Category Archives: United Kingdom

(CNBC) UK government braces for no-confidence vote after Brexit defeat — here’s how it works

(CNBC)

  • U.K. leader Theresa May has seen her Brexit withdrawal deal with Europe rejected by the U.K. Parliament.
  • Now her government must face a vote of no-confidence on Wednesday.
  • If May was to lose the vote it would raise the likelihood of a General Election.

David Reid@cnbcdavyPublished 39 Mins AgoCNBC.com

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in north London on January 16, 2019.

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS | AFP | Getty ImagesOpposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his house in north London on January 16, 2019.

The U.K. faces yet more political turmoil Wednesday as another vote in Parliament could topple the government and leave a leadership vacuum at a crucial point in the country’s history.

Lawmakers will debate a motion of no confidence in Theresa May’s administration. A vote will follow in the evening which, should the government lose, could trigger a countdown toward a General Election.

The motion was tabled by the main opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who claimed the government’s Brexit deal with Europe was now dead after its overwhelming rejection by politicians on Tuesday.

The vote of no confidence is an attempt by Corbyn to trigger a new General Election which would allow him a chance at seizing power as the next leader of the U.K.

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011, Parliament’s fixed five-year term can only be shortened in two ways.

First, if more than two thirds of the House of Commons vote to call an election — and that means 434 of the 650 lawmakers.

The second is Corbyn’s plan. If his motion of no confidence tonight is passed by a majority, there is then a 14-day period in which to pass an act of confidence in a new government. If no such vote can be passed by Parliament, a new election of the British people must be held.

That election cannot happen for at least another 25 working days.

British Labour party pushing for general election but no second EU referendum

May could lose no confidence vote, Labour Party chair says  1 Hour Ago | 02:00

The forecast is that Labour’s strategy will fail as, despite May’s huge loss on her Brexit vote, enough members of her own party will vote for her government to remain in power.

Aside from Conservative lawmakers returning to the fold, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that props up May’s minority government has also said it will back her.

Apart from the Labour party, those expected to vote against May include representatives of Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, Liberal Democrat lawmakers and the sole parliamentary representative of the Green Party.

U.K. Labour party Chairman Ian Lavery told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick Wednesday that a General Election was the natural next step for Labour and he argued that Wednesday’s vote of no confidence in the government was not necessarily doomed to founder.

“I think we’ve got a chance you know, because there was 118 Tories (Conservatives) who voted against Theresa May last night,” he said, claiming that not all of those who rebelled against the Brexit plan would fall back into line to support May.

“It is volatile. People are unhappy with the deal, so we think it is the optimum opportunity to put forward a vote of no confidence and call for a General Election.”

We’re heading for a Brexit extension, strategist predicts

We’re heading for a Brexit extension, strategist predicts  1 Hour Ago | 03:08

Gina Miller is an investment manager who rocketed to prominence after she successfully argued in court that the U.K. government could not begin the formal Brexit process without seeking approval from Parliament.

Speaking on Wednesday, Miller told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick that the vote of no confidence would likely fail and allow Parliament to remove one major possible outcome.

“Commentators expect this to not be successful, so at least you can say that a General Election is off the table,” she said.

Miller added that any second referendum on Brexit should be a last option once everything else has been considered and rejected by Parliament.

“If you knock off the table ‘Canada Plus’ and there’s no parliamentary majority for ‘Norway,’ then you are only left with remaining or leaving with no deal,” she said before adding, “you have to go through the parliamentary process first, find out whatever is left, and then you go to the people.”

“Canada Plus” is based on the free trade deal struck between Canada and the EU while Norway is tied to the EU’s internal market without being part of the political union. Both models have been proposed, and decried, as solutions for the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU.

Miller, who is also co-founder of investment firm SCM Direct, said that her firm, and wider markets, were now pricing an extension to Article 50 — the period of time that Britain and the EU had to agree terms of withdrawal.

“Any of the solutions that look likely, require an extension and the markets are being cautious. Even if it is no deal and we go to WTO (World Trade Organization) terms, we don’t have the time to get all the legislation requited by the 29th March,” she said.

(GUA) May faces crushing Brexit defeat despite last-minute plea to MPs

(GUA)

Prime minister urges MPs to give her plan a second look on eve of crunch vote on withdrawal agreement

Theresa May appears to be on course for a crushing defeat in the House of Commons as Britain’s bitterly divided MPs prepare to give their verdict on her Brexit deal in the “meaningful vote” on Tuesday.

With Downing Street all but resigned to losing by a significant margin, Guardian analysis pointed to a majority of more than 200 MPs against the prime minister.

Labour sources said that unless May made major unexpected concessions, any substantial margin against her would lead Jeremy Corbyn to call for a vote of no confidence in the government – perhaps as soon as Tuesday night. But since Conservative MPs are unlikely to offer Corbyn the backing he would need to win a no-confidence vote, he would then come under intense pressure to swing Labour’s weight behind a second referendum.

Cabinet ministers have not yet been told how May plans to keep the Brexitprocess on track if her deal is defeated – and they remain split on how she should proceed. Leavers are convinced that the prime minister should return to Brussels and press for fresh concessions, while remainers hope she will seek a compromise with Labour.

On Monday, May issued one final call to parliament to back her, urging MPs to “take a second look” at her deal and stressing that it was the only option on the table that could deliver an “orderly” exit from the EU.

But there was little evidence of movement after her speech. Few MPs were convinced by clarifications of the withdrawal agreement included in an exchange of lettersbetween the prime minister and the EU council president, Jean-Claude Juncker, published on Monday, which May conceded did not go as far as some MPs had hoped.

With defeat for May all but inevitable, backbenchers led by the former Tory minister Nick Boles were hoping to seize the agenda in parliament and force the government to seek a softer, Norway-style Brexit deal.

And on Monday the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, was forced to bat away questions from loyal Tory MPs suggesting he was willing to facilitate a backbench takeover. “I have no intention of taking lectures in doing right by parliament from people who have been conspicuous in denial of and, sometimes, contempt for it,” he said. “I will stand up for the rights of the Commons and I won’t be pushed around by agents of the executive.”Quick guide

What are the details of Theresa May’s deal?

There is growing speculation at Westminster that whichever course May pursues, she will be forced to announce that she will ask the EU27 to extend article 50. The prime minister refused to rule out doing so categorically on Monday, saying only that she didn’t believe it should be necessary.

“We’re leaving on 29 March. I’ve been clear I don’t believe we should be extending article 50 and I don’t believe we should be having a second referendum,” May said. “We have an instruction from the British people to leave and it’s our duty to deliver on that, but I want to do it in a way that is smooth and orderly and protects jobs and security.”

There are increasing fears in Whitehall that time is running out to put in place all the complex legislation necessary either to implement the withdrawal agreement – or, conversely, to prepare for no deal.Quick guide

Commons Brexit vote – the day’s timetable

May addressed MPs of her own party on Monday night at the backbench 1922 Committee. The prime minister gave no indication of any plan B in what was described as a low-key, reflective meeting, but urged her party to support her deal to ensure that Brexit goes ahead and to keep Corbyn out of No 10.

Nadhim Zahawi, a junior minister, said that Alistair Burt, a Foreign Office minister and remainer, had told MPs that he now accepted the result of the referendum and urged Brexiters in his party, who were on the winning side, to do the same.

Brexiters leaving the meeting said their minds had not been changed. Steve Baker said: “She skilfully engineered her speech to ensure there were laughs in all the right places by not mentioning the deal.”

Just four Labour MPs have declared publicly that they could vote for May’s Brexit deal: Ian Austin, John Mann, Jim Fitzpatrick and Kevin Barron.

Corbyn urged his MPs to hold their nerve, addressing a packed meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on the eve of the vote. The Labour leader said the prime minister had comprehensively failed to scare his MPs into voting for her deal. “Theresa May has attempted to blackmail Labour MPs to vote for her botched deal by threatening the country with the chaos of no deal,” he said. “I know from conversations with colleagues that this has failed. The Labour party will not be held to ransom.”

Corbyn said May would “only have herself to blame” for two years of negotiating with her divided cabinet and backbenchers, rather than opening dialogue with Brussels, trade unions, businesses and parliament. “The Tory party’s botched deal will be rejected by Parliament. We will then need an election to have the chance to vote for a government that can bring our people together and address the deep-seated issues facing our country,” he said.

A Labour source said MPs “won’t have to wait very long” for a confidence vote to be called but that would be the sole decision of Corbyn rather than the shadow cabinet. “Jeremy will choose the moment,” the source said. However, the source said that should the vote be lost, it would not mean an immediate endorsement to campaign for a second referendum.

“The composite identifies a public vote as one of the options; it doesn’t say it’s the preferred option or the default option. Obviously we will judge how to deal with the options and get the best result for the country on the basis of what happens in parliament,” the source said.

The meaningful vote on May’s Brexit deal – what happens next?

 Read more

The Brexit select committee chair, Hilary Benn, was under pressure on Monday night to withdraw a no-deal amendment, tabled before Christmas, that some MPs feared could limit the scale of the government’s defeat.

Downing Street declined to say whether it could support an amendment tabled by the backbencher Andrew Murrison, chairman of the Northern Ireland select committee, aimed at putting a formal end date on the Irish backstop. Such a sunset clause would be likely to run into trouble in Brussels, with the EU27 adamant that the backstop must apply “unless and until” an alternative arrangement is in place that avoids the need for a hard border.

But the amendment’s supporters believe it will strengthen the PM’s hand if she returns to Brussels in search of fresh concessions after Tuesday. They also hope that if it passes, it could help limit the scale of the government defeat.

Governments have been defeated by a margin of more than 100 votes only three times in the last century, according to professor Philip Cowley, of Queen Mary University of London – all of those during the minority Labour administration of 1924.

The House of Lords had its own vote on the government’s Brexit deal on Monday evening, rejecting it by a thumping 321 votes to 152 – a majority of 169. Labour’s leader in the Lords, Baroness Angela Smith, called it “a vote for common sense”.

(SkyNews) Brexit amendments: How are MPs trying to shape the vote on the PM’s deal?

(SkyNews)

From a second referendum, the Brexit divorce bill to the Irish border backstop – the Commons could hold a series of votes tonight.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Image:Amendments tabled by MPs could shape the Brexit deal

Ahead of tonight’s big House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement, MPs will first decide on a series of attempts to shape the Brexit process.

Tabled as amendments to the main motion on the prime minister’s Brexit deal, a number of MPs will hope to get the backing of a majority of the House of Commons for their plans.

The government could also support – whether explicitly or not – some of the amendments.

A number of amendments were not selected by House of Commons’ Speaker John Bercow to be voted on.

Here’s a list of the four amendments that will be voted on tonight:

Labour frontbench amendment:

:: The House rejects the Withdrawal Agreement because it does not include a permanent customs union and decline to approve leaving the EU without a negotiated agreement.

This is Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt for MPs to reject the prime minister’s deal, block a “no-deal” Brexit and instead back Labour’s plans for a customs union with the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn
Image:Jeremy Corbyn wants MPs to support a customs union

SNP and Plaid Cymru amendment:

:: The House rejects the Withdrawal Agreement in line with the views of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and calls on the government to extend Article 50.

Scottish and Welsh nationalists want MPs to match devolved parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff by rejecting the prime minister’s deal.

They also want a delay to Brexit by extending the Article 50 period.How your MP is expected to voteThe magic number that the prime minister needs to win the vote is 318. But Sky News data-crunching reveals she is set to fall well short.

Brexiteer amendments:

:: The House notes that the backstop can only be a temporary arrangement and calls on the government to terminate the Withdrawal Agreement by 2022 if no new relationship is agreed.

Tabled by senior Conservatives Sir Edward Leigh and Sir John Hayes, they want a no-deal Brexit if the UK and EU fail to agree a future trade relationship within the next three years.

Theresa May hopes the letter will reassure critics
Image:Theresa May is facing hostility over the backstop arrangement

:: The House will add a condition to the Withdrawal Agreement that the UK must be given the explicit power to terminate the backstop without permission from the EU.

More from Brexit

  • Italy’s top anti-EU politician warns against ‘death of democracy’
  • Brexit deal vote day: May facing huge defeat and vote of no confidence in the government
  • Theresa May urges MPs to give Brexit deal a ‘second look’ on eve of historic vote
  • Pregnant Labour MP delays birth to vote against Brexit deal
  • Why the Brexit process could still have many months to run
  • What could happen if PM’s Brexit deal is rejected

Tabled by Tory MP John Baron, this is another aimed at giving the UK the unilateral right to exit the backstop arrangement.

(DML) ‘We should deliver for the British people’: Theresa May calls on rebel MPs to back her vision for Brexit in key vote TODAY… or face handing the keys of Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn

(DML)

  • Theresa May has made last-ditch appeals to Tory rebels to back her Brexit deal 
  • She warned of risks to jobs and of a Labour government unless Tories unite
  • She earlier said it would be the ‘height of recklessness’ to reject her Brexit plan
  • Treasury Minister Mel Stride photographed with ‘no deal’ Brexit document   
  • EU has offered new assurances that the Irish border backstop will be temporary
  • Government whip quit to oppose deal amid fears more resignations could follow 

Theresa May has warned Tory rebels they risk a Jeremy Corbyn government and the break-up of the UK if they reject her Brexit deal in tonight’s crunch vote.

Allies of the Prime Minister acknowledged her plans could be rejected by a majority approaching 200 votes – eclipsing record government defeats of modern times. 

They believe Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will then try to exploit Tory divisions by forcing a formal vote of no confidence in the Government tonight, which could usher in a general election. 

Allies of Mrs May last night indicated she would tell MPs that she will continue to pursue her deal even if it is heavily defeated. 

She acknowledged that the plan was not perfect, but added: ‘When the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask: Did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union?’ Theresa May pleads with MPs to back her deal ahead of voteLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:22PreviousPlaySkipUnmuteCurrent Time0:22/Duration Time1:53Fullscreen

Speaker John Bercow denies being ‘arbitrary’ after Brexit r…

On the eve of the vote:  

  • One of the Tory whips, Gareth Johnson, resigned saying he could not support the deal; 
  • EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk sent letters assuring the government that the Irish border backstop is only intended to be temporary – but insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened; 
  • Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said Mrs May’s deal was ‘the only politically practicable and available means’ of leaving the EU;
  • Former Tory ministers Nick Boles, Nicky Morgan and Sir Oliver Letwin vowed to press ahead with plans to allow Parliament to seize control of Brexit; 
  • Boris Johnson warned that politicians will ‘reap the whirlwind’ if they try to defy the result of the referendum with procedural ‘jiggery-pokery’. 
  • One Cabinet source told MailOnline the crunch vote would be the political equivalent of the FA Cup Final, adding: ‘But there is going to be a replay.’ 

The PM made her stark warnings in a last-ditch bid to drum up some desperately needed support from her backbenchers in the last 24 hours before the historic vote. 

She said the thorny issue of Brexit has divided the Tories for the many years she has been in politics – hinting that her deal could finally put the issue to rest. 

And she warned the SNP will seize on any Brexit disarray to demand another referendum on Scottish independence.

Mrs May told MPs: ‘We have to deliver Brexit – it is the instruction the British people gave us.’

The deal suffered its first official parliamentary defeat last night in the Lords, as peers registered their symbolic opposition to it by 321 votes to 152. 

Mrs May’s eleventh-hour plea came shortly after Treasury minister Mel Stride was pictured leaving Downing Street clutching a sheet of paper bearing the words ‘No food. No Channel tunnel’.

ERG chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg said he expected ‘a cascade’ of MPs voting against the deal.

The North Somerset Conservative said: ‘I think there will be a cascade of people going into the lobbies against this bad deal because it denies us the opportunities that will make Brexit a success.

‘Instead we’re tied into a protectionist racket that keeps prices high and makes our economy less efficient, that means the rest of the world is overtaking us and the whole of Europe because it becomes less competitive as it seeks an outmoded, anti-competitive system thinking it can simply protect itself.

‘We risk denying ourselves these extraordinary opportunities and in doing so taking ourselves away from the electorate who we promised to deliver on Brexit for.’ 

How the Commons will vote: Theresa May's deal is expected to lose heavily on Tuesday night, which could lead to a no-confidence motion and potentially a general election 

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How the Commons will vote: Theresa May’s deal is expected to lose heavily on Tuesday night, which could lead to a no-confidence motion and potentially a general election 

Mr Corbyn is set to table a no-confidence vote in the Government as early as tonight if thedeal is defeated. 

Asked by his MPs when he would bring the challenge – which could lead to a general election – Labour’s leader said it was ‘coming soon’.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell reiterated his party’s desire for a general election but added MPs may want a ‘public vote’ on a new deal backed by Parliament if this does not take place. 

He said: ‘Tomorrow this deal will go down, so it’s time now to put the mistakes of the past two years behind us, clear away the debris of this deal and the debris of this Government’s failed negotiations.

‘It’s clear to me, to break the deadlock and deliver a clear mandate for that new approach, I believe we need a general election. It’s a time to let the people have their say.’ 

Speaking after Mrs May met with Tory MPs, Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said Mrs May also warned of the economic dangers of a no deal Brexit.

He said: ‘She wanted to focus minds that we must deliver Brexit and to keep Jeremy Corbyn as far away from Number 10 as possible, and to do that we have to hang together.

‘And she pointed out that no deal would be a threat to the union with the SNP pushing for a second referendum.’ 

Mr Zahawi said the PM was ‘relaxed’ as she addressed her backbenchers in Portcullis House last night.

He said: ‘She was very relaxed and cracked a few jokes. It was one of her best performances.

‘The room was focused and listening and absorbing and very reflective about what the realpolitik was.’ 

The PM also warned Tory MPs that business is desperate for them to get a Brexit deal and have warned of the risk to jobs and investment if they crash out of the EU.

And in a rare move, Mrs May spoke personally about how the bitter EU debate has divided the Conservative Party for many years.

Mr Zahawi said: ‘She talked about her career in Parliament and how divisive the European issue has been for the country and of course the Conservative Party.’ 

But Brexiteers who were in the meeting were less than impressed and many left early.

EU leaders issue letter saying the Irish backstop will only be temporary but refuse to change the Brexit deal

EU leaders today promised the Irish backstop planwill be temporary as they unveiled their last-ditch plan to help get Theresa May’s Brexit deal over the line tomorrow.

But Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker refused to change the text of the Brexit deal.

They also offered to extend Article 50 to delay Brexit in order to give both sides more time to negotiate. 

In advice published today Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said the EU pledge has some legal force and he thinks it is unlikely the backstop will come into force.

But it was immediately panned by Brexiteers and the DUP who said it is not legally binding, while Remainers dismissed it as a ‘fig leaf’. 

The letter, penned by the Presidents of the EU Council and Commission, was part of a last-ditch scramble to try to peel off Tory rebels ahead of tonight’s crunch vote.

Number Ten fear the PM could suffer the biggest Commons defeat ever when her Brexit plan is voted on by MPs tonight.

As part of an orchestrated bid to drum up desperately-needed support, No10 published the letter to reassure rebels the hated backstop will not be permanent.  

Tory MP and Brexiteer Mark Francois left early and said he thinks her deal will still be rejected by Tory MPs in the crunch vote in 24 hours time. 

A Tory minister was earlier accused of stunting up a picture showing his notes apparently predicting the dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit

Treasury minister Mel Stride was pictured leaving Downing Street clutching a sheet of paper bearing the words ‘No food. No Channel tunnel’.

It led critics to claim Mr Stride had deliberately exposed his notes as part of a scare campaign to get MPs to vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, while his allies insisted they were points of discussion – not warnings in themselves.  

Earlier Mrs May warned MPs that ‘history’ will judge them if they kill off her Brexit deal – as she insisted she has won new concessions from the EU.

In a desperate last-ditch plea in the Commons, the Prime Minister said in future people would look back and ask whether politicians had ‘delivered’ on the verdict of the referendum. 

Mrs May hailed the latest ‘assurances’ from Brussels, saying they showed the UK would not be trapped in the Irish border backstop – although she also conceded she had not secured everything she hoped for. 

The impassioned appeal came after a frantically grueling day in which Mrs May gave a Brexit speech in Stoke-on-Trent, before returning to London to face MPs for hours in the Commons. Later she is due to address Tory backbenchers and peers in what promises to be another pressure-cooked session.

But as tensions reached boiling point with just 24 hours to go before a vote that could define the country’s future, Mrs May suffer another resignation from her government – as a whip quit to oppose her deal.

Gareth Johnson said he was putting his ‘loyalty to the country above loyalty to the government’. 

There are fears that the resignation could open the floodgates – with several other ministers and whips thought to be on the brink. 

Addressing MPs last night, Mrs May again urged them to recognise that a no-deal Brexit represented the ‘real threat’ to the unity of the UK, as it would fuel calls for Scottish independence. 

And she cautioned Eurosceptics that killing off her package and trying to force through departure without any agreement could mean the country never leaves the bloc. 

‘When the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask, did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union? 

‘Did we safeguard our economy, our security and our Union? Or did we let the British people down?

‘I say we should deliver for the British people and get on with building a brighter future for our country by backing this deal tomorrow.’ 

Mrs May left Downing Street to head to Parliament earlier tonight knowing she is just over 24 hours from learning the fate of her Brexit deal 

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Mrs May left Downing Street to head to Parliament earlier tonight knowing she is just over 24 hours from learning the fate of her Brexit deal 

After taking the short drive to Parliament with her Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell (left) Mrs May faced almost two hours of hostile questions about her deal 

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After taking the short drive to Parliament with her Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell (left) Mrs May faced almost two hours of hostile questions about her deal 

Gareth Johnson

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Mr Johnson said in a letter to the PM that he could not 'in good conscience' stay in government

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Gareth Johnson (left) announced his resignation, saying in a letter to the PM (right) that he could not ‘in good conscience’ stay in government

Sources close to Mr Stride said the note was simply a list of topics which had come up in the national conversation which he wanted to raise at a meeting, rather than any kind of prediction

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Sources close to Mr Stride said the note was simply a list of topics which had come up in the national conversation which he wanted to raise at a meeting, rather than any kind of predictionWe are leaving the EU: Theresa May says MPs must deliver BrexitLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%00:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:35Fullscreen

In his letter to Mrs May this afternoon, Mr Johnson said he believed the package thrashed out with Brussels would be ‘detrimental to the national interest’ and set Northern Ireland ‘apart from the rest of the UK’.

‘I have therefore decided the time has come to place my loyalty to my country above my loyalty to the government,’ he wrote.

Government sources tried to play down the resignation – the 13th for Mrs May over Brexit – pointing out that Mr Johnson represents the heavily Leave-supporting Dartford constituency.   

Earlier, Mrs May had appealed for Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out.

In a speech in Leave-voting Stoke-on-Trent this morning, Mrs May said it was clear some politicians would use ‘every device’ to stop Brexit happening.

Underlining the dangers of the crisis wracking Westminster, she urged MPs to consider the ‘consequences’ of their actions for people’s faith in democracy.

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Mrs May also pointed to the letter from the EU chiefs, which insists the Irish border backstop – the most controversial part of the Brexit deal – will only be ‘temporary’. 

‘We have secured valuable new clarifications and assurances,’ Mrs May said, while admitting that the commitment ‘did not go as far’ as some MPs wanted. 

Despite her scramble, Mrs May looks to be on track for a catastrophic defeat – with frantic manoeuvring under way over what happens next. 

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal, saying leaving on World Trade Organisation terms would not be a disaster.  

In her speech, Mrs May said she now believes if her deal is defeated, MPs blocking Brexit is more likely than leaving without a deal.

She said failure to pass her package could mean crashing out – but there was a ‘bigger risk’ of not leaving the EU at all. 

Mrs May rejected the idea that alternatives to her Withdrawal Agreement were available.

‘Nobody has yet come up with an alternative Brexit deal that is negotiable and that delivers on the result of the referendum,’ she said.

‘The only deal on the table is the one MPs will vote on tomorrow night. 

How would the Remainer ‘coup’ on Brexit work?

What do the plotters want to do? 

Tory MP Nick Boles has been championing the latest effort to block a no-deal Brexit. No10 believed that former ministers Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve are also deeply involved.   

According to the plan, if Theresa May cannot offer a successful Brexit within three weeks of defeat, senior MPs should take over. 

Mr Boles says this would be the Liaison Committee – 32 MPs who chair all other committees. 

How could they do it? 

The plan will only work if Remain MPs can re-write the rules of how the Commons works. Normally only Government can bring forward new laws – the plotters want to change this.

Normally this is impossible – but John Bercow’s willingness to bend the rules last week has given them hope.

What would it mean? 

Hard to say – but Downing Street has warned it is likely to mean a softer Brexit. This is likely to mean a Norway-style deal, staying in the EU single market – meaning free movement.

Will it happen? 

Nobody knows. May’s deal is very likely to be defeated tonight and there will be a raft of new ideas and plans that might get traction, of which this is just one.  

In a message to Remainer rebels, she said: ‘You can take no deal off the table by voting for that deal. ‘If no deal is as bad as you believe it is, it will be the height of recklessness to do anything else.’ 

Mrs May brushed aside suggestions that the EU might extend the two-year withdrawal process under Article 50 to the summer to allow more time for the UK to settle its position.

‘We are leaving on March 29,’ she said. ‘I have been clear I don’t believe we should be extending Article 50 and I don’t believe we should be having a second referendum.’  

Mrs May said the letters from the EU carried ‘legal force’ and ‘make absolutely clear that the backstop is not a threat or a trap’.

She added: ‘I fully understand that the new legal and political assurances which are contained in the letters from Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker do not go as far as some MPs would like.

‘But I’m convinced that MPs now have the clearest assurances that this is the best deal possible and is worthy of their support.’ 

The PM again ruled out a permanent customs union with the EU – floated by some MPs as a potential compromise that could command a Parliamentary majority.

‘I have always been clear that we will not be in the customs union, because being in the customs union has with it other aspects which are not what people voted for,’ she said.

Mrs May also offered an olive branch to Labour MPs who might consider backing her deal with an appeal over workers’ rights and environmental standards.

She said: ‘I could not have been clearer that far from wanting to see a reduction in our standards in these areas, the UK will instead continue to be a world leader.

‘We have committed to addressing these concerns and will work with MPs from across the house on how best to implement them, looking at legislation where necessary to deliver the best possible results for workers across the UK.’ 

Mrs May added that while no-deal remained a serious risk, ‘having observed events at Westminster over the last seven days it is now my judgment that the likely outcome is a paralysis in Parliament that risks there being no Brexit’.  Theresa May reassures MPs about the backstop ahead of voteLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%00:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:13Fullscreen

Theresa May (pictured on delivering her speech in Stoke-on-Trent today) urged Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out

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Theresa May (pictured on delivering her speech in Stoke-on-Trent today) urged Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson (pictured giving an interview in London today) have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal

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A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson (pictured giving an interview in London today) have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal

The letter from EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and council president Donald Tusk insists the Irish border backstop will only be 'temporary'

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The letter from EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and council president Donald Tusk insists the Irish border backstop will only be ‘temporary”PM has completely and utterly failed’: says Jeremy CorbynLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%00:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:57Fullscreen

It emerged over the weekend that Remainers from across parties are plotting an extraordinary bid to seize control from the government if it tries to push ahead with a no-deal 

Brexit. Conservative MP Nick Boles today confirmed plans to tear up Commons rules so MPs could propose legislation – something the government currently has power over. 

Ministers fear Speaker John Bercow would help the rebellion. Last week he flouted procedural convention to select an amendment from Tory former minister Dominic Grieve which attempts to speed up the process for the Government to reveal what it will do next if the PM’s Brexit deal is rejected.  

Labour splits deepen as MPs say they will back May’s deal  

Another Labour MP declared he would vote for Theresa May‘s Brexit deal today in defiance of orders from Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Kevin Barron said the deal was the only way to deliver on the referendum and avoid a no deal Brexit on March 27.

The Rother Valley MP represents one of the strongest Leave-supporting parts of the country and he is among a number of Labour MPs causing a deep split in the party.

Labour’s policy is to push for a general election if the Prime Minister loses the meaningful vote on Tuesday and Mr Corbyn has ordered his side to vote No. 

There will not be enough Labour votes to save Mrs May in the Commons tonight.

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said there should just be a simple vote on the deal, with amendments voted on later to avoid muddying the result. 

But the fledgling revolt was at risk of collapsing after it was dismissed by pro-EU MPs. 

Senior Tory Sarah Wollaston, previously one of the most outspoken anti-Brexit rebels, said it would fly in the face of the constitution.

She pointed out that the Liaison Committee – on which she serves had no role in drafting legislation.

‘Under our constitution, Parliament can either change the government’s mind or change the government,’ she said.

‘It can propose legislation for government to take forward & it can amend or block it but back bench MPs cannot take over conducting a complex international negotiation.’ 

Asked during an LBC radio interview today what would happen, Mr Johnson said: ‘I think the deal goes down. 

‘I think, possibly, some colleagues are being scared by this idea that there might be no Brexit as a result of voting it down. 

‘I think that’s nonsense. Britain will leave in March, absolutely, and that’s the bottom line.’ 

Mr Johnson said that defying the result of the referendum would be ‘playing with fire’. 

‘If we think that by coming up with all sorts of complicated amendments and you know delaying tactics, we’re gonna fool the British public, we’re going to manage to frustrate Brexit, I think we will reap the whirlwind,’ he said.

‘People will feel betrayed and I think they will feel that there has been a great conspiracy by you know the deep state of the UK, the people who really run the country, to overturn the vote of the people.’

A dozen leading Brexiteers – including eight former members of Mrs May’s Cabinet – have written to all Conservative MPs urging them to vote against the Prime Minister’s deal.

Who is Gareth Johnson, the latest Tory to quit the government   

Gareth Johnson was elected to the Commons as MP for Dartford in 2010.

His majority in the strongly Leave-supporting seat was 13,000 last year.

That was up from 10,000 when he first won the constituency.

Since entering Parliament he has kept a fairly low profile, having served on the Science, Justice and Human Rights committees. 

He was appointed an assistant whip, one of the most junior ranks, in November last year.

Sources said he had been ‘desperate’ to get into government, but pointed out that his voters were overwhelmingly Brexit-backing.  

He served just two months before resigning.

In a joint letter sent to every Tory MP, former ministers including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dominic Raab call upon Mrs May to stage one final attempt to persuade the EU to drop the Irish backstop which threatens to halt Britain’s exit from the custom union indefinitely.

But if the EU fails to comply on agreeing such a deal, the Britain must ‘have the confidence’ to leave on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms on March 29.

The letter is also signed by other former Cabinet members including Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and Priti Patel.

They write: ‘It is right to vote down this bad deal and that in doing so we will unlock a better future for our party, our country and its people.’

They add: ‘A managed WTO Brexit may give rise to some short-term inconvenience and disruption, but the much greater risks arise from being locked into a very bad deal.’

Mr Johnson repeated the message in his column in the Daily Telegraph today, where he writes: ‘This deal is still the worst of both worlds, by which we somehow leave the EU but end up being run by the EU. It is still a complete stinker.’

Warning his fellow MPs about trying to force a second referendum, he adds: ‘If they now engage in ludicrous parliamentary jiggery pokery, endlessly tabling amendments designed to frustrate Brexit, they will risk a very serious backlash indeed.

‘The answer is not to leave it to Parliament; the answer is for the executive to do its job, as some of us have been advising for months: to accept that the deal is dead, and to move on.’Jeremy Corbyn asks members of the House to reject May’s dealLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%00:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:42Fullscreen

How will MPs make their decision on May’s Brexit deal and what will they vote on?

MPs will finally give their verdict on the Brexit deal tomorrow night – but how do they vote and what will they vote on? 

What will MPs vote on?  

MPs will be asked to approve or reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The deal is contained in two documents, the Withdrawal Agreement, which is a treaty, and the Future Framework, which is a political statement agreed between the UK and EU. 

But before the main vote, MPs will be asked to say yes or no to a raft of amendments. These are re-writes of the main Brexit deal motion that have been tabled by backbench MPs and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

How many amendments are there and which will be voted on? 

There are currently 12 amendments in front of MPs – and the deadline for tabling more is when the Commons finishes tonight, which could be as late as 2.30am.

Commons Speaker John Bercow will make the decision on which amendments are voted on tomorrow. He can select any number of amendments but does not have to choose them all. 

What do the main amendments say? 

The first amendment is from Jeremy Corbyn. It rejects the deal, rules out no-deal, and instead sets out what Labour policy is instead – primarily a permanent UK-EU customs union with protections for workers rights and the environment. 

Tory MP Hugo Swire has tabled an amendment helpful to the Government – and ministers have agreed to support it. It approves the deal while setting out a series of votes MPs will get in future on using the Irish border backstop. It sets a ‘duty’ on the UK government to get Britain out of the backstop in no more than a year – but does not change the divorce deal, so the solution would have to be backed by the EU.

Labour MP John Mann has tabled another amendment that is backed by ministers. It approves the deal but adds a promise for Britain to mirror EU rules on workers’ rights and environmental protections in future. 

Tory MP Andrew Murrison has an amendment that would agree the deal but also demand it is re-negotiated to put a deadline on the backstop of December 2021. If this is voted for, it would be very unclear if the deal had been approved or not because the EU would have to agree to renegotiate. 

When will the vote happen? 

Votes will begin at 7pm tomorrow night, after the Prime Minister makes the final speech of the five day debate. 

Each ‘division’ of the Commons takes around 15 minutes as MPs have to physically walk through the aye and no lobbies to cast their vote.

This means voting could go on for hours.   

Which order will the votes happen? 

This will not be clear until the Speaker selects the amendments. It is likely amendments that reject the deal will be voted on first, followed by amendments that approve it with caveats.

The final vote will be on the main motion – with whatever amendments have been agreed attached to it. 

Can voting end early? 

This is also unclear but if one of the rejection amendments is accepted, it is likely voting will stop because it will be clear there is no majority of MPs in favour of the deal. 

Is May’s deal already sunk? 100 Tories, the DUP and Labour have come out against – leaving her staring at defeat on December 11

Theresa May’s task of getting her Brexit deal past the House of Commons is looking near-impossible as opposition mounts.

The ‘meaningful vote’ promised to MPs will happen on December 11 and is the single biggest hurdle to the Brexit deal happening – as well as being the key to Mrs May’ fate as PM.

But despite opinion polls suggesting the public might be coming round to her deal, there is little sign of a shift among politicians.

Remainers have been stepping up calls for a second referendum in the wake of Sam Gyimah’s resignation as universities minister over the weekend – while Brexiteers including Boris Johnson have accused Mrs May of betrayal.   

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The number is less than half because the four Speakers, 7 Sinn Fein MPs and four tellers will not take part.

The situation looks grim for Mrs May and her whips: now the deal has been published, over 100 of her own MPs and the 10 DUP MPs have publicly stated they will join the Opposition parties in voting No.

This means the PM could have as few as 225 votes in her corner – leaving 410 votes on the other side, a landslide majority 185.

This is how the House of Commons might break down:

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

+10

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The Government (plus various hangers-on)

Who are they: All members of the Government are the so-called ‘payroll’ vote and are obliged to follow the whips orders or resign. It includes the Cabinet, all junior ministers, the whips and unpaid parliamentary aides.

There are also a dozen Tory party ‘vice-chairs and 17 MPs appointed by the PM to be ‘trade envoys’.

How many of them are there? 178.

What do they want? For the Prime Minister to survive, get her deal and reach exit day with the minimum of fuss.

Many junior ministers want promotion while many of the Cabinet want to be in a position to take the top job when Mrs May goes.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

European Research Group Brexiteers demanding a No Confidence Vote

Who are they: The most hard line of the Brexiteers, they launched a coup against Mrs May after seeing the divorce. Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.

How many of them are there: 26

What do they want: The removal of Mrs May and a ‘proper Brexit’. Probably no deal now, with hopes for a Canada-style deal later.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Other Brexiteers in the ERG

Who are they: There is a large block of Brexiteer Tory MPs who hate the deal but have so far stopped short of moving to remove Mrs May – believing that can destroy the deal instead. They include ex Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and ex minister Owen Paterson.

Ex ministers like Boris Johnson and David Davis are also in this group – they probably want to replace Mrs May but have not publicly moved against her.

How many of them are there? Around 50.

What do they want? The ERG has said Mrs May should abandon her plans for a unique trade deal and instead negotiate a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal.

This is based on a trade deal signed between the EU and Canada in August 2014 that eliminated 98 per cent of tariffs and taxes charged on goods shipped across the Atlantic.

The EU has long said it would be happy to do a deal based on Canada – but warn it would only work for Great Britain and not Northern Ireland.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Remain including the People’s Vote supporters

Who are they: Tory MPs who believe the deal is just not good enough for Britain. They include the group of unrepentant Remainers who want a new referendum like Anna Soubry and ex-ministers who quit over the deal including Jo Johnson and Phillip Lee.

How many of them are there: Maybe around 10.

What do they want? To stop Brexit. Some want a new referendum, some think Parliament should step up and say no.

A new referendum would take about six months from start to finish and they group wants Remain as an option on the ballot paper, probably with Mrs May’s deal as the alternative.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister.

Moderates in the Brexit Delivery Group (BDG) and other Loyalists

Who are they? A newer group, the BDG counts members from across the Brexit divide inside the Tory Party. It includes former minister Nick Boles and MPs including Remainer Simon Hart and Brexiteer Andrew Percy.

There are also lots of unaligned Tory MPs who are desperate to talk about anything else.

How many of them are there? Based on public declarations, about 48 MPs have either said nothing or backed the deal.

What do they want? The BDG prioritises delivering on Brexit and getting to exit day on March 29, 2019, without destroying the Tory Party or the Government. If the PM gets a deal the group will probably vote for it.

It is less interested in the exact form of the deal but many in it have said Mrs May’s Chequers plan will not work.

Mr Boles has set out a proposal for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area (EEA) until a free trade deal be negotiated – effectively to leave the EU but stay in close orbit as a member of the single market.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

The DUP

Who are they? The Northern Ireland Party signed up to a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Conservative Party to prop up the Government.

They are Unionist and say Brexit is good but must not carve Northern Ireland out of the Union.

How many of them are there? 10.

What do they want? A Brexit deal that protects Northern Ireland inside the UK.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister on the grounds they believe the deal breaches the red line of a border in the Irish Sea.

Labour Loyalists

Who are they? Labour MPs who are loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and willing to follow his whipping orders.

How many of them are there? Up to 250 MPs depending on exactly what Mr Corbyn orders them to do.

What do they want? Labour policy is to demand a general election and if the Government refuses, ‘all options are on the table’, including a second referendum.

Labour insists it wants a ‘jobs first Brexit’ that includes a permanent customs union with the EU. It says it is ready to restart negotiations with the EU with a short extension to the Article 50 process.

The party says Mrs May’s deal fails its six tests for being acceptable.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister’s current deal.

Labour Rebels

Who are they? A mix of MPs totally opposed to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, some Labour Leave supporters who want a deal and some MPs who think any deal will do at this point.

How many of them are there? Maybe 10 to 20 MPs but this group is diminishing fast – at least for the first vote on the deal.

What do they want? An orderly Brexit and to spite Mr Corbyn.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Other Opposition parties

Who are they? The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Green Caroline Lucas and assorted independents.

How many of them are there? About 60 MPs.

How will they vote? Mostly against the Prime Minister – though two of the independents are suspended Tories and two are Brexiteer former Labour MPs. 

(BBC) Brexit: What’s next if MPs reject May’s deal?

(BBC)

Theresa May in the House of Commons

I know that, right here, I’ve been writing about, and we’ve been discussing, our prime minister’s and politicians’ Brexit choices for more than two-and-a-half years.

And, yes indeed, there have been many, many times we have reported it is a crunch moment, a crucial day, or a vital moment.

And each mini-drama, each bizarre twist, each day where we have moved further from anything like politics-as-usual, has had meaning.

That’s true of the prime minister’s speech in Florence, the meltingly hot cabinet day out at Chequers, Boris Johnson stalking out of the cabinet, or indeed, the EU saying “non, non, non” at Salzburg, or Gina Miller’s Supreme Court appeal, where on Parliament’s behalf – on behalf of all of us in a sense – she won a bigger say over Brexit for MPs.

Barring an almost incredible-to-imagine second delay to the vote, Tuesday is when MPs get the chance to express that wish – to say yes or no to the deal that’s on the table.

The weird thing about it is that unless, again, something almost impossible-to-ponder happens, we know they are, in large numbers, going to say no.

Parliament taking control

There is precious little jeopardy in saying that, although be sceptical of any predictions about the size of the defeat.

MPs don’t even trust each other on rebellions, let alone always stick to what they may brag about before.

If you take a clear “no” vote as read then, there is a possibility that moves afoot to stop us leaving without a deal, will be taken by parliamentarians who have been studying the rule books very closely.

Gina Miller
Image captionGina Miller’s court case won MPs the right for a bigger say on Brexit

In recent months amid the cacophony, Parliament has steadily been taking more and more control of the Brexit process, if not ownership of the problems.

And it’s likely this week there will be another attempt, maybe even before the vote, to remove the risk that we can leave without a deal. Of course it would need a majority of MPs’ support (always, always, easier said than done).

But remember even if they do, the immediate question will be: for what? At the moment there is no majority in Parliament for any plan that has actually been put on the table.

And some cabinet ministers believe the attempt to snarl up the process in that way could be blocked in any case.

If that’s so, well, several cabinet ministers from different parts of the Tory party, have told me they expect the prime minister will have at least another attempt to get her deal, or something rather like it, through Parliament.

Quick guide: What is a no-deal Brexit?

Hide

A “no-deal” Brexit is where the UK would cut all ties with the European Union overnight.

Theresa May’s government, and many others, believe this would be hugely damaging and want a more gradual withdrawal. But if Parliament can’t agree on that, and nothing else takes its place, the UK will leave without a deal.

This would mean the UK would not have to obey EU rules. Instead, it would need to follow World Trade Organization terms on trade. Many businesses would see new taxes on imports, exports and services, which are likely to increase their operating costs. That means the prices of some goods in UK shops could go up.

The UK would also lose the trade agreements it had with other countries as a member of the EU, all of which would need to be renegotiated alongside the new agreement with the EU itself.

Manufacturers in the UK expect to face delays in components coming across the border.

The UK would be free to set its own immigration controls. However some UK professionals working in the EU and UK expats could face uncertainty until their status was clarified. The European Commission has said that even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers won’t need a visa for short visits of up to 90 days.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic would become an external frontier for the EU with customs and immigration controls, though how and where any checks would be made is not clear.

Some Leave supporters think that leaving without a deal would be positive if the right preparations were made. They say criticism is scaremongering and any short term pain would be for long term gain.

But critics – including both Brexit supporters and opponents – say that leaving without a deal would be a disaster for the UK: driving up food prices, leading to shortages of goods and gridlock on some roads in the South East resulting from extra border checks.

But despite her reputation for secrecy, this week she will have to make something clear.

Will she shift to what many in Parliament want, a closer relationship with the EU, perhaps moving across to some kind of customs union?

Or will she ramp up preparations for no-deal, trying (which many just don’t believe) to show that she really would be willing to walk away with no deal, in the hope that pressure would persuade the EU to crack and make it plain she is not for turning?

Decisions can’t wait

That is likely to be the call she’ll have to make. One cabinet minister told me: “This week it distils into what people truly think – between those who are really scared of leaving without a deal, and those who are really scared of not leaving.”

Even after all this time, the Tories, and this Brexit prime minister, are still faced with the same fundamental choice there always has been – take the risk of going it alone with a dramatic break from the EU, with all the turmoil that might go alongside it.

Or cleave to a closer relationship with the EU, some kind of customs union by another name, that could tear the Tory party apart.

Delay is a tactic that has been used by Theresa May with great effect, arguably keeping her – even if unhappily – in office.

Every route that she might choose has risks, perhaps none of the choices are tempting for Number 10.

But on Tuesday night votes will actually be counted – the numbers, and decisions after they come, just won’t wait much longer.

(DN) A UE deve eliminar a hipótese de o Reino Unido adiar o Brexit – Wolfgang Munchau

(DN)

Para que o acordo de Theresa May seja aprovado, Bruxelas deve remover a opção de protelar o Artigo 50.º

Até agora, a UE ficou de fora das convulsões internas do Reino Unido sobre o Brexit, por um bom motivo. É mais fácil para um europeu continental aprender as regras do críquete do que entender a Câmara dos Comuns e o papel constitucional do seu presidente.

Apelo à UE para que reconsidere a sua posição e interfira ativamente no debate no Reino Unido, a fim de inclinar a balança das probabilidades a favor do acordo de saída proposto por Theresa May. O Conselho Europeu deveria fazer dois anúncios relativos a esta questão e, de preferência, muito em breve. O primeiro seria afirmar a disponibilidade da UE para renegociar a declaração política para que esta permitisse diferentes hipóteses para a futura relação. Isso poderia incluir, por exemplo, a opção da Noruega (pertença à Associação Europeia de Comércio Livre) ou uma união aduaneira. O segundo seria uma decisão política para descartar uma extensão do prazo de 29 de março para o Brexit, exceto para dar mais tempo para a ratificação.

(AFP) Portugal to welcome British tourists post-Brexit

(AFP)

Portugal's interor minister told journalists they are working on "creating obstacle-free corridors that will allow fluidity" for British tourists coming to Portugal after Brexit
Portugal’s interor minister told journalists they are working on “creating obstacle-free corridors that will allow fluidity” for British tourists coming to Portugal after Brexit AFP/File

Lisbon (AFP)

Portugal wants to exempt British tourists, a major revenue source, from entry visa requirements if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a negotiated deal, Lisbon said Friday.

“We are working… on creating obstacle-free corridors that will allow fluidity for British citizens entering the national territory” at airports, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita told journalists.

He was speaking ahead of a crucial vote by British lawmakers next week on Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft “divorce” deal.

Some 2.6 million British tourists fly into Portugal every year, and many retire there.

The government in Lisbon has urged Brits living in Portugal to register at their town halls before March 29, the day Britain is due to leave the European bloc.

Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva has said that British qualifications recognised in Portugal until March 29 will remain valid.

The Portuguese plan envisages reinforcing the number of staff at the Portuguese consulate in Britain to answer Brexit-related questions.

Back home, agents from the Foreigners and Borders Service will stand ready to assist Brits living there.

Further details will be announced next week, said Santos Silva.

May faces defeat over her proposed deal, which has aroused fierce opposition from EU supporters and Brexit enthusiasts alike, raising fears Britain could leave the bloc with no agreement in place.

(AFP) Setbacks for Theresa May as MPs debate Brexit deal before historic vote

(AFP)

London: British MPs on Wednesday begin five days of debate ahead of a historic delayed vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a day after giving her a stinging blow aimed at preventing the country from crashing out of the EU with no agreement. 

May’s attempts to win over MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her government in parliament but is firmly opposed to the Brexit deal, were also rebuffed on Wednesday. 

The government said it would grant local lawmakers in Northern Ireland greater powers to block legislation if their province ever found itself in a contentious “backstop” arrangement to avoid a hard border in Ireland. 

But DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told Sky News that the proposals were “window dressing” and that there would still have to be checks between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain in the event the backstop is enacted.

May faced another possible setback later on Wednesday as rebel Conservative MPs pushed for a vote that would force the government to reveal its plans within three days if the Brexit deal is not approved next Tuesday.

Lawmakers next week will be voting on the agreement that May has negotiated with the EU over the last 18 months, which faces daunting opposition as the clock ticks down before Britain leaves the European Union on March 29.

The prime minister has warned rebels in her own party that defeat will lead to a no-deal Brexit, or no departure from the bloc at all.

But in a vote on Tuesday that raised the chances of a defeat in next week’s historic vote, MPs including former ministers approved an amendment that will curtail the government’s tax powers in case of a no-deal Brexit.

(ES) Brexit vote latest: Theresa May pins hopes of victory on promise of EU trade deal by 2021

(ES) Theresa May today staked her hopes of winning the big Brexitvote in the Commons on an 11th-hour promise from the European Union to agree a deadline for a future trade deal.

A deadline of around 2021 is being mooted, which would ensure the unpopular Irish “backstop” plan lasted no longer than a year.

No 10’s focus has changed, however, from fixing a date for the backstop to end, to setting a date for the future partnership which would make it redundant.

But this was dismissed as impossible to meet by a former head of the Treasury. Lord Macpherson said in a tweet: “Time for some honesty about Brexit. 

“There is no way the UK will negotiate a trade deal with the EU by December 2020.” He said even 2022 was “very optimistic” and a deal would probably take until the middle of the next decade.

Downing Street said Mrs May spoke over the Christmas break with Jean-Claude Juncker, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte in a bid to get a concession on the backstop to reduce a giant Tory rebellion.

Senior ministers say Irish premier Leo Varadkar is blocking Theresa May’s appeal for 11th-hour concessions on the backstop because he does not realise how close Britain is to crashing out of the EU without a deal.

“The Irish think that we will cave in at the last minute,” a senior minister said. “The real question is when the Irish start to think that no deal could actually become reality.”

Mr Varadkar is now the focus of efforts at EU level to broker reassurances that might persuade enough Conservative MPs to peel off from a giant rebellion against the withdrawal agreement when it goes to a meaningful vote in the Commons on January 15.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas will visit Dublin tomorrow for talks, following a 40-minute conversation over the phone last week between the taoiseach and Angela Merkel. The German chancellor intervened after she was contacted by Mrs May twice over Christmas.

But Mr Varadkar has stated he is not considering changes to the agreement and British ministers fear it will take a resounding defeat for the withdrawal agreement before Ireland is willing to consider serious concessions.

The backstop would see Northern Ireland remain aligned to some rules of the EU single market, if another solution is not found before the end of the transition period in December 2020.

Mrs May is threatening to cancel MPs’ weekends and even their half-term break to get critical Brexit legislation through Parliament.

Her spokesman said she would do “whatever is required” to pass laws needed to keep the country running after the withdrawal date of March 29.

As well as the deal, MPs need to pass a Trade Bill, Agriculture Bill, Fisheries Bill, Healthcare Bill, Immigration Bill and a Financial services Bill.

P.O. (FT) One thing about Brexit is certain — no one knows anything

P.O.

Monsieur de la Palice woudn’t have said it better…

Lapalissade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A lapalissade is an obvious truth—i.e. a truism or tautology—which produces a comical effect. It is derived from the name Jacques de la Palice, and the word is used in several languages.[1][2][3]

Origin

These words were misread (accidentally or intentionally) as “…il ſerait [serait] encore en vie” (“…he would still be alive”), where the long s aids in the confusion. In the 16th century this misreading was incorporated into a popular satirical song, and in time many other variants developed, including “… que deux jours avant sa mort / il était encore en vie” (“… that two days before his death / he was still quite alive”) and “… et quand il était tout nu, / il n’avait point de chemise” (“… and when he was stark naked / he didn’t wear a shirt”).

La Palice’s epitaph reads[2][1]“Ci-gît le Seigneur de La Palice: s’il n’était pas mort, il ferait encore envie.”(“Here lies the Seigneur de La Palice: If he weren’t dead, he would still be envied.”)

In the early 18th century Bernard de la Monnoye collected over 50 of these humorous “La Palice” quatrains, and published them as a burlesque Song of La Palice. From that song came the French term lapalissade meaning an utterly obvious truth—i.e. a truism or tautology, and it was borrowed into several other languages. Since that day, when you say something very obvious, your interlocutor answers : “La Palice would have said as much !” (in French : “La Palice en aurait dit autant !”). 
FCMP


(FT) Even the professionals’ predictions about what would happen have turned out wrong

P.O. (BBC) Suspended MP quits Labour over party’s record on antisemitism

P.O.

Under investigation about nothing i say.

Mr Lewis has never been interviewed about the alledged facts.

I quote Mr Lewis resignation letter:

In a resignation letter published on Thursday, he said he had never been interviewed about the complaints, and that the party had delayed the disciplinary process “for political reasons.

The MP for Bury South said he had struggled to reconcile his Jewish identity with his membership of the Labour party.

He also complained that Mr Corbyn had sacked him as a shadow minister via text message, when he had asked to meet the party leader to discuss anti-Semitism.

Two other Labour MPs, Frank Field and John Woodcock, have previously cited anti-Semitism as a reason to resign from the party.

The reasons for the resignation are, and i quote Mr Lewis from an article in the FT.

End of quote.

I have always been of the opinion (and i wrote it many times) that Mr Corbyn is not suitable to hold any government position , and certainly not the one of Prime Minister.

This is just one more piece of evidence.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira




(BBC) Suspended MP quits Labour over party’s record on antisemitism

Ivan Lewis, who was accused of sexual harassment, says party has failed to condemn antisemitic behaviour

Dan Sabbagh

Ivan Lewis
 Ivan Lewis, the MP for Bury South, said Labour was ‘unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jewish hatred’. Photograph: LNP/Rex/Shutterstock

Suspended MP Ivan Lewis has announced his resignation from the Labour party, accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being “unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jewish hatred” and complaining that the disciplinary process against him was “subject to political manipulation”.

The Bury South MP said he would continue to sit in parliament as an independent, but his decision to quit means that the long-running Labourparty disciplinary process following allegations of sexual harassment can no longer conclude. Lewis denies the accusation.

Labour suspends ex-minister Ivan Lewis over sexual harassment claim

 Read more

Lewis wrote that the disciplinary process had been stalled until October when he “made it clear to the party that I was considering resigning as I could no longer reconcile my Jewish identity and current Labour politics”. He added that a “sudden attempt” was made to move proceedings on, and complained that the exercise had become “flawed and subject to political manipulation”.

Labour sources said that the party had been in correspondence with him to set a date for his disciplinary hearing in front of the party’s national constitutional committee in January, and added that his resignation had denied the complainants a hearing.

The MP went on to criticise Corbyn in the letter, saying: “It is for others to determine whether you are antisemitic”, and went on to accuse the Labour leader and his director of communications, Seumas Milne, of not believing “in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own state”.

He added: “To compound this, all too often you have been unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jew hatred. This is incompatible with being a lifelong campaigner against racism.”

Concluding his point, Lewis said: “It is no wonder that so many British people are uncomfortable at the prospect of you becoming prime minister in one of the world’s most enduring western liberal democracies.”

Lewis is the fourth Labour MP since the 2017 general election to quit the party, following Frank Field, Jared O’Mara and John Woodcock. Barrow and Furness MP Woodcock was also suspended amid harassment allegations at the time he quit.

A fifth MP, Fiona Onasanya, was permanently suspended from the party on Wednesday, a day after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by lying to avoid a speeding ticket.

A Labour party spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn thanks Ivan for his service to the Labour party. The Labour party takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously, which are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and appropriate disciplinary action taken.

“This case was referred to a full hearing of Labour’s national constitutional committee. The process is the same for everyone.”

Labour has also repeatedly said that Corbyn repudiates antisemitism in all its forms.

P.O. (BBC) Jeremy Corbyn denies ‘stupid woman’ jibe at Theresa May

P.O.
On Mr Jeremy Corbyn

I have always disliked everything about Mr Jeremy Corbyn, which some people say is an orthodox comunist.
But in many opinions over the years i never said about him what he is acused of saying about the UK Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May.
But of course there are many differences between me and Mr Corbyn.
Manners to start with.
And that is something that is not going to change, with him, or with me.
Thank you for your kindness.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(BBC)

Media captionMPs called for an apology amid heated scenes in the House of Commons

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has denied calling Theresa May a “stupid woman” during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He was asked to make a statement to MPs after facing Tory calls to apologise for the alleged insult.

Mr Corbyn said he was “opposed to the use of sexist and misogynist language in any form” and insisted he had actually said “stupid people”.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said he had not seen the alleged incident and all MPs had to be taken at their word.

But Conservative MPs said they did not believe Mr Corbyn’s explanation and repeated calls for an apology from him.

Mr Corbyn told the Commons: “During prime minister’s question time today, I referred to those who I believe were seeking to turn a debate about the national crisis facing our country into a pantomime as ‘stupid people’.”

“Mr Speaker I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the prime minister or anyone else,” he added.

Conservative MP Rachel Maclean responded to his statement by saying: “Read my lips – I don’t believe him.”

The Speaker said he had reviewed television footage of Mr Corbyn’s alleged insult, which had not been picked up by the microphones, and it was “easy to see why the leader of the opposition’s words might be construed as ‘stupid woman’.”

He had also consulted a “lip speaker”, who are employed to interpret lip movements in court rooms and other settings when a lip reader can’t get close enough, who had lent weight to that view but had not been conclusive.

Media captionMPs on Corbyn denial: Andrea Leadsom, Rachel Maclean, Vicky Ford and Laura Pidcock

“Nobody can be 100% certain, that includes professional lip readers. But I will naturally take, and would be expected to take, the word of any right honourable or honourable member.

“It’s reasonable to expect the House to do the same.”

He added that Mr Corbyn had been “seated at the time and not addressing the House” so his words had not been “on the record”.

Mr Bercow was separately accused by Tory MP Vicky Ford of calling her a “stupid woman” on an earlier occasion, as MPs turned the spotlight on the Speaker’s own conduct.

The Speaker told Ms Ford she had not raised this point with him before, adding: “I refute it 100%”

The Speaker
Image captionTory MPs and ministers seek to show the speaker the clip on their phones

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom had earlier reminded Mr Bercow of his failure to apologise to her for calling her a “stupid woman” during an incident earlier this year.

Mr Bercow said he had already dealt with that matter.

Mrs Leadsom said viewers and MPs would “draw their own conclusions” after Mr Corbyn’s statement.

But Tory MP Desmond Swayne said criticising MPs for “what they might say under their breath” was moving “into the realm of thought crime”.

And Labour MP Laura Pidcock said using the Commons chamber in this way was “absolutely pathetic”.

(GUA) Der Spiegel says top journalist faked stories for years

The German news magazine Der Spiegel has been plunged into chaos after revealing that one of its top reporters had falsified stories over several years.

The media world was stunned by the revelations that the award-winning journalist Claas Relotius had, according to the weekly, “made up stories and invented protagonists” in at least 14 out of 60 articles that appeared in its print and online editions, warning that other outlets could also be affected.

Relotius, 33, resigned after admitting to the scam. He had written for the magazine for seven years and won numerous awards for his investigative journalism, including CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.

Earlier this month, he won Germany’s Reporterpreis (Reporter of the Year) for his story about a young Syrian boy, which the jurors praised for its “lightness, poetry and relevance”. It has since emerged that all the sources for his reportage were at best hazy, and much of what he wrote was made up.

View image on Twitter

The falsification came to light after a colleague who worked with him on a story along the US-Mexican border raised suspicions about some of the details in Relotius’s reporting, having harboured doubts about him for some time.

The colleague, Juan Moreno, eventually tracked down two alleged sources quoted extensively by Relotius in the article, which was published in November. Both said they had never met Relotius. Relotius had also lied about seeing a hand-painted sign that read “Mexicans keep out”, a subsequent investigation found.

Other fraudulent stories included one about a Yemeni prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, and one about the American football star Colin Kaepernick.

In a lengthy article, Spiegel, which sells about 725,000 print copies a week and has an online readership of more than 6.5 million, said it was “shocked” by the discovery and apologised to its readers and to anyone who may have been the subject of “fraudulent quotes, made-up personal details or invented scenes at fictitious places”.

The Hamburg-based magazine, which was founded in 1947 and is renowned for its in-depth investigative pieces, said Relotius had committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale”. It described the episode as “a low point in Spiegel’s 70-year history”. An in-house commission has been set up to examine all of Relotius’ work for the weekly.

The reporter also wrote for a string of other well-known outlets, including the German newspapers taz, Welt and the Frankfurter Allgemeine’s Sunday edition. Die Welt tweeted on Wednesday: “He abused his talent”.

Relotius told Spiegel he regretted his actions and was deeply ashamed, the magazine said. “I am sick and I need to get help,” he was quoted as saying.

Moreno, who has worked for the magazine since 2007, risked his own job when he confronted other colleagues with his suspicions, many of whom did not want to believe him. “For three to four weeks Moreno went through hell because colleagues and those senior to him did not want to believe his accusations at first,” Der Spiegel wrote in an apology to its readers. For several weeks, the magazine said, Relotius was even considered to be the victim of a cunning plot by Moreno.

“Relotius cleverly rebuffed all the attacks, all of Moreno’s well-researched pieces of evidence … until there came a point when that didn’t work any more, until he finally couldn’t sleep any more, hunted by the fear of being discovered,” the magazine wrote.

Relotius, it added, finally gave himself up last week after being confronted by a senior editor.

In his confession to his employer, he said: “It wasn’t because of the next big thing. It was fear of failing. My pressure to not be able to fail got ever bigger the more successful I became.”

The magazine, which is one of Germany’s most prominent news organisations, is now trying to rescue its reputation amid fears a magazine already challenged by the problems in the German newspaper industry will struggle to recover.

“All [his] colleagues are deeply shattered,” the magazine wrote. In particular, it said, in the Society department, where he worked, “[his] colleagues are astounded and sad … the affair feels like a death in the family.”

• This article was amended on 20 December 2018. Der Spiegel sells about 725,000 print copies a week, not a month as an earlier version said. This has been corrected.

(AFP) US financial regulator warns on no-deal Brexit: report

(AFP) [LONDON] The head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission wants no disruption to financial markets in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

“Some period of adjustment would be good,” Jay Clayton told the business daily in an interview, extracts of which were published online.

“The intricacies of our financial system are significant and it’s difficult to identify all the ways in which a decree that something is no longer valid may impact.”

British ministers met Tuesday to intensify plans for leaving the European Union without a deal – a prospect that is becoming more likely as Prime Minister Theresa May plays for time with just 101 days to go until Brexit.

Speaking of a possible no-deal, Mr Clayton told the FT: “If you asked me that nine months ago, I would have said, boy it would surprise me.

“If you’re asking me today… let me put it this way, I think it’s prudent for me to spend time thinking about what that means.”

The newspaper added that Mr Clayton planned to increase the number of SEC workers focused only on Brexit.

AFP

(Reuters) Risk of “managed” no-deal Brexit rising, British minister says

(Reuters)The risk of a “managed” no-deal Brexit is rising as Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to win enough from the European Union to satisfy Eurosceptic rebels in her own party, a senior British minister told Reuters.

With the British parliament deadlocked, the future of Brexit has been thrust into doubt with possible outcomes ranging from a disorderly departure with no deal to another referendum on European Union membership.

In a sign of just how unpredictable Brexit has become, the senior minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the possibility of a second referendum was also growing.

The minister added that there was no consensus for any alternative to May’s deal, which seeks to keep close trading ties with the bloc after leaving.

The option of a “managed no deal” is rising, the minister said, adding: “We are not ready for no deal, the public is not ready for no deal.”

“There is no plan B, at least, not that will get the support of the House (of Commons),” the minister said. “What May can bring back from the EU will not satisfy those that need satisfying.”

May has repeatedly warned that if her deal is rejected then the world’s fifth largest economy might have to leave without a deal – the nightmare option for big business – or that Brexit might be thwarted altogether.

Stocks tank; investors look ahead to Fed meeting

Both London and Brussels have stepped up planning for a no deal exit.

No deal means there would be no transition period so the exit would be abrupt, though the EU and Britain could try to make agreements on certain areas, for example on aviation, to reduce the expected chaos that would ensue.

Britain is a member of the World Trade Organization so tariffs and other terms governing its trade with the EU would be set under WTO rules.

Business leaders are triggering contingency plans to cope with additional checks on the post-Brexit UK-EU border that they fear will clog up ports, silt up the arteries of trade and dislocate supply chains in Europe and beyond.