With Parliament reconvening today, Prime Minister Mr Johnson is bringing his Brexit deal back to the Commons – but he faces ongoing resistance from MPs who stubbornly refuse to concede defeat. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has tabled an amendment to the WAB requiring ministers to seek a two-year extension to the transition period, to the end of 2023, if there is no agreement by mid June. Other amendments tabled by Labour include a bid to protect the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families after Brexit.
It follows the decision by ministers to remove the so-called “Dubs amendment”, intended to ensure child refugees could still rejoin their families in the UK after free movement ends, in the wake of the Conservatives’ election victory.
The SNP meanwhile has tabled a series of amendments intended to strengthen the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.
Immigration spokesman Stuart McDonald said: “It is vital that opposition parties back the SNP in protecting the rights of our fellow EU nationals who have made Scotland and the UK their home and who now face being plunged into further instability.
Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford will once more try and derail Brexit today
“We cannot allow this reckless, right-wing Tory government to push ahead with its Brexit plan which risks inflicting hostile environment 2.0 – this time on EU nationals who live and work in the UK, including in our vital NHS.”
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have said they will press for an amendment requiring the Government to hold a public inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 EU referendum.
Nevertheless, given the Government’s 80-seat majority after last month’s general election, all attempts to modify the legislation appear to be doomed to defeat.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has expressed “serious concerns” over Boris Johnson’s plan to negotiate Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU in 11 months.
In a recent interview, the European Commission President encouraged the Prime Minister to reconsider his public commitment to not extend the transition period, under which Britain would remain under Brussels’ rulebook, beyond the end of the year.
She told French newspaper Les Echos: “It seems to me that on both sides we must ask ourselves serious if all these negotiations are feasible in such a short time.”
Brussels has now warned that bureaucratic red tape could further hinder the negotiations as the bloc attempts to confirm its mandate for the talks.
Irish businesses fear being hit by Brexit repercussions “significantly more” than their British counterparts, a shock global survey by the US National Bureau of Economic Research has found.
The major study found that firms in Ireland spent more time discussing Britain’s European Union divorce than those across the Irish Sea.
“Irish firms on average discuss Brexit significantly more than UK firms do,” the research said.
The global research interviewed representatives from 7,333 firms across 71 countries, including 53 Irish businesses.
British businesses have enjoyed a huge boost after the “decisive” election result put an end to the Brexit uncertainty, a leading market index has indicated.
The closely-watched IHS Markit/CIPS UK services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) climbed above 50 in December – a rise of 0.7 points from November.
Responses following the election results on December 12, found business expectations rose to 66.3 – its highest figure since September 2018.
The index measures the activity of business in the services sector and is based on the responses of 650 firms.
10.51am update: Romania’s Prime Minister Orban to discuss Brexit with Barnier
Romania’s new Prime Minister Ludovic Orban will discuss Brexit with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier during the first day of his visit to Brussels.
Mr Orban will discuss the situation with Mr Barnier after first meeting European Council President Charles Michel.
He will also meet with Enlargement European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU-Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hann.
10.05am update: Pound boosted as MPs return
Sterling strengthened slightly on Tuesday as British lawmakers were set to return to Parliament after the Christmas recess and prepare to vote this week on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s EU withdrawal deal.
After winning an 80-seat majority in the lower house in last month’s election, Johnson’s Conservative Party looks more than likely to pass the bill, analysts say, paving the way for Britain’s exit from the EU on January 31.
There are three days scheduled for debate before a vote on the bill on Thursday. The bill then will go to the House of Lords next Monday.
The pound was last trading up 0.1 percent at $1.3184, rising also by 0.25 percent versus the euro to 84.83 pence. It strengthened to as much as $1.3210 earlier, its highest since January 2.
9.48am update: UK needs “long-lasting” trade deals, says Rolls Royce boss
Britain needs to strike “proper, long-lasting” post-Brexit trade deals with both the European Union and the rest of the world, the boss of carmaker Rolls-Royce told Reuters on Tuesday.
Britain is due to leave the EU by the end of the month, guaranteeing a transition period until the end of 2020 during which time little will change in its relationship with the bloc.
Much of the rest of the year will be dominated by talks between London and Brussels on the future partnership to take effect from 2021, with manufacturers seeking the closest possible relationship to maintain their seamless production processes.
Speaking as the firm announced its sales rose by a quarter in 2019, Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said: “What needs to be delivered are proper, long-lasting trade deals not only with the European Union but also with the entire rest of the world.”
“Free flow of goods and people, that is very important for us.”
9.44am update: Gambling firm rides out Brexit uncertainty to post record revenues
Gambling firm 888 has cheered an all-time record high for monthly revenues in December, but said poker remains a “challenging market”.
The group said it is “confident” over its full-year out-turn thanks to a better second-half performance, which was bolstered by its Orbit casino platform and a solid result for sport betting.
It also hailed a sustained recovery in its UK business, despite the impact of Brexit and an increase in the online gaming duty from 15 percent to 21 percent in April last year.
But the firm – which is registered in Gibraltar – said poker trading continues to suffer, with the firm looking to lead a turnaround with the initial launch of its new poker platform, Poker 8, over the final six months of 2019.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage
Boris Johnson is under pressure to rush through a new post-Brexit trade deal in a bid to limit any economic disruption, with experts predicting a “crazy rush”.
Mr Johnson has vowed to get trade talks sealed by the end of this year, giving the country only 11 months to get an agreement with the EU.
UK companies are keen for this time of uncertainty to come to an end and to stop wasting resources on stockpiling and contingency planning.
Independent customs expert for the British Chamber of Commerce, Anna Jerzewska, said: “This is going to be a crazy rush.”
8.51am update: Johnson plans Brexit celebration
Downing Street has confirmed Boris Johnson is planning a national celebration to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union on January 31.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman did not provide any specifics – but said Brexit marked “a significant moment in our country’s history” with details of official events to be be announced “shortly”.
He did not confirm whether the celebration would involve Big Ben chiming at 11pm, as proposed by Tory MPs Mark Francois and Nigel Evans.
Leave Means Leave is likewise planning its own celebratory events on January 31, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage taking a swipe at the Tories, tweeting: “This government is good at adopting our ideas.
“The public will be able to register for the Leave Means Leave event by the end of today.”
Nigel Farage took a swipe at the Tories on Twitter
8.45am update: Labour not trusted on Brexit, admits Long-Bailey
Labour Party leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has admitted her party has lost the trust of the British people when it comes to Brexit.
Asked about Labour’s general election defeat, Ms Long-Bailey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We weren’t trusted on Brexit.
“We weren’t trusted as a party to tackle the crisis of anti-Semitism.
“We weren’t trusted on our policies, no matter how radical or detailed they were.
“They simply didn’t hit the ground running.”
Will Big Ben ring out on January 31?
8.29am update: Francois wants Big Ben to ring on January 31
Tory MP Mark Francois is tabling a Brexit amendment of his own today, in which he will call for Big Ben to ring at 11pm on January 31, the moment the UK will leave the EU.
Mr Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, is proposing the amendment along with fellow Brexiteer Nigel Evans.
Writing on the Conservative Home website, Mr Francois said: “With the Elizabeth Tower currently undergoing a period of renovation, Big Ben has been silenced to protect the hearing of those working on the project.
“Nevertheless, the iconic bell does still ring for moments of national significance, such as New Year’s Eve and, quite rightly, for Remembrance Sunday too.
“To mark this momentous occasion, I, along with 50 other Members of Parliament, am now campaigning to allow Big Ben to chime our freedom as well.”
8.10am update: No-deal planning stood down “with immediate effect”
With Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal likely to be approved by MPs this week, emergency preparations for a no-deal outcome have been stood down “with immediate effect”, a leaked letter has suggested.
Civil service chiefs have been working on contingency plans, collectively known as Operation Yellowhammer, for months, but were told to bring them to a halt two days before Christmas, according to the letter, which was leaked to Sky News.were told to bring them to a halt two days before Christmas, Sky News has learnt.
The letter, marked “Official Sensitive” and posted by Sky News political correspondent Tamara Cohen on Twitter, states: “In the light of the successful vote at Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Friday, the Prime Minister has now confirmed the Government’s intention to stand down no deal planning for 31 January 2020 with immediate effect.”
Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox delivered a brutal dig at Tony Blair over the consequences of the Iraq war on the destabilisation of the Middle East and the “dominant” role of Iran in the region, as Alastair Campbell attempted to drag Brexit into the latest US-Iran debate.
Speaking on BBC Politics Live yesterday, the former spin doctor and special adviser to Tony Blair claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s position on the latest US-led attack on Iran’s most powerful commander, General Qassem Soleimani, paints the picture of a crucial ally that was blatantly unaware of President Donald Trump’s intentions and who is now trying to “catch up”.
He said: “I think the fact that Boris Johnson literally knew nothing about the attack and then is now having to play catch up. I think it makes it harder for him than to play a positive role.”
But it was when Mr Campbell attempted to bring the Brexit debate into his argument by claiming that leaving the EU will “make it harder” for the UK as it will “no longer seem like the player it was” inside the Brussels bloc, that Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox could not resist hitting back with the perfect swipe at Tony Blair and his Government under Mr Campbell’s advice.
She said: “Well, I’m sorry to go on about Iraq! But if I could just point out that the destabilisation of that region has not entirely got nothing to do with you.”
7.57am update: UK must remain competitive after Brexit, warns City chief McGuinness
The revelation means 10.5 percent of all taxes collected in the year to March 31 were paid by the sector, the Total Tax Contribution of UK Financial Services report added.
Analysts also discovered that challenger banks – which tend to have smaller workforces – saw 34 percent of their total tax bill being handed over in corporation tax, compared with 15% across the entire banking sector.
Challenger’s employment tax contribution was just 37 percent, compared with the sector’s overall average of 50 percent.
Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “Despite a challenging economic climate and uncertainty around Brexit, the sector has maintained its tax contributions from the record high of last year.
“It is only right that the City continues to make a fair contribution to support the wider economy and public services.
“With Brexit looming, however, the UK must remain competitive to safeguard the sector’s employment base and significant tax contribution.
“It will play a critical role in fuelling our economic success after we leave the European Union.”
7.50am update: Banks boost Boris with £75.5bn pre-Brexit tax windfall
British-based banks and financial services have given Prime Minister Boris Johnson a massive boost as he prepares to deliver Brexit after handing over £75.5 billion in taxes last year, accounting for more than £1 in every £10 paid to the Government, according to new figures.
The total was made up of £33.4 billion of direct taxes including corporation tax and business rates and £42.1 billion through indirect ones such as employee National Insurance contributions, the City of London Corporation said.
This was slightly up on the previous year’s £75 billion, despite the political and economic uncertainty, although corporation tax on profits fell for the first time since 2014.
The report, by PwC and commissioned by the corporation, added that financial services firms employ 1.1 million people across the country – around three percent of all UK employment – making taxes on workers the highest contributing factor in the industry.
Chancellor Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain has paved the way for a massive spending spree that will herald a “decade of renewal”, it was announced on Monday night.
Chancellor Sajid Javid said he will use the first Budget after the UK leaves the EU to pump a colossal £100billion into much-needed infrastructure projects across the UK.
He promised the unprecedented investment would help “left behind” parts of the country and “unleash Britain’s potential”.
The economic set piece will take place on March 11 – just six weeks after Brexit Day – Mr Javid’s first as Chancellor.
The announcement comes as the UK economy continues to perform well amid renewed business optimism thanks to the so-called “Boris Bounce” following last month’s clear-cut Tory general election victory.
7.40am update: Johnson aims to push Bill through Commons by end of Thursday
The Prime Minister is determined to deliver on his general election manifesto promise to “get Brexit done” by January 31.
The WAB has already cleared its first Commons hurdle, passing its second reading vote before Christmas with a majority of 124.
The Government now wants it to complete its remaining stages in the lower House by the end of business on Thursday.
It would then go to the Lords next week, with ministers confident it can conclude its passage through Parliament in time for it to be ratified by the European Parliament by the end of the month.
That would mean the UK leaving the EU on January 31, with a deal in place covering citizens’ rights, the Irish border and Britain’s “divorce bill” of about £30 billion.
European Union chiefs will this month hold a series of secret meetings in order to prepare for fast-tracked, post-Brexit trade negotiations with Boris Johnson.
In preparation for a turbulent 11 months, EU diplomats and officials will decide on their negotiating mandate ahead of Britain’s departure from the bloc on January 31.
Brussels will seek to separate the talks, which are expected to start as early as February 3, into several different areas.
They will include financial services, fisheries, data exchange, free trade in goods, services, intellectual property and public procurement, level playing field, transport, law enforcement, judicial cooperation, governance, mobility of citizens and space, European Defence Fund and cyber-security.
THE Lib Dems have called for an investigation into the result of the EU referendum in their latest attempt to cancel Brexit which has left social media users outraged.
In a shocking move, acting Liberal Democrats leader Sir Ed Davey announced there needs to be an investigation into the EU referendum and its result.
The party will table an amendment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
The amendment will call for an inquiry within six months of the bill being passed.