- PM vows to fight on: ‘Am I going to see this through – yes’
- Four ministers quit Government over Brexit deal
- Dominic Raab and Esther McVey resign from Cabinet
- Michael Gove offered job of Brexit Secretary
- But Gove will only take it if he can renegotiate PM’s deal
- Jacob Rees-Mogg submits letter of no confidence
- Rees-Mogg: PM should stand aside – letter in full
- James Kirkup: Whatever you think about PM, she’s stuck it out
- How Tory MPs could trigger a vote of no confidence in PM
- Brexit deal in full: Read the whole document here
Theresa May has vowed to fight any bid to oust her as Prime Minister after Eurosceptic Tories pushed for a vote of no confidence and four ministers quit the Government over her Brexit deal.
Mrs May’s Government was plunged into chaos by the resignation of Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and two junior ministers while Jacob Rees-Mogg called on her to “stand aside”.
But the Prime Minister said she had no intention of standing down as she vowed to deliver the Brexit deal she has agreed with Brussels.
She told reporters on Thursday evening: “Leadership is about taking the right decisions, not the easy ones.
“As Prime Minister my job is to bring back a deal that delivers on the vote of the British people, that does that by ending free movement, all the things I raised in my statement, ending free movement, ensuring we are not sending vast annual sums to the EU any longer, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, but also protects jobs and protects people’s livelihoods, protects our security, protects the Union of the United Kingdom.
“I believe this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest and am I going to see this through? Yes.”
Mrs May struck a defiant tone as she warned her backbenchers they would be “held to account” by their constituents if they rejected her deal.
But with Tory MPs now openly calling for her to quit and with criticism of her deal coming from all sides it remains unclear if she will be able to deliver on her vow.
Mr Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, delivered a hammer blow to Mrs May’s leadership as he asked the Prime Minister on Thursday morning in the Commons why he should not submit a letter of no confidence in her leadership.
The influential MP for North East Somerset then submitted his letter to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, and in it he revealed he had told the Chief Whip “a few weeks ago” he believed Mrs May should “stand aside”.
He dismissed suggestions that he could stand to be the next party leader but said it should be a Brexiteer as he named Ms McVey, Penny Mordaunt, Mr Raab, David Davis and Boris Johnson as possible candidates.
Denying he was launching a “coup”, he told reporters on Thursday afternoon: “I am not offering my name as leader. This is nothing to do with me.”
A no confidence vote will be triggered if Sir Graham receives 48 letters from Tory MPs.
Mr Raab’s resignation rocked the Government on Thursday morning with Mrs May asking Michael Gove to take over as Brexit Secretary.
Mr Raab’s replacement is yet to be appointed with Mr Gove, the Environment Secretary, apparently only willing to take the job if he is able to renegotiate the PM’s deal.
Meanwhile, Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Council, confirmed a Brexit summit would take place on November 25 when European leaders will consider the deal.
Theresa May yet to appoint Dominic Raab’s replacement
The Prime Minister is asked about the status of Michael Gove.
She says she has not appointed a new Brexit Secretary yet but will be making an appointment ”in due course”.
Theresa May insists she will see Brexit through
The Prime Minister is asked if she is in office but not in power and she replies by saying she is focused on doing her job.
She then says that MPs will be held accountable for the decisions they make in a not-very-coded warning to her backbenchers.
She then delivers this key line: “Am I going to see this through? Yes.”
A fairly clear indication that the Prime Minister will fight any bid to oust her.
Theresa May: I have put the national interest first
Press conference is underway. The Prime Minister says negotiating Brexit is a ”matter of the highest consequence” as she makes clear she intends to fight on.
She says her approach “throughout has been to put the national interest first”.
She says she is “sorry” people have chosen to leave the Government but “believe with every fibre of my being” that her deal is best for Britain.
She then sets out why she believes her deal delivers on the result of the EU referendum and says: ”This is a Brexit that delivers on the priorities of the British people.”
She says “difficult and sometimes uncomfortable” decisions have had to be taken as she urges people to unite behind her deal.
She warns that if MPs reject her deal ”nobody can know for sure what will follow”.
Theresa May 15 minutes late for press conference
And so we wait. We had been expecting the Prime Minister at 5pm but she has been delayed.
Brexit chaos: How the day unfolded in Westminster
It has been an incredible day in Westminster. Here’s a recap of how things unfolded:
– 7.30am: Donald Tusk announces the council will hold an extraordinary summit in Brussels on November 25 to finalise the UK’s withdrawal agreement.
– 7.30am: Shailesh Vara quits as Northern Ireland Minister.
– 8.50am: Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab quits.
– 10am: Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey resigns.
– 10.20am: Suella Braverman resigns as a Brexit minister.
– 10.20am: Anne-Marie Trevelyan quits as a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Education.
– 10.30am: Mrs May begins her address to Parliament
– 12.35: Ranil Jayawardena, Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, resigns.
– 1.20pm: European Research Group chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg hands in his letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee.
– 1.30pm: Mrs May finishes her statement to the Commons after nearly three hours, and after answering more than 100 questions.
– 1.55pm: Commons Leader and pro-Brexit MP Andrea Leadsom insists she has no plans to quit the Cabinet.
– 2.05pm: Further Tory MPs begin publishing letters of no confidence in Mrs May on Twitter.
– 3pm: Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti resigns as Conservative vice-chairman and prime ministerial trade envoy to Pakistan.
Karen Bradley tells colleagues to ‘get behind the Prime Minister’
The Northern Ireland Secretary has met with senior business figures in Belfast in a bid to convince them of the merits of Theresa May’s deal.
She said: “It’s not easy, nobody ever said this would be easy, but the Cabinet has decided and those people who served very, very well as secretaries of state and ministers who have decided they can’t support the deal, well quite rightly collective responsibility requires them to support the deal and therefore they have to leave Government.
“But the majority of the Cabinet is behind it, the remaining members of the Cabinet are absolutely behind this deal and what we need to do now is get behind the Prime Minister and get that deal sorted in the November (European) Council.”
Sir Vince Cable: No Brexit clearly on the table
The leader of the Liberal Democrats has responded to the comments made by Donald Tusk (see post at 15.54).
Sir Vince said: ”Donald Tusk is right and it’s good to see that ‘No Brexit’ is clearly on the table from the EU.
“Any sensible Government would be contingency planning for no Brexit, and I am pleased to see that the EU is now planning for it too.
“The PM too has acknowledged now that there is a choice between no Brexit and no deal if her plans fail.
“Recent events have shifted a People’s Vote from being possible to becoming probable.”
Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones demand Brexit meeting with PM
The Scottish first minister and her Welsh counterpart have written to the Prime Minister calling for an urgent meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee of leaders of the UK’s constituent nations.
A copy of the letter read: “The UK Government’s handling of the deal reached is symptomatic of the chaotic approach to the negotiations and the lack of any meaningful engagement with the devolved administrations.”
It continued: “We continue to make the point at every opportunity that the UK Government cannot agree the UK’s position on the Withdrawal Agreement or the future relationship with the EU27 without the input of the devolved administrations.”
The letter added: “Given the future relationship will cover a number of matters within our devolved competence and crucial matters that will impact on the citizens of Wales and Scotland, it is essential we are involved.”
Donald Tusk: ‘We are best prepared for a no-Brexit scenario’
The European Council president has appeared to express the hope that Brexit could still be averted.
“The EU is prepared for a final deal with the United Kingdom in November,” he told a news conference in Brussels.
“We are also prepared for a no-deal scenario but of course we are best prepared for a no-Brexit scenario.”
Prisons Minister apologises after claiming ’80 per cent of voters back PM’s deal’
Rory Stewart claimed that “80 per cent of the British public support this deal”, before he was challenged by BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett, leading him to backtrack.
Mr Stewart said: “One of the advantages of this deal, to be honest, and the reason why 80 per cent of the British public support this deal, is because what it does…
Mrs Barnett said: “Eighty per cent of the British public support this deal? The draft deal? How on earth do we know that yet?”
Mr Stewart said: “OK, let me [come] back on that. My sense is, sorry, let me get the language right on that, my sense is that if we have an opportunity to explain this, the vast majority of the British public would support this deal.”
He then said he was “producing a number to try to illustrate what I believe” and then apologised.
Michael Gove will only accept Brexit Secretary role if he can renegotiate PM’s deal
Big scoop from Steven Swinford, the Telegraph’s deputy political editor.
He reports that the Environment Secretary will only accept the job of Brexit Secretary if he is given the chance to renegotiate the terms of Theresa May’s deal with Brussels and the November EU summit is scrapped.
He is considering quitting Cabinet while weighing up an offer from the Prime Minister to become the new Brexit Secretary after his friend Dominic Raab quit the role this morning.
You can read the full story here.
Tory vice chairman quits role over Brexit
My letter of resignation sent to PM @theresa_may stepping down as Vice Chairman @Conservatives & PM Trade Envoy to Pakistan. 1. Cannot support Draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. 2. Very disappointed by lack of leadership shown by UK Gov to do morally right thing in Asia Bibi Case. pic.twitter.com/hcaxba1hJr
— Rehman Chishti (@Rehman_Chishti) November 15, 2018
Mark Carney ‘ordered call with UK banks over Brexit market turbelance’
Britain’s biggest banks have reportedly been summoned for a call with City regulators over market turbulence after Government Brexit resignations sent the pound and stocks tumbling.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney personally ordered the call to be held between regulators and lenders, according to the Reuters report.
It is understood major UK banks were asked for their feedback on the market reaction to the shock resignation of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, which was followed shortly after by Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.
A spokesman for the Financial Conduct Authority said: “As you would expect, in this type of situation, we have regular contact with firms and will continue to engage with them.”
Foreign Office Minister: Tories ‘almost ungovernable’
Sir Alan Duncan has criticised Jacob Rees-Mogg for calling for a confidence vote in the PM, labelling the move “deeply destructive” for the Government and for the Conservative Party.
“If this Government is undermined further, we could destroy the Government, we could significantly damage and even destroy the Conservative Party,” he told the BBC.
“This could lead us to being almost ungovernable for a bit.”
Former Brexit minister publishes no confidence letter
Chief Whip insists PM committed to Brexit deal
Julian Smith said the Prime Minister would not abandon the withdrawal agreement in the face of widespread opposition among MPs.
Leaving Downing Street, he told reporters: “The Prime Minister is moving things on in the best interests of the country.
“The Prime Minister will not be bullied and will not change course.”
Andrea Leadsom not quitting
The Commons Leader and Brexiteer had been tipped as one of the Cabinet ministers most likely to resign.
But she has now said she will be remaining in post: ”I’m staying in government because there’s more work to be done to get the Brexit the Prime Minister is determined to deliver for the people.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg: PM’s deal is not Brexit
The chairman of the European Research Group is now taking questions from reporters outside Parliament.
He says the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal “does not meet what we promised our voters” because the Tory manifesto said the UK would leave the customs union.
“What has been achieved today is not Brexit,” he says.
Mr Rees-Mogg says the PM’s ”deal risks Brexit because it is not a proper Brexit”.
He then says: “I am not offering my name as leader. This is nothing to do with me.”
Tory MP: I am confident PM will not win confidence vote
From what MPs are telling me, more letters have gone in. I have even had current ministers tell me that in a vote of no confidence they would vote Theresa May out. She can fight it. But I am confident she will not win it. Time to save Brexit and our party with a new leader.
— Andrea Jenkyns MP #StandUp4Brexit (@andreajenkyns) November 15, 2018
Sir Graham Brady meets with Chief Whip
I understand Brady DID NOT confirm number of letters with the chief whip, so that sounds like a meeting to prepare the ground. Source with knowledge of the meeting said they don’t believe he’s hit the magic 48 … yet.
— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) November 15, 2018
Jacob Rees-Mogg letter: Key quotes
Mr Rees-Mogg says in his letter that he told the Chief Whip “a few weeks ago” he believed Mrs May should “stand aside”.
He said: “Regrettably, the draft Withdrawal Agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party manifesto.”
Mr Rees-Mogg said it was of “considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg to submit letter of no confidence after ERG meeting
The European Research Group of Tory Eurosceptic MPs is meeting in Parliament right now. It should be lively.
This just in, confirming the chairman of the group will submit his letter of no confidence shortly.
Update: Total of six resignations from Government so far
BREAKING Sixth resignation from Government in five hours (four ministers, two ministerial aides). Ranil Jayawardena resigns as PPS at the Ministry of Justice tells Theresa May: “”This is not taking back control”.
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) November 15, 2018
Theresa May still answering questions in the Commons
The Prime Minister started her Brexit statement just after 10.30am this morning and she is still on her feet.
Latest on Sir Graham Brady and no confidence vote
Graham Brady says he has no plans to make any public statement today. At the moment, anyway. (Rules crib: the first we’d hear of a confidence vote in a Tory leader is when the 1922 chair announces it).
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) November 15, 2018
Dominic Raab: PM’s plan has two fatal flaws
The Brexit Secretary has been explaining his resignation.
He said he believed Theresa May should stay on as Prime Minister but change course over Brexit.
“I have been fighting for a good Brexit deal but the terms proposed to the Cabinet yesterday had two major and fatal flaws,” he told the BBC.
“The first is that the terms being offered by the EU threaten the integrity of the UK.
“The second is that they would lead to an indefinite, if not permanent, situation where we are locked into a regime with no say over the rules and the laws being applied, with no exit mechanism.
“I think that will be damaging for the economy but devastating for public trust in our democracy.”
He said he still respected the Prime Minister and held her in “high esteem” adding: “I think she should continue but I do think we need to change course on Brexit.”
David Mundell attacks Dominic Raab over decision to quit
The Scottish Secretary has said he will not resign and attacked Mr Raab’s decision to quit.
He said: “I’m not taking lessons on standing up for our United Kingdom from carpet baggers. Only a couple of years ago Dominic Raab was proposing to introduce a bill of rights into Scotland which would have over-ridden the Scottish legal system and devolution.
“So I am not impressed by his latter day commitment to the Union. I am sure that this is more about maneuvering and leadership.”
Mr Mundell said he is “not going to be bounced into resigning by carpet baggers”.
Dominic Raab ‘told Chief Whip at end of Cabinet he intended to quit’
Brexiteer claims 84 Tory MPs ready to vote down PM’s deal
Brexiteer Mark Francois says there are 84 Tory MPs (and counting) who vote down the deal. Says that the PM’s hopes of getting a deal through Parliament is now a “mathematical impossibility”.
— Harry Yorke (@HarryYorke1) November 15, 2018
Jacob Rees-Mogg asks PM why he shouldn’t write a letter of no confidence
Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, highlighted areas of the deal where he said the “honourable” Prime Minister had reneged on promises over leaving the customs union, maintaining the internal integrity of the UK and leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
He told MPs: “As what my right honourable friend says and what my right honourable friend does no longer match, should I not write to my right honourable friend the member for Altrincham and Sale West?”
This was a reference to Sir Graham Brady MP, the chairman of the Tory 1922 committee, to whom MPs must write to express no confidence in a leader in order to trigger a challenge.
Mrs May replied that “some difficult choices have had to be made” to avoid a hard border on Ireland, adding: “It is not only our intention, but we will be working to ensure that protocol does not have to be put into place.”
Nigel Dodd launches attack on Theresa May and claims PM ‘clearly doesn’t listen’
The Westminster leader of the DUP is very unhappy with the Prime Minister’s deal as relations between his party and the Government he agreed to prop up sink to a new low.
Mr Dodds says: ”I could today stand here and take the Prime Minister through the list of promises and pledges that she made to this House and to us privately about the future of Northern Ireland in the future relationship with the EU but I fear it would be a waste of time since she clearly doesn’t listen.”
He says MPs must choose between “subjection to the rules and laws of others who may not have our interests at heart” or to “stand up for the whole of the United Kingdom… or we vote for a vassal state with the break up of the Unioted Kingdom”.
Iain Duncan Smith grills Theresa May over backstop concerns
The former Tory leader tells the Prime Minister that ”we are locking ourselves into an arrangement” in the shape of the backstop that the UK will not have the “sovereign right” to leave unilaterally.
Mrs May says she recognises concerns about the backstop but she says it “is not necessarily what will happen” because the UK hopes to have finalised future arrangements with the EU before the end of transition.
She also says “there is a mechanism for coming out of the backstop” but admits it requires “mutual consent” from the UK and the EU.
She says she will work to ensure “such an arrangement is not necessary”.
Chief Whip: PM will not be bullied and will not change course
Julian Smith spoke to Sky News earlier this morning. He said the Prime Minister will not be “bullied”.
Here’s the full quote: “Look we’ve got a deal and that’s the most important thing. The Prime Minister has done a brilliant job with the negotiating team, got a November council, hopefully, and we’re moving things on in the best interests of the country, for families, for jobs, for frictionless trade, and delivering on the commitments she made during the referendum.
“Look it’s a very, very major the decision the Cabinet took yesterday, not everybody is going to agree with it.
“The Prime Minister will not be bullied and will not change course.”
Jeremy Corbyn: Brexit deal does not meet our six tests
The Labour leader is now replying to Mrs May in the House of Commons.
He accuses the Government of overseeing two years of “bungled” negotiations as he tells MPs the deal “does not meet our six tests”.
He says: “The Government is in chaos. Their deal risks leaving the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say.
“When even the last Brexit Secretary, who theoretically at least negotiated the deal, says ‘I cannot support the proposed deal’, what faith does that give anyone else in this place or in this country?
“The Government simply cannot put to Parliament this half-baked deal that both the Brexit Secretary and his predecessor have rejected.
“No deal is not a real option and the Government has not seriously prepared for it.”
Worth remembering: Labour has said that it will not back a deal that does not meet the party’s six tests, so that’s that.
Theresa May: The British people want us to get this done
The Prime Minister says the future deal with the EU will ”end free movement once and for all”.
She says “no other advanced economy” will have as strong a relationship with the EU as the UK will have once the deal is done.
Mrs May says that when she became PM in 2016 many people said Brexit could not be done.
She says she has worked day and night to deliver on the result of the EU referendum and that the negotiations have been “complex” and have “required hard work”.
She admits it has been a “frustrating process” before telling MPs: “The British people want us to get this done.”
Mrs May says: “The choice is clear. We can choose to leave with no deal. We can risk no Brexit at all or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated. This deal.”
Theresa May mocked by MPs
Theresa May laughed at by MPs in the Chamber when she repeats her usual line that we will leave the EU in a “smooth and orderly way”
— Anna Mikhailova (@AVMikhailova) November 15, 2018
Theresa May admits Brexit has not been ‘comfortable process’
The Prime Minister is now on her feet in the House of Commons as she sets out her Brexit deal to MPs.
She says what was agreed on Wednesday was “not the final deal, it is a draft treaty” and that it would ensure the UK takes back control of its borders, laws and money.
Mrs May says the deal sets the UK up for a ”more ambitious free trade agreement than the EU has with any other country”.
Mrs May says she will not “pretend” that Brexit negotiations have been a “comfortable process”.
As the Prime Minister speaks, all eyes are on the Government front bench. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, are both there but Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is not.
His absence is likely to set hares running.
Government aide quits over Brexit deal
Brexit minister quits
It is with deep regret and after reflection that I have had to tender my resignation today as a Brexit Minister. Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to working to support Brexit from the Backbenches. This has not been an easy decision. pic.twitter.com/C0kply8aLE
— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) November 15, 2018
Esther McVey: Deal does not honour EU referendum result
The key line from the former work and pensions secretary’s letter to the PM: ”The deal you put before the Cabinet yesterday does not honour the result of the referendum.
“Indeed, it doesn’t meet the tests you set from the outset of your premiership.”
Sir Vince Cable: The Government is in meltdown
The leader of the Liberal Democrats said: ”The Government started Britain on a journey with no actual idea of their route or their destination.
“The Conservative Government is in meltdown and it’s clear the Conservatives are now driving the country off a cliff.
“The Tories are finally realising what we have always known. There is no way to prevent Brexit from leaving our country worse off.
“A People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, where they can choose to remain in the EU, is the only route out of this uncertainty. It is time people had the power to end this mess.”
Reaction to Dominic Raab’s resignation
One official close to Cabinet says Dominic Rabb’s resignation will “trigger the others.” If “Brexiteers are thinking about leadership election, they don’t want to be the ones who stayed inside when others got out”.
— Laura Hughes (@Laura_K_Hughes) November 15, 2018
Pound falls after Brexit Secretary quits
The pound has fallen heavily against most major currencies after Dominic Raab’s decision to resign.
Sterling dropped 1.1 per cent to 1.28 US dollars and was 1.2 per cent lower at 1.13 euros.
Labour responds to resignation of Dominic Raab
Jon Trickett, shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “The Government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit Secretary has refused to back the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unravelled before our eyes.
“This is the twentieth Minister to resign from Theresa May’s Government in her two year premiership. Theresa May has no authority left and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet – let alone Parliament and the people of our country.”
Dominic Raab: I cannot reconcile deal with promises we made the country
The second resignation of the day is a big one as Mr Raab decides he cannot back the Brexit deal.
The key passage from his letter to the PM is this: ”For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.
“Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit.”
He added: “Above all, I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election. This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust.”
Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit Secretary
How Tory MPs could oust Theresa May
There is lots of talk in Westminster this morning about a potential move by Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to spark a vote of confidence in the PM.
In order to trigger such a vote, 15 per cent of Tory MPs must write to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, chaired by Sir Graham Brady.
At the moment that means the magic number is 48.
Brexit: The view from Germany
Justin Huggler, the Telegraph’s Berlin correspondent, reports:
Brexit does not dominate the headlines in Germany to the extent you might expect. It failed to make the front page of Bild, the country’s highest-selling newspaper, which runs an inside headline of “Round one in Brexit thriller” and asks: “Will the Brexit hardliners go to the barricades?”
Brexit does make the front page of the influential Süddeutsche Zeitung with the headline: “May clears important Brexit hurdle”. In a guest editorial, Günter Verheugen, the former German European commissioner, offers an olive branch to the UK over free trade. “In its policy towards third countries, the EU is always interested in full free trade. Just think of Canada or Japan,” he writes. “Why should one deny Britain something that is granted to other, if not all, third countries?
But Welt newspaper paints a gloomy picture of Britain’s future. Under a front page headline of “Brexit is not the only problem”, the paper says the UK faces “multiple economic problems, including persistently low productivity growth, high public debt, rising spending with an aging of society, and a large current account deficit”.
The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s front page headline is a dry “British cabinet agrees Brexit deal”. Inside, the paper focuses on the drama of yesterday’s cabinet talks in a lengthy piece under the headline “The last judgement is gracious” but warns: “In the end, parliamentary rules of procedure could determine whether the UK leaves the EU in an orderly or disorderly way, and whether it comes to new elections or even a new referendum”.
A comment piece under a headline of “Fog on the Thames” ponders what David Cameron must think of the outcome of his decision to hold a referendum. “He wanted to clarify once and for all the perennial topic of British politics and the Conservative Party: Europe. But the opposite has happened, the paper notes. “The Brexit ultras are different. They prefer to get excited about possible compromises and use a combat and victim vocabulary that includes prhases such as ‘vassal state’ and ‘capitulation’.”
German politicians across the spectrum have so far stuck rigidly to the position that Brexit negotiations are being handled by the European Commission and declined to comment, leaving FAZ to report: “The Brexit draft is well received in Brussels.”
Business leaders have been more forthcoming. “After agreement on a Brexit deal, we are cautiously optimistic a disorderly exit can still be averted,” Holger Bingmann, president of the German foreign trade association (BGA), said.
But the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that businesses are still facing uncertainty. “It’s high time for companies to know what they need to prepare for,” , Eric Schweitzer, the head of the chamber said. “The British government should make the path towards an ordely Brexit clear and credible and avert the worst case scenario. Brexit in any form will lead to higher costs for business. An unregulated Brexit would be a disaster.”
Matt Hancock refuses to deny ‘fatal’ no deal comments
Mr Hancock is asked about comments he reportedly made to the Cabinet on Wednesday relating to the consequences of a no deal Brexit.
He apparently warned his fellow Cabinet ministers that a no deal divorce would ultimately cost people’s lives.
Mr Hancock refused to deny that he made the remarks, telling the BBC: ”I am not going to go into what anybody said and that includes me but what I will say on that is we need to make sure that everybody does what is necessary if there is no deal to have the unhindered flow of medicines that people need and there is a lot of work that we need to do and we are doing.”
Pushed again on the matter, he said: “It is very important that we get it right.
“But crucially for the purposes of this deal and the value of this deal that has been proposed, no deal is not pretty, it is very difficult for the economy and for lots of other areas like healthcare that I have mentioned.
“A second referendum would be divisive but would not be decisive and I think given all of the pain of the last few years in British politics and the angst that it has caused, a second referendum would be even worse.
“Now we have a deal on the table.”
Matt Hancock defends PM’s Brexit deal but admits: ‘It is not perfect’
The Health Secretary has been sent out by the Government to defend Theresa May’s Brexit deal this morning.
He tells BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the deal will allow the UK to “take back control of our laws and our money” while also keeping trading relations with the EU.
He says that “of course there are going to be details that are compromises and it is not perfect” but the agreement ultimately allows the Government to honour the EU referendum result.
He says: “You have got to look at the deal as a whole. That’s what the Cabinet did.”
Asked if he expects members of the Cabinet to quit over the deal, he says: ”I very much hope not.”
Mr Hancock also responds to claims that the UK will not be able to unilaterally quit the backstop.
“I don’t think that is true,” he says.
Shailesh Vara savages PM’s Brexit deal
The former minister is now on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He says: ”I quit because I don’t believe that this is the right agreement for our country.”
Mr Vara says the UK had “caved in” to EU demands on the Irish border backstop and as a result the UK could be tied to the bloc long into the future.
“We could be locked in for many, many years,” he says.
Shailesh Vara says ‘people of the UK deserve better’ than PM’s Brexit deal
A terrible start to the morning after the night before for the Prime Minister as one of her ministers quits the Government.
Shailesh Vara, a Northern Ireland Minister, has sent his letter of resignation to Theresa May and in it he savages her Brexit plan.
He said: “The EU referendum offered a simple choice – to either stay in or leave the EU. The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave and that is what we, their elected representatives, must deliver.
“The agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation.”
Mr Vara also said the “people of the UK deserve better” than what Mrs May had put forward.
He added: “We are a proud nation and it is a sad day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart.
“We can and must do better than this.”
Donald Tusk: Brexit deal is about damage control
Mr Tusk, the president of the EU council, tells reporters he does not share Theresa May’s “enthusiasm for Brexit”.
“Brexit is a lose-lose situation and this is about damage control,” he says.
Mr Tusk now sets out what will happen in the next few weeks.
He says that as long as “nothing extraordinary happens” an EU summit will be held on Sunday November 25 at 9.30am.
He then closes by saying: “As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible for you and for us.”
Mr Tusk and Mr Barnier do not take any questions.
Michel Barnier: Brexit deal is fair and balanced
Mr Barnier is giving a press statement with Donald Tusk in Brussels.
He describes the Brexit deal as a “complete agreement” and “what we have agreed… is fair and balanced”.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator says the deal will avoid a hard Irish border and insists the agreement ”lays the ground for an ambitious new partnership”.
“We still have a long road ahead of us on both sides,” Mr Barnier says.
“We have no time to lose.”
Starmer attacks deal as ‘miserable failure’
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has told Good Morning Britain Mars May’s deal was a “miserable failure of negotiation” and it was a “second-rate document”.
He told the ITV programme:
“It’s a chaotic ending and the root cause is the utter division on the Conservative benches.”
What Theresa May promised – and what she delivered
In the course of the Brexit negotiations the Prime Minister made a series of assertions and promises about the Brexit deal.
In speeches delivered over the past year and a half, she repeatedly vowed to “take back control of our borders, laws and money.”
How the media reacted
Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal is splashed across the front pages of newspapers in the UK, Ireland and across Europe on Thursday.
But views of the deal vary differently.
As another busy day in Whitehall begins, the day’s action is set to kick off in Brussels, where Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and European Council president, Donald Tusk, are expected to make a joint press statement on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
It is likely they will confirm the date for the next European Council summit as November 25.
The press conference is believed to begin at 7.10am UK time.
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