Chuka Umunna named spokesman for the Independent Group, Report
Chuka Umunna named spokesman for the Independent Group, Report

Chuka Umunna named spokesperson for the independent group.

Chuka Umunna has been named as the spokesperson for the independent group of MPs who resigned from Labour and the Conservatives last month.

Umunna, who last month said that he could not stay in the Labour party due to incidents of anti semitism, said that the group had no immediate plans to appoint a leader as it was not yet a political party – in fact, last month the group said they may not appoint a leader until the end of the year.

Speaking on Thursday, Umunna added that “all the members of our group have the right to be heard and a responsibility to provide leadership”.

In addition to the announcement of Umunna’s role, former Labour MP Luciana Berger, who has been touted as another possible leader, will become spokesperson for home affairs, health, digital and culture, while the former Tory MP Heidi Allen will take a welfare, social care and business brief.

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Farming minister resigns from government over Brexit handling

Farming minister George Eustice has resigned from government to oppose any delay to Britain leaving the EU.

Speaking on Thursday, Eustice said that he had seen Theresa May through “a series of rather undignified retreats” but now feared that a vote on article 50 could lead to the “final humiliation of our country”.

The resignation came shortly after MPs voted to allow parliament to be able to veto a no-deal Brexit, following along with the prime minister’s three part strategy announced earlier this week – after another meaningful vote, allow for a vote on no-deal, before moving towards extending article 50.

In a letter to the PM, Eustice wrote: “Developments this week will lead to a sequence of events culminating in the EU dictating the terms of any extension requested and the final humiliation of our country.”

He continued: “If the position of parliament is now that we will refuse to leave without an agreement then we are somewhat stuck.”

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Labour could support May’s deal in exchange for public vote
The Labour party are moving towards a compromise plan which would see them abstain from voting against Theresa May’s deal, whilst making clear that parliament “withholds support” until it has been put to a public vote, according to reports by the Guardian.

According to reports, the party leadership supports a redrafted amendment proposed by backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which would see the party abstain on the Brexit deal if a second referendum were promised on those terms.

Speaking this week, Kyle said he was now confident the Labour leadership would back his rewritten amendment, along with several Tory MPs. “I have every reason to believe that this will get the necessary support when the time comes,” he said.

The new version of Kyle’s amendment would make clear that parliament ‘withholds support’ from the legislation until people were given a fresh referendum, at which point – if it passes – Labour would abstain from voting on May’s deal.

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EU rejects side-agreement to protect EU citizens’ rights in no-deal
EU officials have rejected the ‘Costa amendment’ plan for side-agreement to protect EU citizens’ rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The European Commission warned on Thursday that “not negotiate mini-deals”, relating to the amendment, which saw an attempt to ‘ring-fence’ protections for EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in the EU27.

The amendment would have seen the government request protections of EU citizens rights from EU leaders, however a spokesperson from the European commission said that the best way to secure these rights was “through the withdrawal agreement.”

Speaking on Thursday, the Commission spokesperson said: “The best way to protect the rights of these 4.5 million people concerned is through the withdrawal agreement. We will not negotiate mini-deals because negotiating such mini-deal outside the withdrawal agreement would imply that the negotiations have failed.”

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