Politics update: Senior Tories warn May could be forced into soft Brexit, as new legislation is held up by deadlock

Politics update 01.04.2019

Gauke: May could be forced to accept soft Brexit if MPs unite around plan

David Gauke

Theresa May could be forced to accept a soft Brexit if MPs unite around the idea of a customs union, cabinet minister David Gauke has warned.

Gauke, the justice secretary, said that Britain had been plunged into ‘national crisis’ after MPs rejected the prime minister’s deal, and seized significantly more control of the Brexit process last week.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Gauke also warned that hardline Tory Brexiteers may be forced to accept a “second or third choice” in order to end the Brexit deadlock, as the party may no longer have the support to push through its manifesto pledges.

Gauke’s intervention was strengthened by a follow up by Conservative chief whip Julian Smith, who told the BBC on Monday that a soft Brexit was “inevitable.”

Watson calls for Labour to back second referendum

Tom Watson

Tom Watson has repeated his call for the Labour party to support a second Brexit referendum in order to defeat the Conservatives in a general election.

The deputy Labour leader said that his party must back a second vote in its manifesto in order to defeat the Conservatives in a snap election. The party is currently considering whether or not to table another motion of no confidence in the government – if supported, this motion would call an early general election.

Whilst Watson admitted that his party was split over Brexit, he argued that party leaders Jeremy Corbyn was fully committed to backing a second referendum.

“Whatever the deal looks like, if it is underpinned by a people’s vote, that is how we bring the country back together,” he said.

“It seems inconceivable that if there was a general election that a people’s vote was not in that manifesto,” he added.

Frustration as Brexit holds up key legislation in Whitehall


According to reports from the Guardian, Brexit is causing ‘paralysis across Whitehall’, with the current crisis delaying key pieces of legislation from being passed.

Policy and legislation such as those meant to limit the prosecution of soldiers, and eliminate drug dispensing errors, have been postponed as the government focuses on the Brexit crisis.

A Whitehall source told the newspaper: “The legislation was benign and had been discussed between the Ministry of Defence, the Northern Ireland Office and the attorney general’s office. But it has been delayed, with no official sign off, in part because of a lack of leadership. The problem is No 10.”

Home Office places legal duty on public sector to spot knife crime danger

The Home Office has made plans to place a legal duty on public sector workers to identify risks of knife crime amongst children.

The new public health approach aimed at tackling youth knife violence would call on teachers, doctors and other public sector workers to raise concerns about children at risk of being involved in an incident.

Whilst campaign groups have welcomed the idea, they warn that it would take a significant amount of funding in order for it to have an impact on knife crime in Britain.

Rhammel Afflick, a campaigner who works closely with young people in London, said: “The government have a habit of suggesting partnership work just magically happens without significant framework and infrastructure which is funded.”

“Without adequate funding, this will just place more pressures on already stretched public services”, he added.

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