Brexit: Croaking May stays silent as MPs prepare for No Deal vote

MPs are poised to vote against Britain leaving with No Deal on March 29 tonight and pave the way for Brexit to be delayed. 

Theresa May was forced to sit in silence today and let Michael Gove make the case for postponing Britain’s departure just a day after she was humiliated by a second drubbing of her deal last night.

The PM was reduced to nodding in support as the Environment Secretary set out the Government’s new plan to block a No Deal Brexit on Britain’s scheduled exit date – but desperately try to keep it on the table.

In an attempt to stop mass resignations from the Government the Prime Minister was forced to promise a free vote tonight on her motion that says there should not be a no deal Brexit on March 29 – but that the option must stay on the table. The PM herself will vote for this. 

Brexiteers and Remainers will clash in the Commons voting lobbies at 7pm after Mrs May effectively handed control to Parliament in the aftermath of last night’s shattering loss.

In a signal the Remainers have an upper hand, senior Tory Dame Caroline Spelman has attempted to pull a vote on ruling out No Deal forever – insisting Mrs May’s temporary postponement goes far enough for now.

Withdrawing the vote is intended to help pro-Remain ministers keep their jobs in Government by not forcing them to choose whether to rebel to support ruling out No Deal forever. Labour MPs may force a vote anyway. 

Brexiteers are pushing an alternative plan based on the so-called Malthouse Compromise to be adopted. It says the Government should delay Brexit until May 22, and offer to ‘buy’ an almost three-year transition period until 2021. The idea is there is either a full-blown UK-EU trade deal in place by then or both sides are ready for a no deal on basic World Trade Organisation terms.  

The Eurosceptics say if the EU rejects the offer, Britain must crash out without a deal on May 22 – following a short two month delay to prepare. 

With Mrs May’s voice failing today Mr Gove began the debate by praising her saying: ‘She may temporarily have lost her voice, but what she has not lost, and will never lose, is her focus in the national interest, and a full-hearted desire to do what is right for our country.’     

Mrs May is meeting members of her Cabinet inside Parliament tonight ahead of the votes beginning at 7pm. 

Jeremy Corbyn will whip his Labour MPs to vote against Mrs May’s plan and back the Spelman amendment to ensure the UK cannot crash out of Europe without an agreement with Brussels first ‘under any circumstances’.

Ahead of today’s debate, Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Spring Statement to issue a stark warning about No Deal and called for the Commons to ‘compromise’.  

Theresa May arrived back at the Commons this evening ahead of the votes which are set to rule out Britain leaving with No Deal on March 29 and pave the way for Brexit to be delayed

Theresa May arrived back at the Commons this evening ahead of the votes which are set to rule out Britain leaving with No Deal on March 29 and pave the way for Brexit to be delayed

Theresa May arrived back at the Commons this evening ahead of the votes which are set to rule out Britain leaving with No Deal on March 29 and pave the way for Brexit to be delayed 

Theresa May is losing her voice and asked Michael Gove to open the debate ahead of a vote on taking No Deal off the table - having previously said she would speak

Theresa May is losing her voice and asked Michael Gove to open the debate ahead of a vote on taking No Deal off the table - having previously said she would speak

Theresa May is losing her voice and asked Michael Gove to open the debate ahead of a vote on taking No Deal off the table – having previously said she would speak

Mr Gove paid tribute to Mrs May's efforts in her negotiations and said: #She always, always, always acts in the national interest - we are lucky to have her'

Mr Gove paid tribute to Mrs May's efforts in her negotiations and said: #She always, always, always acts in the national interest - we are lucky to have her'

Mr Gove paid tribute to Mrs May’s efforts in her negotiations and said: #She always, always, always acts in the national interest – we are lucky to have her’

Michael Gove said that since Mrs May lost the first meaningful vote on her Withdrawal Agreement in January she has spent ‘more than 19 hours at the despatch box’, and: ‘Has shown fortitude, tenacity, thoughtfulness, diligence – and above all an unselfish and unstinting patriotism.’

Mr Gove said it was only appropriate that ‘on all sides of the House’ MPs recognise the way in which the Prime Minister ‘always, always, always puts country first’ – but told them that after rejecting her deal they now have ‘difficult choices to make’ about Brexit.

Earlier the croaky Tory leader insisted she understood Britain’s demand to get Brexit done today as she croaked through PMQs with a blast at Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to help pass her deal.

Hours after she was humiliated by a second drubbing at the hands of MPs, Mrs May returned to the Despatch Box to insist: ‘I want to leave the EU with a good deal – I believe we have a good deal.’ 

The Prime Minister is fighting for her political life after being humiliated by a crushing Commons defeat last night which saw her on the ‘last chance’ Brexit deal voted down by 391 to 242. 

Today at Prime Minister’s Questions Mrs May confronted MPs for the first time since the fresh humiliation. She made light of her own inability to speak blasted at Mr Corbyn: ‘I may not have my own voice but I understand the voice of the country.’

Mrs May repeatedly told MPs that the only way to take no deal off the table for good was to either cancel Brexit altogether or ultimately back her deal.

But an hour later Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Spring Statement to undermine his leader by calling for No Deal to be taken off the table by MPs tonight.  Minutes later Liz Truss undermined him by saying: ‘No deal would be better than not Brexit-ing’.  

EU negotiator Michel Barnier already dismissed the Brexiteer plan this morning in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg – prompting Remain MPs to say it is a defacto vote for crashing out on March 29.  

What is the Spelman no No Deal plan?  

How did the plan come about?

The cross party amendment tabled by Tory Dame Caroline Spelman and Labour’s Jack Dromey is their latest attempt to block a No Deal Brexit. 

They laid a similar one in January which was passed by the Commons.

But it is none-binding and the goalposts have been moved by Mrs May’s two failed attempts to get a Brexit deal through parliament. 

So they are doing it again.

What does it propose?

Quite simply it rejects a No Deal Brexit at any time and under any circumstances. 

Who is backing it?

A cross-party group of mainly Remain-supporting MPs, including Sir Oliver Letwin, Hilary Benn, Nick Boles and Yvette Cooper, as well as all 11 members of the new Independent Group. 

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is expected to whip his MPs in favour of the plan.  

Who opposes it?

The Government. 

Theresa May is to whip her MPs to oppose it – including Dame Caroline – under pressure from Brexiteer ministers who have threatened to quit if no-deal is removed as an option. 

They regard it as an important tool in persuading the EU to offer the UK a better deal, even at this late stage with just 16 days until Britain is supposed to leave the European Union.

How much would the UK have to pay?

Passing this amendment would more firmly pave the way to tomorrow’s vote on asking the EU for an extension of Article 50. 

If a delay to Brexit was agreed with the European Union Britain would have to continue to pay contributions. 

How much this is would depend on how long an extension is achieved. 

It has been reported that Brussels will demand another £13.5billion in Brexit divorce payments if Theresa May seeks an extension to Article 50.

The deal obliges Britain to pay about £39billion in divorce settlement.  

What is the ‘Malthouse Compromise’? 

How did the plan come about?

Housing minister Kit Malthouse brought Remain and Leave-supporting Tories together in a bid to break the Brexit impasse – concocting the plan which now bears his name. 

What does the ‘Malthouse Compromise’ propose? 

In simple terms, it calls for the UK to negotiate a new transition period until 2021 or leave the EU in May if Brussels fails to offer an agreement.

The plan contains two choices to be offered to the EU: one for how the UK will leave with a deal, and one for how it will leave without.

Plan A is similar to the current Withdrawal Agreement, but with changes to replace the Irish backstop and the implementation period with ‘alternative arrangements’.

Plan B assumes that agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement is not possible and creates a ‘transitional standstill period’.

How is plan B different to May’s deal? 

The current Withdrawal Agreement is stripped down to little more than the deal on citizens’ rights and the transition period. This would be extended by a year until no later than December 2021.

The aim of this is to provide a longer period to agree the future relationship, but it could also involve paying more money to the EU.

The second major difference is to the controversial backstop, which would be deleted. Instead, if there is no trade deal at the end of transition the UK and EU would use a ‘basic free trade agreement’ – essentially trading with the EU on WTO rules. It relies on existing administrative processes.

Is plan B different to a no-deal Brexit?

Yes – the plans says Britain would remain in a transition period on existing rules for three years outside the EU. 

The UK would become a third country, in practice, but would offer to pay the EU in exchange for retaining the implementation period until no later than December 2021. Plan A would remain on offer as long as the EU was willing to consider it.

If there is still no trade deal in place by the end of the three year transition, then Britain would finally leave with no deal. 

How much would the UK have to pay?

Under plan B, Britain would offer around £10 billion per year in exchange for the tranition period to continue.

Theresa May insisted in PMQs she understood Britain's demand to get Brexit done today as she croaked through PMQs (pictured) with a blast at Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to help pass her deal. But it appears her voice was too weak to go again this afternoon

Theresa May insisted in PMQs she understood Britain's demand to get Brexit done today as she croaked through PMQs (pictured) with a blast at Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to help pass her deal. But it appears her voice was too weak to go again this afternoon

Theresa May insisted in PMQs she understood Britain’s demand to get Brexit done today as she croaked through PMQs (pictured) with a blast at Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to help pass her deal. But it appears her voice was too weak to go again this afternoon

Brexiteers (including Steve Baker left) have joined forces with Remain Tories (from second left Nicky Morgan, Damian Green and Simon Hart) to say Mrs May should offer to 'buy' a transition period after March 29 in return for the divorce bill as an alternative to No Deal

Brexiteers (including Steve Baker left) have joined forces with Remain Tories (from second left Nicky Morgan, Damian Green and Simon Hart) to say Mrs May should offer to 'buy' a transition period after March 29 in return for the divorce bill as an alternative to No Deal

Brexiteers (including Steve Baker left) have joined forces with Remain Tories (from second left Nicky Morgan, Damian Green and Simon Hart) to say Mrs May should offer to ‘buy’ a transition period after March 29 in return for the divorce bill as an alternative to No Deal

EU negotiator Michel Barnier already dismissed the plan this morning in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg (pictured)

EU negotiator Michel Barnier already dismissed the plan this morning in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg (pictured)

EU negotiator Michel Barnier already dismissed the plan this morning in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg (pictured) 

 

Britain will face ‘significant disruption’ in the short and medium term if it crashes out of the European Union without a deal, Philip Hammond has warned, as he called for no-deal to be taken off the table.

The Chancellor, delivering his Spring Statement to MPs, said there would be a ‘smaller, less prosperous’ economy in the long term, with higher unemployment, lower wages and higher prices in shops.

In comments seen as a veiled call for a softer Brexit, he called for a compromise on what the Commons can agree to in the national interest.

Mr Hammond said the economy was ‘fundamentally robust’ but pleaded with MPs to lift the ‘uncertainty’ that ‘hangs over’ the UK because of the no-deal threat, after Theresa May’s deal was rejected for the second time on Tuesday night.

He said: ‘Our economy is fundamentally robust but the uncertainty that I hoped we would lift last night still hangs over it.

‘We cannot allow that to continue: it is damaging our economy and it is damaging our standing and reputation in the world.

‘Tonight, we have a choice: we can remove the threat of an imminent no-deal exit hanging over our economy.

‘Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to start to map out a way forward – towards building a consensus across this House for a deal we can collectively support, to exit the EU in an orderly way to a future relationship that will allow Britain to flourish.’

A Treasury source insisted Mr Hammond supports the Prime Minister’s deal, saying: ‘He has been very clear that he supports the PM’s deal but he has also been saying for months that compromise is how we get through this and he is calling for compromise.’  

Despite Mr Barnier’s stance Eurosceptic ministers have demanded the right to vote for the plan anyway in the hope of uniting the Tories and forcing concessions from Brussels.

One minister told the Telegraph: ‘The Remainers have had it all their own way, they’ve breached collective responsibility without any sanction.

‘We’ve been loyal and look where it’s got us.’ 

The delegation of 15 ministers is meeting Mrs May at 4.30pm and one warned: ‘We will all go. It would be the end of her.’ 

 

Brexiteer ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg has also backed the so-called Malthouse amendment ahead of tonight's no deal votes

Brexiteer ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg has also backed the so-called Malthouse amendment ahead of tonight's no deal votes

Brexiteer ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg has also backed the so-called Malthouse amendment ahead of tonight’s no deal votes 

Senior Brexiteer Steve Baker, a key figure in the hardline European Research Group, said the new version of the Malthouse Compromise would ‘throw three safety nets’ around leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement on March 29.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that plan A remained putting ‘alternative arrangements’ in place to replace the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement that was defeated last night.

The ‘sledgehammer’ tariffs threatened on EU products if there is a No Deal Brexit

Food 

Proposed tariff rates on a range of food products were announced as a proportion of the so-called ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) currently imposed by the EU on imports from countries which do not have a free trade agreement. 

Lamb/mutton: 100% of MFN

Beef 53% of MFN 

Poultry 60% of MFN

Pork 13% of MFN

Butter 32% of MFN

Cheddar-like cheese 13% of MFN

Protected fish and seafood products 100% of MFN  

Milled and semi-milled products (83%). 

INDUSTRIAL 

Finished buses: 12.6%

Finished cars and trucks: 10.6%

Transport equipment: 2.9%

Fertilisers: 2.1%

Ceramics: 1.2%

Textiles and textile products: 0.9%

Stone and cement: 0.3%

Leather and hides: 0.2%

Mineral products: 0.2%

Glass: 0.2%

Chemical products: 0.1%

Plastics and rubber: 0.1%

The second element was to ‘buy’ an implementation period ‘so they get about £10 billion a year and we all get a transition arrangement’.

The third was offering ‘standstill’ arrangements with the EU to provide a third way to have a smooth exit.

The EU’s Michel Barnier has repeatedly stressed that a transition arrangement could only be offered if there was a formal Withdrawal Agreement, but Mr Baker said ‘negotiability is a dynamic concept’.

He repeated today there will be no further offer from Brussels apart from the deal already on the table, and it is now ‘the responsibility of the UK’ to suggest a way forward.

He told the European Parliament: ‘What will their choice be, what will be the line they will take? That is the question we need a clear answer to now.

‘That is the question that has to be answered before a decision on a possible further extension 

‘Why would we extend these discussions? The discussion on Article 50 is done and dusted. We have the Withdrawal Agreement. It is there.

‘That is the question asked and we are waiting for an answer to that.

Mr Barnier added: ‘The risk of no-deal has never been higher. That is the risk of an exit – even by accident – by the UK from the EU in a disorderly fashion.’ 

In other developments today, Brexiteers today insisted that a No Deal Brexit would be ‘good news’ for Britain despite ministers revealing alarming new tariffs that would be charged on products imported from the EU.

The new import taxes will be imposed on items from the continent including cars, meat and cheese if the UK crashes out of the bloc on March 29 – but will not apply in Northern Ireland.

But excited members of the Tory ERG group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg were quick to point out that the arrangements would ensure nine out of ten global imports would land in Britain completely tax-free without an EU deal. 

Tory Brexiteer and ERG chairman Steve Baker said today: ‘No Deal is nothing to be scared of – it’s just Brexit with many mini-deals’ while ERG spokesman Sir Bill Cash, who is also Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, said these tariffs will help the British public ‘enormously’ making ‘imports much cheaper’ from non-EU countries. 

The new levies would force up prices on EU imports including cars and many foods plus products such as televisions and leather jackets

The new levies would force up prices on EU imports including cars and many foods plus products such as televisions and leather jackets

The new levies would force up prices on EU imports including cars and many foods plus products such as televisions and leather jackets 

At the moment products from EU countries such as Germany and France can be imported into Britain without any charges under the single market, but if Britain leaves without a deal the Government will have to introduce new import taxes. 

However in a seemingly confusing loophole in No Deal plan, Northern Ireland’s border would remain open at least ‘temporarily’ and goods entering from the Republic would not face tariffs to preserve the Good Friday agreement. 

The situation will raise fears that the Northern Irish border could become a smuggling route for EU products.  

Under the No Deal plan revealed this morning, 87 per cent of products would be subject to zero tariffs in an effort to stop price spikes and kick-start trade with Britain from across the world. The current figure is 80 per cent.

Critics have said that a No Deal would be a ‘disaster’ for Britain who would be ‘blocked’ from trading with its closest trading partner – the EU.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said today: ‘This tells us everything that is wrong with a no-deal.

‘What we are hearing is the biggest change in terms of trade this country has faced since the mid-19th century being imposed on this country with no consultation with business, no time to prepare.

‘This is a sledgehammer for our economy.’ 

The new tariff regime would be applied temporarily in an attempt to minimise disruption to the economy and stop price hikes. 

But ministers said products from the EU including beef, pork, chicken, butter, cheese and fish would also be subject to import taxes expected to push up prices in the supermarkets from March 29 if there is no agreement.  

Cars from the EU would be subject to a a 10.6 per tax on the cost of all ‘fully finished’ vehicles – making the prices of an average vehicle surge by £1,500. 

After the decisive defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal last night, she has given MPs a free vote at 7pm tonight on whether they want to leave the EU without a deal. She has indicated that she will vote against leaving without a deal.  

Among the 13 per cent of imports – most from the EU – which will be subject to tariffs, will be:

  • Beef, lamb, pork and poultry and some dairy products including butter and cheese – in order to protect UK farmers and producers from cheap imports;
  • A number of tariffs on finished new cars, vans, lorries and buses imported from the EU – but charges will not apply to vehicle parts imported from the EU to prevent disruption to supply chains; 
  • Ceramics, fertiliser and fuel, where tariffs protect UK producers against unfair practices like dumping and state subsidies; 
  • Goods including bananas, raw cane sugar and certain kinds of fish, where tariffs are used to permit preferential access to the UK market for developing countries. 

On the new tariff regime, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told Today it was a ‘modest liberalisation’ of trade, adding: ‘This is for a short term while we engage with business and see what the real-term consequences are’. 

But British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson hit back: ‘Even as the Brexit clock approaches midnight, MPs continue to squabble.

‘Yet it is the public who will feel the impact of a No Deal Brexit – tariffs, non-tariff barriers and currency depreciation will all push up costs and reduce the choice on the shelves we currently enjoy.

‘Businesses are exasperated by the lack of clarity over their future trading arrangements’. 

Hammond promises a £26BILLION ‘deal dividend’: Chancellor demands MPs take No Deal off the table TONIGHT and warns crashing out means ‘job losses, lower wages and higher prices’

Philip Hammond dangled a £26billion deal dividend in front of MPs today as he demanded they take an immediate No Deal Brexit off the table.

The Chancellor used his Spring Statement to issue stark warnings about the risks of crashing out, insisting it meant ‘higher unemployment, lower wages and higher prices in the shops’.

Mr Hammond appealed for ‘consensus’ over how Britain should leave the EUas he painted a rosy picture of the economy if Brexit hardliners back down and endorse the deal.

His intervention comes a day after Tory rebels humiliated Theresa May by handing down a second drubbing of the deal.

The Chancellor said the economy would continue to grow in every year to 2023 – at a faster rate than Germany – if the deal is agreed, even with a slowdown this year. 

The Chancellor said the strong economy meant Britain was taking ‘another step of… the road out of austerity’ if it avoided a no deal shock. 

Mr Hammond said if MPs pass the deal he will decide in the Spending Review later this year how to share the proceeds from any ‘Deal Dividend’ that Treasury aides said was worth £26billion – £11billion more than thought at the Budget in November.

The money is available deal or no deal – but would be soaked up dealing with the consequences of no deal if Britain crashes out of the bloc.  

If there is a deal, the money would go on increased spending on public services, capital investment and keeping taxes low.

Mr Hammond also announced a £100million funding boost to combat knife crime. The money will pay for a ‘surge’ in street policing in an effort to tackle rising levels of violence on the country’s streets. 

There were also spending announcements on free sanitary products for schools and a package to tackle climate change. 

In the Spring Statement this lunchtime, the Chancellor is expected to pledge an immediate £100million boost for police forces

In the Spring Statement this lunchtime, the Chancellor is expected to pledge an immediate £100million boost for police forces

In the Spring Statement this lunchtime, the Chancellor is expected to pledge an immediate £100million boost for police forces

The latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest the economy will be slower this year than expected in November (pictured) but with growth every year to 2023

The latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest the economy will be slower this year than expected in November (pictured) but with growth every year to 2023

The latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest the economy will be slower this year than expected in November (pictured) but with growth every year to 2023

Philip Hammond (pictured today leaving No 11 Downing Street) will today announce a major funding boost to combat knife crime as he unveils his spring statement 16 days before Brexit

Philip Hammond (pictured today leaving No 11 Downing Street) will today announce a major funding boost to combat knife crime as he unveils his spring statement 16 days before Brexit

Philip Hammond (pictured today leaving No 11 Downing Street) will today announce a major funding boost to combat knife crime as he unveils his spring statement 16 days before Brexit 

In a spring statement largely overshadowed by chaos over Brexit: 

  • Hammond announced Britain would continue to grow every year until 2023 – but only if MPs pass the deal;
  • Chancellor used his spring statement to warn MPs about the risks of a no deal Brexit if they refuse to adopt a deal; 
  • He admitted last night’s crushing defeat had left the country in chaos and was not the backdrop he wanted to today’s statement; 
  • Hammond said if MPs pass the deal he could unlock a ‘deal dividend’ that would finally mean a true end to austerity;
  • In a series of relatively small crowd-pleasing announcements Hammond promised £100 million this year for police forces in England to pay for overtime aimed at addressing the ‘epidemic’ of knife crime;
  • A £3 billion affordable homes guarantee scheme, to support delivery of around 30,000 homes;
  • A ‘Future Homes Standard’ setting out the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025;
  • The provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year;
  • Shadow chancellor accused Hammond of ‘callous complacency’ amid the Government’s ‘mishandling of Brexit 

Spring Statement 2019: What has Hammond revealed? 

  • The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts GDP growth of 1.2% this year, then 1.4% in 2020 and 1.6% for each of the following three years.
  • The OBR expects to see 600,000 new jobs by 2023, with wage growth at 3% or higher in each year of the forecast period. 
  • UK debt is forecast to be lower in every year than predicted at the Budget, falling to 82.2% of GDP next year, then 79%, 74.9% and 74% in the following years and 73% in 2023/24. 
  • £260 million for the Borderlands Growth deal covering the border regions of England and Scotland and said negotiations are progressing on future deals for mid-Wales and Derry/Londonderry.
  • A £700 million package of reforms to help small businesses take on more apprentices, announced in the autumn Budget, is to be brought forward to the start of the new financial year in April.
  • From June, the UK will begin to abolish the requirement for paper landing cards at points of entry to the country and will allow citizens of the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore and South Korea to use e-gates at airports and Eurostar terminals. 
  • Funding of £79 million allocated to the ARCHER2 supercomputer at Edinburgh University, £45 million for genomics research at the European Bioinformatics Institute and £81 million for a new Extreme Photonics Centre in Oxfordshire, along with a guarantee of UK funding for the JET nuclear fusion reactor, whatever happens with Brexit. 
  • The Government will fund free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year. 
  • Some 445,000 square kilometres of ocean around Ascension Island to be declared a Marine Protected Area. 
  • A new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes and £717 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge. 

 

In his 35-minute statement, Mr Hammond said that Tuesday’s vote to reject the EU Withdrawal Agreement ‘leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy’ and his most urgent task is to lift it.

He announced the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility suggest the economy will be sharply slower this year than expected – with a downgrade from 1.6per cent to 1.2 per cent – in November.

But growth will rise again to 1.6 per cent a year in 2021, 2022 and 2023, the forecasts say. 

He said: ‘Last night’s events mean we are not where I hoped we would be today.

‘Our economy is fundamentally robust. But the uncertainty that I hoped we would lift last night, still hangs over us.

‘We cannot allow that to continue. It is damaging our economy and it is damaging our standing and reputation in the world.

‘Tonight, we have a choice. We can remove the threat of an imminent no-deal exit hanging over our economy.

‘Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to start to map out a way forward towards building a consensus across this House for a deal we can, collectively support, to exit the EU in an orderly way to a future relationship that will allow Britain to flourish, protecting jobs and businesses

‘A brighter future is within our grasp. Tonight, let’s take a decisive step towards seizing it and building a Britain fit for the future; a Britain the next generation will be proud to call their home.’

The Chancellor warned that the country’s economic progress will be at risk in a no-deal Brexit, and said he was ‘confident’ that the Commons will agree a smooth and orderly EU withdrawal ‘over the coming weeks’. 

Mr Hammond told MPs: ‘A no-deal Brexit would deliver a significant short- to medium-term reduction in the productive capacity of the British economy. 

‘And because our economy is operating at near full capacity, any fiscal and monetary response would have to be carefully calibrated not to simply cause inflation.’ 

Mr Hammond said he will decide in the Spending Review later this year how to share the proceeds from any ‘Deal Dividend’, if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, between increased spending on public services, capital investment and keeping taxes low. 

Responding to Mr Hammond’s statement, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: ‘We have just witnessed a display by the Chancellor of this Government’s toxic mix of callous complacency over austerity and … mishandling of Brexit.’ 

Mr Hammond is also expected to warn today that money to end austerity can be found only if MPs vote to leave the EU with a deal. He is expected to unveil a 'deal dividend' of £20 billion to invest in public services. PIctured is the current state of the deficit

Mr Hammond is also expected to warn today that money to end austerity can be found only if MPs vote to leave the EU with a deal. He is expected to unveil a 'deal dividend' of £20 billion to invest in public services. PIctured is the current state of the deficit

Mr Hammond is also expected to warn today that money to end austerity can be found only if MPs vote to leave the EU with a deal. He is expected to unveil a ‘deal dividend’ of £20 billion to invest in public services. PIctured is the current state of the deficit 

Mr McDonnell said downgrading forecasts were a ‘pattern’ under Mr Hammond before he criticised Government borrowing.

Free sanitary products will be made available in ALL schools so that ‘girls no longer have to miss a day’ because they can’t afford them

The Government will fund free sanitary products in schools to tackle period poverty, Philip Hammond announced today.

Mr Hammond said ‘some girls are missing school’ because they can’t afford to buy them.  

The Chancellor said the Department for Education would develop the new scheme in time for the next school year.

The surprise announcement came amid a small spending spree in Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement today.  

He added: ‘On the deficit, he’s boasting about the deficit – he’s not eliminated the deficit as we were promised by 2015.

‘He’s simply shifted it on to the shoulders of headteachers, NHS managers, local councillors and police commissioners and, worst of all, onto the backs of many of the poorest in our society.

‘The consequences are stark – infant mortality has increased, life-expectancy has reduced, and our communities are less safe.

‘Police budgets have faced a cut of £2.7 billion since 2010 and nothing the Chancellor has said today will make up for the human and economic consequences of those cuts.’

Mr McDonnell added there is ‘nothing balanced’ about a Government giving more than £110 billion of tax cuts to the rich and corporations while ’87 people a day die before they receive the care they need’.

Last week Mr Hammond urged forces to divert existing resources from lower priority crime instead of demanding more.

He said backed a ‘surging of resources from other areas of policing activity into dealing with this spike in knife crime’ and said forces should ‘move’ money from other areas.

Mr Hammond's plan again some positive economic figures - including wages (blue line)  rising sharply faster than prices (red line)

Mr Hammond's plan again some positive economic figures - including wages (blue line)  rising sharply faster than prices (red line)

Mr Hammond’s plan again some positive economic figures – including wages (blue line)  rising sharply faster than prices (red line) 

But Mr Javid publicly backed senior police officers who said they needed more money to pay for overtime to put more officers on the streets.

Hammond pledges £100million to fight the ‘scourge of knife crime’ 

Philip Hammond today announced a major funding boost to combat knife crime.

In the Spring Statement, the Chancellor pledged an immediate £100million boost for police forces.

The money will pay for a ‘surge’ in street policing in an effort to tackle rising levels of violence on the country’s streets.

It follows a major Whitehall row between the Home Office and Treasury, and represents a major victory for Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Last week Mr Hammond urged forces to divert existing resources from lower priority crime instead of demanding more.

Sources said around two thirds of the cash would go to paying for a surge in street policing, and the remainder to fund specialist Violence Reduction Units.

On Monday 46 London MPs called for Mr Hammond to use the Spring Statement to help the Metropolitan Police fight knife crime.

Last week a string of former senior officers said there was an urgent need for more police to be recruited.

Lord Hogan-Howe, the former Met commissioner, has called for an extra 20,000 officers across the country and told ministers to ‘get a grip on the crisis’.

Police numbers have fallen by 20,000 in England and Wales since 2010. The number of knife-related deaths rose from 186 in 2015-16 to 285 in 2017-18.

Violent crime rose by nearly a fifth in the year to September 2018, according to police figures, and the increase in knife killings has been particularly pronounced.

In the last year alone, 27 under-19s have been stabbed to death, and there have been 285 knife killings in all – the highest level since the Second World War.

Ahead of the statement, shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged him to end Government cuts

Downing Street is also understood to have been backing calls for extra cash. Forces are already set to receive nearly £970 million extra in the next financial year.

End of the gas boiler: Fossil-fuel heating systems will be BANNED in all new-build houses from 2025

Fossil-fuel powered boilers will be banned in new build homes from 2025, the Chancellor revealed today.

Philip Hammond’s move spells the beginning of the end for gas boilers in Britain.

The move is part of a package of reforms aimed at tackling climate change in today’s Spring Statement. 

But shadow housing secretary John Healey tweeted: ‘Seriously underwhelming housing announcements from the Chancellor – debt guarantees a recycled pledge from 2017, and what sounds like a partial backtrack on the Tories’ 2015 decision to scrap Labour’s zero carbon homes plan… by 2025!’

Theresa May last week ordered an urgent set of ministerial meetings to discuss action against knives, but she came under fire after claiming there was ‘no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers’.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick rejected that claim saying it was obvious ‘there is some link between violent crime on the streets and police numbers’

Mrs May is also considering plans for would-be knife thugs to be treated in the same way as potential jihadis.

A new regime would see councils, schools and other agencies required to report youngsters considered to be at risk of being dragged into knife and gang crime.

Ahead of the statement, shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged him to end Government cuts.

Mr McDonnell said: ‘Living standards have been squeezed by relentless cutbacks to public services, as part of a toxic Tory cocktail of callousness and incompetence.

‘Philip Hammond must abandon this disastrous austerity agenda of the past nine years.

‘Labour will tax the rich and giant corporations to end austerity, fund our public services properly, and rebuild our economy so it works for the many, not the few.’  

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