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PM refuses to publish lawyer’s advice on Internal Market Bill

Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem MP from Orkney asked the if the prime minister would undertake to publish advice he’s had from all his lawyers on the Internal Market Bill

Boris Johnson replied: “My honourable friend asked much the same question last week – we don’t publish Attorney General’s advice.”


Angela Rayner was the first deputy leader of the opposition to grill the Prime Minister in 10 years

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Rayner asks PM question from ‘man called Keir’ as she appears at PMQs

Evening StandardLabour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner opened PMQs by asking Boris Johnson a question “from a man called Keir” as she quizzed him over coronavirus testing. Ms Rayner deputised for Sir Keir Starmer in the Commons after the Labour leader had to self-isolate while his relative was awaiting a Covid-19 test. 


Pm’s office in talks with Sir Bob Neil over parliamentary lock

Boris Johnson has spoken to senior Tory Sir Bob Neill who is calling for ministers to create a parliamentary lock on the UK Internal Market Bill, Downing Street confirmed.

A Number 10 spokesman said the Prime Minister and his team “are in conversations with MPs about the Bill and the importance of creating the legal safety net”.

He confirmed that the Prime Minister had spoken to Sir Bob and said “conversations with MPs will continue”.


EU ‘working on assumption that there will be a no deal’


Angela Rayner reads a message from Keir Starmer to Boris Johnson

Angela Rayner read a message from “a man called Keir”.

“Keir was not able to go to work today and his children could not go to school because his family had to wait for his results.”

Mr Starmer has had a negative test result, but was unable to make it to PMQs in time.

Ms Rayner finished her question from Keir by asking him what the average hourly rate for a carer in the UK was.

Mr Johnson did not answer how much a care worker earned.

However, he said his government were committed to instituting a living wage.


Prime Minister’s Questions has begun


Labour leader Keir Starmer’s child tested negative for coronavirus

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Keir Starmer ‘pleased’ after his child tests negative for coronavirus

Evening StandardLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he is “pleased and relieved” that a coronavirus test result for one of his children had come back negative. Sir Keir Starmer wrote on Twitter: “I’m very pleased and relieved that the test result for one of my children came back negative this morning. “Thank you to the NHS hospital where my wife works for ensuring that their staff and family members have quick access to a test. “However, I know the situation is desperate at the moment for thousands of families across the country who are struggling to get a test.


Keir Starmer tests negative for Covid-19

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he is “pleased and relieved” that a coronavirus test result for one of his children had come back negative.


Legal response looking more likely than political, MD of Eurasia group suggests


Brandon Lewis defends ‘specific and limited way’ comment (cont.)

Brandon Lewis added: “I gave a very straight answer to Parliament last week in line with the Attorney General’s position.

“My position is absolutely in line with the legal advice that the Attorney General put out.”

Mr Lewis expanded on the circumstances of his comments during an urgent question on the Bill in Parliament.

He said: “I read out something very specific because I wanted to ensure that what I said, to make sure that I was giving the House a straight answer.”


Brandon Lewis defends ‘specific and limited way’ comment

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has defended his recent comment that the Internal Market Bill would break international law in a “specific and limited way”.

On Wednesday he told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee of MPs his assertions were consistent with advice from the Government’s main legal adviser, attorney general Suella Braverman QC.

He said: “My answer was in line with the legal opinion given by the law officers.

“The position I took at the dispatch box is not a breach of the ministerial code but I am not the arbiter of that.”


Dominic Raab on US visit following warnings over trade deal if GFA imperilled 

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has travelled to the US for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a range of issues.
The Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said the American Congress would never pass an economic agreement that it felt could “imperil” the Northern Ireland peace accord.
Mr Raab will also meet Ms Pelosi during his Washington visit, with Brexit expected to be one of the main items discussed.


Sadiq Khan sends message to PM demanding he ‘protect European Londoners’


‘Time is running out on trade deal’, von der Leyen warns

Ursula von der Leyen has said that time is running out for agreement with the UK on a post-Brexit free trade deal.

The European Commission president told the European Parliament meeting in Brussels: “Talks have not progressed as we would have wished and that leaves us very little time.”

Mrs von der Leyen said Margaret Thatcher had always insisted that the UK honoured its treaty commitments.

She quoted the former prime minister as saying: “Britain does not break treaties. It would be bad for Britain, bad for relations with the rest of the world and bad for any future treaty on trade.”

She added: “This was true then and this is true today. Trust is the foundation of any strong partnership.”


‘Withdrawal Agreement cannot be unilaterally changed’, von der Leyen warns

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the UK cannot unilaterally disregard the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

In her annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, Mrs von der Leyen said both sides had agreed it was the only way to guarantee the Northern Ireland peace process.

“This Withdrawal Agreement took three years to negotiate and we worked relentlessly on it line-by-line, word-by-word, and together we succeeded,” she said.

“The European Union and the UK jointly agreed that it was the best and only way for ensuring peace on the island of Ireland and we will never backtrack on that.

“This agreement has been ratified by this house and the House of Commons. It cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded, disapplied.

“This is a matter of law and trust and good faith.”


Government looking to achieve ‘balance’ in Internal Market Bill powers

The Justice Secretary said the Government was working to ensure there was a “balance” should the powers in the Internal Market Bill ever need to be used.

Senior Tory Sir Bob Neill is calling for ministers to concede and create a parliamentary lock, meaning MPs would have to approve use of the powers.

“The issue is this – we want to make sure that if we hit a situation where we have this kind of dislocation, this kind of crisis if you like, then we can act swiftly to bring into power the necessary regulations,” Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“And I think while, absolutely we have got parliamentary procedures to allow secondary legislation to come into force with debate and scrutiny, we have to get the balance right.

“I want to make sure we are fleet of foot when it comes to the crunch but that at the same time to make sure MPs have their say.

“That’s what the Prime Minister wants, that’s what he said in Parliament and I’m sure we’ll find a way to do that in a manner that is acceptable to all Conservative colleagues.”


‘Rule of six won’t cancel Christmas’, says Buckland

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland denied that the “rule of six” would effectively cancel Christmas, following criticisms from a source close to the Archbishop of Canterbury about the social restrictions imposed this week to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Cabinet minister said: “Archbishop Justin (Welby) makes an important contribution to this debate and he is right to point to the huge spiritual and social significance of Christmas.

“I don’t think any of us in Government want to be Oliver Cromwell-esque about this – we want to see families celebrate Christmas in a safe and happy way and we want to see our churches and indeed our other places of worship joining in that celebration.”

Mr Buckland added: “We are not going to cancel Christmas but the ‘rule of six’ is something that is clear and important and I do think we’ve committed to that and we need to stick to it.”


Buckland says UK will claim that EU breached obligations 

Robert Buckland said any suggestion in the future that the UK has broken the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement through the Internal Market Bill will have been sparked by a European Union decision.

He told Sky News: “If we reach that stage, the reason for it is because we judge that sadly, despite everybody’s best efforts, the EU is in a position where we think they are actually breaching their obligations to us.

“It is like an international dispute where clearly there is a breach somewhere but it is going to be the subject of a lot of argument.

“I would like to avoid that, I think we can but we do need to just prepare for that contingency, that ‘break glass in case of emergency’ provision, which I believe this is.”


Buckland refuses to deny talks with PM and Sir Bob Neil

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland refused to deny he had held talks with the Prime Minister and senior Tory MP Sir Bob Neill over his amendment to the UK Internal Market Bill.

The Government is facing growing disgruntlement on its backbenches over its plans to override key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement by using domestic legislation.

Mr Buckland told Sky News: “I don’t think it would be right of me to start talking about private conversations.

“But what I can say is that there are lots of discussions going on with MPs from all parts of the debate, not just Bob Neill but MPs in all parts of the Conservative Party.

“We want to get on with this job, we want to get this Bill through, we want to make sure we are ready for any disagreements or disputes that might arise if we don’t get agreement at the Joint Committee, and that’s what we’re planning on.”

Asked about whether he had spoken to Sir Bob, Mr Buckland added: “I talk to Bob Neill regularly, I have talked to Bob Neill about the Internal Market Bill, I have spoken to other people (as well).”

Pushed on whether he had raised Sir Bob’s concerns with Boris Johnson, he said: “I’ve had lots of conversations with colleagues – ultimately it is up to the Prime Minister and those responsible for business in Parliament to get the details (sorted).”