Theresa May is to convene a meeting of her cabinet today amid reports ministers have told the prime minister to stop using no-deal as a threat in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. 

During the session, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay will brief his cabinet colleagues on his latest talks with Brussels over the contentious issue of the Irish backstop.

It follows the decision of 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. 

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Business secretary Greg Clark is no addressing a manufacturing conference in central London. He described the announcement from the Japanese company, Honda, as a “bitter blow”.

Here is the company’s announcement from Monday:



Theresa May is to to meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has just told reporters. 

A former EU commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso has said the most likely scenario now is that the UK will delay Brexit – and not leave on 29 March.

“I think the most likely scenario is not to do that in March this year,” he said according to Reuters. “We need more…preparations.”

“Even if there was a positive deal now, from a practical point of view, it’s obvious that everything is not ready. So I think the right thing to do is to have some extension, and I believe that if the UK demands an extension of Article 50, European Union countries will naturally accept it.”

Tory rebel Sarah Wollaston warns of ‘Blukip’ activists in her own party amid speculation over new resignations

Pro-EU Tory Sarah Wollaston has warned “Blukip” activists in her own party risk alienating moderate voters amid speculation over possible defections to a new group of independent MPs.

Dr Wollaston warned “there will be nothing left at all to appeal to moderate centre ground voters”, as she accused her party of shifting towards a hardline stance on Brexit.

The Conservative rebel is reportedly facing a deselection vote from her local association after defying the government to support a final say referendum.

It comes after seven Labour MPs dramatically resigned on Monday in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and complaints of antisemitism in the party.

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.



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.


Ex-Labour MP apologises for ‘misspeaking’ when talking about race live on TV

Former 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.”

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.”

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.

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.


Corbyn faces major crisis amid threat of further Labour resignations

Jeremy 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.

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of today’s events in Westminster. 


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