Prime Minister Defeated in the House of Commons Over No Deal Arrangements

The Government has been defeated today in the House of Commons over arrangements should there be no Brexit deal. The vote is a set-back for Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who said that if her withdrawal agreement is voted down then there will be no Brexit deal. MPs backed a motion which would limit some of the Government’s financial options in the event of a no deal, with 303 in support and 296 against.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said after the vote:

“This vote is an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit. It shows that there is no majority in parliament, the cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement. That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in parliament to prevent no deal”.

During the debate today in the House of Commons, Sir Oliver Letwin, the Conservative MP for West Dorset said:

“My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames), who is sitting next to me, and I have calculated that we have been in the House, collectively, for 56 years, and we have only ever, either of us, voted once against the Conservative Whip. This will be the second time that we will both be voting against the Conservative Whip, and I want to explain why”.

He added:

“Some of my hon. Friends and others in the country believe they can assure that under circumstances where we wreck the deal, refuse to make all the payments that the EU is expecting and falsify its expectations of a reasonable departure, the EU will then reasonably set out to work with us in a calm and grown-up way to ensure a smooth departure. It may be so. I am in no position to deny that it will be. I do not make lurid projections. Anybody who believes that they know it will be so is deluded”.

Robert Jenrick, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, rejected the proposals in the House of Commons, saying:

“As I made clear, the Government do not want or expect a no-deal scenario. That was why we negotiated the withdrawal agreement, which will see us leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way on 29 March and sets the framework of our future relationship. As we heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Sir Oliver Letwin) and my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Nick Boles), the best way of avoiding a no-deal scenario, if that is of grave concern to Members, is to support the withdrawal agreement next week.

Unless Parliament agrees a deal, the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March with no deal, as that was the agreement we all knew when we voted to trigger article 50. That is now the law, and amendment 7 does not change that simple truth”.

Oliver Letwin Apologises Over 1985 Advice

Oliver Letwin
Oliver Letwin

Oliver Letwin, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has apologised over advice which he gave following the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots. The advice was given in conjunction with Hartley Booth when they worked in Downing Street as political advisers.

Part of the advice they offered included the line:

“Lower-class unemployed white people had lived for years in appalling slums without a breakdown of public order on anything like the present scale; in the midst of depression, people in Brixton went out, leaving their grocery money in a bag at the front door, and expecting to see groceries when they got back”.

With reference to the possibility of making business grants available to minorities the pair wrote that these “new entrepreneurs will set up in the disco and drug trade”.

Letwin said in a statement:

“I want to make clear that some parts of a private memo I wrote nearly 30 years ago were both badly worded and wrong”.

Earlier on a spokesman for the Cabinet Office said:

“We remain thoroughly committed to helping the most vulnerable and ensuring that nobody is confined by the circumstances of their birth”.