Brexit 1) May ‘defies calls’ to name departure date

“Theresa May has resisted pressure to set a date for her departure in return for support for her EU divorce deal after a threatened cabinet coup fizzled out. After meeting prominent Brexiteers at Chequers yesterday, the prime minister is instead expected to allow parliament to move towards a softer exit from the European Union. The strategy is designed to scare hard Brexiteers into line and steer them towards her deal while seeing off an attempt by MPs to seize control of Commons business. Mrs May summoned Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Dominic Raab, Steve Baker, David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg for one last effort to persuade them to support her deal. Downing Street would say only that it was a “lengthy” meeting. The Brexiteers declined to speak publicly about its contents but it is understood that they asked Mrs May to set out a timetable for her departure.” – The Times

  • ‘Frank’ Chequers summit where the Prime Minister held the line – Daily Telegraph
  • Squabbling plotters save May – The Times
  • Ministers rally behind leader – FT
  • She faces her Cabinet – The Scotsman
  • Gove and Lidington deny plans to step up as replacement – Daily Telegraph
  • Emergency plan to evacuate the Prime Minister over health fears – The Sun


  • Brexiteers say departure date is price of their support for the deal – The Sun
  • Leave-backing MPs pile on the pressure – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister endures, but struggles to win over rebels – FT
  • Sturgeon says May is ‘effectively out of power’ – The Scotsman


  • May must go to save her deal – The Sun


Brexit 2) Barclay warns that voting for a soft Brexit could lead to an election

Voting for a softer Brexit could lead to a general election, the Brexit Secretary has warned as  MPs prepare to vote for a series of “indicative votes” this week. Stephen Barclay said rejecting Theresa May’s deal while also taking no deal off the table could result in the Conservative party breaking its manifesto promises. Indicative votes allow MPs to decide on a series of options designed to see what can command a majority in Parliament. Supporters of the plan believe it could provide a way out of the current political deadlock. Mr Barclay said “the risk of a general election increases” if the Commons goes down this path. Although the vote itself would “not be binding”, he said Parliament choosing a different Brexit option would “potentially collide with fundamental commitments the Government has given in their manifesto”. On Monday an amendment tabled by a cross-party group of MPs, led by Hilary Benn and Sir Oliver Letwin, will aim to pave the way for indicative votes.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexiteers won’t support a Government u-turn, minister says – The Sun
  • Johnson brands Government ‘chicken’… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and demands assurances the Prime Minister won’t fight another election – Daily Mail
  • It’s my deal or soft Brexit, says May – Daily Express
  • Labour could fight snap election promising second vote – The Guardian
  • May warned failure to introduce hundreds of policies will harm poll prospects – Daily Telegraph


  • May has abandoned constitutional precedent by extending Article 50 – Martin Howe QC, Daily Telegraph
  • A no-deal Brexit remains highly likely – Wolfgang Münchau, FT
  • Why I fear we may see French-style civil unrest – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
  • ‘Black Wednesday’ shows how Brexit would be a release for the economy – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Paul Bew in Comment: Merkel has let alternatives to the backstop out of a bottle. So there’s no putting them back in.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: We “take note” of people choosing to march, but “what matters is 17.4 million at the ballot box”, Barclay argues

Brexit 3) Hammond backs vote on a second referendum

“Philip Hammond added to the pressure on Theresa May yesterday to allow votes on an alternative to her Brexit deal. The chancellor said that MPs should have the right to vote on the “perfectly coherent” option of putting the Brexit question back to the public in a second referendum, saying that people were desperate for a way forward. Options for a softer Brexit include the UK committing to join a customs union and remaining in most of the single market… He also distanced himself from Mrs May’s opposition to a second referendum, saying it was a “perfectly coherent proposition” in a further sign that her red lines are being washed away in the effort to avoid a no-deal exit on April 12, the deadline set by the 27 nations remaining in the EU for the UK to agree a way forward if MPs do not vote to support Mrs May’s deal this week.” – The Times

  • Sandbach calls for pro-EU entryism into the Conservative Party – The Sun
  • Field is first Tory MP to back revoking Article 50 – Politics Home
  • Starmer increases pressure on Corbyn over second vote – The Times
  • May fights for life as MPs consider indicative votes – Daily Express
  • Petition to revoke Article 50 passes five million signatures – The Times
  • Fears set alarm bells ringing for financial services – FT


  • The only way forward is to come out of the EU now – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • How a knockout contest could break this shameful deadlock – Ken Clarke and Helen Goodman, Times Red Box
  • The week Parliament takes back control of Brexit – Nick Boles, FT
  • As a former Commons clerk, I think these votes would be terrible idea – Eliot Wilson, Times Red Box
  • Why Norway Plus gives the UK space to sort out this mess – Yanis Varoufakis, Daily Telegraph
  • Revocation doesn’t reduce the chances of a Scottish referendum – Lesley Riddoch, The Scotsman

>Today: Nicky Morgan MP’s column: Indicative votes. If the Commons can’t reach a Brexit decision, beware a second referendum.


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