Theresa May to warn Britain is more likely to stay in the EU than leave under No Deal if MPs reject her plan: Brexit News for Monday 14 January

Theresa May to warn Britain is more likely to stay in the EU than leave under No Deal if MPs reject her plan: Brexit News for Monday 14 January
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Theresa May to warn Britain is more likely to stay in the EU than leave under No Deal if MPs reject her plan…

The Prime Minister will use a speech on the eve of the critical Commons vote on her exit plan to urge MPs to consider the “consequences” of their actions on the faith of British people in democracy. She is expected to reiterate her warning that “catastrophic harm” will be inflicted to trust in politicians if they fail to implement the result of the referendum. With less than 36 hours to go until the long-awaited vote, Mrs May will say, based on last week’s Westminster drama, that she now believes MPs blocking Brexit is a more likely outcome than leaving without a deal. Mrs May is expected to tell factory workers in pro-Leave Stoke-on-Trent on Monday: “I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy. Imagine if an anti-devolution House of Commons had said to the people of Scotland or Wales that despite voting in favour of a devolved legislature, Parliament knew better and would overrule them. Or else force them to vote again. What if we found ourselves in a situation where Parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote? People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm. We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.” – Evening Standard

  • Theresa May says no Brexit more likely than no deal – BBC News
  • Theresa May warns Brexiteers of EU trap – The Times (£)

…as ministers plead with MPs to back her deal

The government has made a fresh plea to MPs to get behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Tuesday’s crucial Commons vote. No 10 says it is alarmed by reports MPs plan to take control of Brexit if Mrs May’s deal is voted down, although a leading Tory rebel denies such a move. And Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to table a vote of no confidence in the government if she loses, which could trigger a general election. The PM has warned of a “catastrophic” breach of trust if Brexit is thwarted. Writing in the Sunday Express, Mrs May told MPs: “It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.” Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show there was greater “uncertainty” after Commons Speaker John Bercow’s decision last week to allow MPs to change the parliamentary timetable. He warned “those on the Brexiteer side seeking ideological purity” by voting down Mrs May’s deal they risked “leaving the door ajar to ways that increase the risk to Brexit”. There are lots of different plans being put forward by Members of Parliament that don’t respect the result (of the referendum) or risk no deal,” he added. – BBC News

  • Tory MP made Privy Counsellor says he will support Brexit deal after all – PoliticsHome

Forget Theresa May’s deal and leave on WTO terms, a dozen ex-Conservative ministers urge MPs

A dozen former Conservative ministers including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dominic Raab are urging Tory MPs to vote down Theresa May’s deal and leave the European Union on World Trade Organisation terms.  The group – including eight former Cabinet colleagues of Theresa May – urges the Prime Minister to have one last go at persuading the EU to drop the Irish backstop which threatens to keep the UK in the customs union indefinitely. In the joint letter to every Conservative MP, seen by The Daily Telegraph and published in full below, the former Conservative ministers – including Esther McVey and Priti Patel – say the UK has to be ready to leave without a deal on World Trade Organisation terms. They say: “We must have the confidence to be ready to leave on WTO terms. “A managed WTO Brexit may give rise to some short-term inconvenience and disruption, but the much greater risks arise from being locked into a very bad deal. A managed WTO Brexit will end business and political uncertainty more quickly than any other option. It also saves much of the £39 billion, which can be spent to support the UK economy, business, and consumers instead.” They add: “It is right to vote down this bad deal and that in doing so we will unlock a better future for our party, our country and its people. – Telegraph (£)

  • 12 Tory ex-ministers revolt against Brexit urging MPs to vote down PM’s deal – Mirror

Remainers unite to call for second referendum – on May’s deal or staying in EU…

Pro-EU MPs will raise the stakes on Monday in the battle over Brexit by publishing draft legislation to force a second referendum that could reverse the result of the 2016 vote. A cross-party group of MPs, including Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative attorney general, wants Theresa May to give Parliament a greater say in deciding how Britain leaves the European Union. The cross-party draft legislation published on Monday by Mr Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Lord Lisvane, the former clerk of the House of Commons, proposes another referendum in which voters would be given a choice between Mrs May’s deal or staying in the EU. The draft law could in theory be tabled as early as Monday next week, if Mrs May loses on Tuesday and she has to come back to the Commons with a new plan for delivering Brexit. It will require John Bercow, the Speaker, to suspend centuries-old rules and make it easier for MPs to table laws that can be passed. – Telegraph (£)

…while details emerge of Nick Boles’ proposed ‘coup’ – handing power to Sarah Wollaston’s Remain-dominated Liaison Committee

Full details of a plot by rebel MPs to seize control of Brexit can be revealed today. If Theresa May loses tomorrow’s crunch vote, authority for drawing up a new negotiating blueprint could pass to a panel of senior backbenchers, the Mail understands. The liaison committee, which is dominated by Remainers by a margin of 27 to nine, would be charged with coming up with a proposal supported by MPs. The Prime Minister would then be required to go to Brussels to negotiate for it – in all likelihood creating a much softer Brexit. The dramatic move would mean tearing up the Commons rule book – giving backbench MPs the power to propose legislation instead of the Government. A senior minister described it as a ‘copper-bottomed, bullet-proof plan to sink Brexit’. – Daily Mail

EU preparing for Brexit delay until at least July

The EU is preparing to delay Brexit until at least July after concluding that Theresa May is doomed to fail in getting her deal through parliament. The country’s 29 March deadline for exiting the EU is now regarded by Brussels as highly unlikely to be met given the domestic opposition facing the prime minister and it is expecting a request from London to extend article 50 in the coming weeks. A special leaders’ summit to push back Brexit day is expected to be convened by the European council president, Donald Tusk, once a UK request is received. EU officials said the length of the prolongation of the negotiating period allowed under article 50 would be determined based on the reason put forward by May for the delay. An EU official said: “Should the prime minister survive and inform us that she needs more time to win round parliament to a deal, a technical extension up to July will be offered.” – Guardian

  • EU leaders ‘prepared to delay Brexit until July to give Theresa May time to get deal through Parliament’ – The Sun
  • European Union ‘ready to delay Article 50 and postpone Brexit’ – PoliticsHome

Jeremy Corbyn signals Labour will trigger vote of no confidence this week if Government’s deal defeated

The Labour leader would not commit to calling for a ballot in the immediate aftermath of the predicted Government defeat on Tuesday evening. But he opened the door to the vote taking place before the end of the week as he said: “It is going to be soon, don’t worry about that. Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn repeatedly refused to guarantee Labour would campaign to deliver Brexit at a snap general election. He also suggested free movement of people from the European Union to the UK could continue after Brexit under a Labour Government. Mr Corbyn said the matter would be “open to negotiation” and he was “not against the free movement of people” in comments likely to spark anger among Leave-backing Labour supporters. Mr Corbyn has remained tight-lipped on the exact timing of the vote but on Sunday he gave the clearest hint yet that it will happen in the next five days. – Telegraph (£)

  • Corbyn promises no-confidence motion against May ‘soon’ – Guardian

Chris Grayling denies ‘void’ in Government over Brexit plan B

Chris Grayling has denied there is a “void” in government over Brexit amid a series of reports about supposed plots by MPs to take control of the process. But the transport secretary repeatedly refused to say what Theresa May would do if her plan is defeated next week. With the prime minister arguing it would be a “catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust” for MPs to vote down her proposals on Tuesday, Grayling, one of May’s key allies, insisted there was a coherent plan B. “I don’t think it is a void at all,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme. “The government’s coming forward with a proposal for the nation, to parliament, which says ‘this is what we think is the best compromise deal that enables us to leave.’ It does so in a way that recognises that the nation is pretty divided on this issue.” But Grayling refused to say what might happen if, as widely expected, MPs vote heavily against May’s plan. “Let’s cross that bridge if and when it happens,” he said. “Right now her focus, my focus, the government’s focus is on convincing people that actually this is the best thing to do, it’s the right option. It’s the most likely to deliver Brexit.” – Guardian

DUP Chief Whip warns of danger of overturning the will of the people

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said that MPs plotting to obstruct Brexit are “moving into very dangerous territory indeed”. It would mean backbenchers’ motions take precedence over government business – a move that could allow them to suspend Article 50, put Brexit on hold and potentially lead to the referendum result being overturned. He said he “remains hopeful” that an “agreed way forward” can be secured. “If parliamentarians think it’s a good idea, and will strengthen our parliamentary democracy by seeking to overturn the will of the people by using some spurious device to change the rules of how Parliament conducts its business, then they are moving into very dangerous territory indeed,” he said. “I cannot believe that anyone who believes in democracy and who cherishes our system of parliamentary democracy would want to engage in such an action that would be about subverting the will of the British people. People are entitled to oppose the government, but what they’re not entitled to do is to undermine the democratically expressed rule of the people.” – Belfast Telegraph

Corbyn feels the heat as Sir Kevin Barron pledges to back deal

Jeremy Corbyn is under fresh pressure over Brexit after another Labour MP said that he would back Theresa May’s deal, and left-wing supporters stepped up their campaign for a second referendum. Sir Kevin Barron, who represents Rother Valley in South Yorkshire, said the withdrawal agreement was not perfect but that his reservations were “far outweighed” by the risk of no deal. Leaving the EU without an arrangement with Brussels would hit people in the north and the manufacturing industry harder, he said in an article for The Times Red Box. He also criticised Labour and Conservative MPs pushing for another Brexit referendum. Another vote would be a “betrayal”, he said, and it saddened him “that so many in the Commons are trying to overturn the decision made”. Mr Corbyn’s MPs will be under pressure from him to reject Mrs May’s deal when it is voted on tomorrow. – The Times (£)

Our precious democracy is being fractured – all for sake of EU, says Brexiteer Daniel Hannan

The Conservative MEP said House of Commons Speaker John Bercow threw his impartiality out the window when he took the unprecedented step of approving a vote on the the Prime Minister’s “Plan B” response on Wednesday. The amendment – passed by 308 votes to 297 – means Theresa May will have just three days to come up with another option if her deal fails to survive a vote in the Commons. Mr Hannan, who has served as MEP for South East England since 1999, said Mr Bercow’s controversial move which shocked Westminster means that Britain’s political inheritance, admired around the world, has been lost – “all for the sake of the EU”. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph he said: “That tradition rested on convention, decency and restraint, rather than on any written laws, and will not easily be recovered.” Mr Hannan said it was not the first time a country had bent over backwards to meet EU membership requirements and ended up damaging itself, something he summed up as “an awesome, even frightening, phenomenon”. – Express

Brexit will boost British football, top boss Neil Warnock claims

The Cardiff City boss called on Theresa May to hurry up and take Britain out of the EU. He dismissed claims that Brexit will make it harder to sign up European players and insisted the certainty of leaving will actually help British sport. Mr Warnock told reporters: “I think once the country knows what they’re doing, it will be straightforward.” He added: “I don’t know why politicians don’t do what the country wants, if I’m honest. They had a referendum and now we see different politicians and everyone else trying to put their foot in it. Why did we have a referendum in the first place? – The Sun

Boris Johnson: We must be brave and vote down a deal that represents the worst of both worlds

On Tuesday night, MPs must make a historic choice. They can either vote for the present Withdrawal Agreement, with all its appalling defects – or they can insist on something better. I cannot foresee what they will decide, or in what numbers. But I can see that this is precisely the same wretched text that was in the process of receiving such a spectacular raspberry before Christmas. It still means a chronic and deliberate threat to the Union with Northern Ireland. It still means that, unless we are prepared to do the unthinkable and abandon Northern Ireland, we will remain locked in the EU customs union and large parts of the single market. This deal would still make it impossible to do big free-trade deals – as the US ambassador has correctly pointed out. It would prevent us from engaging in the kind of regulatory divergence – control of our own laws – that people voted for. There is time. If we are brave, we have nothing to fear; and I fear the consequences of no Brexit far more than I fear no deal. On Tuesday, we must have the courage to vote down this lamentable deal and kill it off once and for all. – Boris Johnson MP for The Telegraph (£)

David Davis: Kill Theresa May’s Brexit bill and set Britain free

The government’s defeat last week, which will force it to come back to the Commons with a plan B if the proposed withdrawal agreement is defeated, also presents an opportunity to go back to the EU with our best and final offer. We can clearly state to our European friends that we will let them sell German cars, Irish beef and French wine at no tariff but it has to work both ways. The EU will protest, obstruct and resist but it always makes agreements at the 11th hour. From the beginning, I feared too much was being conceded with too little in return. Now it is time for the UK to call the shots. It is now a question of nerve and leadership. I’m confident with the right approach we can secure a better future for the UK and deliver what the British people voted for in 2016. It’s time to vote down the government’s proposed deal and replace it with our best and final offer. Then the ball is in the EU’s court. – David Davis MP for The Sunday Times (£)

Peter Bone: I helped move Cameron’s Government to deliver the referendum. And this deal doesn’t deliver on the result

All my political life, I have been campaigning to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union superstate. Quite simply, I believe that the United Kingdom should be a sovereign nation making its own decisions. On the 23rd of June 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted by a substantial majority to leave the European Union. Unfortunately, more than two years on from that great debate, the Prime Minister’s proposal does not deliver the Brexit that 17.4 million people voted for. Let us look at what people told me mattered to them. The Prime Minister’s proposal might be the worst deal ever for this country. It is certainly not the Brexit that people voted for. As Bill Clinton might have said about Brexit: It’s the Sovereignty, Stupid! – Peter Bone MP for ConservativeHome

Daniel Hannan: The EU offers its members a terrible choice: integration or democracy

The EU is not only undemocratic in itself; it also degrades the internal democracy of its constituent nations. Everyone knows that the EU is run by unelected officials. What is far less widely appreciated is the way that, in order to sustain a fundamentally oligarchic project, the member states are obliged repeatedly to distort their domestic constitutional arrangements. Consider what happened in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Ignoring the advice of parliamentary officials, the Speaker, John Bercow, intervened to declare admissible a Europhile amendment that was plainly inadmissible under the rules. Challenged about his partisanship, he didn’t really deny it. Instead, with a hint of a smirk, he declared that obeying precedent would mean that nothing ever changed. He was, in other words, rubbing MPs’ noses in the fact that there was nothing they could do about his bias. Again and again, I have watched domestic politicians sacrifice their positions, split their parties and betray their voters in order to advance deeper integration. There is something horribly un‑British about it. – Daniel Hannan MEP for The Telegraph (£)

Maria Caulfield: May’s Brexit Deal Is Not Just A Capitulation – It’s A Decapitation Of Our Great Nation

The British people have spoken and Parliament has legislated. Some 17.4million people voted to leave the EU and MPs voted overwhelmingly – by 498 to 114 – to bring the referendum result about. But in all four corners of the land a tale is being told about a once proud nation that ignored the biggest act of democracy in its history and which agreed to the terms of the Prime Minister’s EU deal. This deal is not just a capitulation.  It’s a decapitation. If we’re not careful, this is exactly the fate that could befall our great nation. 2019 should be the year that we finally become – once again – a proud, independent, self-governing nation – freed from the shackles of the EU. We should be matching the spirit of hope and optimism voters showed in 2016. EU deal or WTO deal, we are leaving the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019 and it will be a pivotal moment in our history. The UK’s first working day post-Brexit will be Monday 1 April – April Fools’ Day.  If we leave with this deal, we, our children and grandchildren will be treated as fools for evermore. – Maria Caulfield MP for the Huffington Post

Madeline Grant: Surprise, surprise – not all us young people are Remainers

Earlier this week, Channel 4’s ‘Brexit Inbetweeners’ debate in Leeds provided a vital wake-up call for hardline Remainers claiming to represent the young. It is delicious viewing. Jon Snow, who fronts the debate like a hand-wringing curate in an inner city youth club, looks utterly bewildered to discover stronger-than-expected support for Brexit. “Clearly the Remainers don’t feel very strong-voiced tonight”, he concluded. Many young Leavers will know the familiar feeling of being ‘outed’ as a Brexiteer at a gathering with differently-minded friends. On occasion, the room falls silent and you instantly find yourself the interactive museum exhibit, having to defend your views against a bemused, sometimes pitying, occasionally hostile audience. “But you seemed so normal?”, said one guest with whom I’d been enjoying a pleasant conversation moments before. Many find it easier to keep their heads down than risk the 3-hour conversational gauntlet of dinner party Brexit. Outside the young professional bubble, however, Leave voters are far less likely to get the reception of a dog walking on its hind legs. – Madeline Grant for The Telegraph (£)

Nikki da Costa: The threat of a Brexit coup in Parliament is real – and terrifying

The story so far: that Dominic Grieve and Oliver Letwin are seeking a way to seize control of business in the Commons, so that backbench motions take precedence over government motions. This matters because, until last week, a whole load of options were unthinkable. Tory rebels may be frustrated but they could not act on their plans because they could not call them to a vote. Under the Westminster system the government controls the agenda parliamentary agenda. Or did, until John Bercow upended things last week. Now we read that Nick Boles is seeking a way to introduce a bill which could override the EU Withdrawal Act and compel the government to seek an extension to Article 50, presumably by imposing a legal duty on ministers. We should assume the various Remain rebels are comparing notes and a combined amendment is likely to emerge. Tactically, it’s risky for No. 10 to draw attention to all this. It might embolden the rebels, who could benefit from the publicity. But on the other hand, denouncing this as an attempted coup might highlight the risks for other Tories tempted to support Boles or Letwin next week. – Nikki da Costa for The Spectator

Telegraph: Jeremy Corbyn does not have a clue what to do about Brexit

On the eve of the most important policy decision taken in peacetime for more than 40 years, the leader of the Opposition might have been expected to have a clear idea of where he and his party stand. But anyone looking to Jeremy Corbyn yesterday for a coherent exposition of Labour policy in the event of a defeat tomorrow for Theresa May’s Brexit deal looked in vain. It is the prerogative of opposition to let the Government make the mistakes and seek to replace it. But in order to do so it is the normal requirement of politics to have an alternative strategy. Mr Corbyn wants to exercise the former without having a single clue about the latter. On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he ducked the question of what Labour would do differently over and over again only restating his fatuous belief that somehow the EU would give a new government all the benefits of membership without the bad bits. – Telegraph (£) editorial

The Sun: Europhile Tories’ Brexit games must stop or hapless extremist Jeremy Corbyn will end up in No10

Remainer plotters just won’t stop. First they toadied up to preening Speaker John Bercow to try to block a No Deal Brexit. Now they want to cripple the Government entirely in a bid to secure a second referendum. Their outrageous plan to seize control of all Commons business would be nothing short of a coup. No wonder Theresa May admits the rebels are closer than ever to stopping Brexit entirely as her deal flounders. It’s time for the PM to listen to the Tory big beasts urging her to return to Brussels this week and make it clear Britain is ready to leave without a deal. The plan has the support of her DUP allies, and could be her last chance to rescue her divided Government. Because if the Conservatives don’t pull together, they risk the biggest disaster of all — a Jeremy Corbyn government. – The Sun says

Katy Balls: How heavily will Theresa May’s Brexit deal be defeated?

Theresa May’s Brexit deal will finally be voted on this week. However, the signs so far are not good. Despite the government decision to delay the vote until after Christmas in the hope MPs would calm down, few in the Commons believe it has any hope of passing when it’s put to a vote on Tuesday night. Instead, the focus has moved to what will happen once it is defeated. The Sunday papers are filled with talk of such Brexit plots. Dominic Grieve stands accused of working with the Speaker to change the Commons rules so that backbenchers decide the Commons business and thereby can map out Brexit (see Nikki Da Costa’s explanation) while there’s talk of bringing in procedures to punish ministers if they try and pursue no deal. On a visit t Stoke-on-Trent on Monday, May will say that she now believes that MPs blocking Brexit is a more likely outcome than leaving with no deal. It’s clear that not even those in No.10 are certain what will happen when the deal is voted down. This is why for now their focus is on one thing: cutting down the size of the rebellion. Katy Balls for The Spectator

Brexit in Brief

  • Brexit has revealed MPs’ flaws – and our own – Isabel Hardman for The Guardian
  • Take courage, Brexiteers, as you go into battle – Charles Moore for The Telegraph (£)
  • ‘Cornish embassy’ would continue to represent county in EU – Guardian