Boris Johnson will give MPs a “my deal or no deal” ultimatum on Saturday after the EU ruled out another Brexit extension. The Prime Minister said “now is the moment for us to get Brexit done” after Britain and the EU came to a last-minute agreement in Brussels on Thursday morning. He made it clear that Saturday’s Commons vote on the deal will represent the final opportunity for Britain to leave the EU with a deal, otherwise a no deal Brexit will go ahead on Oct 31. But he faces a plot by a Remain alliance of opposition MPs and Tory rebels to make the deal conditional on a second referendum. They could table an amendment to Saturday’s so-called “meaningful vote” which would mean that if the deal passed, Brexit would be delayed while the country chose between the Johnson deal and Remain. Mr Johnson will try to get his deal through Parliament without the support of the DUP, which said it “drives a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement.
Boris Johnson flew back from Brussels with a Brexit deal last night and will spend the next 24 hours frantically trying to sell it to MPs before a historic Saturday sitting of the Commons. The prime minister failed to get the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on board, however, and now needs the support of Labour MPs, hardline Brexiteers and the Conservatives he expelled to win tomorrow’s vote. Labour MPs who have said that they want to support an agreement have already been contacted, with concessions on workers’ rights being offered in an attempt to persuade them to back the “great new deal”.
Boris Johnson is returning to Downing Street after securing a new Brexit deal at a crucial Brussels summit – but he has a fight on his hands to get MPs to back it. The stage is set for a Saturday vote in the Commons on the prime minister’s fresh agreement, with Mr Johnson hoping to succeed where predecessor Theresa May failed three times. However, the outcome remains in the balance. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – whose support is seen as imperative – has said it cannot back what is on offer.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will hang on less than a dozen votes in a dramatic Commons showdown on Saturday. The Prime Minister faces an uphill struggle to get his last-minute pact with Brussels past rebellious MPs. He will spend the next 24 hours desperately trying to persuade ex-Tory rebels, hardline Brexiteers and wavering Labour Leave MPs to help him finally get Brexit over the line. Mr Johnson pleaded: “We’ve been at this now, as I say, for three and a half years. It hasn’t always been an easy experience for the UK. It’s been long, it’s been painful, it’s been divisive.
Boris Johnson will today step up his frantic effort to get his Brexit deal passed by MPs as he warned Tory hardliners they face being stripped of the party whip if they fail to get behind him. The Prime Minister faces a knife-edge Commons vote tomorrow on what has been dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ as he attempts to get a majority for his agreement without the support of the Democratic Unionist Party. Even if he gets the backing of all 287 Tory MPs, he will need to win over 33 others to get the 320 votes he needs for a majority.
JEREMY CORBYN dismissed Boris Johnson’s new EU withdrawal agreement today as “even worse” than his predecessor Theresa May’s thrice-rejected deal. The Labour leader described the last-minute agreement between the British government and the EU as a “sell-out.” Following days of talks, the Prime Minister announced that a withdrawal agreement had been finalised with Brussels as he headed to a two-day summit of EU leaders. He said the deal would replace the “anti-democratic” backstop, which was a key reason for Ms May’s deal being repeatedly rejected by MPs, with the north of Ireland remaining aligned to some EU rules to avoid a hard border with the republic.
SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has immediately rejected Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. The SNP leader took to Twitter to confirm her party would not vote for the Prime Minister’s agreement. Ms Sturgeon also repeated her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum. She said: “Seems to me that no-one who voted against May’s deal on basis it lacked strong enough assurances about closeness of future relationship could possibly vote for this – much harder Brexit beckons if this deal passes. “For Scotland, this deal would take us out of EU, single market and customs union – all against our will.
The “Remain alliance” appeared in disarray on Thursday night as MPs failed to agree on a plan of action to thwart Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. After an initial plan to try to force a vote on a second referendum faltered in the afternoon, a new plan was being formulated in an attempt to force Mr Johnson to ask Brussels for a Brexit delay even if his deal gets through Parliament. The group of Labour MPs, Lib Dems and People’s Vote backers have decided against tabling a second referendum amendment on the deal.
Remainer MPs appeared last night to be backing away from forcing a vote on a second referendum tomorrow, despite winning the right to table amendments to Boris Johnson’s Brexit motion in the Commons. Although Labour now backs a second referendum in all circumstances, the party refused to confirm that it would use the historic Saturday sitting to try to impose a “confirmatory” vote condition on the prime minister’s deal getting through parliament. Shortly after the agreement was revealed, Jeremy Corbyn said that it was “an even worse deal than Theresa May’s”, which risks “triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights and opening up our NHS to a takeover.
Scotland’s highest civil court is set to consider a legal bid to stop the UK government from passing its proposed EU withdrawal agreement. Anti-Brexit campaigners believe it contravenes legislation preventing Northern Ireland forming part of a separate customs territory. Campaigner Jo Maugham QC confirmed the petition was lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Thursday. MPs are due to debate the agreement at a special Commons sitting on Saturday. Mr Maugham wants an interdict effectively suspending the deal.
A legal bid arguing Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is unlawful and attempting to prevent it being voted on by MPs is set to be heard at Scotland’s highest civil court. Campaigner Jolyon Maugham QC is behind the legal challenge which will be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. He argues the new deal contravenes a current law stipulating it is “unlawful for Her Majesty’s Government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain”.
Plans to attach a second Brexit referendum to Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement collapsed into chaos yesterday. Remainer MPs had hoped to amend the Prime Minister’s deal to add a ‘confirmatory’ public vote – ensuring it had to be approved by the public before Brexit could take place. But last night campaigners decided not to force a Commons showdown on the issue tomorrow as they are not confident that enough former Tory MPs will support them, sources said. Instead, they will attempt to defeat the PM’s deal first – then, if it fails, table a motion for a second referendum when more MPs are likely to vote for it. The plan to amend the deal is thought to have been quietly pulled in order to give it the best chance to succeed in future.
Exiled Tory MPs kicked out of the party by Boris Johnson are ready to deliver a fresh Brexit referendum if, as expected, his deal is defeated on Saturday, supporters of a public vote believe. The prime minister’s agreement was signed off in Brussels today, but opposition from the DUP means it looks set to fall in the Commons. Labour’s landmark decision to back a referendum on the prime minister’s agreement – combined with the determination of the Democratic Unionist Party to sink it – has been hailed as a “game changer”. Supporters of a Final Say vote are confident they now have the numbers, believing up to 15 of the sacked Conservatives will join them – but only, crucially, after the deal has gone down.
Pro-remain MPs are pulling back from plans to force a vote on attaching a second referendum to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on Saturday owing to fears that they do not have enough support. Leading supporters of a “people’s vote” had been planning to use so-called “Super Saturday” to test support for a second referendum. But sources close to the campaign said there was not enough backing among former Tories for the move to be successful. They denied that their pulling away from a vote was because the Labour leadership were lukewarm on the idea.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted that there can be no further delay to Brexit, as Boris Johnson urged MPs to “come together” behind the deal the pair agreed to take the UK out of the EU at the end of this month. The comment appeared designed to put pressure on MPs not to vote down the new withdrawal agreement and demand a second referendum in an emergency sitting of the Commons on Saturday. Despite immediate announcements from Labour and his DUP allies that they would not back the deal, the prime minister claimed to be “very confident” of securing victory in what is certain to be a razor-edge vote.
President Erdogan of Turkey and Hezbollah politicians in Lebanon are ordering the EU to “kneel” or watch as their countries “open the gates” for millions of illegal migrants. “Hey European Union. Pull yourself together,” warned the Turkish strongman, who used a failed coup against him in 2016 as an opportunity to hurl thousands of his political opponents and detractors into prison, over moves by the EU to condemn his recent incursion into Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria. “I say it again. If you try to label this operation as an invasion, it’s very simple: we will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” threatened the Islamist leader, prompting a round of applause from his audience.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday said his country would “use force” to protect its borders if Turkey followed through on its threat to “open the gates” of Europe to refugees. Orban, a staunch opponent of mass migration, made the comments during an appearance on Hungary’s HirTV. “The next weeks will decide what Turkey does with these people,” Orban said, referencing the 3.6 million Syrian refugees Turkey is currently hosting. At the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees entered Europe by way of the Balkan route. Hungary, which was on the frontlines of that wave, implemented strict border controls and a fence across its border. Turkey agreed to take in many of those refugees and ease the burden on Europe when it signed a deal with the EU in 2016 to seal off the Aegean route.
Donald Tusk has told the UK: “I hope you decide to return to the EU one day.” European Council president Mr Tusk, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Irish premier Leo Varadkar and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier were speaking at a Brussels press conference to mark the successful conclusion of Brexit talks with the UK government. But Mr Tusk, an outspoken critic of Brexit, could not resist floating the idea of Britain returning if MPs decide to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s agreement on Saturday.
The DUP has struck a major blow to Boris Johnson’s hopes of securing a Brexit deal by issuing a statement at dawn on Thursday which said they cannot currently offer their support. “As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT,” a DUP spokesman warned. So what does this rejection mean, and is there any hope of an 11th-hour agreement on Mr Johnson’s deal? Here we look in detail at the DUP’s key concerns and why they are sticking so firmly to their red lines.
The DUP made its bitterness with Boris Johnson clear last night, accusing him of being too willing to ‘drive a coach and horses’ through the Good Friday Agreement. After the Prime Minister agreed to a deal with the EU that it refused to support, the Democratic Unionist Party said Mr Johnson had been ‘too eager by far to get a deal at any cost’. Early yesterday morning, there were hopes the DUP could be brought on board when the party issued a statement saying it could not support the proposed deal ‘as it stands’
The details of the deal struck in Brussels lay bare why the Democratic Unionist Party believes it has been betrayed – and is likely to sink it at Westminster. In a stinging statement, Arlene Foster’s party accused Boris Johnson of undermining the union and the “professed sanctity” of the Good Friday Agreement. The Tories’ Northern Ireland allies protesting about the agreement in three areas – customs, consent and VAT. The DUP signed up to the prime minister’s proposals last week because they promised a Unionist veto at Stormont, allowing it to block – or later remove – alignment with EU customs and single market rules.
The Democratic Unionist party is reeling from accusations it was duped and betrayed by Downing Street over a Brexit deal that weakens Northern Ireland’s position in the UK. Rival unionists on Thursday said the DUP had committed a catastrophic miscalculation in trusting Boris Johnson, potentially putting Northern Ireland on a path towards a united Ireland. The DUP also risked isolation at Westminster where some Conservative Brexiters, who previously pledged solidarity with the DUP, signalled they would ignore the party’s opposition and vote for the deal in a Commons vote on Saturday.
Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for rejecting Boris Johnson’s EU deal soon after it was announced yesterday – almost half an hour before the details were revealed. The Labour leader, who has repeatedly promised to deliver the people’s wishes on Brexit, claimed the deal ‘should be rejected’ shortly after Mr Johnson revealed that an agreement had been reached. He described it as a ‘sell-out deal’ – even though the legal text of the withdrawal deal was not actually published for another 26 minutes. Mr Corbyn also confirmed he would support a referendum on the deal before it comes into effect – a proposition that would delay Britain’s leaving date further.
Knife crime has risen to its highest level in eight years with big increases in some rural areas of England and Wales. The trend helped to drive overall crime recorded by police to its highest level in 15 years, at more than six million offences in the 12 months to June. Meanwhile the proportion of offences resulting in a charge or summons fell to 7.4 per cent, the lowest rate in the five years the figure has been recorded. David Wilson, emeritus professor of criminology at Birmingham City University, said: “This is a dreadful set of figures showing the trend in crime is going only one way and that is upward.
Knife crime is continuing to rocket as shocking figures released today show more than 44,000 offences were reported last year. The number of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales rose by 7% on the previous 12 months, figures released by the Office for National Statistics show. The alarming figures also reveal a 4% rise in firearms offences, a 10% increase in pickpocking, an 11% rise in robberies and a 9% increase in public order offences.
KNIFE crime has risen by seven per cent in a year to hit an all-time high, official figures show. But fewer crime suspects than ever are being taken to court, separate data reveals. Police recorded 44,076 incidents involving knives or sharp instruments in England and Wales in the 12 months to June. Almost half of these were stabbings while 43 per cent were robberies. The total does not include figures from Greater Manchester Police — the UK’s third largest force — which records data differently.
A woman prosecuted for running an unregistered Islamic school has vowed to keep it open. Nadia Ali was fined and made to do 120 hours of community service last month after being convicted of illegally running Ambassadors High School in Streatham, south London. In only the second successful prosecution of an illegal school, Ofsted inspectors found that she and her father Arshad “wilfully neglected” safeguarding. The inspectors warned the pair in June last year that they believed the school was operating illegally. They found it was still open a month later.
Britain’s biggest doctors’ union is an “old boys’ club” in which female staff are regularly demeaned, patronised and sexually harassed, an investigation has concluded. The British Medical Association apologised yesterday after a report said that women at the trade union were undervalued and ignored. “Silly girls”, “little ladies” and “wee lassies” were terms men were found to have used to describe their colleagues, in an investigation whose findings were described as “appalling” by the organisation’s own leaders.
BRITAIN’S doctors’ union is an old boys’ club that treats women members as inferiors, a report says. Females in the BMA have had their bums and thighs fondled, while one was explicitly propositioned, a top QC found. Others were called “little ladies”, “naughty girls” and “wee lassies”. Some were not viewed as “real doctors” as they worked part-time. Others were told to make the tea. The findings emerged during an inquiry triggered by complaints of sexism and sexual harassment at the British Medical Association. Daphne Romney QC, who led it, blasted its toxic and “old boy’s club culture . . . which treats women as of less importance and ability”. She said women in the union felt “undervalued, ignored and patronised”.