Former UK chancellor: There’s no mandate for no-deal Brexit

Pulling the U.K. out of the EU without a trade deal would be as much of a betrayal of British voters as not delivering Brexit at all, according to former U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond.

“There is no mandate for leaving with no deal,” given the British public was told a divorce agreement with the EU “would be the easiest deal ever done,” Hammond told the BBC’s Today program.

“Leaving the EU without a deal would be just as much a betrayal of the referendum result as not leaving at all,” Hammond said. “It’s absurd to suggest the 52 percent who voted to leave the EU all voted to leave with no deal.”

The former chancellor, who resigned from the British government in protest at Boris Johnson’s stance on Brexit last month, said the PM had both privately and publicly said he could get a Brexit deal, “but I fear there are other people around him whose agenda is different.” The comments echoed an op-ed Hammond wrote for Wednesday’s Times, in which he lashed out at the “unelected people who pull the strings of this government.”

In the Today interview, Hammond took aim at the Johnson government’s decision to say the Irish backstop had to be cut from the Brexit deal.

“Pivoting to say that the backstop has to go in its entirety — a huge chunk of the Withdrawal Agreement, just scrapped — is effectively a wrecking tactic,” he said. “The people behind this know this means there will be no deal.”

Hammond reaffirmed his commitment to preventing no deal from being pushed through against the will of the parliament and warned against any move to suspend the House of Commons.

“Any idea of trying to bypass parliament by dissolving it for example and holing an election over the exit date would provoke a constitutional crisis,” Hammond said. Johnson has vowed to lead Britain out of the EU by October 31st, “do or die,” and refused to rule out suspending parliament in order to ram through a no-deal Brexit against the will of MPs.

Hammond also said the government’s no-deal preparation wouldn’t provide long-term solutions.

“Preparing doesn’t solve the longer term problems,” he said. Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal preparations, “is talking about an intervention fund to buy lamb and dispose of it … now that’s probably a perfectly sensible thing to do in the first few months … but you can’t do it five years later, 10 years later.”

Gove is reportedly planning to buy up surplus lambs from farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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UK Commons speaker pledges to fight suspension of parliament with ‘every bone in my body’

U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow vowed Tuesday to resist any attempt to shut down parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit.

“The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way,” he said at the Edinburgh festival, according to the Telegraph. “And if there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or — God forbid! — to close down parliament; that is anathema to me and I will fight it with every bone in my body to stop that happening.”

He added: “We cannot have a situation in which parliament is shut down — we are a democratic society. And parliament will be heard and nobody is going to get away as far as I am concerned with stopping that happening.”

A court is set to decide on September 6 whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson can prorogue — or suspend — parliament to prevent it from nixing a no-deal Brexit, after more than 70 peers and MPs launched a legal challenge seeking to prevent the move.

Johnson has vowed to take the U.K. out of the EU, deal or no deal, by the current Brexit deadline of October 31. He has refused to rule out suspending parliament to stop MPs using constitutional tactics to block his plans.

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Boris Johnson: UK-US trade deal will be a ‘tough old haggle’

Brokering a transatlantic trade deal won’t be easy but can be done, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday.

“It will be a tough old haggle, but we’ll get there,” Johnson told Sky News.

“In my experience, the Americans are very tough negotiators indeed,” he said, adding that the U.S. market “is growing very fast for the U.K., but they still ban haggis, for heaven’s sake.”

Johnson also said reaching a post-Brexit deal with the EU will be most important.

“The single biggest deal that we need to do is a free trade agreement with our friends and partners over the Channel.”

Johnson’s comments come a day after John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, said during a visit to the U.K. that the two countries could broker sector-by-sector deals to reach bilateral agreements “very quickly, very straightforwardly.”

Bolton’s comments have been dismissed by trade experts, who say piecemeal deals based on tariff reductions in one sector would not comply with World Trade Organization rules.

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Counter-terror chief: UK less safe under no-deal Brexit

No amount of preparation can mitigate the security threat of a no-deal Brexit, according to Scotland Yard’s top counter-terror official.

“There are lots of things we can do but they are no way near as good the systems that were developed,” Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told the Guardian, referring to the EU’s crime-fighting apparatus.

If the U.K. tumbles out of the EU without a divorce agreement, it could lose priority access to security and border management intelligence through the Schengen Information System II database, as well as passenger name records and European arrest warrants.

“We have done a lot of contingency planning to put things in place. But there are some things you can’t put in place. So there is no contingency planning for not being given passenger name records,” Basu said. “It would create an immediate risk that people could come to this country who were serious offenders, either wanted or still serial and serious offenders committing crimes in this country, and we would not know about it.”

He added: “There would be some damage to our safety. I can’t put a scale on that.”

If Britain leaves the bloc without a deal, it could take years for suspects to be returned under the 1957 European convention on extradition, in contrast with the six weeks it takes using a European arrest warrant.

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Nicola Sturgeon: We would join Labour in ‘progressive’ anti-Tory alliance

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will be partly responsible if the U.K. crashes out of the EU without a deal.

But she won’t rule out siding with the opposition party to oust the Conservatives in a general election.

“I’m no great fan of Jeremy Corbyn,” she told the Guardian in an interview. “If we do crash out without a deal, he will bear almost as much responsibility as Theresa May or Boris Johnson. I can’t see the SNP [her Scottish National Party] going into formal coalition with Labour.”

Nevertheless, she said the SNP would be open to “some kind of progressive alliance that could lock the Tories out of government.”

Sturgeon clarified that any future arrangement would not be “a blank check type scenario.”

“We would want Jeremy Corbyn to take a very firm anti-Brexit position. We would look to do what was right for Scotland.”

Sturgeon’s comments come after her acrimonious meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Scotland last week. While Johnson, a Brexiteer, has pledged to leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31, Sturgeon has been fiercely critical of Brexit, especially a no-deal scenario, saying it would be “catastrophic” for Scotland.

“I don’t think it will be surprising to anyone to hear me say that I wasn’t absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Boris Johnson as prime minister,” she said, adding she wants a second Scottish independence referendum by 2021.

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