Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update.
Conservatives trigger vote of no confidence in Theresa May
Brexit plans were thrown into chaos this morning as it was confirmed that the Conservative party had triggered a vote of no-confidence against Theresa May.
Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, has received the minimum 48 letters of no-confidence from Tory MPs needed to launch a motion against May.
A ballot will be held on Wednesday evening between 6pm and 8pm, Brady said, with votes counted “immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made as soon as possible”.
On Tuesday, former environment secretary Owen Paterson became the latest to call for a vote of no-confidence, publishing his ‘letter of no-confidence’ in the Telegraph, where he wrote that “the Prime Minister’s proposed “deal” is so bad that it cannot be considered anything other than a betrayal of clear manifesto promises.”
The Independent and BBC both opened today with ‘unconfirmed reports’ that enough votes have been submitted toSir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative’s 1922 committee – the criteria needed to begin a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister.
Downing Street says ‘meaningful vote’ will take place before 21 January
Theresa May’s Brexit deal will return to parliament before 21 January for a ‘meaningful vote’, Downing Street has said.
May first mentioned the deadline for the vote in her speech on Monday, when she announced that the vote would not take place on the originally planned 11 December date.
The prime minister’s spokesman said on Tuesday: “We will be keeping with the spirit of the act, and by doing so the government will ensure that the withdrawal agreement is brought back to the house before 21 January.”
The prime minister is now approaching EU leaders in a last-ditch attempt to seek reassurances that the backstop – the most contentious point of her Brexit deal – is not intended to be used by EU member states, and that if it was used, it would only be temporary.
Merkel tells May: the Brexit deal cannot be renegotiated
German chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out any chance of Theresa May re-negotiating the Brexit deal, after meeting with the prime minister on Tuesday.
“We said that there will be no further opening of the exit deal,” Merkel said after her meeting with May in Berlin.
The PM had met the chancellor on Tuesday to try and solicit concessions from her EU colleague in order to improve the chances of her Brexit deal winning a ‘meaningful vote’ in parliament.
Earlier in the day, EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had also poured cold water on the possibility of further concessions, saying that there was “no room whatsoever” for re-negotiating the deal.
May seemed to dismiss any cause for concern when she responded to reporters on Tuesday evening, saying that her talks had shown there was “shared determination” between EU members to give reassurances on the backstop.
EU ramps up no-deal preparations
The EU has now begun ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, as the likelihood of the UK crashing out of the bloc has seemingly increased with each new development of the past few weeks.
European Council president Donald Tusk originally said that the EU would be ramping up no-deal preparations shortly after news broke on Monday that the vote for UK MPs will be delayed.
Now, the European Commission is preparing to publish a set of new no-deal warnings, and in the UK the government’s Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is likely to do the same.