Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May’s Brexit speech, and her statement to MPs
Any MP who has been in parliament for a while will have lived through the odd crisis or two, but there is no precedent in recent times for anything quite as momentous as this. It is not just that, if Theresa May loses the vote on the Brexit deal tomorrow by more than a 100 votes (a distinct possibility), that will amount to the biggest government defeat for almost 100 years. It is not just that this is an issue that has polarised the country, and split both main parties (although particularly the Conservatives). It is not just that parliamentary conventions are being upturned, and that one possible outcome could involve economic catastrophe (although some people say otherwise – see below). What makes this situation particularly remarkable is that no one is even pretending to be able to predict with confidence what will happen.
There is almost too much news. Here are the key developments overnight and early this morning.
I don’t regard no-deal as national suicide. This is not Dunkirk, this is leaving the European Union.
We need to find ways if there is no deal, of mitigating that. But the best way to do it is to accept the deal that the prime minister has negotiated. It gives us a way of leaving the European Union with minimum friction.
It would be national suicide. It will lead to the break up of the UK for starters. That seems to me to be a pretty clear indication of a form of national suicide.
The economic damage which it will do to us will be immense, so that the most vulnerable in our society will be those who suffer most as a consequence.
The prime minister will seek to make a statement in the House of Commons today outlining the assurances she had had from the European Union following discussions over the last few days and I hope my colleagues will listen to those and recognise the best way forward is to support the government’s agreement because it delivers on the referendum result and does so in a way that minimises the risks to our economy.
This bill would do the following: it would give the government three more weeks to get a compromise deal, a plan B, through parliament so that we are leaving the EU on time on March 29 with a deal. If that failed, it would then ask the liaison committee, which is the committee of all the chairs of select committees and other parliamentary committees, it would give the liaison committee the responsibility to try and come up with its own compromise deal, which would have to go back to the House for a vote. If the House passed that compromise deal, then the Government would be legally required to implement whatever it was that they had.
It’s a funny kind of coup which requires a majority vote of democratically-elected MPs before the tanks start rolling. So, no, it isn’t a coup, it’s an expression of parliamentary will.
The Boles’ plan appears to have been developed with just 2 other MPs and not discussed in advance with the Committee they propose to implement it. So hardly a ‘coup’. Would also point out that Liaison Ctee doesn’t draft legislation or conduct pre legislative scrutiny
Under our constitution, Parliament can either change the government’s mind or change the government. It can propose legislation for government to take forward & it can amend or block it but back bench MPs cannot take over conducting a complex international negotiation