Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Theresa May launches stinging attack on EU
  2. She says they are trying to affect UK election
  3. Followed dispute over Brexit 'divorce bill'
  4. Corbyn says May trying to distract attention from economic failure at home
  5. Parliament has now been dissolved
  6. The general election is on 8 June

Live Reporting

By Claire Heald and Tom Moseley

All times stated are UK

No desire to punish UK says Ireland's foreign minister

BBC Newsnight

Making EU the enemy a 'dangerous game'

BBC Newsnight

The EU is 'not so far off' UK aims says Hannan

BBC Newsnight

Brexit bill: Why it could cost the UK to leave the EU
Everyone's talking about the Brexit bill - here's how it might be worked out.

Project Fear 3.0?

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

Forget for a minute the bombast of Theresa May's claim this afternoon - her claim based, Tory sources admit, on the existence of anonymous briefings thought to come from the EU Commission - that Brussels is trying to interfere in our election.

Look more broadly at the lines of her high voltage statement this afternoon - have we just witnessed the birth of Project Fear 3.0?

Not just her "trust me, not him" line, not just her "coalition of chaos" line, not just "who do you want around the negotiating table".

But a Lynton Crosby mash-up of suggested risks to voters, all packaged up in a matter of moments.

The message screamed out, in essence: Vote May, or Brexit will be a disaster, because that Jeremy Corbyn will simply roll over in the face of those nasty Brussels bureaucrats, and guess what - your children will pay.

Read more here.

Wednesday round-up

A summary of the day's top stories...

Lord Ashdown warns PM against 'picking a fight with our friends'

Former Lib Dem leader tweets...

Cooper accuses May of 'whipping up hostility' with her EU comments

The Huffington Post

Yvette Cooper
BBC

Former Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper says Theresa May’s attack on the EU from the steps of Downing Street "is paranoid if she believes it - and cynically short termist if she doesn’t".

Writing in the Huffington Post, the Labour chair of the influential Commons home affairs select committee, said:

The idea that the EU could try or succeed to influence our election result is a joke. No-one here would fall for it, and frankly anything the EU tried would be counter productive anyway. If anything, the behaviour of EU officials in the last week or so is a political gift to the prime minister in the middle of an election campaign."

Ms Cooper, who entered the Labour leadership race following the resignation of Ed Miliband in 2015, accuses Mrs May of pursuing "the short term interests of the Tory party rather than the long term interests of the country", adding that "both sides should get a grip and calm down".

"There is too much at stake for anyone to play games," she writes. "Instead of calmly and confidently dealing with the EU’s opening gambit from a position of strength, the prime minister is whipping up hostility on all sides with no real plan behind it.

"She’s all hot air without any serious substance to deliver. The result is that she is weakening the country’s position for when the real negotiations start. And she is increasing the chance of getting no sustainable deal at all - putting jobs and livelihoods at risk."

Are Theresa May's interference accusations 'a gamble'?

BBC News Channel

Theresa May
Getty Images

Theresa May has "ramped up the rhetoric" around the Brexit negotiations by accusing European politicians of trying to influence the UK general election, BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth has said.

She said the PM's words "might play well with some voters who supported Brexit" - but the claims are also "a gamble" because not everyone wanted Britain to leave the EU.

Mrs May's political rivals have already accused her of "playing politics", Alex said.

She added that Mrs May's language "will cause some anger in Brussels" among the very people she will have to sit down and negotiate with, should she win the general election on 8 June.

In pictures: Party leaders on final day of campaigning ahead of local elections

Theresa May
PA
Conservative PM Theresa May accuses EU politicians of trying to influence the UK general election
Jeremy Corbyn
EPA
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn boards a train following a campaign stop in Bedford, north of London
Nicola Sturgeon
PA
SNP's Nicola Sturgeon meets meets Lexi Adams, aged four, and her uncle outside her Glasgow home
Tim Farron
Getty Images
Lib Dem Tim Farron meets pensioner Malcolm Baker who voted for Brexit in Kidlington, Oxford

Lord Lamont: Putin 'would blush' over EU warnings on Brexit

Norman Lamont
Getty Images
Lord Lamont was chancellor from 1990 to 1993

Russian president Vladimir Putin would "blush" at the European Union's attempts to "pressurise" British voters over Brexit, a Conservative former chancellor has said.

Norman Lamont, now known as Lord Lamont of Lerwick, hit out at European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Michel Barnier for their warnings on EU withdrawal.

Prime Minister Theresa May railed against "threats" being issued by European politicians and officials hours after Mr Barnier said Brexit will not be quick or painless for the UK.

Referring to the Russian president, Lord Lamont said:

The prime minister is absolutely right to speak out and reject Brussels' attempts to interfere in the British election and pressurise the British people. The efforts of Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier would cause Mr Putin to blush. It's not for Mr Barnier or Mr Juncker to keep telling the British people they will be worse off after Brexit. The British people are perfectly capable of making up their own minds and it's their decision."

Reality Check: What do we know about 100bn euro Brexit bill?

Bank notes
Reuters

An estimate of the likely "divorce bill" for the UK to leave the EU has risen sharply from 60bn euro to 100bn euro (£50.7bn-£84.5bn), according to a report in the Financial Times on Wednesday.

But how has this figure come about? What will the money be used for? And what happens if the UK decides not to pay? 

BBC Reality Check correspondent Chris Morris answers your questions on the EU Brexit bill here.

Clegg accuses PM of 'scaremongering' over EU influence on UK election

Nick Clegg
AFP/Getty

Former Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg accused the PM of making a "desperate, bizarre statement" that "could have come word for word from [ex-UKIP leader] Nigel Farage".

He claimed Theresa May was "either scaremongering or being paranoid" by claiming European officials had interfered in the election.

He added:

The coalition of hard Brexit between the Conservatives and UKIP is now complete - and it will be hard-pressed families up and down the country who will suffer most."

Why May 'wouldn't play down' a row with Brussels

Katya Adler

Europe Editor

I've been speaking to EU officials who don't talk in public but do want the EU's opinions known.

They're describing Theresa May's assertion that Brussels is interfering in the election campaign as "pure fantasy". They say the EU is in favour of this election, they want a British government with public backing so they can start those Brexit negotiations.

Their interpretation of Theresa May's comments is that she is in the middle of an election campaign, so they don't believe she would play down a row with Brussels if she thinks it can get her public backing.

But none of this helps the process of Brexit get off to a favourable start, even though both sides say they want a good outcome

Cartoonist Matt's take on Theresa May's Brexit negotiations

The Telegraph tweets...

Thursday's Question Time line-up unveiled

BBC Question Time tweets...

Who is the official election artist?

Who is the official election artist?
Cornelia Parker has been appointed the official artist of the 2017 general election. Stephen Smith meets her in the House of Commons and asks about the unique role.

Listen: General election is 'a coronation not a contest'

Radio 4 PM

Lib Dem leader says Theresa May has won the election with a 'slam dunk'

What is Theresa May's political weapon of choice?

BBC assistant political editor tweets...

Juncker chief of staff: Brexit is a sad and sorry event

Alex Forsyth

Political correspondent

Martin Selmayr
AFP/Getty

Martin Selmayr, chief of staff to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, has said Brexit will never be a success as it is a "sad" and "sorry" event.

Speaking at a political event in Brussels, he said the process could be managed in a professional and pragmatic way - but it was certainly not a success story.

Asked if Theresa May was "a bloody difficult woman", he said they had come to know her as an impressive woman and impressive negotiator and that was good for negotiations.

He said there had been a lot of havoc around the dinner between Mrs May and Mr Juncker in Downing Street earlier this week - and it was normal for positions to be wide apart in negotiations.

He said they must keep an orderly process because – like a divorce – this was a sad moment, and rules must be followed.

But he thought the “pragmatic Brits” would enter into negotiations in good faith, Mr Selmayr said, adding that the remaining 27 EU members were united and would approach the negotiations professionally.

May making enemies of EU friends, says Farron

Radio 4 PM

The timing of Theresa May's statement was "deliberate" to try to turn the UK's friends into enemies for short-term electoral gain, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron told Radio 4's PM programme.

And that "diminished" the office of prime minister. 

He said of her comments on EU politicians

If you demonize the people you are trying to get a good deal from, don't expect to get a good deal from them.

She should instead be making sure the UK stayed within the single market, he said.

And the British people should have the final say on any Brexit deal, rather than it being a political "stitch-up", he added.

Has PM's choice of a chip supper started something?

Have I Got News For You tweets...

Jean-Claude Juncker's chief of staff says Theresa May is an 'impressive woman'

BBC political correspondent tweets...

Sturgeon: Theresa May is 'wilfully sabotaging' Brexit negotiations

BBC News Channel

Nicola Sturgeon
BBC

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May of being "deeply irresponsible and reckless" with her claims that elements of the EU are seeking to influence the UK general election.

Ms Sturgeon said the UK needed "the best possible deal with the EU, despite all the bravado of the UK" and accused the PM of making the claims "for purely partisan reasons".

She questioned why Mrs May would want to "poison" negotiations when it would be "against the national interest", finally conceding it was an attempt to "distract attention away" from the Conservatives' "appalling record" on the economy and austerity.

Ms Sturgeon said Mrs May's comments would make the process of Brexit negotiations "more difficult", saying she was "wilfully sabotaging" them.

"She's demonstrating that she wants to fight this election on narrow partisant interests," Ms Sturgeon added.

Brexit technical briefing exposes some thorny issues ahead

Michel Barnier
BBC
Michel Barnier set out his Brexit negotiating mandate earlier

EU officials have held a background briefing in Brussels this afternoon to discuss some of the issues laid out in chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier's press conference earlier.

The BBC's Kevin Connolly attended the briefing and offers this guidance:  

The technical briefing makes the point that the Barnier mandate covers only phase one of the Brexit process – that is the talks on citizens rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border.

A subsequent mandate will be needed for the second phase of talks which will cover the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The point is made that it is the EU – and by implication Barnier himself – who will decide when "sufficient progress"’ has been made on phase one issues to allow a transition to phase two talks. 

It’s stressed that wouldn’t mean agreement on an actual figure to pay, in the case of the money, but on agreed principles for reaching a mutually acceptable deal – in other words a methodology.

The two difficult aspects of the technical briefing are as follows.

The EU will insist that any mutual deal on the rights of resident citizens will have to be guaranteed by the European Court of Justice - whose jurisdiction Theresa May is keen to escape. 

And that jurisdiction on matters like health and education might stretch far into the future. The suggestion is that this is non-negotiable because, without oversight, any deal on rights would be meaningless.

The second difficulty is the EU position that the UK is liable for a share of spending commitments but is NOT entitled to a share of assets. 

That’s because those assets are owned by the EU as an entity, not by the member states, and of course the EU is NOT being wound up. 

Tim Farron on Corbyn's working-class credentials

Corbyn: PM is using Brexit to distract from government's economic failure

Jeremy Corbyn
BBC

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Theresa May of "playing party games with Brexit" in the hope of winning advantage for the Conservatives in the general election.

He said her statement, in which she claimed the EU was trying to influence the UK general election, was "winding up the public confrontation with Brussels".

It was attempt to "wrap the Conservative party in the Union Jack and distract attention from her government's economic failure and run down of our public services", he said.

These are vital negotiations for every person in Britain and for the future of our country - but Theresa May is putting party interest ahead of the national interest. The prime minister is right that there are those in Brussels who don’t want a deal. But that is also true of leading figures in the Tory party, who want to use Brexit to turn Britain into a low wage tax haven.

Upping the ante

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg writes...

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

Theresa May
Getty Images

A few days ago it was just "Brussels gossip".

Yesterday she swore to be a "bloody difficult woman" - stern words.

But this morning, the chancellor and the Brexit secretary said the noises off out of Brussels and suggestions of an exit bill of 100bn euros were only "manoeuvring" and that the UK would not be pulled into "megaphone diplomacy".

By 15:30, the prime minister was standing at a lectern in Downing Street accusing some in Brussels of trying deliberately to interfere in the election, to make trouble for her politically at home, and of wanting the Brexit talks to fail.

She just used one of the most powerful microphones in the country for blunt diplomacy indeed.

It's worth pointing out she made careful aim at the EU institutions, rather than the individual leaders, with whom she'll have to deal one on one.

But forget that nuance for a moment - this was quite some statement, quite an accusation to make. It seems the prime minister is intent on playing the Brexit card for all it's worth in the next election.

Read more here.

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker

Upping the ante

The PM just used one of the most powerful microphones in the country for blunt diplomacy indeed.

Read more

Unpacking the election row over spending

BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed writes...

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Westminster
Getty Images

Today the future of the economy moved centre stage in the election battle.

And the fireworks started.

Overnight, the Conservatives claimed that Labour had a £45bn "black hole" in its spending plans.

Its "dossier" says the party has added up the spending commitments made by Labour since 2015, from scrapping the benefits cap to supporting the introduction of 10,000 new police officers.

The Tories say the total cost of these policy commitments is £64.8bn by 2020.

Now, some of those spending pledges are offset by increased taxes, the Conservatives say.

Labour has said it will raise corporation taxes and reverse planned cuts to capital gains tax.

The Tories claim that will raise £14.1bn over the same time period - leaving the "black hole" figure, the gap between their analysis of increased spending and increased revenues under a future Labour government.

Labour has dismissed the document as "misinformation and misrepresentation", saying the Tories have costed policies that Labour is not committed to and failed to give their own commitments on tax and spending.

So how do voters make sense of the row? - the first, I am sure, of many on the economy during this election campaign.

Read more here.

Westminster

Unpacking the election row over spending

The Tories say Labour has a "black hole" in its spending plans. Labour says the Tories are "all slogan and no substance".

Read more

Theresa May statement prompts singer's intervention

Simply Red singer tweets...

Election to decide next 50 years not next five - Greens

BBC News Channel

The Green Party's co-leader Jonathan Bartley says he thinks Theresa May is not in control of events as she begins to negotiate terms for Brexit and that she is "panicking". 

Mr Bartley said the forthcoming general election would determine the "next 50 years not just the next five years" but that Mrs May was floundering. 

He added that an "honest conversation" was needed to discuss what could prove to be a 100bn euro divorce bill for Brexit  - money which would have to be raised from somewhere, including taxation.

Mr Bartley reiterated his party's call for a "ratification referendum" on the final Brexit deal once it was concluded to give the British people a final say.

Lib Dems: PM 'creating row with EU for own ends'

tim Farron
BBC

The Liberal Democrats have accused Theresa May of "creating a row for her own political ends" by claiming the EU is trying to influence the UK general election.

Leader Tim Farron said the election was "a "chance to change the direction of Britain", with the debate split between Mrs May, UKIP and Labour on one side, and the Liberal Democrats on the other.

House of Commons

They will still be entitled to their basic annual salary and certain expenses, but they have to drop the MP title from their Facebook pages and Twitter handles.

Read more

Leave voter wished a happy birthday by Tim Farron

Retired business development manager Malcolm Baker, from Begbroke, near Kidlington, told BBC Oxford he "said what I needed to say" after he confronted Lib Dem leader Tim Farron in the street.

Malcolm and Tim
BBC

Afterwards Mr Baker, who turned 65 today, said Mr Farron had wised him a happy birthday in a tweet.

He said: "I thought he was fine, I said what I needed to say and I got it off my chest.

“I won’t be voting Lib Dem, I just don’t agree with his negativity. You need to be positive, this is going to happen and we need to go forward."

Banks confirms plans to move out of London before Brexit

London City skyline
Getty Images

Two international banks have confirmed they are planning moves out of London ahead of the UK's exit from the EU.

US bank JP Morgan Chase said it was planning to move "hundreds" of bankers out of London.

And Standard Chartered has said it is in talks with regulators about making Frankfurt its European base.  

Read more here.

SNP: Theresa May has got off to the worst start in Brexit negotiations

BBC News Channel

Stephen Gethins
BBC

The SNP's Stephen Gethins, reacting to Theresa May's statement, says the PM "is rapidly losing friends and influence, just when she needs them".

He said he was not sure the best negotiating tactic when you're trying to get a good deal was to attack those with whom you were negotiating.

"If we're going to have a good deal we need ministers who are willing to build relationships with those elsewhere in Europe," he said.