The public are swinging behind a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Sunday 10 March

The public are swinging behind a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Sunday 10 March
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The public are swinging behind a no-deal Brexit…

Support for a no-deal Brexit is growing in the face of the EU’s refusal to help salvage Theresa May’s deal, according to a new poll. The ComRes poll commissioned by Brexit Express, a pro-Leave group founded by Jeremy Hosking, a major Tory donor, found the proportion of voters agreeing that the UK should leave without a deal if the EU refuses to make any more concessions, reached 44 per cent last week. A similar ComRes poll in January had put the figure at 38 per cent. More than half of voters (55 per cent) agreed with the proposition that they “just want Brexit to be sorted” – compared to 33 per cent who disagreed. The survey of 2,042 people also found that 76 per cent believed that the Government had handled the negotiations badly. The proportion describing the Government’s efforts as “a total shambles” has risen from 44 per cent in March 2018, to 66 per cent. It came as 74 senior Tory activists, including more than 50 association chairman, told Mrs May that Conservative voters “do not fear a no deal exit” and “just want Brexit delivered.”  – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…as Theresa May is warned another Commons defeat for her Brexit deal on Tuesday is ‘inevitable’…

The prime minister is preparing for a huge week in Westminster, with the withdrawal agreement she struck with Brussels set to go before parliament yet again. She has been trying to secure legally binding changes to the unpopular backstop to convince MPs that the UK cannot be tied indefinitely to EU rules against its wishes, which she hopes would be enough to get the deal through. But the likelihood of that happening appears remote as the clock continues to tick down, and further doubt has been cast over her chances by sceptical Brexiteers who she has been trying to win over. Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the pro-Brexit Tory European Research Group, and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds have described the situation as “grim”. In a joint article for The Sunday Telegraph, the pair said: “An unchanged withdrawal agreement will be defeated firmly by a sizeable proportion of Conservatives and the DUP if it is again presented to the Commons.” They predict that a “three-figure majority” will reject the deal in its current state, with it having already been voted down by 230 MPs back in January. – Sky News

  • Brexiteer MPs say delay would be political calamity  – BBC News

…and others suggest she must quit to save Brexit…

Theresa May is battling to save her premiership this weekend as cabinet ministers warned she may have to fall on her sword to save Brexit. In a final throw of the dice, Philip Hammond will offer Tory MPs a £20bn Brexit “bribe” this week to finally “end austerity” if they support the prime minister’s deal. The chancellor will use his spring statement on the public finances on Wednesday to pledge to pump money into the police, schools and even some tax cuts in a spending review this autumn — but only if parliament votes for a deal. This weekend May’s team was warned by senior Brexiteers that she would get her deal passed only if she offered to resign by June so a new prime minister could lead the second phase of negotiations. In a sign that senior colleagues are abandoning her, one cabinet minister said: “I don’t believe there is a single one of us who thinks it’s a good idea for her to stay beyond June.” Another, previously loyal, added: “She’s run out of road.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • PM’s Praetorian Guard believe she may have to offer to quit in return for votes for her Brexit deal as she faces a second Commons defeat – Mail on Sunday

…although an RAF jet is on standby to fly her to Brussels and save her deal

The RAF is on standby to fly Theresa May to Brussels at a “moment’s notice” to save her Brexit deal as talks go to the wire.  A BAe 146 transport plane at RAF Northolt would take her to meet EU officials to respond to a breakthrough – or to force movement, sources say. Talks are still “intense”, with the PM updated in the early hours yesterday. More are due today but fears are growing they will stall again. Labour estimates she could lose by 150 votes when her new deal is put to MPs on Tuesday. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was “working intensively” and reassured the UK it was free to leave a single customs territory. But Mrs May and the DUP rejected that because Northern Ireland would remain in it. Senior Tories have begun a bid to win the vote without concessions. Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted no one in the EU “thinks the UK could be held in perpetuity in an arrangement detrimental to it.” – Sunday Mirror

Billions of pounds will be made available by backing Theresa May’s deal, says Philip Hammond…

Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has said getting behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal would free up billions of pounds in extra public spending or tax cuts. Hammond also dismissed the importance being placed on the Irish backstop, which could force the UK into an EU customs union in order to avoid a hard Irish border, claiming they are “not real world problems”, according to the Financial Times. The chancellor will announce a half-yearly budget update on Wednesday, a day after Parliament vote on Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union. In an interview with the FT, he said official fiscal forecasts would demonstrate the improvement in public finances since the last budget update and that he would now have more than the £15.4bn in fiscal headroom than previously expected. The 63-year-old called upon the Eurosceptic members of the Conservative party to back May’s deal regardless of whether concessions are agreed before Tuesday’s vote, playing down concerns that the backstop could leave the UK tied to the EU indefinitely. ​“There is nobody in the EU I’ve ever come across who thinks the UK could be held in perpetuity in an arrangement that was detrimental to its interests against its will,” said Mr Hammond. “Who is going to enforce such an arrangement on this? How is the world’s sixth-largest economy going to be held in a necklock?” – City A.M.

  • Philip Hammond on Brexit, austerity and being ‘deeply unpopular’ – FT(£)

…as Andrea Leadsom insists ‘We will not back a deal which breaks up the UK’

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the UK would be free to leave a proposed single customs territory with the EU – provided Northern Ireland remained within it. The DUP – the party Theresa May relies on for a majority in Parliament – has rejected the proposal. The plan is designed to avoid physical checks on the Irish border. The UK is due to leave on 29 March, although Parliament has yet to agree the terms of withdrawal. The UK and the EU remain at loggerheads over the contentious issue of the Irish backstop – which is designed to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland by keeping the UK aligned with EU customs rules until the two sides’ future relationship is agreed or alternative arrangements are worked out. The Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has suggested there may be a possible technical solution to the border problem “but only if there is trust and goodwill”. On Friday the EU said it was prepared to include a number of existing commitments relating to the application of the backstop in a legally-binding document. Mrs Leadsom said she was “deeply disappointed” by the proposal. She told the BBC: “We will not break up the United Kingdom and have a border down the Irish Sea – so, I have to ask myself: what game are [the EU] playing?” – BBC News

  • Andrea Leadsom furious at EU’s latest Brexit proposals – ‘They’re playing games!’ – Sunday Express
  • House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom accuses EU of ‘playing games’ – MailOnline

Britain does not want a long Brexit delay, reveals poll on eve of votes

A long delay to Brexit would be unacceptable to a majority of the British public, according to an exclusive poll days before critical votes in the House of Commons. Some 52 per cent of people do not want a delay to last more than six months, the survey by BMG Research for The Independent indicated. The data flies in the face of extensions advocated in Brussels, by Remainers and even some Brexiteers. They have talked about pushing back the date of the UK’s departure for a year or more – something supported by fewer than one in five, according to the survey. The poll also showed that just 17 per cent actually want any extension if Theresa May’s Brexit plan is again rejected as expected this week, with the two most popular alternatives a quick new in or out referendum, or simply leaving with no deal. British and European officials have been desperately trying to find a compromise acceptable to both sides in negotiations in Brussels, but a breakthrough looks unlikely with little ground being given. – Independent

Ministers preparing to use new powers to impose price caps on medicines ahead of possible no-deal Brexit

Ministers are preparing to use new powers to impose price caps on medicines after drug firms began pushing up prices in the face of a possible no-deal Brexit. Officials have drawn up plans to use price-setting powers for the first time after they were brought into law in 2017, The Telegraph can reveal. Ministers said they were acting after some suppliers “increased their prices to what appear to be unwarranted levels.” It follows warnings that drugs prices were soaring, amid attempts to build up a stockpile ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU. In December the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee – which represents pharmacists – warned of a surge in the number of drugs which were now being reimbursed at special rates, above the standard national tariff, amid growing shortages. Last week Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, assured MPs that the Government had secured additional ferry capacity to ensure the “unhindered” supply of medicines to the UK if the country leaves the EU without a deal. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

Brexit secretary met Labour MPs championing second referendum

The cabinet minister in charge of Brexit has held detailed talks with Labour MPs who are championing plans for a second referendum – amid signs of mounting desperation inside Theresa May’s government about what to do if the prime minister’s deal suffers another crushing defeat on Tuesday. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, called the meeting with Labour’s Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson in Downing Street last Thursday as negotiations with Brussels to resolve the deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop floundered and ministers privately began to concede that May’s plan could be doomed. Kyle told the Observer on Saturday that Barclay had “remained loyal to government policy”, which is to oppose any second referendum. But the MP for Hove said Barclay talked to him and Wilson for at least 45 minutes and was “fully engaged”. Under the Kyle-Wilson plan, which could receive Labour’s official backing after Tuesday’s vote but before Brexit day on 29 March, an amendment would be put down in parliament allowing MPs to approve May’s deal, but on the condition that it is then put to the country in a second public vote. The other option on the ballot paper would be to remain in the EU. – Observer

Call for Corbyn to sack MPs who do not support ‘People’s Vote’

A leading pro-European Labour MP has called on Jeremy Corbyn to sack any shadow ministers who refuse to support a second Brexit referendum. Ian Murray, a prominent supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said the Labour leader needed to prove his commitment to a referendum by telling his MPs to back the measure in any Westminster vote, or else face sanctions. Many pro-EU Labour MPs suspect Corbyn has been forced into reluctantly supporting a second referendum and could fail to properly enforce the policy when the amendment calling for one is put to the Commons. It has been proposed by two Labour backbenchers, Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson. “The problem with the Kyle-Wilson amendment is this: it will only pass if the Labour front bench enthusiastically support it, whip it, then we win it,” Murray told a fringe event at the Scottish Labour party conference in Dundee on Saturday. – Observer

Anonymous Civil Servant: I can reveal Whitehall’s secret Brexit plan: stop it dead

The four core values of the civil service are honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity. Before joining the organisation I had believed, naively, that these values would be upheld unconditionally. I very quickly came to learn that, in relation to Brexit, nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, I must remain anonymous for fear of the backlash I would receive at my place of work. However, I can reveal that I am a senior policy professional within the civil service and work closely with numerous governmental departments. There are a number of extremely dangerous myths regarding civil servants that I must dispel because of the impact they are having on the Brexit process. The power and competence of our ministers is, I’m afraid, a facade. They are nothing more than a megaphone for the views of biased civil servants who lurk behind them in the shadows. I am a long-standing believer in and supporter of the “leave” campaign. Not so long ago we celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The UK has been built on the pillars of democracy and we have the greatest legal system in the world. It is absolutely shameful that while we remain in the EU our parliament is no longer sovereign, our Supreme Court is no longer supreme and our nation is no longer self-governing. To go against the will of the people expressed in the 2016 referendum would be the ultimate act of betrayal. – Anonymous Civil Servant for the Sunday Times (£)

Steve Baker and Nigel Dodds: The UK must leave the EU on 29th March

With deep soul-searching, grim determination and many reservations, on 29 January, we brought together Conservatives and the DUP on an amendment to give the Prime Minister a mandate to rescue the Withdrawal Agreement. The Brady amendment required replacement of its most controversial feature: the potentially indefinite and inescapable backstop protocol on the Irish border which would divide our country and trap us in the EU Customs Union. All but three Conservatives voted for it. We rallied to this approach because on it rested the Malthouse Compromise designed to bring unity by replacing the backstop and limiting the duration of the Implementation Period. In our “Plan B”, we threw three safety nets around an exit with no agreement, to enable Parliament to deliver the referendum result on time. The Brady amendment was carried by 16 votes. It was clear what deal could get through Parliament. Today, as we approach further votes on our withdrawal, the political situation is grim. That the UK and the EU have agreed a work stream on alternative arrangements for the Irish border is a step forward, but the backstop is unchanged. Lesser proposals of a time limit or unilateral exit mechanism were rejected. Geoffrey Cox has negotiated with strength and resolve to be firmly and publicly rebuffed. Malthouse Compromise Plan A has failed. It is inevitable this unchanged Withdrawal Agreement will be voted down again. The Union of the UK is too precious to put at risk and Eurosceptics do not trust the EU to regulate our economy in the backstop. If the Government and Parliamentarians want to avoid overthrowing the Referendum result and threatening faith in democracy itself, if they want to avoid the political chaos of a purposeless extension, it is time for them to embrace Malthouse Compromise Plan B and leave on 29 March, offering all sides the three safety nets of our basic transition agreement. – Steve Baker MP and Nigel Dodds MP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: Useful idiots in the Cabinet destroyed our only leverage – the EU are simply laughing in Geoffrey Cox’s face

The sight of a downcast Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, returning to Britain after yet more failed talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier was galling. If reports are to be believed, the EU has acted in bad faith and rejected his proposals for a simple but legally binding guarantee that the backstop – the agreement which prevents a hard border in Ireland – would not lock Britain in forever. And it is clear that unless there is such a guarantee, the backstop – which puts us in ‘temporary’ alignment with EU trade rules – is indeed a trap from which the UK might never escape. The problem is that the Attorney General was sent to negotiate these changes without any leverage at all. And this is because from the end of 2017, the Government has made a series of fundamental mistakes. Instead of approaching these long-running talks with Europe as a true negotiation based on ambitious hopes for Brexit, they have treated them as an exercise in damage limitation. This, in turn, has led the Government to sign up to a withdrawal deal that leaves us – as rule takers – £39 billion worse off, with Northern Ireland locked into the EU. And now, to make matters still worse, there has been a damaging revolt by three Remainer Cabinet Ministers – Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke. Astonishingly, they broke the vital rule of Cabinet collective responsibility and mounted a public attack on the Government’s clear position that No Deal would be better than a bad deal. This, remember, is the policy upon which all three had been elected. This reverberated around the EU Commission and undermined any final shred of power the Government still had. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for the Mail on Sunday

Keir Starmer: Why we’ll vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a second time

If Theresa May’s deal is rejected by Parliament again on Tuesday, it will be another humiliation for her, her Government and for our country too. I know how frustrated people are with this situation. These past two years we’ve been badly let down by an incapable Prime Minister and an incompetent Government too busy fighting with itself to focus on what is in the best interests of the country. After two years of failure, we need a change of approach. More than fifty days ago, Theresa May suffered the worst parliamentary defeat of any Prime Minister in history over her failed Brexit deal. Immediately after that defeat she had a choice. She could have tried to find common ground for a deal that Parliament could and would accept. Alternatively she could have chosen to continue her focus on the extreme in her own party and pander to their demands. The Prime Minister chose the second option. Once again she put the interests of the Conservative Party before the interests of the country. Since then we’ve seen the spectacle of a government desperately promising changes to a deal it knows it cannot deliver. Ministers have raised expectations that they cannot fulfil. This is as irresponsible as it is reckless. In doing so, the Prime Minister has run down the clock and wasted the opportunity to broker an agreement that could have united the country. The stark truth is that the deal the Prime Minister brings back this week will not have changed. Labour voted the deal down in January for good reasons and we firmly believe that we have no choice but to do so again in the coming days. – Sir Keir Starmer MP for the Sunday Mirror

David Campbell Bannerman: We have been dancing to the EU’s tune, now it’s time to vote on something that is deliverable

On March 13th, if the meaningful vote on the deal fails again in spite of Geoffrey Cox’s legal acrobatics, there will be an MP vote on something that doesn’t actually exist: the so called ‘no deal’ exit. It doesn’t exist because even what people call ‘no deal’ involves some negotiated deals. They may be smaller, bilateral, sector specific deals, often termed ‘standstill’ agreements, but are nevertheless important. As an MEP I have already voted for four such mini deals – an arrangement for British car certifications to continue under ‘no deal’, permission for the EU to sell us their goods as a third country, an aviation deal to allow flights to continue to fly and a road haulage deal to allow trucks to continue to roll. The Strasbourg European Parliament next week will see hours of voting on more ‘no deal’ measures under ‘simplified procedure’. The EU’s chart of recommended ‘no deal’ measures runs from reciprocal fishing rights and shipping inspections to nuclear energy to continuing the Northern Ireland PEACE and Erasmus Plus student programmes. The Mayor of Calais is actually offended the U.K. thinks there will be any holdups.  Let’s amend the so called ‘no deal’ vote on 13th March to incorporate GATT Article 24, and Plan B of Malthouse, as this is a sensible alternative basic deal. Also, if necessary, let’s allow a strictly temporary extension of Article 50 of three months to 29th June, appealing to those who would favour an extension in a possible third vote. This extension will not be to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, but to prepare to enact Article 24 and its happy band of mini deals. With only an 8 MP majority for the Spelman amendment, just 5 MPs need persuading. It might just pass. – David Campbell Bannerman MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Janet Daley: Mrs May’s deal is our only way out of the EU, Brexiteers have to take it

It’s not perfect, but the most important thing is to reclaim our sovereignty. Yes, this is really happening. Conservative Brexiteers, known in a more innocent age as “Eurosceptics”, are about to allow the only chance of escaping the European Leviathan to slip away, in their furious exasperation with the incompetence and duplicity of their own prime minister. That this disgust may be justified is, for our purposes here, beside the point. In the meantime, Conservative Remainers have effectively destroyed the credibility of their own government by acts of almost unbelievable treachery against the electorate in general and their own constituents in particular. Is this hell? Will the country be prepared to plunge into this horrendous divisive process ever again? I really, really doubt it. If this is to happen at all, it will have to be now. Once we are out, we are out. The future of a sovereign country is in its own hands. For the sake of what should be the central principle – that the democratic nation state can survive – vote for the deal. – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Steve Baker: It’s scandalous for rebellious MPs to say the Brexit vote is worthless

For hundreds of years there has been a great principle in this country. It determines how you are ruled. It says just this: You get the government you voted for. It’s a good system. I’m all in favour of it. But next week that could change. Why? Why else? Because some MPs want to ignore how you voted in the Brexit referendum. In the UK we have elections, you vote for candidates, and if enough of those candidates get elected their party, or parties, can form a government. You voted for them, you can get rid of them. It’s why we stand on manifestos: So that you can judge us, the politicians, against our promises. Your elected government controls the work of the House of Commons. It’s accountable to you, and when it makes mistakes, you can vote that government out at the next election. However, some MPs don’t want Brexit. And they don’t want to respect the Referendum result. And they have a cunning plan. Oliver Letwin, one of the nicest and cleverest people in politics, and another Conservative MP called Nick Boles, plan to support a move to take control of the Commons from the Government YOU elected. Instead, the Commons would be managed by a shadowy committee of grandees. They, and not the elected Government, would control what Parliament does. This would change the way this country has been run for centuries. Why? Why would conservatives want such a revolution? Because they don’t want Brexit. – Steve Baker MP for The Sun

Sunday Telegraph: MPs should vote down the Withdrawal Agreement – again. As the PM likes to say, ‘nothing has changed’

Unless it is drastically, miraculously rewritten in the next 48 hours, MPs should vote down the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday. As the Prime Minister likes to say, nothing has changed. The deal is just as terrible now as it was when Parliament defeated it by a majority of 230 in January, and it deserves the exact same short shrift. The fact that the clock is running down isn’t a reason to suddenly surrender and sign up to what would be the most humiliating treaty this country has ever agreed to. After Mrs May’s historic defeat, Brexiteers bent over backwards, making endless concessions and reducing their demands to the bare minimum. Even with a way out of the backstop, the deal would still be poor for Britain, but at least it wouldn’t trap us in a defenceless position ahead of the next round of talks – turning us into permanent supplicants, forced to concede everything. – Sunday Telegraph (£) editorial

The Sun: While Theresa May’s Brexit deal is far from perfect, the alternatives would be a shameful betrayal of voters

MPs must this week rally around Theresa May’s Brexit deal – it is the only way the UK can achieve a dignified departure from the EU and honour the will of the people. With a jet on standby at RAF Northolt to fly her to Brussels, the PM is clearly still hopeful that a last-ditch agreement on the backstop issue can be reached. While the deal is far from perfect, the alternatives would be a shameful betrayal of voters. MPs are highly unlikely to back No Deal. A vote to delay our leaving will be victory only for the Brexit blockers, bringing soft Brexit or no Brexit at all. It would create yet more wrangling and the prospect of a second vote that would split the country and undermine democracy. The dividend for backing Mrs May’s deal will be immediate and welcome. Britain will save billions in payments to the EU — the price for us staying for just four months would be an extra £6.5billion. And it will also release money earmarked for a possible No Deal. Chancellor Philip Hammond has a war chest of up to £16billion to splash on schools, hospitals and the Armed Forces if Brexit gets the go-ahead this week. Both Labour and Tory MPs are crying out for more money for projects across the country that have been shelved because of austerity. What better reason to end the agony of this seemingly endless Brexit debate and get this great country moving again? – The Sun on Sunday says

James Forsyth: Is there any way that May’s deal could pass on Tuesday?

The government’s efforts to get changes to the backstop have run into a brick wall in Brussels. The EU thinks, with justification, that MPs won’t allow no deal and so feels under no pressure to make significant concessions. As I write in The Sun this morning, one minister fully briefed on the negotiations says ‘we’re at what the hell do we do time’. But without a change to the backstop, Theresa May’s deal is going down to another heavy defeat on Tuesday. That won’t be the end of the matter, though. For the next day, parliament will vote against leaving on March 29th with no deal. Parliament will then almost certainly vote to request an extension to Article 50. At this moment, the UK would be in the EU’s hands. As one weary Number 10 source admits, ‘They’d be in a position of being able to dictate terms.’ It would be up to the EU to decide whether to grant an extension, how long it would be for and what conditions would be attached to it. The EU would almost certainly grant one. But what terms it would come with remains to be seen.If progress on the backstop was combined with a commitment from May that she would step down before phase 2 of the negotiations, then the deal might pass. I understand that a leading Brexiteer backbencher conveyed this message to influential figures in the government this week. – James Forsyth for The Spectator

Jon Cruddas and Nick Lowles: A second Brexit referendum cannot leave no deal off the ballot

The British public are deeply divided over a second referendum. Unsurprisingly, most who voted Leave are against, while those who supported Remain tend to be in favour. In general, those who oppose a second referendum, including large numbers of Labour MPs, remain suspicious of the motives behind the People’s Vote campaign. Essentially they view it as a vehicle to overturn the 2016 referendum result; an outcome the campaigners never accepted. As such, many argue, it will further erode trust in the political system and aggressively fuel the far right. Part of the public’s frustration is being shut out of the process. Poll after poll has shown that people want to be consulted and involved in the process. The parliamentary impasse has only deepened this frustration. Could a new referendum help resolve these tensions through involving the people in the final decision? Advocates for a people’s vote argue for it on these simple democratic grounds. Yet a new referendum comes with huge risks. Keeping no deal off the ballot would disenfranchise 30%-40% of the population and lead to understandable claims that the vote was being rigged. For a second referendum to be legitimate it has to be considered fair. All sides need to feel that they have a chance of winning – all views need to have skin in the game. If not, the process will be seen to have been corrupted. – Jon Cruddas MP and Nick Lowles for the Observer

Andrew Rawnsley: Brexit is heading towards extra time. The question then is: to what purpose?

If both her deal and no-deal have been rejected, Britain is going to need more time and parliament will very likely vote to instruct Mrs May to ask the EU for a delay to the withdrawal date. This is something else that she has previously sworn that she would never countenance, but she couldn’t realistically defy a parliamentary instruction to ask for extra time. In which case, it is quite likely that she will pre-empt a parliamentary vote by unilaterally declaring that she is going to seek an extension. She might well do this in the immediate wake of the defeat of her deal, in an attempt to maintain some grip, however fragile, over the process. An extension is not in itself any answer to the Brexit nightmare because it comes with a host of questions. How long a delay? Three months? Six months? A year? Two years? And for what purpose? The intended purpose of delay is more important than its length. This will be a big issue for the EU, which has to agree to a postponement. An extension can only happen with the unanimous agreement of every one of its members. Each state, large or small, from Malta to Germany, Estonia to Italy, can wield a veto. Before they grant what they will see as a favour to Britain, they will want to know how it intends to spend the extra time. The EU really doesn’t want to be confronted with Britain coming back again and again to ask for further extensions, like a schoolboy who can never finish his homework. – Andrew Rawnsley for the Observer

Brexit in Brief

  • Tory rebels must not open the door to a Corbyn revolution – Sunday Times (£) editorial
  • Vets are being swamped with Brexit questions from ‘anxious and frustrated’ pet owners – iNews
  • The EU is ‘strangling innovation’ and trying to wreck UK-US relations, claims Donald Trump’s ‘man in London’ – Mail on Sunday