Politics update: Cross-party motion launched to block no-deal Brexit, Brussels offers May non-binding assurances on backstop

Theresa May

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update:

Labour backs cross-party amendment to block no-deal Brexit

Yvette Cooper Brexit

The Labour party is expected to support a backbench amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper which could see the government’s tax powers restricted unless a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.

On Monday, the Labour frontbench suggested it was likely to whip its MPs to back the amendment to the finance bill, which could lead the government to concede, as around a dozen conservatives also seem poised to support the amendment.

Cooper, the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, also penned an article in the Guardian on Monday, where she wrote about the dangers of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal, saying: “For the sake of families, businesses and our country, we have to make sure that we can prevent the chaos and damage of a no-deal Brexit.”

As for the potential effect the amendment could have on the government’s Brexit plans, one treasury source told the newspaper: “It makes things more difficult but compared to the general effect of no deal, it adds to problems but it is quite a long way down. It does not stop no deal.”

MPs raise safety fears with police after Anna Soubry subjected to ‘Nazi’ taunts

Anna Soubry Protesters

Anna Soubry with Protesters outside parliament on Monday

Dozens of MPs have written a letter to the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, asking for better safety outside parliament, after the Conservative MP Anna Soubry was accosted by protesters.

At least 55 parliamentarians signed the letter, sent to the Met’s most senior police officer, which asks for better measures to protect against “intimidatory and potentially criminal acts”. The letter was signed after speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow urged police to do more on Monday.

Soubry was accused “of being a Nazi”, while being interviewed on the BBC News channel on Monday. She has called for the protesters to be prosecuted for the incident under public order laws.

Cross-party report says England needs 3m new social homes

A cross-party commission has found that England is in need of 3m new social homes in the next 20 years, in order to protect those at risk in overcrowded or unsuitable homes.

The year-long commission, launched in the wake of the Grenfell tower disaster, says that the biggest housing drive the country’s history is needed to rescue millions at risk of living in poor housing in the future. The numbers of new homes would exceed the amount built in the two decades after the second world war.

The commission includes former Labour leader Ed Miliband, and former Conservative party chair, Sayeeda Warsi. Miliband told the Guardian newspaper that when it comes to social housing in England, “the time for the government to act is now,”

“We have never felt so divided as a nation, but building social homes is a priority for people right across our country. It is the way we can restore hope, build strong communities and fix the broken housing market so that we can meet the needs and aspirations of millions of people,” the former Labour leader said.

Brussels to offer non-binding letter to assure May over backstop

It has been revealed that EU leaders are to offer Theresa May little more than a letter with further non-binding assurances over the Irish border backstop, as she seeks to strengthen her Brexit deal before returning to parliament.

The prime minister is attempting to seeks last-minute assurances that would help her deal get the support needed to pass through parliament, when MPs get their ‘meaningful vote’ in the coming week. Ideally, the prime minister would like to see legally binding assurances from EU leaders that the backstop would only be a temporary measure.

However Brussels sources said on Monday that May is likely to receive no more than an “exchange of letters”, which would confirm the EU’s intention to reach a trade deal with the UK quickly during the transition period.

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