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Brexit news - as it happened: Jean-Claude Juncker addresses public spat with Theresa May as Tusk denies mandate for further talks

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Tom Barnes
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn
Friday 14 December 2018 19:55 GMT
Jean-Claude Juncker addresses public spat with Theresa May: 'we were not dancing'

Theresa May has insisted her Brexit deal is not dead in a press conference in Brussels after a bruising EU summit, with leaders scrapping written commitments to help pass her deal through the Commons.

Unless further concessions are made, it means the embattled prime minister will return to Westminster with limited assurances that are unlikely to placate her rebellious MPs.

But David Lidington, the cabinet office minister, defended Ms May’s handling of the talks, telling the BBC: “Anybody who has heard Theresa May, anybody who has heard her around the cabinet table, knows there is a very clear plan.”

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Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 08:43

After the bruising summit in Brussels, cabinet office minister David Lidington, defended Mrs May's handling of the talks with Brussels after criticism from Michel Barnier.

He told Today: "Anybody who has heard Theresa May in debate, anybody who has heard her around the cabinet table, knows there is a very clear plan."

He described the talks as "a welcome first step that was the removal of uncertainty" over the EU's intentions, because it had shown it wanted a "speedy UK trade deal" that would remove the need for the backstop in the first place.

Asked if the government could support "indicative votes" on options if the PM's Brexit deal is voted down in Parliament, he added: "Certainly I will be supporting the Prime Minister in campaigning vigorously for Parliament to approve the deal that has been negotiated.

"Were that not to happen then obviously the prime minister, the cabinet, would need to take stock and come to Parliament accordingly."

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 08:44

After the PM appealed to EU27 leaders for an olive branch to offer MPs who oppose the Northern Ireland backstop, shadow Brexit minister Sir Keir Starmer called for a meaningful vote on the deal before Christmas.

He said: "It seems that the prime minister has failed in her bid to deliver meaningful changes to her Brexit deal.

"We cannot go on like this. The prime minister should reinstate the vote on her deal next week and let Parliament take back control."

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 08:55
Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 09:02

Arriving at the summit, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said he does not now expect a special Brexit summit in January to agree a way forward, urging the Commons to back the agreed UK-EU deal.

"We need a positive vote from the British Parliament, not a summit," he said. "We want a vote. We need a vote from the British Parliament to continue. We very much hope this will be a positive vote. We count on that."

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 09:26

Theresa May has arrived at the second day of the EU summit in Brussels - and is expected to answer questions from the awaiting press pack at midday. The prime minister doesn't look like she is holding out much hope for concessions today from her European counterparts.

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 09:30
Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 09:51

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel said the EU leaders had had an "honest exchange" with the PM and said it was now up to MPs at Westminster to be "responsible" and vote for the deal.

"I think that for internal political reasons in the UK, some people try to gamble relations between the EU and the United Kingdom for the future," he said.

"Theresa May did the best possible job. She did the best possible deal and now the MPs in London should be responsible and know if they want to have the best possible deal or to go in the direction where they don't know what will come out.

"They should not forget they are elected to represent their citizens and not to just have their personal, political future thinking about that."

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 10:02

Theresa May is now in the room with the leaders of the other 27 EU member states in Brussels. But before things kick off, the PM seems to have had a terse conversation with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker.

Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 10:18
Ashley Cowburn14 December 2018 10:35

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