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Brexit - as it happened: Theresa May reiterates opposition to Donald Trump's Jerusalem move during phone call

All the latest updates from Westminster throughout Tuesday

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 19 December 2017 09:40 GMT
Theresa May chairs meeting with cabinet on 'end state' with the EU

Welcome to The Independent’s politics liveblog. Theresa May has spoken with Donald Trump about his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the need for a "swift" bilateral trade deal after Brexit.

Earlier, she met her full Cabinet and ministers set our their own visions for the UK’s relationship with the EU after Brexit.

The meeting lasted for an hour and 45 minutes and some 25 ministers spoke, according to the Prime Minister's official spokesman.

Discussions on the so-called “end state” come amid reports that the Prime Minister and her aides are planning a speech – similar to Lancaster House and Florence – where Ms May will set out the Government’s vision for future trade with the bloc.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has also given another interview, insisting there will be no special arrangement to allow City firms to trade freely in the EU if Britain leaves the single market – a further blow to Ms May’s hopes of securing a bespoke deal with Brussels.

In comments likely to infuriate hardline Brexiteers, Mr Barnier said that the UK must follow all EU rules during the expected two-year transition period following the official date of Brexit in March 2019 - including laws introduced during that time with no British input into decisions.

Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 08:36
Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 08:37
Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 08:37
Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 08:48

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has written to EU nationals urging them to stay in the UK after Brexit.

In her letter, she says she is "proud that so many EU citizens like yourself have built your lives in the UK and made it your home".

She continues: "We value your contribution which is why the Government put safeguarding your rights as the first priority in the Brexit negotiations.

"I am absolutely delighted that we have now reached an agreement with the EU that does this.

"I know that at times you've had an anxious wait while the fine details were ironed out, but we wanted to get it right and we have always had you at the forefront of our thoughts."

The Home Secretary says she hopes the agreement reached earlier this month "provides certainty to you and your family ahead of Christmas".

She concludes: "EU citizens, like yourself, who have made the UK their home are our family, our neighbours and our colleagues and we want you to stay."

EU citizens who arrive by March 29 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting settled status.

Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 08:59
Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 09:26

The Electoral Commission has announced that the Liberal Democrats have been fined £18,000 following an investigation that found the party failed to deliver a complete and accurate spending return, during the EU referendum.

Commenting on the fine, Bob Posner, Electoral Commission Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel, said: “The reporting requirements for parties and campaigners at referendums and elections are clear, that’s why it is disappointing that the Liberal Democrats didn’t follow them correctly.

"The major political parties must ensure their internal governance is sufficiently invested in and resourced so they can be sure of meeting their legal obligations. Where the rules are not followed, transparency is lost which is not in the public interest or as parliament intended.”

Open Britain, the pro-EU campaign group, has also been fined £1,250 for failing to deliver a complete and accurate spending return for the EU referendum. 

"The organisation was fined £1,000 because some payments were reported in aggregate rather than as individual payments, and a further £250 in relation to three invoices that were not provided. Open Britain has now paid the total fine," the Electoral Commission added.

Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 09:36

In response to the Guardian's interview with Michel Barnier, a Government spokesman said: "The EU has said they will offer their most ambitious free trade approach. We are confident of negotiating a deep and special economic partnership that includes a good deal for financial services - that will be in the EU's best interests, as well as ours."

More on that story here:

Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 09:49

This is from my colleague Tom Peck who is at the Home Affairs Committee in Westminster: 

Policy chiefs from Google, Facebook and Twitter are appearing before the Home Affairs Committee over the subject of online abuse.

Google and Facebook have said that by next year they expect to have 10,000 and 7,500 staff all watching, reading and removing violent and extremist content.

Yvette Cooper is immediately taking issue with Sinead McSweeney from Twitter, who, she says, has still not taken down various abusive tweets her office reported from last year.

Extraordinary how Twitter reigns supreme as far as politicians, journalists and the rest care. Facebook and Google (which owns Youtube) are many times larger.  

Ashley Cowburn19 December 2017 10:05

Yvette Cooper is continuing to interrogate execs from Facebook, Google and Twitter.

She is essentially asking these three people to explain the goings on of her own social media viewing habitats.

"Why when I clicked on this, did it then recommend that?"

To every question, each can only reply, "I will go away and look at that."

The over-riding suspicion is that the three companies are simply not doing enough to take down extremist content. And the three executives are not doing very much to challenge that perception.

Kristin Hugo19 December 2017 10:23

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