UK & other courts
Four women have won a High Court challenge over the controversial universal credit regime after arguing that there was a “fundamental problem” that resulted in their monthly payments varying “enormously”, discussed in The Times.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Veteran Tory MP, Sir Edward Leigh, who was appointed a Privy Counsellor by Theresa May has announced he has changed his mind and will now support her Brexit deal. However, a string of Conservative ex-ministers have urged Tory MPs to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in favour of leaving the EU without an agreement. Meanwhile the Prime Minister has warned that MPs could do “catastrophic” damage to the public’s faith in democracy if they fail to back her Brexit deal. By contrast, Sir John Major has called on Theresa May to revoke art 50 in order to avoid the possibility of a “damaging” no-deal Brexit.
According to reports, diplomatic sources from Brussels have stated that the EU is braced for a request from Theresa May to delay Brexit until at least July. Meanwhile, according to German newspaper Bild, more than 100 MEPs have written a letter asking the UK to reconsider leaving.
On the morning of the meaningful vote The Guardian reported on the newspaper coverage of Brexit as papers ‘played to their readerships’. The Financial Times has discussed what the Plan B options are for if Theresa May’s deal is defeated.
The Institute for Government has published a list of the tabled amendments to the meaningful vote motion. Labour MP Hilary Benn bowed to pressure from his party colleagues and pulled his amendment to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, hours before the vote, because a victory may have masked the true scale of the prime minister’s defeat on the deal.
Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker sent a letter to Theresa May in an attempt to assist her in getting her Brexit deal passed. The Guardian has explained the legal and political assurances in the letters.
It was widely reported that Theresa May would face a crushing defeat on her Brexit deal in the parliamentary vote. Theresa May’s deal was defeated by 230 votes, leading the EU to escalate no deal planning, and The Guardian has done a round-up of what the papers are saying about it.
In Europe, Macron has stated that there is little scope to improve the terms of the deal, Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has said there will be no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement, and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said she sorry about London’s decision and a no deal Brexit is the worst of all options. More than two dozen leading figures from German politics, industry and the arts, including Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, have announced an “unprecedented” cross-party campaign to persuade Britain “from the bottom of our hearts” to remain.
The defeat has led Corbyn to table a motion of no confidence in the Government, which he lost by a margin of 19 votes. The Liberal Democrats have said they will not support Labour in future no-confidence votes unless the party backs a second referendum, making it almost impossible that the party could force a general election.
Dublin held the line that the Brexit withdrawal treaty is the ‘best way’ to ensure an orderly Brexit, calling on Britain to set out proposals to move forward after Theresa May’s defeat.
The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a response to the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, setting out the options for Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn has refused to discuss Brexit options with Theresa May until she rules out the idea of a no-deal departure. Meanwhile Sarah Wollaston has pledged to put down an amendment to Theresa May’s Brexit plan, proposing the second referendum. However, though opposition leaders have issued a last-ditch plea to Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum on Brexit after he failed to trigger a general election, a number of Labour frontbenchers say they would consider resigning if their leader backed the idea.
Theresa May’s talks with opposition parties about a Brexit plan B have descended into acrimony as she has told MPs that she cannot make substantial changes to her existing plan despite its overwhelming rejection in the Commons. Meanwhile, Cabinet splits on Brexit burst open last night as senior figures scrapped over whether Theresa May should pursue a softer EU departure, and Philip Hammond has told business chiefs that a “significant majority” of MPs could team up next week to stop a no-deal Brexit and revoke art 50.
According to The Times, EU officials are examining plans to delay Brexit until 2020 after Germany and France indicated their willingness to extend withdrawal negotiations because of Britain’s political turmoil. Lawyers have advised the European Parliament that the UK can extend its EU membership beyond the summer of 2019 without taking part in European elections or undermining the parliament.