Theresa May is to travel to Brussels on Wednesday for crunch talks with the European Commission, as Jean-Claude Juncker said a breakthrough is in “God’s hands’.
It came after the prime minister met with her cabinet amid reports ministers told Ms May to stop using a no-deal scenario as a threat in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
And it followed the decision by seven MPs to quit Labour on Monday – the biggest schism in the party since the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1980s.
On Tuesday members of the European Research Group (ERG) also met with the PM to discuss the future of the so-called Malthouse compromise arrangement amid speculation it had been killed off.
The plan, named for MP Kit Malthouse, would see the backstop dropped and the transition period extended in exchange for the UK paying some of the financial settlement it owes Brussels.
Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker, of the ERG, said in a joint statement that the compromise was “alive and kicking”. They added: “We look forward to further developments.”
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay had previously briefed the cabinet on his talks with Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday, at which the EU chief negotiator voiced concerns about the viability of the Malthouse plan.
Mr Barclay is also expected to make another visit to Brussels later in the week as Britain seeks the bloc’s approval for changes to the backstop – the insurance arrangement designed to avoid a hard Irish border after Brexit by keeping the UK in a customs union until a wider trade deal is agreed.
Late on Tuesday, Mr Barnier tweeted that there was a “clear and strong unity of EU27 to preserve the withdrawal agreement in all its dimensions, including on Ireland”.
See below how we reported the events live
Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's events in Westminster.
Corbyn faces major crisis amid threat of further Labour resignationsJeremy Corbyn faces a historic Labour rupture after being warned that more MPs are ready to follow the seven who dramatically quit his party on Monday.The leader publicly appealed for unity while his supporters launched savage attacks on the MPs, branding them “cowards”, “traitors” and “splitters” and demanding they give up their seats.But as the crisis deepened, deputy leader Tom Watson said other MPs are also considering leaving Labour, a party he admitted he sometimes no longer recognises, amid visceral anger over antisemitism, Brexit and Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
Former Militant member Derek Hatton readmitted to Labour 34 years after expulsionFormer member of the left-wing Miltant faction and deputy leader of Liverpoolcouncil, Derek Hatton, has been readmitted to the Labour Party – 34 years after he was expelled.Reports of his approval back into Labour’s ranks came after seven MPs resigned from the party on Monday – the biggest schism in the party since the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1980s.Mr Hatton was thrown out of the party by Labour’s former leader Neil Kinnock, for belonging to the Militant faction and for overseeing an illegal “deficit” budget in protest at Margaret Thatcher‘s Conservative government.
According to reports in the Guardian, senior ministers have told the prime minister she must stop using the threat of a no-deal Brexit as a negotiating position in the Brexit talks as the prime minister prepares to meet her cabinet on Tuesday morning.
During today's session the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is to brief the cabinet on his latest talks with Brussels amid continuing deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop.
Mr Barclay was said to have had a "productive" discussion with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in the Belgian capital on Monday.
However, it appeared that they were no closer to resolving the fraught issue of the backstop - intended to ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland - which remains the main stumbling block to an agreement.
Who are the new Independent Group and what do they stand for?In what is being seen as the most significant split in British politics since the breakaway of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s, a group of seven Labour MPs have announced they have resigned from the party.They will now sit as an “Independent Group” as they appeal to MPs from all parties to “leave the old tribal politics behind”.Jeremy Corbyn said he was “disappointed” by the move and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said the party “should not and will not be distracted and divided” by the news.
One of the MPs who quit Labour, Chuka Umunna, told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Tuesday: "We are not the SDP. This is a different century."
Asked when the group of MPs could evolve into a new centre party with a name and more members, Mr Umunna said: "I would like to see us move as quickly as possible and certainly by the end of the year, but that's my personal view."
He added: "There needs to be an alternative, so that's perfectly possible. But I don't get to determine this."
Ex-Labour MP apologises for 'misspeaking' when talking about race live on TVFormer Labour MP Angela Smith has apologised and said she “misspoke” during a discussion about race.The member for Penistone and Stocksbridge was taking part in a discussion on Politics Live about antisemitism and racism in politics, when she appeared to describe BAME people as having a "funny tinge".“The recent history of the party I’ve just left suggests that it’s not just about being black or a funny tin- ... you know, different - from the BME community,” she said.Her comment caused outcry online and the politician posted a video of herself apologising just hours later.“I have seen the clip from Politics Live,” she said. ”I’m very sorry about any offence caused and I am very upset that I misspoke so badly."
John McDonnell - the shadow chancellor and close ally of Jeremy Corbyn - has told Sky News: "We need a mammoth, massive listening exercise and (to) address some of those criticisms that have been made."
But he played down suggestions that as many as 36 Labour MPs had been considering a split.
"I don't think there is that scale, but the key issue for us - and it was made clear at the Parliamentary Labour Party, Tom Watson said it and others - the Labour leadership, and I'm part of that, we need to keep listening, bring people in, talk to them," he said.
MPs urge government to redraft new domestic abuse bill so it includes Northern IrelandMPs’ from a range of political parties, campaigners and academics are calling for the government to extend the new landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to Northern Ireland.The draft legislation introduces the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse to include economic abuse and controlling and manipulative behaviour that is not physical.But the bill will not apply to Northern Ireland – as well as excluding migrant women.
Leaving his home in North London, Jeremy Corbyn declined to answer questions from reporters on whether more resignations from MPs are coming after seven jumped ship on Monday, creating a new grouping in the House of Commons - The Independent Group.
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