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Brexit news - live: MPs vote for June extension as May meets Merkel and Macron ahead of crunch Brussels summit

Follow live updates from Westminster

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
,Harry Cockburn,Lizzy Buchan
Tuesday 09 April 2019 23:00
MPs vote for Brexit extension until June 30

MPs voted to authorise Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay until 30 June, amid fresh warnings from France and Germany over the details of any extension.

The prime minister personally appealed to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron during meetings on Tuesday, while European Council president Donald Tusk said there was “little reason to believe” Brexit could be sorted by June.

His comments come ahead of a crunch Brussels summit on Wednesday, at which EU leaders will decide whether to approve the prime minister’s request or offer a longer delay.

All 27 remaining EU heads of government must agree to an extension if the UK is to avoid the default position of a no-deal Brexit on Friday night.

See how the day unfolded below:


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's Brexit live blog.

Theresa May is due to meet with Angela Merkel in Berlin and Emmanuel Macron in Paris ahead of a crunch summit on Wednesday when EU heads of government will decide whether to grand Britain an extension to leaving the bloc.

Harry.Cockburn9 April 2019 08:19

Ms May’s efforts this week come against the backdrop of escalating trade tensions between the US and the EU after Donald Trump announced tariffs on EU goods worth £11bn, and targeting some of the bloc’s most iconic exports including French cheese, wine, olive oil and some seafood.

Harry.Cockburn9 April 2019 08:19

Theresa May will travel to Paris and Berlin today for meetings ahead of tomorrow's crunch European Council meeting. Full story:

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 08:34

David Gauke has suggested parliament will get a vote on a fresh Brexit referendum even if Theresa May opposes to it.

The justice secretary said he believed another public vote would be "divisive rather than decisive" said in his own discussions with Ms May she has it made her opposition towards a second referendum "very clear".

But he added:

"There is a point here to distinguish between the talks with the Labour Party that are ongoing and what will inevitably happen when we bring a withdrawal agreement through the Commons is that somebody will bring forward an amendment on whether there should be a confirmatory referendum."

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 08:47

Philip Hammond's parliamentary aide, Huw Merriman, has admitted he faces being sacked after he agreed to attend a People's Vote rally this morning. 

The Tory MP said he had been warned that a fresh referendum was not government policy.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"It has been made clear to me that is not government policy.

"My issue with that is that a week ago we were given free votes and I was allowed to vote for this concept of putting the prime minister's deal back to the people to get it through."

He said it would be the "politics of the madhouse" if the government allowed a free vote but then sacked MPs for explaining why they voted the way they did. 

He said:

"If I then get sacked for actually explaining the way I voted in a free vote, that to me would be a new low in democracy".

"It would be nonsensical for me to be given a free vote, to be allowed to vote the way I wish to vote, but then to explain it I would lose my position.

"That's politics of the madhouse and I am just not willing to go along with that."

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 09:09

Late last night, parliament passed Labour MP Yvette Cooper's bill that is designed to block a no-deal Brexit. The legislation will force a vote later today on the government's intention to seek to delay Brexit until 30 June. MPs could force Theresa May to seek a longer (or, less likely, a shorter) extension when she travels to the European Council meeting in Brussels tomorrow.

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 09:26

Voters are split on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal or remain in the bloc if the European Council refuses the government's request for a Brexit delay tomorrow.

Such an outcome would leave the UK with a choice between crashing out without a deal on Friday or unilaterally revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit. 

The ComRes study for The Telegraph found that 38 per cent of people favour leaving without a deal, while 40 per cent would prefer to revoke Article 50.

Only 32 per cent of voters want to leave on the terms of Theresa May's Brexit deal, while 38 or 39 per cent support a fresh referendum depending on the question that is asked.

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 09:40

Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, has just told ITV that it would be "fantastic" if the EU were willing to reopen negotiations on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop. 

It follows Brexiteer claims that German chancellor Angela Merkel is willing to put a five-year time limit on the backstop, which seems unlikely to say the least...

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 09:52
Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 10:07

The action in the House Commons gets underway at 11.30am. Here's today's order paper:

Benjamin Kentish9 April 2019 10:23

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