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As it happenedended1512590296

Brexit – as it happened: Theresa May faces split after day of humiliation over non-existent impact papers

All the day's developments in one place

The UK has not conducted a Brexit impact assessment on any sector, says David Davis

Theresa May is battling to keep Brexit on track after one of her toughest weeks since the process began.

Challenges are coming from all sides for the Prime Minister after negotiations with Brussels stalled on Monday, with intense pressure from Ireland and Europe over key aspects of the border arrangements after Brexit.

Ms May finally spoke to her Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) ally Arlene Foster this morning, whose party have insisted they will not sign up to a proposal for Northern Ireland to remain in “regulatory alignment” with the Republic once Britain has left the EU.​

However, the Irish government has warned that unless the UK goes ahead with the plan there could be no question of the Brexit negotiations moving on to the second phase – including trade talks – before the end of the year.

During Prime Minister's Questions, Jeremy Corbyn said the Government's efforts were "a shambles" and also mocked International Trade Secretary Liam Fox for previously saying talks would be "the easiest in human history".

MPs are also calling for Brexit Secretary David Davis to be held in contempt of Parliament for "misleading" MPs on the existence of a series of Brexit impact assessments. In a grilling by the Brexit Select Committee today, Mr Davis admitted the reports had not been done.

If that was not enough, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is facing its fifth day of Commons scrutiny, where the discussions are expected to focus on the Irish border and whether there should be a vote on the Brexit divorce bill.

Brexit Secretary David Davis sought to reassure the DUP that retaining common rules with the Republic on issues such as food safety standards and animal welfare would not effectively mean the creation of a new “border in the Irish Sea” between the North and rest of UK.

In the Commons on Tuesday, he pointedly did not rule out the idea that regulations which continued to apply in Northern Ireland could be retained across the whole of the UK.

“Every approach we take will treat the whole of the UK as a single constitutional entity and a single economic entity,” he said.

However the move threatened to put him on a collision course with hardline Tory Brexiteers who argue that escaping EU rules and regulations is one of the key benefits of leaving.

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load.


Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer reiterated that Labour is prepared to keep membership of the single market and customs union up for negotiation following a transition period after withdrawal.He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We say leave that option on the table. We certainly wouldn't rule it out. We'd want to have a conversation."We are in the EU and we will leave the EU; the question then is, can we reach an agreement with the EU that gives us those benefits?"Sir Keir said Norway's deal with the EU was the nearest model for the UK, but a British version would need to be different.He said the Government had got itself into a "contorted position" on the Northern Ireland border issue, and that a UK-wide agreement was needed.

Andrew Griffin6 December 2017 08:57

Domino's Pizza is urging the Government to put politics to one side and pursue a Brexit immigration policy guided by economic considerations to help avoid a recruitment crisis in the hospitality industry.Simon Wallis, the group's chief operating officer, said that half of Domino's staff in leadership roles come from countries such as Estonia, Portugal and Romania.However, the future pipeline of managers is being threatened by Conservative plans to sever Britain from the single market in a bid to slash immigration to the "tens of thousands" following Brexit."Not only have the people of Britain turned to migrants to make their lattes, build their kitchens and take care of their elderly, they've also relied on them to provide leadership."We need to properly consider how we're going to supply our economy with the legions of team leaders who keep the tills ringing, the wheels turning and the pizzas coming," he said.Domino's is embarking on an expansion drive, with plans to open 600 more stores over the next few years which will require more than 21,000 staff, but a fall in net migration means it will become increasingly difficult to find people to take up the roles.It is also planning to recruit 5,000 over the busy Christmas period, when it expects to serve up over 9 million pizzas.Earlier this year Domino's, which employs around 35,000 staff across 1,000 stores, issued a call for young British staff to help plug the gap.Mr Wallis said that thus far, the debate on Britain's looming labour shortage following Brexit has tended to focus on seasonal and casual workers, tradesman and, professionals."But there is a fourth group which I believe is where the biggest hazard lies after Brexit."Many of these team leaders started out delivering pizzas, labouring or cleaning, but through ambition and hard work they've turned casual work into a career," he added.The British Hospitality Association said in April that the UK sector needed around 62,000 EU migrants every year if it is to maintain the status quo and drive growth.Mr Wallis's comments come after the chief executive of Chapel Down, an official wine supplier to 10 Downing Street, warned earlier this week that Britons will "starve" if the door is closed to foreign fruit pickers after Brexit.He adds his voice to a chorus of business leaders and industry bodies that have issued stark warnings on how Brexit is affecting or will affect numerous sectors, including agriculture, aerospace, manufacturing, retail, airlines, construction and financial services.

Andrew Griffin6 December 2017 08:57

David Davis is up in front of the Brexit select committee, and is talking about impact assessments. He says that the Government hasn't done an overall impact assessment, and that much of the work that has been done will need to be kept secret. But he'll do his best to have his team work out the cost of different negotiating outcomes for Brexit in the coming days, he says.As Twitter user mutablejoe points out, this is an approach you might have heard before. "we have commissioned many excellent reports but you don't know them they go to another school," he wrote on Twitter, mocking Mr Davis.

Andrew Griffin6 December 2017 09:43

The UK has a "major contingency planning operation" in place in case talks fail and the country has to crash out in a no deal Brexit, David Davis says.

Andrew Griffin6 December 2017 09:55

A choice quote when Davis talks about impact assessments: 

Jon Stone6 December 2017 09:57
Jon Stone6 December 2017 10:10

Still speaking at the committee, David Davis says there have been "tens or 50 man-years" of work put into pre-Brexit analysis

Jon Stone6 December 2017 10:23

Some newspapers feature stories of Cabinet divisions today: The Sun reports that Boris Johnson is angry about David Davis plan for “regulatory alignment with the EU.

The Daily Telegraph meanwhile carries a similar story, citing a Cabinet source saying the plan “certainly hasn’t been agreed by the Cabinet”.

The Daily Mail says Mr Johnson and Michel Gove are “leading a revolt” of Brexiteers over the plans.

Stay tuned for more.

Jon Stone6 December 2017 10:41

Theresa May has reportedly spoken to DUP leader Arlene Foster by phone this morning after radio silence between the two parties.

The PM had expected to speak with Ms Foster on Tuesday in an attempt to resolve their differences but the call did not take place - in a clear signal of how intractable the issue has become. 

Lizzy Buchan6 December 2017 11:23

Ireland's state broadcaster RTE reports that a short conversation took place but "there is still work to be done in London before she [Foster] would go over".

The DUP has said it will refuse to support any Brexit deal that would maintain regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland, keeping similar arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

It would prevent a hard border - which is favoured by Dublin - but would give Northern Ireland different arrangements to the rest of the UK, which is unacceptable to Ms Foster.

Lizzy Buchan6 December 2017 11:37

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