As it happenedended1518038732

Brexit 'War Cabinet' holds crunch meeting after Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May clash over crime at PMQs - as it happened

Prime Minister tries to find common ground between clashing ministers

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
@BenKentish
Wednesday 07 February 2018 09:38
comments
Can Brexit be reversed?

Theresa May faced Jeremy Corbyn for the weekly Prime Minister's Questions clash, shortly before chairing a crunch meeting of the Cabinet's Brexit sub-committee, where senior ministers attempted to thrash out a shared position on Britain's future relationship with the EU.

At PMQs, the Labour leader pressed Ms May on police cuts and rising levels of knife crime, citing complaints about a "national crisis" in policing.

The Prime Minister managed to avoid too many questions on Brexit, ahead of the tense meeting of her so-called "War Cabinet".

The meeting included pro-EU ministers such as Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Greg Clark, who want to maintain close customs ties with the EU, and Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove, who fear that doing so will restrict the UK's ability to make new trade deals.

It comes after a leaked document revealed European leaders could threaten to restrict the UK's access to the single market if it breaches EU rules during the Brexit transition period.

As it happened...

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Welcome The Independent's politics live blog on a crucial day for Brexit talks.

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 09:03
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Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 09:05
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Bit of a feisty exchange on Twitter between Damian Green and Labour MP Stephen Kinnock last night. It started when the former deputy prime minister dismissed Mr Kinnock's 24-hour "hunger strike" in support of electoral reform as "basically a diet".

In a reference to Mr Green's recent resignation over alleged pornographic images found on his computer, Mr Kinnock hit back...

https://twitter.com/SKinnock/status/960874205653893122

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 09:42
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A bit more info on that key meeting of the Cabinet Brexit sub-committee this afternoon. It will take place at 1.15pm and is scheduled to last for around two hours. Attendees include Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Davis Davis. Post-Brexit immigration and the issue of the Irish border are the two main issues on the agenda.

The same group will meet again tomorrow to discuss the UK's future relationship with Europe, although sources suggested there is unlikely to be any final decision will be taken this week.

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 10:30
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Greg Clark has admitted ministers are unlikely to reach agreement on key Brexit issues this week. As Rob Merrick reports, the Business Secretary said a "series of meetings" would be needed to settle the disputes.

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 10:35
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MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate this morning on the issue of potential UK membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The debate was secured by Tory MP Stephen Hammond, a Remain supporter. A number of other Conservatives, including Nicky Morgan, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry, gave their backing to the UK participating in the single market through EFTA.

Here's Rob Merrick's report:

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 11:34
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Prime Minister's Questions is coming up shortly. Follow it all live here.

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 11:56
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Interesting point on the gender balance of the Cabinet's Brexit sub-committee...

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 12:04
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Jeremy Corbyn is up at PMQs.

He starts on crime, asking Theresa May if she regrets cutting 21,000 police officers.

The Prime Minister says the crime survey shows crime is at record low, adding:

"That is what has been achieved and it's been achieved by a Conservative government that has been protecting police budgets."

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 12:08
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Mr Corbyn says £2.3bn was cut from police budgets during Ms May's time as Home Secretary.

The Prime Minister hits back, saying her government is protecting police budgets. £450m has been made available to the police, she says, adding the Government has taken action on modern slavery and domestic violence.

Kristin Hugo7 February 2018 12:10

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