Theresa May says both Tories and Labour need to make Brexit compromises in video address to the nation: Brexit News for Monday 8 April

Theresa May says both Tories and Labour need to make Brexit compromises in video address to the nation: Brexit News for Monday 8 April
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Theresa May says both Tories and Labour need to make Brexit compromises in video address to the nation…

Theresa May has said she agrees with the Labour Party on certain aspects of Brexit. Despite Labour accusing ministers on Friday of failing to offer real change or compromise during talks to end the stalemate, the Conservative prime minister said the government and opposition agreed on “ending free movement, ensuring we leave with a good deal, protecting jobs, protecting security”. During a video filmed at Chequers and released on her Twitter account, she also admitted that compromise would be required “on both sides”. “And so we are talking,” she said. “Can we find a way through this that ensures that we can get a good deal and a deal agreed through Parliament? “I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us.” – Sky News

  • PM clings on to hope of compromise deal as Brexit looms – Sky News
  • Theresa May rules out fourth meaningful vote and no-deal Brexit as she prepares for customs union climbdown – Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: Theresa May delivers a statement on Brexit

…as it appears she will offer Labour a kind of customs union to secure a deal…

Theresa May has warned that Britain’s political leaders run the risk of not delivering on Brexit as she prepared to make a major concession to Labour over membership of a customs union. The Government is aiming to relaunch talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s team on Monday at the beginning of a crucial week for Brexit. Mrs May will have to convince European Union leaders meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that she can produce a stable Commons majority for a withdrawal plan to avoid a no-deal Brexit on Friday. She told Eurosceptic Tory MPs and activists angry that Britain would remain closely tied to the EU under her plan that Brexit could be lost altogether if she did not give further ground in the search for a political consensus. Mrs May is expected to ask for Labour, which has accused her of not making significant concessions so far, to endorse a close customs link between the UK and EU, but not to label it a “customs union”. – iNews

…while Andrea Leadsom speaks of compromising with Corbyn through ‘gritted teeth’…

Government ministers are ready to compromise with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn “through gritted teeth” to deliver Brexit, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, said this morning. Prime Minister Theresa May began talks with the opposition leader last week to negotiate a deal that both parties could back in order to pass an agreement through parliament. Leadsom suggested that the customs agreement in May’s deal, which has been defeated in Parliament three times, was not dissimilar from Labour’s insistence on a customs union. “Specifically provided we are leaving the European Union then it is important that we compromise, that’s what this is about and it is through gritted teeth. But nevertheless the most important thing is to actually leave the EU,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show. – City A.M.

…and asserts that a no-deal Brexit later this week would not be so grim as some would have us believe

A no-deal Brexit at the end of next [this] week would be “not nearly as grim” as many believe, one of Theresa May’s senior ministers has said, as both the government and Labour indicated that cross-party talks to resolve the situation remained deadlocked. Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, said preparations would mitigate many adverse effects of no deal. She also said the idea of a departure extension long enough to require the UK to hold European elections was “utterly unacceptable”. Her comments came as May used a video statement to talk up the hopes for ongoing cross-party Brexit negotiations with Labour, saying “compromise on both sides” could still deliver a solution. Leadsom indicated that it was up to Labour to accept the customs “arrangement” already in May’s three-times-rejected deal, and that she and other Brexiter members of May’s ministerial team could not accept a full customs union. “There are various different types of arrangements, and those discussions are still ongoing,” Leadsom said, calling May’s existing customs plan “an excellent proposal”. Asked whether May could agree to a full customs union, Leadsom indicated not. “My expectation – and I’m not party to the discussions – is that the prime minister will only seek to agree those things that still constitute Brexit.” There has been speculation that MPs could force a vote to revoke article 50 entirely if the EU refuses another Brexit delay this week and a no-deal departure looms on Friday. Leadsom said she would never agree to this, and that no deal would be manageable. “It’s not nearly as grim as many would advocate,” she said. “The civil service have done an amazing job of ensuring that we minimise the problems. I’m not an advocate for no deal, but it would not be nearly as bad as many like to think it would be.” – Guardian

> WATCH: Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom on The Andrew Marr Show

Penny Mordaunt says the UK must not get locked into European elections

As one of the cabinet’s Brexiters, eyes have been on Penny Mordaunt in recent weeks to see if she would walk away from the top team as Theresa May seemingly edges closer to a softer break from the EU. Speaking exclusively to City A.M., the international development secretary argues a long delay to Brexit would be unacceptable not only to the public, but also to the business community, which she acknowledges is “having to prepare for a whole raft of eventualities”. “For me the critical thing is that we leave, we do it swiftly, we don’t get locked in to fighting European elections,” says Mordaunt. “Brexit is something we have to do to arrive at where the public wanted to be, which is to have more control over laws, borders, money and trade, and having an independent trade policy.” Mordaunt believes a “national mission” is needed after Brexit to help bring the country – and the Conservatives – back together after years of division. Despite the splits over Europe, there is certainly one subject on which all her party colleagues agree. “One thing that has concentrated minds throughout all of this, and I know is the biggest concern to business, is the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street,” she says. – City A.M.

More cross-party talks expected today in advance of Wednesday’s European Council meeting

With just five days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, Labour has said it expects to hold further talks with the government to find a Brexit deal. Theresa May has said only a cross-party pact will get the support of a majority of MPs, as the DUP and some Tories have rejected her deal with the EU. However, several Conservatives have strongly criticised the move. The PM is due at an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, when EU leaders will expect to hear fresh plans. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday, 12 April, at 23:00 BST. However, on Monday, peers will continue considering a bill brought by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper, which aims to force the PM to request a Brexit extension rather than leave the EU without a deal. On Sunday Rebecca Long-Bailey, a member of Labour’s negotiating team, described the mood as “positive and hopeful”, and indicated more talks were likely to take place early this week. This was despite the fact government proposals “have not been compliant with the definition of a customs union”, her party’s key demand, she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show. That would allow tariff-free trade in goods with the EU but limit the UK from striking its own deals. Leaving the arrangement was a Conservative manifesto commitment. However, Solicitor General Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour that “something approximating a customs arrangement or customs union” was the most likely outcome of the talks. It would mean “an end to freedom of movement and… that we deliver the vast majority of the aims of Brexit, which was to leave the institutions of the European Union”, he said. “In this particular hung Parliament none of us can get perfection, we need to compromise.” – BBC News

Labour would revoke Article 50 if alternative is no-deal Brexit, suggests Rebecca Long-Bailey

Labour would vote to revoke Article 50 if the alternative was the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a shadow cabinet minister has suggested. Rebecca Long-Bailey said Labour would “consider very, very strongly” voting to scrap Brexit at the end of this week if an “extremely damaging” break from the bloc without an agreement was the other option.  The shadow business secretary’s comments will put the party’s leadership on a collision course with many Leave voters but will likely be welcomed by the majority of Labour’s Remain-backing MPs. Ms Long-Bailey, who has been involved in Brexit compromise talks with the Government, suggested Labour would opt for the latter. Asked if Labour would vote to revoke Article 50 if the alternative was a no-deal, she said: “Well, of course we don’t want no-deal because we think it would be extremely damaging for our economy. – Telegraph (£)

  • Labour ‘would back revoking Article 50 by the end of this week if the only alternative is a No Deal Brexit’ – The Sun

> WATCH: Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey’s interview on The Andrew Marr Show

May faces intense Cabinet pressure over prospect of lengthy Brexit delay

Theresa May is facing intense cabinet pressure to avoid the prospect of a long Brexit delay, amid increasing expectations that last ditch cross-party talks on a compromise departure plan will not produce anything concrete. Before a crucial EU summit later this week, the prime minister is facing a fast-diminishing range of options that could split the Conservative party and prompt a mass cabinet walkout, or could result in the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on Friday. May’s only response on Sunday was a homespun video that called for a compromise solution, but while praised for its conversational style, it lacked any fresh detail on proposals to break the Brexit impasse. Pro-Brexit cabinet sources said a long delay, particularly one under such terms, would “cause a tremendous amount of angst”. They said: “A long, non-flexible extension would come with EU elections as well, which is another red line for lots of the Conservative party. “It all shows the mistake of taking no deal off the table – we’re negotiating with one hand behind our back.” – Guardian

Frustrated EU leaders have privately ‘given up’ on May and are ‘negotiating Brexit with MPs directly’…

Frustrated EU leaders have privately given up on Theresa May and are “negotiating with the MPs directly,” sources say. A diplomatic source told The Sun that national capitals and Brussels bosses have established direct lines of negotiation with MPs after the Cooper/Letwin plot put the Commons in charge of deciding the length of the Brexit delay. But EU leaders are “worried” the Commons doesn’t have a grasp on reality and will vote to add an unrealistic end date to the Cooper-Letwin amendment tomorrow. Sources said Donald Tusk’s shock intervention last week, when he proposed a year-long extension, was designed to focus Parliament’s mind. It is understood more and more high-profile MPs have now established direct lines of negotiation with national capitals and the EU institutions. A diplomatic source told The Sun: “What’s annoying us is they’re not a real government so we don’t have any partners to properly talk to. “We don’t want to be demanding but we’ve got to manage the process and we don’t have another side to manage it with. “We have no trust in May anymore. We say we’re not negotiating with the House but we are. But how can we negotiate with all these different factions?” Sources have said leaders, even those most sympathetic to Britain, are increasingly fatigued with talks over our departure. – The Sun

…as Emmanuel Macron ponders his ‘de Gaulle moment’ with Brexit…

“I think this man has gone crazy — absolutely crazy,” the British prime minister said of the French president. “He is inventing any means whatever to knock us out and the simple thing is he wants to be the cock on a small dunghill instead of having two cocks on a larger one.” The year was 1963 and Harold Macmillan was venting his frustrations on a call to the White House. Within weeks Gen Charles de Gaulle of France had vetoed Britain’s bid to join the European Economic Community — the first of the two occasions on which he said “Non” to the British — blindsiding his five fellow leaders in the club. Half a century later, Britain is seeking to leave the EU at a time of its choosing, and once again finds its European destiny beholden to the calculations of a charismatic French leader — a president who sees de Gaulle as his role model. De Gaulle said No to the UK’s entry. Will French President Emmanuel Macron have a de Gaulle moment, say No to the UK leaving when it wants, and bundle the British out of the door? Mr Macron has certainly taken the hardest line in public against a long delay to a UK exit date, first scheduled for March 29, postponed to April 12, and which UK prime minister Theresa May now wants to delay until June 30. Even in private he has told other EU leaders that it may be best to get Brexit over with rather than let Westminster hold the other 27 member states hostage. But senior officials and diplomats in Paris, Brussels and other European capitals doubt that Mr Macron will stand alone against more emollient EU leaders in countries such as Germany, Poland and Ireland and be the one to finally pull the plug on the British. – FT(£)

…with the French President heading calls to impose tough conditions on any Brexit delay

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is leading demands for Britain to sign up to tough political conditions as the price for any Brexit delay as EU leaders prepare to grant Theresa May more time to break the parliamentary impasse over the issue. Mr Macron, increasingly frustrated by the deadlock in Britain, wants guarantees that the UK will not use its continuing presence as a departing member of the EU to disrupt the bloc’s business, including its multiyear budget. Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister, spoke of his disquiet that Mrs May was seeking to delay Britain’s departure for the second time, having already pushed it back from March 29 to April 12: “We can’t live in a perpetual Brexit process,” he said. “The British government and the British parliament have to realise that the EU cannot forever waste its time in dealing with the vagaries of the UK’s domestic politics.” – FT(£)

Boris Johnson says Theresa May’s customs union surrender to Jeremy Corbyn cannot be allowed to happen

Boris Johnson has insisted Tory MPs will not allow Theresa May to “surrender” to Jeremy Corbyn after she paved the way for a Brexit deal with him that keeps Britain in a customs union with the EU. Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, the former foreign secretary said such a deal would mean Britain had no control over its trade policy and predicted it “cannot, must not and will not happen”. It came as Mrs May gave the clearest signal yet that she will agree a customs union deal with Mr Corbyn this week by saying a “cross-party” deal was the only way forward and that “it will mean compromise on both sides”. Meanwhile Andrea Leadsom, one of the most committed Brexiteers in the Cabinet, signalled a softening of red lines among Leave-backing ministers as she said “we can’t be purist” about a deal. Mr Johnson said it was “utterly incredible” that “Marxist” Mr Corbyn had been invited to negotiate a Brexit deal with Mrs May and that she now seemed ready to abandon a manifesto pledge by signing up to a customs union after Brexit. Mr Johnson suggested Mr Corbyn’s true motive for taking part in the talks is to “cause division” and that he will eventually walk away without agreeing to anything. If Britain was outside the EU but inside a customs union, it would be bound by EU tariffs without having any say in setting them, meaning “Slovakia or Lithuania…would have more say over UK trade policy than London”, Mr Johnson writes. – Telegraph (£)

Jacob Rees-Mogg blasts Theresa May for delaying Brexit through her ‘active choices to stop us leaving’

The chairman of Tory Eurosceptic bloc the European Research Group has thrown his weight behind fellow Old Etonian Boris Johnson, saying the former Foreign Secretary could ‘unite the party and win an election’. Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sophie Ridge on Sky today: ‘I think very highly of Boric Johnson, who managed to win in London, twice, in a Labour area, has a great connection with voters, is a clear Eurosceptic, but otherwise is very much in the middle of the Conservative Party. Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning denied his group should shoulder any blame for the current political impasse, saying the Prime Minister’s deal didn’t have unanimous Tory backing because it broke manifesto pledges. Jacob Rees-Mogg told Mr Rees-Mogg denied blame for Britain’s remaining in the EU should lie with his grouping, saying ‘blame for this muddle rests squarely on the Prime Minister’s shoulders’. Asked whether Theresa May had to work with Jeremy Corbyn because she cannot rely on Conservatives to back her deal – that they had ‘forced her hand’ – he said: ‘I think that’s an odd way of looking at it. ‘The reason the Prime Minister hasn’t been able to get all Conservative MPs to back her deal is that she failed to deliver on the promises she made in the Conservative Party manifesto, in the Lancaster House speech and in the Mansion House speech. ‘She came back with a deal which potentially led to a division between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So the reason she’s in difficulties is her own creation, it’s not forced upon her. – MailOnline

> WATCH: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s interview on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday

Sadiq Khan calls for revocation of Article 50

Sadiq Khan has called for Article 50 – the legal agreement allowing Britain to leave the EU – to be “revoked” in a shocking interview on the BBC this morning. The London Mayor and arch-Remainer made the astonishing remark talking to BBC host John Pienaar. Mr Khan blasted unequivocally: “Let’s stop the clock, let’s revoke Article 50.” Continuing, he expressed his sense of hopelessness surrounding the outcome of cross-party talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. He explained: “Theresa May has been negotiating with the EU and her party and cabinet for a 1000 days. “The idea that in just two or three days there’ll be a resolution between the Tory and Labour leadership is just not realistic. “In those circumstances, I think we should stop the clock. “We don’t want to inadvertently leave the EU without any deal whatever or a bad deal. “So let’s stop the clock, let’s revoke Article 50. “The reality is we’ve got this clock running down and this artificial date that has been imposed upon us because of the servicing of Article 50. “The thing to do is withdraw that so the pressure’s taken off. “Cool, calm heads can reach a resolution. – Express

Nigel Farage vows ‘big shock’ for Tories in any EU election after Brexit ‘lies’

Nigel Farage warned Tories are in “for a big shock” in the upcoming EU elections if the UK is forced to take part in the vote due to a long Brexit delay. The former Ukip leader issued a stark warning to Theresa May’s party, saying his newly-formed Brexit Party is ready to contest all 73 seats allocated to the UK in the European Parliament should Britain be trapped in the EU for longer than a few weeks. Theresa May has asked the EU to grant her a second Brexit extension until June 30, but European Council President Donald Tusk is pushing for a 12 month delay, meaning the UK will need to take part in May’s EU elections. Speaking of a conversation he had with a caller during his programme on his LBC radio show, Mr Farage wrote on Twitter: “A caller on LBC told me: ‘That Brexit vote meant a great deal to me, and I think we’ve been stitched up. The cherry on the cake is Theresa May colluding with comrade Corbyn’. “The Conservative Party are in for a big shock at the ballot box. “Bring it on.” The Eurosceptic also branded the Prime Minister’s promises regarding ending the freedom of movement “lies, lies, lies”. – Express

Leo Varadkar to meet Michel Barnier today ahead of Brexit summit

Michel Barnier will hold talks with Leo Varadkar in Ireland later ahead of this week’s crunch summit in Brussels. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator will discuss the latest developments with the Taoiseach in Dublin on Monday afternoon. Mr Barnier will also meet deputy premier and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney and finance minister Paschal Donohue. The engagements at Government Buildings in the city come prior to the meeting of the EU27 on Wednesday when European leaders will discuss Theresa May’s request for a further Brexit extension. At the weekend, Mr Varadkar said his own preference was for a longer extension than the June 30 date proposed by the UK. “What we want to avoid is an extension that just allows for more indecision and more uncertainty,” he added. Mr Varadkar also said the prospect of one of the EU27 saying no to any form of extension at the European Council meeting was “extremely unlikely”. – Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein leaders to meet Jeremy Corbyn and Karen Bradley in Brexit talks

Sinn Fein leaders are due to hold Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn later on a day of meetings in London. Party president Mary Lou McDonald and vice-president Michelle O’Neill are also set for discussions with Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. They will also meet a number of SNP MPs at Westminster. On Sunday, Mrs McDonald said she would tell the Labour leader that Irish interests must be protected whatever the outcome of his Brexit negotiations with Prime Minister Theresa May. Mr Corbyn is due to meet the republican leaders late this afternoon. “We will set out again the very clear need to protect Irish interests and make it very, very clear that whatever way Brexit lands, deal or no deal, that Irish interests have to be protected,” said Mrs McDonald. “Our peace process, our all-Ireland economy, crucially our citizens’ rights, cannot be the collateral damage to the Tory Brexit.” – Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson: Theresa May’s plan to enslave us in the customs union with Corbyn’s help will never work

There are times when the news seems so disheartening that you can scarcely believe it. For years now we Tories have been pointing out the obvious – that the Marxist Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to govern. This is a man who still believes in the precepts of Bolivarian revolutionary socialism, even though they have have reduced Venezuela to destitution. As leader of the Labour party he has presided over a culture of rampant anti-semitism. When chemical weapons were used in Salisbury, he pathetically refused to denounce the Kremlin. His economic policies – crushing taxation, wholesale renationalisation – would be catastrophic for this country. If we Tories have one duty, it is to prevent this man getting anywhere near the levers of power. So it seems utterly incredible that he has now been invited into Downing Street to negotiate a Brexit deal. And it is doubly incredible that the government is – so we are told – willing to accede to his terms. We are informed that there are now “no red lines” in the negotiations with Labour. In order to get Corbyn onside, the Government is apparently willing to abandon the cardinal principle and central logic of Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn and his team have demanded that the UK must somehow leave the EU, but remain in the Customs Union. That is their price. If the Government were to agree, it would not only mean repudiating a manifesto pledge, and tearing up a promise made thousands of times in parliament and elsewhere. It is far worse than that. – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Matt Ridley: Leave voters have every right to feel deeply embittered

Yet again we are within touching distance of Brexit this week. Yet again it will be snatched from our grasp. In Westminster it is a game. In the north there is rage and despair. The fury comes from the optician’s receptionist and a wealthy philanthropist friend; from those who start “I voted to remain but . . .”; and from those of all ethnicities (please note, Jon Snow, that not all Leavers are white). A Sky Data poll found that 41 per cent of people would prefer a no-deal Brexit, 35 per cent a long delay and 16 per cent Theresa May’s deal. If the result had gone the other way — 52-48 to remain — we would not have spent more than two years trying to find ways to leave after all. “Let me be clear; the government will respect the outcome . . . there will be no second referendum,” Philip Hammond, now the chancellor, said before the vote. “The minute we stop ignoring the democratic will of the people in this country, we are slipping very quickly towards the banana republic I don’t want to live in,” the MP Heidi Allen said after the vote. “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide,” the official £9 million leaflets said during the campaign. People feel subjected to chicanery and contempt. The constitutional damage alone may be irreparable. A biased Commons Speaker has ripped up precedent. Cabinet collective responsibility has been abandoned. Civil servants have negotiated behind the backs of elected politicians. The date on which we were to leave was changed by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen, despite the act of parliament that fixed it. Then, to cap it all, the prime minister enters into talks with one of the most irresponsible and prejudiced leaders of a political party in British history, and goes begging to a continental hegemon for permission to be further humiliated. Yes, we are bitter. – Matt Ridley for the The Times (£)

Katy Balls: Theresa May hints at a change in direction on Brexit

As another crunch Brexit week approaches, Theresa May has used a video message to update the public on ‘what’s happening with Brexit’. With the Sunday papers filled with angry Conservative MPs venting about her decision to enter negotiations with Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock, the Prime Minister uses the address to try and justify her decision. Adopting a more casual tone that normal, May says that Parliament has rejected her deal three times and ‘as things stand’ there is little reason to expect MPs to back it on a fourth vote. This is why she has made the decision to talk to Jeremy Corbyn about what type of changes could lead to a majority supporting the deal in the Commons. The video message from the Prime Minister appears to be May laying the groundwork for a change in Brexit policy later this week. The suspicion among Tory Brexiteers is that May will pivot to some form of customs union in the political declaration – potentially with the arrangement being written into the legislation so it’s harder for a future Tory leader to undo. Given that a permanent customs union would limit the scope for free trade deals significantly, such a move could well see ministerial resignations and a heavy backlash from many Tory MPs. Today’s message will do little to ease such concerns. Judging by the Prime Minister’s relaxed tone, she is ready to face any such backlash. – Katy Balls for The Spectator

Robert Tombs: UK sovereignty taken by the EU but we’re too scared to take it back

At the next State Opening of Parliament, the Queen will ride as usual to Westminster in a golden coach wearing her State Crown: the symbol of sovereignty. But by then something may have changed. She may no longer be our sovereign, because we may no longer be a sovereign nation. What is sovereignty? The right to make a final choice. Centuries ago, this right was exercised by our monarchs in person, on the advice of their greatest subjects, and under the law of the land. They were God’s anointed, nevertheless they needed the people’s consent to rule. Then, from the 18th century, sovereignty was exercised in practice by ministers of the Crown, with the consent of Parliament, and the monarch played a more symbolic role. As our system became more democratic, between the 1860s and the 1920s, sovereignty passed to what in the Middle Ages was called “the community of the realm” – the nation, with the monarch the symbolic sovereign of a democratic state. But whatever form it has taken, sovereignty is always the same: the final say. Over the centuries, the consent of the people and the rule of law have always been regarded as essential to the proper exercise of sovereignty, which otherwise descends into tyranny. Philosophers called this the “social contract”. This is why, in a democratic age, it is right to have a direct vote – a referendum – to decide the basic rules. As in the European referendum of 1975, as in the Scottish referendum of 2014, the people decided. All was clearly explained and legally voted. We thought the same in 2016: the sovereign people had the final say and their lawful decision would be carried out. And now? EU President Donald Tusk proclaimed a few days ago his support for those marching in London to overthrow the referendum, and said that it was the duty of the European parliament, not the UK parliament, to represent them, as “they are Europeans”. – Professor Robert Tombs for the Express

Leo McKinstry: A soft Brexit will prove the hardest lesson for Tories

The Tory Government’s Brexit strategy is in tatters. Having failed to secure the support of her own Parliamentary party for her Withdrawal Agreement, the Prime Minister has thrown herself on the mercy of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in the desperate hope that the Opposition will drag her deal over the line. Theresa May has often spoken of the need for an “orderly” Brexit but nothing could be more disorderly than the decision to hold eleventh hour talks with Labour. In the early 1980s, the Irish Taoiseach Charlie haughey famously called one explosive political scandal in Dublin “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented”. To many Tories, that is a perfect description of the Cabinet’s present collusion with Corbyn. Yet now May has invited him to help decide the fate of our country. If a compromise is reached in these negotiations, it is certain to be based on the softest possible Brexit. The dispiriting mess over Brexit is compounded by other recent failures, such as the inability to tackle crime or mass immigration; the chronic profligacy over the HS2 railway and the colossal foreign aid budget. Just like Brexit, the cause of Conservatism has been repeatedly betrayed by cowardly Tory politicians. The Conservatives have survived before, as with the 19th- century split over the Corn Laws and the huge 1945 Labour landslide. But this time, the fallout could be terminal. – Leo McKinstry for the Express

Brexit in Brief

  • Should those of us who think the BBC is biased against Brexit refuse to pay our licence fees? – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • The Conservatives’ bad decisions on Brexit are hurting chances of our would-be councillors – Simon Clarke MP for the Telegraph (£)
  • Last week was the week when the Conservative Party snapped over Brexit – Iain Dale for the Telegraph (£)
  • Britain isn’t a European country, but our politicians are desperate to make it one – Tom Welsh for the Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit-weary voters long for political strongman – The Times (£)
  • Boris Johnson’s back as The Leaver Leader as Tories fear election defeat and the extinction of their party – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun