Boris Johnson heckled on stage and criticised in the street during trip to South Yorkshire

Boris Johnson has been heckled by members of the public yet again while trying to set out plans for his premiership, facing vocal criticism from people both while making a speech and in the street during a trip to South Yorkshire.

The Prime Minister visited Rotherham on Friday where he intended to discuss better devolution of powers to the region, and hoped to gain support for the Tory Party in the traditionally Labour-voting area that backed Leave in the 2016 referendum.

But instead of receiving praise during the speech about handing power to the northern leaders in Rotherham, Mr Johnson was heckled over his decision to suspend Parliament this week.

‘Get back to Parliament’

In the speech, which was broadcast live on Sky News, the Prime Minister said: “I know the transformative potential of local accountable leadership, someone with the power to sort out what matters most to local people.”

Interrupting the Prime Minister, a man shouted: “Like our MPs, Boris?”

“Yes, indeed,” Mr Johnson replied.

The heckler continued: “Maybe get back to Parliament. Yeah? Why are you not with them in Parliament sorting out the mess that you have created? Why don’t you sort it out, Boris?”

Mr Johnson said: “I’m very happy to get back to Parliament very soon, but what we want to see in this region is towns and communities able to represent that gentlemen and sort out his needs.”

‘Ample time’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech at the Convention of the North at the Magna Centre on September 13, 2019 in Rotherham, England. (Photo: Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

After being heckled, Mr Johnson insisted there would be “ample time” for MPs to debate any Brexit deal.

“Whatever the shenanigans that may be going on at Westminster, we will get on with delivering our agenda and preparing to take this country out of the EU on 31 October,” he said.

“There will be ample time for Parliament to consider the deal that I very much hope to do at the EU summit on October 17-18.

“There will be ample time, as the gentlemen I think… who left prematurely, not necessarily under his own steam, that is the answer to his question.

‘People died because of austerity’

Also in Doncaster Mr Johnson faced heavy criticism from a local, where one woman took him to task for the previous Conservative Government’s austerity programme, which was captured by Channel 4 News.

Photos of the scene captured many locals taking selfies with the Prime Minister as he visited the city’s market.

But one woman asked him: “Where’s the money coming from now? Why have we all of a sudden got loads of money? All your going to do is you’re going to put the same amount of police on the street is what you’ve took off.”

Mr Johnson answered: “Well, we’re putting 20,000 more police. That’s absolutely true. So we’re also putting a lot more into hospitals. We’ve got 20 hospital upgrades and that’s on top of the 34 billion we’re putting in. So I appreciate the things have been tight but that’s because of the mess of the finances…”

The woman cut in saying: “People died because of austerity, and then you’ve got the cheek to come here and tell us austerity is over and it’s all good now. We’re going to leave the EU and everything’s going to be great. It’s just a fairy tale.”

As some in the crowd shouted in support of Brexit the woman said that she would prefer “a Labour Brexit to a Tory Brexit”.

‘You’ve drained Doncaster’

Boris Johnson was criticised for austerity by a woman in Doncaster. (Photo: Channel 4 News)

As Mr Johnson responded that Labour wanted to “go against” Brexit, the woman told him: “I’m not really interested in Labour.  I’m more interested in the fact that you’ve drained Doncaster. Doncaster has had no funds on central government, every year there’s less money for Doncaster.”

The Prime Minister said: “We’ve got a huge new towns fund which is going to be giving £3.6bn pounds. Doncaster is one of the towns that is going to be eligible.

“And we’re putting money into the NHS, we’re putting money into schools. And I think there are very good times ahead. And then frankly, if you want to, you want to leave if you want to get out of the EU.

“The only way is to stick with us because at the moment everybody else seems to be wanting to reverse the result of the referendum and I think that would be a total betrayal of democracy.”

‘Leave my town’

Last week Mr Johnson had a similar experience in West Yorkshire with one moment a man told him politely to “leave my town” going viral after being captured by the BBC.

The Government is hoping to gain votes in Northern Brexit supporting constituencies with a combination of a hardline approach to Brexit and increased spending in the areas that have been hit hard by ten years of austerity.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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Tory MP Bernard Jenkin accuses John Bercow of operating a ‘majoritarian dictatorship’ over Brexiters

Tory Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin attacked Commons speaker John Bercow on Friday claiming he was “irretrievably politicised and radicalised,” and his position was tantamount to a “majoritarian dictatorship” in Parliament.

Mr Jenkin lashed out at the Speaker after he warned on Thursday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not be able to pursue a Brexit strategy that was not endorsed by MPs.

The MP for Harwich and North Essex said that the Commons should look into the role of the Speaker, arguing that he was exerting excessive power over the Government.

‘Politicised and radicalised’

Bernard Jenkin criticised John Bercow during a radio interview. (Photo: UK Parliament)

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: “What has happened that the Office of Speaker has become irretrievably politicised and radicalised. It would have been unthinkable 10 or 15 years ago for the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch a personal attack on the Prime Minister like this.

“And I think the House of Commons is going to have to adapt itself to a different arrangement with the speaker in future, because the speaker himself has an enormous amount of discretionary power, personally invested in himself, absolute power.

“He decides the procedures of the House of Commons and can reinterpret any word in standing orders to mean whatever he likes, and for one individual, in what is now a contested, televised, very public and controversial position to have so much unregulated, untrammelled power, I think that’s something the House of Commons is going to have to look at.”

Mr Bercow has riled Brexiters for allowing a series of votes that take place that have allowed MPs to seize control of the business of the Commons, something that is normally controlled by the Government.

The votes last week have compelled Mr Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit if he cannot negotiate a deal with the EU that is satisfactory for MPs and if they reject a no-deal exit once again.

‘Majoritarian dictatorship position’

Opposition MPs applaud Mr Bercow after he announces his resignation (Photo: Getty)

Mr Jenkin said that the Speaker was not doing enough to stick up for the minority of Brexiters in the Commons, where most MPs voted Remain in the 2016 referendum.

He said: “We usually have majority governments, and the Speaker of the House of Commons is there to ensure the protection of minorities. We’ve got a minority government, a very partisan speaker, and a speaker who is using the majority and doing nothing to protect the minority.

“For he himself, the speaker to say that he is subject to no law, no control, because he is prepared to reinterpret any law of Parliament, which are our standing orders. He’s not subject to any court. It’s a kind of majoritarian dictatorship position.”

Mr Bercow, who is due to step down before the end of October, used a speech to warn Mr Johnson that he must follow the act passed by MPs, which received royal assent on Monday.

He said: “The only form of Brexit which we will have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”

“Surely, in 2019, in modern Britain, in a parliamentary democracy, we – parliamentarians, legislators – cannot in all conscience be conducting a debate as to whether adherence to the law is or isn’t required.”

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‘You can’t have a Brexit agreement without a backstop,’ new head of European Parliament tells UK

The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has said there would be no Brexit agreement “without a backstop” in a statement on Thursday, arguing that the UK has brought no new proposals to the table.

The new president pointed out that its 750 MEPs would have to approve any deal, which he argued must contain a form of backstop.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been arguing for the backstop, a set of measures aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, to be removed from the deal that was negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May.

‘Main stumbling block’

David Sassoli criticised the UK Government (Photo: European Parliament)

Mr Sassoli said: “Obviously, the backstop is the main stumbling block in negotiations” before adding that “you can’t have an agreement without a backstop. It couldn’t really be any clearer”.

He said: “That’s the position of the European Commission, and the position of the European Institutions, including the European Parliament, and don’t forget the Parliament will have the last word.”

The backstop, as it stands, would keep the UK inside a customs union and Northern Ireland aligned with EU rules to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland if no trade agreement is reached to achieve the same aim.

No alternatives

‘We believe there is too much rigidity and this rigidity is something that’s been ratified into the date of 31 October’ (Photo: Getty Images)

Mr Sassoli criticised the UK Government for not doing enough to find a different solution, saying: “I’d like to stress this point: The United Kingdom hasn’t really proposed any alternatives.”

He said: “We’re happy to look at the Political Declaration again, and make it into a legally binding document, and conclude an association agreement, which of course, if it’s sufficiently rooted, would make a backstop unnecessary.”

But he warned of an increased risk of no deal, and said the UK would still have to pay its outstanding payments, known as the Brexit divorce bill.

‘Closer to the possibility of a no-deal’

Michel Barnier said he was 'not optimistic' about finding a Brexit compromise. (Getty)
Michel Barnier said he was ‘not optimistic’ about finding a Brexit compromise (Getty)

After a meeting with EU negotiator Michel Barnier, Mr Sassoli told reporters: “The resolution stresses the concern of the Parliament on recent developments in the debate in the United Kingdom and the breaking off of the negotiations, which do bring us closer to the possibility of a no deal.

“We believe there is too much rigidity and this rigidity is something that’s been ratified into the date of 31 October.

“The resolution says that if there is a no deal departure that will be entirely the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

“And, of course, it will still be bound to its financial obligations and they need to respect the rights of the citizens as well as the Good Friday Agreement.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng claims ‘many people are saying’ judges are biased over Brexit after prorogation ruling

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng suggested that “many people” are questioning the impartiality of the judiciary following the Scottish judges ruling that Boris Johnson‘s prorogation of Parliament was “unlawful.”

Three Scottish judges in the Court of Session ruled in favour of a cross-party challenge to Mr Johnson decision to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament until 14 October.

The decision that runs contrary to a decision in the English courts and an appeal made by the Government will be heard by the Supreme Court in London next week.

The judges said: “The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.”

‘Lawyers and judges are interfering in politics’

Kwasi Kwarteng said many people feel judges are biased. (Photo: BBC)

But Mr Kwarteng said the decision meant people were questioning the judge’s impartiality, prompting a wave of criticism.

He told the BBC: “I think that they are impartial, but I’m saying that many people, many Leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges.

“That’s just a fact. People are saying this all the time, they are saying ‘why are judges getting involved in politics’… we’ve got to be honest about the debate.”

He added: “The extent to which lawyers and judges are interfering in politics is something that concerns many people.”

‘Undermine public perceptions’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo: Getty)

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Campbell said: “I would expect a government minister to understand the importance of the independence of the judiciary and not make any comments that might undermine public perceptions.”

One of Mr Kwarteng’s fellow ministers also distanced himself from the comments during an interview with ITV’s Robert Peston.

Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said: “Well, we must back the judges in this country to uphold the rule of law, that’s absolutely essential…”

Mr Peston asked: “So you would distance yourself from what Kwasi said?”

He said: “I would, I would go back to, though, the comment that was made by the High Court which said I think that the words they used were, ‘You have to be very cautious before you intrude into debates between the executive and Parliament.’ And so obviously this will be a matter that will now be decided by the Supreme court but I suspect they will be mulling over those issues.”

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Oxford University don challenging rules that forced him to retire before his 70th birthday to continue work of “great importance for society”

An Oxford University don dismissed before his 70th birthday for being too old is challenging the rules to return to his job.

Professor Paul Ewart, the former head of atomic and laser physics at the university’s Clarendon Laboratory, has become the second person to take issue with Oxford’s rules preventing staff working beyond the age of 68.

He claims, according to the Time Higher Education magazine, he was cut off in his prime as his research work was “blossoming” in his final two years at the institution, publishing 15 papers and won key roles in projects to build ultra-efficient engines.

Now he has taken his complaint to a tribunal claiming his “dismissal” was unfair and he was the victim of age discrimination.

Senior lecturer

The Bridge of Sighs in Oxford. (Photo: Getty) 

Professor Ewart worked at the university for 38 years before retiring in September 2017.

Under Oxford’s Employment-Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) policy, dons must retire at the age of 68 to make way for a younger and more diverse generation of academics.

He was granted a two-year extension to work until he was 69.

But when he applied for a second extension in 2017 to work part-time until 2020 and complete a number of research projects it was rejected, according to his witness statement at a seven-day employment tribunal in Reading, which ended on 6 September.

‘Great importance for society’

(Photo: Getty)

The professor wants to be re-instated as a senior lecturer so he can continue his work which he believes will have “great importance for society, particularly in making a contribution to solving the problem of climate change and environmental pollution being driven by emissions from combustion”.

Fellow Oxford professor John Pitcher, a fellow at St John’s College, Oxford, sued for unfair dismissal and age discrimination in 2018 but both claims were dismissed in an employment tribunal decision in May this year.

Oxford University’s EJRA policy was introduced in 2011 to promote “intergenerational fairness and improvements in diversity” and “refresh the academic research and other professional workforce and to enable them to maintain the University’s position on the international stage”.

The university told the i it could not comment on an active case.

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Brexit latest: Tory Brexiteer Nigel Evans claims there are 50 Labour MPs who are prepared to back deal

Tory MP Nigel Evans has claimed that 50 MPs from the Labour Party would be prepared to back a new Brexit deal brought by Boris Johnson.

Speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, the Brexiteer claimed that progress is being made by the Government on finding a new solution to the Irish border issue and that members of the Northern Irish DUP are also onside.

Mr Johnson said that a no-deal Brexit would be a “failure of statecraft” during a visit to Dublin on Monday, despite concerns from some MPs that this is his objective.

Under the terms of a new law, which has been imposed on Mr Johnson by MPs, the Prime Minister must seek an extension to Brexit beyond 31 October unless either a new deal, or a no-deal exit is approved by the Commons by 19 October.

‘We can do a deal’

Nigel Evans said a number of Labour MPs would back the deal. (Photo: Sky News)

Mr Evans told Sky News: “Everybody’s been focusing on whether [Mr Johnson will] break the law. Of course, he clearly doesn’t want to do that.

“Nor does he want to disrespect the views of the British voters in that referendum, and so the way we do that is by seeing if there is a way that we can do a deal. ”

“And I talked to Arlene Foster yesterday who was over for discussions with the Prime Minister, I spoke to Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP, who is incredibly pragmatic at looking for all sorts of ways.

“And we all already know that the Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney has been looking at ways of facilitating the integrity of the single market but away from the border.

50 Labour MPs

Caroline Flint is leading the new group (Photo: Getty Images)

“And so there are all sorts of ways that this can happen. But what we need, and this is the one thing that has been lacking, is political will.

“And I spoke to a Labour MP yesterday, and she told me that there are about 50 Labour MPs who are ready to break ranks with the Labour Party, if necessary, in order to vote for a pragmatic sensible deal that’s going to deliver Brexit.”

Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Caroline Flint are trying to build a cross-party consensus for a deal, with support from former Tory ministers such as Rory Stewart.

Mr Johnson is focused on trying to negotiate changes to the backstop, a series of measures that keeps the UK in the Customs Union and Northern Ireland aligned to many EU rules, to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

The DUP, who have helped prop up the Tory Government, are opposed to any deal that separates Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK.

‘Economic and constitutional integrity of the UK’

The Prime Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster held talks for over an hour in Downing Street on a way forward on Brexit
The Prime Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster held talks for over an hour in Downing Street on a way forward on Brexit (Photo: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

Ms Foster said after meeting the Prime Minister on Tuesday: “A sensible deal, between the United Kingdom and European Union which respects the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, is the best way forward for everyone,” she said.

“History teaches us that any deal relating to Northern Ireland which cannot command cross-community support is doomed to failure. That is why the Northern Ireland backstop is flawed.

“During today’s meeting, the Prime Minister confirmed his rejection of the Northern Ireland only backstop and his commitment to securing a deal which works for the entire United Kingdom as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.”

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Ursula von der Leyen criticised for ‘Protecting European Way of Life’ commissioner who will deal with migration and security

European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen has received criticism for appointing a commissioner for ‘Protecting Our European Way of Life’ who will be in charge of migration and security.

The German politician unveiled her new 27 commissioners on Tuesday who will head up various arms of the EU’s powerful civil service if they are approved by the European Parliament.

The title for the role given to former Commission chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas has raised eyebrows.

The Greek politician will be in charge of “migration, security, employment and education” and chair a commissioner’s group on “Protecting our European Way of Life.”

‘Deeply insulting’

(Photo: Getty)

Labour London MEP Claude Moraes tweeted: “Calling the European Commission migration portfolio ‘protecting our way of life’ is deeply insulting. And if this is migration what will the Home Affairs Commissioner do? I sense confusion with these weird and odd titles.”

He added: “Combining security with migration. Throwing in employment and education. Calling the portfolio “Protecting our Way of Life”. Seriously. Any idea how this comes across?”

He also reminded the Commission that the European Parliament must approve all the nominees and that “a portfolio with a title like this just cannot stand in my view.”

Meanwhile, charity Amnesty International’s EU office tweeted: “Linking migration with security in the portfolio of the ‘Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life’ risks sending a worrying message.

“People who have migrated have contributed to the way of life in Europe throughout its history.

“We trust that Commissioner-designate Margaritis Schinas will work hard for an EU in which safe and legal routes allow migrants to continue to contribute to the future of Europe.”

‘A genuine Union of equality and diversity’

In her mission letter to the proposed future Commissioner, Ms von der Leyen said that he should focus on “skills, education and integration” while also trying to build consensus on migration and working on the “security union”.

She said: “The European way of life is built on the principle of dignity and equality for all. You will coordinate the work on inclusion and building a genuine Union of equality and diversity.”

She later said: “You will lead the Commission’s work on making our communities more united and cohesive. As part of this, you will coordinate the work on improving the integration of migrants and refugees into society.”

‘New pact on migration and asylum’

Jean-Claude Juncker meets his successor Ursula von der Leyen (Photo: Getty)

On migration, she asked him to look into “building bridges between those most entrenched” and asked him to formulate a “new pact on migration and asylum” and also creating new pathways for legal migration.

This issue is a major point of contention between member states, with many eastern European countries previously refusing to comply with EU refugee resettlement programs.

But she also gave Mr Schinas responsibility for the EU’s “Security Union” telling him: “You will coordinate the Commission’s work to enhance the EU’s ability to prevent,
detect and respond to hybrid threats.”

Ms von der Leyen said her commission would be the most “diverse ever.” Out of the nominees, 12 are women and fourteen men, compared with just eight in the previous term, although all the designate are white.

The UK has not nominated a commissioner, although Ms von der Leyen said it would have to if Brexit is extended beyond 31 October.

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Geoffrey Boycott says he ‘doesn’t give a toss’ about criticism of his knighthood due to domestic violence conviction

Sir Geoffrey Boycott said he does not “give a toss” about criticism of him receiving a knighthood despite having a conviction for assaulting his former partner in 1998.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme on Tuesday, the former cricketer hit back at criticism of his inclusion in Theresa May’s honours list, arguing that it was “25-years ago.”

Domestic abuse charities have criticised the former Prime Minister over the decision to give the former England cricket star a knighthood, after he was convicted in France in 1998 of beating his then girlfriend Margaret Moore in a French Riviera hotel.

‘I don’t give a toss about her, love’

Responding to comments from the co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid, who said his award was “very disappointing,” Sir Geoffrey said: “I don’t give a toss about her, love.

“Twenty-five years ago. You can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. I couldn’t give a toss.”

Read more: Theresa May’s honours list in full 

Adina Claire, of Women’s Aid, said: “Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.

“With increasing awareness of domestic abuse, and a Domestic Abuse Bill ready to be taken forward by Government, it is extremely disappointing that a knighthood has been recommended for Geoffrey Boycott, who is a convicted perpetrator of domestic abuse.”

Mrs May, who introduced a landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to Parliament earlier this year, gave Boycott a knighthood for services to sport in her resignation honours list.

‘It’s disappointing’

Brearley discusses the game with former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott (Getty Images)
Brearley discusses the game with former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott (Getty Images)

Boycott, who has always denied the assault, was fined £5,000 and given a three-month suspended prison sentence over the attack.

Computer consultant Mrs Moore suffered bruising to her forehead and blackened eyes in the assault at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes in October 1996.

Boycott has accused her of putting a “stain on my name” and maintained her injuries were sustained through an accidental slip and fall.

But public prosecutor Jean-Yves Duval rejected Boycott’s claims, saying the injuries were “absolutely incompatible” with an accident and that the cricketer’s lawyer Jean-Luc Cardona did not stand up to examination.

A spokeswoman from the Woman’s Trust said: “It’s disappointing to see Geoffrey Boycott included in Theresa May’s honours list, given her vocal support for domestic abuse survivors and the Domestic Abuse Bill.

“While we welcome the recent Domestic Abuse Bill for its work to widen the definition of domestic abuse, the inclusion of Geoffrey Boycott in the honours list shows just how much our attitude as a society needs to change when it comes to supporting survivors.”

‘Most people in England believe it’s not true’

Former prime minister Theresa May gave honours to her key aides (Photo: Getty)

Mr Boycott said his experiences in the French courts were one of the reasons he has been a passionate advocate for Brexit.

He said: “It was a court case in France where you’re guilty, which is one reason I don’t vote to Remain in Europe. You’re guilty until you’re proved innocent.

“It’s the totally opposite of when you’re in England, and it’s very difficult to prove you’re innocent in another country in another language.

“And most people in England don’t believe it, I didn’t do it, you move on. It’s a cross I have to bear, right or wrong, good or bad, I have to live with it.

“I’m clearing my mind and I believe most people in England believe it’s not true.”

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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No-deal Brexit bill: Sending a second letter telling the EU to ignore extension request ‘would not be legal’

Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption has warned it would not be legal for Boris Johnson to apply for an Article 50 extension while also asking the EU 27 to reject it.

A bill forcing Mr Johnson to seek an extension of Brexit until the end of January is due to receive royal assent on Monday after a series of votes in the Commons last week.

But over the weekend the Prime Minister told journalists that he has no plans to delay Brexit beyond 31 October, a date he described as “do or die” when campaigning for the Tory leadership.

Reports have emerged that the Government could be considering going through with the requirements in the bill, which enters into law once approved by the Queen, while undermining it by indicating to the EU that it does not support the plans and implores them to reject it.

‘He’s got to apply for an extension’

Supreme Court judges in Westminster Abbey. (Photo: Getty)

Lord Sumption. who retired from the 12-judge Supreme Court in 2018, strongly rejected the idea, saying it would be in breach of the law.

Asked if such a move would be legal, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, of course it wouldn’t. The Bill, or Act as it’s about to become, says that he’s got to apply for an extension. Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension.

“To send the letter and then try to neutralise it seems to me, plainly, is a breach of the Act. What you’ve got to realise is the courts are not very fond of loopholes.”

If Mr Johnson refused to hand over the letter Lord Sumption said: “He would be in contempt of court.

“He would I suspect have to put up with the resignation of the Justice Secretary and Attorney General and probably other members of his Cabinet.”

He also added that: “There are plenty of ways in which this kind of obligation can be enforced.”

‘A political explainer’

Boris Johnson makes a speech during a visit to West Yorkshire (Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Pool/Reuters)

An unnamed source told the Telegraph newspaper: “There is a prescribed letter that has to be sent…Does that stop the Prime Minister sending other documents to the EU? I don’t think it does.

“A political explainer perhaps, as to where the Government’s policy is. It has to make clear that the Government is asking for an extension, but let’s not forget what the next step is.

“Once that is done, the Europeans are going to ask: ‘Why? What is the reason? [What] if the government said: ‘We don’t have any reasons for an extension.

“There is a clear path now: the Europeans need to refuse an extension.”

France has suggested it could reject an extension, while Ireland said it would be open to a delay to Brexit. Such a move would need to be approved by a “qualified majority” meaning 55 percent of EU member states, representing 65 percent of the EU population.

Mr Johnson is planning to try and force a general election once again by holding another vote on Monday. A motion to trigger one was rejected last week after it failed to garner to votes of two-thirds of MPs.

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Police chief criticises Boris Johnson for using officers as a ‘backdrop’ for unrelated Brexit speech

Boris Johnson has been criticised by the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police for using the force’s recruits for a political speech without letting him know in advance.

Mr Johnson gave a speech in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, flanked by 35 new police recruits to illustrate his commitment to hire 20,000 new officers, but also used it as an opportunity to criticise MPs.

But the force’s chief constable John Robins said that the use of the new recruits had been under the premise that the speech would be about the recruitment drive, not Mr Johnson’s issues with Parliament and Brexit.

‘Overshadowed’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a speech to police officers in West Yorkshire, (Photo by Danny Lawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

West Yorkshire Police said: “Yesterday’s visit by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary was to visit our Carr Gate training facilities, to announce the launch of the national recruitment campaign for an extra 20,000 police officers.

Chief constable John Robins said: “I repeat that I am pleased that we were chosen as the focal point of the national recruitment campaign launch, but the good news of extra officers was overshadowed by the media coverage of other events.

“It was the understanding of West Yorkshire Police that any involvement of our officers was solely about police officer recruitment. We had no prior knowledge that the speech would be broadened to other issues until it was delivered.

“Minutes before the speech, we were told that the NPAS visit and subsequent brief to a small media pool had been cancelled. I was therefore disappointed to see my police officers as a backdrop to the part of the speech that was not related to recruitment.”

“I am proud of the resilience and professionalism of every single one of our student officers yesterday. With the recruitment of additional officers alongside them over the next few years, we will hopefully be in a better position to now deliver the service that the public deserve and expect.”

‘Naked party political stunt’

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech during a visit to West Yorkshire, Britain September 5, 2019. Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Pool via REUTERS

Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh demanded an apology from the Prime Minister to the West Yorkshire force. She said: “The Prime Minister and his aides deceived the police by knowingly using officers for a naked party political stunt, without their prior knowledge.

“This is a serious breach of trust and the Prime Minister should be ashamed of putting serving officers in this intolerable position. He should apologise to them immediately.”

Mr Johnson used the speech to criticised MPs for blocking his attempts to trigger a general election after they took control of the Brexit process in a series of votes on

A Downing Street spokeswoman told the Guardian: “The PM’s long-planned visit was highlighting a national recruitment campaign for 20,000 new officers, which has been welcomed across the police service.

“It gave the PM the opportunity to see first hand the outstanding training which new recruits receive, and to meet those who have committed their lives to keeping us safe.”

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‘Please leave my town’: Yorkshire man tells Boris Johnson to go away during campaign walkabout

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised by local people in Leeds and Wakefield during a visit on Thursday with cameras catching him being told to “leave” by one resident.

The Prime Minister gave a speech flanked by a number of police recruits for West Yorkshire’s police force after taking to the streets in the area, in what has been perceived as part of a coming general election campaign.

But he was subjected to a series of bruising encounters with locals, with one man’s polite interaction quickly going viral online.

‘Please leave my town’

Boris Johnson faced a frosty reception in Yorkshire on Thursday. (Photo: BBC)

BBC News captured the moment a smiling man approached Mr Johnson and shook his hand before telling him: “Please leave my town.”

The PM laughed nervously before replying: “I will. Very soon.”

Cameras also caught the moment another man berated the PM on a street in Leeds.

The man told him: “You should be in Brussels negotiating. Where is the negotiation going on? Where is it?

“You’re in Morley in Leeds, you should be in Brussels, leading the British people to negotiation against leaving the European Union. You’re playing games.

“He’s been speaking for the last six weeks since he’s been elected and he’s said nothing,” he told the crowd that had assembled before telling Mr Johnson:  “You’ve said nothing for the last six weeks, you’ve gone into Parliament and you played games.”

The PM responded: “Actually that’s not true. We are on the verge of getting a deal.”

After the man said that the opposition had seen that he was “playing games” Mr Johnson said: “Well, I think if the opposition want to do this, then why won’t they have an election?”

‘It is Dominic Cummings and you playing games’

Boris Johnson was accused of playing games by one man. (Photo: BBC)

The man hit back saying: “It is Dominic Cummings and you playing games with Parliament, playing games with the people of United Kingdom and all the people who are entitled to vote.”

Mr Johnson reiterated his calls for a general election during his speech after it was rejected by the Commons on Wednesday night. He also accused the opposition of “torpedoing” his negotiations with the EU.

He said: “I really don’t see how we can have a situation where the British ability to negotiate is absolutely torpedoed by Parliament in this way with powers of the British people handed over to Brussels so we can be kept incarcerated in the EU without that actually being put to the people in the form of a vote.”

Read more: what happened this week in politics 

But the speech itself received criticism from Mark Burns-Williamson, the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, who accused the PM of “abusing” his position by using the trainee police officers.

Mr Burns-Williamson, who is a Labour politician, said: “These officers shouldn’t have been used. It was clearly a political speech about Brexit and issues surrounding the General Election. He’s abused their position.”

One of Mr Johnson’s key policies is the recruitment of 22,000 new police officers, something he has promised to start doing immediately.

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Boris Johnson threatens Tories who won’t back his future deal with expulsion – putting Eurosceptics at risk too

Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that Eurosceptics could also be expelled from the Conservative Party if they refuse to back a revised Brexit deal.

The PM suffered a bruising week in the Commons with MPs first seizing control of the House, passing legislation that stops him delivering a no-deal Brexit, and then rejecting his demand for a general election.

Read more: full list of MPs expelled from the Tory Party 

Mr Johnson took swift action against a group of 21 MPs that included former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond who backed the bill in the Commons, suspending the party whip from them.

But speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, the Prime Minister suggested the same fate could befall MPs, which includes the hardline European Research Group (ERG), if they don’t back a revised deal he negotiates with Brussels.

‘What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’

Boris Johnson warned that more Tory MPs could be expelled from the party. (Photo: ITV)

He said: “I think what the people of this country want to see is a government that is determined to come out of the EU on October the 31st and that is what we are going to do…

“And so… what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. That’s what I’ve said to all colleagues and I think I said it in the chamber yesterday.”

Asked by Mr Peston if this meant MPs such as hardline Eurosceptic Steve Baker, who heads up the ERG, would be out of the party if he does not vote for the deal, he said: “I think colleagues are going to find that the deal we get is extremely good, I think you’re going to find that people will instinctively vote for it because it gets us out of the EU.”

Mr Johnson defended his decision to strip the whip from moderate Tory MPs, provoking protest from nearly 100 “one nation” members of his party, saying that they had “plenty of warning.”

‘These are friends of mine’

Ken Clarke speaks in the Commons. Photo: ©UK Parliament_Jessica Taylor

“Look, I mean these are friends of mine, and believe me I take absolutely no joy in any of it. But it was very sad and surprising that they should undermine the UK’s ability to get a deal, because that’s what it does,” he said

“And I think what the country wants to see is clarity and determination in coming out of the EU on October the 31st. And alas for those colleagues who had plenty of warning and explication about what we want, they were I’m afraid backing a bill, the surrender bill, that effectively frustrates Brexit, and we made it very clear to them what the consequences would be.”

Mr Johnson’s attempts to trigger a general election that would have ended the careers of many of the rebel MPs was defeated in the Commons on Wednesday night as many opposition parties abstained, denying him of the two-thirds needed to bring one around under the Fixed Terms Parliaments Act.

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Ken Clarke suggests he may not vote Tory after being kicked out for Brexit rebellion

Former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke has suggested that he may not vote for the Conservative Party after he had the party whip removed for helping defeat Boris Johnson in a key Brexit vote on Tuesday night.

The party grandee, who has been a party member for 60 years and an MP since 1970, had the whip withdrawn after he and 20 other Tory rebels staged a mass rebellion in the Commons.

The vote late on Tuesday night saw the Government defeated by 328-301, handing control of the Commons to cross-party MPs who will try to push through a bill forcing Mr Johnson to seek another delay to Brexit from the EU.

The Prime Minister made good on his threat to deselect the Conservative rebels swiftly after the vote and is trying to force a general election.

‘I was going to go anyway’

Ken Clarke said he was consdiering not voting Tory in a general election. (Photo: BBC Newsnight)

Mr Clarke, 79, said that he was already planning to step down, but that he he torn on whether to back his old party.

He told the BBC Newsnight programme: “I was going to go anyway. I announced I was going to retire in 2015. I put it off once already, but I have to decide whether to vote Conservative if Boris Johnson is still the leader. That’s my next problem.”

Read more: full list of 21 Tory MPs who will lose the Tory whip over Brexit rebellion

“I am a Conservative, of course I am. I’ve been a mainstream conservative for 60 years.

“I’m part of the establishment and, I think I can claim, in the Conservative Party. Anybody who comes up to me and tells me I’m not a Conservative is plainly taking an odd political view.”

Tory Party purge

The Commons has wrestled control from the Prime Minister (Photo: UK Parliament/Roger Harris)

Another former chancellor Philip Hammond was also kicked out of the party, along with former ministers David Gauke, Dominic Grieve and Greg Clark. The grandson of Winston Churchill. Sir Nicholas Soames, who appeared on Newsnight alongside Mr Clarke, also had the whip suspended.

Sir Nicholas said: “I have been told by the Chief Whip – who is my friend and who I like very much – but he has told me that it will be his sad duty to write to me tomorrow to tell me that I’ve had the whip removed after 37 years as a Conservative Member of Parliament.”

“I voted against the government three times in 37 years and I’ve had the whip removed. That’s fortunes of war, I knew what I was doing but I just believe that they’re not playing straight with us, in that to say you want a deal is quite different than say you want to deal that is achievable and what he wants is not achievable.”

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Caroline Lucas scolds Jacob Rees-Mogg for ‘contemptuous’ lounging in House of Commons

Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked a wave of condemnation for his laid back stance during a key Brexit debate with MPs accusing of being contemptuous to the House of Commons.

The Leader of the House of Commons spent much of the evening batting of questions from his fellow MPs, as they debated a motion that would seize control of parliamentary business from the government.

But as MPs debated the bill that would start the process of forcing the Government to apply for yet another delay to Brexit, Mr Rees-Mogg spent much of the debate lounging across the benches.

MPs were heard shouting “sit up” and “shame” at Mr Rees-Mogg as he made his point.

‘Contemptuous of this house’

Jacob Rees-Mogg was blasted by Caroline Lucas. (Photo: Parliament TV)

Despite him often taking the position on the backbenches, the sight enraged many MPs, who lined up to criticised him.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “Now, there’s been a lot of talk about democracy tonight and the Leader of the House who I have to say with his body language throughout this evening has been so contemptuous of this house and of the people.”

“And for the benefit of Hansard, the Leader of the House is spread across around three seats, lying out as if that was something very boring for him to listen to tonight. Can I just say to him when he has been lecturing us about democracy, we will have none of it.”

Hansard is the written account of proceedings in the Commons that is written by the clerks and goes back centuries.

Tom Brake even suggested that MPs could provide the leader of the House with a “pillow” for his leisurely stance.

‘The physical embodiment of arrogance’

Labour MP Anna Turley tweeted an image from the chamber of the MP saying: “The physical embodiment of arrogance, entitlement, disrespect and contempt for our parliament.” Her tweet went viral and had been shared 15 thousand times on Tuesday night.

Labour MP Karl Turner tweeted the image of the Cabinet minister laid back on the bench, adding: “As a working-class bloke brought up on a council estate in Hull I always feel enormous pride and gratitude when I go into the chamber of the House of Commons to represent East Hull. I’ve never felt a sense of entitlement. This is what that looks like!?”

And SNP MP Gavin Newlands tweeted: “Jacob Rees-Mogg is literally going for a (u)kip on the front bench. I just asked him if I should call his footman to get him a pillow. He politely declined.”

The Government was defeated by 328-301 shortly afterwards meaning MPs will be able to bring a bill that would try to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would try and trigger a general election, which has to be approved by two thirds of MPs.

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Nigel Farage says Brexit Party won’t stand against Tories in general election if Boris Johnson promises no-deal Brexit

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he would pull his candidates out of a general election in order to help the Conservative Party if Boris Johnson fully endorsed a no-deal Brexit. 

Mr Johnson said he would call a general election if he lost a key vote on Tuesday night that would start a process to force him to apply for an extension to Brexit beyond 31 October.

The Brexit Party leader told the Today programme that the party, which came first in May’s European elections, would contest Tory seats, unless Mr Johnson abandoned the idea of amending Theresa May’s deal.

‘Put country before party’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

He told the BBC Radio: “Leaving and being free and having Brexit is one thing.

“Of course, if Boris Johnson says, “look, we are leaving, we’re going to have a clean break, we will after that negotiate a free trade agreement and no more,” and deliver a genuine Brexit then we would, the Brexit Party,  put country before party.

“We’d tell Mr Johnson, “right, we want to help you in any way we can”.

“But I’m afraid that’s not what the Prime Minister wants to do. And that was made very clear by his statement outside Downing Street last night. He is intent on re-heating Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which is a new binding European treaty, that would leave a stuck inside the Customs Union, perhaps forever and just would not be Brexit.”

The Brexit Party managed to garner the support of many disillusioned pro-Brexit Tory voters in May and the party believes it could replicate this in a general election.

Commons battle

A group of Tory MPs that includes former chancellor Philip Hammond has teamed up with other backbenchers to table a bill on Tuesday that would wrestle the order paper from the Government and allow them to pass a law that compels Mr Johnson to seek an extension from the EU.

Mr Johnson has threatened to trigger a general election if he loses the vote and deselect the Tory MPs that voted for the bill.

But his strategy has been called into question after many in the Labour Part suggested the party’s MPs would not back a vote for a general election as it could be scheduled for after the end of October and bring around a no-deal Brexit, which is the legal default.

‘Matter of sequencing’

Shami Chakrabarti and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo: Getty)

Labour shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti said the issue was a “matter of sequencing” and the party is still committed to fighting an election but blocking a no-deal is a higher priority. .

She told the BBC on Tuesday: “This is just a matter of sequencing. Of course, we always want a general election because you don’t end austerity and food bank Britain without a general election, but there is an order of priority.”

“And today and tomorrow, the primary priority working across parties is to legislate against a disastrous no-deal because it would be disastrous for the poor and working people, most of all.”

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Labour figures say the party will block Boris Johnson triggering general election in order to prevent no-deal Brexit

Senior Labour figures have suggested the party will block Boris Johnson‘s attempts to trigger a general election if he loses a key Brexit vote on Tuesday night.

They suggested Jeremy Corbyn would stop Boris Johnson calling an election because avoiding a no-deal Brexit is the bigger priority.

This is despite the party repeatedly urging Mr Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May to call an election in recent years.

Mr Johnson said that if he loses a vote in the Commons on Tuesday night, that could set the ball rolling on attempts to force him to seek an extension to Brexit, and it could trigger a general election. Number 10 has also said it will deselect any Tory MPs that vote for the bill.

But Mr Johnson will have to gather the votes of two-thirds of MPs to bring an election under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, something shadow Northern Ireland secretary Tony Lloyd said the Labour party will not help him do.

‘We will stop a no-deal Brexit’

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Tony Lloyd and Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

He was asked on the BBC Newsnight programme on Monday if given a chance to fight an election Labour: “Would say no, thanks. We do not want an election at this moment, and that would be a vote against.”

He responded: “Yes, that’s absolutely right. that’s exactly what I was saying. We will stop a no-deal Brexit being something Prime Minister Johnson will be able to deliver.”

He was questioned on whether this would be the position of Mr Corbyn, who had called for a general election in a speech in Salford on Monday.

Mr Lloyd said: “Be clear what I’m saying, he doesn’t want to fight and we don’t want to fight an election, which allows Boris Johnson to crash us out with a no-deal. Of course, we want an election following on from that. Bring it on.”

‘I think we are all ready for a general election’

Mary Creagh (Pic: Getty Images)

His comments were echoed on the programme by Labour MP Mary Creagh who said: “I think we are all ready for a general election. I think we’re all ready to see the back of the Conservatives and their austerity agenda.

“But, as Tony rightly says, we’re not going to agree to one when there is the threat of a no-deal Brexit hanging over the country.

“So what will what I interpret it to mean, and what the conversations that I’ve had in Parliament today mean, is that we would not support the vote, the two-thirds majority that Boris Johnson needs, the 434 MPs that he needs to vote for a general election to dissolve parliament, under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, he will not get that majority.”

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn calls for general election but only if no-deal Brexit can be blocked

She said Mr Johnson’s strategy has been to try to use a general election to bring about a no-deal Brexit, and Labour would not allow it to happen in such a way.

She said: “We have watched this Prime Minister over the summer do nothing with France, do nothing with Germany do nothing with Brussels. We’ve watched him running down the clock.

“We have watched him and his revolutionary advisers, basically planning their shock and awe election campaign. We have watched them suspending Parliament in breach of all convention for five weeks, gagging the people’s representatives, in order to try and bounce the country into their extreme, reckless and dangerous no deal.

“So the idea that we’re just going to nod along in Parliament, let him have it.  He retains the ability to set the day. He said today (the election will be) the 14th the October we’ve been briefed the 17th, we’ve been briefed the first of November.

“If he moves that date to the first of November, we will not be complicit in crashing our country out without a deal.”

Sequencing

Shami Chakrabarti and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo: Getty)

Labour shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti said the issue was a “matter of sequencing” and the party is still committed to fighting an election.

She told the BBC on Tuesday: “This is just a matter of sequencing. Of course, we always want a general election because you don’t end austerity and food bank Britain without a general election, but there is an order of priority.”

“And today and tomorrow, the primary priority working across parties is to legislate against a disastrous no-deal because it would be disastrous for the poor and working people, most of all.”

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Jacob Rees-Mogg calls concerns from doctor who wrote no-deal Brexit planning ‘fear-mongering’

Jacob Rees-Mogg and a doctor who contributed to a report about mitigating the effects of a no-deal Brexit have clashed live on air, after the doctor challenged the politician to say how many patient deaths he would be willing to accept as a result of a disorderly Brexit.

Mr Rees-Mogg, a hardline Eurosceptic and the Leader of the House of Commons, hit out angrily at Dr David Nicholl after he called into the politician’s LBC show on Monday.

The doctor had authored a section of a leaked Whitehall dossier, dubbed Operation Yellowhammer by civil servants, which spelt out dire consequences from a no-deal Brexit on health services saying it would restrict supplies of medicine

Dr Nicholl, a consultant neurologist from Birmingham, demanded to know “what level of patient mortality rate” Mr Rees-Mogg would accept under a no-deal Brexit during the call-in. The politician responded by saying Dr Nicholl should be “ashamed” of his “scaremongering”.

‘Project fear’

Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised the caller for what he called ‘scaremongering’ (Photo: LBC)

Dr Nicholl said: “Having been involved in writing the plans for mitigation and whistle blown because I felt they were unsafe, what level of patient mortality rate are you willing to accept in light of a no-deal Brexit?”

The MP for North East Somerset replied: “I don’t think there is any reason to suppose that a no-deal Brexit should lead to a mortality rate.

“I think this is the worst excess of Project Fear and I’m surprised that a doctor in your position would be fearmongering this way on public radio.”

‘I wrote the plans for mitigation’

But Dr Nicholl cut in, and said: “Can I remind you I wrote the plans for mitigation?”

Mr Rees-Mogg instantly hit back, and said: “Mitigation. Well you didn’t write very good plans if you hadn’t worked out how to mitigate, had you?

“It’s fortunate they are being written by other people now who are serious about mitigating rather than Remoaners.”

But the doctor responded by pointing to reports that the “royal colleges who are involved in contact with the department of health have not yet been approached to update these documents”.

No-deal Brexit threat to health

Michael Gove
Michael Gove told reporters Operation Yellowhammer was the ‘worst case scenario’ (Photo: PA)

Presenter Nick Ferrari asked Dr Nicoll during the show: “What is the mortality rate that you’re working towards and why?”

The doctor responded: “We don’t know that, that’s not part of Yellowhammer. I’ll remind you that Michael Gove said that this was the worst-case scenario, that’s incorrect. Yellowhammer is not the worst-case scenario.”

Mr Ferrari asked the doctor why he believed people are going to die, to which he responded: “Because of all sorts of problems around the issues of access to drugs, the issue about radioisotopes that already been highlighted.”

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “It’s deeply irresponsible Dr Nicholl for you to call in and try to spread fear across the country. It’s typical of Remainer campaigners and you should be quite ashamed, I’m afraid.”

The Government is facing a mass rebellion from Tory MPs who oppose no-deal who are thought to be planning to table legislation that would force it to seek another extension to Brexit.

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Brexit: David Gauke says there is a 95% chance of a no-deal if parliament doesn’t act against Boris Johnson this week

Tory rebel MP David Gauke said there is a 95 per cent chance of a no-deal Brexit on the 31 October if MPs fail to find a way of forcing the Government to delay the date once again.

The former justice minister, who has become one of the leading members of a group of Tory MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit, said that the current time frame does not allow for a deal to be passed.

The MP was explaining his position ahead of a parliamentary showdown between Boris Johnson and MPs in the House of Commons, many of whom are fearful that Mr Johnson intends to leave the EU without a deal.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he rejected Mr Johnson’s assertion that MPs are preventing him from getting a good deal from the EU.

‘The UK does not have any proposals’

David Gauke said the Commons must act this week. (Photo: BBC)

Mr Gauke said: “Let’s make an assessment of the likelihood that we are going to get a deal by the 31st of October. First of all we’ve got to reach an agreement with the European Union.

“At the moment, the UK does not have any proposals. We have not set out anything to EU member states or the Commission. We’re not properly engaging in negotiations.

“It looks highly unlikely that there is some common ground that would then be acceptable to a lot of my Conservative colleagues who seem to be against any kind of deal so it looks unlikely would be able to get a deal through the House of Commons at all.”

‘Not a credible plan’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson issues a statement to the House of Commons (Photo: PA)

He pointed out that the Parliamentary timetable, which has been reduced by the Prime Minister’s decision to restrict the amount time MPs are sitting by proroguing Parliament next week, will make passing any deal difficult.

He said: “There also won’t be time to get all the parliamentary stages through following the European Council meeting on the 17th and 18th of October, the Queen’s speech obviously runs now until the 21-22 of October, and we’re left with nine days to get legislation through that we’ve previously been advised will take at least eight weeks.

“So frankly, there is not a credible plan coming from the Government to be able to leave with a deal on the 31 October. I would say there is a 95 percent chance, to be honest that we are, if Parliament does not act this week, leaving without a deal on the 31 October.”

MPs are reportedly planning to seize control of the Commons order paper from the Government to try and write legislation that would force it to delay Brexit once again.

Mr Johnson attacks MPs

Boris Johnson criticised MPs for opposing no-deal. (Photo: Sky News)

Mr Johnson said last Friday that MPs’ attempts to block no-deal was preventing Brussels granting him concessions on the Withdrawal Agreement that he has asked for.

He told Sky News: “It’s by getting ready to come out anyway that we’ve greatly strengthened our position with our friends and partners in the EU, because they see that we are serious.

“I’m afraid that the more our friends and partners think, at the back of their minds, that Brexit could be stopped, that the UK could be kept in by Parliament, the less likely they are to give us the deal that we need.

“And so that’s why I really hope that MPs will allow the UK to do a deal and to get ready for a no-deal Brexit and that’s the best way forward, for our country. Believe me.”

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Boris Johnson accuses MPs of harming his chances of getting a good Brexit deal from the EU

Boris Johnson accused MPs of preventing him getting a good deal from the EU on Friday as parliamentarians scramble to find a way to block a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson argued that by opposing a no-deal Brexit MPs were allowing EU figures to believe that the UK’s EU exit could be halted.

On Wednesday the Prime Minister asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament between mid-September and mid-October, restricting the time MPs have in the Commons to try and legislate to stop no-deal.

‘Come out anyway’

Boris Johnson criticised MPs for opposing no-deal. (Photo: Sky News)

In an interview with Sky News Mr Johnson criticised MPs saying that they had an obligation to deliver Brexit, having voted for a referendum to take place and for Article 50 to be triggered.

He said: “We’re coming up to the last period before we leave on 31 October, and in that period, Parliament is going to have a lot of time still, I mean they spent three years debating Brexit, by the way, without actually getting it over the line, they’re gonna have a lot of time for further consideration.

“And what I want to do now, which I think what most people in this country want the government to do, is get on and try and get an agreement. But if we can’t get an agreement, get ready to come out anyway.”

‘They see that we are serious’

Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron pose at the G7 summit amid Brexit talks
Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron pose at the G7 summit amid Brexit talks (Photo: Andrew Parsons/Getty)

He said that attempts to block a no-deal Brexit, which include challenges in the courts and plans to table new laws demanding he seeks an extension, could prevent him getting a deal.

He said: “It’s by getting ready to come out anyway that we’ve greatly strengthened our position with our friends and partners in the EU, because they see that we are serious.

Prorogation: what happens now  

“I’m afraid that the more our friends and partners think, at the back of their minds, that Brexit could be stopped, that the UK could be kept in by Parliament, the less likely they are to give us the deal that we need.

“And so that’s why I really hope that MPs will allow the UK to do a deal and to get ready for a no-deal Brexit and that’s the best way forward, for our country. Believe me.”

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Ken Clarke says he’d bring down the Tory Government if it’s the only way to stop a no-deal Brexit

Former Tory Chancellor Ken Clarke said he is prepared to topple Boris Johnson‘s Government to prevent a no-deal Brexit, following widespread anger at the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend Parliament.

Mr Clarke said he believed that MPs would still be able to write laws forcing the Government to adopt a “more sensible” policy on Brexit, despite their timeframe being curtailed by Mr Johnson’s decision.

The Prime Minister asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament on Wednesday. This means Parliament will not sit from between 9 and 12 September until a new Queen’s speech on 14 October, reducing the time MPs have to try and block no-deal.

‘Some way down the hill yet’

Ken Clarke says he’d topple the Government to prevent no-deal. (Photo: Channel 4 News)

Channel 4 News presenter Matt Frei asked Mr Clarke: “If the only way to stop a hard Brexit a no-deal Brexit is to bring down this Government in a vote of no confidence, would you take part in that?”

“Yes, but that is some way down the hill yet,” the MP for Rushcliffe responded.

After the presenter pressed him again, Mr Clarke said he would make the move “if it was the only way of stopping a no-deal exit and if the Government hadn’t got any sensible, grown-up policy on the subject to avoid it”.

“But it is important that I add, and you don’t edit out, that there are far more sensible steps to take first, like getting the majority in Parliament to come together to legislate and force the government to follow a more sensible and intelligent policy.”

Father of the House

Ken Clarke
Kenneth Clarke, who is 78, is the longest-serving MP and has held Cabinet posts under Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron (Photo: PA Wire)

When the 79-year-old, who is the “father” of the House of Commons, was asked what such a move would mean for his career in politics, he replied: “At my stage of my career, the idea that I have concern for the future of my own personal career, I think would be a little misguided.

“Without being too pompous. I will vote according to what I think is the national interest and also in accordance with what I think are the principles of the Conservative and Unionist Party, which I have been loyal and sometimes leading member for the last half-century. In fact, for 60 years a member of the party.”

The Tory grandee went even further in an interview with Sky News earlier on Thursday, saying he would back a Labour government lead by Jeremy Corbyn to try and block no-deal.

Read more:

What MPs can do to sop Boris Johnson’s prorogation plans 

“So long as it were absolutely certain we could keep Jeremy under control and he wouldn’t have the slightest chance of implementing any bits of his Labour manifesto, I hate to tell you but I probably would,” he told the broadcaster.

“But I don’t think it’s going to happen, because I must be one of a tiny number of Tories prepared to contemplate that.

“The unfortunate truth for Jeremy, who I get on quite well with, I don’t agree on anything political with him apart from a bit on Europe, is he’s a red rag to a bull on all sides. So he’s about the least suitable person you could imagine.”

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‘You can’t just kick me out’: Portuguese woman who has worked as carer in UK for 20 years interrupts Sky News broadcast

A Portuguese woman interrupted a live Sky News broadcast on Wednesday night to protest the Government’s decision to suspend Parliament saying she had “no voice” in the debate around Brexit despite working as a carer in the UK for 20 years.

The channel was broadcasting live from Westminister where many were protesting Boris Johnson’s decision to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament and restrict MPs attempts prevent a no-deal Brexit.

One woman was speaking on the channel when another interrupted her over her shoulder and gave a passionate monologue about the plight of many EU nationals in the UK.

‘I gave this country my youth’

The woman said she had worked in the UK for 20 years. (Photo: Sky News)

She cut in and said: “You have a voice, but I’m Portuguese, and I worked here for 20 years, and I have no voice, and the resettlement scheme is not working.”

The presenter asked her if she had participated in the protests sparked after Mr Johnson asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament from mid-September until 14 October.

She replied: “I have finally. I have because I need a voice. I worked and I gave this country my youth. I’m very grateful for what you taught me. But you must make me part of all these processes.”

“I can’t just be kicked out. I built things for you, I looked after your children, I looked after the elderly in this country. Now you kick me out with what, with what?”

“I am very, very hurt by what they’ve done to England, because I came here, and I joined the workforce. And I’m very proud of it. So I’m very angry at them for doing this to this country.”

Settled Status

The woman argued that she had ‘given this country her youth.’ (Photo: Sky News)

As she tried to leave, the presenter asked her what her experiences were with the EU settlement scheme. Only a third of the three million EU nationals in the UK have applied for Settled Status under the Government’s scheme.

She said that she had heard “nothing,” adding that: “They said my national insurance didn’t correspond to the right thing, and now they’re saying they have to start the whole process, 31 October is fast approaching. What am I going to do?”

“What am I going to do? How am I going to stay? What are my rights? I’m in the dark like many many people have left London because they were in the dark you know I have loads of English friends who would never do this to me.”

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Nicola Sturgeon says Boris Johnson suspending Parliament is ‘not democracy, it is dictatorship’

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon accused Boris Johnson of operating a “dictatorship” for his plans to suspend Parliament – which she says are intended to “force through a no-deal Brexit.”

Number 10 confirmed plans to suspend Parliament on from the second week of September until October 14, when there will be a Queen’s Speech to open a new session of Parliament.

The act, known as prorogation, has provoked outrage from opposition figures who will have a restricted timeframe to block a no-deal Brexit.

‘It is dictatorship’

Nicola Sturgeon accused Boris Johnson of running a ‘dictatorship.’ (Photo: BBC)

“This is absolutely outrageous,” Ms Sturgeon told the BBC, adding: “shutting down parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit – which will do untold and lasting damage to the country against the wishes of MPs – is not democracy, it is dictatorship.”

“If MPs don’t come together next week to stop Boris Johnson in his tracks, then I think today will go down in history as the day UK democracy died. This simply can’t be allowed to happen.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow interrupted his holiday to launch a tirade against the Prime Minister, calling his actions a “constitutional outrage”.

“However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country,” Mr Bercow said.

‘Prorogation’

Boris Johnson at the despatch box for the first time as Prime Minister (Photo: Jessica Taylor/UKParliament/PA Wire)
Boris Johnson at the despatch box for the first time as Prime Minister (Photo: Jessica Taylor/UKParliament/PA Wire)

Prorogation simply means the end of a parliamentary session. It automatically happens when an election is called, and is not necessarily a drastic constitutional move. But with Brexit looming on the 31 October the move is being viewed by the opposition as an attempt to restrict their ability to block his plans for Brexit.

Opposition leaders led by Jeremy Corbyn agreed at a meeting on Tuesday to use the moment when Parliament returns from its summer break on September 3 to work together on a new law to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Read more: what is prorogation and has it happened before 

The Prime Minister has repeatedly promised to take the UK out of the European Union on October 31, with or without a deal.

Mr Corbyn said: “I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend Parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit.

“This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.”

‘Ample time in Parliament’

MPs vote in the Commons. (Parliament TV)

But the Prime Minister said it was “completely untrue” to suggest that Brexit was the reason for his decision, insisting that he needed a Queen’s Speech to set out a “very exciting agenda” of domestic policy.

The move would also allow him to bring forward legislation for a new Withdrawal Agreement if a deal can be done with Brussels around the time of the European Council summit on October 17.

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 summit, ample time in Parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit, and all the other issues,” Mr Johnson said.

Asked whether the move was because he was planning a general election before the end of the year, Mr Johnson said: “No, what you should take from this is we are doing exactly what I said on the steps of Downing Street which is that we must get on now with our legislative domestic agenda.”

The public advocate was announced in the Queen's Speech
The Monarch attends the Queen’s Speech (PA)

The Commons was expected to sit in the first two weeks of September and then break for the conference recess – although opposition MPs had been planning to vote against leaving Westminster for the autumn party gatherings in late September and early October to allow more time to consider Brexit.

Mr Johnson’s move will now ensure that the Commons is not sitting during the period and MPs will return on the day of the Queen’s Speech.

Downing Street sources said only around four sitting days would be lost, although that was based on the conference recess being passed by MPs.

Mr Johnson said EU leaders were watching the actions of MPs and “it is only by showing unity and resolve that we stand a chance of securing a new deal that can be passed by Parliament”.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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Lib-Dem leader Jo Swinson says anti-no deal Brexit rebels are ‘looking to act as soon as possible’

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has said Parliament will be able to write new laws preventing Boris Johnson from forcing through a no-deal Brexit after opposition parties joined forces on Tuesday.

A cross-party group of around 160 MPs have signed a declaration to support doing “whatever is necessary” to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Swinson claimed the Commons will now have the power to tie Mr Johnson’s hands over the issue, with the help of a group of pro-EU Tory MPs who have promised to back legislation blocking a no-deal if an emergency debate is held under a rule known as Standing Order Number 24.

But the Government appeared to counter the MPs’ move on Wednesday by asking the Queen to suspend parliament just six days after it returns on 3 September, restricting the time MPs will have to vote on the laws to block a no-deal.

‘The legislative route’

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson waves on stage (Photo: Getty Images)

Jo Swinson told the BBC’s World At One programme on Tuesday: “The legislative route is the one where there is real agreement that that is the strongest and the best way for us to pursue avoiding a no-deal exit.

“There are various scenarios that we are looking at in terms of how to do that, and there are further meetings and discussions happening between members of the group in the next 48 hours to flesh out exactly what the strategy will be.

“But what is clear is there is a real sense of urgency, we don’t have time to lose, and so we are very much looking to act as soon as possible.”

Cross-party declaration

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts sign the cross-party declaratio. (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Meeting at Church House in Westminster on Tuesday, a meeting place for the House of Commons during the Second World War, the cross-party group of MPs signed what they are calling the Church House Declaration, backed by the Labour, the Liberal Democrats, The SNP, Plaid Cymru, and independent MPs.

Former Conservative ministers Guto Bebb, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah and Phillip Lee are among those who signed the document.

Read more:

What is prorogation?

Ms Swinson argued that more Tory MPs are planning to come onside, a significant threat to Mr Johnson who governs with a majority of just one in the Commons.

She said: “I know that there are several, indeed, I would say more than several Conservative colleagues who are very troubled by the idea of the government crashing us out of the EU without a deal.”

She added that some of those MPs “have already acted and voted against the Government to try to prevent that. And while parliament has been in recess, there have nonetheless been a lot of cross-party discussions taking place, both face to face and on the telephone and online”.

No majority for no-deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson issues a statement to the House of Commons (Photo: PA)

Former minister and ex-Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart has said he will vote against a no-deal Brexit, branding it “unnecessary and damaging” but said he was “hesitant” about the plans.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday: “I would definitely vote against a no-deal Brexit and I think it’s important to understand there’s never been a majority in Parliament for a no-deal Brexit, this is one of the fundamental facts that’s been true for months, but the second question is then what? And that’s where I think I probably disagree with some of these opposition MPs.”

Read more:

Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament from mid-September – leading to no-deal Brexit fears

Independent MP Luciana Berger who co-convened the Church House meeting told PA news agency she would back MPs meeting at an alternative location – such as Church House – if Parliament was prorogued in order to push through a no-deal Brexit.

She said: “There are lots of things that MPs collectively can do together and we will have to make that decision if and when that moment definitively presents itself.

“The challenge at the moment is the hint of prorogation. The Prime Minister has failed to rule it out.”

She added: “I wouldn’t purport to be an expert on (parliamentary rule book) Erskine May, but the fact that we come together in this place, where MPs have in the past come together, and it has been officially recognised, is indicative of the fact that it could take place again in the future.

“Ours is a people’s parliament. We live in a parliamentary democracy and I hope that parliamentary democracy will be respected and will continue into the decades and centuries ahead.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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Amazon fire: Ireland threatens to block EU trade deal with Latin American states if Brazil doesn’t ‘honour environmental commitments’

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will try to block a trade deal between the EU and the South American trading bloc Mercosur if Brazil “does not honour its environmental commitments”, amid widespread concerns over fires in the Amazon rainforest.

A record number of wildfires are taking place in Amazon, the rainforest that covers a vast swathe of the South American continent and much of Brazil, and produces around a fifth of the world’s oxygen according to figures from the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has gone on the offensive over the fires, with the populist leader suggesting NGOs are behind the blazes, which have increased by 85 per cent compared with last year, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. He has also claimed his government lacks the resources to fight the wildfires.

Amid growing international condemnation, the Irish PM said he would try to block the trade deal between European member states and the Latin American bloc, which consists of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, if Brazil’s environmental actions are not up to par.

Blaming NGOs is ‘Orwellian’ move

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he would try to block an EU-Mercosur trade deal. (Photo by Sam Boal – Pool/Getty Images)

“There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur free trade agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments,”  Mr Varadkar said in a statement.

“President Bolsonaro’s efforts to blame the fires on environmental NGOs is Orwellian,” he said.

“The Mercosur Deal is two years away from a vote on approval in Europe. During the course of these two years, we will monitor closely Brazil’s environmental actions.

“There is no way we can tell Irish and European farmers to use fewer pesticides, less fertilizer, embrace biodiversity and plant more of their land and expect them to do it, if we do not make trade deals contingent on decent environmental, labour and product standards,” he added.

Qualified majority

EU leaders during a European Council meeting on Brexit. (Photo : KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
EU leaders during a European Council meeting on Brexit. (Photo : KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Under existing qualified majority rules, Ireland would have to find three more EU member states in the European Council, that make up at least 35 per cent of the EU population, to successfully block the EU-Mercosur trade deal.

But Mr Varadkar is not the only EU leader to express concern about the situation, with French President Emmanuel Macron having already called for the G7 Summit – the group of the world’s biggest economies that is meeting in Biarritz this weekend – to tackle the issue.

He tweeted: “Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel also described the fires as an ‘acute emergency’ that should be discussed at the summit.
Fires, burning in the Amazon Rainforest, are pictured from space, captured by the geostationary weather satellite GOES-16 on August 21, 2019 Reuters

The deal, which was agreed in principle on 28 June, will eliminate €4bn in duties between the two blocs covering a population of 780 million people.

It will need to be ratified by the European Parliament and the 27 remaining member states, once the UK leaves, before it can come into force.

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John Humphrys and David Davis criticised for joking about domestic violence during interview

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter John Humphrys and former minister David Davis have come under fire for joking about domestic violence during an interview on Thursday morning.

The MP for Haltemprice and Howden and the veteran radio presenter cracked a joke at the beginning and end of the MP’s interview about punching each other, referencing a news item about domestic violence that had been heard earlier on air.

The story, which was read out as part of the 8am news bulletin on the programme, reported that a Russian participant in the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires had been disqualified from the competition for punching his wife, who was also his dance partner. The wife was not disqualified but had to pull out as she did not have a another dance partner.

‘Don’t punch me’

David Davis (L) and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (Getty Images)

Mr Davis said as the interview got underway: “I guess this is our last tango”, to which Mr Humphreys responded: “It is indeed, but I promise not to punch you if you don’t punch me.”

As the interview drew to a close the former Brexit secretary joked: “Our last tango was very pleasant and neither of us punched each other,” prompting a laugh from the presenter.

Backlash

The comments prompted an immediate backlash online. Labour’s shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler pointed to statistics showing that two women a week are killed by their partners in the UK, saying: “If fewer men treated domestic abuse as a joke, there might be less domestic abuse in this country.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant tweeted: “How on earth can it be right for John Humphrys to joke about a man punching his tango partner?”

Criticism also came in from other broadcasters, with Sky News’ Kay Burley tweeting: “I really, really like John Humphrys. I really, really don’t like him making jokes about a woman being punched by her dance partner.”

Humphrys to step down

John Humphrys has hosted the Today programme for 32 years (Photo: Getty)

In February this year, Mr Humphry’s announced he planned to step down from the morning news programme after 32 years in the role. He said he had not handed in his notice but intends to leave the role “this year”.

He admitted it was “not easy to leave a job you’ve been doing for 32 years,” adding that it was “more than my professional life”.

“It’s not like I’m an ambitious youngster with many, many more challenges ahead of me or something like that.

“I’ve always taken the view – and this is the problem in a way – that I would carry on doing it either until they threw me out or had enough of me, or that I’d got bored of it or stopped enjoying it.

“None of those things has happened.”

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Editor of Germany’s biggest tabloid predicts no-deal Brexit ‘with so many side agreements, that it’s basically a Brexit deal’

The editor of Germany’s most popular tabloid predicted that the outcome of the latest round of Brexit negotiations will be a no-deal Brexit with a number of side agreements that add up to a form of a deal.

Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild newspaper, told the BBC Newsnight programme that Angela Merkel will seek a solution to the Brexit problem that allows her to save face while still reaching an agreement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with the German chancellor in Berlin on Wednesday and will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday. The two leaders are considered the EU’s top power brokers in the union of 28 member states including the UK.

‘Basically a Brexit deal’

Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Bild, gave his predictions on Brexit. (Photo: BBC)

Mr Reichelt said that despite tough rhetoric on both sides: “I would predict that we will end up with something that is still no-deal Brexit, with so many side agreements, that it’s basically a Brexit deal.

“That is a classic way of Angela Merkel, not giving in, but giving in. You know, saying what everyone wants to hear and doing what most Germans want.”

Read more:

What is a no-deal Brexit? The consequences of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Merkel said: “If one is able to solve this conundrum, if one finds this solution, we said we would probably find it in the next two years to come but we can also maybe find it in the next 30 days to come.

“Then we are one step further in the right direction and we have to obviously put our all into this.”

‘A very blistering timetable’

Angela Merkel gave Boris Johnson a deadline of 30 days to find a formula for averting a no-deal Brexit
Angela Merkel gave Boris Johnson a deadline of 30 days to find a formula for averting a no-deal Brexit (Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty)

Mr Johnson said he was “more than happy” with the timetable proposed by his German counterpart.

“I must say I am very glad listening to you tonight Angela to hear that at least the conversations that matter can now properly begin,” he replied.

“You have set a very blistering timetable of 30 days – if I understood you correctly, I am more than happy with that.”

Mr Johnson told Ms Merkel that the backstop – a set of measures to avoid a hard border on Ireland – would have to go as part of further discussions, or else Britain was prepared to leave without a deal.

He said the backstop, which he has called “anti-democratic” would need to be removed “whole and entire” before a deal could be reached.

‘Internal democratic crisis’

Mr Johnson is braced for a cooler reception when he meets President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday in Paris
Mr Johnson is braced for a cooler reception when he meets President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday in Paris (Photo: ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty)

Mr Johnson is likely to face a tougher stance in his meeting with Mr Macron at the Elysee Palace on Thursday, with the French President telling journalists that renegotiating the backstop is out of the question.

He said: “We have to help the British deal with this internal democratic crisis but we must not be hostage to it nor export it.”

The PM will be back in France on the weekend to take part in the G7 summit that is being held in Biarritz on the country’s south-western coast.

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Minister Robert Jenrick defends Boris Johnson calling MPs opposed to no-deal Brexit ‘collaborators’

Housing minister Robert Jenrick faced an intense interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme after he tried to defend Prime Minister Boris Johnson for calling Tory rebels opposed to a no-deal Brexit “collaborators.”

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government appeared on the programme on Wednesday as Mr Johnson embarks on a European tour to try and convince EU leaders to alter the Withdrawal Agreement.

A week ago Mr Johnson accused members of his party trying to find ways of blocking a no-deal of “collaborating” with the EU. 

‘That’s a heck of a word to use isn’t it?’

Britain’s newly elected Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick leaves 10 Downing Street in London on July 24, 2019. (ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)

Presenter John Humphrys challenged the minister, saying: “he accused those who think they can block Brexit in Parliament of a terrible kind of collaboration with the European Union.”

“Do you agree with that, collaboration? That’s a heck of a word to use isn’t it?”

Mr Jenrick began to say “The point that the Prime Minister was making, which I hundred per cent agree with was…” before the presenter cut in to demand: “Do you agree with the word collaboration? Straightforward question.”

The minister said: “I agree with the Prime Minister because it is not in the national interest at this moment in time to undermine the Prime Minister’s hand as we enter this critical period of negotiations.”

The host asked: “So your colleagues in the Conservative Party are collaborators with the European Union. Is that what you say?”

‘You’re very well aware that was not the question’

John Humphrys is known for an aggressive interviewing style (Photo: Getty)

The MP replied: “What I’m saying is that all members of Parliament, particularly Conservatives, need to support the prime minister to help us in these final..,”

The presenter cut him off again saying: “Very different from the question I asked you . You’re very well aware that was not the question I asked you.”

“Well, you’re putting words into my mouth,” the minister responded.

“No, I’m not putting words into your mouth, I asked whether you agree with your Prime Minister and the leader of your party. That’s a perfectly straight forward question.”

“I’m explaining the Prime Minister’s words which I 100 percent support. I’ve always believed that you have to give the Prime Minister the strongest hand he can have in these negotiations. And that means ensuring that we leave on the 31 October, that is the only route to a real renegotiation in the weeks ahead.”

Boris Johnson’s trip

Boris Johnson's mission is to correct the misunderstanding that the UK parliament can avoid a no-deal Brexit, No10 said (Photo: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson’s mission is to correct the misunderstanding that the UK parliament can avoid a no-deal Brexit, No10 said (Photo: Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Mr Johnson is heading to Berlin and Paris to “see if there’s movement” on the European side in an effort to break the Brexit deadlock, no-deal planning chief Michael Gove has said.

The European Union has restated its “single united position” over Brexit ahead of the Prime Minister’s talks with the leaders of its most influential nations.

Mr Johnson is set to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later on Wednesday and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday in his first overseas trip since entering Number 10.

Mrs Merkel said she would use their talks to discuss how to achieve “the most friction-free British exit from the European Union possible” in order to protect economic growth.

The Prime Minister has called for the backstop, the contingency measures designed to ensure a soft border with Ireland remains in all circumstances, to be scrapped.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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HS2 review: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says Government under no obligation to ‘keep ploughing money’ into rail route

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the Government is under no obligation to “keep ploughing money” into the high-speed rail project HS2 after a review was announced of the infrastructure project.

The planned project, first linking London to Birmingham and then extending to Leeds and Manchester, has come under increasing scrutiny over spiralling costs.

The Government has announced that it is commissioning an independent review into the project to explore its merits and to see if costs could be reduced.

‘Ploughing more and more money into it’

Grant Shapps refused to rule out scrapping HS2 (Photo: BBC)

Mr Shapps told BBC News: “Just because you spent a lot of money on something should not mean that you just carry on ploughing more and more money into it.

“But what we’ve said and what Prime Minister made very clear during his leadership election is we want to see great infrastructure in this country, we want to see it stack up, we want to see it work for, you know, rail commuters, people right across the country.

“So we need to have a look at HS2, we need to make sure that it is under control, that the money is being well spent, if that is the way we go.

“And that is actually going to provide the benefits that the country wants. Until we’ve done that I can’t preempt the answer, until we’ve carried out that investigation.”

HS2 factors

HS2
High-speed rail HS2 (Photo: PA)

Former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglas Oakervee will lead the inquiry, with Lord Berkeley – a long-term critic of the high-speed railway scheme – acting as his deputy.

The DfT said the review, due by the autumn, will consider a number of factors relating to HS2, including its benefits, impacts, affordability, efficiency, deliverability, scope and phasing.

When pressed  on whether the project could be scrapped entirely, Mr Shapps said: “Well, clearly, you are going to look at something from scratch and you’re going to take into account all of the costs and all of the benefits… starting with a blank sheet, then of course the outcome could be any of these things.

“We want to build great infrastructure. That’s exactly our purpose. We believe in building infrastructure for the future. It’s got to be the right infrastructure. It’s got to be beneficial, for everybody, not just along the route, but for the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Cost reductions

An artist's impression of Birmingham's Curzon HS2 station (Photo: Grimshaw Architects/PA Wire)
An artist’s impression of Birmingham’s Curzon HS2 station (Photo: Grimshaw Architects/PA Wire)

The review’s terms of reference state that it will consider how much “realistic potential” there is for cost reductions by amending the scope of the project, such as reducing the speed of the trains and making Old Oak Common the London terminus “at least for a period”, instead of Euston.

It would also look at further changes to the route, including building only Phase 1, between London and Birmingham,  combining Phase 2a – extending the line to Crewe – with Phase 1 and altering plans for Phase 2b, which currently involves taking the line to Manchester and Leeds

The DfT said limited, largely preparatory work on the project will continue in parallel with the review.

The launch of the review comes amid growing concern that HS2 cannot be built to its current specification within the £55.7 billion budget.

A recent Financial Times report stated that HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook wrote to the DfT warning the final bill could reach as much as £85 billion.

The feared price hike is believed to be due to various factors including engineering costs, poor ground conditions, underestimating the cost to purchase land and property, and the expense of running trains at up to 225mph, which is faster than comparable projects.

‘The debate has gone round the houses too many times’

The Y shaped HS2 line will take place in three stages of development. (Source: Department of Transport)
The Y shaped HS2 line will take place in three stages of development. (Source: Department of Transport)

Industry groups, who support the project, criticised the review, which is the latest in a long-running debate around the project.

The Confederation of British Industry’s director of infrastructure, Tom Thackray, said: “The business message on HS2 is clear-cut – back it, build it, benefit from it. The debate has gone round the houses too many times.

“While it’s always helpful to review major projects like HS2 to ensure that value for money is delivered, the business case is well known.

“The approval of HS2 Phase One led to record levels of Foreign Direct Investment in the West Midlands, with more than 7,000 new jobs created in Birmingham as a direct result of HS2, and over 100,000 more. We have seen and are continuing to see similar benefits right across the proposed route.

“We firmly believe that committing to HS2 in full, once and for all, will spread the flow of investment across the Midlands, the North of England and into Scotland. The current poor connectivity in the North is a major obstacle to encouraging companies from growing in the region and is a barrier to inward investment.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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Brexit: Diane Abbott says Government’s plan to end freedom of movement will ‘make Windrush look like a blip’

Labour‘s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said that Boris Johnson’s plans to curtail freedom of movement on 31 October would “make Windrush look like a minor blip” as she claimed Labour would put in place “transitional arrangements”.

Mr Johnson has announced plans to stop freedom of movement overnight at the end of October in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Abbott criticised the plans, saying they would cause “chaos”, and said that Labour would still curtail the rights of EU nationals to enter the UK unimpeded – but in a more gradual way.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s going to create chaos, it’s going to be very problematic for business, but it’s going to be very difficult for EU nationals.

“There are currently three million here altogether, a million have registered for settled status, there’s no possibility of two million registering between now and the 31st October, and then those EU nationals that were here but haven’t registered for settled status will be in the exact same position as the Windrush people.

“There will be people that came here perfectly legally, but will not have the paperwork to prove that and will have all sorts of problems with employers and the NHS and so on.”

Diane Abbott criticised the Government’s plans for immigration post-Brexit. (Photo: BBC)

She added: “The way Boris is doing it is heading to a catastrophe (which) will make Windrush look like a minor blip.”

She said that Labour would stick by its manifesto commitment made in the run-up to the 2017 general election but would do so in a more managed way.

She said: “What should happen is what business and EU nationals want, which is more consultation, and a longer and more considered transitional process.”

“You’ve got to have a transitional process. That’s what EU nationals think, and that’s what business things, anything else is chaos.”

‘Settled status’

Home Secretary Priti Patel is planning to impose new restrictions on 31 October.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is planning to impose new restrictions on 31 October. (Photo: Reuters)

Downing Street confirmed on Monday that the right of European Union nationals to freedom of movement would end overnight on 31 October in the event of no-deal, doing away with Theresa May’s intention to avoid major restrictions on EU citizens’ movement until the end of 2020.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is working on a new immigration regime for EU nationals that will need to be in place in just over ten weeks.

The department is trying to encourage more of the 3 million EU nationals to apply for “settled status” before the UK leaves the EU.

Two-thirds are yet to request the status, raising fears that up to two million people could be left in a legal limbo when new rules come into force.

The Government insisted that EU nationals already in the UK would not be prevented from re-entering the country on 1 November even if they were yet to receive their new paperwork.

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Brexit Party candidate says Tory Remainers inspired him to visit Tower of London – and remember how UK ‘used to deal with traitors’

A Brexit Party parliamentary candidate has published a video on social media in which he claimed he wanted to take his children to the Tower of London to show them how the UK “used to deal with traitors committing treason”, while ranting about pro-EU Tory MPs.

Darren Selkus, the selected candidate for the constituency of Epping Forest, railed against Tory rebels opposed to a no-deal Brexit in a video he uploaded to his Twitter account on Saturday, claiming it inspired him to take his children to the Tower.

A group of Conservative MPs are thought to be planning to try and block a no-deal Brexit by toppling Boris Johnson’s Government in a vote of no confidence, which is expected to be brought by the opposition in the days after parliament resumes.

‘What do you do with traitors?’

In a tweet that had the text “What do you do with traitors?”, the candidate for Nigel Farage‘s party said: “Out walking the dogs on a beautiful Saturday morning, I was thinking what to do today with the kids.

“With all the news this week of the Tory Remainers, and rebels plotting with the opposition in Parliament to block the result of the referendum, stop us leaving the EU on the 31 October and denying democracy.

“I thought what better to do then take them down to the Tower of London and show them how the UK used to deal with traitors who are committing treason.”

The Tower, which served as a prison for close to 900 years, was the site of brutal torture and executions throughout much of its history, which peaked in the Tudor period. The heads of executed prisoners were often displayed on nearby London Bridge.

Facing a backlash online for the comments, Mr Selkus defended himself, and wrote on Twitter: “The point of my vlog that started all of this is Remain politicians are making a deal impossible by working directly or indirectly with the EU to keep us from leaving. The only word I can find to describe working against your country is ‘traitor’.”

‘Mr Selkus is referring to history, not the present’

The Tower of London during an art installation using poppies to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. (Photo: Getty)

A Brexit Party spokesman told i: “As is clear from the video, Mr Selkus is referring to history, not the present. This can be worked out by the phrase ‘used to’.

“We have come to a very pretty pass when even referring to historical fact can get one in trouble with those who police our language, our thoughts and our history.

“There is no suggestion that Mr Selkus is proposing such draconian measure when discussing those who have travelled across the channel to request that the EU makes life as hard as possible for the UK, in order that they can overturn the result of the biggest vote in our long and distinguished history.

“He was merely showing his children how things have improved for the better.”

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