The publication of Theresa May’s new Brexit plan has descended into chaos as John Bercow had to suspend the Commons to allow MPs to see copies of the white paper.
Labour described it as an “utter shambles” that MPs were unable to see the 98-page document until Brexit secretary Dominic Raab appeared to give a statement on the plans, which could allow some EU migrants preferable treatment as part of future trade deals.
It comes as Tory rebels ramped up pressure on Ms May to scrap her new Brexit plan, which has already caused the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, as well as several other Tory Eurosceptics.
In a show of strength, Eurosceptic backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg and allies have tabled a string of amendments to the government’s trade and customs bill, raising the threat of Commons defeats on Monday.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is due to face major protests as he arrived in the UK for his much-anticipated working visit.
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Donald Trump’s visit is a classic case of bad timing for Theresa May, says Independent political commentator Andrew Grice.
Ironically, our ties with Europe need to be at their strongest, not weakest, when the US president visits the UK, he writes.
Read his column here:
The Scottish Government says the Brexit white paper offers “little reassurance” on what the impact of leaving the EU will be.
Culture, Tourism and External Affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Quite simply, these plans fall short and will harm our economy.
“As with the Chequers agreement, there is some evidence that the UK Government now realises the damage of leaving the EU, as well as the benefits that being in the EU, the Single Market and Custom Union has brought to the whole of the UK. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go before those risks are mitigated.”
Full story: Donald Trump again undermines Theresa May ahead of his UK trip – this time by suggesting the prime minister’s Brexit plan might not be “what people voted for”
Reports suggest government whips are asking unhappy MPs to withdraw letters calling for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May… 48 letters are needed to trigger a contest, and No 10 fears critics of the prime minister could be close to reaching the threshold…
“This vision should not have taken two years and three weeks to emerge, but it is nevertheless a welcome starting point for businesses.
“Momentum and pace are now needed to translate ambition into answers to the real-world, practical questions that businesses face.
“Even with the welcome direction of travel in the white paper, companies still don’t know how they’ll be paying VAT, how they can move people between offices or whether goods will get across borders with a minimum of fuss. It is incumbent on the two sides to work pragmatically and productively on the nuts-and-bolts detail of the future relationship over the coming weeks, drawing on business experience and expertise.
“Time is short – and for businesses it’s results that count.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said it was “the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200”.
In a statement, he said: “This white paper has not needed age to turn yellow. There are very few signs of the prime minister’s famous red lines.
“It is a pale imitation of the paper prepared by David Davis, a bad deal for Britain. It is not be something I would vote for nor is it what the British people voted for.”
Veteran Eurosceptic Bill Cash tells MPs he is also ‘deeply worried’ by the plans.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker also stands up to criticise the plan, asking how Raab thinks he can negotiate this when the EU when it goes against parts of the European Communities Act.
Raab says there is no off-the-shelf model that would work.
Chief EU negotiator tweets:
Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith says he has “deep misgivings” over what the government is proposing.
“Having voted to leave, I voted to leave, not to half leave.”
Raab seeks to reassure him – ‘Free movement will end’.
Dominic Raab apologises for the late arrival of the white paper and says he will ensure it doesn’t happen again.
He reminds Starmer that both parties stood on a manifesto that promised to leave the EU and also hits back at criticism from Labour over disunity in Tory ranks, pointing out that there have been 103 resignations from their front bench.
Of course I agree with the white paper, he says, and says it is part of the negotiations.
Free movement will end, he adds.
Labour’s Keir Starmer says it is ‘deeply discourteous’ not to give the white paper out beforehand, and it prevented proper scrutiny.
He asks when Olly Robbins (May’s top Europe advisor) told Raab that this was their policy – as Raab was not at the Chequers summit last week as he had not yet been appointed Brexit Secretary.
He asks if Raab even supports this plan, which has divided Tory MPs.
Starmer also asks if it is a starting point or a final position – will there be ‘evolution’?
MPs listening in rather ominous quiet as Dominic Raab sets out the statement on the Brexit white paper. He only took on the job as Brexit secretary on Monday after David Davis’s resignation.
Eurosceptic MP Steve Baker, who quit the government over Brexit, is signing copies of the white paper at the moment.
MPs are furious about the fact that they weren’t able to see the white paper before it was published.
In a highly unusual move, the Commons has now been suspended for five minutes to distribute copies of the document.
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is speaking in the Commons about the new Brexit white paper.
Here’s our new story on proposals that could allow some EU migrants preferable treatment as part of any future trade deal.
Ministers insist the EU’s system of free movement will end, but their plans set out in a white paper show Britain would make a “sovereign choice” to remove restrictions for Europeans coming in where it is in the UK’s economic interest.
Another breaking story here.
The government has removed the final obstacle to Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of Sky after granting clearance to 21st Century Fox’s proposed purchase.
Donald Trump has dramatically undermined Theresa May’s Brexit plan, saying: “I’m not sure that’s what people voted for”.
In an extraordinary intervention in British domestic politics, the US president told reporters at the Nato summit that her proposals would leave the UK “partially involved with the EU”.