Boris Johnson‘s Brexit plan has received a crushing blow just hours ahead of a critical EU summit, as the DUP said they “could not support” what is being proposed. It comes as the prime minister prepares to meet with his European counterparts in Brussels as No 10 was on the brink of securing a new Brexit deal. But in a statement released at 7am on Thursday, Mr Johnson’s hopes of avoiding a Brexit extension appeared to be dashed by the DUP, who prop up the Conservatives at Westminster through a supply and confidence agreement. A statement from the DUP leader Arlene Foster and her deputy, Nigel Dodds, said: “We have been involved in ongoing discussions with the government. “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.
DUP leaders have said they “could not support” Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan as the prime minister heads to Brussels for what could be the UK’s final EU summit. Talks between UK and EU negotiators look set to go down to the wire as the leaders of the 28 member states gather. But early on Thursday morning, Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds, leaders of Northern Ireland’s DUP which props up Mr Johnson’s government, announced they could not fully support the plan.
Boris Johnson has suffered a blow to his proposed Brexit deal as the Democratic Unionist Party said it cannot support plans “as things stand”. The support of the DUP is seen as crucial if the prime minister is to win Parliament’s approval for the deal in time for his 31 October deadline. The DUP said it would continue to work with the government to try to get a “sensible” deal. It comes as Mr Johnson heads to a crunch summit to get the EU’s approval. On the EU’s side, the legal text of a draft Brexit deal is seen as being “pretty much ready”, the BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler said.
Boris Johnson’s fate was in the hands of the DUP last night as Arlene Foster held out against a Brexit deal before today’s European summit. Her opposition emerged as the most significant obstacle to an agreement, and risked dashing the prime minister’s hopes of avoiding another delay to Britain leaving the EU. Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, told ambassadors last night that an agreement was all but done, opening the way for a formal sign-off today.
All eyes are on the DUP as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels today – as the party’s leader Arlene Foster became one of the main obstacles to the Prime Minister securing a Brexit deal last night. Mr Johnson tried to put a brave face on as it emerged that a deal was unlikely to be reached, despite frantic efforts to try and find a way through the deadlock. The delicate process was placed in jeopardy by objections from the DUP, who complained that the mechanism for getting ‘consent’ from the people of Northern Ireland would break the Good Friday Agreement – saying unionists should have a veto.
Labour is ready to vote for a Final Say referendum on Saturday if Boris Johnson brings an EU withdrawal deal back from Brussels, the party’s shadow Brexit minister has said. The party has been calling for a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal, and it is understood its MPs will be whipped to back an amendment requiring a Johnson agreement to be put to a public vote if its wording is deemed acceptable. A Labour whip is regarded as essential for any second referendum vote to succeed, but Jeremy Corbyn’s repeatedly expressed preference for an election ahead of a public vote has raised doubts over how he will deploy his MPs in a Commons vote.
The Benn Act
BORIS Johnson is being urged by Cabinet allies to use EU law to try to dodge a new Brexit delay if no deal is agreed today. A law passed by MPs last month, dubbed the Benn Act, forces the PM to extend Britain’s membership by another three months if there is no formal agreement with Brussels by Saturday. But European law takes precedent over British law. And Mr Johnson has been told it’s possible he could get out of having to trigger the extension demand if he can persuade the EU’s leaders to help him at their crunch summit today.
Boris Johnson will write a letter to the EU asking for a delay to Brexit beyond 31 October if he fails to get an exit deal approved by parliament by Saturday, the Brexit secretary has confirmed. Stephen Barclay told a committee of MPs that the prime minister will “comply” with legislation, aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit at the end of the month, passed by opposition MPs last month. This law, the Benn Act, compels Mr Johnson to ask for a three-month extension to the Article 50 negotiating period to 31 January 2020 if MPs have not approved a Brexit deal – or explicitly authorised a no-deal Brexit – by 19 October.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will abide by the Benn Act and write to the EU requesting a Brexit delay if a deal is not agreed by Saturday. Mr Barclay told the House of Commons Brexit Select Committee on Wednesday: “I can confirm, as the prime minister has repeatedly set out, that firstly the government will comply with the law, and secondly it will comply with undertakings given to the court in respect of the law. “I confirm that the government will abide by what it set out in that letter.”
CHAIR of the Conservative Party’s European Research Group, Steve Baker, has revealed his eurosceptic group could still vote against the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been battling to try to secure a Brexit deal with the European Union before the UK’s scheduled departure date, and ahead of the crunch EU summit, which starts on Thursday. Speaking following a meeting in Number 10, Steve Baker explained how the ERG could still vote against the Prime Minister’s deal, if it is laid in front of MPs in the Commons this weekend.
Boris Johnson’s hopes of leaving the EU with a Brexit deal appeared to be in the hands of Parliament on Wednesday night after Brussels said an agreement was effectively in place. Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said the “basic foundations of an agreement are ready” and could “theoretically” be agreed with Britain on Thursday. Talks in Brussels continued into the night as Mr Johnson likened the negotiations to the prison break drama Shawshank Redemption, in which an escaper has to crawl through a sewer to reach freedom.
Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford have been holding private meetings before cross-party talks take place, opposition MPs claim. The pair are suspected to be in collusion as they appear to speak from the same script when briefing MPs, those inside the room say. The SNP Westminster leader backs Mr Corbyn’s claim to be the best person to form a government if a no confidence vote against Boris Johnson succeeds.
Bitter splits are emerging between political parties trying to fight a no-deal Brexit, over the new-found unity between Labour and the SNP, with claims they are speaking from the “same script”. An opposition party source involved in the regular opposition alliance talks said they believed the two parties were meeting up before official meetings to agree a joint stance that Jeremy Corbyn should be interim prime minister and on whether there should be a second Scottish referendum.
REMAINERS are set to launch a legal challenge against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s possible Brexit deal on the grounds it contravenes domestic tax law, lawyer Jolyon Maugham has said. Mr Maugham, who has challenged the Government successfully on its decision to suspend parliament said that he intended to lodge a petition to stop the Government putting a withdrawal agreement to parliament. Mr Maugham said he believes the proposed Brexit deal contravenes legislation which states 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”.
The Liberal Democrats are mounting an audacious bid to kick arch Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg out of his seat at the next election, Mail Online can reveal today. Jo Swinson’s hardline Remainer party is targeting the aristocratic former head of the European Research Group (ERG), believing there is an up-swell of pro-EU sentiment in his North East Somerset seat. However, they face an uphill task to overturn his 10,023 majority from 2017 in a constituency where they finished a distant third, with fewer than half the number of votes the party achieved in 2010.
BRUSSELS took aim at Brexiteers today in a scathing assault that saw eurocrats brand Brexit a “contagious disease”. EU senior officials likened Brexit to the Plague, tuberculosis, smallpox and other contagious disease, warning it risks spreading through the EU promoting other member states to trigger their own departures from the bloc. French President Emmanuel Macron accused the European Parliament of “Westminsterisation” after MEPs rejected his pick for EU commissioner and subsequently did not get his own way, the Daily Telegraph reports.
EMMANUEL MACRON has been told to “stop blaming others” after MEPs rejected his nominee for a top role at the European Commission. The French President’s candidate for EU Commissioner, Sylvie Goulard, was rejected by MEPs last week. European People’s Party leader Manfred Weber told French newspaper Le Figaro: “The question was: how can she be European commissioner when she can’t be minister in her own country? “There was never any doubt on her competence. But there was a problem of integrity. Our role is to protect the European institutions.”
EU leaders have indicated that last-minute intensive talks have so far failed to resolve issues standing in the way of agreeing a Brexit deal with the UK as the summit deadline approaches. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said negotiators were “making progress” in the talks but that as the time is running out before a crucial meeting of leaders on Thursday, there were still “many issues” yet to be resolved. He suggested EU leaders may have to meet for another emergency summit before the Brexit deadline at the end of the month in order to approve a deal in time.
The country is still divided over whether the UK should leave the EU, three years after the referendum, a poll of 26,000 people has found. Fifty per cent of the public want to respect the vote held in June 2016 and 42 per cent want the country to remain in the EU, according to the Channel 5 poll. The remaining 8 per cent were undecided. When the result among those who want to see Brexit happen is broken down, 30 per cent of those polled said they would prefer to leave with a deal while 20 per cent said that they were in favour of leaving without a deal.
Most voters want the UK to abide by the 2016 referendum result – but society is still deeply divided on whether leaving the EU is a good or bad idea. Some 54 per cent of the public still believe the verdict from the national ballot three years ago should be honoured, according to a major poll. That compares to 32 per cent who said they opposed fulfilling the democratic mandate, and 14 per cent who said they did not know.
The majority of British people support leaving the EU, according to the largest Brexit poll taken since the referendum three years ago. The study revealed 54% would be happy if the country exited the European bloc. Those people backed Brexit whether they voted yes or no in 2016, according to the ComRes/Channel 5 poll. The study, which collected information from 26,000 voters, showed 50% were in favour of Brexit, while 42% wanted to remain. The number changed to 54% in favour of Brexit when you excluded people who answered “don’t know”. The four possible answers to the question of “preferred outcome” were “the UK remaining in the EU”, “the UK leaving the EU with a withdrawal deal’, “the UK leaving the EU on a No Deal basis” and “don’t know”. The full results can be viewed here.
A BOMBSHELL new poll of 26,000 people has found that 54 percent now support Leave compared to 46 percent who want to have Brexit cancelled. The ComRes survey for Channel 5 and ITN Productions, which is the biggest since the 2016 referendum, found that 54 percent of people back the UK leaving the EU compared to 46 percent who want to remain. The 54 percent figure excludes those who responded to say they didn’t know. If the number of Britons who are unsure is included, the result is 50 percent to 42. London, Scotland and Northern Ireland have the most Remainers and the highest number of people in favour of a second referendum, according to the poll.
THE BIGGEST Brexit poll since the referendum has revealed most Brits want the UK to respect the result and leave the EU. Some 54 per cent of Brits said the country should now quit Brussels – regardless of how they voted in the 2016 referendum. The ComRes survey for Channel 5 ahead of a live Brexit debate tonight, also revealed that 50 per cent of Brits now back Leave and only 42 per cent support Remain. When the don’t knows are taken out, this rises to 54 per cent for Leave and 46 per cent to Remain. The poll surveyed a whopping 26,000 Brits and is the biggest survey of public opinion since the historic vote in June 2016.
The Conservatives have opened up a 15-point poll lead ahead of the Brexit deadline and possibly just weeks from a general election, new figures revealed today. Boris Johnson‘s party hit 37 per cent in YouGov’s latest tracker, up two per cent in a week. In contrast Jeremy Corbyn‘s opposition party languishes unchanged on 22 per cent. Britain could go to the polls before Christmas if there is a Brexit deal or a delay that keeps Britain in the EU until January, with Mr Corbyn keep for it to happen once a No Deal Brexit is avoided. But the YouGov figures today make difficult reading for the veteran left-winger.
JEREMY Corbyn’s Labour Party is now behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in every single region of the UK, a shock new poll has indicated. A new YouGov poll revealed Labour’s stronghold in London has now slipped from Mr Corbyn’s hands after the veteran left-winger failed to declare his stance on Brexit. The anti-Brexit Lib Dems are up three points to 29 for the capital, after Labour fell an embarrassing four points to 28 compared to an earlier YouGov poll carried out on October 8 and 9. Though the biggest surprise is that not that London appears it no longer Corbyn’s capital, but that Mr Johnson’s Tory Party has taken back control of the city at 31 points.
BANK OF ENGLAND Governor Mark Carney has said the banks will be able to handle any Brexit turbulence for up to three weeks, if they were shut out of the markets and unable to trade sterling, dollars or euros. Mark Carney has reassured the Government the banks will be able to cope with turbulence caused by Brexit. In a swipe at Project Fear scaremongering, the Bank of England chief said the UK banks will still be able to function, even if they are shut out of markets. Speaking before the Commons’ Treasury Committee yesterday, he said banks had been instructed to remain neutral and not take material positions on a particular Brexit outcome.
Any border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit will be legitimate targets for attack, the IRA claimed yesterday. The Republican terrorists warned they would take ‘armed actions’ against border infrastructure and anyone manning it. A masked spokesman for the New IRA told Channel 4 News: ‘We are the IRA, as reconstituted in 2012. There is only one such organisation. I have been mandated by the Army Council of the IRA to speak on its behalf.’ He was speaking on behalf of what has become the most violent and active Republican dissident group in Northern Ireland.
EXTINCTION Rebellion members plan on targeting Gatwick Airport tomorrow morning – with eco-warriors being urged to cause “mischief” to passengers. Extinction Rebellion protesters aim to arrive at the South Terminal at 11am and their presence is likely to spark travel chaos for holidaymakers. Posting on the group’s Telegram broadcast channel, one member urged others to “come incognito” and then “reveal yourself” after a signal is given. They said that “musicians, clowns and singers” are welcome and added that “some people may like to indulge in a bit of mischief”. Their post read: “We’re going on a trip to Gatwick Airport!
Commuters fought back against Extinction Rebellion environment protesters on Thursday morning, as an activist was dragged to the floor after climbing on top of a busy commuter train in east London. Video shared on social media appeared to show a number of protesters on top of a Tube train at Canning Town station. British Transport Police said on Twitter: “At this time we have three separate incidents involving Extinction Rebellion protest action at Stratford, Canning Town, and Shadwell. “Arrests have already been made and officers are working quickly to resume services.”
TODAY’S clear skies and balmy weather is to be short lived, the Met Office says – with 50 flood warnings and even snow on the way. The UK is set to be thrashed by heavy rain and winds as officials issue 50 flood alerts around the country, with Brits about to be plunged into a miserable wet and snowy winter – the coldest in 30 years. The Environment Agency has nine flood warnings and 56 alerts in force across the UK today, with the skies set to open for more showers tomorrow. The Met Office says to expect “more frequent and heavier showers” as Thursday progresses, giving way to longer spells of rainy weather throughout Friday and the weekend.