Politics update: May gives MPs opportunity to delay Brexit, as the government warns of 9% impact on UK economy

Politics update 27.02.2019 Theresa May

Good morning. Here’s your daily Politics Update.

Independent group tables second referendum motion

The independent group of MPs
The independent group, comprised of former Labour and Conservative MPs

The independent group formed of former Labour and Conservative MPs has tabled an amendment calling for a second Brexit referendum.

The group, which includes prominent Tory and Labour MPs who resigned from their parties last week, said that the amendment could make progress towards a ‘People’s Vote’ if the Labour party was to put its weight behind the motion to support it.

The move comes soon after the Labour party said it would give its support to a fresh referendum if the Commons did not support its own Brexit plans.

Chris Leslie, who joined the independent group last week after resigning from the Labour party, said: “At this eleventh hour, it’s vital that preparations take place for a People’s Vote. This cross-party amendment would require the prime minister to take the steps needed so the public could take control and break through the Brexit gridlock.”

“With Labour now signalling it may support a confirmatory referendum in the weeks ahead, there is no reason to hold back on vital measures to pave the way.

“If the Labour leadership supports this amendment, we could make real progress on a People’s Vote. Now is the time to put the national interest first. Parliament must act now.”

May allows for Brexit delay

Theresa May

Theresa May has put forward steps for MPs to vote for a delay to Brexit, if the prime minister fails to gain enough support for her deal in the Commons.

On Tuesday the prime minister announced the next steps of her Brexit plan, which would first see her deal return to the Commons – planned no later than 12 March. If this does not pass, MPs would be allowed to vote on a motion in favour of or against a no-deal Brexit. If MPs vote against no-deal, then they would be presented with the opportunity to vote to extend article 50.

Speaking on Tuesday, the prime minister said that if MPs vote against no-deal, then “the government will, on 14 March, bring forward a motion on whether parliament wants to seek a short, limited extension to Article 50.”

Responding to the news, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The prime minister has become quite the expert at kicking the can down the road, but the problem is the road is running out.”

The Independent’s Tom Peck points out that May has said Britain is leaving the EU on 29 March 79 times.

UK economy would be 9% weaker under no-deal, government warns

Brexit-Image-London-Stock-Exchange

The government has warned that the UK’s economy could be 9% weaker as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

An official document published after repeated demands by former Tory MP Anna Soubry (now a member of the independent group) showed that the government was also behind on contingency planning for a third of “critical projects” in relation to business and trade.

In addition to the stark warning about the economy, the document also states that the flow of goods through Dover would be “very significantly reduced for months”. The document goes on to add that with 30% of food coming from the EU, prices are likely to increase.

Chris Williamson: Labour has been ‘too apologetic’ about antisemitism

Close Corbyn ally Chris Williamson has been filmed at a Sheffield Momentum meeting saying that the Labour party had been “too apologetic” over recent anti semitism incidents in the party.

The Derby North MP was filmed telling a meeting of pro-Corbyn activists Labour should have pushed back more during the recent row over antisemitism.

“We’ve done more to actually address the scourge of antisemitism than any other political party, and yet we are being traduced,” he said in footage obtained by the Yorkshire Post.

“The party that has done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party.”

After the footage was released publicly, Luciana Berger, one of the Labour MPs who left the party last week to form the independent group, tweeted: “This is what I have left behind. It’s toxic. Our country deserves so much better.”

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