Michael Gove has triggered No Deal Brexit contingency planning after MPs voted to force the Government to request a delay to Article 50. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster insisted that the UK would leave the EU by October 31 despite the setback. But he said he would begin Operation Yellowhammer – the Government’s preparations for a departure without a deal. Hundreds of civil servants were last night moved from their regular duties to join the operations. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘We have now entered the final, most intensive stage of the Government’s preparations for leaving the EU without a deal.
Michael Gove has triggered the government’s Operation Yellowhammer contingency plan to put in place measures to cope with a no-deal Brexit. Mr Gove – who was appointed no-deal supremo in Boris Johnson’s cabinet – said that the risk of the UK crashing out of the European Union without a deal on 31 October had been increased by the prime minister’s dramatic House of Commons defeat on Saturday. He warned MPs that the European Council may not grant the extension to the Brexit process requested by the prime minister or may delay their decision beyond the Halloween deadline on which the UK leaves with no deal by default.
Michael Gove has triggered official contingency plans for no deal, as the government manoeuvred to try to pressure MPs into backing its Brexit deal by invoking the threat of the EU refusing to grant another departure extension. Gove, whose cabinet role involves leading on no-deal preparations, said the government had begun the Operation Yellowhammer contingency plan, and that he would chair the no-deal cabinet subcommittee later on Sunday. “The risk of leaving without a deal has actually increased because we cannot guarantee that the European council will grant an extension,” Gove told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show.
A PROMINENT Brexit campaign group says an EU exit without ties would ensure the UK leaves the bloc on Halloween – and will save British fishing from the shackles of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Boris Johnson secured a deal with EU, before bringing it to Parliament for a special sitting on Saturday. The Prime Minister’s deal was overruled by the Letwin amendment – wish forces the Prime Minister to seek an extension to Article 50 from Brussels. Campaign group Fishing for Leave (FFL) is fighting to take back control of British waters and the fishing industry connected to it.
Boris Johnson’s hopes of winning a clear majority for his Brexit plan faced a new threat on Sunday night as Labour declared that it would seek the backing of rebel Tories and the DUP for amendments that would force him to drop the deal – or accept a softer Brexit. As both sides sought to gather parliamentary support after Saturday’s vote to force Johnson to seek a new delay to the UK’s departure from the European Union, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said Labour was prepared to talk to the prime minister’s former allies in the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) about forging a better deal.
Boris Johnson will launch a renewed attempt to push his Brexit deal through Parliament as a rebel alliance of MPs pledged to fight a “guerilla war” to stop Britain leaving the EU by the end of the month. The Prime Minister will demand that MPs are allowed a straightforward vote on his deal after Oliver Letwin, a former Conservative Cabinet minister, conspired with Labour to destroy an historic weekend sitting of Parliament which had been expected finally to approve Brexit. Amid growing fears that MPs will continue to thwart attempts to approve the deal, Downing Street is drawing up plans to force a general election which could take place as soon as Nov 28.
The DUP has threatened to unite with Labour to back a customs union this week as it warned it will unleash “guerilla warfare” to bring down Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. In a move that could torpedo the Prime Minister’s strategy for delivering Brexit by Oct 31, senior DUP figures have threatened to back proposals which could prevent the UK from pursuing its own trade policy. Should MPs back an amendment for customs union this week, Mr Johnson could be forced to pull the legislation required to ensure the UK leaves the European Union on time.
Labour has invited the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for talks about amending crucial Brexit legislation. MPs – including the DUP – voted on Saturday to withhold approval of a new Brexit deal until the necessary laws to implement it are passed. Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said his party’s “door is open” to the DUP. The DUP said it plans to hold further talks with the government this week to see how unionists can be reassured about the consent mechanism.
Downing Street has accused Labour of trying to “frustrate and cancel Brexit” after the party announced plans to hijack Boris Johnson’s deal with amendments for a second referendum and customs union with the EU. A cabinet minister told The Times that the amendments, which will be voted on tomorrow, have the potential to “kill” the prime minister’s deal and could leave him with no choice but to accept an extension and make a renewed push for a general election. Mr Johnson was required at the weekend under the terms of the Benn act to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension.
Downing Street last night accused Labour of trying to cancel Brexit by sabotaging withdrawal legislation. Boris Johnson wants to push his deal through the Commons by the end of this week to avoid Brussels offering another extension. But Labour plans to hijack the Government’s legislation with amendments to keep Britain tied to the EU’s customs union – and to set up a second referendum. The Democratic Unionist Party sparked further panic in No 10 last night by hinting that its ten MPs might support the customs union plan.
Labour will whip its MPs to back a second referendum on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal during the passage of ratification legislation through parliament, shadow cabinet minister Sir Keir Starmer has said. But the shadow Brexit secretary said any amendment was likely to be tabled by backbench MPs rather than the Labour leadership, in order to try to enable the broadest possible cross-party coalition in the House of Commons. Starmer indicated that Labour could vote for the prime minister’s deal with a referendum attached in order to force a Final Say vote. “Of course we need an amendment to say that whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum where that deal is put to the public and they’re asked ‘do you want to leave on these terms, or would you rather remain in the EU’,” Starmer told BBC!’s Andrew Marr Show.
BORIS JOHNSON’s Brexit deal could be hijacked by Jeremy Corbyn next week as Labour plans to whip MP’s support with amendments for a second referendum and a customs union with the EU. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said that Labour backs an amendment which demands a confirmatory vote on any deal. The amendment is also expected to be tabled by backbenchers. Labour also made a publicly asked the DUP to back an amendment to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU.
Labour will back an official bid for a second EU referendum this week, the party’s Brexit chief has declared. Sir Keir Starmer said it is “inevitable” that MPs will table an amendment in Parliament to Boris Johnson’s deal in the coming days to ensure any final decision is put to the people. He admitted a referendum would “probably” take about six months to arrange. But speaking after organisers claimed a million marched for a ‘People’s Vote’, he suggested it was worth the wait because the question is “fundamental”.
John Bercow and Boris Johnson are on a collision course this evening ahead of a crunch showdown in the House of Commons tomorrow. Mr Johnson wants to try to force another ‘meaningful vote’ on his Brexit deal after his first attempt was scuppered yesterday. But the Commons Speaker is considering whether the vote should be allowed to go ahead amid growing speculation he will block the Prime Minister. Parliamentary rules dictate that MPs are not supposed to vote on the same motion more than once.
Boris Johnson is set for a showdown with Commons Speaker John Bercow today, with the prime minister expected to push for a so-called “meaningful vote” on his Brexit deal. It is possible that Mr Bercow could block the government’s move, and rule that the vote cannot be repeated so soon because it effectively happened on Saturday. Last week, the Speaker had told MPs that the “apparent purpose” of Monday’s vote was to “invalidate or obviate” the effect of an amendment by Sir Oliver Letwin, which means that MPs will withhold their approval for Mr Johnson’s deal unless and until he has passed all necessary legislation to implement it.
JOHN Bercow has been warned by one of his own deputies that his behaviour has “strayed” from the rule of law over Brexit in an outspoken attack. Dame Eleanor Laing, who often sits in for Mr Bercow in the Speaker’s chair, has urged the role to return to one that is an “independent anchor… unaffected by an allegiance to any political objective”. Dame Eleanor, a Conservative MP who has thrown her hat into the ring to replace Mr Bercow, added “the occupant of the Chair can only earn respect by showing respect” when talking about “aggression and arrogance” shown at Prime Minister’s Questions.
The People’s Vote campaign has been hit by an internal power struggle as leaked emails apparently reveal a plot by senior Blairites to depose the chairman of one of its main groups. The emails show attempts by Labour’s former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and former Number 10 spin doctor Alastair Campbell to seize control of the campaign from Roland Rudd, chair of the Open Britain, the most powerful group within the People’s Vote coalition. In one email, Mr Campbell reportedly said of the secret power struggle with Mr Rudd, who is the brother of former Conservative Cabinet minister Amber Rudd: “I do not see how this gets done without a public battle and it should happen soon and be fast and brutal.”
Labour is ready to whip its MPs to back a second Brexit referendum in crucial votes over the coming days, in what backers said was a “significant” step forward in the push for a public vote. The confirmation from the shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, that Labour will allow Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal through parliament if it is subject to a confirmatory referendum came after up to 1 million people took to the streets of London to demand a Final Say. And in just 24 hours after the giant People’s Vote march, more than 200,000 signed a letter to MPs, MEPs and European leaders urging them to ensure that any Brexit deal is put back to the British people before coming into effect.
The French government has demanded a prompt “yes or no” from Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as European capitals appeared split on Sunday night over an extension and its duration. Amelie de Montchalin, Emmanuel Macron’s European affairs minister, on Sunday urged MPs to deliver a verdict so that European leaders can gather to discuss whether to grant a delay. Speaking after MPs voted on Saturday to delay Brexit for a third time, Ms de Montchalin told reporters that “we should stop believing that it’s in everybody’s interests to put everything on hold for six months”.
The EU is considering a Brexit ‘flextension’ that could last until next year – but will delay a decision until it has seen whether Boris Johnson has Commons backing for his new deal, it emerged last night. Brussels is still hoping the Prime Minister can deliver on his promise of passing the legislation necessary to turn the deal into law within the next ten days. This would negate any need for another delay beyond October 31 in the UK’s departure date. Following a meeting of EU ambassadors yesterday morning, one senior diplomat told the Daily Mail this would be the ‘best case scenario’.
KEIR STARMER has concocted a Labour plot to this week force through a second Brexit referendum after the prime minister distanced himself from a letter asking the EU for an extension. The Government could hold a so-called “meaningful vote” on its agreement as early as Monday if Commons Speaker John Bercow allows it. Labour said it will push for another EU referendum when Boris Johnson brings his revised deal to the Commons. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer left open the possibility that the party could back Mr Johnson’s deal if a public vote was attached to it.
Britain was today urged to ‘finally reach a decision’ on Brexit and provide a ‘yes or no’ on Boris Johnson’s deal as EU politicians hinted they might not grant a further delay. Mr Johnson last night sent an unsigned request to extend the Brexit process, along with two further letters which make clear he opposes such a delay. While Brussels decides how to respond, the PM will try to force his deal through Parliament this week – setting up a series of knife-edge votes at Westminster as he attempts to meet his October 31 deadline to deliver Brexit.
EU leaders have decided to give Boris Johnson breathing space by refusing to reply to his request for a Brexit extension until next week. The Prime Minister wrote to Brussels on Saturday night asking to delay Britain’s leaving date by three months, despite claiming he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than miss the 31 October deadline. He was forced to write the letter – which he accompanied with two more documents making it clear he does not want the extension to be granted – after failing to pass his Brexit deal in the House of Commons on time. If the 27 other leaders of EU member states decide to offer Britain an extension, Mr Johnson is legally bound to accept.
The European Union will delay Brexit until February 2020 if Boris Johnson is unable to get his deal past MPs this week, according to reports. Diplomatic sources quoted by The Times said a delay would be “fungible” – meaning Britain could leave on select earlier dates if the PM’s deal is ratified by then. A decision on granting an extension to the October 31 deadline will not be made until EU governments have assessed the chances of the deal getting through Parliament before Tuesday this week, according to the publication.
Boris Johnson believes that he “has the numbers” to ram his deal through the Commons by the end of the week, although the EU is preparing to delay Brexit until February if he fails. The prime minister will today announce plans for late-night sittings of MPs and a weekend sitting in the Lords to enable a withdrawal and implementation bill, which would turn his Brexit deal into law, to clear all stages in parliament and gain royal assent. The EU is waiting to see whether the bill makes it through the second reading, scheduled for tomorrow, before deciding whether to offer an extension.
The leader of the Spanish opposition party Ciudadanos on Sunday demanded Madrid impose direct rule in Catalonia after days of separatist protests, as he led a pro-Spain counter-demonstration in Barcelona. Albert Rivera, the head of the centre-Right party, called on Spain’s Socialist Party government to end the “chaos”, suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and remove its president, Quim Torra, from office. “Torra must be sacked. What are they waiting for when there is an article in the Constitution that allows for this?” Mr Rivera said to a crowd of some 2,000 people.
The boss of the NHS has declared an air pollution “emergency” as a major study today shows it causes hundreds of heart attacks and strokes every year. Simon Stevens says we must act now to avoid so many “avoidable deaths” after figures reveal days of high air pollution trigger an extra 124 cardiac arrests, 231 stroke admissions and 193 hospitalisations for asthma across nine major UK cities each year. Health charities today warn the figures could be just the “tip of the iceberg”, as often those suffering asthma attacks do not go to hospital.
The level of a toxic gas produced by diesel engines has fallen by a third in central London since charges for the most polluting vehicles were introduced. The results show that charging can cut nitrogen dioxide and will put pressure on other cities to introduce similar schemes targeting pre-2016 diesel and pre-2006 petrol cars. This newspaper’s Clean Air for All campaign is calling for charging zones in other cities with illegal air quality, including Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle and Derby.
Britain is living through a ‘health emergency’ caused by polluted air, an NHS chief has warned. Air pollution contributes to 36,000 deaths a year in England and causes significant health risks, it is claimed, with rates of cardiac arrests, strokes and severe asthma all rising as a result. Experts at King’s College London found that significantly higher numbers of hospital admissions for these three health conditions occur when poor air levels spike. The researchers stressed these short-term effects are in addition to the long-term impact of air pollution, which is estimated to contribute to heart disease, dementia and respiratory conditions.
The HS2 rail project is struggling to find the water supply it needs to tunnel through the Chilterns as conservationists worry that the project could harm ecologically vulnerable chalk streams. HS2 Ltd, the company behind the proposed high-speed rail link, told The Times it was in talks with Affinity Water, which services the Chilterns area, to supply up to eight million litres a day for about two years. The water is critical for plans to dig six miles of tunnel, which will involve dissolving the soluble chalk of the Chiltern hills into a slurry. Affinity said it had told HS2 that it was unable to meet its water requirements.