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As it happenedended1531933386

Brexit - as it happened: Boris Johnson makes first speech since resigning over Theresa May's Chequers deal

Follow for all the latest updates from Westminster, as they happened

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 18 July 2018 17:50 BST
Boris Johnson: 'We are volunteering for economic vassalage'

Boris Johnson has claimed "it is not too late to save Brexit" in his first speech since resigning from government, where he tore into Theresa May's Chequers plan.

The ex-foreign secretary gave a resignation statement to MPs, where he claimed a "fog of self-doubt'' has fallen over Britain since the prime minister's Lancaster House speech and claimed her new plan would reduce the UK to "economic vassalage".

However Ms May was spared the pleasure of listening to his address, as she faced grilling by senior MPs on the Liaison Committee over her Brexit record.

Ms May also attempted to rally her deeply divided party at a meeting of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers.

Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn attempted to exploit divisions in the Conservative ranks by claiming the party was “too busy fighting each other to negotiate” during prime minister's questions.

The Labour leader was also embroiled in a fresh antisemitism row after a veteran MP was heard berating him for being a "f****** antisemite and a racist".

His office has vowed to take action against Dame Margaret Hodge, for the comments, which came amid a furious internal row over the party's new code of conduct.

See below for live updates


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

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 08:27

Anna Soubry says Jacob Rees-Mogg is now “running our country”, warning Theresa May is no longer “in charge” after caving in to Brexit hardliners in key Commons votes.

The leading pro-EU Tory also called for a “government of national unity” to take on the growing crisis – urging the prime minister to reach out to Labour backbenchers.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 08:42

Theresa May managed to narrowly avoid a humiliating Commons defeat last night on the customs union, as MPs backed the bill for post-Brexit trade.

Read our report on the night's proceedings: 

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 09:01

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said the government would be setting out more details of its preparations for a no-deal scenario in the coming weeks.

He told Today: "But our energies are going into negotiating a positive way forward with out European counterparts.

"That is what we expect to happen."

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 09:12

Amid the Brexit chaos, Labour has won a 5 point lead over the Tories, according to the latest YouGov poll.

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 09:23

Labour's John Woodcock has resigned from his party and will sit as an independent MP.

In his resignation letter, he attacks Jeremy Corbyn for allowing a party probe to be "manipulated for factional purposes".

He says: "I now believe more strongly than ever that you have made the Labour Party unfit to deliver on those objectives [local jobs and national security] and would pose a clear risk to UK national security as prime minister.

"The party for which I have campaigned since I was a boy is no longer the broad church is has historically been. Antisemitism is being tolerated and Labour has been taken over at almost every level by the hard left, far beyond the dominance they achieved at the height of 1980s militancy."

He said there was "little chance" of Labour returning as a mainstream electoral force and claimed he could no longer justify engaging with a "rigged process" to re-enter the party.

Mr Woodcock has been subject to an internal investigation over a sexual harassment allegation, which he denies.

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 09:42

A Labour spokesperson confirmed the news, adding: “Jeremy thanks John for his service to the Labour Party.”

Here's the breaking story:

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 09:57

Theresa May will make a two-day visit to Northern Ireland this week, where she plans to underline her commitment to avoiding a hard border.

She will make another major Brexit speech on Friday, which should prove interesting after her Chequers plan was branded "dead in the water" by both Tory Remainers and Brexiteers.

She will also meet businesses at the border and speak to young people in Belfast.

Ms May said: "I look forward to hearing views from businesses on the border in Northern Ireland on our departure from the European Union.

“I fully recognise how their livelihoods, families and friends rely on the ability to move freely across the border to trade, live and work on a daily basis.

“That’s why we have ruled out any kind of hard border. Daily journeys will continue to be seamless and there will be no checks or infrastructure at the border to get in the way of this. 

“I’ve also been clear we will not accept the imposition of any border down the Irish Sea and we will preserve the integrity of the UK’s internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

“From the start of the negotiations, the UK Government has put Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances at the heart of our negotiations. And nothing will undermine our commitment to protecting the Belfast Agreement.

“I also look forward to meeting political parties on working together to restore stable and effective devolved Government for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 10:09

Sticking with Labour, Jeremy Corbyn faced a barrage of criticism over his party's stance on antisemitism.

Dame Margaret Hodge, a former minister, reportedly told her party leader he did not want "people like me" in the party and called him a "f****** racist and an antisemite".

More here:

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 10:20

Interesting tweet from the BBC's parliamentary correspondent on Boris Johnson's resignation statement.

Lizzy Buchan18 July 2018 10:28

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