Today’s political headlines include May abandoning the Brexit vote, May confirming she will not revoke Article 50, Corbyn resisting pressure to hold a vote of no confidence and whips accused of doing too little too late.
May abandons Brexit vote for further talks on the backstop
As The Times reports, yesterday Theresa May announced that she was deferring the vote on her Brexit deal, admitting she would have lost it by a ‘significant margin’. Instead, the Prime Minister is visiting European leaders in an attempt to secure further ‘reassurances’ about the Northern Ireland backstop. According to diplomats, the EU would be prepared to sign a ‘letter of intent’ promising to work to avoid the backstop coming into use.
May will not revoke Article 50
The Guardian reports that Theresa May has confirmed that she will not revoke Article 50, because doing so ‘would mean going back on the vote of the referendum’. Yesterday, the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK could revoke its notification without needing permission from the EU.
Corbyn resists pressure to hold vote of no confidence
The Financial Times says that Jeremy Corbyn is resisting pressure from Labour MPs, including 38 who signed a letter organised by Ian Murray, and other party leaders, such as Nicola Sturgeon who challenged him on Twitter yesterday, to table a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. The paper suggests this is because it would cause Labour’s ‘fudged’ Brexit policy to unravel, potentially forcing it to back another referendum.
Whips accused of doing ‘too little, too late’
The Times claims that Conservative whips have been accused of doing ‘too little, too late’ to ensure the support of Tory MPs for the deal. According to the paper, some backbenchers weren’t contacted until Saturday to find out how they’d be voting, despite Chief Whip Julian Smith promising to get support for the deal at a Cabinet meeting three weeks ago.
Bercow accuses May of being ‘deeply discourteous’
The Daily Express says that Commons Speaker John Bercow accused Theresa May of being ‘deeply discourteous’ for calling off today’s Brexit vote, suggesting that MPs should get to vote on the postponement although he admitted that it did not need to be put to the vote.
MP grabs mace in protest
The Mirror reports that Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle grabbed the House of Commons mace yesterday in protest at Theresa May’s decision to scrap the planned vote, which he said was ‘disgraceful’. He was then barred from the House for the rest of the day by the Speaker.
Stansted 15 convicted in ‘unprecedented crackdown in the right to protest’
The Guardian reports that the Stansted 15, protesters who took direct action against a deportation flight from the airport, have been convicted of terrorist offences introduced after Lockerbie, the first time these have been used against a non-violent protest. One activist said his conviction was an ‘unprecedented crackdown on the right to protest’.
Speaker could be investigated for bullying ‘within weeks’
According to The Sun, allegations of bullying against Commons Speaker John Bercow could be investigated ‘within weeks’ after the Commons Standards Committee called for a rule blocking the investigation of complaints which are over seven years old without its permission to be abandoned. MPs are expected to approve the change before Christmas, and Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has confirmed that he will then resubmit a complaint.
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