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Live: UK Parliament debates Theresa May's latest Brexit plan

Live: UK Parliament debates Theresa May’s latest Brexit plan

The embattled prime minister's latest proposal would require parliament to vote on whether to hold a new public referendum over Brexit. #FoxNewsLive #FoxNews FOX News operates the FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN), FOX News Radio, FOX News…

Brexit talks take positive turn towards possible compromise

Cross-party talks on Brexit between the government and Labour have moved on to the “nuts and bolts” of a possible compromise, Labour’s Sue Hayman has said, with sources on both sides suggesting discussions were taking a more positive tone. Hayman, the shadow environment secretary, said it was “a really constructive discussion” that had been “getting much more into the nuts and bolts of the detail.” She said she now believed the government was “open to moving forward in our direction”. The government has all but abandoned plans to try to force through the Brexit deal using the withdrawal agreement bill and will instead try to devise a way to forge a compromise through new indicative votes if talks with Labour break down. Government sources had previously suggested that, if the talks ultimately ended in impasse, May could use the withdrawal agreement bill to ratify the Brexit agreement and legislate for guarantees on the environment and workers’ rights. However, it is understood the government now believes it is unlikely to reach an agreement with Labour that would enable it to bring the bill to parliament without risking it being voted down at second reading. Downing Street hopes it could get Labour support for a new process of indicative votes, meaning a guaranteed majority for whatever came out the other end, but that support is also not assured. Lidington has previously hinted that a new process for determining what could command a majority in parliament was now needed, rather than a process that produced no support for any option. The meeting in the Cabinet Office was held with their Labour counterparts, including the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, and Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary. The prime minister’s spokesman said the government wanted to get the EU withdrawal agreement bill through parliament first. “That is part of the current Queen’s speech cycle and we need to finish that work.” Bringing the speech forward could give MPs the opportunity to show there is no confidence in the government by voting it down, especially if parliament voted against the EU withdrawal bill and the Queen’s speech was used to introduce it again.

‘This is not about Brexit’: Labour faces credibility test in Stoke

However, the council has switched in recent years between Labour and no overall control, and is run by a coalition of Conservatives and the City Independents, which despite its name is a party and includes among its councillors longtime independents as well as defectors from parties as varied as Labour, Ukip and the British National party. Mohammed Pervez, the energetic leader of the Labour group, which remains the council’s biggest, is fighting an avowedly local campaign, focused on traditional areas such as litter, parking, potholes and schools. During a canvass of comfortably sized postwar terraced houses in his own ward north of the city centre, Pervez delivers a well-drilled message about “four years of chaos” covering everything from children’s services to road maintenance. Our challenge is to make people understand that this election is not about Brexit, but about local services. “We always get asked how, as independents, we have influence on the government,” James says. “But governments have never supported Stoke-on-Trent by putting money into it. The Conservative group leader, Abi Brown, who is number two to James in the council, recounts the period before 2015 when her party had two representatives – her and Brereton – and “were regarded as a bit of an irrelevance”. Now they have seven, and like Pervez, Brown is keen to keep the campaigning as far away as possible from national issues like Brexit: “I’d like to think that in the wards we hold, people know their councillors and while they might be unhappy with things at a national level – and it does get raised – they’ll vote on local issues. Landon declines to tell Pervez how he will vote – “all the councillors have always been rubbish. Now you can’t really predict anything.”

Farage: Brexit party will use EU poll to oust ‘remain parliament’

Railing against a “political class” who he said had betrayed the people of Britain, Farage claimed to more than a thousand supporters on Clacton pier that what was at stake was not just Brexit, but whether or not Britain was a democratic country. There would be uproar and they would be calling for the UN to be sent in … and yet it’s happening in our own country,” said Farage, who was introduced as “the godfather, the ‘guvnor’ of Brexit”. “So what would Brexit do for Clacton? It would make us proud of who we are again and you can’t put a price on that,” he said. Back in 2014, Farage had tucked into a McDonald’s McFlurry as he and a beaming Douglas Carswell strolled through the streets of the town after the latter had become the first Tory MP to defect to Ukip, then a rising force in British politics. “Here you are, one of the biggest leave towns in the country and yet you are represented by a remainer. Whether its considerable leave vote breaks in any number during the European elections either for Farage’s Brexit party or for Ukip – now led by Gerard Batten who has forged explicit links to far-right activists such as Tommy Robinson – remains to be seen, however. Michael and Janet Smith, former Ukip and Conservative voters, had driven down from Ipswich after learning of the rally on Facebook. They believed Farage’s party would win out over Ukip in the battle for Brexit supporters’ votes. “Ukip have been taken up with … how can I say this?

Sturgeon outlines new Scottish independence referendum plans

Nicola Sturgeon is to introduce new legislation to stage a second Scottish independence referendum, claiming that one must be held by May 2021. The first minister said Brexit would have such a catastrophic impact on Scotland’s economy and Westminster’s approach to it had been so chaotic that Scottish voters must have the option to choose independence. In a long-awaited statement to the Scottish parliament on her plans, Sturgeon said the proposed legislation would set out how a new referendum would be held if Holyrood was granted the powers to stage one. Scotland should get independence vote by May 2021 if Brexit going ahead, says Sturgeon – live news Read more On Tuesday, No 10 made clear that Theresa May would never authorise such a vote as prime minister. Sturgeon first announced she wanted new legislation for a second referendum in June 2016, immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU. Sturgeon stopped short of declaring a referendum would definitely be held, naming a date for one or repeating her call for the powers to hold one – evasions which will infuriate hardline independence campaigners. “Brexit has exposed a deep democratic deficit at the heart of how Scotland is governed. Others show that a majority of Scottish voters would support a referendum over the next decade. Sturgeon appeared to acknowledge there was not yet a majority in favour of leaving the UK and said she wanted to build consensus with opposition parties on Scotland’s constitutional and political future, in contrast to May’s insularity and intransigence on Brexit. At the same time, the Scottish government would set up a so-called citizens’ assembly, drawing people from across the country and the political spectrum, chaired by an independent figure, to start a debate on its constitutional future.

Labour says Theresa May unwilling to offer key Brexit concessions

Brexit talks resumed on Tuesday between a team of ministers and shadow ministers. Rachel Johnson and Gavin Esler to stand for Change UK Read more Downing Street continues to insist that it hopes to secure parliamentary ratification of a Brexit deal in time to avoid the UK having to participate in next month’s European parliament elections. The government has been considering tabling the WAB as a way of breaking the Brexit deadlock, but Labour has rejected the idea. After the talks, which involved the cabinet ministers David Lidington and Steve Barclay and their Labour shadows, Jeremy Corbyn blamed the government’s refusal to compromise on central issues such as membership of a customs union for the failure to make significant progress. The executive of the 1922 Committee met on Tuesday night to discuss amending Tory party rules, which currently state a leader cannot face a second no-confidence motion within a year of the previous one. Without Labour support, the government is unlikely to risk bringing back the WAB, which parliament must pass in order to ratify May’s Brexit deal. May’s deal was rejected for a third time last month, by a majority of 58. If the WAB is rejected at its second reading – MPs’ second opportunity to vote on it – the government could not bring it back in the current parliamentary session. One government source suggested May appeared to be paving the way for reluctantly accepting a customs union at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. But in order to be amended a bill must pass its second reading and Labour sources suggested the party would only be willing to offer its support if May first agreed to compromise.

Brexit adds to Northern Ireland’s broken politics

The main achievement of the Good Friday Agreement — the creation of power-sharing institutions — is not just unwell, but perhaps terminally ill. Like few places on earth, Northern Ireland lives its history. Stay at the multimillion pound Radisson Blu hotel in downtown Belfast and an Irish tricolor can be seen, stuck in a window of a flat in the “Markets” area — an Irish Catholic ghetto surrounded by Britishness and a derelict patch of grass. Politically, it is more Balkan than British or Irish. It created a land where you could be Irish or British — or both. “Politics here are based on allegiance and identity," wrote the columnist Brian Feeney in the Irish News last week, days before the shooting of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry/Londonderry on Thursday night. Look, it’s not going to happen.” The New IRA admitted responsibility for the killing on Monday — albeit with "full and sincere apologies" — a sign of the deadly tensions that are still simmering in Northern Ireland. The backstop, which aims to ensure no border controls are needed, treats Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the U.K., raising unionist fears that it is the start of the slow drift to Irish reunification — and the dominance of Irish nationalists over Ulster unionists. The old leaders who guided the peace process to its conclusion — and may have had the power and authority to save it now — are gone. Northern Ireland is not well. Sign up here.

Former communist standing as MEP for Farage’s Brexit party

Nigel Farage’s Brexit party has unveiled a former revolutionary communist who once supported Irish republicanism and opposed the Good Friday peace deal as one of five new candidates for the European elections. Claire Fox, who now styles herself as a libertarian and is a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme, told the launch event she most likely only agreed with Farage on one issue – Brexit. Claire Fox: infamy's child Read more “I’ve spent my whole life fighting for leftwing causes, so I can tell you, no one is more surprised than me to be standing as candidate for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party,” said Fox, a former member of the Revolutionary Communist party who is still involved in some of its successor organisations, such as the Academy of Ideas, which she heads. “To be honest, Nigel and I are unlikely to agree on a range of issues – workers, women’s rights, immigration, public services,” Fox told the launch event in Westminster. Earlier, Farage had promised his organisation would be about more than Brexit, saying it was “about changing politics for good, changing the shape of our political parties”. He added: “Please don’t think for one moment that the Brexit party is here just to get a process vote on 23 May – far from it, 23 May for us is just the beginning. “We have a two-party system and those parties now serve nothing, frankly, but themselves.” Farage castigated Labour for, as he put it, reneging on its promise to support Brexit, saying: “We’re going to go after that Labour vote in a very big way.” The other candidates unveiled were Lance Forman, a strongly pro-Brexit businessman who heads a family fish company; James Glancy, an ex-soldier who is now an environmental activist; Matthew Patten, a charity executive; and Christina Jordan, a former nurse described by the party as a community leader. Recent polls have suggested Farage’s new party, formed after he left Ukip over its switch to a hard-right, anti-Islam stance, could win the most votes if the UK takes part in European elections on 23 May. Before Easter, the party announced its first five candidates, among them Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Richard Tice, a property millionaire and long-time Farage ally who will also chair the party.

Cross-party unity could be the key to Brexit deal

As you report (Beckett warns of Farage win if Labour hedges its bets, 18 April), the latest YouGov poll gives the hardline leave parties (Brexit and Ukip) 34%. On these numbers, the anti-Brexit parties in England and Wales will find it hard to win more than half a dozen seats between them, and the media will report a massive Brexit triumph. Any failed, partial or zero Brexit will bring the Brexit party to power in some way, but the real threat is a massive upset to the British political applecart at the first general election after some version of a failed Brexit. The alternative to Beckett’s suggestion is for remainers to support Brexit to keep the far right from power, which could be a disastrous smash and grab of our liberal democracy and take years to recover from. But, depressingly, you also reported on the efforts of a number of Labour MPs to perpetuate the party’s equivocation through drumming up opposition to a second referendum (Report, 19 April). How disastrous for the party electorally, but much more importantly for the UK’s survival prospects. In the slightly longer term, they make more likely the disaster of a no-deal Brexit or its practical equivalent, a deal quickly dishonoured by whoever Conservative activists choose as the UK’s next prime minister. In mainly leave areas, perhaps the Labour party could persuade the coalition that a leave-friendly Labour candidate might be able to take on, say, someone from the Brexit or Ukip parties. The EU elections, if the UK has to participate in them, is not a scramble for who ends up with the most remain MEPs. The EU elections are predicated upon a different system, in which smaller parties stand a chance of having a candidate selected in succeeding rounds.

Theresa May could put off Queen’s speech amid Brexit turmoil

Theresa May could put off the Queen’s speech until later this year, with government sources saying there were no immediate plans to bring one forward while parliament had not yet approved a Brexit deal. May had been widely expected to schedule a Queen’s speech setting out the government’s legislative agenda within weeks, because she announced a two-year parliamentary session in mid-June 2017. “There’s no obligation to have one at a fixed point and there’s no immediate plans to bring forward a Queen’s speech,” the source said. There is usually one Queen’s speech each year, and it has taken place in May or June in recent years, but Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, announced a two-year session after the last election in order to “build the broadest possible consensus for our Brexit plans”. Bringing one forward could give MPs the opportunity to show there is no confidence in the government by voting it down, especially if parliament voted against the EU withdrawal bill and the Queen’s speech was used to introduce it again. May only has a majority with the backing of the DUP, but relations are weak following the party’s refusal to back her withdrawal bill. One concern in No 10 is that if its EU withdrawal bill was voted down, it would have to prorogue parliament and have a Queen’s speech in order to bring it back again. Other factors include the government having all but run out of legislation for parliament to debate other than bills connected to Brexit, and the likelihood of a furious reaction from MPs, including those in the DUP. “There’s no point in a parliamentary session if we’ve not got anything to do. I never knew the real meaning of the word doldrums until this parliament,” he said.