Theresa May has been accused by Labour of "blackmailing" MPs to get her "botched Brexit deal" over the line after urging MPs to give her more time to secure a breakthrough.

In a fraught Commons clash, Jeremy Corbyn said her only tactic was to "run down the clock" after it emerged that the UK could be days from a no-deal Brexit before parliament votes on her blueprint.

MPs also reacted with anger after the prime minister revealed plans to rip up Commons rules to get a Brexit deal ratified in time for the UK to leave the EU on March 29.

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Ms May told MPs that she would enable the Commons to lift a requirement for a 21-day delay before any vote to approve an international treaty.

But shadow Brexit minister Paul Blomfield vowed to oppose the move, adding: “This plan shows contempt for our democracy.

“The government is trying to avoid proper scrutiny and run down the clock in order to force through its bad Brexit deal.”

To follow events as they unfolded, see our live coverage below

Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, where we will be bringing you the latest updates from Westminster throughout the day.
The UK could be just days from crashing out of the EU without an agreement before MPs vote again on Theresa May’s deal, a cabinet minister has admitted.

Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, twice failed to rule out a delay until after the next EU summit finishing on March 22 – exactly one week before the scheduled departure day.

The prime minister had to abandon hopes for a second ‘meaningful vote’ this week, after the EU rejected her plea for legal changes to the Irish backstop that could win over the Commons.

Asked if that could mean no vote until “the last few days” before the Brexit cliff edge, Ms Leadsom said: “It is not possible to predict the future.

“But the meaningful vote will come back to parliament as soon as the issue around the backstop has been sorted out.”
'"It is not possible to predict the future" says Andrea Leadsom in her interview on the Today programme. 
 
Ms Leadsom raised fears of a delay until 'the last few days' of March but insisted the government was not trying to run down the clock ahead of the UK's scheduled EU withdrawal date of March 29.
 
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has filed this take: 
Plenty of anger from pro-EU MPs about the prospect of a delay to the parliamentary vote on May's deal.
 
 
 

Away from today's Brexit row for a moment - A snap general election would deliver Theresa May the slenderest possible majority in the House of Commons, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey for The Times found that Conservatives would increase their 317-seat tally by four to 321, with Labour shedding 12 MPs to end up with 250.

Such a result would leave the PM short of commanding half of the 650 MPs, she could expect a wafer-thin working majority due to the fact that the Speaker and his deputies do not vote and Sinn Fein's MPs do not traditionally take their seats.

This unusually large poll - of 40,000 voters in Britain - used a model that correctly predicted the 2017 snap election result.

 

Labour MPs have attacked the party leadership's response to antisemitism after senior officials admitted that only 12 of almost 700 reports of alleged anti-Jewish abuse had resulted in members being expelled.

MPs and peers used their weekly meeting on Monday night to condemn Jeremy Corbyn and party bosses after Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary, emailed MPs with data on investigations into antisemitism.

The figures revealed that of 673 cases of members reported for alleged antisemitism between April 2018 and January 2019, almost a third were dropped without further action.

Full story here: 
Tory MP Daniel Kawcynzski has stopped short of apologising for an incorrect tweet claiming the UK failed to benefit from US aid after the Second World War. You can read our story on it here.
 
Asked about it on Sky News, he said: "It's very difficult for MPs to get everything across in the limited number of characters".
In the Commons today, we are expecting a statement from Theresa May at about 12.40pm on the progress - or lack of - in the Brexit talks. 
 
The House sits at 11.30am, starting with business questions with Greg Clark. No news yet on whether there will be any urgent questions that would push the PM's statement back.
 

Away from the Westminster bubble, the head of the Food and Drink Federation has made some alarming claims about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, saying a number of British businesses are at risk of “extinction”.

Read this from our business editor Caitlin Morrison: 

Interesting - Sky News' deputy political editor thinks the Valentine's Day votes could be coming tomorrow, rather than on Thursday.
 
No confirmation of this yet, but shows how much is up in the air at the moment. The idea that votes are being shifted to allow MPs to spend the day with loved ones is for the birds though. Much more likely to be a way to limit the time MPs have to table wrecking amendments.
No urgent questions today - so we are now expecting Theresa May to give her statement at around 12.40pm. 

The PM is expected to say: "The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House has required and deliver Brexit on time.

"By getting the changes we need to the backstop, by protecting and enhancing workers' rights and environmental protections, and by enhancing the role of Parliament in the next phase of negotiations, I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support."

Here's some key dates for Brexit watchers as the clock ticks down to Brexit day on March 29. Remember, everything is still very up in the air. 

Theresa May has held her weekly meeting with her top team. No10 say she updated cabinet ministers on her talks with Brussels and explained she had set out the need for "legally binding changes to the backstop", including alternative arrangements, a time-limit or a unilateral exit mechanism.

There will be no meaningful vote this week as talks "need a little more time to conclude".

The readout says: "She said it is clear that these discussions with the EU will need a little more time to conclude and so we will not be bringing forward a meaningful vote this week, but will table an amendable motion for debate on Thursday.

"We will also commit to laying another amendable motion for debate by 27th February if a meaningful vote has not been passed by then.

"In the meantime, we will continue to progress the work on workers’ rights, the role of Parliament in the next phase of the negotiations and support for communities that feel they have been left behind."

A 48-year-old MP has been appointed as the Conservatives new vice chairman for youth and will be responsible for attracting young people to the party's ranks.

Nigel Huddleston, who has been the Mid Worcestershire MP since 2015, was given the role at Tory headquarters which has the responsibility of overseeing the party's under 25 youth wing.

More here:
Activists have posted a billboard featuring a blank tweet in Jeremy Corbyn's constituency in protest over what they claim is his lack of leadership on Brexit.

For the past month, campaign group Led by Donkeys has been putting up posters all over the country featuring quotes mostly from hard-Brexit MPs which claimed the process of leaving the EU would be easy.

The Labour leader is the group's latest target because of his failure to back a second referendum on Brexit.

On Tuesday, Led by Donkeys called on young Labour voters to spray paint their demands on the empty tweet, which was on a billboard erected next to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

Led by Donkeys tweeted: "Jezza, this poster was put up more in sorrow than anger. Time is running out.

"Brexit is a right-wing project delivered by right-wing ideologues. Listen to your members and give young people who can put you in power, not Seamus Milne."

Other targets have included John Redwood, who was the subject of a poster featuring his quote: "Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy - the UK holds most of the cards in any negotiation."

A billboard of Boris Johnson read: "There is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal."

Michael Gove was also a target, with the words: "The day after we vote leave we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want."

 
Theresa May is on her feet to make a Brexit statement.
 
She says MPs sent an unequivocal message to the EU that it could only support a deal with legally binding changes to the Irish backstop. She had discussions with senior EU figures on this last week.
 
Juncker maintains the EU's position that they won't reopen the deal, but May set out her position that the backstop must be changed. Both teams are holding talks and she plans to meet Juncker again before the end of February.
May says Jeremy Corbyn shares concerns over the backstop and she welcomes his cooperation. Her team will meet Corbyn's team tomorrow, she says.
 
She sets out her guarantees on workers rights and she says she's met trade unions to discuss concerns. She says she is prepared to legislate on enshrining workers rights - but the UK does not have to follow the EU. It can lead the way.
 
Jeers and shouts from MPs when she says the UK has a 'proud tradition' of leading the way on workers rights. Labour gave workers paid annual leave and a Tory government allowed people to request flexible working.
 
May says she was proud to be minister for women when it introduced shared parental leave.
May says parliament must have a stronger role in the next phase of talks, as the political declaration is not legally binding. She says Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, has written to members of the Brexit committee to ask for their views.
 
She also sets out her commitment to reach out to trade unions and wider society.
 
However - she says she disagrees with Jeremy Corbyn over his desire for a customs union with the EU. She says parliament voted against this and also it would be worse for Britain than her deal as it prevents the UK from striking its own trade deals.

As briefed earlier, May commits to moving an amendable motion on February 27 if a meaningful vote is not held before then.

May says opposing no-deal is not enough to stop it - we must agree a deal to prevent a chaotic exit.

She adds: "The talks are at a crucial stage. We now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this House has required and deliver Brexit on time."

Jeremy Corbyn is now responding.

He kicks off with a decent gag, saying "I usually thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of her statement, but it arrived just as I was leaving my office to come here so I can only assume she entrusted it to the Transport Secretary to deliver.

He says the UK is facing the biggest crisis in a generation but the PM is just running down the clock.

Corbyn asks when the meaningful vote will be, warning that it could come just days before exit day under May's plans. 

He tries to pin her down on whether there will be legally binding changes to the Brexit deal to cover the backstop.


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