Britain has a one-in-three chance of a recession even if there is an orderly exit from the EU, the Bank of England has warned as sterling fell to a new two-and-a-half year low against the dollar amid Brexit uncertainty.

It came as the newly appointed chief secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, cast doubt over the government's Brexit deadline, as he said Britain would "hopefully" leave the EU by 31 October.

Voters are also heading to the polls in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election that could see Boris Johnson's working majority in the Commons cut to just one if the Tories fail to hold on to the seat. The result is expected in the early hours of Friday morning.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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This live article has now ended. Recap on how developments unfolded below

Welcome to The Independent's live politics coverage. This morning the newly-appointed cabinet minister Rishi Sunak cast doubt over the government's Brexit deadline, as he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme the government would "hopefully" leave the EU by the end of the October. 

Offering a noticeably more caveated comment on the Brexit deadline, he said: "A lot of the money we are spending is going to go on things that would need to spend anyway because we are leaving the European Union, that means we're going to be leaving the single market and the customs union, so of course that does mean changes to how we trade with Europe."

In a subsequent interview, the chief secretary to the Treasury clarified his remarks, telling LBC: "The government is crystal clear, we are leaving the EU - no ifs no buts - at the end of October." 

It seems Mr Sunak noticed his mistake, or someone noticed it for him.

Chancellor Sajid Javid has committed an additional £2.1bn to efforts to stave off expected disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit, prompting accusations of wasting taxpayers’ money on an outcome opposed by MPs and voters.
 
The announcement – which brings to £6.3bn the amount set aside by the Treasury for no-deal preparations – was branded “a colossal waste of money” by anti-Brexit campaigners, who pointed out that opinion polls have consistently shown that voters would rather stay in the EU than leave without a deal.
 
Mr Javid said it was “vital” to spend the money on planning to be sure that the UK can leave the EU on the Halloween deadline, deal or no deal.
 
But Labour MP Owen Smith, a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “It is an absolute outrage that, without any democratic consent whatsoever, Boris Johnson thinks he can set our country on such a dangerous and reckless course, at enormous expense to the public.”
 

Gary Cohn - a former chief economic adviser to Donald Trump - has said a no-deal Brexit would be better than "the state we're in right now".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cohn claimed: "Any forward progress at this point is good.

"This is another one of those economic geopolitical situations that has to be solved. And if it's hard, soft, it has to be solved.

"And countries are more resilient than people think, and if you end up at the hard Brexit and say 'We're out, no-deal, we'll be out on this day' things will tend to happen, things will fall into place. You'll have to get certain things done to make sure it works and then it will evolve over time.

"But it's better than the state we're in right now, where every month or every six weeks there's a new drama and we just kick the can down the road."

Voters are preparing to head to the polls in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election that could see Boris Johnson’s majority in the House of Commons cut to just one.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to gain the Welsh seat in the election, which was triggered after a successful recall petition against Conservative MP Chris Davies, who was convicted of making a false expenses claim.

Mr Davies is standing again for the Conservatives but is expected to lose his seat to Liberal Democrat challenger Jane Dodds, a former social worker.

 
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"The Labour Party needs to talk about … Boris," writes The Independent's political commentator Andrew Grice in his new column. "Surprisingly, it seemed unprepared for Boris Johnson taking power, even though it was hardly a surprise when he won the Tory leadership. I see little evidence of a Labour strategy on Boris."

 
International trade secretary Liz Truss has sent out an entirely unstaged photograph of herself in her new role - on the phone to her Australian counterpart. Featuring a Daily Telegraph on her unusually tidy desk and a £6.19 Boris Johnson card available on Amazon that has 200 hours of play time.
 
 
How important is the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election? Political commentator John Rentoul asks in his latest column, suggesting a win for the Liberal Democrats will be hailed as a significant victory.
 
A pro-EU Tory MP has said he is considering whether to defect to the Liberal Democrats, in a move that could wipe out the government's Commons majority.
 
Dr Phillip Lee said he feels "politically homeless" over his party's shift towards a no-deal Brexit following Boris Johnson's election as Conservative leader.
 
The former justice minister, who has thrown his weight behind The Independent's calls for a Final Say referendum, warned the Tories could lose voters if the party leads the UK out of the EU without a deal.
 
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New international trade secretary Liz Truss has released a glossy video on social media about her first week in the job.
 
Renowned for her love of Instagram, the Brexiteer used her hashtags liberally in the tweet.
 

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the newly-appointed House of Commons leader, who also attends cabinet, has said the EU should realise the new government would not be "browbeaten" by Brussels.

In his ConservativeHome podcast he said: "They should believe us because of our new leader. The new Prime Minister is somebody of considerable force of personality who is not going to be browbeaten by them.

"They should believe us because of the appointment of Dominic Cummings, which seems to me to be exceptionally important as a statement as to what is going to happen.

"That ought to make the EU realise that it is not business as usual. It isn't a sort of wet establishment that will go along with Brino (Brexit in name only).

"It is a tough-minded, clear-sighted Government that will accept a decent deal, a fair deal, but will not accept a bad deal and isn't frightened of leaving."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has been spotted in action...
The pound fell to a new two-and-a-half year low against the dollar on Thursday and dropped a quarter of a cent against the euro.
Sterling sank 0.6 per cent against the dollar to below $1.21 after the US currency strengthened on the back of comments made by America's central bank chief.
Jerome Powell, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, indicated on Wednesday that he was not about to embark on a series of interest rate cuts as many analysts had predicted.
That boosted the dollar against other major currencies, particularly the pound which has been battered by Boris Johnson's plans for a no-deal Brexit.
 
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Disposable plastic bag use in England’s main supermarkets has fallen by more than 90 per cent since the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015, according to new figures.

The average English shopper now uses just 10 bags a year, compared to 140 before the charge came in.

Government data suggests that more than 25 billion fewer single-use bags have been issued by the seven biggest food retailers in the three and a half years of the charge than if use had continued at previous rates of 7.6 billion a year.

In the latest of a string of positive polls for the new prime minister Boris Johnson, the pollsters Ipsos MORI found the Conservatives 10 points ahead of Labour - echoing similar results at the weekend. 
 
The results, published in the Evening Standard, also suggests that a majority of voters (62 per cent) believe Jeremy Corbyn should be replaced as Labour leader before the next general election.
 
Here are the full results of Westminster voting intention 
 
Tories - 34
Labour - 24
Liberal Democrats - 20
Brexit Party - 9
Green - 6 
As the new PM tours the country extolling the virtues of leaving the EU without a deal in place, and his chancellor earmarks more money for the scenario should talks with the EU fail, the boss of BMW has told Boris Johnson to abandon the option.
 
Harald Krüger said it would be a "lose-lose" scenario, adding:  Listen to the economy and listen to the people. You need to have a dialogue with business. I would visit Johnson to tell him this.”
In other news...
 

Tory MP suffers concussion after falling off chair

A Conservative MP suffered whiplash and a concussion after she fell off her chair during a meeting.  Andrea Jenkyns, a prominent Brexiteer backbencher, said she had been swinging back on the chair when she slipped off and hit her head on a radiator.

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The Bank of England has warned the UK faces a "one in three chance" of a recession even if there is a smooth exit from the European Union.
In its quarterly forecasts, the Bank said unresolved questions over Britain’s future relationship with the EU will slow the economy down over the coming year even if there is an orderly Brexit.
 
 
 
80 school cricket pitches have been closed since 2010, new figures have revealed on the first day of the 2019 Ashes series between England and Australia. Labour claimed the loss was a result of cuts to school budgets.
 

80 school cricket pitches in England lost since Tories came to power, new figures reveal

150 publicly-accessible cricket pitches have also been lost since 2010
Independent MP Frank Field is to "make an announcement on his political future" tomorrow.
 
The former Labour MP resigned from the party last August over antisemitism and what he called "nastiness" in the party. 

Mr Field, who chairs the Commons work and pensions committee, will make the announcement at noon tomorrow at Birkenhead Town Hall.

At least 60 Conservative MPs would vote down the current Brexit deal even if the controversial Northern Ireland backstop was removed, a prominent anti-EU Tory has suggested.
 
Mark Francois, vice-chair of the European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Tories, said there would be a "running parliamentary war probably for at least a month" if Boris Johnson tried to force through Theresa May's deal without the backstop. 
 
Members of the ERG - thought to number about 60 MPs - would vote against the plan if this happened, he said. 
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