- Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, have both stressed that Theresa May will need to be able to explain to EU leaders next week why they should agree to extend article 50 again. At a joint press conference in Dublin Varadkar said:
Matters continue to play out in London and I think we need to be patient and understanding of the predicament that they are in. But of course, any further extension must require and must have a credible and realistic way forward.
And Merkel said:
We do hope that the intensive discussions that are ongoing in London will lead to a situation by next Wednesday, when we have a special council meeting, where Prime Minister Theresa May will have something to table to us on the basis of which we can continue to talk.
We want to stand together as 27. Until the very last hour – I can say this from the German side – we will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit; Britain crashing out of the European Union.
But we have to do this together with Britain and with their position that they will present to us.
They spoke after talks in London between Labour and the government on a possible Brexit compromise broke up, with both sides being relatively non-committal about progress, but a further meeting planned for tomorrow. (See 5.22pm and 5,28pm.)
- Pro-Brexit peers have been been accused of filibustering in the House of Lords where they have already dragged out for more than six hours a debate on a business motion to allow the fast-tracking of the Yvette Cooper bill requiring the PM to request an article 50 extension. Lord Forsyth, the Tory former cabinet minister, said that ignoring normal rules to expedite legislation in this way was the route to “tyranny”. (See 12.20pm) Peers who support the bill have had to use closure motions, which are normally only used in exceptional circumstances, to speed up proceedings. There have already been 12 votes, all of which supporters of the bill have won very comfortably. Originally it was hoped the bill would clear the Lords tonight, but now there is talk that it may be delayed until Monday. Labour peers are blaming the “ERG in ermine”.
That’s all from me for today.
My colleague Kevin Rawlinson is now taking over.
Ireland is stepping up its no deal planning with customs officers being station on ferries and at ports from tomorrow.
“Customs Officers will be talking with truck drivers as they wait to embark the ferry, and will also be available on-board a number of sailings. Customs Officers are available to help drivers who may have concerns or questions about what they need to do post Brexit, and to help them understand what the changes will be for them as they move through Irish ports,” officials said.
Businesses, as in the UK, have been told that if the export or import to the UK they need to register for customs.
Exporters to the EU, which route their freight through the “UK landbridge” have also been told they “will face new rules and processes under the customs transit procedure”