tying the government’s hands behind its back in negotiations with Brussels at discussions during its weekly meeting, Downing Street said. The prime minister and the Brexit secretary, David Davis, told the cabinet the government would be “robust” when the bill returned to the House of Commons, her spokesman said, saying it was “vital to ensure that the legislation is able to deliver the smooth Brexit which is in the interests of everybody in the UK”.
The government is set for another clash with the House of Lords today after Liam Fox accused peers of trying to thwart the will of the people and keep Britain in the EU. The government’s Brexit legislation has suffered a series of defeats in the upper chamber, which the international trade secretary suggested were “procedural devices” to reverse Brexit. Theresa May said that the government would mount a robust response to the defeats. Today the Lords will vote on a cross-party amendment backed by the Labour frontbench and Lord Patten of Barnes, which is designed to strengthen the protections against a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.
Rebel Tories last night suggested they would support a Lords amendment that could derail Brexit. The Remain-backing MPs signalled they would refuse to overturn the amendment when it returns to the Commons. That could force Theresa May to reopen talks with Brussels if MPs reject her Brexit deal. The controversial amendment – proposed by ex-Tory minister Viscount Hailsham and voted through on Monday night – sparked a furious row yesterday, with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox accusing peers of wanting to delay Britain’s exit from the EU indefinitely. Other Brexiteers warned the move strengthened the case for reforming the House of Lords.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said there is no form of customs partnership with the European Union that “could ever be acceptable” as he warned peers against thwarting the will of the people. In a fresh blow to Theresa May’s Brexit plans, the House of Lords voted to give Parliament a decisive say on the outcome of the negotiations. Dr Fox suggested peers were using a “backdoor mechanism” to delay exit from the EU “indefinitely”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We can’t have a situation where the clearly expressed will of the people in a referendum is thwarted by effectively procedural devices that would keep us in the EU indefinitely.”
A bottle that can biodegrade within weeks has been created by a British inventor to help to save the oceans from plastic waste. James Longcroft, 27, a Durham University chemistry graduate, says that his design could scale back the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that are being dumped in the oceans each year. The Choose Water bottle is being marketed as the “plastic-less bottle”. It is made of a recycled paper outer casing, with a waterproof lining inside, which is made of biodegradable materials and binds to the paper casing, creating a seal that stops the water from reaching the paper. Mr Longcroft said that the inner and outer layers of the bottle would decompose within three weeks.
Ukip’s new leader, Gerard Batten, has reiterated his intention to move the party towards the hard right by urging people to read the Qur’an so they can “educate” themselves about the threat posed by Islam. Batten, who took over in February after the removal of Henry Bolton, repeated his belief that Islam is inherently antisemitic and the Labour party is deliberately tolerant of the prejudice in order to attract Muslim votes. “I draw attention to the problems that the Islamic ideology brings to our country, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” he told BBC Two’s Daily Politics. Batten has long held such views personally, describing Islam as a “death cult”. However, his espousal of such views as Ukip leader marks a significant change for a party that has traditionally made a point of opposing far-right infiltration.
UKIP has spent the last two years “shooting ourselves in the foot” and some voters thought its job was already done, the interim leader has admitted when asked about election results. Gerard Batten said he would judge success in Thursday’s polls as “a positive” with results of 5%-to-7% in vote share, in the English council seats it was contesting. He told Daily Politics presenter Jo Coburn: “I inherited nothing when I took over on 17th February. There was no election campaign. There was nothing planned. It was a complete disaster.”