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Leaving EU could be delayed by TWO YEARS after Theresa May offered MPs a vote to postpone departure

The DUP’s Nigel Dodds blasted Remainer minsters who forced Theresa May to accept Brexit could be delayed for ‘undermining’ her negotiating position today.

Mr Dodds, who leads 10 MPs propping Mrs May up in No 10, said the actions of Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark would make concessions harder to get.

He seized on a question at PMQs today to lash the ministers after Mrs May admitted yesterday MPs would be able to both delay Brexit and stop no deal if they rejected the Brexit divorce she has negotiated with Brussels. 

He said it meant ‘the prospects of the PM being able to achieve the necessary changes have been undermined and her negotiating position weakened’ by opening the door to delay.

Mr Dodds demanded she still come back with ‘legally binding changes’ to the backstop part of the deal.  

The intervention came after Jacob Rees-Mogg dramatically jettisoned his demand for the Irish backstop to be scrapped completely. 

The leader of the Tory hard Brexit-supporting European Research Group [ERG] hinted he could back the PM’s deal if it is tweaked rather than re-written.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who had demanded the EU re-opened the Withdrawal Agreement and axed the backstop, now says he would back Mrs May if there was a time limit on the backstop in a document of ‘equal legal standing’.  

In a major softening of the ERG’s stance he said: ‘If it were to be an appendix that would be satisfactory. But it has to be of equal legal standing’. 

The PM is trying to get concessions from the EU to convince MPs to vote through her deal – six weeks after it was rejected by 230 votes – the largest defeat for a sitting government in British history.   

Mrs May (pictured today at PMQs) has urged Parliament to ‘do its duty’ and vote through her Brexit deal but could have been ‘sucked in’ to a remain plot, critics claim

Mrs May faced a bruising PMQs this afternoon as she prepares a new round of votes on Brexit tonight

Mrs May faced a bruising PMQs this afternoon as she prepares a new round of votes on Brexit tonight

Nigel Dodds, who leads 10 MPs propping Mrs May up in No 10, said the actions of Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark would make concessions on the backstop harder to get

Nigel Dodds, who leads 10 MPs propping Mrs May up in No 10, said the actions of Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark would make concessions on the backstop harder to get

Mr Rees-Mogg’s intervention came after a former Cabinet minister linked to the ERG suggested the price for passing the deal could be Mrs May’s departure.

A promise to go and let a Brexiteer take over the trade deal phase of negotiations could be enough even if the concessions brought home from Brussels over the next fortnight fall short.

The ex-minister told BuzzFeed: ‘I can envisage a situation in which they get something on the backstop but it falls short of what we asked for.

‘That puts us in a tricky spot.

‘The absolutely key thing is how the DUP react to what Geoffrey Cox comes back with. If they say it’s enough we can fall in line.

‘It could be that the best case scenario is that a deal passes and the PM agrees to go immediately afterwards.

‘The most important thing is that she doesn’t lead the next stage of the negotiations.’

An ERG MP said ‘dozens’ of rebels would vote for a deal if May agreed to step down before new European Commission appointments are made in the autumn, after which UK/EU trade talks will start in earnest.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has today dramatically jettisoned his demand for the Irish backstop to be scrapped completely 

It comes as 50 Labour MPs are threatening to derail Jeremy Corbyn's plan to back a second referendum

It comes as 50 Labour MPs are threatening to derail Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to back a second referendum

They have been accused of ‘sabotaging’ final talks with the EU and were accused of ‘kamikaze’ tactics by Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury.

What are MPs voting on tonight? 

MPs are staging a new round of non-binding votes on Brexit tonight – the third set since the deal was defeated on January 15.

Theresa May has tabled a motion seeking confirmation of her continued effort to renegotiate the backstop.

There are 12 amendment by MPs on a raft of proposals. Speaker John Bercow has selected five for votes from 7pm.

The main amendments are:

Amendment A, Jeremy Corbyn: Sets out Labour’s five demands for a Brexit based on a permanent customs union with the EU. It will be defeated.

Amendment K, Ian Blackford: Says no deal Brexit is unacceptable. It will be defeated. 

Amendment C, Caroline Spelman: Says if there is no deal by March 18, MPs should be allowed to change the law to force the PM to delay Brexit. A vote would be close but the Government would probably win. 

Amendment B, Alberto Costa: Sets out new guarantees the Government should meet on EU citizens living in the UK. Ministers have signalled they will accept the plan, so it will pass if voted on. 

Amendment F, Yvette Cooper: Sets out in a Commons motion the timetable of votes on the deal, no deal and Brexit delay promised by Mrs May later. It will probably pass if pushed to a vote as it matches the PM’s announcement.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said their threats meant Brussels could give fewer concessions and reportedly told the meeting: ‘Some of his colleagues’ behaviour had been very poor’. 

Senior EU officials and President Macron of France are said to back a delay of up to two years if Mrs May loses her vote – and Chancellor Philip Hammond has agreed in these circumstances a ‘relatively’ lengthy delay would be sensible.

Today the Prime Minister urges Parliament to ‘do its duty’ and vote through her Brexit deal to end Britain’s political paralysis.

Writing in the Daily Mail, she says she is close to winning concessions from the EU that could persuade Eurosceptic MPs to back her. 

In an upbeat assessment of her talks with Brussels and European leaders, she said: ‘I have found a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. That engagement has already begun to bear fruit.

‘Parliament should do its duty so our country can move forward.’

The Prime Minister’s decision to sanction a possible Brexit delay prompted a furious row in Cabinet yesterday, with Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and Claire Perry facing a backlash for forcing the PM’s hand on a postponement by publicly threatening to resign.

In a counterblast today, former Brexit secretary David Davis accuses Mrs May of ‘capitulating to blackmail’ and warns that opening the door to a delay sends the wrong message to Brussels.

Also writing in the Mail, Mr Davis is scathing about ‘mutineer ministers encircling the Prime Minister’.

He writes: ‘The Prime Minister should ignore those ministers currently having a panic attack about the prospects of No Deal. Their fears are exaggerated. While No Deal might – might – be economically difficult, no Brexit would be a democratic disaster.’

Mrs May announced she will now allow a vote to delay Brexit beyond March 29 if she cannot get her deal through the Commons after ministers including Amber Rudd (today in the Commons), David Gauke and Claire Perry threatened to quit

Mrs May announced she will now allow a vote to delay Brexit beyond March 29 if she cannot get her deal through the Commons after ministers including Amber Rudd (today in the Commons), David Gauke and Claire Perry threatened to quit

President of Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at a meeting of the College of Commissioners at the EU headquarters in Brussels. The PM is trying to get concessions from the EU to convince MPs to vote through her deal

President of Commission Jean-Claude Juncker at a meeting of the College of Commissioners at the EU headquarters in Brussels. The PM is trying to get concessions from the EU to convince MPs to vote through her deal

 

As a cross-party group led by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Sir Oliver Letwin dropped plans to force a vote on letting Parliament seize control of Brexit:

The key votes 

Analysis by Jack Doyle, Associate Editor for the Daily Mail

MARCH 12: The vote on the PM’s deal

By this date Mrs May must return to the Commons with her deal and put it before MPs. After multiple delays, this really will be D-Day. She lost the first vote by 230 votes in January.

She now has two clear weeks to secure whatever concessions she can eke out of Brussels on the Northern Ireland backstop and put an amended deal back before the Commons.

To secure victory, she will need to win over the Northern Irish DUP, and at least some of the hardline Eurosceptics on the Tory Right.

If – and it’s a big if – she succeeds, Britain could leave the EU with only a short delay after March 29 to pass essential Brexit legislation.

MARCH 13: The ‘No Deal’ Vote

If the Prime Minister cannot get her deal through on or before March 12 then the following day she will table a motion asking MPs if they support leaving without a deal. The Commons is likely to reject No Deal overwhelmingly as it has already indicated its opposition to this form of Brexit.

Mrs May refused several times yesterday to say if she would vote against a No Deal Brexit – or if the Government would ‘whip’ the vote, thereby instructing its MPs how to vote.

She insisted: ‘The absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on 29 March.’

MARCH 14: The ‘Delay Brexit’ Vote

If the Commons rejects leaving without a deal, the Government will table a motion the following day asking if MPs want to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 beyond March 29.

This is likely to pass. Again, No 10 would not say yesterday if the vote would be subject to a ‘whip’. What happens afterwards remains unclear.

MPs will, in all likelihood, force her to ask the EU for a delay. This would fray Tory unity, embolden the supporters of a second referendum and put a huge question mark over Brexit happening in any form.

Any Article 50 extension would need to approved by other EU leaders. A three-month extension, dragging out the process until the end of June, has been suggested. There remains the awkward issue of European elections in May but the new European Parliament is not scheduled to sit until July.

Thus the outgoing parliament, including its British members, may still need to ratify a Brexit deal.

  • The pound surged to a 21-month high against the euro as traders predicted that Mrs May’s move had made No Deal less likely;
  • Ministers were forced to publish a secret Cabinet paper warning No Deal would lead to shortages of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets;
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster, who held talks with the Prime Minister yesterday, warned against a delay;
  • Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom turned on Cabinet Remainers for going public with their threats to quit;
  • Jeremy Corbyn faced a backlash over his decision to back a second referendum, despite claiming to respect the result of the first;
  • Attorney General Geoffrey Cox held talks with EU officials on ways to ensure the controversial Irish backstop ‘cannot endure indefinitely’.

Mrs May’s decision to open the door to a Brexit delay appeared to have averted the threat of an immediate rebellion last night.

At least 15 ministers had threatened to resign to vote for the proposal put forward by Miss Cooper, which would have allowed Parliament to force Mrs May to seek an extension of Article 50 if the PM had not achieved a deal by the middle of next month.

Instead, Mrs May set out a new timetable which would achieve a similar effect. She confirmed that MPs would get a second ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit deal by March 12. The first last month led to a record government defeat. If the deal fails to pass again MPs would vote the next day on whether to back No Deal.

If No Deal is formally rejected MPs would have the chance to vote on extending Article 50 the following day.

Mrs May said any delay should be as short as possible.

But Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Tory Brexiteer, said a short delay would mean ‘the cliff edge is simply moved back’. He added: ‘This effort to play call-my-bluff is not going to change people’s minds to back her deal.’

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said: ‘Moves to avert No Deal in March are essential. To avoid a hammer blow to firms and livelihoods, delay cannot simply be an extension of stalemate. Compromise is the only way.’ 

MPs will still have the opportunity to vote on a series of amendments tonight, with the Government under pressure to accept a call to guarantee the rights of three million EU citizens even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Miss Cooper last night said she would not force a vote on her plan, which the Prime Minister said would have ‘would have far-reaching implications for the way in which the United Kingdom is governed’.

But she has tabled an amendment that formally sets out the pledges made by Mrs May yesterday.

PM: Plan is ‘simples’ just like meerkat ad 

The Prime Minister quoted the Compare The Market slogan to her bemused colleagues

The Prime Minister quoted the Compare The Market slogan to her bemused colleagues

Theresa May raised eyebrows yesterday after saying the options for Brexit were ‘simples’, in reference to the meerkat stars of a TV advert.

The Prime Minister quoted the Compare The Market slogan to her bemused colleagues.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford had claimed she was ‘running down the clock’ by offering only her deal or no deal.

Mrs May retorted: ‘If he wants to end the uncertainty… then he should vote for a deal. Simples.’

Labour MP Liz McInnes tweeted: ‘Theresa Meerkat is now in charge.’

Yes, we will leave EU with a deal – if MPs hold their nerve 

By Theresa May 

'Despite the political controversy of the past few weeks at Westminster, I believe the United Kingdom remains firmly on course to leave the European Union with a deal ¿ if MPs hold their nerve'

‘Despite the political controversy of the past few weeks at Westminster, I believe the United Kingdom remains firmly on course to leave the European Union with a deal – if MPs hold their nerve’

Despite the political controversy of the past few weeks at Westminster, I believe the United Kingdom remains firmly on course to leave the European Union with a deal – if MPs hold their nerve.

On January 29, the House of Commons expressed its support for that outcome, provided there were legal changes to the Northern Ireland backstop to prevent it operating indefinitely.

When the Government set out to secure those changes, I did not know what the response in Europe would be.

But in the discussions I have had with the leadership of the European Union and the leaders of every EU member state, I have found a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal.

That engagement has already begun to bear fruit.

The UK and EU are working towards a joint work-stream to develop alternative arrangements to ensure the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland, in parallel with our negotiations on the future relationship.

We are doing our own ministerial-led work – supported by civil service resources and with £20 million of government funding – to help develop, test and pilot proposals which can form part of these alternative arrangements.

We are also continuing to hold detailed discussions on the legal changes that are required to guarantee that the Northern Ireland backstop cannot endure indefinitely.

But securing the necessary changes to the backstop is not the only thing the Government is doing to build support for the deal across the House of Commons.

We are developing detailed plans to give Parliament a clearer and stronger role in the next phase of the negotiations, in which the UK and the EU will agree the detail of our future relationship. We are discussing with the EU what additions or changes can now be made to the political declaration outlining that future relationship that will increase people’s confidence in the ambition of both sides to agree to it as soon as possible.

And to protect workers’ rights, a concern for many MPs as we leave the EU, we will give Parliament a vote on whether it wishes to follow suit whenever the EU changes its standards. The UK leads the way on workers’ rights, environmental protections and health and safety – as we leave the EU, we will continue to enhance them.

I firmly believe that a deal is within our grasp.

Yesterday I committed in Parliament to give MPs a second meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement by March 12 at the latest. I am confident that we can win that vote. But because many MPs are worried that if we lose that vote Parliament would not have time to make its voice heard on the next steps, I gave two other assurances.

If the Government has not won a meaningful vote by March 12, we will ask MPs if they support leaving the EU on March 29 without a Withdrawal Agreement.

If the House rejects leaving on March 29 without a deal, the Government will bring forward a motion on whether Parliament wants to seek a short limited extension to Article 50.

And if the House votes for an extension, we will seek to agree one with the EU and bring forward the necessary legislation.

But I do not want to see Article 50 extended.

Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on March 29. Doing so would give businesses and citizens the certainty they deserve.

By committing Labour to holding a second referendum, despite promising to implement Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has shown once again that he cannot be trusted to keep his promises. His cynical political games would take us back to square one.

Instead, Parliament should do its duty so that our country can move forward.

We want to leave the EU with a deal that gives us the best of both worlds: a close relationship with our nearest neighbours and the chance to make the most of our talents and resources by building new relationships with growing economies around the world.

How could a second referendum happen? As Labour makes a huge step to backing a vote this is how a referendum is called 

Despite a growing clamour holding a new vote is a complicated and lengthy process, requiring new laws, agreement on a question – and a delay to Brexit day on March 29.

Theresa May has insisted repeatedly that a new referendum would betray Leave voters in 2016 and will not happen on her watch.

But Parliament could force the PM into the decision – prompting Nigel Farage to tell Leave campaigners to prepare for another vote.

Why do people say there needs to be a second referendum?

Theresa May’s Brexit deal has no majority in Parliament – and it is not clear any other deal has a majority either, even if one could be negotiated.

Passing the question back to voters is seen by some as a way to end the impasse and give a clear instruction to politicians on what to do.

Some campaigners also say the 2016 referendum was not an informed choice because too many of the implications of Leave were unknown. 

What do critics think?

Many people – led by the Prime Minister herself – say a new vote on Brexit would betray the people who voted Leave in 2016. They insist there was a clear order from the public to Leave the EU and politicians must follow it, working out the details for themselves.

Unionists also complain that accepting a new referendum on Brexit would pave the way for another referendum on Scottish independence, threatening the future of the UK. 

Some politicians also feel it would simply reopen the wounds from the 2016 battle without really deciding anything more clearly.  

What needs to happen for a referendum to happen?

Parliament would need to pass a new law for a referendum to be held. This process alone would take weeks and would likely be very controversial.

Before that can even happen, for political reasons there would probably have to be some kind of moment creating a ‘mandate’ for a new referendum as it is something neither of the main parties promised at the last election.

This might be a simple vote of MPs after Mrs May’s deal has been rejected. The Government could call such a vote at any time. Labour also has some opportunities to call a vote – though winning such a vote would have less power.

It could even be a whole general election where one or more sides puts a new referendum in their manifesto. 

What would the question and be who decides? 

Nobody knows for sure – and this is probably the hardest question of all.

Some say it should be a simple repeat of last time, with Leave or Remain on the ballot paper. Others say it should be Remain versus Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

Others advocate a two stage referendum – between Remain and Leave, followed by Mrs May’s deal versus No Deal if Leave wins. 

Still others say there could be multiple questions on the ballot paper, possible using a ranking system known as alternative vote.

The Electoral Commission would make a recommendation and MPs would make the final decision on what the question would be. 

Would exit have to be delayed from March 29? 

Yes. On the shortest timescale imaginable, a referendum would take almost six months from the point the decision was taken – something which has not happened yet. Exit day is less than four months away.

How long does it take to call and fight a referendum? 

There is no fixed schedule but former Cabinet minister Justine Greening last month set out a 22 week timetable – just under six months start to finish

This assumes about 11 weeks to pass the necessary laws and another 11 weeks for the campaign – both a preliminary period to set up formal campaigns on each side and then a main short campaign.

This would in theory allow a referendum by mid June 2019 – a full three years after the last one. 

Lots of factors could cause delays and short of sweeping political agreement on the rules of a campaign almost no way to speed up the process. 

Would the result be any more decisive?

Probably not. Unlike last time, the referendum law could make the result legally binding and the question could be more specific than last time.

But polls suggest the country remains just as divided as in 2016 – suggesting the result could be just as close as the 52% to 48% Leave win next time.   

 

‘Leave voters won’t have it’: FIFTY Labour MPs threaten to derail Corbyn backing a second referendum after warning move would be ‘catastrophic’ for the party in its heartlands

Fifty Labour MPs are threatening to derail Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to back a second referendum.

The Labour leader has shifted to support a second referendum and Labour said no deal would not be on the ballot paper.

But the surprise move sparked a furious confrontation at his shadow cabinet meeting yesterday.

Labour chairman Ian Lavery was described as ‘very angry’ and said the shift in policy was ‘political suicide’, as reported by The Sun. 

MP John Mann warned Labour would face a furious backlash in the Midlands and the North where the party’s supporters backed Brexit in their millions.

He blasted Labour would meet the same fate as Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems after their u-turn on tuition fees – an electoral wipe out in 2015.

Mr Mann and two other northern MPs estimate between 45-50 MPs would defy Mr Corbyn and not back a second referendum. 

Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in the Commons today) was warned the 'voters won't have it today' after he shifted to support a second referendum and Labour said no deal would not be on the ballot paper

Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in the Commons today) was warned the ‘voters won’t have it today’ after he shifted to support a second referendum and Labour said no deal would not be on the ballot paper

Labour MP John Mann (file image), who represents Bassetlaw, warned that backing a referendum would be a 'catastrophe' 

Labour MP John Mann (file image), who represents Bassetlaw, warned that backing a referendum would be a ‘catastrophe’ 

Mr Corbyn’s dramatic leap toward a new public vote last night has escalated the civil war inside his party.

Labour says the question should be a ‘credible’ Leave and Remain option – but Labour is deeply opposed to Mrs May’s deal and has ruled out ever supporting no deal. 

Labour is thought likely to table a Commons amendment which would mean a referendum on whatever deal finally gets through Parliament.   

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry insisted the other choice on the ballot paper would be Remain – meaning the vote could overturn the result of the 2016 referendum. 

Outlining the plan today, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Kei Starmer told Sky News:  ‘The basic choice needs to be between a credible Leave option and Remain.

‘So that means if the prime minister gets a deal through, that should be subject to the lock of a public vote.’

But that position is seemingly not shared by aides close to Mr Corbyn, who suggested there could be three options and Mrs May’s deal would not be one of them.  

Remainer Labour MPs were delighted at the developments, with one boasting: ‘There’s no turning back for Jeremy now.’ 

But the move was described as a ‘betrayal’ of Labour’s 2017 election manifesto promise to respect the referendum result, with Leave campaigners calling it ‘cowardly’.

Mr Corbyn was also accused of cynically announcing the move in a desperate effort to stem the tide of defections to the newly-formed Independent Group, which supports a second referendum.

And some in Labour fear that the decision could be disastrous in Leave-dominated constituencies in the North. 

Labour defections to the Independent Group, pictured having dinner together at Nando's last night, have increased pressure on Mr Corbyn

Labour defections to the Independent Group, pictured having dinner together at Nando’s last night, have increased pressure on Mr Corbyn

Mr Mann, who represents Bassetlaw, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘Voters won’t have it. 

‘The last person to renege on their manifesto was Nick Clegg, it didn’t end very well for him on tuition fees. 

‘Our manifesto was unambiguous, we would accept the result of the referendum. 

‘A second referendum doesn’t do that and the voters – in very, very large numbers – will not accept that.’ 

Labour uncertainty and u-turns over Brexit

Labour’s Brexit stance has undergone so many changes it can be difficult to keep track. 

Even during the referendum in 2016 Jeremy Corbyn was accused of half-hearted campaigning and hedging his bets – admitting he was only ‘7 out of 10’ in favour of Remain. 

Since then the leadership has been trying to maintain ‘constructive ambiguity’ so it can keep hold of heartland voters who often back Brexit – without alienating the party’s largely Remainer members and MPs.

The 2017 Labour manifesto promised that Labour accepted the result of the referendum and obtain a deal that ‘works for every community in Britain’

It also said it would have ‘fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union.’

But shortly after the election on June 11, 2017, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told ITV: ‘Let’s be clear: we are respecting the decision of the referendum. We are democrats. I think people will interpret membership of the single market as not respecting that referendum.’

This was swiftly followed by Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer a week later in June of that year who said Labour wanted to ‘retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union. Formal membership, full membership is only available to EU member states.’

In late June three shadow ministers were sacked by Mr Corbyn and a fourth resigned after they and 45 other Labour MPs defied the party and backed a Queen’s Speech amendment calling for Britain to remain in the single market and customs union. 

However, the following September Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said single market membership was possible ‘if the European Union wanted to talk about reform of freedom of movement rules’. 

Jeremy Corbyn has also faced similar divisions in his own party as Theresa May has in hers

Numerous backbenchers have said they want to see a second referendum on a Brexit deal.

By conference 2018 internal debate over a second referendum prompted more than 150 different motions on the issue.

Labour delegates approved a motion that would keep all options – including a new referendum – if a Brexit deadlock occurred.

Senior Labour figures have even been split on what any second referendum should mean – with some, such as Len McCluskey and John McDonnell insisting remaining in the EU cannot be on the ballot – but Sir Keir Starmer has said the motion means it could be.

Mr Corbyn will hope the dramatic shift will stop any more MPs quitting to join the new pro-Remain Independent Group of MPs.

The move would be ‘catastrophic to Labour in the Midlands and the north’, Mr Mann said. 

At the Parliamentary Party meeting last night, Mr Mann told Mr Corbyn: ‘In the Midlands and North of England this decision today will stop you from being prime minister.’

Colleague Caroline Flint said there will ‘never be’ unity in the party if a second referendum goes ahead, and Lucy Powell warned that 25 Labour MPs will vote against another referendum. 

John Longworth, chairman of Leave Means Leave, lambasted ‘a cowardly decision from a man who should never be trusted with the premiership of this country.’ Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said: ‘I have deep reservations about having a referendum.

‘I think it is going to be deeply divisive. I think it would have a corrosive impact on the role and sovereignty of Parliament.’ 

Mr Corbyn is known to be lukewarm to the idea of a second vote, but has been under immense pressure from Remainers MPs and activists. 

One MP said that when the leader read out the statement: ‘It was a bit like watching a hostage read out a ransom note.’ 

It is believed Labour will call for a Commons vote on a second referendum on March 12, two weeks before the planned date of Brexit.

Ms Thornberry said last night: ‘We will have a referendum on whatever deal there is and Remain. There will be no Tory Brexit without there being a public vote.

‘I think it’s in Britain’s interest for us to remain in the EU – if there is a vote then I will be backing remain. So will Jeremy Corbyn.’

However, a senior Labour source then said that although Remain would be on the ballot paper, Mrs May’s deal would not.

He would not say what the other option would be – and even suggested there could be three options. No Deal would not be an option, however.

At the PLP meeting, Mr Corbyn told MPs that Labour will also back an attempt to block no-deal Brexit, saying he will do everything in his power to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a deal, and will back the Cooper-Letwin amendment to take the option off the table.

And he said Labour is ‘committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit’.

He said Labour will seek to enshrine the party’s five Brexit demands in law by tabling an amendment to the Government’s Brexit motion which is due to be debated on Wednesday.

The demands include a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU and close alignment with the single market, as well as a dynamic alignment on rights and protections and commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes. If the plan is rejected, Labour will then support a second referendum.

Mr Corbyn said: ‘One way or another, we will do everything in our power to prevent No Deal and oppose a damaging Tory Brexit based on Theresa May’s overwhelmingly rejected deal. 

‘That’s why, in line with our conference policy, we are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.’

Remainers were delighted. Labour MP Peter Kyle, who supports a second vote, said: ‘There’s no turning back for Jeremy now.’ 

Colleague David Lammy said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is today taking the first step to reunite our party by showing he is listening to our voters and members.’ Around 60 per cent of Labour voters supported Remain in 2016 and members are strongly in favour of staying in the EU. 

Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis said: ‘Corbyn’s Labour have ripped up their promise to respect the referendum result and are now pursuing a divisive second referendum that would take us back to square one. Jeremy Corbyn is using Brexit to play his own political games.’

Former Brexit secretary DAVID DAVIS: The utter folly of defeatist Mrs May taking No Deal off the table

Were there ever a need for confident and decisive government, it is now. The Prime Minister appears to be encircled.

Mutinous ministers write articles for the Daily Mail in which they threaten to quit, the Labour Party opportunistically rallies for a second referendum, breaking its promises to the electorate, and parliamentary plotters aim to break centuries of convention and good practice to seize control of the executive away from our Government.

I would not blame the Prime Minister if she felt isolated. Who could blame her for looking for a way out? The right playbook however is Churchill’s. Keep buggering on. This is not the time to capitulate, to fold and to be defeatist. Now is the time to stand firm and hold our nerve.

Mrs May’s announcement yesterday in which she conceded two Commons votes on Brexit in mid March is the wrong move. It sends the wrong message to the EU. Opening up the possibility of ruling out No Deal, or extending Article 50, may harm our negotiating position.

'I would not blame the Prime Minister if she felt isolated. Who could blame her for looking for a way out? The right playbook however is Churchill¿s. Keep buggering on,' writes David Davis. Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to address Parliament on Tuesday

‘I would not blame the Prime Minister if she felt isolated. Who could blame her for looking for a way out? The right playbook however is Churchill’s. Keep buggering on,’ writes David Davis. Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to address Parliament on Tuesday

As we enter the end game in negotiations with the EU, it would be folly of the highest magnitude to take No Deal off the table now because it takes away our leverage in negotiations and is against our national interest.

Let’s be honest. Many of those who want to take No Deal off the table are not seeking to ensure the UK obtains the optimum Brexit deal. Their real agenda is to block Brexit or secure one which is little more than a Brexit in name only.

Various Commons amendments drawn up by Labour’s Yvette Cooper in discussion with some Conservative Remainers, which would veto a No-Deal outcome, were wrecking amendments that would leave a poisonous constitutional legacy and break the solemn commitments made in the Conservatives’ 2017 election manifesto. Jeremy Corbyn’s support only reinforces my view of this.

It is time instead to focus on what actually unites our Government, our party and our country. Record numbers of Britons who voted for Brexit want it delivered on time. Above all we all want an orderly exit from the European Union.

The Haltemprice and Howden writes: 'Mrs May¿s announcement yesterday in which she conceded two Commons votes on Brexit in mid March is the wrong move. It sends the wrong message to the EU. Opening up the possibility of ruling out No Deal, or extending Article 50, may harm our negotiating position.' Mr Davis is pictured at the launch of a proposed UK-EU free trade agreement in London on February 6

The Haltemprice and Howden writes: ‘Mrs May’s announcement yesterday in which she conceded two Commons votes on Brexit in mid March is the wrong move. It sends the wrong message to the EU. Opening up the possibility of ruling out No Deal, or extending Article 50, may harm our negotiating position.’ Mr Davis is pictured at the launch of a proposed UK-EU free trade agreement in London on February 6

The public has always been ahead of and more relaxed on No Deal than politicians. They are right to be. An anonymous civil servant recently said there are ‘hundreds of No-Deal plans across all government departments just waiting for the green light from ministers to be made public’. I know this to be true. Most of it I initiated in my first days as Brexit Secretary. It will be a sad day indeed if British politicians show such contempt for the public, and I fear the electoral consequences for my own party.

For MPs now to try to blackmail the Government into surrendering its negotiating position, rip up constitutional conventions and seize control of the executive in order to obstruct Brexit, is an abuse of the parliamentary process and an affront to democracy.

If MPs use the enormous powers they enjoy to thwart the expressed will of the people, that is a constitutional travesty. Such a blatant dismissal of the wishes of the public is contempt for democracy and for millions of Britons.

Conservatism is based on pragmatism and realism. Which is precisely why we should now hold our nerve and see these negotiations through. The passing of the Commons amendment by Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady last month with its legally binding changes to the Northern Ireland backstop showed the way forward for the Prime Minister. It showed that there is a majority in Parliament for an improved EU withdrawal agreement and orderly Brexit.

What on earth will be the consequences for our party if we don’t do this? Only this weekend the Conservatives’ national convention voted overwhelmingly in favour of leaving No Deal on the table and no delay to Brexit. It said scuppering the UK’s departure from the EU would ‘damage democracy and our party for a generation’.

We must unify the party around the Brexit the British people clearly voted for and offer them the optimistic future they deserve. It is also in our national interest.

The Prime Minister should ignore those ministers currently having a panic attack about the prospects of No Deal. Their fears are certainly exaggerated. More critically, while No Deal might – might – be economically difficult, No Brexit would be a democratic disaster.

Ignore the saboteurs, the wreckers, and the blackmailers. Don’t concede ground. Free our minds of doubt and danger. We can achieve it. Hold our nerve and deliver what we promised.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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