Theresa May’s cabinet is at war over No Deal after Phillip Hammond said Brexiteer Tories have ‘no mandate’ for crashing out of the EU.
Andrea Leadsom has hit back at the Chancellor by saying that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 at all costs as infighting among Theresa May’s ministers broke out in public.
Today the Prime Minister will present her ‘bold’ new Brexit deal to her cabinet, which is packed with many Brexiteer and remainer ministers plotting to replace her.
Tonight Mr Hammond will use a keynote speech to blast Tory leadership candidates including Boris Johnson, saying those advocating No Deal are ‘hijacking the result of the referendum’.
But Ms Leadsom hit back today: ‘I would like us to have a deal but if we get to the end of October and it’s not possible to get a deal, leaving the EU is the most important thing’.
Ms Leadsom refused to be drawn on whether she would resign if Mrs May tries to push for a permanent customs union to appease Labour MPs she needs to get her deal through Parliament next month.
Andrea Leadsom (pictured today) has hit back at the Chancellor Philip Hammond by saying that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 whatever happens
Theresa May faces her warring cabinet today and will have to convince them to back her Brexit plan
Esther McVey’s fellow candidates Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss are also expected to confirm they are serious about the option of No Deal if the EU refuses to budge
The weekly meeting of the Cabinet today is expected to sign off on a package of measures to be included in the forthcoming Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) aimed at winning cross-party support.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said that the Government must now ‘prepare for No Deal’ if MPs throw out Mrs May’s deal for a fourth time.
Mr Barclay has the backing of new Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Leader of the House of Commons Ms Leadsom, who said today that a customs union demanded by Labour would not be acceptable to her.
Speaking today she said she would back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill but warned against watering it down and stressed the need to be prepared for a no-deal Brexit.
She said she would only support the Bill ‘so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union’ – something she defined as being outside the single market and the customs union.
Ahead of Cabinet discussions on the Bill she told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘I continue to support the Prime Minister to get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill through. It is leaving the European Union and so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union, I continue to support it.
‘What I do think is that for any negotiation to succeed, you have to be prepared to walk away.’
The cabinet is split over the issue, and Theresa May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell has reportedly claimed that No Deal would lead to a border poll on the reunification of Ireland, breaking up the UK.
Rory Stewart, the new international development secretary, said No Deal must come off ‘off the table’ for god and so should a second referendum.
Cabinet minister Amber Rudd (pictured today) has warned against the party lurching towards ‘extremist forces’ to combat the rise of the Brexit Party and is opposed to a No Deal ministers such as Liz Truss would
Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives with caramel waffles to attend the weekly meeting of the Cabinet
Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart has said that No Deal should be taken off the table completely
In a speech to the CBI tonight, the Chancellor will round on those who claim leaving without a deal is the only ‘legitimate Brexit’.
He will say: ‘On the populist Right, there are those who claim the only outcome that counts as a truly legitimate Brexit is to leave with No Deal.
‘Let me remind them – the 2016 Leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal.
‘So to advocate for No Deal is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and living standards, because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of No Deal.’
He will warn that if MPs do not pass a deal soon, there is a ‘real risk’ of the next PM ‘abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging No Deal exit as a matter of policy’.
Fellow Cabinet minister Amber Rudd warned yesterday against the party lurching towards ‘extremist forces’ to combat the rise of the Brexit Party. She also took a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Johnson and others countenancing a No Deal Brexit, saying: ‘We must… take on the falsehoods that are presented as simple choices.’
Miss Rudd was speaking ahead of the launch of the One Nation Caucus group of Tory MPs, which opposes candidates who back No Deal. Sir Nicholas Soames, another founder of the 60-strong group, said Tories must resist demands from the party’s ‘lunatic fringe’.
During a Cabinet meeting today, ministers will debate whether to allow Labour’s demand for the UK to continue to accept new EU laws on workers’ rights and environmental standards after Brexit.
Theresa May is expected to warn ministers they may have to agree to a temporary customs union, which would hamper Britain’s ability to strike trade deals with non-EU countries, to secure enough Labour votes to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill next month.
Allies of the PM fear the potential concessions are so significant that Leave ministers such as Liam Fox could walk out in protest if they are approved.
Labour deal ‘a boost to EU polls’
The Tories and Labour would be rewarded by voters if Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn agreed a deal to stay in the customs union, it was claimed last night.
A poll found the parties would get more seats in the European Parliament elections on Thursday if they came to an agreement on Brexit.
The projection by Electoral Calculus, using a ComRes survey of 4,161 people, found that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is expected to get 28 MEPs, Labour 20, the Liberal Democrats 11, the Tories six, and the Greens one. But if Mrs May and Mr Corbyn did a deal that included staying in the customs union until 2022, the Tories would get ten seats and Labour 22.
Pro-Remain activist Gina Miller, who commissioned the research, said it showed that Mr Corbyn’s ‘unwillingness to get off the fence on Brexit is causing real damage to his party’s electoral prospects’.
But with David Davis and other Eurosceptic MPs hardening their opposition to Mrs May’s deal, some ministers believe the only option to pass the legislation is to seek Labour support.
A bruising discussion is also expected on the future of No Deal preparations in the event that Mrs May’s plans are defeated.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay is expected to warn that the Bill’s defeat would leave the UK facing the likelihood of No Deal.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed yesterday that he had ordered his officials to step up preparations for No Deal.
In a speech on security he said: ‘A comprehensive and legally binding partnership on security is still our preferred option.
‘But we have also worked hard to prepare for a No Deal scenario. Contingency plans are already in place to move police and judicial co-operation on to tried and tested non-EU mechanisms such as Interpol.’
Yesterday, former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey became the first leadership candidate to make it clear she was willing to quit the EU without a deal.
She said it was ‘essential’ that Britain left as scheduled, and insisted there must be ‘no more backsliding’, adding: ‘If it means without a deal, we’ll be out.’
Her fellow candidates Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss are also expected to confirm they are serious about the option of No Deal if the EU refuses to budge.
Meanwhile, potential leadership hopefuls went head to head in a ‘Future of the Party’ debate.
Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said she would ‘maybe’ run for the top job. She added that members should be ‘proud’ to be Conservative, claiming: ‘If we don’t look like a fun party, no one else is going to vote for us.’
Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out running and said the Tories would be ‘toast’ if they called an election before Brexit.
Former Brexit Secretary Mr Raab warned that this week’s European election results would give ‘a hint of what is to come if we don’t understand what happens if you don’t keep your promises’.
Brexit minister James Cleverly told the group: ‘The time you start running in a race is just after the starting gun, not just before.’
McVey vows to give £7bn foreign aid to police and schools
By Jack Doyle Associate Editor for The Daily Mail
Esther McVey made her pitch for the Tory leadership yesterday with a pledge to cut billions from foreign aid and spend the money on police and schools.
Speaking at the launch of a Blue Collar Conservatism group in Westminster, the former work and pensions secretary, 51, said aid spending should be cut to the levels seen under the last Labour government.
She said returning to 2010 spending levels and scrapping the aid target would provide £7billion, arguing there was an ‘urgent need for our communities at home’.
Speaking at the launch of a Blue Collar Conservatism group in Westminster, the former work and pensions secretary, 51, said aid spending should be cut to the levels seen under the last Labour government
The money would be used to close a £2billion shortfall in school spending and combat crime which is ‘blighting our streets and making people at home feel unsafe’.
Miss McVey insisted that she wanted to ‘immediately shift resources to match people’s needs and priorities’.
‘We can fund this simply by returning spending on international aid to Labour levels which we inherited in 2010,’ she added.
‘This will still ensure we are spending historical and internationally high levels on our international commitments, but also freeing up around £7billion for schools and policing.
Juncker: I don’t have drink problem
A furious Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday hit out at reports he has a drink problem.
The EU Commission president, 64, blamed the rumours on ‘stupid journalists’.
In an interview with Finnish media, Mr Juncker was asked about a Nato summit last summer where he was filmed stumbling around before a high-level dinner with world leaders.
He blasted: ‘I no longer answer these questions. I’ve said it many times that I do not have a problem with alcohol. Stupid journalists always ask the same question, even though this question has already been answered.’
His officials insist he suffers from sciatica and cramps following a car crash in 1989.
Mr Juncker also refused to answer questions about why he fondled the hair of the European Commission’s deputy chief of protocol, Pernilla Sjölin, on his way into a summit in Brussels in December.
‘By doing this we will be doing more than just making up for shortfall here and there – we will be providing transformative funds which communities will feel.’
Aid spending in 2010 stood at some £8.5billion. Last year it topped £14billion.
The aid target was a centrepiece of David Cameron’s ‘modernisation’ of the Tory party. Under a law passed by the coalition government, ministers must spend 0.7 per cent of national income every year on foreign aid.
Miss McVey, who quit the Cabinet last year over Mrs May’s Brexit deal, said Labour had abandoned working class voters and the Tories needed to take on that mantle. She added that the next Tory leader ‘has to be a Brexiteer because it has to be someone who believes in Brexit’.
Miss McVey also described Nigel Farage as a ‘tour de force’ who has caught the ‘mood of the moment’, adding: ‘We can win that mood back when we deliver Brexit.’ The Tory MP, who recently announced her engagement to fellow Tory MP Philip Davies, told the event in Westminster that the UK stood ‘on the brink of the abyss of the most destructive socialist government ever’.
Voters had abandoned Labour ‘in their droves’ at the local elections, she said, but they were not returning to the Tories.
‘I don’t need to tell anybody the reason why, we know,’ she added. ‘A majority of these voters voted to leave the EU and on this we have broken their trust.
‘To win that trust back we must only not just deliver what we promised, but we must be prepared to have radical conservative agendas to show we are on their side.’