Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1556041867

Brexit news: Theresa May accuses Labour of slowing down talks as cross-party discussions continue

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn,Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 23 April 2019 10:22 BST
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

Theresa May has accused Labour of dragging its feet over cross-party Brexit talks as MPs return to Westminster after the Easter break.

The prime minister said the Labour Party was engaging in the talks in a “serious” way but said there were difficulties with scheduling the talks.

Jeremy Corbyn said the lack of progress was due to the government’s refusal to compromise.

“They cannot keep on just regurgitating what has already been emphatically rejected three times by Parliament, there’s got to be a change,” the Labour leader said.

Mrs May remains under considerable pressure from her own backbenchers, who remain largely dissatisfied with her leadership.

Officers of the 1922 backbench committee met on Tuesday evening to discuss changing the party’s rules.

A rule change could allow MPs to challenge Ms May’s position as leader as early as June.

Nigel Evans, the committee’s secretary said Theresa May should announce her resignation “today” in order to break the Brexit impasse.

“I hope she does accept the fact the call for her resignation now is growing into a clamour,” he said.

But prisons minister Rory Stewart backed Mrs May as “our best hope” of resolving Brexit.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

He told BBC’s Today programme that “the problem is not the Prime Minister, the problem is Brexit”.

If you would like to see how the day in Westminster unfolded please see what was our live coverage below:


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

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 08:30

Senior Conservative Nigel Evans has called for Theresa May to step down as Prime Minister "today".

The joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee told the BBC Today programme the Conservatives need new leadership and that the process "can't start soon enough".

Mr Evans said: "To be honest I would be delighted if she announced today she was announcing her resignation and we could then have an orderly election to choose a new leader of the Conservative Party.

"I believe the only way we're going to break this impasse properly is if we have fresh leadership of the Conservative Party...

"If there was an announcement today by the Prime Minister then of course we could start the process straight away."

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 08:39

Mr Evans, the Ribble Valley MP, said he had reflected on the situation over the Easter break and said the "severe problems" over Brexit meant Theresa May had to go "as soon as possible".

He said: "I hope she does accept the fact the call for her resignation now is growing into a clamour.

"It's not now just within Westminster - we've heard the news that 70 chairs of Conservative Associations throughout the country have now said that they reluctantly have no confidence in the prime minister."

Mr Evans said, with 40% of Conservative councillors likely to support Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in the European elections, Ms May's position would be "totally untenable".

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 08:49

Brexit negotiations between the government and Labour will resume on Tuesday as Theresa May launches a fresh bid to break the deadlock in parliament and quash new attempts to oust her from office.

The prime minister’s deputy, David Lidington, and the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, will lead talks with Labour, including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, in a new effort to find a cross-party solution to the current crisis.

They will be joined by government chief whip Julian Smith and Ms May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell. 

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 09:07

Justice minister Rory Stewart was sent out to bat for the government this morning, where he insisted that Theresa May was "our best hope" of resolving Brexit.

He told Today that "the problem is not the prime minister, the problem is Brexit" and a new leader would not make a difference.

He said: "I think she is doing a very, very important job and she needs to get the first stage of Brexit done...

"The idea somehow that some new, fresh leader with extraordinary charm and nimble feet would be able to suddenly get the deal across the line is mistaken.

"It's nothing to do with the individual, it is that people disagree deeply over Brexit."

He admitted that "a lot of MPs are cross and impatient" but insisted Ms May should keep her job.

He said: "Going into a leadership battle with Brexit completely unresolved it would not only have enormous uncertainty for the country, but it would tear politics apart, because it would lead to this deep, deep polarisation between people who want to remain and people who want to leave with no deal and she is our best hope of resolving that."

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 09:18

Change UK is launching its European elections campaign in Bristol this morning.

The former Labour and Conservative MPs quit their parties in protest over Brexit and handling of antisemitism complaints on the Labour side.

Former Labour MP Chuka Umunna sets out why the party is striking out on its own, rather than forming a broad Remain coalition with other smaller parties.

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 09:23

Donald Trump's long-awaited state visit to the UK is expected to be announced on Tuesday, sources have said.

Mr Trump's official trip could be scheduled for early June according to reports, and follows a working visit he made to Britain last summer with his wife Melania.

Theresa May offered Mr Trump a state visit early in his presidency when she met the US leader for the first time in the White House in January 2017.

But it was repeatedly pushed back over fears of major protests. His visit is likely to draw demonstrations in the same way as his July 2018 trip and security is expected to be high.

More here:

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 09:41

The Commons is back after its Easter break - so we can expect a glut of statements and urgent questions. A statement on the attacks in Sri Lanka is very likely. 

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 10:05

Cross-party talks to break the deadlock will resume this week but a solution to the current crisis seems a long way off, says Indy political correspondent Ben Kentish.

Read his analysis here:

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 10:23

The race for the European elections is starting to get underway in earnest, with announcements from both sides of the Brexit divide.

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is announcing a further tranche of candidates at 10.30am followed by a press conference. The last round included Jacob Rees-Mogg's sister Annunziata, which provoked plenty of interest.

Lizzy Buchan23 April 2019 10:33

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in