Brexit news latest – MASSIVE rebellion inside Labour over Starmer backing deal as Tory MPs demand more debate time

A MAJOR rebellion is once again brewing inside the Labour party after its leader Sir Keir Starmer backed the UK-EU trade deal.

Despite his own misgivings over the "thin" £660 billion trade deal, Starmer said he would call on Labour MPs to support it as the alternative of leaving with a deal at the end of the transition period was a far worse scenario.

Several pro-European Labour MPs have said the party should not support the agreement and should abstain from the vote, according to the Guardian.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and ex-cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw are among those who signed a statement calling on opposition parties not to support the "rotten" agreement.

The rebellion comes as several Tory MPs demanded more time to debate the deal, with ex Brexit secretary David Davis insisting one day of scrutiny was simply "too short" despite unanimous EU approval already in place.

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  • John Hall


    A British prisoner who escaped from jail was caught trying to walk the entire length of the Channel Tunnel to France.

    The 31-year-old man was spotted disappearing into the mouth of the 31-mile tunnel near Folkestone, Kent, a week ago.

    But he is now back behind bars after he was caught by French cops.

    Police teams were alerted on both sides of the Tunnel , and it was French officials who eventually found the man.

  • John Hall


    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing a high-profile revolt over his decision to back Boris Johnson's EU trade deal in this week's Commons vote.

    Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and ex-cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw are among the signatories to a statement calling on opposition parties not to support the "rotten" agreement, The Guardian reports.

    Sir Keir has said that he will call on Labour MPs to support the "thin" post-Brexit free trade agreement, despite misgivings that it would fail to protect many key economic sectors.

    He argued, however, that the alternative of ending the Brexit transition period on December 31 without a deal in place would be even worse for the economy.

  • John Hall


    EU ambassadors have approved the Brexit trade deal with the UK, ahead of the MPs vote.

    The deal, hammered out on Christmas Eve ahead of implementation on January 1, has been given another green light with the unanimous approval.

    "EU ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as of January 1, 2021," a spokesman for the German presidency said.

    It comes as MPs in Britain prepare to vote on the deal in a special sitting of Parliament on Wednesday.

    The European Parliament must also formally ratify the deal in the new year – although this will now apply retrospectively.

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    'Brexit badboy' Andy Wigmore was among hundreds of Brits who fled Switzerland to avoid a Christmas quarantine.

    Ex-diplomat Wigmore, 54, boasted he "ran for it" to France before quarantine came into effect on December 22.

    The Brexiteer spokesman for Leave.EU campaign co-founder Arron Banks was staying at the Wengen ski resort with his family before the last-minute dash.

    They made it to France 20 minutes before the Covid quarantine was introduced.

    It came after hundreds of Brit tourists fled another luxury Swiss ski resort under the cover of darkness after being forced into Covid quarantine.

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    Europe began rolling out its coronavirus vaccine programme yesterday – almost three weeks behind the UK.

    Batches of the Pfizer jab were flown and driven out to 27 countries around the EU in the run up to Christmas from the HQ in Belgium.

    Although the official start date was yesterday three countries – Slovakia, Bulgaria and Germany – started inoculations on Boxing Day.

    European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter: "Today, we start turning the page on a difficult year. The #COVID19 vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries. Vaccination will begin tomorrow across the EU.

    "The #EUvaccinationdays are a touching moment of unity. Vaccination is the lasting way out of the pandemic," she added.

  • John Hall


    Boris Johnson appears to have won the backing of hardline Eurosceptics for his trade deal with the EU.

    Ahead of a Commons vote, the European Research Group of MPs has been picking over the 1,200-page documentwith a 'star chamber' of lawyersbefore deciding whether to support it.

    The trade deal was finally secured on Christmas Eve after four years of bitter wrangling between the UK and EU.

    MPs will vote on the deal on December 30 after the Government ordered Parliament to be recalled.

    The ERG said it would reconvene its 'Star Chamber', that reviewed Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement last year, with veteran Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash, 80, once again the chairman.

  • John Hall


    Tony Blair is being lined up for a knighthood to “unblock” a queue of former PMs waiting for titles.

    It would open the way for Gordon Brown, David ­Cameron and Theresa May to receive top honours.

    Buckingham Palace officials have become concerned there is a political imbalance which has seen Tory MPs land the lion’s share of the accolades.

    Sources say efforts to hand Mr Brown the Order of the Garter have stalled as the Queen is unwilling to give the same title to Mr Blair because of anger at his handling of the death of Princess Diana.

    All but one of the Queen’s nine prime ministers before Blair were made Knights of the Garter, an honour created by Edward III in 1348.

    A source said: “Blair is the block but they just won’t do it.”

  • John Hall


    But Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove warned time was “very short” as he acknowledged there were likely to be some “bumpy moments” as the new arrangements came into effect.

    However, he rejected increasingly angry claims from Britain’s fishermen that Boris had failed to deliver on promises made in the referendum campaign.

    Under the terms of the agreement, 25 per cent of EU boats’ fishing rights in Britain’s waters will be transferred to the UK fishing fleet, over a five-and-half year transition period.

    Mr Gove said: “I think it is fair to say that we are in a stronger position than we were in the EU and in the common fisheries policy.

  • John Hall


    Britain's bustling firms can get down to business now the UK has secured the Brexit deal, a top Tory says.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma told our readers firms will be able to flourish with clarity and certainty and take full advantage of a wave of new opportunities coming from fresh trade agreements.

    Writing in The Sun, he calls it “a deal which will see the United Kingdom thrive outside the EU and cement its place as the best place in the world to start, grow and run a business.”

    It comes as EU ambassadors gave provisional approval for the deal yesterday.

    PM Boris Johnson spoke with European Council president Charles Michel yesterday, and then tweeted: “I welcomed the importance of the UK/EU Agreement as a new starting point for our relationship, between sovereign equals.”

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    The Taoiseach has pledged to work to support Ireland's fishing industry and coastal communities as Brexit approaches.

    Micheal Martin led a meeting of ministers with representatives from the sector on Monday.

    It came as EU ambassadors gave provisional approval for the UK's post-Brexit trade deal to be implemented from Friday.

    MPs are set to vote on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Wednesday.

    Access to fishing waters post-Brexit was a live issue throughout the negotiations.

    The Taoiseach acknowledged the "severe impact" that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations would have on the fishing industry in Ireland, and the disappointment expressed by the representative bodies.

    He said that the Government was fully committed to engaging with the representative bodies and working with and for the sector and coastal communities in the coming period.

    The Cabinet is due to discuss the matter later on Monday.

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