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ANALYSIS: Theresa May must try harder if she doesn't want MPs to Boycott her Brexit plan

6 hours 45 minutes ago
Theresa May
Theresa May held a press conference at Downing Street tonight

It was another make-or-break occasion for the Prime Minister, but she failed to seize the moment, says Emilio Casalicchio.

Weary hacks, still trying to make sense of the events of the past 36 hours, trooped into 10 Downing Street to hear Theresa May's take on another extraordinary day.

Would she seize the initiative, John Major style, by calling on her critics to "put up or shut up"? Fat chance.

Her opening statement about serving in high office being an “honour and a privilege” as well as a “heavy responsibility” pricked up the ears of hacks at the Downing Street press conference tonight eager for this most headline-averse Prime Minister to provide a news line.

But the address soon descended into the usual platitudes about the benefits of her Brexit deal and the need for unity to deliver it. Journalists were so surprised at the brevity of her speech that the PM was met with stunned silence at the end instead of hands shooting up to ask questions.

When the questions came they failed to elicit much more information to inspire a divided nation. Probes about her warring party, the tough parliamentary arithmetic and the seemingly inevitable vote of no confidence in her leadership were mostly met with the same response: I am doing my job to secure a deal and deliver on the result of the referendum, MPs must do their duty in the national interest when the vote comes.

Her central warning to critical MPs was that those who refuse to back the vote in the Commons, and in doing so either trigger a no-deal departure or cancel Brexit altogether, will be punished by their constituents.

But for such a threat to work, the PM surely needs evidence that the country backs her plan - and none appears to exist. Polls suggest the public thinks her deal is a doozy, with Sky Data saying just 14% support it compared with 31% who would prefer a no deal and 54% who would prefer no Brexit at all. Try telling ERG members like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who today called for her head, that backing her withdrawal deal could lose them their seats.

Rather, her threat will ring hollow to MPs, while her uninspiring message is too weak win over a sceptical public.

The PM cannot be faulted for her determination to soldier on. She even noted her admiration of cricketer Geoffrey Boycott who “stuck to it and he got the runs in the end”.

But she omitted to mention the famous Yorkshireman's other noted characteristics - he regularly bored spectators rigid and then run out his team-mates. Come to think of it, maybe she is even more like him than she realises.

emilio.casalicchio

Defiant Theresa May rejects Tory calls to quit and declares: I am going to see this through

7 hours 17 minutes ago
Theresa May
Theresa May addressed the media at a press conference in Downing Street.

Theresa May has warned Tory MPs who want her ousted from her job that she is determined to "see Brexit through" to the end.

The Prime Minister's personal authority has taken a battering on a day which has seen a number of ministerial resignations as well as Tory MPs submitting letters of no confidence in her leadership.

But at a hastily-arranged Downing Street press conference, Mrs May insisted she believes "with every fibre of my being" that the deal she has secured with Brussels is the right one for the country.

Eurosceptic Tory MPs have reacted with fury to her plan, which will see the UK remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.

However, in a section which has angered her DUP allies, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.

And the customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.

The Prime Minister insisted it was the best possible deal she could have secured, and called on MPs to back it when it comes before the Commons next month.

"My approach throughout has been to put the national interest first," she said. "Not a partisan interest and certainly not my own political interest.

"I do not judge harshly those of my colleagues who seek to do the same but who reach a different conclusion. They must do what they believe to be right, just as I do. I’m sorry they have chosen to leave the Government and I think them for their service. 

"But I believe with every fibre of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country and all our people."

Mrs May insisted the draft agreement she had struck with the EU delivered on the referendum result by ending free movement, bringing back control of British laws and end the payment of billions of pounds a year to Brussels.

And she said: "I believe this is a deal which is in the national interest. And am I going to see this through? Yes."

Asked if there was any point at which she would quit as a result of the pressure she is under, the keen cricket fan said: "You might recall from previous comments I’ve made about cricket that one of my cricket heroes was always Geoffrey Boycott. And what do you know about Geoffrey Boycott? He stuck to it and he got the runs in the end."

'NO CONFIDENCE'

On a day of Tory civil war, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey both resigned this morning in protest at her Brexit blueprint, as did junior ministers Shailesh Vara and Suella Braverman.

Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg then announced that he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, increasing speculation that enough have now been sent in to trigger a formal vote.

In his letter, the European Research Group chairman said: "The draft withdrawal agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party manifesto.

"It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party ... this is a formal letter of no confidence in the leader."

Other MPs followed suit, but it is understood they are still short of the 48 letters needed to trigger a vote.

kevin.schofield

Tory civil war breaks out as Theresa May faces vote of confidence

10 hours 43 minutes ago
Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg announces he has submitted a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.

Deep Tory splits over Europe have burst into the open after Theresa May's Brexit deal left her political career hanging by a thread.

A vote of confidence in the Prime Minister is likely within days after her backbenchers reacted with fury to the proposals contained in the 585-page draft withdrawal agreement.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey both resigned in protest at her Brexit blueprint, as did junior ministers Shailesh Vara and Suella Braverman.

Conservative MPs also lined up in the Commons chamber to savage her blueprint, with some urging her to consider her own position.

In another blow for the embattled Tory leader, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, increasing speculation that enough have now been sent in to trigger a formal vote.

In his letter, the European Research Group chairman said: "The draft withdrawal agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party manifesto.

"It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party ... this is a formal letter of no confidence in the leader."

Asked at a press conference outside Parliament who he thought should replace Mrs May, the North East Somerset MP said: "You’ve got Boris Johnson and David Davis, you’ve got Dominic Raab and Esther McVey and Penny Mordaunt. You have streams of talent within the Conservative Party who would be very capable of leading a proper Brexit."

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker also announced that he had submitted a no confidence letter, and Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, is expected to tell Mrs May later that enough have been submitted to trigger a vote.

But Mr Rees-Mogg's actions sparked an angry backlash from pro-Remain Tories, with prisons minister Rory Stewart taking to Twitter to mock his party colleague.

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said: "If they try and displace the Prime Minister they risk detroying the Government and perhaps, for a long time, the Conservative Party.

"Some of those in the ERG wing of the Conservative Party are being ideological and theoretical and not practical. Practical to me looks like backing the Prime Minister 100%."

In another sign of the bitterness within the Tory Party, Scottish Secretary David Mundell launched an extraordinary attack on Dominic Raab for quitting the Cabinet.

He said: "I am not taking lessons for standing up for our United Kingdom from carpet-baggers.

"Only a couple of years ago Dominic Raab was proposing to introduce a bill of rights into Scotland which would have over written the Scottish legal system and devolution. So I am not impressed by his latter day commitment to the Union. I am sure this is more about maneuvering and leadership."

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kevin.schofield

MPs line up to savage Theresa May’s Brexit deal as she fights for political survival

12 hours 27 minutes ago
Theresa May
Theresa May was repeatedly warned her deal will not be voted through by MPs.

Theresa May faced a cross-party onslaught of criticism over her Brexit deal today as she fought for her political life.

The Prime Minister was grilled by MPs in the wake of the Cabinet giving the green light to the draft withdrawal agreement she has struck with Brussels.

Before she had even arrived in the House of Commons, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey both resigned in protest at her Brexit blueprint.

Junior ministers Shailesh Vara and Seuella Braverman also quit, and speculation is mounting that more frontbenchers will follow suit throughout the day.

Despite those blows, Mrs May insisted she was still determined to put her proposal to a Commons vote next month and asked MPs to back it "in the national interest".

She said: "Voting against a deal would take us all back to square one. It would mean more uncertainty, more division, and a failure to deliver on the decision of the British people that we should leave the EU.

"If we get behind a deal, we can bring our country back together and seize the opportunities that lie ahead. The British people want us to get this done. And to get on with addressing the other issues they care about."

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the draft withdrawal agreement as a "botched deal that breaches the Prime Minister’s own red lines" as well as the six tests set for it by his party.

"The Government is in chaos," he said. "Their deals risks leaving the country in an indefinite half-way house without a real say when even the last Brexit Secretary who, theoretically at least, negotiated the deal, says ‘I cannot support the proposed deal’ what faith does that give anyone else in this place or in this country?"

In a brutal intervention, DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds told the Prime Minister she could no longer be trusted.

He said: "I could today stand here and take the Prime Minister through the list of promises and pledges that she made to this House and to us, privately, about the future of Northern Ireland and the future relationship with the EU. But I fear it would be a waste of time since she clearly doesn't listen.

"The choice is now clear. We stand up for the United Kingdom, the whole of the United Kingdom, the integrity of the United Kingdom, or we vote for a vassal state with the break-up of the United Kingdom."

Tory MPs also lined up to condemn the deal as the Prime Minister had to wait nearly an hour before anyone rose to support her.

Leading eurosceptic Mark Francois said: "Prime Minister, the whole House accepts that you have done your best. But the Labour party have made plain today that they will vote against this deal. The SNP will vote against it. The Liberals will vote against it. The DUP will vote against it - our key ally in this place will vote against it.

"Over 80 Tory backbenchers, well it’s 84 now and it’s going up by the hour, will vote against it. It is therefore mathematically impossible to get this deal through the House of Commons. The stark reality, Prime Minister, is that it was dead on arrival at St Tommy’s before you stood up.

"So I plead with you - I plead with you to accept the political reality of the situation you now face."

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the European Research Group of Brexiteer Tory backbenchers, dropped a strong hint that he will submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister with Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee.

However, former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan, a leading Remain supporter, gave the withdrawal agreement her backing.

She said: "I want to pay tribute to the fact that the Prime Minister did get agreement in Cabinet. And can she reassure us that regardless of however many ministerial resignations there are between now and that vote that the agreement will come to Parliament and Parliament will have its say and that she is clear that voting that agreement is in the national interest?"

Downing Street sources later insisted that the Prime Minister still believed she would be in her post when Britain leaves the EU next March - and that there will be no general election before 2022.

They also ruled out the prospect of the Commons vote on the deal being a free vote, a key demand of International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is also tipped to quit the Cabinet.

kevin.schofield

READ IN FULL: Dominic Raab's explosive resignation letter to Theresa May

15 hours 44 minutes ago
Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab's resignation letter.

Read the full letter from the outgoing Brexit Secretary to Theresa May as he quit over her Brexit deal.

Dear Prime Minister,

It has been an honour to serve in your government as Justice Minister, Housing Minister and Brexit Secretary.

I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal, I must resign. I understand why you have chosen to pursue the deal with the EU on the terms proposed, and I respect the different views held in good faith by all of our colleagues.

For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First, I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit. The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations. No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement. That arrangement is now also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic Partnership. If we accept that, it will severely prejudice the second phrase of negotiations against the UK.

Above all, I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election. This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust.

I appreciate that you disagree with the judgment on these issues. I have weighed very carefully the alternative courses of action which the government could take, on which I have previously advised. Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.

My respect for you, and the fortitude, you have shown in difficult times, remains undimmed.

Yours sincerely,

Dominic Raab

Matt Foster

Government in turmoil as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab quits over Theresa May's deal

16 hours 8 minutes ago
Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has plunged Theresa May's Government into crisis as he dramatically resigned just hours after she agreed a deal with the EU.

The leading Cabinet minister said he could not support a deal that posed a “very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom” as he became the first of Mrs May's senior ministers to walk out over the plan.

Mr Raab - who only took on the job over the summer following the departure of David Davis - said he could not back an “indefinite backstop arrangement” for Norhern Ireland that he said would leave the European Union with a “veto over our ability to exit” a customs union with the bloc.

“No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decided to exit the arrangement,” he said.

“That arrangement is now also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic Partnership. If we accept that, it will severely prejustice the second phase of negotiations against the EU.”

The outgoing minister added: “I appreciate that you disagree with my judgement on these issues. I have weighed very carefully the alternative courses of action which the government could take, on which I have previously advised. Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conssicend, that I cannot.”

The high profile exit came just hours before the Prime Minister was due to update MPs on her Brexit agreement. In a further blow, Mrs May was hit by the resignation of Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara this morning.

The depature of Mr Raab - the Cabinet's most high-profile Eurosceptic - will heap pressure on other top ministers who spoke out against Theresa May's deal to follow suit.

The outgoing Brexit Secretary was among 10 Cabinet ministers, including Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey who openly criticised the plan at a marathon Cabinet session last night.

Labour seized on the departure of Mr Raab and said Mrs May had "no authority left".

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jon Trickett: "The Government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit Secretary has refused to back the Prime Minister's Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unravelled before our eyes.

"This is the twentieth Minister to resign from Theresa May’s Government in her two year premiership. Theresa May has no authority left and is clearly incapable of delivering a Brexit deal that commands even the support of her Cabinet - let alone Parliament and the people of our country."

Under the Prime Minister's plan, the UK will remain in a customs union with the EU as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.

However, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.

And the "temporary" customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.

Matt Foster

READ IN FULL: Shailesh Vara's resignation letter to Theresa May over 'half-way house' Brexit deal

16 hours 58 minutes ago
Resignation letter

Read the first resignation letter to Theresa May over her Brexit deal as Northern Ireland Office Minister Shailesh Vara quit.

Dear Prime Minister,

I write to offer my resignation as a Minister in your Government. I do so with sadness but I cannot supoort the Withdrawal Agreement that has been agreed with the European Union.

The EU Referendum offered a simple choice - to either stay in or leave the EU.

The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave and that is what we, their elected representatives, must deliver.
The Agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation.

Given the past performance of the EU, there is every possibility that the UK-EU trade deal that we seek will take years to conclude. We will be locked in a Customs Arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say. Worse, we will not be free to leave the Customs Arrangement uniltaterally if we wish to do so. Northern Ireland in the meantime will be subject to a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK and whilst I agree there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the economic and constitutional integrity of the UNited Kingdom must be respected.

With respect Prime Minister, this Agreement does not provide for the the United Kingdom being a sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU, however it is worded.

We are a proud nation and it is a sad day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart. We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better. That is why I cannot support this agreement.

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as a Minister in the Northern Ireland Office and I leave with the fondest of memories.

Yours,

Shailesh Vara

Matt Foster

Fresh blow for Theresa May as minister quits over Brexit deal

17 hours 11 minutes ago
Shailesh Vara
Shailesh Vara is MP for North West Cambridgeshire.

Theresa May has been dealt yet another blow after a minister quit the Government in protest at the Brexit deal she has struck with the EU.

Shailesh Vara, who voted Remain in the referendum, said the draft agreement would mean the UK was "reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart".

The North West Cambridgeshire MP said "it has been a joy and privilege" to serve as a Northern Ireland minister, but the contents of the 585-page deal had left him with no option but to resign.

Under Mrs May's plan, the UK will remain in a temporary customs union with the EU after Brexit as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.

However, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.

And the customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.

The draft agreement does allow the UK to extend the post-Brexit implementation period - which is due to run until the end of 2020 - on a one-off basis, but the 585-page document does not specify how long that could potentially last for.

In his letter, Mr Vara said the agreement would leave the UK "in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation".

He added: "Given the past performance of the EU, there is every possibility that the UK-EU trade deal that we seek will take years to conclude. We will be locked in a Customs Arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say.

"Worse, we will not be free to leave the Customs Arrangement uniltaterally if we wish to do so.

"Northern Ireland in the meantime will be subject to a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK and whilst I agree there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must be respected.

"With respect Prime Minister, this Agreement does not provide for the the United Kingdom being a sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU, however it is worded."

 

 

Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey, who is from Northern Ireland welcomed Mr Vara's resignation.

She tweeted: "Well done . This deal is not in the interest of the U.K. in general and Northern Ireland in particular. In your time as a Minister your respect for NI people was noted in contrast to others!"

The resignation came just hours before Mrs May is due to be grilled by MPs in the Commons, and will increase speculation that other ministers could follow suit and trigger a potential leadership challenge against the Prime Minister.

kevin.schofield

Business leaders welcome Theresa May Brexit agreement following no-deal fears

18 hours 8 minutes ago
EU and UK flags
Businesses have welcomed Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Business groups have welcomed Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement after months of warning about the danger of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Firms congratulated the Prime Minister for avoiding a “cliff edge” exit, which leaders long-warned as a risk to jobs and to industries’ success.

Under the deal, the UK will stay in a so-called "implementation period" keeping the country in the customs union and single market until the end of 2020 while negotiations continue on a future trade deal.

The deal will also keep the UK in a customs union with the EU in the longer-term to avoid a hard Irish border until that trade deal can be agreed.

The agreement was last night signed off by Cabinet following a more than 5-hour “impassioned” discussion and is expected to be voted on by MPs next month.

CBI Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, who in September said leaving the EU without a deal posed “catastrophic risks” said: "If passed, it moves the UK one step away from the nightmare precipice of no deal and the harm it would cause to communities across the country.

“Securing a transition period has long been firms’ top priority and every day that passes without one means lost investment and jobs, hitting the most vulnerable hardest. Time is now up.

“This deal is a compromise, including for business, but it offers that essential transitional period as a step back from the cliff-edge.

She added that more clarity on the final relationship was needed given uncertainty remained high, and said the Government must “secure frictionless trade, ambitious access for our world-beating services” beyond the transition period due to kick in in from 29 March.

“The UK has had many months of discussion and division. A long journey still lies ahead but now is the time for decisions. And the first decision is to avoid no deal,” she added.

Mrs May’s agreement has been roundly attacked by hardline Brexiteers however, with Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Tories’ European Research Group, branding it “profoundly undemocratic” as he urged MPs to block it.

Meanwhile Sammy Wilson, from the DUP, who the Tories rely on for an overall parliamentary majority, railed against the text, saying the PM accepted "a deal she said she would never accept".

'THINK LONG AND HARD'

However Institute of Directors boss Stephen Martin called on MPs “to think long and hard about how they react to this first-stage agreement”.

“Leaving the EU without a deal is a very bad outcome for businesses, workers and consumers, and this is simply an inherent risk that comes with voting down any withdrawal deal,” he said.

“Our members will adjust to a new relationship with the EU, but they must be allowed to do this in as smooth and orderly manner as possible.

“We, like many, will be seeking clarification from both sides about several areas, in particular on the remaining detail for the future framework declaration.

“But we are also heartened to see that provision has been made for an extension to the transition period, which may be needed not only to avoid the deployment of the backstop but also to ensure firms have enough time to adjust to any new changes once the new economic partnership has been agreed.”

Elsewhere British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson, said the draft agreement was a “welcome step towards a deal”.

“It is vital that we avoid the cliff edge of no deal in March 2019 as this could immediately lead to consumers facing higher prices and reduced availability of many everyday products,” she said.

Nicholas Mairs

MPs to grill Theresa May on Brexit deal as she braces for leadership challenge

18 hours 35 minutes ago
Theresa May
Theresa May will be grilled by MPs on the contents of her Brexit deal.

Theresa May will attempt to sell her Brexit deal to MPs this morning - as her Tory critics step up their attempts to remove her from Downing Street.

The Prime Minister will make a statement to the Commons after her Cabinet reluctantly backed the draft withdrawal agreement she has struck with Brussels.

But speculation is mounting that enough letters of no confidence in her performance could be submitted by angry Tory MPs, setting in train a chan of event which could lead to a full-blown leadership contest.

One Conservative sources told PoliticsHome: "If you're in a car and it's heading for a wall, it makes sense to change driver before it gets there."

Mrs May last night told the country that "difficult days lie ahead" after a marathon five-hour Cabinet meeting during which a third of her top team spoke out against the deal she has struck with Brussels

Under the plan, the UK will remain in a customs union with the EU as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.

However, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.

And the "temporary" customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.

The draft agreement does allow the UK to extend the post-Brexit implementation period - which is due to run until the end of 2020 - on a one-off basis, but the 585-page document does not specify how long that could potentially last for.

Tory Brexiteer Conor Burns last night told Sky News: "I have consistently said we don’t want to change the PM, we want to change the policy of the PM.

"However there comes a point where if the PM is insistent that she will not change the policy, then the only way to change the policy is to change the personnel.”

However, PoliticsHome understands that the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers is not formally organising any coup at this stage.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the group's chair, last night called on Tory MPs to vote against Mrs May's deal, but did not say that she should be replaced as leader.

kevin.schofield

Ex-Number 10 aide Nick Timothy savages Theresa May over Brexit deal ‘capitulation’

18 hours 44 minutes ago
Nick Timothy
Nick Timothy and co-chief of staff Fiona Hill quit as Theresa May's top aides after the June 2017 snap election

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a “capitulation” and proves the Prime Minister never believed Brexit could be a success, her former joint-chief of staff has said.

In a scathing attack on the PM and her negotiators, Nick Timothy said voters who backed leaving the European Union in 2016 would find the draft agreement with the EU a “horror show”.

The deal keeps the UK in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed, while Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market.

The top adviser, who quit Number 10 following Mrs May's disastrous snap election result in June of last year, wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "The proposal presented to Cabinet is a capitulation.

“Worse, it is a capitulation not only to Brussels, but to the fears of the British negotiators themselves, who have shown by their actions that they never believed Brexit can be a success.

“This includes, I say with the heaviest of hearts, the Prime Minister.

“If you believe people voted for Brexit to control immigration, and you fear it brings only economic downsides, you might consider the draft agreement the least bad outcome for Britain.

“If you believe Brexit can restore surrendered sovereignty, reform our economy and change the country, you will find it a horror show.

The 585-page draft document was last night signed off by Cabinet after a more than five-hour long tussle which the Prime Minister admitted had been “impassioned”.

Speaking outside Downing Street, she said: “This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our Union; or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all.”

However Brexiteer Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey was reported by the Telegraph as on the verge of quitting, after she was shouted down by the chief whip and cabinet secretary after demanding a vote by ministers on the deal.

Mr Timothy said MPs must use their Commons vote on whether to accept the agreement next month to “escape this trap” and suggested they use Britain’s leverage on security to renegotiate a better deal in the four-and-a-half months until the Article 50 deadline expires.

He added that Mrs May had “abandoned” her original Brexit strategy and had failed to meet the Lancaster House tests she set out before triggering Article 50 in March 2017.

And he blasted the concession that Britain could not unilaterally quit the backstop arrangement, designed to keep open the Irish border in the event of no agreement after the transition period.

“We will have surrendered the chance to take control of our laws. And we will be forced to make payments to Brussels for the privilege of our access to the single market,” he said.

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP and supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign Layla Moran MP said of Mr Timothy had “savaged his former boss and has eviscerated her Brexit deal in a single op-ed”.

“Nick Timothy, once famously dubbed her 'brain' has claimed that she never thought Brexit would even succeed,” she said.

“If true, this is a shocking admission and shows that the Prime Minister has wasted two years in an infernal Brexit groundhog day.

"The Prime Minister owes an apology to the 3 million EU citizens in the UK who have faced sleepless nights over their futures. And to all who have already lost contracts and jobs due to the sluggish economy."

Nicholas Mairs

Theresa May rocked by Cabinet split as she admits 'difficult days lie ahead' on Brexit

1 day 1 hour ago
Theresa May
Theresa May addresses the nation outside 10 Downing Street after the five-hour Cabinet meeting.

Theresa May won the backing of her Cabinet for her Brexit vision despite deep splits among her most senior ministers, it has emerged.

The Prime Minister told the country that "difficult days lie ahead" after a marathon five-hour Cabinet meeting during which a third of her top team spoke out against the deal she has struck with Brussels.

Under the plan, the UK will remain in a customs union with the EU as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.

However, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.

And the "temporary" customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and  Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson were among the 10 Cabinet minister who told today's meeting that they were unhappy with the deal.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, another critic of the plan, clashed wth Theresa May as she demanded the issue be put to a vote, only to be over-ruled by Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill.

But despite the reservations of many of her colleagues, Mrs May secured their collective backing for the deal - although Downing Street still fear that some ministers could resign in the coming days.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: "The choices before us were difficult, particularly in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop. But the collective decision of Cabinet was that the Government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration.

"This is a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalise the deal in the days ahead. These decisions were not taken lightly but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest.

"When you strip away the detail the choice before us was clear. This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs security and our Union, or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all?

"I know that there will be difficult days ahead. This is a decision which will come under intense scrutiny and that is entirely as it should be and entirely understandable.

"But the choice was this deal, which enables us to take back control and to build a brighter future for our country, or going back to square one with more division, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the referendum."

She added: "I believe that what I owe to this country is to take decision that are in the national interest and I firmly believe with my head and my heart that this is a decision that is in the best interests of our entire United Kingdom."

Mrs May held talks on Wednesday night with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and DUP boss Arlene Foster, but the signs are that she will faces a huge battle to get her deal through Parliament.

Ms Foster tweeted: "We had a frank meeting tonight with the Prime Minister lasting almost an hour. She is fully aware of our position and concerns."

It is thought that more Tory MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in her, leading to speculation that a vote could be called as early as tomorrow.

kevin.schofield

Cabinet backs Theresa May on Brexit as she declares: 'It's my deal or no deal'

1 day 5 hours ago
Theresa May
Theresa May delivers her statement outside 10 Downing Street.

Theresa May tonight won the backing of the Cabinet for her Brexit withdrawal agreement and then declared: "It's my deal or no deal."

Amid speculation that she will face an imminent Tory leadership challenge, the Prime Minister said her senior ministers had given her plan the thumbs-up following a "long, detailed and impassioned debate" which lasted for five hours.

Full details of the agreement are not yet known, but it is understood that it will see the entire UK remain in a customs union with the EU as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border while a long-term trade deal is agreed.

However, special provisions are also thought to be included which would lead to additional customs and regulatory checks between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mrs May said the deal, which has been roundly criticised by Tory Brexiteers and the DUP, "was the best that could be negotiated" as she threw down the gauntlet to her critics.

And she said she believed "with my head and my heart that this is a decision that is in the best interests of our entire United Kingdom".

Standing outside 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: "The choices before us were difficult, particularly in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop. But the collective decision of Cabinet was that the Government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration.

"This is a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalise the deal in the days ahead. These decisions were not taken lightly but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest.

"When you strip away the detail the choice before us was clear. This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs security and our Union, or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all?"

The Prime Minister said there would be "difficult days ahead", but insisted that there was no alternative to the agreement negotiated after two years of talks between UK and EU officials.

"The choice was this deal that helps us take back control and build a brighter future for our country, or going back to square one with more divisions, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the referendum," she said.

The Prime Minister added: "I believe that what I owe to this country is to take decision that are in the national interest and I firmly believe with my head and my heart that this is a decision that is in the best interests of our entire United Kingdom."

Mrs May's statement came as more Tory MPs submitted letters of no confidence in her leadership, leading to speculation that she could face a challenge as early as tomorrow.

kevin.schofield

Jon Trickett MP: Weak Tory response to 'Humble Address' continues their worrying trend against parliamentary democracy

1 day 8 hours ago
David Liddington

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Jon Trickett MP accuses the Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington of being 'evasive' on the issue of publishing the full final legal advice of the Attorney General to the Government on the Brexit framework agreement.

The next few weeks will shape the future direction of this country. But whether this will be determined by the democratic principle is in question.

Today, the Cabinet Office Minister, David Lidington, was evasive on the issue of publishing the full final legal advice of the Attorney General to the Government on the Brexit framework agreement.

Failure to do so would undermine the will of Parliament.

Yesterday, the Commons approved a ‘Humble Address’ put forward by the Labour Party. This forces the Government to publish “any legal advice in full, including that provided by the Attorney General, on the proposed withdrawal agreement on the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union including the Northern Ireland backstop and framework for a future relationship between the UK and the European Union.”

When this morning I questioned the Minister whether he would abide by this vote, he gave the impression that he would not, promising instead only to “reflect on the outcome of the vote”.

This is simply not good enough, and stands in stark contrast to the importance placed on the successful motion by the Speaker of the House.

The Speaker said this afternoon that the vote was “not an expression of opinion” but an expression of the “will of this House”, and that this “will must be respected by the executive branch”.

In this instance, and many times before, our current Government has shown disregard for Parliament. In the context of the possible strengthening of executive powers that may accompany Brexit, and the collapse of public trust in our democratic institutions, such an attitude is deeply worrying and potentially damaging.

How can the Government expect people to place their faith in Parliament, if they themselves do not respect its rights, hard won and carefully guarded?

Indeed, it is likely that the framework Brexit agreement, or something similar to it, will eventually make its way to Parliament, where it will be put to a meaningful vote among MPs.

This of course was secured by the Labour Party, and we have repeatedly insisted on parliamentary sovereignty and the need for proper accountability throughout the Brexit process. It is clear that we need to make sure whatever deal is secured works for the millions not the millionaires.

As we begin a period of critical importance for this country, it is vital that the Government plays by the rules and allows MPs to play their proper role. We won’t shirk away from this, even though the Government continues to shirk from its responsibilities to Parliament.

If the Government is truly serious about respecting these, it must immediately confirm that it intends to respect the will of the House and publish the Attorney General’s legal advice when it is given.

Jon Trickett is the Labour MP for Hemsworth & Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office

Anonymous

Scottish Tories warn Theresa May not to betray fishermen as anger grows over Brexit deal

1 day 8 hours ago
Fishing
A row of deck-hands gutting fish which has been pair-trawled from the North Sea between Norway and the Shetland Islands.

Scottish Tories have warned Theresa May not to betray fishermen amid fears European trawlers could still have access to UK waters after Brexit.

In a surprise move, Scottish Secretary David Mundell hand-delievered a letter to the Prime Minister signed by all 13 Scottish Conservative MPs ahead of the crunch Cabinet meeting on her draft withdrawal agreement.

It made clear their opposition to any arrangement which could leave the UK under the auspices of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy after the post-Brexit transition period ends on 31 December, 2020.

PoliticsHome understands that the agreement contains a "carve out" pledging to re-visit the issue of fishing in future negotiations.

The Scottish Tories are angry that that leaves open the possibility of the UK remaining in the CFP into 2021.

Their letter to Mrs May said: "You said in your conference speech that anything less would be 'a betrayal of Scotland' and we completely agree. This has raised expectations in the fishing industry that Brexit will lead to complete control and full sovereignty over domestic waters that we must deliver on.

"We could not support an agreement with the EU that would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares."

The Scottish Tory MPs are also angry at the special customs arrangements for Northern Ireland which are contained in the draft withdrawal agreement, which have already led to demands from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon for Scotland to be treated the same.

One MP said: "The anger is higher on the Northern Ireland issue because that cuts right into our unionist credentials."

Losing the support of the 13 Scottish Tories would be a hammer blow to Mrs May's hopes of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament.

The DUP and eurosceptic Conservatives have already said they will vote against it, as have some Remain-backing Tories, Labour and the SNP.

kevin.schofield

READ IN FULL: Theresa May's statement after crunch Brexit deal Cabinet

1 day 9 hours ago
Prime Minister Theresa May
10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister addressed the media after a marathon Cabinet session asking ministers to back her Brexit agreement with the EU.

The Cabinet has just had a long, detailed and impassioned debate on the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration on our future relationship with the European Union.

These documents were the result of thousands of hours of hard negotiation by UK officials and many many meetings which I and other ministers held with our EU counterparts.

I firmly believe that the draft withdrawal agreement was the best that could be negotiated, and it was for the Cabinet to decide whether to move on in the talks.

The choices before us were difficult, particularly in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop. But the collective decision of cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration.

This is a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalise the deal in the days ahead. These decisions were not taken lightly but I believe it is a decision that is firmly in the national interest.

When you strip away the detail the choice before us is clear: this deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our Union, or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all.

I know that there will be difficult days ahead. This is a decision that will come under intense scrutiny and that is entirely as it should be and entirely understandable.

But the choice was this deal which enables us to take back control and build a brighter future for our country, or go back to square one with more divisions, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the referendum.

It is my job as Prime Minister to explain the decision the government have taken, and I stand ready to do that, beginning tomorrow with a statement in parliament.

But if I may end by just saying this: I believe that what I owe to this country is to take decisions that are in the national interest and I firmly believe with my head and my heart that this is a decision which is in the best interests of our entire United Kingdom.

Matt Foster

Tony Blair accuses Jeremy Corbyn of 'abject failure' over Brexit

1 day 18 hours ago
Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair is a long-standing critic of Jeremy Corbyn.

Tory Blair will today accuse Jeremy Corbyn of an "abject failure" to stop Brexit.

The former Prime Minister will say it is "gut-wrenching" that the Labour leader has not led calls for a second EU referendum.

Mr Blair will also mount a strong defence of his time in office and attack "far left" critics of the government he led for a decade.

Speaking in central London, the three-time election winner will say that Theresa May's Brexit deal - which the Cabinet is expected to rubber-stamp later today - would leave the UK "tied still to Europe in reality".

"Whatever the people voted for, they didn’t vote for this,” he will say.

"I know it is said a new vote of the people will also divide. But a reconsideration in the light of all we now know, accepted by all as the final word, especially if accompanied by a new willingness on the part of Europe’s leadership and Britain’s to deal with the reasons for the Brexit decision, is the only hope of unity in the future.

"It is frankly gut-wrenching that this call is not being led by Labour as it should be."

Mr Blair will add: "The denigration of the Labour Party record in government and its designation by the far left as ‘neo-liberal’ is one of the most absurd and self-defeating caricatures of modern political history.

"The Labour party has paid, but more importantly the country has paid, a heavy price for this stupidity.

"It has undermined the achievements of the party in government. It has weakened the Labour party’s ability to win by depriving it of a unifying message which can reach the centre ground and led to the abject refusal of the Labour leadership to lead the country out of the Brexit nightmare."

kevin.schofield

Theresa May to call on ministers to back her Brexit deal at crunch Cabinet meeting

1 day 18 hours ago
Theresa May
The Prime Minister is hoping the Cabinet will sign off her deal when it meets at 2pm today.

Theresa May will urge the Cabinet to get behind her Brexit deal today in the face of furious opposition from Conservative eurosceptics and the DUP.

The Prime Minister summoned her senior ministers to Downing Street last night to view the 500-page divorce deal in a secure room - as her critics lined up to trash the agreement as a "betrayal".

All eyes will be on the reaciton of senior ministers at today's emergency Cabinet meeting at 2pm, with International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, among those said to have doubts about the plan.

Details of the agreement began to emerge last night, with Mrs May looking to have won a significant concession from the EU over the so-called Northern Ireland backstop.

Brussels has shelved its demand for Northern Ireland alone to remain in the bloc's customs union under the arrangement that will kick in to avoid a hard border if a broader trade deal cannot be struck.

Instead, a UK-wide backstop customs tie-up will be agreed, with a review mechanism included to figure out whether the fallback option will be needed.

But in a move that has already incensed her critics, the Prime Minister has reportedly agreed that the province will stay more closely aligned to EU customs and single market rules than the rest of the UK under the plan.

The DUP, whose support Mrs May relies on for her Commons majority, quickly made clear that it intended to vote against such a deal, with the party's deputy leader Nigel Dodds describing the proposals as "a trap" aimed at keeping Northern Ireland under the control of Brussels.

He said: "If the reports are as we are hearing, then we can't possible vote for that."

In a statement issued last night, DUP leader Arelene Foster said: "I am heartened by friends of the Union on both sides of the House and across the United Kingdom who have pledged to stand with the DUP in opposing a deal which weakens the Union and hands control to Brussels rather than Parliament.

"These are momentous days and the decisions being taken will have long-lasting ramifications. The Prime Minister must win the support of the cabinet and the House of Commons. Every individual vote will count."

Conservative eurosceptics meanwhile queued up to denounce the plans, with European Research Group chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg branding it "a betrayal of the Union".

The Tory backbencher added: "If what we have heard is true, this fails to meet the Conservative Party manifesto and it fails to meet many of the commitments that the prime minister makes."

Boris Johnson, who quit the Cabinet over the summer in opposition to Mrs May's Brexit plans, said the deal was "utterly unacceptable to anyone who believes in democracy".

The ex-Foreign Fecretary fumed: "We’re going to stay in the customs union on this deal, we're going to stay effectively in large parts of the single market. That means it's vassal state stuff."

If the Cabinet backs the agreement today, it could pave the way for a 25 November emergency Brussels summit to seal the deal with the EU.

But any agreement is likely to face a stormy journey through the House of Commons, with the DUP's 10 MPs likely to team up with the 40-strong ERG to pile pressure on the PM.

Labour has also signalled it will vote against the deal, with leader Jeremy Corbyn saying the "shambolic" negotiations meant the agreement was "unlikely to be a good deal for the country".

He added: "Labour has been clear from the beginning that we need a deal to support jobs and the economy - and that guarantees standards and protections. If this deal doesn’t meet our six tests and work for the whole country, then we will vote against it."

Matt Foster

Jeremy Corbyn among opposition party leaders demanding ‘meaningful’ vote on Brexit deal

1 day 18 hours ago
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has signed the letter, alongside the other main opposition party leaders

Westminster opposition party leaders have written a joint letter urging Theresa May to guarantee that MPs will be given a “meaningful vote” on the terms of Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP's Westminster chief Ian Blackford, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts and Tory veteran Ken Clarke all signed the document.

It followed last night’s announcement by Downing Street’s that a draft agreement had been struck between the UK and EU sides, with Cabinet expected to sign up to the deal later today.

Parliament is to be given a vote, most likely before the end of this year, on whether it backs the deal.

However ministers last month said attempts to change the wording of the motion will not affect the agreement or the timing of Britain’s departure next March.

In their letter, the opposition leaders said: “Recent interventions from government ministers have suggested that you and your government may seek to limit or constrain the process on the final vote, in an attempt to muzzle parliament.”

“While we recognize parliament will have to approve or disapprove any agreement, it would be reckless to present this vote as take-it-or-leave-it without parliament being able to suggest an alternative.”

They add that MPs should “as a minimum” be allowed to table multiple amendments, insisting it would be reckless to pose a “take-it-or-leave-it” on Mrs May’s agreement or a no-deal outcome.

And the leaders argue that House procedures, which have so far limited debates on some parts of the Brexit process to 90 minutes, are “not appropriate” going forward.

“We as party leaders have championed parliamentary scrutiny and engagement throughout this process, and throughout the debate we have had repeated assurances from across the dispatch box that MPs would be able to express their support for alternative options,” they add.

“Now it seems the Government has abandoned its willingness to let Parliament take back control and seems determined to limit the role of this sovereign parliament. 

“We believe Parliament must be allowed to express its view and hold the executive to account. This would not be possible if Parliament was unable to table, debate and consider amendments before any decision on the substantive motion.”

Following the announcement Mr Corbyn said the deal struck would be “unlikely” to meet Labour’s tests in order for the party to vote for it.

Mr Blackford said: “Parliament must have the right to express its view on the terms of the UK's departure from the EU - and that means MPs must be able to consider, debate and vote on amendments prior to any substantive vote on the deal.

“This is usual procedure, there can be no shady tactics allowed by the UK Government.”

Dr Cable said: “Any Brexit deal will leave the UK weakened and the public poorer.

“And before the ink is dry, the Conservative Party will tear into what little Theresa May has been able to agree.

“The Prime Minister now faces a defeat in Parliament, as a majority will be hard or impossible to secure for what she has come up with.”

Nicholas Mairs

Consumers are bracing for Brexit - survey

1 day 18 hours ago
Busy street

A survey by city firm KPMG reveals that public tightening purse strings and planning to buy British ahead of squeezed Christmas

A survey of 4,015 members of the British public commissioned by KPMG shows that 53% believe that a no deal outcome is likely, 89% foresee some economic disruption, 31% have already cut their everyday spending and even more (41%) plan to do so in the future if a deal is not achieved.  In addition, 53% of the public think their Christmas shopping bill will go up this year because of Brexit whilst 54% said they will be more likely to ‘buy British’ during their weekly shop as a result of Brexit.  
 
Explaining the findings James Stewart, Head of Brexit at KPMG UK said:  “With negotiations going to the wire, the public are braced for a choppy Brexit.  A majority continue to believe we’re heading for no deal, and even those who don’t, still think economic disruption is on the cards.  Consumers have long felt gloomy about Brexit, but now we’re seeing people act on those emotions with around a third of the public reporting they’ve already cut their spending.  
 
“Brexit is often presented as if it will happen at our ports and in the City.  In reality some of the biggest effects will be felt in our shops, cafés, travel agents and garage forecourts.  More businesses need to prepare for turbulence and also be ready to capitalise on any spike in consumer confidence a good deal unleashes.”
 
UK consumers say that they have already reduced their spending in the following areas because of Brexit:  spending on everyday items such as shopping travel and regular bills (31%), non-essential items such as entertainment and eating out (34%), luxury items such as designer clothes and holidays (38%), major purchasing or investment decisions such as new cars home extensions or moving house (38%).
 
In the event of No Deal consumers believe the following supermarket categories are likely (or very likely) to become more expensive: Wine spirits and steak (65%), fruit and veg’ (62%), fish and seafood (58%), meat products (56%), the Christmas shop (53%), and everyday essentials (53%). 
 
In the event of a No Deal Brexit UK consumers said they were likely or very likely to cut spending in the following areas: Buying a new car (58%), designer goods and jewellery (43%), travelling and holidays (41%), eating out (41%), home technology (39%), home improvements (39%), leisure activities (38%), clothing (38%), and household appliances (38%).
 
Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG UK, said: “Consumers are increasingly concerned about rising food prices, which are likely to become a reality if a no-deal Brexit occurs. People may want more British produce but supply naturally poses a challenge, especially as consumers have become accustomed to fresh produce all year round. As our monthly BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor has highlighted, retail price increases result in consumers clawing back on non-food items, especially bigger ticket discretionary items such as cars, kitchens or furniture, to accommodate for essentials like food until the longer-term picture becomes clearer.”
 
Linda Ellett, UK Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG UK, added:  “The run-up to Christmas is a crucial time for consumer businesses, with some generating as much as 80% of their annual profit in these months alone. Nearly a third of consumers said that they’ve already cut their everyday spend; even more are spending less on luxury items, and over half anticipate higher prices if a no deal Brexit becomes a reality, so a lean Christmas could lie ahead. Consumer businesses must adapt to continue to attract spending consumers, otherwise they’ll encounter a severe Christmas hangover.” 
 
The UK population continue to believe that leaving the EU without a deal will be bad for the UK – 45% think it will be bad for the country and 23% think it will be good for the country (45% and 25% in August).  However Brits believe Brexit will have a more positive effect on the UK economy in the longer term: 22% think Brexit will be positive in the weeks after exit, 33% think Brexit will be positive in the year after the UK leaves, and 47% think Brexit will be positive 5-10 years after the UK leaves.  This compares with 18%, 30% and 45% respectively in KPMG’s August poll. 

 

Anonymous
Submitted by itops on Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:47