May will ask Macron and Merkel for Brexit extension
Theresa May will ask for another extension to Brexit when she meets Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, risking serious upset on the pro-Brexit side of her party.
The prime minister will promise that Britain will abide by all EU rules until the day of its departure, in an effort to win support for the extension. Whilst the EU is likely to grant an extension, it is most likely to be a lengthy one that would see Britain taking part in EU elections.
May will attempt to persuade EU leaders that, given a short extension, serious progress can still be made in talks with the Labour party – talks which have thus far not resulted in any compromises.
Speaking on Tuesday, May’s official spokeswoman said: “This is obviously a unique European council specifically focused on Brexit. The PM set out a clear ask in terms of an extension and it is important that she set out the rationale for that.”
Graham Brady rules out ‘indicative vote of confidence’ in May
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative’s 1922 committee of backbenchers, has ruled out calls for an indicative vote of confidence in Theresa May, after Mark Francois wrote to him calling the prime minister “a failure as leader of our party”.
Francois, a prominent member of the European Research Group – one of the leading pro-Brexit groups – has called for a vote to be allowed in order to demonstrate the lack of confidence in May’s leadership.
May’s leadership cannot be formally challenged until beyond December, after she survived a vote of no confidence last year by 200 votes to 117. Brady said this week that although an indicative vote was possible, it was neither necessary nor appropriate to hold such a vote at this point.
Barnier: “EU will stand fully behind Ireland” on backstop in event of no deal
Michel Barnier has pledged his support for the Irish border backstop, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The EU’s chief negotiator said in a joint press conference with Irish premier Leo Varadkar that “the EU will stand fully behind Ireland”, even if Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal.
Standing on the stage on Monday, Barnier told Varadkar: “You have our full support.”
“The backstop is currently the only solution we have found to maintain the status quo on the island of Ireland … Let me be very clear. We would not discuss anything with the UK until there is an agreement for Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as for citizens’ rights and financial settlement.”
Home Office apologises to Windrush generation after data protection breach
The Home Office has apologised to Windrush generation citizens after admitting it wrongly shared 500 private email addresses in an “administrative error”, breaching data protection rules.
The error was made whilst launching the compensation scheme for the Windrush generation – when emails had been sent out to “interested parties” who wanted to hear more about the scheme.
Last year the Home Office was caught up in a scandal when it was revealed that many people from the Windrush generation had been wrongly detained, and in many cases deported from the UK, despite being citizens for decades.
The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as home secretary, saying she had “inadvertently misled the Home Affairs Select Committee […] on the issue of illegal immigration.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “Regrettably, in promoting the scheme via email to interested parties, an administrative error was made which has meant data protection requirements have not been met, for which the Home Office apologises unreservedly.”