A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced through parliament by rebel MPs. The prime minister was accused of presiding over an “elective dictatorship” after his ally Michael Gove refused to guarantee the government would obey a bill barring the government from pursuing a disorderly departure. In an astonishing admission, Mr Gove said “let’s see what the legislation says” when asked repeatedly whether the government would accept rebel legislation. Tensions have hit boiling point in Westminster ahead of a momentous week, as cross-party MPs are braced to go to war with the government over no deal. A rebel alliance, including several ex-Tory cabinet ministers, is expected to try to seize control of the order paper on Tuesday, in order to force through a backbench bill to delay Brexit before parliament is suspended the following week.
BORIS Johnson could ignore any new law to block a No Deal Brexit or simply find a way round it, Michael Gove has suggested. Rebel MPs will this week give Boris the fight of his career as they bid to try to stop the PM taking Britain out of the EU. They will take control of the Parliamentary timetable after MPs return to work on Tuesday and try to push through a new law in just days aimed at forcing Boris to seek a THIRD Brexit extension from the EU. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said this morning it could be their “last chance” to do so before Parliament is controversially shut down for five weeks. But Mr Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that he would wait and see what their plan was first before deciding how to stop it. He was asked whether Boris would obey Parliament’s law – if they were able to pass one. “Let’s see what the legislation says,” he replied.
Boris Johnson has delivered an ultimatum to Philip Hammond and other rebel Tory MPs, warning they would be expelled from the party if they join forces with Jeremy Corbyn to try to halt a no-deal Brexit this week. In a plan agreed by a dozen whips and Mr Johnson at a lunch in Chequers, any Tory MP who defies Number 10 will lose the party whip and be banned from standing in the next general election. The ultimatum could see a host of former ministers who are fighting a no-deal including Mr Hammond, David Gauke, David Lidington, Margot James, Anne Milton and Sam Gyimah being “purged” from the party. A senior source in Whips’ office said: “The whips are telling Conservative MPs a very simple message – if they fail to vote with the government on Tuesday they will be destroying the government’s negotiating position and handing control of Parliament to Jeremy Corbyn. “Any Conservative MP who does this will have the whip withdrawn and will not stand as Conservative candidates in an election.
Boris Johnson raised the stakes against Tory rebels last night by promising to remove the whip from any who vote to block a no-deal Brexit and ban them from standing as a Conservative candidate at the next election. The prime minister issued the threat as opposition leaders and some Tories prepared to force through legislation compelling the government to secure another delay if there was no agreement with the European Union. No 10 is braced for John Bercow, the Speaker, to allow the coalition opposed to no-deal to seize control of the Commons agenda as soon as MPs return from their summer break tomorrow.
Tory MPs who support attempts to block a no-deal Brexit will have the party whip withdrawn and barred from standing as Conservative candidates at the next general election. The dramatic threat to effectively expel potential rebels from the party is being issued by Tory whips ahead of a critical week in parliament for Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans. Withdrawing the whip would see MPs keep their seats in parliament but sit in the Commons as independent MPs. The prime minister has promised the UK will leave the EU on 31 October – even if a Brexit deal cannot be agreed with Brussels ahead of the Halloween deadline.
BORIS Johnson has declared all-out war against Tory Remainers by telling them they will be thrown out of the party as early as Tuesday night if they try to block a No Deal Brexit. The PM has opted to threaten the ultimate sanction in an 11th hour bid to deter up to 22 Tory MPs from backing the so-called ‘Remainer Alliance’ bid to change the law this week. He has deployed his whips to deliver the “very simple message” to Tory MPs on Monday that failing to vote with the Government on Tuesday will be “destroying the Government’s negotiating position and handing control of Parliament to Jeremy Corbyn”. A senior source from the Whips’ Office said on Sunday night: “Any Conservative MP who does this will have the whip withdrawn and will not stand as Conservative candidates in an election.”
Boris Johnson tonight vowed to boot out any Conservative MPs who try to block a No Deal Brexit. Likely rebels are being warned they will have the whip withdrawn if they join up with the Opposition this week. This would stop them standing as Tory party candidates at a general election that could be called within days. The rebels were due to meet the Prime Minister for ‘peace talks’ on Monday afternoon but he pulled out. An insider said he felt there was no point in speaking to them. The summit, due to be held at Chequers between Mr Johnson and rebel Remain Tory MPs such as David Gauke, was abruptly cancelled due to ‘diary issues’, a source claimed. Former justice secretary Mr Gauke said he would risk the threat of having the whip withdrawn by his own party by continuing to fight against No Deal.
Conservative Brexiteers could mount a challenge to John Bercow at the next election to punish him over claims that he is biased towards Remainers. By tradition the Commons Speaker is not opposed by the main parties in a general election, in recognition of the role’s independence. However, mounting anger over Mr Bercow’s willingness to help the government’s opponents has prompted calls for a Conservative rival to stand in his Buckingham seat. Mr Bercow interrupted his holiday in Turkey last week to issue a statement in which he condemned the planned prorogation of parliament for five weeks as a “constitutional outrage”.
LOYALIST Tory MPs yesterday threatened a new attempt to topple Commons Speaker John Bercow after accusing him of “blatant Brexit bias”. Backbenchers called on party chiefs to ditch the convention of allowing the Speaker to stand unopposed in his Commons constituency as punishment for controversial rulings in Parliament. The bid to oust Mr Bercow at the next general election comes ahead of crunch Brexit debates at Westminster where the official is set to play a key role. He has denounced Boris Johnson’s move to cut short the current parliamentary session as a “constitutional outrage” and held talks with leading pro-Brussels Tory rebel Sir Oliver Letwin. Tory MP David Davies yesterday demanded an end to convention that allows the Speaker to stand for re-election to the Commons without rival candidates from the main parties contesting his seat.
FURIOUS Tory MPs are plotting to revive their attempts to remove controversial Commons Speaker John Bercow. They are furious that he appears to have taken sides in the row over the decision to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament. Mr Bercow interrupted his luxury holiday in a four-star hotel in Turkey to issue a statement branding the move a “constitutional outrage”. He said: “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 also accused the PM of undermining his democratic credentials.
Ireland has said it cannot agree to Boris Johnson’s demands just for his “political convenience”, giving the lie to fresh claims that the EU was about to compromise on the Irish border backstop. In an interview in Dublin, the deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, strongly criticised Johnson’s aggressive approach, saying Ireland would not take its instructions from No 10 just because of the threat of havoc all round. “What we are not in the business of doing is essentially being told by a British prime minister that this is the way it is now, and that because of the British parliament insisting on something, that everybody else then has to accept that, or else the house of cards gets pulled down for everybody,” he told the Sunday Business Post. Coveney, who has just returned from a week-long tour of EU capitals, said support for Ireland was solid across the bloc, despite the efforts by the UK to split EU leaders. “There isn’t a single EU member state putting pressure on Ireland to move away from that position, despite the fact that the UK has spoken to all of them and used all of the persuasion that they can muster to actually move countries away from that position,” he said.
The EU’s lead Brexit negotiator has rejected Boris Johnson’s demands for the Irish backstop to be scrapped. Michel Barnier said the backstop – intended to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland – was the “maximum flexibility” the EU could offer. Mr Johnson has previously told the EU the arrangement must be ditched if a no-deal Brexit was to be avoided. Meanwhile, the PM has told rebel Tories they face a “fundamental choice” of siding with him or Jeremy Corbyn. His comments come as some MPs who oppose a no-deal Brexit – including Conservatives – are planning to take action in Parliament next week.
MICHAEL GOVE has slapped down EU negotiator Michael Barnier’s promise to keep the Irish backstop despite Boris Johnson branding it unacceptable. Mr Barnier wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that the backstop measures, which are aimed at preventing a hard border across Ireland, represented the “maximum flexibility” that Brussels can offer. But Brexit minister Mr Gove played down Mr Barnier’s influence and said the EU commission “ultimately does as the member states decree”. He added that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” and grounds for optimism about a compromise. Mr Johnson also restated his case for a hard Brexit, telling The Sunday Times the country needed to “come out of the incarceration of the backstop”. He said: “Everybody understands what is wrong with the current withdrawal agreement: it keeps the UK locked into the EU.
MINISTERS are to overhaul fishing rules after Brexit to stop more than a million tons of unwanted fish being dumped back in the sea thanks to EU rules, the Government confirmed yesterday. The Department for the Environment pledged to review regulations covering the UK’s territorial waters after an investigation revealed that fishermen are continuing to discard catches despite a recent ban on the practise. BBC Inside Out South West broadcast video evidence showing the dumping taking place. Under the recently established laws, fishermen are no longer supposed to “discard” fish when they catch more than their quota allows. The campaign was brought to the fore by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who argued that the EU’s quota system meant fishermen were compelled to discard fish that were too young, overfished or species for which they did not have a quota. New laws introduced following his campaign mean fishermen have to bring species covered by EU quotas back to shore.
More than 100,000 patients a year are diagnosed with cancer too late because of NHS staff shortages, a report warns today. One in ten diagnostic posts is vacant, leaving hospitals unable to cope with a rising number of referrals. It means nearly half of all patients are diagnosed when their cancer has spread, dramatically reducing their chance of survival. Cancer Research UK, the charity behind the report, said more money should be spent on recruiting oncologists and radiologists. It said thousands more are needed if the Government is to meet its pledge of diagnosing three in four cancer patients at an early stage by 2028. The report said 115,000 cases were spotted at advanced stages in 2017.
More than 100,000 cancer sufferers missed out on early diagnosis in one year, largely due to staffing pressures, a charity has said. Around 115,000 patients in England were diagnosed with stage three or four cancer in 2017, according to Cancer Research UK. The figure, from Public Health England, could be larger as for 19% of patients there is no record of what stage their cancer was diagnosed. The charity said staff shortages are a large contributor to delays and Government inaction is “crippling” the NHS.
Shoppers will be offered on-the-spot NHS heart checks to detect signs of killer conditions. High street pharmacies will be overhauled under the national plan to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade. The country’s most senior doctor said the new approach would be a “game changer,” helping to identify risks far earlier, with advice on lifestyle overhauls as well as targeted medication. Pilot schemes have seen some types of strokes fall by a quarter. From October, chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If successful, the scheme will be rolled out to every pharmacist in the country within three years.
High street pharmacists are to offer shoppers on-the-spot health checks as part of an NHS drive to cut heart disease. NHS bosses announced last night that free blood pressure checks, cholesterol tests and mobile heart scans will be offered in pharmacies from October. The announcement – timed to coincide with the world’s largest meeting of cardiologists which is taking place in Paris this week – is part of an NHS plan to prevent 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade. Experts speaking at the European Society of Cardiology congress said the new approach will help reach the millions who are at risk yet rarely go to their GP so have no idea of the danger. Pharmacists will be encouraged to offer the checks to customers – although it will be up to them who they target.
High street pharmacies in England will offer on-the-spot heart health checks from next month as part of plans to save 150,000 lives over the next decade. The drive by NHS England to reduce the number of people suffering heart attacks and strokes involves a “rapid detection service” through which shoppers will be offered free health checks while buying everyday toiletries and over-the-counter medicines at a pharmacy. The checks, which will also be available on request, will be directed at people who may be unaware they are at risk and tend to avoid going to the GP, with experts saying they could particularly benefit middle-aged men. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels will be assessed, with mobile electrocardiograms used to spot irregular heartbeats.
Boris Johnson has pledged an extra £1billion to help deal with England’s social care crisis. And the Prime Minister said there would be more money to come as part of a wholesale review of the care system. The extra cash is part of a £3.5billion boost for town halls – the first real-terms rise in their budgets for a decade. Downing Street said Wednesday’s announcement would be the ‘biggest, most generous spending review since the height of Tony Blair’s New Labour’. ‘We are putting a billion pounds more into social care to address that issue and there’ll be more – a huge amount of work is going into that now,’ Mr Johnson told The Sunday Times. The £1billion pledge for social care matches the amount demanded by the independent Health Foundation to stabilise the system and create a platform for necessary long-term changes.
Starting salaries for teachers are to rise by more than £6,000 under government proposals to reform pay. The minimum salary for teachers in England and Wales is £23,720, or £29,664 in inner London. The Department for Education (DfE) has said that salaries for new teachers would rise to £30,000 by 2022-23. Teaching unions have welcomed the news, saying that it would help to make teaching a more appealing career choice, but they added that the government also needed to improve pay for experienced teachers to reduce the rate at which they leave the profession. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, will set out the proposal in a letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body.
Bullying has a “shocking” impact on young people’s mental health – and it happens to more than half of pupils during their time at school, new research suggests. Of the 57% of young people who say they have been bullied at school, 78% have been left feeling anxious as a result of the experience and more than half (56%) have not been able to sleep at night. The figures were released ahead of the start of the new school year by anti-bullying charity The Diana Award, which is supported by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex and was set up in memory of their mother. The survey, which polled more than 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds, also suggests that 40% of young people are worried about going back to school because of bullying, while only 23% think their school is good at tackling the issue.
British Airways is preparing to crack down on perks enjoyed by striking pilots as it became clear that the majority of the airline’s flights are likely to be cancelled during a walkout next week. The carrier is considering removing travel allowances from pilots who take part in the strike amid fears that it will cost the airline up to £40 million a day. All BA staff with more than six months’ service can buy “standby” tickets for themselves and up to three family members for 10 per cent of the full fare plus airport taxes. After five years they are also eligible for an annual business class flight with their family to any worldwide destination, for which they only pay airport taxes.