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Brexit: Williamson ridiculed over claim it could 'enhance UK military's lethality' - Politics live Brexit: Williamson ridiculed over claim it could 'enhance UK military's lethality' - Politics live
(35 minutes later)
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, has admitted that food bank use has increased due to the universal credit roll-out.
Ministers have previously downplayed claims that universal credit is to blame and have spent years insisting austerity is not linked to a large increase in use of food banks.
Rudd told MPs:
We’re committed to a strong safety net where people need it.
It’s absolutely clear there were challenges with the initial roll-out of universal credit and the main issue that led to an increase in food bank use could have been the fact that people had difficulties accessing their money early enough.
We have made changes to accessing universal credit so people can have advances, so there is a legacy run on after two weeks of housing benefit, and we believe that will help with food bank use.
No10 endorses Rudd remarks on universal credit link to foodbanks. "We have long acknowledged there were issues with the initial rollout of universal credit. That's why we listened and made improvements"
Taking an urgent question in the Commons, Chris Grayling has just rejected calls for him to resign as Transport Secretary over the Seaborne Freight controversy. The shadow transport secretary, Andy McDonald, slammed Grayling’s “incompetence” and said he should consider his position.
In response, the Transport Secretary described the criticism as “hogwash” and said “not a penny of taxpayers’ money” went to Seaborne. He said they were aware that Seaborne did not have its own ferries but it was backed by an Irish shipping company, Arklow Shipping, which pulled out unexpectedly and suddenly.
For its part, Arklow Shipping has said it never had a stake in the venture.
The Liberal Democrats’ defence spokesman Jamie Stone has joined in the criticism of the defence secretary’s speech this morning, in particular Gavin Williamson’s announcement that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be deployed to the Pacific region.The Liberal Democrats’ defence spokesman Jamie Stone has joined in the criticism of the defence secretary’s speech this morning, in particular Gavin Williamson’s announcement that HMS Queen Elizabeth will be deployed to the Pacific region.
Stone said:Stone said:
Gavin Williamson is heating up UK defence rhetoric, something which may well be seen as provocation by Beijing. This comes following years of hollowing-out of Britain’s military capabilities, with the British Army now at the smallest it has been in decades.Gavin Williamson is heating up UK defence rhetoric, something which may well be seen as provocation by Beijing. This comes following years of hollowing-out of Britain’s military capabilities, with the British Army now at the smallest it has been in decades.
Do we really have the capacity at the moment to send this ship over to showboat? Rather than flaunting the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Pacific, the Conservatives should instead be focusing on the pressing issues facing the British armed forces at the moment, including the £15bn shortfall in the MoD’s equipment plan over the next decade.Do we really have the capacity at the moment to send this ship over to showboat? Rather than flaunting the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Pacific, the Conservatives should instead be focusing on the pressing issues facing the British armed forces at the moment, including the £15bn shortfall in the MoD’s equipment plan over the next decade.
As the countdown to March 29 looms, there is more evidence of governments in Europe fretting about the effects of Brexit.As the countdown to March 29 looms, there is more evidence of governments in Europe fretting about the effects of Brexit.
It may be the European Union’s easternmost member state but Cyprus, as a former British colony – and locale for strategic military bases - has some of the strongest ties with the UK. With less than 50 days to Brexit, the spectre of a possibly chaotic withdrawal from Europe has put officials increasingly on edge.It may be the European Union’s easternmost member state but Cyprus, as a former British colony – and locale for strategic military bases - has some of the strongest ties with the UK. With less than 50 days to Brexit, the spectre of a possibly chaotic withdrawal from Europe has put officials increasingly on edge.
The government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, told the Guardian:The government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, told the Guardian:
Britain tops our tourism market and if the economy slips into depression nobody knows the effect it will have on numbers coming to Cyprus. Then there are students, about a third of the total number currently abroad are in the UK. They are OK but it is far from sure what the future status of others will be. And in terms of trade most of our exports, starting with Halloumi, go to Britain. Right now nothing is clear ... the British government doesn’t seem to know what it wants.Britain tops our tourism market and if the economy slips into depression nobody knows the effect it will have on numbers coming to Cyprus. Then there are students, about a third of the total number currently abroad are in the UK. They are OK but it is far from sure what the future status of others will be. And in terms of trade most of our exports, starting with Halloumi, go to Britain. Right now nothing is clear ... the British government doesn’t seem to know what it wants.
Of course Cyprus has also benefited from Brexit. Last month, the British ferry and shipping operator, P&O, announced it was transferring registration of all its UK vessels to the Mediterranean island.Of course Cyprus has also benefited from Brexit. Last month, the British ferry and shipping operator, P&O, announced it was transferring registration of all its UK vessels to the Mediterranean island.
The UK and Switzerland have signed a deal to maintain their current trading relationship after Brexit.The UK and Switzerland have signed a deal to maintain their current trading relationship after Brexit.
The UK has signed a trade continuity agreement with Switzerland, ensuring ?? and ?? businesses can continue to trade freely when we leave the EU.#Didyouknow UK-Swiss trade totalled over £30bn in 2018. #FreeTradeUK pic.twitter.com/VvMJZ8ZLLNThe UK has signed a trade continuity agreement with Switzerland, ensuring ?? and ?? businesses can continue to trade freely when we leave the EU.#Didyouknow UK-Swiss trade totalled over £30bn in 2018. #FreeTradeUK pic.twitter.com/VvMJZ8ZLLN
The UK is seeking to replicate about 40 free trade agreements, covering more than 70 countries. In 2017, Liam Fox said they could all be signed by the time the UK leaves the EU on 29 March this year but only four continuity agreements have been inked, according to the BBC, namely with:The UK is seeking to replicate about 40 free trade agreements, covering more than 70 countries. In 2017, Liam Fox said they could all be signed by the time the UK leaves the EU on 29 March this year but only four continuity agreements have been inked, according to the BBC, namely with:
SwitzerlandSwitzerland
ChileChile
The Faroe IslandsThe Faroe Islands
Eastern and Southern AfricaEastern and Southern Africa
It says mutual recognition agreements, under which a product lawfully sold in one country can be sold in another, have also been signed with Australia and New Zealand.It says mutual recognition agreements, under which a product lawfully sold in one country can be sold in another, have also been signed with Australia and New Zealand.
Senior Tories have warned Labour’s plans for a customs union with the EU are a “dangerous delusion”, after Theresa May offered fresh Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn, reports the Press Association.Senior Tories have warned Labour’s plans for a customs union with the EU are a “dangerous delusion”, after Theresa May offered fresh Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn, reports the Press Association.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Labour’s proposals were “not workable” while Boris Johnson accused Corbyn of trying to trap the Government in a “toxic” Brexit.International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Labour’s proposals were “not workable” while Boris Johnson accused Corbyn of trying to trap the Government in a “toxic” Brexit.
The comments appeared to reflect concern among Conservative Brexiteers that the Prime Minister could concede too much ground to Labour in an attempt to win cross-party backing for a deal with Brussels ...The comments appeared to reflect concern among Conservative Brexiteers that the Prime Minister could concede too much ground to Labour in an attempt to win cross-party backing for a deal with Brussels ...
Fox, in Bern for the signing of a trade agreement with Switzerland, said Labour claims they would be able to influence EU trade policy showed they did not understand how EU policy worked.Fox, in Bern for the signing of a trade agreement with Switzerland, said Labour claims they would be able to influence EU trade policy showed they did not understand how EU policy worked.
“Of course we always want to work with the opposition but the opposition has put forward some ideas that are not workable,” he told reporters.“Of course we always want to work with the opposition but the opposition has put forward some ideas that are not workable,” he told reporters.
“The idea that you can have a customs union with the EU and at the same time, as an outside country, have an effect on EU trade policy, is to not understand the EU treaties.“The idea that you can have a customs union with the EU and at the same time, as an outside country, have an effect on EU trade policy, is to not understand the EU treaties.
“It is very clear from the European Union that non-EU members do not have a say in EU trade policy so to pretend that you could do so is a dangerous delusion.”“It is very clear from the European Union that non-EU members do not have a say in EU trade policy so to pretend that you could do so is a dangerous delusion.”
His intervention came after Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if May backed a customs union. “I absolutely do not think that should be our policy,” she told Sky News on Sunday.His intervention came after Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if May backed a customs union. “I absolutely do not think that should be our policy,” she told Sky News on Sunday.
Johnson, who led the official Vote Leave campaign in the referendum, warned the prime minister against trying to do a deal with Labour to get her agreement through.Johnson, who led the official Vote Leave campaign in the referendum, warned the prime minister against trying to do a deal with Labour to get her agreement through.
“I don’t think that there is any mileage for the prime minister or the Government in trying to do a deal with Labour because they will just try to trap Theresa May,” he said at a launch event at Westminster.“I don’t think that there is any mileage for the prime minister or the Government in trying to do a deal with Labour because they will just try to trap Theresa May,” he said at a launch event at Westminster.
Despite his deputy suggesting the UK could take more time (see previous post), the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said Theresa May has no plans to delay Brexit.Despite his deputy suggesting the UK could take more time (see previous post), the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said Theresa May has no plans to delay Brexit.
In a press conf where frustration showed, Barnier said May insisted does not plan to extend article 50 and delay Brexit. But time is ‘extremely short’. Lux PM Bettel hit out at Brexiters who just say ‘non non non’. Stephen Barclay not going to get much joy from barnier tonightIn a press conf where frustration showed, Barnier said May insisted does not plan to extend article 50 and delay Brexit. But time is ‘extremely short’. Lux PM Bettel hit out at Brexiters who just say ‘non non non’. Stephen Barclay not going to get much joy from barnier tonight
Speaking at a conference in Germayn, the EU’s deputy chief negotiator with the UK, Sabine Weyand, has has had some tough words for the UK, according to Tweets from the Economist’s Berlin bureau chief.Speaking at a conference in Germayn, the EU’s deputy chief negotiator with the UK, Sabine Weyand, has has had some tough words for the UK, according to Tweets from the Economist’s Berlin bureau chief.
Weyand described the chances of a reversal of Brexit as non-existent and the damage to the UK as self-inflicted. She also suggested Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals deserved serious consideration.Weyand described the chances of a reversal of Brexit as non-existent and the damage to the UK as self-inflicted. She also suggested Jeremy Corbyn’s proposals deserved serious consideration.
Weyand: cakeism is found on Remain side as well as Leave. The chances for a reversal of Brexit are non-existent. The only option is to enable a structured exit.Weyand: cakeism is found on Remain side as well as Leave. The chances for a reversal of Brexit are non-existent. The only option is to enable a structured exit.
Weyand: Corbyn's letter to May triggered an interesting debate. His proposals deserve to be discussed. Britain's discussion deserves to be given some time.Weyand: Corbyn's letter to May triggered an interesting debate. His proposals deserve to be discussed. Britain's discussion deserves to be given some time.
Weyand: the UK has never been as friendly towards the EU at international level as in last few years: G7, climate etc.Weyand: the UK has never been as friendly towards the EU at international level as in last few years: G7, climate etc.
.@WeyandSabine: If there are feelings of rejection and humiliation in Britain, they're self-inflicted..@WeyandSabine: If there are feelings of rejection and humiliation in Britain, they're self-inflicted.
Theresa May has ruled out a customs union with the EU post Brexit, her spokesman said. Earlier, the prisons minister, Rory Stewart, said that despite disagreement over the customs union there was less dividing May and Jeremy Corbyn than some people may think.Theresa May has ruled out a customs union with the EU post Brexit, her spokesman said. Earlier, the prisons minister, Rory Stewart, said that despite disagreement over the customs union there was less dividing May and Jeremy Corbyn than some people may think.
May will update MPs on her latest round of Brexit talks tomorrow, Downing Street has said. The Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, is meeting the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels tonight.May will update MPs on her latest round of Brexit talks tomorrow, Downing Street has said. The Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, is meeting the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels tonight.
Boris Johnson has insisted that the Irish backstop must be amended to give the UK a unilateral out within a specified time period. In response to suggestions sterling could fall by 20% after Brexit, the former foreign secretary said: “The pound will go where it will.”Boris Johnson has insisted that the Irish backstop must be amended to give the UK a unilateral out within a specified time period. In response to suggestions sterling could fall by 20% after Brexit, the former foreign secretary said: “The pound will go where it will.”
The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has attracted ridicule for his claim that Brexit could “enhance UK’s lethality”. Chris Leslie, Labour MP and people’s vote supporte.r said Europe was central to the UK’s military posture and that economic damage post-Brexit would weaken military investment.The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has attracted ridicule for his claim that Brexit could “enhance UK’s lethality”. Chris Leslie, Labour MP and people’s vote supporte.r said Europe was central to the UK’s military posture and that economic damage post-Brexit would weaken military investment.
May continues to have full confidence in the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, despite the controversy over the Seaborne Freight contract, the prime minister’s official spokesman has said. MPs from across the Commons called for Grayling’s resignation after the cancellation of a £13.8m no-deal Brexit ferry contract awarded to Seaborne Freight, which had no ships.May continues to have full confidence in the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, despite the controversy over the Seaborne Freight contract, the prime minister’s official spokesman has said. MPs from across the Commons called for Grayling’s resignation after the cancellation of a £13.8m no-deal Brexit ferry contract awarded to Seaborne Freight, which had no ships.
Theresa May continues to have full confidence in the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, her official spokesman has said.Theresa May continues to have full confidence in the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, her official spokesman has said.
The display of support came amid calls for Grayling’s resignation from MPs across the Commons after a controversial no-deal Brexit ferry contract awarded to a firm with no ships was cancelled.The display of support came amid calls for Grayling’s resignation from MPs across the Commons after a controversial no-deal Brexit ferry contract awarded to a firm with no ships was cancelled.
The Transport Secretary’s decision to award Seaborne Freight a contract worth £13.8 million to run services between Ramsgate and Ostend had attracted widespread criticism.The Transport Secretary’s decision to award Seaborne Freight a contract worth £13.8 million to run services between Ramsgate and Ostend had attracted widespread criticism.
Gavin Williamson continues to attract flak for his claim that Brexit could “enhance UK’s lethality”.Gavin Williamson continues to attract flak for his claim that Brexit could “enhance UK’s lethality”.
The former shadow chancellor, Chris Leslie, said:The former shadow chancellor, Chris Leslie, said:
The idea that our membership of the European Union restricts us is the purest nonsense. You don’t have to know much history to know why Europe is and will remain central to our military posture or that co-operation and peace in Europe is what allows us to invest in global strength.The idea that our membership of the European Union restricts us is the purest nonsense. You don’t have to know much history to know why Europe is and will remain central to our military posture or that co-operation and peace in Europe is what allows us to invest in global strength.
In fact the economic damage that Brexit threatens is what will most quickly weaken our forces. The Treasury’s own forecast is that Brexit will leave us £100 billion worse off and the experience of recent years is that the Treasury is never slow to pick on defence when it is looking for cuts. In the economic mess that will follow Brexit, hopes of East of Suez could be the first to go.In fact the economic damage that Brexit threatens is what will most quickly weaken our forces. The Treasury’s own forecast is that Brexit will leave us £100 billion worse off and the experience of recent years is that the Treasury is never slow to pick on defence when it is looking for cuts. In the economic mess that will follow Brexit, hopes of East of Suez could be the first to go.
Simon Jenkins writes:Simon Jenkins writes:
The defence secretary’s brain has gone absent without leave ...If history teaches us anything, it is that vanity defence procurements merely incite ministers to reckless interventions, afterwards bitterly regretted. Williamson’s speech reads like the pompous rantings of a 1950s Tory on the make. It cannot conceivably have been cleared with colleagues, let alone the Treasury. It is best forgotten.The defence secretary’s brain has gone absent without leave ...If history teaches us anything, it is that vanity defence procurements merely incite ministers to reckless interventions, afterwards bitterly regretted. Williamson’s speech reads like the pompous rantings of a 1950s Tory on the make. It cannot conceivably have been cleared with colleagues, let alone the Treasury. It is best forgotten.
It is far from the first time Williamson has blundered ...It is far from the first time Williamson has blundered ...
Gavin Williamson continues to add to his gaffe-prone reputationGavin Williamson continues to add to his gaffe-prone reputation
Theresa May is to update MPs on her latest round of Brexit talks tomorrow, Downing Street has said. At the regular lobby briefing, May’s spokesman said the statement to the Commons, originally expected for Wednesday, would now be a day earlier.
This will, the spokesman said, give MPs an extra day to draft amendments before the debate on a new amendable motion on Brexit in the Commons on Thursday.
This is not, it should be stressed a meaningful vote on a new deal – there is currently no set date for this. The amendable motion is just another chance for MPs to suggest changes, such as an extension to article 50 or ruling out no deal.
The only other Brexit diary date is 27 February, with Downing Street saying this would be the latest moment for another amendable motion, if no revised deal had been presented by then.
On May’s response on Sunday to Jeremy Corbyn’s letter setting out Labour’s five conditions for backing a Brexit deal, her spokesman made it plain she had ruled out the main idea – the UK being part of a customs union.
He said:
We are absolutely clear on this: we’re not considering Jeremy Corbyn’s customs proposals; we’re not considering any proposals to remain in the customs union. We must have our own, independent trade policy.
Conservative MPs supportive of a second referendum have written to the prime minister to request an urgent meeting about postponing the UK’s scheduled date of departing the EU, the Independent’s political correspondent Tweets.
The letter says:
We are urging you and the government to take a breath, to take a minute and give us all time to consider whether this proposed deal, or however it is adjusted, is really in our best interests ...The fear of delay should not box us into a corner so that the country leaves with the worst possible outcome. We should take enough time to resolve this impasse.
Group of Conservative MPs who support a second referendum - Right to Vote - have today written to Theresa May requesting an urgent meetingFull letter here:https://t.co/cRg7dhB9lA pic.twitter.com/Y61NLtAlnP
People’s vote campaigners say that Theresa May’s rejection of Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit proposals proves the need for a second referendum.
Labour MP David Lammy said:
Theresa May’s letter makes it clear there is no hope of her agreeing for the UK to stay in a permanent customs union or to guarantee alignment with the EU on rights and protections after Brexit, as Jeremy Corbyn had requested ...We have now entered the emergency zone of these negotiations, and the prime minister has swept Labour’s only other option off the table. We have now got to begin campaigning for a people’s vote.
Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said:
It is astonishing that after more than 900 days since the Brexit vote and less than 50 days before we crash out of the EU, the PM and Corbyn appear to be starting serious discussions about delivering disastrous Brexit together.
No amount of haggling over customs unions or workers’ rights can disguise the fact that Brexit leaves us all worse off. It is time for Jeremy Corbyn to give up the letters and instead draw his attention to Labour Party policy and get behind the campaign for a people’s vote.
Gavin Williamson is facing some ridicule for his speech at the Royal United Services Institute this morning saying Brexit presents an opportunity for Britain to boost its global military standing:
“The problem with Britain,” one senior diplomat told me last week, “Is that you have a sense of historic entitlement”. Wonder where he got that idea? https://t.co/G7NrBy1Jm2
Gavin Williamson's stirring conclusion? "“Brexit has brought us to a great moment when we must enhance our lethality, and increase our mass.”okay....
At at event where Gavin Williamson has just announced a £7m investment in drones 'capable of overwhelming and confusing enemy air defences'. After our successes at Gatwick, what could possibly go wrong?
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been publicly setting out his stall ahead of his meeting with the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, in Brussels this evening:
The Withdrawal Agreement is the result of 18 months of intense negotiations between the EU and #UK. It is a compromise that aims to ensure an orderly #Brexit. What is in it? ? https://t.co/iXQhOD5Ir4
The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has blamed the government’s Brexit strategy for the latest GDP figures showing a slowdown at the end of last year (read more on our business blog) and said they illustrate the need for no deal to be taken off the table.
He said:
The evidence is mounting that the combination of the government’s shambolic handling of Brexit and nine years of austerity is causing real damage to our economy.
Business investment has been falling for months now, as uncertainty and the fear of no deal cause immediate damage to confidence.
Six consecutive months of decline for the manufacturing sector hasn’t happened since 2009. The government must act now to take no deal off the table and Philip Hammond must use his spring statement to end the disastrous austerity policy which has done so much to damage the economy.
Boris Johnson’s vision of for a post-Brexit “global Britain” includes a multibillion-pound cut in the UK’s overseas aid budget, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, writes.
Current definitions of aid spending would be broadened to include peacekeeping, and the BBC’s World Service would be expanded, as part of an effort to restore Britain’s ability to project soft and hard power.
The paper argues the UK should be freed to define its aid spending unconstrained by criteria set by external organisations, and its purpose expanded from poverty reduction to include “the nation’s overall strategic goals”. UK aid spending, set by law at 0.7% of gross national income, was £13.4bn in 2016.
The proposals are being fed into a Foreign Office review on UK soft power post-Brexit headed by the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt. There have been repeated reports suggesting the DfID secretary, Penny Mordaunt, wants to dilute or abandon the 0.7% target.
Boris Johnson backs call for multibillion cut to UK aid budget
Here are some of the other politics stories making the news this morning:
The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, will claim today that Brexit represents an opportunity for Britain to boost its global military standing in response to the threats posed by Russia and China.
Brexit could boost UK's military standing, says defence secretary
A no-deal Brexit would damage police powers to detain foreign suspects and leave British fugitives in Europe beyond the law, according to deputy assistant commissioner Richard Martin who is leading police preparations for such an event.
No-deal Brexit would make Britain less safe, says police chief
The government’s post-Brexit immigration system would cost employers more than £1bn in administration costs over five years, harm the higher education sector by putting off EU students and risk a new Windrush scandal, according to a report by Global Future.
Immigration regime after Brexit 'risks new Windrush scandal'
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, must find an extra £5bn in this year’s Whitehall spending review to reverse planned cuts and meet his claim of ending austerity, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Hammond £5bn short of 'austerity is ending' target, says thinktank
Meanwhile, the prisons minister, Rory Stewart, says Theresa May has rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a customs union post-Brexit but suggested that the parties are closer together than some people think.
He told BBC Breakfast:
The prime minister remains very clear that she thinks that a very major economy like the United Kingdom needs to have the freedom to be able to make its own trade deals, so she’s disagreeing with Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that we enter a permanent customs union.
What she is saying is that we have a lot if common ground, a lot more common ground perhaps than people have acknowledged, on things like environmental protections, workers’ rights, making sure that we get investment into areas of the country which haven’t done as well out of the last few years as other parts of the country.
Brexit: May has ruled out Corbyn's customs union plan - minister
Good morning, this is Haroon Siddique sitting in for Andrew Sparrow again. I’ll be attempting to keep you up to speed with the most significant politic developments of the day. Given the number of comments the blog attracts, if you want to get my attention, the best way is probably to Tweet me.
Ahead of the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay’s meeting with the European chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels this evening, Boris Johnson has insisted that the Irish backstop must be amended to give the UK a unilateral out within a specified time period.
The former foreign secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
The argument is now about how to get out of the backstop. And how to make sure that the UK isn’t locked in that prison of the customs union. I think that you would need to have a time limit.
Asked if changes to the backstop proposals could come in a separate codicil to the withdrawal agreement, Johnson said: “I don’t think that would be good enough.”
He added:
It [the deal] would have to give the United Kingdom a UK-sized exit from the backstop. We would have to be able to get out by a certain time and we would have to be able to get out of our own volition. The most promising way forward is to do what is called the Malthouse compromise.
EU officials have derided the Malthouse compromise, which would replace the backstop with a free trade agreement with as-yet-unknown technology to avoid customs checks on the Irish border, as unworkable and even “bonkers”.
Johnson also
accused Jeremy Corbyn of wanting “to frustrate Brexit very largely by staying in a permanent customs union”.
said: “The pound will go where it will,” when pressed on suggestions sterling could fall by 20%.
"The pound will go where it will." ?Ex-Foreign Sec @BorisJohnson downplays the possibility of the pound's value falling and prices increasing in the event of a no deal Brexit #r4today https://t.co/X1j9RC8rg8 pic.twitter.com/ClreIOdGoM