Today’s political headlines include the EU prepared to extend Article 50, May talking to colleagues about the backstop, Cabinet ministers call on May to postpone vote on deal and Gove to wind up the Brexit debate.
EU would be prepared to extend Article 50, sources claim
The Daily Telegraph asserts that according to EU sources, the bloc would be prepared to extend the Article 50 negotiating period if MPs reject her Brexit deal, if this would avoid a no-deal Brexit. The paper adds that the Government’s legal advice, published yesterday, makes it clear that there would be different customs regimes in Northern Ireland and Great Britain under the backstop, while Number 10 has been discussing finding a way of giving MPs a veto over the backstop.
May ‘talking to colleagues’ about backstop
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Theresa May said that she is ‘talking to colleagues’ about the Northern Ireland backstop, but that it was ‘an integral part of the withdrawal agreement’. However, she admitted that she was considering Parliament’s role in choosing to trigger it or a transition period extension.
Cabinet ministers call on May to postpone vote on deal
The Times says that some Cabinet ministers are trying to persuade Theresa May to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal amid fears that she is guaranteed to lose the vote, with Chief Whip Julian Smith claiming that many backbenchers are ‘beyond reason’. Some MPs from both the Government and opposition benches have been offered places on a cross-party committee, which will help direct the next stage of Brexit talks.
Gove to wind up Brexit debate
The Daily Telegraph claims that Michael Gove has been given the job of winding-up the debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, perhaps because he is felt more likely to persuade backbench Conservative MPs. Yesterday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid claimed that a no-deal Brexit would lead to ‘an immediate and probably indefinite loss of some security capability’.
Hammond tells MPs economic cost of Brexit is worth it
The Financial Times reports that Chancellor Philip Hammond told the Commons Treasury Committee yesterday that the economic cost of Theresa May’s Brexit deal was worth it in order to ensure that Brexit voters did not feel betrayed. MPs criticised him because the Government’s assessment did not model the exact deal agreed and it had not publishes analysis of Brexit’s short-term impact.
Home Office suspends controversial visas in bid to tackle organised crime
The Times says that the Home Office is suspending issuing ‘Tier 1’ investor visas as part of an attempt to tackle organised crime and money laundering. Existing applications will continue to be considered, but new applications will have to wait for planned reforms to be introduced.
Corbyn attacks Conservative MPs for using foodbanks as photo opportunities
The Mirror reports that Jeremy Corbyn used Prime Minister’s Questions to launch ‘a devastating tear down of the Government’s welfare policies’. The Labour leader told MPs that ‘foodbanks are not just a photo opportunity for Conservative MPs’ and accused the Government of being ‘in denial’ about the effect of Universal Credit.
Hinds argues that snobbery is holding back vocational education
The Sun says that Education Secretary Damian Hinds is to use a keynote speech on technical education to argue that A-levels and university should not be the default route, and to claim that ‘snobbery’ from parents is holding children back because not enough prestige has been attached to vocation education in British society.
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