• Brexit talks at risk over Irish border – Michel Barnier had warned that Brexit talks are at risk if the UK does not soften its stance on the Irish border issue. Barnier has said that the EU is “absolutely united” on the Irish question, but wishes to work with the UK in order to find a practical solution. The Irish deputy prime minster, Simon Coveney, has warned that there will be difficulties at the next EU council summit in June unless the UK committed to wording for a “backstop” solution for the Irish border. The current preference on all sides in respect of Northern Ireland involves an overall deal obviating the need for border checks following Brexit (The Guardian).
  • Debate on terms of meaningful vote on Brexit deal – Viscount Hailsham has tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would give MP’s the power to ask Theresa May to continue negotiations if they viewed her deal as inadequate. The amendment, being voted on today in Parliament, would allow Parliament to determine the government’s course of action if MPs rejected the deal or if the UK and EU were not able to reach an agreement of any kind (BBC News).
  • Cabinet reshuffle and potential Brexit impact – following the resignation of Amber Rudd and appointment of Sajid Javid as Home Secretary, Theresa May has potentially lost an ally and there is now scrutiny as to what will happen to the balance of power among soft and hard Brexiteers in the Cabinet. Although both ministers originally voted to stay in the EU, Javid’s tougher attitude will be good news for committee members who favour the less cooperative of two government customs proposals (The Guardian).