Next week’s Brexit vote could be scrapped as the Prime Minister plans to seek more concessions from Brussels, it’s been revealed. The crucial vote – due to go ahead next Monday – could be postponed as Tory whips urge Theresa May to go back to EU to renegotiate her deal to avoid a defeat in the Commons. If true, the Government would abandon the vote on Friday – just two sitting days before the December 11 date, according to The Sun. The move is reportedly backed by a string of senior Cabinet ministers including Sajid Javid, Chris Grayling, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox. It could give Mrs May one last chance to win over Tory rebels, if she were to come back with a new and improved deal.
NICOLA Sturgeon will arrive in London today where she will urge MPs to bring down Theresa May by rejecting the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal in a crucial House of Commons vote. Scotland’s First Minister will put pressure on politicians to secure an extension to Article 50 to avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a Brexit deal as she launches another desperate attempt to keep the UK in the EU. Nicola Sturgeon will speak to opposition parties as she campaigns for the two-year period for leaving the Brussels club triggered by Article 50 to be extended to give Parliament time to find an alternative way forward ahead of the December 11 parliamentary vote.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has said Britain should accelerate its preparations for a “No Deal” Brexit, explaining that trading with the European Union under default World Trade Organization (WTO) terms is far from a “doomsday scenario”. Writing in the Sunday Times, which backed a Leave vote in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union — unlike its weekday sister paper — the MP for Haltemprice and Howden said “No Deal” was not “the doomsday scenario some are trying to paint” it as, and that it would in fact come with many “unique advantages”. “Project Fear will not work because the claims are not grounded in fact,” explained the former Tory leadership contender, referring to recent claims that “No Deal” could see the United Kingdom run out of drinking water and Mars bars, among other things.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has urged the government to accelerate preparations for a World Trade, No Deal Brexit and insisted that “it is not something to be afraid of”. With Theresa May’s unpopular capitulation plan taking a battering and likely to be voted down by MPs, Davis today uses a hit in the Sunday Times to write: “It’s time we accelerated our preparations to leave the European Union without a deal.” He makes clear that: “If it happens, it isn’t the doomsday scenario some are trying to paint. In fact, it may well be the opportunity to reset our Brexit strategy to give leadership and vision for a better future.” And whereas May has gone totally silent on ‘No Deal is better than a bad deal, Brexiteer Davis says: “Leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms is not as good as a free trade agreement, but it is not something to be afraid of.”
Theresa May’s chief Brexit adviser secretly warned her that the customs backstop is a “bad outcome” for the UK which will see regulatory checks in the Irish Sea and put security co-operation at risk, The Telegraph can reveal. Oliver Robbins warned in a letter to the Prime Minister that there is no legal “guarantee” that Britain will be able to break off from the backstop, potentially leaving the UK trapped in a Customs Union with the EU. He argued that extending the transition period after Brexit would provide a more “cast iron escape route” than entering into the backstop, which under Mrs May’s deal will kick in if a solution to the Irish border issue cannot be found by December 2020.
BRITAIN would be locked “indefinitely” into the EU’s customs union if Theresa May’s Brexit deal proposal was passed, leaked documents of the attorney-general’s legal advice claim. The details have been suppressed with senior ministers saying the Prime Minister has refused to publish the advice because it highlights that the UK could end up being trapped in a “backstop” arrangement with Brussels. The Sunday Times claims it has seen the letter Geoffrey Cox wrote to cabinet ministers last month. It says: “The protocol would endure indefinitely.”
Theresa May faces her first major battle in a crucial period for her Brexit plans, with the government at risk of being declared in contempt of parliament in a row over the publication of official legal advice on the departure deal. The prime minister, back in London from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, will simultaneously begin a charm offensive to win over Conservative MPs in dozens of face-to-face meetings before the Commons votes on the deal on 11 December. On Monday afternoon the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, is scheduled to brief the Commons about his advice on the Brexit plan before – in an unusual move for the government’s chief law officer – answering questions from MPs.
Theresa May has been warned she risks creating a “constitutional crisis” if the government fails to release the full legal advice it has received on the Brexit agreement thrashed out by the prime minister in Brussels. Opposition parties are threatening to launch contempt of parliament proceedings against Downing Street over the issue, with MPs voting last month to ensure the government would be required to lay before parliament “any legal advice in full”, including that given by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.
Theresa May has been warned she is on course for a “historic constitutional row” unless the Government releases its full legal advice on the Brexit deal. Labour said it is ready to combine with other opposition parties to start proceedings for contempt of Parliament unless the legal opinion of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is published in full. The DUP – which props up the Conservative government in the Commons – was said to be ready to sign a joint letter with other parties to Speaker John Bercow on Monday unless ministers back down.
The attorney-general will try to reassure MPs today that they do not need to see his full legal advice on Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite ministers risking being held in contempt of parliament. Geoffrey Cox is ready to hold a marathon question-and-answer session in the House of Commons, with sources saying that he will respond to every concern from Tory MPs worried that the agreement with Brussels could limit Britain’s ability to make trade deals. However, parties including the Democratic Unionist Party, the Conservatives’ government partners, will combine to try to force ministers to publish the full advice.
Telegraph (by Boris Johnson)
Yes, of course the public is entitled to see the legal advice from the Attorney General to the Prime Minister. It is a scandal that this is currently being withheld. You will recall that, when she was in opposition, the present Prime Minister wrote to the Labour government and complained of their failure to publish the Attorney General’s advice on the Iraq war. She was right then – and how much more wrong and absurd is her position now, when you consider that this legal question is more important even than the Iraq war.
Theresa May was under fresh pressure last night as the DUP threatened to abandon her in a confidence vote if she failed to get her Brexit deal through parliament. Party sources said that they were considering the move, which would leave the prime minister without a Commons majority, over fears that her plan would create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The warning came as Labour said that it would table a no-confidence motion in the government if MPs voted down her Brexit deal next week.
Labour will call a confidence vote in Theresa May if she loses the crunch Commons vote over her Brexit deal, in a bid to trigger a general election. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, said his party will “inevitably” table a no confidence motion if Mrs May’s Brexit deal does not pass through Parliament. He criticised the Prime Minister for “running down the clock” and coming up with a “bad deal”. “People praise her resilience – at the moment I don’t think this is resilience, it’s just ploughing on regardless,” he said.
Sir Keir Starmer has said it’s “inevitable” Labour will call a motion of no confidence if Theresa May loses a Commons vote on her Brexit deal. The crunch vote on the 12th December is seen as a key test of the Prime Minister who is trying to convince MPs to back her deal. But with more than 100 Tory MPs publicly admitting they can’t back the agreement, it looks more and more likely Mrs May will lose the vote. The shadow Brexit secretary told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It seems to me that if the Prime Minister has lost a vote of that sort of significance then there has to be a question of confidence in the Government…
LABOUR announced it will call a no-confidence vote in Theresa May if she loses her crunch Brexit showdown next week. Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said his party would “inevitably” try to collapse the Government after what is expected to be a big defeat for the PM in her December 11 crunch vote. A General Election could follow if Mrs May fails to win a majority in a no-confidence vote in the Commons. Sir Keir told Sky News: “It seems to me that if the Prime Minister has lost a vote of that sort of significance then there has to be a question of confidence in the Government.
Labour would almost certainly seek a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government if she loses the key Commons vote on her Brexit deal in nine days’ time, Keir Starmer has said. Setting out the likely choreography for opposition efforts if, as expected, May is defeated on 11 December, the shadow Brexit secretary said it seemed impossible that May could remain in office if she was defeated on her flagship policy. “I think the prime minister, as we all know, is going to struggle between now and that vote,” Starmer told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, saying that if she were to lose, May would have to outline her next move to the Commons.
Michael Gove today warned that a second Brexit referendum would ‘rip apart the social fabric’ of the UK. The Environment Secretary said any attempt to re-run the historic vote would do terrible damage to ‘faith in democracy’ – as it would effectively be telling the public they were ‘too thick’ to choose properly. Mr Gove, a leading light in the Leave campaign, also gave firm backing for Theresa May‘s Brexit deal with the EU, while he admitting key parts of it made him ‘uncomfortable’.
Remainers pushing for a second referendum think Brexiteers are “thick” and “too prejudiced” to know what they voted for, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary warned that holding a second Brexit vote would be seen as “condescending” and would “undermine faith in our democracy”. Asked if people perhaps had misunderstood in 2016 what voting leave would bring, Mr Gove said: “So they were too thick to make the decision then, were they?” “People knew they were voting to leave the EU and we should honour that verdict.
A snap election now could see Jeremy Corbyn in power propped up by Nicola Sturgeon‘s SNP, according to new analysis. A poll of polls by the Electoral Calculus website found on current standings the Tories would still end up as the biggest party with 286 MPs. However, they would be well short of a majority in a 650-strong parliament, even with support from the DUP. By contrast Labour securing 283 seats could potentially form a government if the SNP’s 43 MPs agreed to prop them up. The figures give a snapshot of the situation – but the outcome is likely to be much worse for the Tories if they are forced into a panicky election by Brexit chaos.
No 10 was blocked by the Home Office from making a key announcement about immigration yesterday. Instead, Sajid Javid will today reveal the extension from next summer of the use of airport ePassport gates to travellers from Singapore and South Korea. This will put the home secretary rather than Theresa May at the face of a “global Britain” drive, in a boost to his profile. Mr Javid’s move is part of his broader effort to sell the prime minister’s Brexit deal as the chance to replace the EU’s freedom of movement with an immigration system that benefits British workers.
The BBC’s plans for a head-to-head TV debate will “breach the concept of impartiality” unless a prominent Brexiteer is allowed to join it, five Eurosceptic former Cabinet ministers have warned. Tory MPs including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dominic Raab have written to the chairman of the BBC board warning that the debate between Mrs May and Mr Corbyn risks playing “fast and loose” with democracy. It came as broadcasters warned the debate could be cancelled unless the Tories and Labour agree on a format. Downing Street has backed holding it on the BBC at 8pm next Sunday, but Mr Corbyn wants to go with a slot offered by ITV instead.
Downing Street has accused Jeremy Corbyn of “running scared” of a Brexit TV showdown with Theresa May amid continued wrangling between the two sides over the format. No 10 confirmed there is still no agreement on the debate, due to be screened on Sunday December 9 – two days before the crunch Commons vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. The latest spat erupted after Mr Corbyn said on Saturday he was prepared to accept Downing Street’s preferred option of the BBC, provided it was a straight head-to-head discussion between the two leaders.
The Brexit TV debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn is hanging by a thread after each side accused the other of running scared. Mrs May is at loggerheads with the Labour leader over whether ITV or the BBC should host the debate on Sunday before MPs vote on the Brexit deal. Labour says that the BBC’s plans would feature up to 20 extra participants involved in Brexit, possibly including MPs from other parties. Mr Corbyn would prefer the hour-long head-to-head debate suggested by ITV. Mrs May, however, has accepted the BBC’s offer and No 10 said last night that she did not intend to budge.
Ukip’s national executive has voted against a motion of no confidence in leader Gerard Batten after he faced an onslaught of criticism from party members for hiring far-right activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser. Mr Batten appointed Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform. The activist was the founder of the English Defence League. His appointment led to widespread criticism, including from former party leader, Nigel Farage. Last month, Mr Farage said he would write to Ukip’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to demand a vote of no confidence to remove Mr Batten as leader. However, on Sunday, Ukip said the NEC had voted “overwhelmingly” against a motion of no confidence.
UKIP leader Gerard Batten has survived a vote of no confidence held by the party’s National Executive Committee. Mr Batten had been criticised by some in the party – including former leader Nigel Farage – for appointing far-right activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser. UKIP said its ruling body had voted “overwhelmingly” against a motion of no confidence. However it said it did not endorse Mr Robinson’s appointment. He was barred from membership “through his associations”, it added.
NHS bosses are considering a shake-up of A&E care that could lead to patients with only minor ailments no longer being guaranteed that they will be treated within four hours. Under the plans being examined, people with non-urgent medical needs would be advised to seek help at a GP surgery, walk-in centre or pharmacy instead – or face a long wait in A&E. Senior figures in the NHS are also looking at bringing in extra targets to complement the four-hour waiting time standard under which the most urgent cases are seen within an hour.
The chief of Britain’s foreign intelligence service will warn the Kremlin on Monday not to underestimate the West after a brazen nerve agent attack on a retired double agent in England stoked fears about Russian covert activity abroad. In his second major speech since being named in 2014 to head the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Alex Younger will say Russia has a stance of “perpetual confrontation” with the West. Younger will outline how, after the attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer who betrayed dozens of agents to MI6, Britain’s allies in Europe and the United States took its part and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.
The head of MI6 accuses Russia of trying to subvert the British way of life as he warns Moscow “not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities” in a rare public speech today. Alex Younger, 55, who as chief of the intelligence agency is known as “C”, will make the riposte to President Putin in an address at St Andrews University. He will also discuss the need for “fourth generation espionage” that fuses human and artificial intelligence in the face of so-called hybrid threats, which include cyberattacks.
The head of MI6 will today warn Russia and others ‘intent on subverting our way of life’ not to underestimate Britain. In a rare public speech, Alex Younger will say agencies are developing a new type of espionage which takes into account rising cyber threats. The head of the foreign intelligence service will issue a stern warning to potential foreign enemies not to test ‘our determination and our capabilities’. The talk, to students at St Andrews University, his alma mater, is only the second Mr Younger has given in public during his four years in the post.