Politics update: Barnier says no-deal cannot be blocked by MPs, counter-terrorism chief warns of far right violence

Politics News Update 24.01.2019 Michael Barnier Brexit

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update:

Labour ready to whip MPs to support amendment blocking no-deal


The Labour party looks set to whip its MP to support an amendment led by Yvette Cooper which would mandate MPs to extend article 50, to block a no-deal Brexit.

The amendment, originally tabled by Cooper, a Labour MP, along with former Conservative ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles, would mark the first step towards parliament extending article 50. Cooper met Jeremy Corbyn for talks about the party’s Brexit strategy on Wednesday.

The Guardian newspaper reports that Labour would prefer the amendment to specify a shorter extension to the Brexit date than nine months, as this would run past the European elections.

The amendment appears to have growing support in the Commons. Within hours of the Cooper-Boles amendment being tabled, it had already been signed by four Tory MPs, 23 Labour MPs, plus members of the Liberal Democrats and Welsh and Scottish nationalist parties.

The motion is set to be voted on in parliament next Tuesday.

Police chief warns of far-right violence around Brexit

Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism policing

Britain’s counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu has warned that the far right could use Brexit tensions to trigger a rise in hate crime, and create an atmosphere that could potentially be exploited by terrorists.

Basu told the Guardian newspaper he was concerned that far rightwing rhetoric could fuel tensions that ‘spill over’, similar to the pattern seen that sees a rise in terrorism after Islamist propaganda is spread to incite hatred.

Basu added that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Britain could see a loss of intelligence and data-sharing from the EU’s 27 countries, creating a “deep concern” with regards to Britain’s safety.

Speaking earlier this week, Basu said: “My concern is the polarisation, and I fear the far-right politicking and rhetoric leads to a rise in hate crime and a rise in disorder.”

Basu added that ‘small but vocal groups’ such as those led by far-right activists could fuel the issue, saying: “I am concerned about a small number of individuals trying to make a name for themselves such as Tommy Robinson.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg: May should delay parliament if MPs block no-deal


Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged Theresa May to suspend parliament if MPs vote in favour of plans to block the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Mogg, who chairs the eurosceptic European Research Group, said on Wednesday that the prime minister should discontinue the current parliamentary session, if attempts by MPs to thwart a no-deal Brexit are successful.

Earlier this week an amendment was tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and former Conservative ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles, which aims to delay article 50 in order to prevent the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking on Wednesday, Rees-Mogg said: “If the House of Commons undermines our basic constitutional conventions then the executive is entitled to use other vestigial constitutional means to stop it. “By which I basically mean prorogation … And I think that would be the government’s answer, that is the government’s backstop, to use a choice phrase.”

Michel Barnier: opposing no-deal Brexit will not stop it in March

Politics Update Michael Barnier Brexit Leak

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned that the move led by Yvette Cooper to attempt to block the government from carrying out a no-deal Brexit would not “not stop a no-deal from happening at the end of March”, unless an alternative deal is reached.
Barnier, a vocal figure throughout the entire Brexit process, said in a speech in Brussels on Wednesday that no-deal was still the “default” for the UK, if a “positive majority” for another deal with the bloc cannot be found by the 29 March.

Speaking on Wednesday, Barnier said: “There appears to be a majority in the Commons to oppose a no-deal but opposing a no-deal will not stop a no-deal from happening at the end of March”.

“To stop ‘no deal’, a positive majority for another solution will need to emerge.”

The move comes as Labour looks ready to whip MPs to support the Cooper-Boles amendment, with Jeremy Corbyn “seriously considering” throwing the weight of his party behind the motion, according to sources close to the leader.

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