Today’s political headlines include May’s defeat of the no confidence motion, Hammond’s leaked conference call, Hague’s general election warning and May refusing to rule out the customs union.
May defeats no confidence motion as Corbyn rejects talks offers
As The Times reports, last night Theresa May survived the challenge against her leadership by 325 votes to 306 with the backing of rebel Conservatives and the DUP. She invited the leaders of opposition parties for talks after the vote, meeting the Lib Dem leader and the Westminster leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, but her invitation was turned down by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who insisted that she first rule out the possibility of no-deal.
Hammond’s conference call leaked
The Daily Telegraph has obtained a recording of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s phone call with business leaders after Theresa May’s deal was rejected. He told participants that Nick Boles’ cross-party plan to force an Article 50 extension could led to the ‘threat’ of a no-deal Brexit being removed and even to Article 50 being ‘rescinded’ altogether, suggesting that ministers might even back the bill when it is voted on.
Hague warns of general election
The Financial Times reports that Lord Hague has told Citigroup clients that ‘the media are underplaying the chances of a general election in the coming weeks’. Three cabinet ministers have also told the paper that a general election is possible, with May trying to seek public support if she cannot reconcile her MPs, and free herself from the DUP.
May refuses to rule out customs union
The Daily Telegraph says that Theresa May has repeatedly refused to rule out staying in a customs union with the EU as cross-party talks on Brexit, led by Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, begin. She refused to give a direct answer to Jeremy Corbyn at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions when asked if the Government had ‘ruled out any form of customs union with the European Union as part of their reaching-out exercise’.
Corbyn under pressure to back second referendum
The Times reports that Jeremy Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure to back a second Brexit referendum. Yesterday, 71 Labour MPs signed a letter demanding that the party ‘unequivocally’ backed a second vote, while the Liberal Democrats challenged Corbyn to clarify his position, announcing plans to try to make MPs vote on the measure on Monday.
MPs call for global ocean protection agreement
The Guardian says that the Commons Environmental Audit Committee is calling for a new global agreement to protect the oceans. Its new report warns of the harmful effect of plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change, and claims that the Government has treated the oceans as ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
Hitachi to announce future of Welsh nuclear power project
The BBC reports that a decision about whether Hitachi will continue with its plans to build the new Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey will be announced this morning according to Ken Skates, the Welsh Economy Secretary. According to the Japanese press, Hitachi will announce that construction is to be suspended.
Statistics Authority under fire over RPI failings
The Financial Times carries details of a new report by the Lords Economic Affairs Committee that calls the decision of the UK Statistics Authority not to improve the RPI measure of inflation ‘untenable’. Problems with the way it is calculated have led to higher rail fares and student loan interest rates, and higher payments to index-linked gilt holders.
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