Peers in the House of Lords have started the lengthy process of scrutinising Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation.
It comes after an influential committee in the Lords warned that the legislation – in its current form – is constitutionally unacceptable and will need to be substantially rewritten.
More than 190 members had lined up to speak during the two-day debate on the Bill’s second reading. During the first round of debates, on Tuesday, one of the best interventions came from the former Brexit minister Lord Bridges.
He challenged the Prime Minister to make clear what sort of relationship the Government wanted with the EU after Brexit, adding ministers have so far provided “no clear answers”, offering only “conflicting, confusing voices”.
He told peers he feared the Government would come up with “meaningless waffle” for its future relationship with Brussels, and that the implementation period would be “a gangplank into thin air”.
In the Commons – as Ms May headed for China on an official visit - Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary raised an urgent question following a leak of the Government’s Brexit impact assessments on Monday evening. The papers claimed that Britain will be worse off after leaving the bloc regardless of the deal.
Labour have now vowed to win a Commons vote to force the release of the secret analysis laying bare the economic damage from Brexit, as the affair was branded a “cover up” by one MP.
Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said the emergence of a leaked study showing the UK economy would be worse off due to Brexit was 'suspicious'.
Responding to reports on the BuzzFeed News website that an economic impact assessment drawn up for the Government showed a negative growth outcome after EU withdrawal, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the timing in this is highly suspicious in the sense that suddenly in the midst of all this conversation about the European Union we have a leaked document.
"But,I would observe that almost every single forecast coming from Government, and most of the international organisations, has been completely wrong.
"I think we should take this with a pinch of salt."
Theresa May flies to China in major bid to secure post-Brexit tradeTheresa May will intensify the UK’s push to secure a lucrative post-Brexit trade deal with China as she heads there with the largest business delegation she has ever taken on an official trip. Executives from 50 firms and university representatives will fly with the Prime Minister on the three-day tour of Wuhan, Beijing and Shanghai.
May's Brexit bill is 'constitutionally unacceptable' and gives too much power to ministers, Lords report warnsAn influential group of peers have warned Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation is “constitutionally unacceptable” and will need to be substantially rewritten. The stark warning comes as peers in the upper chamber gear up to begin the lengthy process of debating the legislation – passed with a seal of approval from the Commons earlier this month.
Stephen Hawking and leading doctors taking Jeremy Hunt to court over NHS 'back door privatisation'Professor Stephen Hawking has won permission to take Jeremy Hunt and NHS England to court over controversial proposals to restructure the health service, The Independent can reveal. Mr Hunt has tabled a plan which could allow commercial companies to run health and social services across a whole region in what critics have described as allowing back-door privatisation.
This is from the Press Association on Liam Fox:
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox's warning that some Tories will "have to live with disappointment" has drawn a sharp rebuke from a leading Brexiteer.
After days of Tory turmoil over the Government's Brexit strategy, and questions raised over whether Theresa May can remain as Prime Minister, Dr Fox called for an end to the Conservative briefing war.
He told the Sun: "It doesn't help us for people to be involved in this sort of briefing they were over the weekend against individual colleagues because nothing that would happen would change the parliamentary arithmetic.
"We don't have a working majority, other than with the support of the Democratic Unionists, and we need to accept the reality of that. I know that there are always disappointed individuals but they're going to have to live with disappointment."
In response, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told Dr Fox that the situation would be improved if Cabinet ministers said less and stuck to Mrs May's stance.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't quite know what he means by disappointment. My view is leaving is the right thing to do and we will benefit from it in due course.
"I have a very simple message for my colleagues, generally: people should just calm down. The reality is this was always going to be bumpy.
"I think the best message I might send to Liam Fox and others is that, actually, if Cabinet ministers said a little less and speculated a little less about where they were, and stuck to what Theresa May has said, we might not have all of these disagreements."
A new YouGov poll out this morning says 69% of Tory voters back Theresa May to remain PM. Just 18% say she should stand down.
When all voters are took into consideration, 41% say she should remain in position while 34% say she should step down.
YouGov last asked this question in November and May had pretty much the same level of support (42%).
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