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Brexit news - LIVE: Parliament descends further into farce after debate abandoned due to leak, as MPs pile pressure on Corbyn over second referendum

Follow our live coverage of the day’s political events

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn,Adam Forrest
Thursday 04 April 2019 12:49
Brexit: MPs pass emergency law forcing Theresa May to seek further delay to avert no deal by one vote

A plan to prevent a no-deal Brexit and delay the date of the UK’s exit from EU is being debated by the Lords this evening, after squeaking through the Commons.

It came as Chancellor Philip Hammond said a second referendum was a “perfectly credible proposition” and indicated the government would be prepared to compromise on a customs union.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn's teams also met again after 11 Labour MPs, including four frontbenchers, urging their leader to insist on a second referendum in an open letter to The Independent.

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Brexit crisis on 4 April as talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are set to continue following the first “constructive” discussions on Wednesday.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 07:35

If you missed it on Wednesday evening, here’s the chancellor Philip Hammond saying a second referendum remains a “credible” idea. 

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 07:42

Yvette Cooper’s European Union Withdrawal Bill (No 5) passed the Commons by 313 votes to 312 around 11.30pm last night, and will be debated in the Lords today.

Here’s our Political Correspondent Benjamin Kentish with all the details.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:16

Cabinet minister Matt Hancock’s comments this morning provides yet more evidence No.10 will abide by the majority of MPs desire to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:24

Conservative grandee Ken Clarke said he has “never seen a bigger shambles” and called for a longer extension to Brexit.

“I think the EU would give us an extension – they would be very angry with us – but I think the EU too would suffer if they just patched something together in the next eight days because it got fed up with our inability to make a clear consensus policy,” he told the Today programme. 

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:27

If you’re just catching up with the dramatic late night vote in the Commons to avert a no-deal Brexit, here’s the moment it happened.


Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:28

The House of Lords will start debating on Yvette Cooper’s bill to force the government to seek a Brexit delay to prevent a chaotic no-deal departure at 10.30am today. The aim is to debate the legislation, which needs the approval of the upper chamber to become law, in a single day.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:32

Shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti said a second referendum was only a means of breaking a deadlock, and not an end in itself.

“It became part of our policy for the purposes of breaking deadlock, that’s the purpose of it, it’s not an end in itself. Obviously it’s a process thing, it’s not a substance thing,” the Labour spokeswoman told Today.

It won’t please the Labour MPs who view a second referendum very much as a substance thing – 11 of them, including 4 frontbenchers, wrote an open letter to The Independent making the case for a People’s Vote.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:40

Philip Hammond had a quite a lot to say about the government’s position in his latest interview, including the suggestion a second referendum is still on the table. Here’s Tom Barnes with all the details.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:44

The health secretary Matt Hancock said a no-deal Brexit is now “very unlikely” as he suggested he could accept a customs union compromise.

He said that while he “profoundly” disagreed with Jeremy Corbyn on economic and security matters, he believed the only remaining way to get Brexit through was by seeking Labour votes.

“I would much prefer the Prime Minister's deal to a customs union, to be frank,” he told Today. “I want to deliver Brexit, I have spoken about the problems of a customs union and I don’t think it’s as good for the country. But I also want to deliver Brexit.”

Asked about the chances of a no-deal exit, Mr Hancock said: “I think that they are very unlikely because of the bill that the House of Commons passed last night.”

But Mr Hancock said he was “very, very strongly against” a second referendum – despite Philip Hammond describing it as a “perfectly credible” proposal.

Adam Forrest4 April 2019 08:48

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