Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs
The government has suffered its 15th defeat in the Lords on the EU withdrawal bill. Peers voted by 294 to 244 – a majority of 50 – in favour of an amendment to create a watchdog to enforce EU environmental standards after Brexit.
Meanwhile there are reports that Sajid Javid, the home secretary, had a rather chaotic encounter with the press in Brussels today after a meeting with Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s lead Brexit spokesman. These are from the Sun’s Nick Gutteridge.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid runs away from press pack waiting to talk to him about his meeting with Guy Verhofstadt over settled status at EU Parliament today. Will only say it was ‘constructive’ and blanks all questions as he’s bundled into a lift by team of about 10 officials.
The officials had previously tried to sneak him out a different door so that he could get to the lifts without us noticing. Never understand why politicians do this – how difficult is it to answer a few simple questions about a meeting? It’s not a good look.
1/ This was, on reflection, a truly farcical escape attempt. Firstly, Javid’s officials seemed stunned to see journalists. In the EU Parliament. They genuinely thought the Home Secretary could come to Brussels and we wouldn’t find out about it, which is astonishing naivety. https://t.co/5ADDGlCINQ
2/ Then they hatched an ingenious plan. MEPs offices have 2 rooms – 1 for them and 1 for their assistant. They’d move us along the corridor and sneak Javid out of the assistant’s door. But they moved us the wrong way so we were standing right outside that door when he left.
3/ There was only one thing for it – a mad dash for the lift. But when they got there too many of them got in and the doors wouldn’t close. The doors kept reopening, allowing us to shout questions at the Home Sec who was cowering at the back. This happened at least 3 times.
4/ In a panic, his assistants mashed the buttons. But in their haste they pressed the wrong one, and instead of going down to the exit they went up to another floor with more offices on. They then had to come back down past us to get out as this was the only lift available.
5/ Eventually, the Home Secretary was free and off into the warm Brussels air having learnt a cursory lesson about the importance of having a solid exit plan. This is the ultimate moral of #liftgate. The End.