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Theresa May threatens 'no Brexit at all' as senior Tories put new referendum on table

All the latest updates from Westminster

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
@LizzyBuchan
Wednesday 21 November 2018 17:40
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Theresa May threatens 'no Brexit at all' if deal rejected

Theresa May has urged MPs to back her plans or face the prospect of "no Brexit at all" before heading to Brussels for talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.

Tory MPs lined up to demand the prime minister renegotiate parts of her Brexit deal during a fiery prime minister's questions session, where Ms May sought to sell the plan to her divided party.

Earlier, senior Tories including Amber Rudd and Damian Collins opened the door to a new referendum, as the prime ministers hopes of securing a parliamentary majority appeared to fade.

It also comes amid suggestions from Brussels that a summit to sign off on the draft withdrawal agreement on Sunday could be called off unless progress is made on finalising a political declaration on future relations.

If you want to follow events as they happened, see our live coverage below

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Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, where we will be bringing you the latest updates throughout the day.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 08:35
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Theresa May heads to Brussels on Wednesday to meet Jean-Claude Juncker in a bid to hammer out the final details of the Brexit deal with the EU.

The prime minister’s visit comes days ahead of a European summit to sign off the agreement, but amid a heated row in her own party over whether it should be backed.

Read the story here: 

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 08:54
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Tory MP Robert Halfon has issued a desperate plea to Larry, the Downing Street cat, to rid him of the mice plaguing his parliamentary office.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 09:03
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Amber Rudd has admitted “anything could happen” if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is defeated and suggested MPs will then prefer a Final Say referendum to crashing out of the EU.

The new work and pensions secretary undermined the prime minister’s threat of “my deal or no deal”, saying: “There isn’t a majority in the House of Commons to allow that to take place.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 09:29
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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell is making fresh overtures to business leaders today in a speech at ReutersLive.

My colleague Ben Kentish is in the audience.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 09:47
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Karen Bradley tells the Northern Ireland Committee that the controversial backstop plan could be resolved by alternative means, eg technological checks on the border.

The Northern Ireland Secretary is getting a bit of a hard time from the DUP during the session.

Jim Shannon, the MP for Strangford, said: "We are quite annoyed," by the PM's Brexit plans. He says he is a "team player" and has walked through the voting lobbies to support the government - as part of the confidence and supply agreement Theresa May has with the DUP.

However the backstop is a "red line" for his party.

Mr Shannon asks: "Why are you pursuing a policy that is at odds with the majority of MPs and why there's a need to pursue something that's so much against the confidence and supply agreement with my party?"

Ms Bradley says a hard border was unacceptable as it would break up the integrity of the UK.

She said: "The safeguards put in place, the reassurances given, the way that the EU dislike the backstop means as a legal construct, not as a person or country, there is no way that there will be a situation where we can be bound into the backstop indefinitely.

"The right thing to do is to accept the deal and to get the future relationship and make sure we never go into the backstop in any way."

She says the right thing to do is to accept the withdrawal agreement and make sure the UK never goes into the backstop. There would never have been an agreement without one, she says.

Mr Shannon says this is an insurance policy that you can't claim on and he fundamentally disagrees with her.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 09:58
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Jim Shannon accuses the NI Secretary of engaging in a "love-in" with businesses and says she is "only seeking the opinion you want".

“If you don’t cast your net wider and seek opinions of other people, and stop seeking opinion of one blinkered opinion then you’re going to get a very rude awakening."

Karen Bradley says she isn't happy with every element of the deal but it's better than leaving without a deal. This is No10 talking - offering May's deal or no deal.

Shannon says he cannot support this.

Bradley says they will have to agree to disagree - but talks up the benefits of this deal.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 10:16
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Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey asks how she felt when Shailesh Vara resigned as Northern Ireland minister last week over Brexit.

Karen Bradley said she was sad but she respects his position. 

Hoey asks whether she raised it in cabinet but Ms Bradley refuses to comment on cabinet conversations.

She then moves onto the backstop, which starts to rile Bradley. She forcefully suggests that the backstop is subject to "mutual agreement" between the EU and the UK, and Northern Ireland cannot be split from the rest of the UK.

Hoey then cheekily refers to an interview Ms Bradley gave to the House, where she claimed she didn't know people in Northern Ireland voted on constitutional lines.

Bradley gets very cross and calls her "Miss Hoey".

Here's the piece we wrote on the row in September:

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 10:43
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Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 10:52
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Kate Hoey says there is a perception that 'whatever the PM says you will go along with it', as part of a frosty exchange.

Bradley says she could take offence to the comments, and she has 'a brain in my head and I'm perfectly capable of thinking'.

Lizzy Buchan21 November 2018 11:00

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