According to a memo leaked to the Sunday Times, Brussels chiefs want the UK to continue to contribute to the EU budget, new measures on citizens’ rights, and guarantee backstop arrangements to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Donald Tusk is to call a summit of EU leaders on April 10. The EC president has warned the UK must come up with a clear “way forward” to halt a disorderly exit.
To prevent this, Theresa May will need a new plan to push her deal through the Commons, which has to date been voted down on three separate occasions.
One un-named official speaking to the Sunday Times said they doubt the UK will be able to deliver.
They said: “It depends on whoever is in No 10 next week.”
A spokesman for the European Commission said: “A no-deal scenario on April 12 is now a likely scenario.
Donald Tusk is to call a summit of EU leaders on April 10
“The EU is fully prepared for a no-deal scenario at midnight on April 12.”
Senior EU representatives also say the UK is likely to crash out of the bloc.
One said: “It’s an accelerating political meltdown in London.”
Martin Selmayr, Secretary-General of the European Commission, told representatives markets must be reassured the bloc is prepared for a no deal and it must be made clear the UK is to blame for a chaotic exit.
Ministers have given up any hope the DUP will support Theresa May’s Brexit deal
1pm update: Labour MPS plot to revoke article 50
SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who is behind a plan to revoke Article 50 if a no-deal scenario seems inevitable has claimed she has been approached by “many” Labour MPs who want to back it.
Joanna Cherry QC said she is working closely with some Labour politicians to find a more “palatable” way of wording the proposal.
Labour MP Paul Sweeney has suggested he and others are “sympathetic” to the idea, which he described as a “sensible safeguard”.
MPs are preparing to take control of the Commons timetable with a second series of “indicative” votes on Brexit this Monday.
12:30pm update: Tom Watson said Labour would only support a softer Brexit proposal if it was “underpinned” by a second referendum “under all circumstances”
The Labour MP said his party would have to see what amendments are selected for the second stage of the Brexit indicative votes before revealing its voting intentions.
But he claimed Labour MPs are “coming together” behind consensus for a second referendum to be attached to any deal that Parliament decides to approve.
Mr Watson said a so-called People’s Vote would give Britons the options to choose between remaining in the EU and “whatever the deal is”.
He said: “It seems to me that Parliament, certainly Labour MPs, are coming together with an emerging consensus that whatever that deal looks like – and we understand there have to be compromises – if it’s underpinned by a People’s Vote that is the way we can bring the country back together.”
Asked if he is in favour of a second referendum “under all circumstances”, Mr Watson replied: “I think that’s the only way we can bring the country back together now.”
Tom Watson said a second referendum is the only way we can bring our country back together
12pm update: The Revoke Article 50 petition, which wants to reverse the democratic will of the people, has passed six million signatures
The petition is due to be debated by MPs on Monday.
The petition has slowed in growth recently, but at one point 2,000 people were signing it every minute.
11:30am update: David Gauke says he did not favour a customs union, supported by some MPs in the last round of indicative votes
Mr Gauke said the indicative votes went against the Tories general election manifesto.
But he went on to add: “I think we also have to recognise my party does not have the votes to get its manifesto position through the House of Commons at the moment.
“We do need to come back and consider what is the best way forward. We are in an environment when it is not just about going for your first choice.
“Sometimes you do have to accept your second or third choice in order to avoid an outcome you consider to be even worse.”
Mr Gauke said that he did not believe calling a general election would resolve the deadlock in Parliament over Brexit.
“I don’t see how a general election solves this issue. The fundamentals remain the same,” he said.
He also played down the idea of a government of national unity, saying: “I don’t in all honesty think that it is practical. I am really not sure it is workable.”
11:15am update: Sir John Major urges Theresa May to not call a general election
The Former Conservative prime minister said it was “very unlikely” an election would produce a government with a clear working majority while a national unity government was not imminent.
He said: “If we have a general election in the autumn, which I think is possible not certain, and we don’t get a government with a clear majority then I think it would be in the national interest to have a cross-party government so that we can take decisions without the chaos that we’re seeing in Parliament at the moment where every possible alternative is rejected.”
When asked for his advice to Mrs May about calling an election. He said: “Don’t. I mean don’t for a whole range of reasons.
“The Prime Minister is blocked in on every side, I utterly can empathise with her frustration but I think a general election will solve nothing at this moment.”
11am update: Justice Secretary David Gauke said the Tories cannot afford to ignore the will of MPs if they vote for a “softer” Brexit
The Justice Secretary said Theresa May would have to look “very closely” if MPs back a customs union in another round of indicative votes this week.
Mr Gauke said: ”I think that she would need to look very closely at that.
“If Parliament is voting overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union without a deal but is voting in favour of a softer Brexit, then I don’t think it’s sustainable to ignore Parliament’s position and therefore leave without a deal.”
Mr Gauke said he could not remain an MP if the Government tried to leave with no deal.
However, he said that Mrs May had made clear that was something she would not do.
“My position is that it is not the responsible thing for a government to do, to leave without a deal in these circumstances, so obviously I wouldn’t be able to remain a member the Government that pursued that as a policy.
“That is a point I have made on a number of occasions.”
“The Prime Minister has been very clear that when Parliament is making it clear what it wants to do, she is not going to go down that route.”
David Gauke has said the Government cannot afford to ignore the will of Parliament
10:15am update: James Cleverly has said the Tories are not preparing for a snap general election to resolve the Brexit deadlock
He said: ”I don’t think an election would solve anything. Time is of the essence, we have got Brexit to deliver.
“We don’t want to add any more unnecessary delay.”
The Conservative Party deputy acknowledged that “sensible and pragmatic” contingency planning was taking place in case Theresa May was forced to go to the country early.
“We have got a minority Government in a turbulent time,” he said.
In such circumstances, he said it was an “inevitable possibility” that Mrs May would lead the party into the election.
James Cleverly has said the Tories are not preparing for a snap general election
10am update: Former Tory minister Alistair Burt demands UK leave the EU but on good terms
He said: “There are, I’m not going to put a number on it but that really shouldn’t be in a way what we’re talking about.”
Mr Burt, who quit in order to allow indicative votes on Brexit alternatives, added: “I don’t want to see more resignations – my colleagues and I want to see a situation in which we’ve made an agreement and we’ve done what we think the British people have wanted to do, which is leave the EU but leave on good terms.”
On the idea of another general election, Mr Burt said: “We’re all with Brenda from Bristol on this – oh no, not another one. I don’t see a general election now adding to the mix that we’re in at the moment as anything that would be likely to be helpful to the country, whoever leads the Conservative Party or Labour Party or anyone else at the moment.”
Pressed on whether Theresa May should lead the Tories into another election, he replied: “The Prime Minister has already said she’s expecting to leave after we get the first stage of Brexit going through, I don’t anticipate a general election before that is done – so probably the answer would be no.”
Labour’s Lisa Nandy said Mrs May has “caused some problems this week.”
She said “By saying she’ll stand down when the Withdrawal Agreement goes through, which was designed to reassure hardline Tory MPs on her own side, she’s actually had precisely the opposite effect on the Labour side because these guarantees she’s currently making, we have no idea whether they’ll be met by a new prime minister.”
9:45am update: Emily Thornberry says it is “likely” the UK will leave the EU under Labour
She said: “I think that we are likely to leave the EU but I think it is something we need to agree ourselves and I think that there is a strong argument for asking the people to have a final say on this.
“I think that it is quite difficult for us to leave the European Union, most of us campaigned for Remain.
“I think in our hearts we want to remain, but the difficulty is that we have to square that with democracy. We are democrats above everything else.”
Ms Thornberry said Mrs May was “out of control” after her Brexit deal was voted down again on Friday.
She said: “Even with just days to go she is just saying ‘It is my deal or no deal’. That is not meaningful, that is not democracy. That is Theresa May stamping her feet and saying ‘I want this, no one else is allowed to do anything,”‘ she said.
“No wonder she is in trouble. She is out of control. She is not listening to anyone. No one knows what it is that she is going to do next. I think her judgment has been undermined.”
Emily Thornberry says it is “likely” the UK will leave the EU under Labour
9:30am update: A leading figure from the food and drink industry has said he is ”absolutely terrified” about the impact of a no-deal Brexit
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said a no-deal Brexit would cause “enormous amounts of disruption and enormous amounts of difficulty” for its members.
He said: “The real problem here is that the disruption that we would have from no deal would very quickly lead to empty shelves, it would lead to more expensive products, and it would lead to a real diminution of choice – particularly for people in poorer areas and at the end of distribution chains.”
Mr Wright said most of the federation’s members would be “horrified” by the imposition of tariffs on EU trade, adding: “I’m absolutely terrified of the prospects for our economy and our food and drink industry by the prospect of tariffs.
“It will cause enormous amounts of disruption and enormous amounts of difficulty.”
9am update: Senior ministers have given up hope the Democratic Unionist Party will support Theresa May’s Brexit deal
Brexit rebels Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab have been blamed by Mrs May’s allies for ruining her hopes of a deal with the party.
Allies claimed a last minute deal fell through because of doubts amongst the DUP Mr Johnson and Mr Raab were “really Unionists’.
A senior Cabinet Minister said the two Tories met the DUP, as the Prime Minister begged the party’s 10 MPs to support her deal.
A minister said the DUP had suspicion about how strongly Mr Johnson and Mr Rabb felt about the Union.
Mrs May’s ally said the DUP had doubts if either of the pair would defend the Northern Ireland position if they became PM.
They said: “One of the things that put the DUP off is that they met Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab and decided that they were not really Unionists.”
The DUP’s backing is vital if Mrs May has any hope of getting her Withdrawal Agreement passed through the Commons.
The DUP’s backing is vital if Mrs May has any hope of getting her Withdrawal Agreement passed
Published at Sun, 31 Mar 2019 09:38:00 +0000