31 October

Express
BORIS JOHNSON has been told by Express.co.uk readers take the UK out of the European Union with a no deal Brexit on October 31 as Brussels continues to frustrate by keeping Britain waiting on a possible delay. Brexit enters arguably its most crucial week to date since the EU referendum took place in June 2016. The European Union has yet to make a decision on whether to postpone the UK’s departure from the bloc past Thursday’s deadline. But in a further dramatic twist, French President Emmanuel Macron has thrown the plans into serious doubt after he vowed to block Brussels from giving Britain more time unless MPs support Boris Johnson’s call for a December 12 general election. Now you have demanded the Prime Minister take the UK out of the EU without a Brexit deal in place on October 31 – showing the growing frustration among Britons over the continued crisis.

GE

Telegraph
Boris Johnson is increasingly confident of forcing a December general election after signalling he would accept a Brexit compromise put forward by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. The Prime Minister will on Monday night ask MPs to vote for an election on Dec 12, with the promise of more time to scrutinise his Brexit divorce Bill, but opposition parties are refusing to back 
him, meaning he is unlikely to get the majority he needs. On Sunday, however, he was handed a lifeline by the Lib Dems and SNP, who proposed holding a general election on Dec 9 if the EU extends Article 50 until Jan 31 and Mr Johnson promises to 
adhere to the extension. It would mean Mr Johnson’s deal being put on hold until after an election, but Downing Street hinted the plan put forward by Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, was likely to become the Government’s plan B if it lost Monday’s vote in the face of Labour opposition.

Independent
The chances of a pre-Christmas general election are rising after Boris Johnson revealed a “plan B” to send the UK to the polls, if he suffers his expected defeat in the Commons on Monday. For the first time, Downing Street said it is ready to explore “all options” – including new legislation – to persuade MPs to back a snap ballot, even if that means abandoning its own Brexit deal. The shift came after the dramatic move by the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party to back an early election, provided the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is shelved and the threat of a no-deal Brexit removed.

Sun
MPs will vote later on whether to back Boris Johnson’s call for a general election on 12 December as the EU gathers to consider whether to grant a Brexit extension. The prime minister has told MPs he will give them more time to scrutinise and debate the Brexit deal he agreed with the EU on 21 October, if they grant him a pre-Christmas general election. A majority of MPs have rejected his previous proposed three-day timetable for them to consider his EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.  Mr Johnson is putting a motion down under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), a coalition government reform that means the government requires a two-thirds majority to secure a snap general election outside the five-year election cycle.

Express
BORIS JOHNSON has revealed a “plan B” in his fight to trigger a general election before Christmas – if he suffers defeat in the House of Commons on Monday. Downing Street has for the first time said it is ready to explore “all options” – including new legislation – in a desperate bid to persuade rebelling MPs to back a snap ballot. A Number 10 source said: “We will look at all options to get Brexit done, including ideas similar to that proposed by other opposition parties.” The latest development came after the a move by the Liberal Democrats and SNP to back an early election, but only if the current withdrawal agreement bill is shelved and the threat of a no deal Brexit also taken off the table.

Mirror
Boris Johnson could try and force a Christmas election without the support of Labour, after the Lib Dems and SNP hatched a plan to break the Brexit deadlock.  The Liberal Democrats and SNP want a December 9 poll instead of Boris Johnson’s preferred December 12 date – because it would not give the PM time to bring back his Brexit bill. They would also prefer the slightly earlier date because many students will still be at university in key Remain seats. This morning two key Tory figures dismissed the Remain-backing parties’ plan. Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan called it a “stunt” and Conservative Party chair James Cleverly said it was a “gimmick”.

ITV News
Boris Johnson will likely fail to secure “super majority” support for a December general election – but knows he will require 100 fewer MPs to grant the same request just 24 hours later. The Prime Minister’s election bid on Monday, to be made under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), would require a two-thirds Commons majority – 434 MPs – to agree to an election on December 12. Labour’s lack of support for the proposal means it is likely to be defeated when voted upon on Monday evening. But the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party have offered Mr Johnson a way out of the deadlock. Mr Johnson has already had two requests for an election refused. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford have put forward a tightly-drafted Bill that would grant an election on December 9 – three days earlier than the PM’s suggested polling date – as long as the European Union grant an extension until January 31.

EU

Guardian
The EU is preparing to sign off on a Brexit extension to 31 January 2020 with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified, according to a leaked draft of the agreement seen by the Guardian. Despite objections raised by the French government, a paper to be agreed on Monday circulated among member states suggests the EU will accede to the UK’s request for a further delay. The UK would be able to leave on the first day of the month after a deal is ratified, according to the paper. The draft paper suggests a no-deal Brexit on 31 October is off the table as demanded by opposition party leaders as a prerequisite for a general election. Until there is official signoff on the agreement, there remains the possibility that the terms could change, but it is the first time firm dates have been written into an official document.

Sun
BRUSSELS is ready to sign off a three month Brexit “flextension” today  – with the option of leaving by November 30 if a deal is approved by MPs. The UK will be granted a delay until January 31, according to a leaked draft of a proposals being considered by EU ambassadors on Monday morning. Boris Johnson was forced to request the three-month extension by the Benn Act after MPs failed to back his deal last week. But any postponement to Brexit can only be granted by a unanimous decision of the EU’s other 27 member states.

Times
Boris Johnson’s last hopes of avoiding a Brexit delay look set to be dashed by the EU today as MPs prepare to reject his third attempt to call a snap election. EU ambassadors are preparing to sign off an extension to January 31 after President Macron of France gave up his demand for a shorter delay. It leaves Mr Johnson with a narrow set of options as MPs are expected to reject an attempt to call an election for December 12 in return for more parliamentary time to pass his Brexit legislation. The Commons motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 requires a positive vote from 434 MPs.

Mail
Brussels is poised to sign off a three-month Brexit extension with the option of leaving by December 1. According to a leaked draft of a proposal being considered by EU ambassadors this morning, Britain would be granted a delay until January 31. But the document also lists December 1 and January 1 as potential Brexit days if Boris Johnson’s deal is passed by the Commons before the extension deadline. Sources last night said they were cautiously optimistic the ‘flextension’ proposal will be signed off by the ambassadors.  It comes after France refused to agree to the plan on Friday during a fiery meeting in which they were the only member state to block it.

Evening Standard
The EU is set to consider a Brexit extension until January 31 with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified.  Ambassadors from the 27 member countries are due to meet on Monday to agree on a delay, with a draft text including three possible dates for Brexit.  The dates the UK could leave the EU could be November 30, December 31 or January 31. A decision could come as MPs vote on a motion to hold a snap election on December 12 in a bid to break the Parliament deadlock.    Included in the draft text EU leaders will be discussing will be a commitment that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be negotiated in future, Reuters reported. The UK will leave the EU on Thursday unless the extension is approved.

Sky News
A senior EU official has told Sky News the bloc is “very unlikely” to decide on an extension to Brexit negotiations before Tuesday. EU leaders are deciding whether to opt for an extension until January or a shorter November delay – thought to be favoured by French President Emmanuel Macron. It was thought they would decide by Tuesday – two days before the latest official leaving date – but this is now looking unlikely, meaning Boris Johnson will be unable to fulfil his promise of leaving on 31 October “do or die”. Latvia’s foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, said on Saturday: “There has been unanimous agreement that we need to extend the Brexit discussion.

Conservative Party

Telegraph
James Cleverly described it as a “gimmick”. For Nicky Morgan, it was “a stunt”. But for Boris Johnson, it was an opportunity not to be missed. In the space of little more than an hour on Sunday the Government went from ridiculing Jo Swinson’s offer of a December 9 general election to embracing it as a potential path to victory. Not for the first time in recent history, Cabinet ministers had been given a specific message to transmit on the airwaves, only for the official position to shift even as the pre-agreed words were coming out of their mouths. Boris Johnson the Brexit idealist had once again given way to Boris Johnson the Brexit pragmatist. With little sign that the Government stands any chance of winning a vote on Monday in favour of a Dec 12 election – which would unlock extra time to get the Brexit deal through the Commons – Mr Johnson spent Sunday morning phoning key aides, understood to include his chief strategist Dominic Cummings and chief of staff Sir Edward Lister.

Labour Party

Guardian
Labour will only agree to support a general election if Boris Johnson promises he will never pursue a no-deal Brexit, the party has said, insisting even a delay until 31 January would not be seen as sufficient reassurance. With Labour under increasing pressure to back an election, and both the government and a Liberal Democrat-Scottish National party group coming up with competing plans to force one, Jeremy Corbyn said a three-month Brexit pause would not be enough to trust the prime minister. “No, because it’s still there in his mind, it’s still there in the bill, and it’s still there as a threat,” he told TV reporters after addressing a trade union conference in Ayr.

Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being outflanked by the Lib Dems and SNP as Labour faced a new bout of infighting over his refusal to back a December election. The Labour leader maintained again on Sunday that the party would not back moves to hold an early general election unless a No Deal Brexit was taken “completely off the table.” He rejected as a “stunt” a Lib Dem and SNP proposal for a Bill to force an election on December 9 provided the EU granted a Brexit extension until January 31.

Mail
Lord Mandelson is to launch a brutal assault on Jeremy Corbyn, arguing a Labour government is impossible under his leadership. The Blairite peer, who was one of the architects of New Labour and a Cabinet minister under Gordon Brown, also fires a broadside at the party’s ‘statist’ economic policies. In a report, he warns that in government, ‘Chancellor’ John McDonnell would hand power to ‘a new generation of trade union barons’ and ‘reassert the statist mindset that New Labour disavowed’. But he adds: ‘Were it not for Jeremy Corbyn’s extremely poor personal ratings – they make a majority Labour government an impossibility while he remains – Labour’s prospects would be far stronger than the party’s detractors imagine.’

Independent
Peter Mandelson has attacked Labour’s left-wing economic programme as “lots of free offers” that will fail to transform the country – but admitted it could work with voters. In a pamphlet, the New Labour founder criticised John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, for “simply telling the movement what they want to hear”, rather than offering “new ideas”. Lord Mandelson warned that power taken from “globalised capitalism” would be handed to “ill-equipped civil servants and a new generation of trade union barons” – instead of to citizens.

Morning Star
JEREMY CORBYN insisted today there will be no pacts with any other parties in any forthcoming general election. Speaking to hundreds of delegates at Unite’s Scottish policy conference in Ayr, the Labour leader reiterated he would be “very happy” to fight a general election once the threat of a no-deal Brexit is completely ruled out. He said that a no-deal Brexit was “still there as a threat,” adding: “It’s got to be completely removed before we’ll support an election. “The reality is you’ve got to have no deal completely off the table and that whole threat removed before anything else because of the danger to our economy, to jobs, to trade, to medicine supplies.”

LibDems

Independent
The Liberal Democrats have been accused of “giving up” on securing a Final Say referendum on Brexit, after claiming MPs will never vote for it. Jo Swinson’s party faced a cross-party backlash after a dramatic switch to backing a pre-Christmas general election – rather than a fresh public vote – to settle the Brexit crisis. Chuka Umunna then claimed it was “quite clear” there was little prospect of the Commons backing a referendum – despite ongoing plans to attach an amendment to Boris Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Sian Berry, the co-leader of the Green Party, said: “A million people didn’t march last weekend for a general election – they wanted a people’s vote.”

Speaker

Times
Ministers are pinning their hopes on the election of a new Speaker to force Britain to the polls, The Times has been told. John Bercow retires this Thursday, the day that Britain was supposed to leave the EU. The government believes his successor will be much less likely to allow backbenchers to seize control of the order paper again to pass legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Ministers believe it will leave Britain facing a no-deal departure on January 31, leaving Labour with no choice but to back an election.

Education

Mail
Schools face missing out on Government cash if their heads are on fatcat salaries. Ministers yesterday announced plans for a £400million boost to school and college funding for new facilities and improved buildings. All academies and sixth-form colleges in England can bid for a slice of the cash – but they will be penalised if they pay their headteachers and senior staff more than £100,000. It is the latest attempt by the Government to rein in excessive pay after it emerged last year that the number of academy trusts paying salaries of £150,000 or more had risen to 125.

Armed forces

Times
Britain’s ten biggest military charities have combined assets of £1.4 billion and reserves of £275 million, prompting concerns that some may be “hoarding” cash. An analysis by The Times  has revealed that Britain’s 1,500 armed forces charities have a total worth in excess of £3.1 billion. Questions have been raised about the amount of unrestricted reserves that some of the biggest charities have built up, as several admit they wish to reduce the amounts they hold. Such reserves consist of cash that is not designated for a specific purpose or is restricted in how it can be used under the terms in which it was donated.

Health

Independent
Parents are finding it difficult to access GP appointments to vaccinate their children, a phenomenon which has contributed to a fall in immunisation rates, the Whitehall spending watchdog has found. The National Audit Office (NAO) warns of an inconsistent system for calling children for vaccines – especially among “under-served” groups, such as travellers, who have a lower vaccination uptake. NHS England missed the 95 per cent uptake target for nearly all routine pre-school jabs in 2018-19, following a general downward trend since 2012-13.

Road travel

Times
Thousands of miles of local roads could be resurfaced to prevent potholes under a proposal to give councils long-term funding for maintenance. The Department for Transport is pressing the Treasury to guarantee funding for several years rather than annually, as happens at present. The absence of long-term funding stops local authorities from improving surfaces before potholes develop. The suggestion comes after a report in July by the Commons transport select committee that condemned the “national scandal” of England’s poorly maintained local roads. They cause almost £1 billion worth of damage to vehicles and injure more than 70 cyclists a year, with a repair backlog that will cost up to £12 billion.

Mail
One in four A-roads in England needs urgent work to fix potholes, official figures suggest. Some 23 per cent were given amber warnings – meaning they need attention ‘soon’ – according to data from local authorities. A total of 3 per cent were categorised ‘red’ in figures for the year to March, meaning highways chiefs failed to consider the roads for maintenance.  It came as the Department for Transport (DfT) pressed the Treasury for a longer-term cash boost to help fix the backlog of potholes.

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