PMQs: Theresa May to make statement on novichok attack – Politics live

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Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs

12.33pm BST

Bob Neill, a Conserative, asks if Gibraltar will be fully included in the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

May says she can give that assurance.

12.33pm BST

Tonia Antoniazzi, the Labour MP, says NHS trusts are not backing applications for the use of medicinal cannabis. She asks May to show leadership on this issue.

May says she offers her sympathy to people with conditions where other treatments don’t help. That is why the government has changed the rules to allow cannabis products to be used for medicinal purposes.

12.31pm BST

This is from Sky’s Faisal Islam.

Struck that PM not using the PMQs pulpit to give a full throttle defence of why she backs Chequers – citing car industry, Airbus, manufacturing need for frictionless trade, consequences of No Deal.

12.29pm BST

PMQs – Snap verdict: It’s hard to recall now that there was a time when Jeremy Corbyn avoided the topic of Brexit at PMQs at all costs. Today he devoted all six questions to it, he made it look easy and he won quite comfortably. It is not hard to see why; you could probably use the number of Brexit questions Corbyn asks each month as a reliable index for the success of the Brexit talks, and Corbyn was good today because he neatly highlighted the very real concerns that Theresa May’s strategy, and her decision to bet her administration on a plan rejected by much of her party and the EU, is driving the UK towards a no deal Brexit. His questions weren’t flashy or profound, but they were effective. He used contrasting quotes to highlight cabinet divisions on this issue, he gently mocked Dominic Raab’s claim that a no deal Brexit would have certain advantages (so does death, I suppose, or the bubonic plague) and, quoting people as diverse as the NFU and Mervyn King, he articulated the genuine concerns about what would happen if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. On another day May’s counter-thrust on antisemitism might have resonated, but today it just felt irrelevant. And, with the chances of a no deal Brexit increasing, her attempt to weaponise the second referendum argument did not work either. Corbyn is still officially sceptical about a second referendum, but the questions he asked went some way to justify his decision not to indulge May by ruling one out.

12.16pm BST

Corbyn says the NFU says a no deal Brexit would be armageddon, the TUC says it would be devastating for working people, and EU leaders have ruled it out. Does May think there will be a deal by October?

May says she is working for a deal in October. She says what would be bad for the UK would be signing up to a deal in any circumstances.

12.12pm BST

Corbyn says Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, said yesterday there were “countervailing opportunities” to a no deal Brexit. What are they?

May says she wants a deal. She again challenges Corbyn to rule out a second referendum.

12.09pm BST

Jeremy Corbyn says there is no place for racism in our society, and that includes in the Conservative party.

He says Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, says the odds on a no deal Brexit are 60/40. Is he right?

12.06pm BST

Maggie Throup, a Conservative, asks May for an assurance that she will always challenge antisemitism.

May says there is no place for racial hatred in this country. The UK was the first country to accept the definition of antisemitism set out by the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance. She says Jeremy Corbyn, when he stands up, should apologise for saying British Jewish people do not understand English irony.

12.04pm BST

Labour’s Tulip Siddiq asks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and asks if she will raise her case with the Iranian president when they meet in New York later this month.

May says her thoughts are with Zaghari-Ratcliffe. She says one issue is the fact that Iran does not recognise dual nationality. She says she has regularly raised this with the Iranian president

12.02pm BST

Theresa May starts by congratulating the English and Scottish women football teams for qualifying for the World Cup.

12.01pm BST

This is from the Times’ Patrick Kidd.

Boris Johnson has come for PMQs, sitting four rows back. Wonder if he’s going to try to catch the Speaker’s eye and ask May something or speak during the urgent statement on Russia.

11.59am BST

PMQs is about to start.

#PMQs about to kick off

11.56am BST

According to RT, the state-controlled Russian broadcaster, the Russian foreign ministry has said the two names released by the Met and the CPS do not mean anything to them.

JUST IN: Names of ‘Russian suspects’ in Skripal poisoning published by UK don’t mean anything to us – Moscow

11.53am BST

Here are some of the highlights from the statement from the Met’s Neil Basu about the evidence against the two Russian suspects in the novichok poisoning case.

On Sunday, 4 March, they made the same journey from the hotel, again using the underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05am, before continuing their journey by train to Salisbury.

CCTV shows them in the vicinity of Mr Skripal’s house and we believe that they contaminated the front door with novichok.

The levels of novichok we found in the room at the time of police sampling in May were such that they were not enough to cause short or long-term health effects to anyone exposed to it, at that point or thereafter. We will continue to work closely with Public Health England as new information comes to light.

Our rationale for linking the two investigations is primarily based on the following four facts:

Firstly, our own analysis, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, has confirmed that the same type of novichok was used in both cases.

Charlie told police he found a box he thought contained perfume in a charity bin on Wednesday, 27 June. Inside the box was a bottle and applicator. He tried to put the two parts together at his home address on Saturday, 30 June, and in doing so got some of the contents on himself. He said Dawn had applied some of the substance to her wrists before feeling unwell.

After Charlie told police where he found the box, cordons were put in place and two bins behind shops in Catherine Street, Salisbury, were removed.

11.26am BST

The Metropolitan police has now published the full text of a lengthy statement by Neil Basu, its national lead on counter terrorism, about the evidence against the two Russians accused of being responsible for the novichok attack in Salisbury in March.

I will publish highlights shortly.

11.20am BST

Here is the statement from Sue Hemming, CPS director of legal services, about the decision to identify two Russian suspects in the novichok case. She said:

Prosecutors from CPS counter terrorism division have considered the evidence and have concluded there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is clearly in the public interest to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are Russian nationals.

A realistic prospect of conviction means the CPS is satisfied on an objective assessment that the evidence can be used in court and that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury hearing the case, properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict these two individuals of the charges.

It is of course for a jury to decide whether the evidence is enough for them to be sure of the suspects guilt.

11.10am BST

Here is my colleague Vikram Dodd’s story about the Scotland Yard/CPS Salisbury announcement.

Related: Novichok poisonings: police name two Russian suspects

Two suspected Russian nationals have been named over the novichok poisoning of Sergei and Julia Skripal in March in Salisbury, Wiltshire. British police and prosecutors made the announcement on Wednesday.

They were travelling on authentic Russian passports under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. Police said there was enough evidence to charge them.

11.08am BST

More snaps from the Press Association.

The CPS said it will not be applying to Russia for the extradition of the two men, but a European Arrest Warrant has been obtained.

Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu said it is likely the suspects were travelling under aliases and Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names. They are believed to be aged around 40.

11.06am BST

This from the BBC’s Daniel Sandford.

These are the two suspected Salisbury Novichok poisoners and their aliases

11.04am BST

The Press Association has just snapped this.

There is sufficient evidence to charge two Russian nationals named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov with offences including conspiracy to murder over the Salisbury nerve agent attack, Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service have announced.

10.58am BST

Theresa May’s Commons statement this afternoon will be about the Salisbury novichok attack, the BBC reports.

Govts confirmed statement after #pmqs is update on Salisbury

10.55am BST

What UK Thinks, the website publishing polling research on what people think of Brexit, has published a paper today by the leading psephologist Sir John Curtice looking at how attitudes to Brexit have changed since the EU referendum. The full paper is here (pdf) and Curtice has written a blog summarising its arguments here.

He says that in some respects views have changed more than people think.

Our survey shows that, in some respects at least, voters have changed their minds quite considerably about various aspects of the Brexit process over the course of the last two years. Voters seem, for example, to have become somewhat less concerned about controlling EU migration, less convinced that British companies will be able to trade freely in the EU after Brexit, and much less inclined to believe that the UK will secure a good deal from the negotiations. Moreover, while they might, perhaps, have reached these conclusions for different reasons, these patterns are just as much in evidence among leave voters as their remain-supporting counterparts.

Over 90% of those voters who voted Remain in June 2016 and who think that Britain’s economy will get worse as a result of Brexit say that they would vote the same way again in a second referendum. Equally, over 90% of those who backed Leave two years ago and who think the economy will be better off in the wake of Brexit state that they would vote Leave again. In short, hardly anyone who endorses ‘their’ side’s economic argument has changed their mind.

However, these figures fall off quite markedly among those who take a different view of the economics of Brexit. Only around three-quarters of those Remain voters who think that leaving the EU will not make much difference to the economy say they would vote Remain again, while the equivalent figure among Leave voters is much the same. Meanwhile, less than half of those Remain voters who are now of the view that Britain’s economy will be better off as a result of Brexit would vote the same way, while the same is true of Leave supporters who believe the economy will be worse off.

In the midst of the doubtless sometimes fierce arguments in the coming weeks about what should and should not form part of the Brexit agreement and how well or badly the government (and the EU) are handling the negotiations, we should bear in mind that it is what voters make of the economics of whatever deal is reached that is most likely to determine whether, at the conclusion of the negotiations, a majority of them still want to leave the EU or whether the balance of opinion has swung in the opposite direction.

10.24am BST

The chief executive of Britain’s third biggest food company has thrown its weight behind Theresa May’s Chequers proposal saying it is a “pretty satisfactory” way to solve the Brexit challenges.

Patrick Coveney, who is also brother of Ireland’s deputy prime minister Simon Coveney, said it would be tough to get through because it was under attack from all sides, but said there were no other plans on the table. He said:

I think Britain is at a pretty fragile place on the topic right now, and probably the sort of best working compromise which the Chequers proposal is probably a pretty satisfactory way through this in some form or another if it can be delivered.

Patrick Coveney: A no deal would be “catastrophic” for our business, Greencore, the third largest food company in the UK and one of Britain’s largest supplier of sandwiches and supermarket convenience food

9.50am BST

Here is the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on the May statement coming later.

Morning – more from Robbins and Raab today, and first #pmqs of the season on #politicslive – but biggest news of day might be likely statement after 1230, sources suggest its related to Salisbury attack – no official confirmation

9.35am BST

The decision by Labour’s national executive committee yesterday to adopt all the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s examples of antisemitism, as well as the precise definition (which it already accepted), has not quelled the row about the party’s stance on this issue. On the Today programme this morning Dame Margaret Hodge, one of the MPs most critical of Jeremy Corbyn over this, said he had to rebuild trust with the Jewish community. She told the programme:

[Corbyn] now has to own the problem, he has to act and he has to start rebuilding trust. He is the leader of the Labour party, the onus is really on him …

I would love it if he proved me wrong, but we have to see both in his actions and in the way he consults and engages with the Jewish community over the coming period whether or not we are on the right road back to rebuilding trust.

I campaigned for the full IHRA definition to be adopted. I’m delighted by that. I’m saddened it was sullied by this argument over an additional statement. I’m saddened that the leader of the Labour party chose to try to amend it.

There was no sullying. The words were not a caveat, were not a dilution; the words are true, which is that accepting these examples, in my view, in no way negates reasonable free speech around these difficult issues around Israel and Palestine.

9.08am BST

Good morning. It’s will be a particularly busy day at Westminster today. We have got the first PMQs of the autumn, a potentially interesting committee hearing with the Brexit secretary Dominic Raab (following important Brexit interventions from Mervyn King and Andy Burnham), and this morning we have learned Theresa May will be making a surprise statement to MPs. My colleague Dan Sabbagh has filed this.

Theresa May is expected to make a statement to the Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions today, according to Whitehall and Westminster sources.

Downing Street would not confirm the subject matter, although the secrecy at this stage is likely to suggest a security related matter.

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Source: russia
Link : PMQs: Theresa May to make statement on novichok attack – Politics live


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