Category Archives: Brexit

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Facebook To Investigate Whether Russia Swayed Brexit Vote

Facebook is to expand its investigation into whether Russian agents attempted to influence the Brexit vote, it has emerged.

The social media giant confirmed the probe in a a letter to Damian Collins, chair of the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, which is currently holding an inquiry into fake news.

Facebook’s head of policy in the UK, Simon Milner, said the firm would now search for “clusters engaged in coordinated activity around the Brexit referendum” which appear to have originated in Russia. 

Collins said in a statement:

“It is right that companies like Facebook should initiate their own research into issues like this where there is such clear public concern, and not just act on intelligence that has been passed to them.

“They are best placed to investigate activity on their platform.”

Facebook said security experts would begin their investigation “promptly” but may take several weeks to produce results.

Collins had previously slammed Facebook for doing “no work” in looking for Russian interference on their platform during the 2016 referendum, after the company submitted evidence to the Electoral Commission in December of accounts which were active during the US Election.

In the letter, Milner said Facebook believed those accounts, identified as part of Russia’s “Internet Research Agency” of trolls and propagandists, “seemed to be the most likely area” to find evidence of meddling in the UK but added that the company would now look deeper into its records.

“I look forward to seeing the results of this investigation, and I’m sure we will want to question Facebook about this when we know the outcome,” said Collins.

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are due to give evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into fake news in February, when MPs visit Washington for the occasion.

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We Cannot Take This Government’s Word That Our Rights Will Be Protected Through Brexit

The Government’s decision to vote against guaranteeing the protection of key rights during the passage of the European Union Withdrawal Bill is deeply disappointing. 

The EU currently provides vital protections against discrimination for women in the UK. In its current form, the bill will hand huge and unaccountable power to Government ministers to undermine these protections and change equality laws without proper parliamentary scrutiny. This is unacceptable.

Under this Government that means one thing – the rights of women, ethnic minority communities, LGBT+ communities, disabled people and others will be at risk. This is unacceptable.

Labour’s amendment to the bill sought to guarantee the rights of all those who are at risk from this Government’s reckless approach to Brexit. It would have ensured that Government ministers are not able to use unaccountable powers to erode the rights of people in our society.

We don’t trust the Tories to look after the rights of women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and other groups post-Brexit. Despite promising to tackle the burning injustices in society, Theresa May has burdened women with a shocking 86% of her Government’s cuts. Under her watch Employment Tribunal Fees penalised women and ethnic minority communities the most.  Pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims alone fell by 45%, before the fees were found to be unlawful by the Supreme Court.

We don’t trust the Tories to look after the rights of women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and other groups post-Brexit

Having witnessed this damage and the Government’s record of failure, we cannot just take their word that rights will be protected. Their actions have proven that they are not trustworthy. We need it enshrined into law. People deserve to have confidence that their hard-fought rights will be as strong as ever post-Brexit.

Time and time again organisations such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Fawcett Society and many others have warned that the bill lacks sufficient safeguards against losing these protections.

Labour’s approach is the right one. From the beginning we have been consistent in fighting for a jobs-first Brexit, which protects not only the economy but also human rights and workers’ rights for all. Our positive and progressive agenda clearly demonstrates the type of country we want to live in.

The Government has continuously stated that they do not wish to see fundamental rights and freedoms weakened after Brexit. Yet when they had the opportunity to prove it, they failed that test by voting against our amendment.

This Government and this Prime Minister are all talk, no action, and cannot be trusted with people’s rights. But Labour will not give up the fight.

Dawn Butler is the shadow women and equalities secretary and Labour MP for Brent Central

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Brexit Deal May Be ‘Undone’ By Younger Generation, Says Justine Greening

Theresa May has been warned by Justine Greening that her Brexit deal could be “undone” by the younger generation.

The former education secretary, who dramatically quit the cabinet last week after refusing to be moved to another job, made her first post-reshuffle intervention in the Commons on Wednesday as MPs debated the EU Withdrawal Bill.

“I represent a very young constituency here in London,” the Putney MP said. “And the bottom line is that looking ahead, if Brexit doesn’t work for young people in our country, in the end, it will not be sustainable.

“When they take their place here they will seek to improve or undo what we have done and make it work for them.”

Greening, who campaigned for ‘Remain’ in the referendum, added: “We have a duty in this House to look ahead and ensure whatever we get is sustainable and works for them.”

Since she resigned from the government, Greening has been spotted sitting in the so-called naughty corner of the Commons chamber alongside other pro-EU Tories including Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan.

Earlier today, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said he would be “happy to facilitate” the re-entry of the UK into the EU if it changed its mind.

“Our hand remains outstretched. The UK people, the UK government, may wish to find a different way out. We’re very much willing to deal with them. We are not throwing the British out. We would like the British to stay. And if they so wish, they should be allowed to do so,” he told the European Parliament.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said he was open to the UK having a “change of heart” about Brexit.

“If the UK government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – in March next year. Unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,” he said.

The interventions came after Nigel Farage last week said he could support a second referendum.

The former Ukip leader said another vote might be needed in order to secure the Brexit.

However speaking in the European Parliament today, Farage changed his mind again. “I don’t want a second referendum on Brexit, absolutely not,” he said.

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Tory ‘Mutineer’ Paul Masterton: ‘Happy Clappy’ Pro-Brexit Tories Won’t Stop Me Standing Up To The Government

Tory Brexit ‘mutineer’ Paul Masterton has attacked his “happy-clappy” colleagues who cheer “like a seal” whenever leaving the EU is mentioned.

Masterton – one of 15 Tories dubbed a ‘Brexit mutineer’ by the Daily Telegraph – told HuffPost UK he was determined to hold the Government to account during the EU Withdrawal process, despite attacks from hostile media and fellow MPs.

The East Renfrewshire MP was put on the Telegraph’s front page as one of a group trying to stop the Government locking the date of Brexit into the EU Withdrawal Bill – a move which they believed weakened the UK’s negotiating hand.

The Government later offered a compromise that the date could be changed if needed.

Masterton said the infamous front page actually galvanized those under attack, and he now counts some of his fellow ‘mutineers’ among his closest friends.

Speaking to HuffPost UK as part of a series of interviews with MPs elected in the 2017 General Election, Masterton said: “My constituency is the highest Remain voting constituency held by a Conservative and that matters to me – I’m not flippant about that.

“I am not and have never been a Brexiteer.

“To me, respecting the will of the people isn’t about happy-clappy cheering like a seal every time someone says we’re leaving the European Union, it’s about recognising that yes we are leaving, but how are we going to do it.”

Masterton said his goal is not to frustrate the result of referendum, but with an estimated 74% of people in his constituency backing Remain in the 2016 vote he was determined to represent their views – regardless of “people being hostile to you who made careers out of rebelling against the Government on Europe.”

He said: “It’s about actually being prepared to stand and say: ‘Hold on, the way you are doing this, Government, you are not yet convincing me this is going to work for my people.’

“I’m not going to compromise on that as a principle otherwise what’s the point in me being here?” 

Former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve is seen as the ringleader of the ‘mutineers’.” alt=”Former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve is seen as the ringleader of the ‘mutineers’.” data-credit=”Empics Entertainment” data-portal-copyright=”Empics Entertainment” data-provider=”pressassociation” data-provider-asset-id=”2.33127407″ data-has-syndication-rights=”false”>

Masterton was clear that while he would hold the Government to account on Brexit, he would not go so far as trying to bring Theresa May’s administration down.

He said: “I’ve always been very clear that whilst there are some people in the party who are very happy to go on the assault against Conservative Prime Ministers over Europe regardless of the consequences, I’m never going to do anything that is going to put us at risk of having a neo-Marxist in Number 10, which is far worse for the people of East Renfrewshire than anything you could imagine.”

Masterton revealed that it was the leader of Scottish Conservative, Ruth Davidson, who alerted him to the fact he was under attack from the Telegraph.

“I was back in the hotel and I got a text from Ruth Davison actually, and she said” “Your first front page national!’. I was like: ‘What?!’ and I went on Twitter and saw the front page and went ‘Shit!’

“It was hilarious because the whole way they designed the front page was ludicrous but also most of those people on that front page I’ve literally said two words to since I joined and now I count many of them among my closest and best friends.

“People like Tom [Tugendhat], Vicky [Fox], I get on very well with Heidi [Allen], I get on well with Bob Neill.

“Because it was so overdone and so unnecessary it kind of threw us together in a way we hadn’t expected.

“I think in some ways the reaction of a lot of the ministers when it came out was so supportive of us and hostile to the paper because I think they recognised that actually, hold on a second here, you’ve basically just as a newspaper backed 15 people into a corner by projecting people in this way.”

Despite forcing the Government to offer a concession on locking the Brexit date into law, Masterton does not believe he will be remembered as a rebel.

“It’s funny because I’ve not mutineered on anything yet,” he said.

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18 Stamp Suggestions Andrea Leadom Probably Didn’t Expect When She Backed Brexit Stamp Campaign

Andrea Leadsom’s support for a campaign to mark Britain’s exit from the EU with a stamp has prompted a string of other suggestions she probably didn’t have in mind. 

Not to mention criticism of the idea in general. 

The Commons leader on Monday tweeted that she had joined the Sun’s campaign – for a stamp mark the UK’s “independence day in March 2019” – and then later hit out at Royal Mail for issuing a set of Pink Floyd stamps while refusing to do the same for Brexit. 

Leadsom told the Sun: “If they can produce stamp collections for Game of Thrones, Ladybird Books and Pink Floyd (and, in 1973, a set commemorating our accession to the EEC), then there’s no reason not to do so for Brexit!”

The Sun’s suggested Brexit day stamp” alt=”The Sun’s suggested Brexit day stamp” data-credit=”The Sun” data-portal-copyright=”The Sun” data-provider=”Other” data-provider-asset-id=”206033767″ data-has-syndication-rights=”false”>

The newspaper’s campaign, it reports, has also been backed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Trade chief Liam Fox.

Not surprisingly, Remainers were against the idea, comparing celebrating Brexit to the sinking of the Titanic and other events that shaped Britain’s history with devastating consequences – like war. 

Naturally, Boris was a prime target for those against the Brexit stamp. 

Stamp 1: Boris the ‘1st Class Twat’

Stamp 2: May Marches Over The Cliff Edge… As Boris Beats The Drum

Stamp 3: Celebrating The Losses

Stamp 4: Bravo On The Border

Stamp 5: 2nd Class Country (Or Is It Third?)… To Accompany The Boris Stamp. 

Stamp 6: Continuing The Brexit Circus Theme

Stamp 8: The Lost Tribe Of The UK

Stamp 9: The Titanic… ‘I’m Flying Jack (Govey)’

Stamp 10: The Famous Bus Quote

 (Note: Boris now says the £350m estimate was too low)

Stamp 11: The Bus Stamp Re-Imagined

Stamp 12: Grow Your Own Future

(Grayling has suggested farmers could grow more food if there is no Brexit deal)

Stamp 13: Thank You Farage

 

Stamp 14: Shooting Oneself In The Foot

Stamp 15: Something Upbeat… The Dancing Stamp

Stamp 16: One That Commemorates Leadsom’s Failed Leadership Bid

Stamp 17: The Stars Of Brexit

Stamp 18: Something ‘Moody’

And some final thoughts…

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Brexit And Energy In The UK

When Theresa May took the call from the DUP’s Arlene Foster that, albeit temporarily, put the brakes on the agreement of a Brexit divorce bill (which called into question the future border between Ireland and Northern Ireland), it once again demonstrated the complexity and uncertainty of the Brexit process.

The uncertainty was somewhat inevitable. After all, the process is unprecedented. But, as we’ve seen in the last 18 months, there are significant questions to be answered as to what the UK’s future relationship with Europe looks like. And that includes what the implications are for the British energy market and our ability to keep the lights on at home and at work.

At the moment, the UK is part of the EU’s internal energy market, which means we have access to and the ability to import electricity from the continent in order to meet particularly high levels of consumer demand, or alternatively to meet demand should we have outages within the UK grid.

As with much of Brexit, it is yet to be determined what our relationship with the EU’s energy market will be in the years after Brexit. It could be that we retain similar access to what we currently have. But, equally, it’s entirely possible we could be out of the internal energy market – particularly should we definitively leave the single market and customs union.

That’s a lot of ‘ifs.’ But it should prompt the thought of how we will meet energy needs in the future in anticipation of importing energy becoming more complicated or more expensive.

What this means in practice is that the UK needs to be more self-sufficient in its electricity generation, and more efficient in its energy usage.

These were recurring themes in government energy policy throughout 2017 – albeit driven by the imperative of fostering clean growth rather than addressing Brexit issues specifically. This clean growth impetus – seen across the Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and referenced in the Budget – is very welcome. It lays the framework for improved energy efficiency and the cutting of carbon emissions, which in turn can only help in tackling climate change and chronic levels of pollution, particularly in high population areas such as London (which issued public health warnings for pollution in 2017).

And it has the unintended consequences of building additional resiliency into the UK electricity grid ahead of any changes we might see during or post-Brexit.

Ministers have placed significant stock in ‘demand response’ and battery technologies during the past 12 months. This has included the commitment to more than £500million of investment in smart systems and technologies designed to meet disruptions to electricity provision and particularly high consumer demand. Ministers also launched the ‘Faraday Challenge’ in 2017, the purpose of which is to support the development of new battery technologies – which will drive down their costs even further (a 2017 Green Alliance report concluded that battery costs have fallen by 65 percent over the last five years).

These resources will be invaluable in the medium to long-term, as they will add to the UK’s existing electricity storage capacity. That means we have capacity in place to address outages without immediately importing electricity. And it means the UK has the opportunity to build on the record levels of renewable electricity generation in 2017 by storing what isn’t immediately needed. That helps at times of peak demand, but also further reduces our dependence on fossil-fuel generated electricity that is responsible for carbon emissions.

The development of ‘demand response’ and battery technology will also be seen at local levels. Individual consumers and local communities are already looking at how they can take themselves ‘off grid,’ relying instead on their own renewable electricity generation and supportive storage capacity. That helps reduce overall demands on the grid, but in the long-term will also reduce those consumers’ utility costs.

It may be months or even years before we fully understand how Brexit will affect the UK electricity market. But we can hope that steps taken by the Government will help in the response to those changes. And in the meantime, will reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

Ian Larive is Investment Director at Low Carbon, a privately-owned renewable investment company. www.lowcarbon.com

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Boris Johnson Fuels Anger As He Claims Disputed £350m NHS Brexit Pledge Was Too Low

Boris Johnson has fuelled fresh anger over the claim the NHS will get £350m a week extra after leaving the EU – claiming the figure was too low and “grossly underestimated”.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Foreign Secretary said that the UK’s weekly gross contribution would rise to £438m, and that the NHS would get extra cash.

The £350m figure, emblazoned on the side of the Leave campaign bus, became notorious after repeated claims it was misleading, including by the UK Statistics Authority.

Critics pointed out how £350m related to the gross figure the UK effectively contributes to the UK, but the total is much smaller when what the UK gets back from the EU is taken into account.

After the vote, leading ‘Brexit’ campaigner Iain Duncan Smith claimed he “never said” the NHS would get £350m extra.

Nigel Farage admitted it was a “mistake” for the Leave campaign to make the pledge – though he was never formally part of the official Leave campaign.

But Johnson told the newspaper: “There was an error on the side of the bus. We grossly underestimated the sum over which we would be able to take back control.”

He admitted the Leave campaign had used a gross figure, and said about half the total could be lavished on public services.

He said: “As and when the cash becomes available – and it won’t until we leave – the NHS should be at the very top of the list.”

In the story, the Tory Cabinet minister pointed out that the UK’s EU contribution was already up to £362m per week for 2017-18 and would rise annually to o £438m by 2020-21, when the ‘transition’ period ends.

His comments prompted a wave of outrage.

Labour MP Alison McGovern, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said: “Our NHS is in the middle of a winter crisis and Boris Johnson’s solution is to return to the scene of his previous crimes and promise ever larger slices of pie in the sky.

“Boris’s Cabinet cheerleading for leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union will lead to less money – not more – for public services like our NHS.

“Boris Johnson promised £350 million a week for the NHS while telling us the EU could go whistle but then backed a £40 billion divorce bill.

“Does anyone think he’ll leave our NHS doing anything other than whistling in the wind for the extra resources it badly needs?”

Eloise Todd, CEO of anti-Brexit organisation Best for Britain, said: “This is a yet another un-truth from Boris, a man who has become so obsessed with the lie he slapped on the side of the bus.

“You have the sense that Boris will be arguing about £350m, that bus and that pledge for the rest of his political life.

“He sold Brexit on a false prospectus and with the NHS in crisis people are rightly asking where is the money and if it’s not forthcoming they should have the right to change their mind. The man is a snake oil salesman.”

But some suggested Johnson was trolling Remain supporters. 

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Jeremy Corbyn Refuses To Rule Out Supporting Second EU Referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out backing a second referendum on EU membership.

The Labour leader said on Sunday morning the party was “not supporting or calling for a second referendum”.

“What we have called for is a meaningful vote in parliament and that is the one area I think parliament has asserted itself in the vote before Christmas,” he said.

Pressed on ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme whether that meant Labour would “never support a second referendum” in the future, Corbyn avoided the question. “We are not calling for one either,” he replied.

Corbyn also risked further angering Labour backbenchers who want the UK to remain in the single market by repeating the claim that “leaving he EU means you leave the single market”.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna told Sky News shortly after Corbyn’s comment: “In terms of the notion you have to be in the EU to be part of the single market, that is not correct.

“Noway, Lichtenstein and Iceland fully participate in the single market but they are not members of the EU. There is no reason why the UK, if we leave, should not have that kind of relationship.”

Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, suggested on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Labour could end up supporting a second vote if it became clear a substantial proportion of the public backed remaining in the EU.

“As for a second referendum, the question is are you talking about the divorce or the final relationship, because the final relationship will be agreed in many years’ time,” she said.

“In either case, if 90% of the population was now saying we should stay in the EU and we must not leave, then that would be a challenge that would be there for all of us who are democrats. 

“But at the moment, and as things currently stand, we proceed in good faith, we do as we are instructed. We are leaving the EU.”

Nigel Farage surprised both Remain and Leave supporting politicians on Thursday when he said he could back a second referendum in order to secure the Brexit vote.

In an interview with The Observer today, the former Ukip leader said he was worried Brexiteers could “lose the historic victory” they won in 2016 as “The Remain side are making all the running”.

Theresa May has said holding a second referendum would be “betraying the British people”

A ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror suggested public opinion on Brexit has shifted and if a second vote was held 55% would vote to remain in the EU and 45% to leave. 

Among Labour voters 64% are in favour of a second referendum with 31% against. However the survey said only 18% of Tory voters want a second poll and 79% were against.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer yesterday tried to play down divisions in Labour on remaining in the single market after EU withdrawal.

Sir Keir said he wanted the same trade outcomes as backbench critics calling for the party to campaign to stay in the single market and customs union.

“If you were to ask the vast majority of Labour Party people what do you actually want to achieve, rather than the label, we’d all be in huge agreement,” he said.

The comments came after Labour MP Wes Streeting said the party was now the “single biggest barrier” to Britain remaining in the single market.

He said if the Labour leadership committed to staying in the trading arrangement it would be a “game-changing moment” in British politics as it would command a majority of cross-party MPs.

Labour has also been urged to join a cross-party bid to keep the UK in the single market and customs union after Brexit. The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Greens have joined forces to back an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill when it returns to the Commons this week.

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Hard Brexiteers ‘Have Had Their Chance And Failed’, Says Nicola Sturgeon

Hardline Brexiteers “had their chance and failed”, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as the SNP’s Westminster leader pledges to push for a Commons vote on the single market.

Scotland’s First Minister said there was a “golden opportunity” for moderates to press for continued single market and customs union membership. 

It came as Ian Blackford, her party’s Westminster leader, revealed he was working with the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, and Green Party to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill at report stage. 

If their bid is successful, ministers would be blocked from using so-called Henry powers to amend primary legislation and drag the UK out of the single market and customs union. 

Sturgeon said: “More than 18 months on from the Brexit vote, it beggars belief that the UK Government is not only still unable to say what kind of relationship it wants with the EU, but has also failed to produce any meaningful economic assessment of the different possibilities.

“Bluntly, the hard Brexiteers have had their chance and failed.”

Theresa May has vowed that Brexit will include taking the UK out of the single market, though the Prime Minister has left herself with maximum room for manoeuvre on regulation surrounding the customs union. 

Sturgeon added: “[Hard Brexiteers] have completely failed to explain how their approach could even remotely come close to replacing the enormous lost trade and investment of leaving the single market.

“That means there is now a golden opportunity for those moderate voices who are making the case for Scotland and the UK to remain in the single market.

“It will be a fundamental dereliction of duty as Prime Minister if Theresa May continues to pursue her red lines without providing information on their impact and publicly discussing the options available.” 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was empty-chaired after declining an invitation from Blackford to attend cross-party talks on blocking hard Brexit in Parliament last week.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has said the party wants to remain “in a single market and a customs union” but does not support full membership beyond a transition period. Around 87% of Labour’s rank and file back single market membership, however, a recent Mile End Institute survey found.

Some pro-EU Labour MPs, such as Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie, could choose to back the cross-party amendment. However, the Parliamentary arithmetic would require all Labour MPs and Remainer Tories to rebel against their leaders. 

A Labour Party spokeswoman said: “This amendment would not keep the UK in the single market and customs union, nor does it intend to deal with the serious flaws in this Bill.

“Labour has been clear that we want a time limited transition on the same basic terms we have now. Following that, we want a final deal that retains the benefits of the Customs Union and the Single Market. Options for achieving that are subject to the negotiations.”

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Blackford said: “With just ten months to go before a deal is due between the UK and EU, sensible MPs of all parties must now unite to protect our vital place in the single market. Short of remaining in the EU – as Scotland voted for – retaining our single market membership is by far the best compromise and the least damaging option.”

Lib Dem Leader, Sir Vince Cable, said: “This amendment is a significant step in the fight against Brexit, demonstrating the increased willingness of parties to work together formally rather than just behind the scenes. Through the four leaders in the House of Commons, we are presenting a united front. We urge the leadership of a fifth opposition party, Labour, join us so we can change course from the dangerous Brexit being pursued by the Conservatives.”

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Liz Saville-Roberts, said: “Through this important amendment, the four opposition parties are presenting the UK Parliament with an opportunity to change course, away from this needlessly damaging Brexit. We remain hopeful that the Labour Party will work with us and take the opportunity to defeat the Tories.”

Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas, said: “It’s heartening to see parties working together to halt the calamitous Tory Brexit plans. What happens this year in Parliament will have huge and lasting repercussions for the country – which is why we’re putting party differences aside and working alongside each other. We urge the Labour leadership to join us in backing this crucial amendment – and show that they too are willing to put the national interest first.”

Liz Saville-Roberts with Vince Cable, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas at the cross-party summit on fighting hard Brexit” alt=”Liz Saville-Roberts with Vince Cable, Ian Blackford and Caroline Lucas at the cross-party summit on fighting hard Brexit” data-credit=”PA Wire/PA Images” data-portal-copyright=”PA Wire/PA Images” data-provider=”pressassociation” data-provider-asset-id=”2.34388390″ data-has-syndication-rights=”false”>

Sturgeon, who is due to appear on the BBC Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, was also speaking ahead of the publication of a detailed study on the implications of leaving the European Union. 

Scottish Government analysis, published on Monday, sets out the impact on Scotland’s future economic growth of three options for the future UK relationship with Europe – if the country cannot remain members of the EU.

The study – Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment – looks at continued membership of the single market, a preferential trade agreement or non-preferential access on World Trade Organisation provisions.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We are seeking a deal that works for the whole of the UK, that delivers on the result of the EU referendum.

“Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish Government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the EU, we protect the UK’s vital internal market.

“Scotland trades four times as much with the rest of the UK as it does with the EU, so it is vital that we ensure that market continues unimpeded.”

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Britain Would Vote 55% To REMAIN If 2nd EU Referendum Was Held, Says New Poll

Britons have changed their mind on Brexit and now back Remain, a fresh poll on EU membership suggests. 

A flash ComRes/Daily Mirror poll of more than 1,000 people found 55% back staying in Europe and just 45% would vote Leave. 

More than half (51%), however, said they do not back a re-run of the divisive 2016 referendum which saw the country narrowly back breaking away from the bloc.

The poll comes after former UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s shock admission that he is close to backing a second referendum, saying it would “kill off” the Remain campaign for a generation. 

Speaking on the Channel 5 talk show The Wright Stuff, Farage said: “What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever, ever, give up.

“They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

“So maybe, just maybe, I’m reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership… and we may just finish the whole thing off.

“And Blair can disappear off into total obscurity.”

He even claimed “the percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time round”.

Pro-EU campaigners have said support is growing for a second referendum, while others, including Tory MP Heidi Allen and Labour MP Ali McGovern, have said Farage wants a second Leave to torpedo any notion of a soft Brexit. 

Leave.EU founder, Arron Banks, supports a re-run. He said that to avoid sleepwalking “into a faux Brexit” people should “go back the polls and let the people shout from the rooftops their support of a true Brexit”. 

But Farage’s UKIP colleagues do not all agree with the Farage floating the idea. Former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans described his comments as “epically stupid”.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the pro-single market Open Britain campaign, however, said: “For perhaps the first time in his life, Nigel Farage is making a valid point.

“In a democracy like ours, the British people have every right to keep an open mind about Brexit.”

Downing Street said: “We will not be having a second referendum.”

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