Early Evening Summary
Relatives of people killed by security forces have met the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, and asked her to resign for defending fatal shootings by soldiers during the Troubles.
A delegation of family members sat down with Bradley at Stormont House in Belfast on Friday to express concern over her comments in Westminster on Wednesday, when she said security force killings were not crimes and were the actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”.
Bradley invited the relatives to her office to repeat apologies she made on Thursday, but Frances Meehan, whose brother Michael Donnelly was shot with a plastic bullet in 1981, said her position was “untenable”.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Meehan said Bradley’s apology was not sufficient to undo the damage given her position in cabinet.
Relatives for Justice, a group of bereaved families that sent members to the meeting, said afterwards: “They looked her in the eye and told her she needed to resign.”
The government is to launch a multi-million pound advertising campaign in the next fortnight directed at EU citizens who need to register to remain in the country post-Brexit.
It will coincide with a national rollout of the special “settled status” phone app, which has been in testing for the past six months.
The Home Office is working on a media blitz involving billboards, and newspaper, radio and TV adverts, in a multitude of languages to alert those who do not already know of the need to register in the next two years.
The adverts are expected to spell out information that EU citizens in the UK will need to remain lawfully in the country whatever the outcome of next week’s crunch votes on Brexit.
While the Home Office has not unveiled them yet, their presence in high streets across the UK will bring the reality of Brexit home to all British citizens as well as the 3.8 million citizens estimated to be settled in the UK [Read on].
There is a great deal of unhappiness in Brussels at the prime minister’s apparent attempt to apportion the blame on the state of the negotiations to the EU.
“If she wanted to send a message to the EU, why is she in Grimbsy”, said one diplomat.
A second said the ring-round of leaders by the prime minister was a sign of “desperation”.
The French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, tweeted a more optimistic message: “The last days of any complex negotiation are always chaotic and full of drama. Each party needs to show it has fought to the last man.”
“Threats are uttered, doors are slammed. Usually, agreement is eventually reached.”
Barnier after May speech: EU ‘not interested in blame game’
Government internal splits undermining Brexit talks – report
The Government’s internal divisions over the handling of Brexit talks have undermined its own position in talks with the EU, a parliamentary committee has found.
The criticism emerged in interim findings of an inquiry of the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee, after it took evidence from witnesses including the former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab.
Evidence from the four Leave-backing MPs suggested that separate – and sometimes conflicting – policies were developed by the Department for Exiting the EU and 10 Downing Street.
The committee said: “One of the most striking themes to have emerged from our evidence so far concerns the way in which the UK Government itself has handled the process of negotiation internally.
The cross-party report has been unanimously-agreed by members of a committee that include veteran Brexit supporters as well as MPs pushing for a second referendum.
The committee’s chair, Bill Cash, said: “Parliament is facing a series of momentous decisions in the coming days and weeks, which will shape the future of our nation.
“It is essential that we in this House, as individual representatives of our constituents, have all the information we need to inform these decisions. As a Select Committee, we have a duty to assist in this process – as does the Government.”
Tory MPs unlikely to back May deal, ERG figure indicates
May warns of a “moment of crisis” if MPs reject Brexit deal
Theresa May has urged parliament to “get it done” and back her Brexit deal in an impassioned speech which, however, offered no new concessions for wavering MPs ahead 0f next week’s crucial vote.
Speaking to energy workers in a dockside warehouse in the leave heartland of Grimsby, May also repeatedly declined to accept any personal responsibility for the ongoing uncertainty, or give any clues as to what she will do if the vote is lost.
Instead, she urged the EU to make new concessions over the Irish backstop insurance policy – the issue that saw many of her MPs vote against the deal the first time – before expected last-ditch talks in Brussels this weekend.
May also lashed out at Jeremy Corbyn for, as she put it, seeking to frustrate Brexit, and implored Labour MPs in leave-voting seats, such as the Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, who was there, to back her deal.
If her plan was voted down again in the Commons on Tuesday, May told the crowd, the result would be more economic uncertainty and delay, and the possibility of Brexit being either watered down or even overturned.
A vote against the deal would mean “not completing Brexit and getting on with all the other important issues people care about, just yet more months and years arguing”, May said. “If we go down that road, we might never leave the EU at all.”
She added: “My message to those MPs who agree with me that we should not risk that is simple: the only certain way to avoid it is to back the deal the government has secured with EU on Tuesday. Let’s get it done.”
Corbyn: poverty and class is real divide in UK society
Jeremy Corbyn has downplayed the significance of the crisis over Brexit and the divisive battle over Scottish independence five years ago by claiming “the real divide in our society” is about poverty and class.
In advance excerpts before he addresses a Scottish Labour conference later on Friday, Corbyn said his party was not “obsessed by constitutional questions, like the others are. We’re obsessed with tackling the problems people face in their daily lives”.
In a deliberate attempt to shift the focus away from Brexit and his party’s deep divisions over strategy on the EU, Corbyn said the greatest challenge to the UK and humanity was posed by global warming.
“We are facing a climate crisis. There’s no bigger threat to our future. And fundamentally, the destruction of our climate is a class issue,” he said.
He continued: “We believe that the real divide in our society is not between people who voted yes or no for independence. And it’s not between people who voted to remain or to leave the EU.
“The real divide is between the many – who do the work, create the wealth and pay their taxes – and the few, who set the rules, reap the rewards and dodge their taxes. So let me spell it out: our mission is to back the working class, in all its diversity.”