Mañana – That in a word is the sum of May’s EU summit statement. Here’s a full text.

The Union and the Government have together kicked the can down the road again – this time with a two-pronged plan.

“I have just met with Donald Tusk following the EU Council’s discussion on the UK’s request for the approval of the Strasbourg supplementary documents and for a short extension to the Article 50 process.

Firstly I welcome the Council’s approval of the legally-binding assurances in relation to the Northern Ireland backstop which I negotiated with President Juncker last week.

This should give extra assurance to Parliament that, in the unlikely event the backstop is ever used, it will only be temporary; and that the UK and the EU will begin work immediately to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements by the end of December 2020.

After a lengthy discussion, the council today also agreed, subject to a successful vote next week, that in order to provide time for the UK Parliament to agree and ratify a Brexit deal, the date of our departure will now be extended to 22 May.

If Parliament does not agree a deal next week, the EU Council will extend Article 50 until 12 April. At this point we would either leave with no deal, or put forward an alternative plan.

If this involved a further extension it would mean participation in the European Parliamentary elections.

As I have said previously, I believe strongly that it would be wrong to ask people in the UK to participate in these elections three years after voting to leave the EU.

What the decision today underlines is the importance of the House of Commons passing a Brexit deal next week so that we can bring an end to the uncertainty and leave in a smooth and orderly manner.

Tomorrow morning, I will be returning to the UK and working hard to build support for getting the deal through.

I know MPs on all sides of the debate have passionate views, and I respect those different positions.

Last night I expressed my frustration. I know that MPs are frustrated too. They have difficult jobs to do.

I hope we can all agree, we are now at the moment of decision.

I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward.”

McCartney selected as the candidate for Lincoln, his former constituency

The former MP for the city will now seek to unseat the Labour incumbent.

Congratulations to Karl McCartney, who was selected last night as the Conservative candidate for Lincoln.

The former MP for the city, from 2010-2017, was reselected through an unusual process. The local Conservative Association opted for a fast-track process – agreed with CCHQ – designed to give priority to those MPs who lost their seats at the last election. That meant that association members met yesterday to cast a yes/no vote on whether to select McCartney.

It wasn’t a unanimous vote, in the end – I gather some of those in the room, including at least one councillor, gave the ex-MP a tough time in the Q&A.

Brexit featured prominently in the discussion, as you would imagine. A source tells me that McCartney described the Prime Minister’s deal as a bad deal, and said that he preferred a No Deal outcome – the candidate himself says that is “accurate” but that his view is “a tad more nuanced”.

Following the speech, questions and debate, he was reselected, and will therefore now seek to overturn Karen Lee’s 1,538 vote majority at the next election.

“Dear Donald…” – May’s letter requesting a Brexit extension to the end of June

“However, it remains my intention to bring the deal back to the House.”

This is the full text of the Prime Minister’s letter to the President of the European Council.

Dear Donald,

The UK Government’s policy remains to leave the European Union in an orderly manner on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration agreed in November, complemented by the Joint Instrument and supplement to the Political Declaration President Juncker and I agreed on 11 March.

You will be aware that before the House of Commons rejected the deal for a second time on 12 March, I warned in a speech in Grimsby that the consequences of failing to endorse the deal were unpredictable and potentially deeply unpalatable. The House of Commons did not vote in favour of the deal. The following day it voted against leaving the EU without a negotiated deal. The day after that it supported a Government motion that proposed a short extension to the Article 50 period if the House supported a meaningful vote before this week’s European Council. The motion also made clear that if this had not happened, a longer extension would oblige the UK to call elections to the European Parliament. I do not believe that it would be in either of our interests for the UK to hold European Parliament elections.

I had intended to bring the vote back to the House of Commons this week. The Speaker of the House of Commons said on Monday that in order for a further meaningful vote to be brought back to the House of Commons, the agreement would have to be ”fundamentally different-not different in terms of wording, but different in terms of substance”. Some Members of Parliament have interpreted that this means a further change to the deal. This position has made it impossible in practice to call a further vote in advance of the European Council. However, it remains my intention to bring the deal back to the House.

In advance of that vote, I would be grateful if the European Council could therefore approve the supplementary documents that President Juncker and I agreed in Strasbourg, putting the Government in a position to bring these agreements to the House and confirming the changes to the Government’s proposition to Parliament. I also intend to bring forward further domestic proposals that confirm my previous commitments to protect our internal market, given the concerns expressed about the backstop. On this basis, and in the light of the outcome of the European Council, I intend to put forward a motion as soon as possible under section 13 of the Withdrawal Act 2018 and make the argument for the orderly withdrawal and strong future partnership the UK economy, its citizens’ security and the continent’s future, demands.

If the motion is passed, I am confident that Parliament will proceed to ratify the deal constructively. But this will clearly not be completed before 29 March 2019. In our legal system, the Government will need to take a Bill through both Houses of Parliament to enact our commitments under the Withdrawal Agreement into domestic law. While we will consult with the Opposition in the usual way to plan the passage of the Bill as quickly and smoothly as possible, the timetable for this is inevitably uncertain at this stage. I am therefore writing to inform the European Council that the UK is seeking an extension to the Article 50 period under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty, until 30 June 2019.
I would be grateful for the opportunity to set out this position to our colleagues on Thursday.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

Final three candidates shortlisted for Birmingham Northfield

Two councillors and an experienced teacher will contest the final on Thursday.

Amid all the national news, the selection of Parliamentary candidates continues to rumble on.

Next to select, at an Association meeting this Thursday, is Birmingham Northfield. Richard Burden gained the seat for Labour in 1992 and has held it for the ensuing 27 years, currently with a majority of 4,667 votes.

The three candidates who have made it through to the final selection meeting are:

Cllr Tim Mayer. A Coventry City Councillor, for Westwood ward, Mayer works in sports sales and marketing and is Deputy Chairman of the Heartlands Conservative Association. In 2017 he was the Conservative candidate in Coventry North East. He sits on the Board of Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, and is a former board member of Age UK Birmingham.

Jonathan Gullis. A teacher and Head of Year at a Birmingham secondary school, Gullis is Secretary for the Conservative Education Society and has served as a union representative for the NASUWT for the last three years. At the 2017 General Election he contested the constituency of Washington and Sunderland West, and he currently serves as Deputy Chairman of Stratford-on-Avon Conservative Association. He has written on education policy for ConservativeHome.

Cllr Gary Sambrook. A Birmingham City Councillor, he gained the Kingstanding ward for the Conservatives for the first time since the 1960s back in 2014. He serves as Shadow Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods in the Conservative council group. Formerly a Campaign Manager for the Conservative Party, since 2015 he has worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to James Morris MP.

Clark’s association passes pro-Brexit motion opposing a delay beyond the European elections

Despite obvious points of disagreement, the AGM remained a “civilised and constructive” affair in which the Business Secretary sought to reassure his activists.

The latest addition to our rolling list of Conservative Associations passing pro-Brexit motions is a particularly notable one: Tunbridge Wells.

News of grassroots Conservative members supporting a prompt and proper exit from the EU might not in itself be surprising, but the timing and context of this particular AGM is worth considering. The meeting took place on Friday. Two days earlier, the local MP, Greg Clark, had defied a three-line whip by abstaining on the No Deal motion. The prospect of a delay to Brexit was thereby opened up, effectively with Clark’s tacit assistance.

It was against that background that Graham Riddick – himself a former Conservative MP, and the Chairman of the Association Patron’s Club, the local network of donors – proposed a tweaked version of the motion previously passed by the Nation Conservative Convention:

‘The Association supports the commitments that the Prime Minister has made to the country to honour the European Union referendum result of 2016 and resolves that we will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 or, failing that, by no later than the date of the 2019 European elections. Another referendum, a delay beyond the European elections, taking “no deal” off the table or not leaving at all would betray the 2016 People’s Vote, would prolong a very damaging period of uncertainty and damage democracy and our party for a generation.’

Riddick is described as a “serious person” within the association, and I’m told his “forceful” speech in favour of the motion was met with loud applause, following which the motion was passed. That in itself was an implicit rebuke to the Business Secretary, given that he had failed in the very same week to oppose taking No Deal off the table.

In that circumstance, Clark can have been in no doubt about the view of his activists and donors – although it’s important to note that the tone of the meeting remained “civilised and constructive” throughout.

In his remarks to the assembled members at the end of the debate, I’m told that he sought to reassure them on various aspects of Brexit. In particular, I gather he agreed that Parliament must not seek to withdraw the Article 50 notice, and that there must not be a second referendum, an idea he apparently described as a “disaster”.

There’s some disagreement, however, about his position on the question of a delay to Brexit. At least some of those in the room got the impression that he opposed postponing Brexit beyond the point of the European elections, which would imply reverting to No Deal if the Withdrawal Agreement had not passed by that point – something they found reassuring. But the Business Secretary tells me that he is still of the view that No Deal would be “disastrous”, and that his message to the AGM was not that there could not be a delay beyond the Euros, rather that “it would be desirable to conclude [Brexit] not just before the European but before the council elections”, and therefore that it should be concluded by then by the medium of agreeing a deal. That’s a very different position.

That may be a bit concerning to local activists who had hoped, in the words of one, to pre-empt any effort by their MP “to go more soppy on us” at a later date by further delays or dilutions of Brexit. No Deal, Clark tells me, could not be “taken off the table” because it is the default in law – but it is still not an outcome he would find acceptable.

There is a wider insight offered by this story. It’s notable that while I’m told “a minority” in the Tunbridge Wells association are trying to put together a No Confidence motion in Clark, they are meeting with limited success because “Greg is liked by most of the membership”. Instead of a rush to deselect or no confidence him, there is this motion addressing the policy, and a dialogue between MP and association about the former’s views and intentions. There are obvious differences and disagreements here, but they are handled – in this case, at least – through open discussion and with mutual respect, rather than the trench warfare that is sometimes claimed.

That’s a stark contrast to the breakdown in relations seen between Nick Boles and the association in Grantham and Stamford. If the Andrew Cooper theory that Boles’s troubles are an inevitable product of the dominance of “extremist” party members was true, then we would see the same outcome here. But we do not.

As it is, even the people voting for the Brexit motion on Friday in Tunbridge Wells feel that “we do all like Greg, and apart from this issue he is an excellent MP and top chap”, and so it hasn’t blown up further. As I wrote back in January, goodwill – or the lack of it – plays a huge part.

Boles has resigned as a member of his Conservative Association – but wishes to continue taking the Conservative Whip

“I am not willing to do what would be necessary to restore a reasonable working relationship with people whose values are so much at odds with my own.”

Nick Boles, the Conservative MP Grantham and Stamford, has resigned his membership of his local constituency association.

He says:

“I am not willing to do what would be necessary to restore a reasonable working relationship with a group of people whose values and views are so much at odds with my own” Will continue to take Tory whip “if it is offered to me on acceptable terms.”

However he has not resigned the Conservative Whip in the House of Commons. Indeed he specifically adds that he wishes to maintain it with the proviso “if it is offered to me on acceptable terms”.

Mark Wallace has written previously about deselection attempts against Boles – see here and here and here.


Boles has indicated that he also wishes to retain his national Conservative Party membership. It is not yet clear if this will be allowed.

The letter from Boles to his constituency association members says that “members will now be free to select a new candidate to fight the next general election whenever that occurs.” He would have preferred not to have to make this decision at this “very early stage” but felt the Executive had tried “to force his hand.”

It also makes clear that he does not intend to stand down and cause a by-election. He intends “to continue to serve the people of Grantham and Stamford as their Member of Parliament until the end of my current mandate.”

The full text of the letter is below.


The 113 Conservative MPs who voted for May’s motion to extend Article 50

Gove and Davis followed the Prime Minister, but they were heavily outnumbered in the Parliamentary Conservative Party. The Chief Whip abstained.

Including tellers, 113 Conservative MPs voted for the Prime Minister’s motion to extend Article 50 and delay Brexit this evening – despite Theresa May promising an exit on 29th March more than 50 times. They were heavily outnumbered within their own Party: 190 Conservative MPs opposed extension, and in our survey over 77 per cent of Conservative members wanted MPs to vote against. The Chief Whip abstained, while Alun Cairns abstained by voting in both lobbies.

Here is the full list of those who backed May’s motion:

  • Bim Afolami
  • Peter Aldous
  • Edward Argar
  • Victoria Atkins
  • Richard Benyon
  • Paul Beresford
  • Nick Boles
  • Peter Bottomley
  • Andrew Bowie
  • Karen Bradley


  • Steve Brine
  • James Brokenshire
  • Robert Buckland
  • Alistair Burt
  • James Cartlidge
  • Alex Chalk
  • Greg Clark
  • Kenneth Clarke
  • Therese Coffey
  • Alberto Costa


  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Stephen Crabb
  • David Davis
  • Jonathan Djanogly
  • Oliver Dowden
  • David Duguid
  • Alan Duncan
  • Philip Dunne
  • Tobias Ellwood
  • Mark Field


  • Vicky Ford
  • Luzy Frazer
  • George Freeman
  • Mike Freer (teller)
  • Roger Gale
  • Mark Garnier
  • David Gauke
  • Nick Gibb
  • Cheryl Gillan
  • Robert Goodwill


  • Michael Gove
  • Luke Graham
  • Richard Graham
  • Bill Grant
  • Damian Green
  • Justine Greening
  • Dominic Grieve
  • Sam Gyimah
  • Philip Hammond
  • Stephen Hammond


  • Matt Hancock
  • Richard Harrington
  • Oliver Heald
  • Peter Heaton-Jones
  • Nick Herbert
  • Damian Hinds
  • Simon Hoare
  • George Hollingbery
  • Kevin Hollinrake
  • John Howell


  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Nick Hurd
  • Alister Jack (teller)
  • Margot James
  • Sajid Javid
  • Jo Johnson
  • Andrew Jones
  • Gillian Keegan
  • Seema Kennedy
  • Stephen Kerr


  • Mark Lancaster
  • Jeremy Lefroy
  • Oliver Letwin
  • Brandon Lewis
  • David Lidington
  • Paul Masterton
  • Theresa May
  • Patrick McLoughlin
  • Maria Miller
  • Anne Milton


  • Andrew Mitchell
  • Nicky Morgan
  • David Mundell
  • Bob Neill
  • Sarah Newton
  • Caroline Nokes
  • Neil Parish
  • Mark Pawsey
  • John Penrose
  • Claire Perry


  • Dan Poulter
  • Rebecca Pow
  • Victoria Prentis
  • Jeremy Quin
  • Amber Rudd
  • David Rutley
  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Bob Seely
  • Alok Sharma
  • Alec Shelbrooke


  • Keith Simpson
  • Nicholas Soames
  • Caroline Spelman
  • John Stevenson
  • Rory Stewart
  • Gary Streeter
  • Mel Stride
  • Hugo Swire
  • Justin Tomlinson
  • David Tredinnick


  • Edward Vaizey
  • Robin Walker
  • Jeremy Wright

The 187 Tory MPs, including six Cabinet Ministers, who voted against the Prime Minister’s motion to extend Article 50

Almost two thirds of the parliamentary Conservative Party opposed it, alongside the DUP and a handful of others.

Parliament has voted to extend Article 50. The ranks of the Ayes include the Prime Minister and much of her Cabinet, but by a considerable margin only a minority of the parliamentary Conservative Party.

Almost two-thirds of Tory MPs, alongside all ten Democratic Unionists and a smattering of Labour and Independent MPs, voted against extension.

So too did six Secretaries of State: Steve Barclay, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, and Gavin Williamson. Andrea Leadsom, who attends Cabinet in her role as Leader of the House, also voted against. Alun Cairns voted in both lobbies to register what is known as a ‘positive abstention’.

The full list is below. Not included are Peter Bone and Will Wragg, who served as tellers and bring the true total up to 189.

  • Nigel Adams
  • Adam Afriyie
  • Lucy Allan
  • David Amess
  • Stuart Andrew
  • Richard Bacon
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Steve Baker
  • Harriet Baldwin
  • Stephen Barclay


  • John Baron
  • Henry Bellingham
  • Jake Berry
  • Bob Blackman
  • Crispin Blunt
  • Ben Bradley
  • Graham Brady
  • Suella Braverman
  • Jack Brereton
  • Andrew Bridgen


  • Fiona Bruce
  • Alex Burghart
  • Conor Burns
  • William Cash
  • Maria Caulfield
  • Rehman Chishti
  • Christopher Chope
  • Jo Churchill
  • Colin Clark
  • Simon Clarke


  • James Cleverly
  • Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
  • Damian Collins
  • Robert Courts
  • Tracey Crouch
  • Chris Davies
  • David TC Davies
  • Glyn Davies
  • Mims Davies
  • Philip Davies


  • Caroline Dinenage
  • Leo Docherty
  • Michelle Donelan
  • Nadine Dorries
  • Steve Double
  • Jackie Doyle-Price
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Michael Ellis
  • Charlie Elphicke


  • George Eustice
  • Nigel Evans
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Michael Fallon
  • Kevin Foster
  • Liam Fox
  • Mark Francois
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Nusrat Ghani


  • John Glen
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Helen Grant
  • James Gray
  • Chris Grayling
  • Chris Green
  • Andrew Griffiths
  • Kirstene Hair
  • Robert Halfon
  • Luke Hall


  • Mark Harper
  • Rebecca Harris
  • Trudy Harrison
  • Simon Hart
  • John Hayes
  • James Heappey
  • Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Philip Hollobone
  • Adam Holloway
  • Nigel Huddleston


  • Eddie Hughes
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns
  • Robert Jenrick
  • Boris Johnson
  • Caroline Johnson
  • Gareth Johnson
  • David Jones
  • Marcus Jones


  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Julian Knight
  • Greg Knight
  • Kwasi Kwarteng
  • John Lamont
  • Pauline Latham
  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Edward Leigh
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis


  • Ian Liddell-Grainger
  • Julia Lopez
  • Jack Lopresti
  • Jonathan Lord
  • Tim Loughton
  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Rachel Maclean
  • Anne Main
  • Alan Mak
  • Kit Malthouse


  • Scott Mann
  • Paul Maynard
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Esther McVey
  • Mark Menzies
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Huw Merriman
  • Stephen Metcalfe
  • Amanda Milling
  • Nigel Mills


  • Damien Moore
  • Penny Mordaunt
  • Anne Marie Morris
  • David Morris
  • James Morris
  • Wendy Morton
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Jesse Norman
  • Neil O’Brien


  • Matthew Offord
  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mike Penning
  • Andrew Percy
  • Chris Philp
  • Christopher Pincher
  • Mark Pritchard
  • Tom Pursglove
  • Will Quince


  • Dominic Raab
  • John Redwood
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • Laurence Robertson
  • Mary Robinson
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Douglas Ross
  • Lee Rowley
  • Paul Scully
  • Grant Shapps


  • Chris Skidmore
  • Chloe Smith
  • Henry Smith
  • Royston Smith
  • Mark Spencer
  • Andrew Stephenson
  • Bob Stewart
  • Iain Stewart
  • Graham Stuart
  • Julian Sturdy


  • Rishi Sunak
  • Desmond Swayne
  • Robert Syms
  • Derek Thomas
  • Ross Thomson
  • Maggie Throup
  • Kelly Tolhurst
  • Michael Tomlinson
  • Craig Tracey
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan


  • Elizabeth Truss
  • Tom Tugendhat
  • Shailesh Vara
  • Martin Vickers
  • Theresa Villiers
  • Ben Wallace
  • David Warburton
  • Matt Warman
  • Giles Watling
  • Helen Whately


  • Heather Wheeler
  • Craig Whittaker
  • John Whittingdale
  • Bill Wiggin
  • Gavin Williamson
  • Mike Wood
  • Nadhim Zahawi

The six Labour MPs who voted against the Benn amendment

The amendment was seen off by 314-312, so the six votes from the Opposition benches made all the difference.

In the end, Hilary Benn’s amendment was seen off by a narrow margin – 314 to 312. In that mix were six Labour MPs who voted against it:

  • Kevin Barron
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Caroline Flint
  • Kate Hoey
  • John Mann


  • Graham Stringer

The 24 Labour MPs who voted for a second referendum – and the 17 who voted against.

The Opposition, which instructed its MPs to abstain, split three ways on the question.

It’s a double-split again for Labour on the second referendum amendment today, with a total of 41 MPs rebelling against the instruction to abstain: 24 for the amendment and 17 against. One MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, registered an abstention by voting in both lobbies.

Here are those who voted for a second referendum:

  • Tonia Antoniazzi
  • Ann Clwyd
  • Neil Coyle
  • Stella Creasy
  • Janet Daby
  • Geraint Davies
  • Rosie Duffield
  • Paul Farrelly
  • John Grogan
  • Meg Hillier


  • Ged Killen
  • David Lammy
  • Siobhain McDonagh
  • Anna McMorrin
  • Ian Murray
  • Albert Owen
  • Tulip Siddiq
  • Owen Smith
  • Alex Sobel
  • Jo Stevens


  • Gareth Thomas
  • Catherine West
  • Martin Whitfield
  • Daniel Zeichner

And here are the 17 who voted against a second referendum:


  • Kevin Barron
  • Ronnie Campbell
  • Rosie Cooper
  • Caroline Flint
  • Yvonne Fovargue
  • Kate Hoey
  • Helen Jones
  • Kevan Jones
  • Emma Lewell-Buck
  • Justin Madders


  • John Mann
  • Stephanie Peacock
  • Ruth Smeeth
  • Gareth Snell
  • John Spellar
  • Graham Stringer
  • Derek Twigg