In relation to the House of Commons vote tonight (BBC):

  • Labour amendment on alternative Brexit plan rejected (240 – 323), which would have called for the Government to negotiate changes to the Political Declaration based on Corbyn’s 5 demands, including a customs union
  • SNP Amendment rejected (288 – 324): The amendment aimed to add to the motion that the House of Commons is determined not to leave the EU without an agreement and future framework under any circumstances and regardless of any exit date
  • Costa Amendment approved: The amendment calls on the government to implement the part of the withdrawal that includes citizens’ rights at “the earliest opportunity” regardless of the outcome of negotiations
  • Cooper-Letwin Amendment approved (502-20): If Theresa May does not get a deal approved by the Parliament by March 13, she will therefore be instructed to ask for an extension of article 50

Labour party formally backs new referendum on Brexit (FT): Jeremy Corbyn has said that his opposition Labour party will formally back a new Brexit referendum after its own plan for the UK leaving the EU, including permanent membership of the European customs union, failed in a parliamentary vote. “We will back a public vote in order to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a disastrous no-deal outcome,” Mr Corbyn said on Wednesday night. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told ITV that Labour would back a second referendum amendment when Theresa May presents her revised Brexit deal to MPs, which she has promised to do by March 12. Mr Corbyn, however, in a move likely to frustrate Europhile Labour MPs, added that he would “continue to push” for other options, including Labour’s Brexit plan and a general election.

France will block Brexit delay without ‘new choice’ by UK (Guardian): Emmanuel Macron has said France will block a Brexit delay unless there is a “new choice” by Britain, as Spain’s prime minister said that merely postponing the no-deal deadline would not be “reasonable or desirable”. In a sign of the heightened risk of an accidental crash-landing for the UK, both leaders signalled their disapproval of Theresa May’s suggestion of a last-minute request for a two-month extension if her deal is voted down again. The French president said there would need to be a clear purpose to delaying the UK’s exit from the EU, in comments that will inevitably raise cross-party concerns among those seeking to take no-deal Brexit off the table. Merkel offered a more compromising tone. “We are absolutely in agreement, and I have talked to Theresa May about this in Sharm el-Sheik a couple of days ago, the exit agreement is valid,” Merkel said. “If Great Britain needs more time we will not oppose it but of course we are seeking an orderly exit. We regret this step, but it is reality and we now have to find a good solution.” The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who has been a thorn in the UK prime minister’s side in recent months, told his parliament in Madrid that there would be conditions attached to an extension of the article 50 negotiating period.

UK gets WTO approval to join procurement pact after Brexit (MLex): The World Trade Organization committee approved today the future membership terms of the UK’s accession to the Government Procurement Agreement, which will give the country post-Brexit access to the procurement market, worth 1.3 trillion pounds. “The UK will join the GPA as an independent member as soon as possible if we leave the EU without an agreement, or will remain a member under EU schedules if we have an implementation period,” the statement says.

Drug makers can temporarily perform EU quality checks in UK after no-deal Brexit (MLex): Pharmaceutical producers that sell their medicines in the continental EU but perform their quality checks in the UK will be temporarily allowed to do so in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission has said in a letter to medicine agencies across Europe. The EU law says that batch testing of products sold in the EU needs to be carried out in one of the member states. But the letter says that “there may be objective reasons beyond control of the marketing authorisation holders that may prevent timely transfer of such testing activities to the Union by the withdrawal date”.