As it happenedended1578593473

Boris Johnson news: Brexit legislation passes Commons hurdles as EU issues fresh no-deal warning

Follow all the latest developments as they happened

Adam Forrest,Lizzy Buchan
Thursday 09 January 2020 19:05
Comments
Brexit bill allowing Britain to exit EU on 31 January passes Commons

Boris Johnson's Brexit bill has passed its Commons stages with an overwhelming majority after months of turmoil.

MPs voted to give third reading to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) by 330 to 231 - a majority of 99 - which allows the bill to sail through to the House of Lords where peers will begin line by line scrutiny next week.

It comes as EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier issued Mr Johnson with a fresh warning over the possibility of the UK crashing out of the bloc “without any arrangements” if a trade deal cannot be done by the end of 2020.

Meanwhile, shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said he is “considering” entering the Labour leadership contest, as Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Rebecca Long Bailey joined Keir Starmer in passing the first hurdle of the contest.

To follow events as they unfolded, see our live coverage below:

1578558277

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster, with Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill expected to go through its final stages in the Commons – and shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner set to announce whether he will join the Labour leadership race.

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 08:24
1578558764

‘Inhumane’: Tories condemned for ditching child refugee protections, as Brexit bill moves to Lords

Boris Johnson’s legislation is poised to clear its Commons hurdles on Thursday after months of knife-edge votes and parliamentary turmoil.

If MPs vote to pass the bill unamended, as expected, the legislation will move to the House of Lords where the government has no majority – and could face a rougher ride from pro-European peers.

The prime minister’s decision to strip out commitments in the bill to allow child refugees to reunite with their families – branded “disgraceful” and “inhumane” by opposition MPs – is likely to prove a crunch point for peers.

Labour peer Alf Dubs, who fled the Nazis on the Kindertransport when he was 6-years-old, had urged Tory MPs to back efforts to reinstate the protections in the Brexit legislation – calling their removal “appalling” and “distressing”. However the attempt to amend the bill was heavily defeated in the Commons on Wednesday.

Tim Farron, the former Lib Dem leader, said: “These Tory MPs get irritated when they are labelled as insular and inhumane, but by blocking our amendment today they have earned those labels.”

Safe Passage International, a charity providing legal support, described the vote as “a bitter blow for separated child refugees”.

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 08:32
1578559136

Gardiner ‘considering’ late Labour leadership bid

Labour MP Barry Gardiner has confirmed he is considering entering the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as party leader and will make a final decision in the next “24 hours”. 

A late arrival into the race from the shadow international trade secretary, who has proved a loyal Corbyn ally in the last few years, would likely damage the efforts of Rebecca Long-Bailey – who has tried to position herself as the standard bearer for the left of the party.

Asked about his leadership ambitions, Gardiner – who is currently in Abu Dhabi – told The Independent: “This time it is not speculation. I am considering. Will make a decision in the next 24 hours”.

More details here:

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 08:38
1578559632

UK ‘looking very hard’ at Iran nuclear deal, says Dominic Raab

Britain is “looking very hard” at the future of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal due to “acute” non-compliance by Tehran, said foreign secretary Dominic Raab.

Boris Johnson has said the UK stands behind the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after the US withdrew its support for the deal and as tensions in the region rise.

But diplomats have suggested European powers who still support the accord are likely to toughen their stance.

“We’ve obviously been committed to the JCPOA, but we’ve reached a point where non-compliance has been so acute in the most recent steps taken by Iran that obviously we’re going to be looking very hard at what should happen next,” Raab said this morning.

“We want to see Iran come back to full compliance.”

Dominic Raab with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo (AP) 

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 08:47
1578559817

Thornberry: US has offered no evidence to justify Qasam Soleimani killing

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has said the US has yet to produce the evidence to justify their attack on Qasem Soleimani.

Thornberry told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Of course there is a right to self-defence under international law but where is the evidence that America was about to be attacked?

“Nobody sheds any tears for Soleimani, but looking forward where are we?”

She warned that British forces would have to pull out of Iraq if the Iraqis now withdrew permission for them to be in the country.

“I think that this will tend to increase the power of Iran in the region,” she said. “If the Iraqis no longer give permission for the British and American troops to be in the region and be fighting alongside them, then I think it is very difficult for us to have a legal basis for us remaining there.”

Thornberry said she has not given up hope of winning the Labour leadership despite so far securing the support of fewer than five MPs. “I have a number of people who have pledged to support me. I am out there making the argument, let's see what happens.

“Current events and the fires in Australia do tend to show how the job of the leader of the Labour party - and indeed the job of Labour prime minister - is likely to be framed.

“We need somebody who has experience, as I have had over the last three or four years, of looking in detail at the security of Britain and our relationships with the rest of the world.”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry (PA) 

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 08:50
1578561168

Scottish nationalists hold talks in Whitehall

SNP ministers will insist Scotland has the “right to choose an alternative future” as they travel to London for talks with the UK government over Brexit today.

Mike Russell, the constitutional relations secretary for the Holyrood administration, will take part in talks with counterparts from the Welsh administration.

It is the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) on EU Negotiations since Boris Johnson won a comfortable majority in the Commons. But the meeting takes place the day after MSPs at Holyrood voted to reject the UK Withdrawal Agreement Bill by 92 to 29.

Russell has already told MSPs that the relationship between Holyrood and Westminster is at a “low ebb” following the Tory election victory.

Adding that the Scottish parliament had now “voted comprehensively not to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill”, Russell declared: “The UK government must accept Scotland has a right to choose an alternative future.”

However when pressed on the issue of a second Scottish referendum at PMQs on Wednesday, Johnson restated his view that Scots had “voted decisively” in 2014 to stay in the UK in a “once in a generation choice”.

Scottish independence supporters (Getty) 

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 09:12
1578562856

Government hasn’t yet requested Big Ben bongs for ‘Brexit day’

A request for Big Ben to chime to mark Brexit on January 31 has yet to be made by the government, MPs have been told.

Conservative Sir Paul Beresford said no approach has been received from ministers by the House of Commons Commission.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who chairs the commission, has previously suggested he would not personally block such a request if the House wishes it to happen.

Tory Brexiteer Mark Francois has also led efforts within parliament for Big Ben to bong at 11pm on January 31 to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

He has tabled an early day motion (EDM), which has attracted 55 signatures, and proposed an amendment to the Brexit bill although it was not selected for debate.

Sir Paul, answering a parliamentary question on behalf of the commission, said: “The House of Commons Commission has not received a request from the government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.”

SNP MP Patrick Grady said: “For many people across the UK, leaving the EU on January 31 will not be a cause for celebration.

“The bombast and triumphalism of the hard Brexiteers who want to hear Big Ben chime to mark that moment is hardly in keeping with the PM's desire to bring the country together.”

Tory MP Mark Francois wants Big Ben to bong (Getty) 

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 09:40
1578564977

Spending ‘town fund’ money in cities not an error, says Tory minister

Some of the government’s £3.6bn “Towns Fund” is being spent in cities, communities secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed.

He kicked off what officials called a “countrywide town tour” in Wolverhampton – which became a city in 2000.

Jenrick, who was born in Wolverhampton, tried to explain why smaller cities are eligible for funding from the scheme on Sky News.

“I turned 18 the year Wolverhampton was made a city, I was living there at the time,” he said. “I went to Wolverhampton because Wolverhampton is one of the recipients of our towns fund.”

He said eligibility for the fund is “not as crude as whether one is a city or a town”.

He added: “For our towns fund, we set the criteria based on population size and that does enable a smaller city like Wolverhampton to benefit.”

Lisa Nandy will be puzzled. The Labour leadership contender loves towns. No word yet on whether she thinks of Wolverhampton as a town or city.

Jenrick announced a separate “Town of the Year” competition which cities will not be able to enter.

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 10:16
1578566142

Clive Lewis: ‘No question’ of Labour opposing indyref2 if there’s mandate

Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis said there should be “no question” of Labour opposing a second Scottish independence referendum if there is “a mandate” to hold one.

Writing for pro-independence newspaper The National, Lewis said he believed radical federalism with “maximum possible autonomy for Scotland” would be the best solution.

Lewis said: “It is little surprise ... that many Scots see themselves not as partners in a union of equal nations, but as a country shackled instead to a dysfunctional political system that is costing them dearly.

“Given the option to exit the UK, it is little wonder that so many now support independence and, given the prospect of at least five years of Tory rule imposing a Brexit that Scotland did not vote for, the question of independence and a second referendum is unavoidable.

“It is not for me, as an English MP for an English constituency, to dictate to Scotland what that form of government should be, and there should be no question of Labour opposing a second independence referendum if there is a mandate to hold one.”

But he doesn’t actually say what that mandate would be.

Scottish Labour has set out its opposition to another independence referendum, although some within Labour circles north of the border have suggested a rethink is needed.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme earlier this week, fellow candidate Jess Phillips outlined her opposition to a second independence referendum.

Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis (Reuters) 

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 10:35
1578566890

Jess Phillips opposes Clive Lewis’ views on indyref2

Labour leadership candidate Jess Phillips has responded to Clive Lewis’ remarks on Scottish politics and a second independence reference.

She said there were “no circumstance where I think it would be better for Scotland to leave the UK”.

Phillips added: “I care as much about kids in Glasgow as I do my own kids in Birmingham. We should be talking about things that actually matter to them: the SNP’s education crisis & rising waiting times.”

Lewis made clear in his article for the pro-Indy paper The National he thought it was up to Scots to decide whether to hold indyref2.

Adam Forrest9 January 2020 10:48

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in