As it happenedended1551744758

Brexit news - live: Government postpones key no-deal bill vote to avoid humiliating tax havens defeat

The latest updates from Westminster

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn
Monday 04 March 2019 18:45
Brexit: Passports and visa rules explained

Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a vote on key bit of Brexit legislation to avoid a humiliating Commons defeat over rules governing tax havens.

Labour grandee Dame Margaret Hodge had tabled a cross-party amendment to the Financial Services Bill, which would have compelled UK overseas territories to be more transparent about business ownership.

It came as Labour MPs from Leave-backing areas dismissed Theresa May's "Brexit bribe" of £1.6bn for run down towns, saying their "vote is not for sale".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it “smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation”.

Beleaguered transport secretary Chris Grayling also came under fire on Monday for failing to personally answer questions from MPs about the botched Brexit ferry contracts.

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “He leaves a trail of destruction in his wake, causing chaos and wasting billions of pounds yet he shows no contrition… the transport secretary has become an international embarrassment.”

Here's how the day unfolded:

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:10
Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:11

Responding to the prime minister's £1.6bn fund, Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said:  “This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation.

“The reason our towns are struggling is because of a decade of cuts, including to council funding and a failure to invest in businesses and our communities.

“Labour pledged in 2017 that we will establish a network of regional development banks that will be dedicated to delivering the finance that our small businesses co-operatives and innovative projects need across the whole country. No Brexit bribery, stable investment where it’s most needed.”

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:28

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on the £1.6bn fund, the communities secretary James Brokenshire rejected the money, which will be made available over a six-year period, was a "bribe". 

He said: "This funding is there regardless of the outcome, but obviously we want to see a deal happening, we believe that is what is in the best interests of our country.

"But there is no constitutionality in that sense, this funding is there to see that towns grow and that we are actually looking at what we need to do, which is seeing those areas really prospering and following through on what the prime minister has really believed in, that sense of leaving no part of our UK behind and how this will help support that."

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:35

Here is some reaction from Labour MPs on Theresa May's £1.6bn fund for left behind towns. Critics say the money has been made available in a bid by Downing Street to win support for the prime minister's deal from MPs representing Leave seats across the country. But that bid has not gone down too well...

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:40

In other news, a man has been charged with assault after Jeremy Corbyn was attacked with an egg during a visit to a north London mosque.

More here:

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:44
Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 08:54
Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 09:05

Another Labour MP - Chris Bryant - reacts to the PM's fund for left behind towns. Fair to say he's not totally on board.

Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 09:31
Ashley Cowburn4 March 2019 09:44

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