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Summary

  1. Liam Fox delivers speech on international trade and Brexit
  2. He says UK has 'golden opportunity' on global trade
  3. Italian PM Matteo Renzi says Brexit was 'a bad decision'

Live Reporting

By Aiden James and Alex Hunt

All times stated are UK

Thursday recap

Here's your evening roundup of the big political stories:

Tories claim Edwina Hart broke ministerial code over aid

Edwina Hart
BBC

An ex-economy minister has been accused by the Welsh Conservatives of breaking the ministerial code by approving £3.4m aid for a firm which later went bust.

Former Gower AM Edwina Hart backed steel-coating firm Kancoat despite a warning of a "weak" business plan.

The Tories claim she may have broken the code because the firm was based near her constituency and she did not consult with the first minister.

The Welsh Government said the code was not broken.

Read more.

Watch: Police investigations of three MPs raised at Holyrood

The subject of three SNP MPs being investigated by the police has been raised in First Minister's Questions
Liam Fox

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox says he wants the UK's trade with the European Union to be "at least as free" after Brexit.

Read more

Lord Owen predicts another leadership election before 2020

BBC Radio 4

Independent Social Democrat peer Lord Owen advises against a Labour split.

Lord Owen, who was part of the "Gang of Four" which split from Labour to form the SDP, yesterday recalled that experience and told BBC Radio 4's Midweek programme he didn't think the time was right for another split. 

But he added "the strains and stresses will go on" inside the party and his personal opinion was there would be another Labour leadership election before the next general election.

Child sexual abuse inquiry dismisses suggestion of 'crisis'

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse has issued a statement after one of its senior lawyers was suspended and another resigned.

"We are aware that recent events are unsettling, particularly for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and all those who are engaged with the Inquiry's work.

"It has been said that the inquiry is in crisis. This is simply not the case, and the chair and panel are united in their determination to see this important work through to a conclusion.

"We are fortunate to have an excellent team of solicitors and barristers working for the inquiry and we are currently reviewing our approach to our investigations so that we can deliver results in a timely and effective way. Our terms of reference provide the flexibility needed to get on with the job of addressing institutional failure.

"The experiences of victims and survivors will provide answers and insights into what went wrong and why. Failure to listen to victims and survivors in the past is the reason we are here today."

Senior sex abuse inquiry lawyer resigns

The second most senior lawyer on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex abuse has resigned.

Elizabeth Prochaska was first junior counsel on the inquiry. Senior counsel Ben Emmerson was yesterday suspended by the inquiry.

Elizabeth Prochaska told Newsnight: "I can confirm that after 15 months working on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, I resigned from my position as junior counsel with effect from 15 September 2016.

"I very much valued the experience of working with the inquiry and I wish all my former colleagues the best as they continue their work."

More about the UK's WTO membership

Glenn Campbell

BBC Political Correspondent

The World Trade Organisation has said it is possible for the UK to be an independent member of the WTO and still be a member of the EU customs union and single market.

Liam Fox's speech earlier set out a vision of the UK as "a newly independent WTO member outside the EU".

Earlier this week, at the WTO, Dr Fox said: "The UK is a full and founding member of the WTO. We have our own schedules that we currently share with the rest of the EU.These set out our national commitments in the international trading system.

"The UK will continue to uphold these commitments when we leave the European Union. There will be no legal vacuum."

QC's suspension 'another blow to abuse victims'

Labour's Chuka Umunna says the suspension of the most senior lawyer in the independent inquiry into historical child sexual abuse in England and Wales - is "yet another blow" to those seeking justice.

The MP for Streatham, a member of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, called on the new chair of the inquiry to make clear how long Ben Emmerson QC would be absent from his role.

He said while the inquiry had a big task ahead that was "no excuse" not to press on and get to the bottom of what had happened in the past.

The inquiry says it has "recently become very concerned about aspects of Ben Emmerson QC's leadership" of his team and he had been suspended so these could be properly investigated.

Mr Emmerson said he was "unable" to comment at this time.

Cardiff Airport

The future of subsidised flights between Cardiff and Anglesey could be under threat as a review into the route's viability is ordered.

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SNP MP Chris Law questioned over financial dealings

Chris Law
BBC

An SNP MP has been questioned by police over his financial dealings.

Officers interviewed Dundee West MP Chris Law after detaining him in the city on Wednesday.

They are understood to be investigating Mr Law's Spirit of Independence referendum campaign, which he ran ahead of the 2014 vote.

A source close to Mr Law said he was confident the matter would be resolved and that the MP has not been charged with any offence.

Read more.

Another resignation at child sex abuse inquiry

Honda's European boss, Jean Marc Streng, says the firm wants "a fast decision" on Brexit
Following the UK's vote for Brexit, Japanese car manufacturer Honda reaffirms its commitment to the UK as a major manufacturing base., but says it wants a "fast decision" on Brexit.

Hinkley Point C contract signed in London

Plans for Hinkley Point C power station
EDF Energy

The key contract for the UK's first new nuclear plant in a generation -  Hinkley Point C - has now been signed by the government and EDF.

The French energy company's boss, Jean-Bernard Levy, was in London to sign the deal with officials from the UK, France and China.

EDF is funding two-thirds of the project, which will create more than 25,000 jobs, with China investing the remaining £6bn.

After numerous delays, EDF's board agreed to proceed with the project in July. But Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review of the deal, just weeks after taking office.

The government approved it two weeks ago, on condition that it could prevent EDF from selling its controlling stake before completion of the project.

Read more

Fur flying in Downing Street

Lib Dems claim 20,000 new members since the EU referendum

The Liberal Democrats have announced that 20,000 new members have joined the party since the EU referendum.

"The surge in membership has been boosted by the party’s clear pro-European stance, including calling for a referendum on the final Brexit deal, and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader last week," a press release claims, adding:

The Liberal Democrats have gained over 1000 members over the past week alone, including a number of former Labour members."

CBI 'Redefining' trade links with Europe the first priority

Ben Digby of the CBI has said it is "encouraging" that Liam Fox has made "a robust case for free trade".

However, he added:

Redefining our economic and trading links with Europe must be the first priority, as the continent remains our biggest trading partner and the terms of our exit from the EU will help to shape what future trade deals look like."

Watch: How will post-Brexit UK trade with other nations?

Oliver Letwin, Mark Reckless, and Catherine Bearder on future UK-EU trade deals.

Former minister calls for Brexit plan from Theresa May

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Nicky Morgan
Getty Images

Former Education Secretary and Remain campaigner Nicky Morgan has criticised the government's "lack of a plan" for Brexit and urged Theresa May to come up with a clear strategy.

Mrs Morgan told Today earlier that the balance between access to the single market and freedom of movement was "at the heart" of the Brexit issue, and urged the PM to hurry up and make her position clear.

The former cabinet minister also cast doubt over statements from EU figures suggesting there will be no budge on the issue, saying "nobody starts the beginning of the negotiating process where they end up".

Meanwhile, a German business boss said Britain had to pursue a hard Brexit if it wants control over immigration. Markus Kerber, head of the BDI, which represents German industry, told Today: "So what we think the British Government wants, I can tell you straight away, it's not what the continental Europeans are willing or even able to give."

Listen again: German business leader says 'hard Brexit' is best

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

The head of Germany's biggest business lobby group has said it would be better for the UK to have a clean break from the EU rather than some kind of "fudge".

Markus Kerber told Today programme presenter Justin Webb there needed to be a "hard exit" from the EU to avoid lingering uncertainty.

He was speaking ahead of the speech from International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, saying Britain's future wholly outside the EU is economically rosy, with free trade, tariff-free deals available with countries around the world.

Downing Street's mouser was out in the rain earlier

BBC South political reporter tweets...

Watch: Echoes of EU referendum campaign in the US?

BBC Newsnight

View more on youtube

"We are taking back control. We will make our country great again." Sound familiar? Newsnight's Emily Maitlis reports on the parallels between the UK's vote for Brexit, and support for Donald Trump in the US presidential election.  

Baby news from Norwich North MP Chloe Smith

BBC East political correspondent tweets...

Analysis: Liam Fox seeks 'hard' Brexit

BBC economics editor tweets...

Lunch break: Five of the most viewed videos on BBC website

This is the moment a police officer brought an out-of-control car to a stop after the driver went into a diabetic coma on the M1.
The Italian prime minister has said it will be "impossible" for Brexit negotiations to result in a deal that gives British people more rights than those outside the EU.
The driver of a 44-tonne truck was among motorists caught using their mobile phone as the BBC joined Central Motorway Police on patrol.
Michelle Obama has taken aim at Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump, saying "a president can’t just pop off" when he or she is upset.
Impressionist Darren Farley takes 5 live Breakfast on a journey through the various types of Liverpool accent - demonstrated using famous footballers.

Watch: Politicians and the power pose

'Liam Fox is aiming high'

James Landale

Diplomatic correspondent

The international trade secretary told an audience of business leaders in Manchester that when Britain leaves the EU, he wants it to have a trade environment with European economies that is at least as free as it is now. Anything else, he said, may not harm the politicians and institutions in Brussels, but it would harm the people of Europe.

He also said for the first time that he wanted a post Brexit Britain to be a full independent member of the World Trade Organisation, a clear signal that he does not believe the UK should seek what's called a soft Brexit, involving membership of the EU single market or customs union.

Dr Fox's argument is that EU leaders won't want to impose punishing new tariffs on British goods and services for fear of harming their own economy.

But hoping for a trade deal with the EU as good as it is now will be seen by some as highly optimistic.

Watch: Ineos director says Labour fracking ban is 'misguided'

Matteo Renzi

It will be "impossible" for Brexit talks to result in a deal that gives Britons more rights than others outside the EU, Italian PM Matteo Renzi says.

Read more

One viewer agrees on the big question

Watch: The big political question of the day!

EU campaign 'too strident' says former minister

The Daily Politics

Former minister Oliver Letwin says David Cameron will be remembered for "rescuing the country from the brink of bankruptcy" as well as "social and public service reform" - rather than just for losing the EU referendum.

Mr Letwin describes himself as a "long-term Eurosceptic who voted for Remain, not because I thought disaster would strike one way or the other" but on "the balance of risk".

He tells the Daily Politics the referendum campaign was "too high intensity" and the centre ground could have been persuaded with a "less strident" argument about risk from the Remain side.

Does former minister regret NHS reorganisation?

The Daily Politics

Oliver Letwin
BBC

Former Conservative Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin looks back at the coalition with the Lib Dems on the Daily Politics.

Does he regret the Health and Social Care Bill, which reorganised the NHS in England and led to accusations of privatisation from critics?

"We made some errors," he says, such as not realising "how difficult it was to knit together health and social care".

He argues that ministers were "distracted into changes" which, while "perfectly sensible in principle", took attention away from providing a "seven-day NHS".

Watch: Why did MP put old letters in park bins?

Watch: Did Oliver Letwin disappear in election campaign after tax claims?

FMQs: Conservatives say Sturgeon 'turning blind eye' on shale gas issue

First Minister's Questions: 2016 a 'success story' for energy in Scotland

Scottish First Minister's Questions: Labour attacks Sturgeon on NHS

Watch: Liberal Democrat MEP on UK trade with the EU