Boris Johnson faces an increasingly desperate battle to force a general election as his opponents plot to trap him in office but without power until after the next Brexit delay. The prime minister suffered two more defeats in the Commons last night as MPs first voted to compel him to secure another extension and then denied him the poll he wants on October 15. His motion to force a general election failed to secure the support of two thirds of MPs — 434. The Commons voted 298 for and 56 against after Labour abstained. Jeremy Corbyn said that he would back another general election once the Brexit delay bill had become law.
Jeremy Corbyn became the first Opposition leader in history to block a general election on Wednesday night as Boris Johnson accused him of being a “chicken”. The Labour leader was branded a hypocrite after he ordered his MPs not to back Mr Johnson’s proposal of going to the polls on Oct 15, despite Mr Corbyn’s non-stop demands for an election ever since he lost in 2017. On another day of high drama in the Commons, the Prime Minister suggested his opposite number was “frit” because he feared a heavy defeat if and when the country had its say. Mr Johnson said: “He has demanded an election for two years by blocking Brexit. He said two days ago he would support an election. Is he now going to say that the public cannot be allowed an election to decide which of us sorts out this mess?”
BORIS JOHNSON last night promised to “let the country decide” after bottler Jeremy Corbyn thwarted his attempt to trigger a general election. In an extraordinary act of cowardice, the Labour leader led his MPs in voting against the Prime Minister’s bid for a snap poll to finally break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster. He claimed he would not allow the electoral showdown until a no-deal Brexit is forced off the negotiating. Mr Johnson mocked Mr Corbyn as “frit” and insisted Labour’s opposition to a poll was “unsustainable”. The Prime Minister is expected to try again to get MPs to let him go to the country on October 15 to let the voters choose who will ultimately conclude the Brexit negotiations.
The government has ended its opposition in the Lords to a bill attempting to avoid a no-deal Brexit in October. The bill is designed to stop the UK falling out of the EU if Boris Johnson does not get a Brexit deal or MPs do not back leaving without an agreement in place. Those in favour had feared pro-Brexit peers were gearing up for an all-night sitting to prevent it being debated and voted on. But shortly before 1.30am, the government announced it was dropping its opposition to the bill and all stages in the Lords would be completed by 5pm today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for not abiding by what he says is his “constitutional duty” after “refusing” to take part in a general election. Mr Johnson’s attack comes after his call for a general election was defeated in the Commons. The Prime Minister had called for a poll to be held on October 15 after legislation designed to prevent the UK leaving the EU with no deal on October 31 cleared the Commons.
Boris Johnson’s bid for a snap general election – to carry out a crash-out Brexit on 31 October if necessary – has failed, in another crushing Commons defeat. MPs refused to give the prime minister the two-thirds majority necessary to bypass a law setting out that the next election should not take place until 2022. The defeat – less than two hours after MPs passed a bill to block a no-deal Brexit – plunges Mr Johnson into a deeper crisis, just six weeks after taking office. An election could yet be granted for his chosen date of 15 October if the bill becomes law by Tuesday, something which seemed increasingly likely after the Lords agreed a late-night deal to pass the bill by the end of Friday. But Jeremy Corbyn is facing a growing Labour revolt to delay an election further.
Jeremy Corbyn denied voters the chance to decide the future of Brexit last night after ordering his MPs to block Boris Johnson’s call for a snap election. A visibly frustrated PM ridiculed the stance taken by Corbyn – who did not even bother to be present for the declaration of the result – taunting that he was the first Opposition leader ‘in history’ to turn down the opportunity of a poll. But crucially, Mr Johnson did not give a clear indication of how he might now try to extricate himself from the impasse – merely hinting that he might try staging another vote in the coming days.
The Bank of England today predicted the damage to Britain’s economy from a No Deal Brexit would be ‘less severe’ than thought because of government preparations since the end of last year. Governor Mark Carney told MPs a cliff-edge withdrawal would see GDP shrink by 5.5% rather than the 8% slump previously predicted in November. Mr Carney also predicted food prices would not increase as much as earlier expected – 5% or 6% rather than the previous 10%. The bank is expecting inflation to more than double from the current rate around 2% to more than 5%. Unemployment would meanwhile surge to 7% rather than 7.5%, up from a current 45-year low of 3.8%. Speaking at a hearing with the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Carney waded into politics by suggesting a further Brexit delay to January 31, arguing that ‘more can be accomplished’ by way of preparations if this is done.
Britain’s economy will not be as badly damaged as feared by a worst-case scenario Brexit because of preparations made by several sectors, according to the Bank of England. Mark Carney, the governor, said that measures taken by ports in the UK and France and a last-minute concession by Europe over trillions of pounds of complex financial contracts had lessened the likely impact of a disorderly departure from the European Union. In a letter to the Treasury select committee, he said that Britain would still plunge to a severe recession but GDP would contract by 5.5 per cent over the course of the contraction, not the 8 per cent forecast by the Bank in November.
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plot to delay Brexit to January next year will force the UK to hand over billions of pounds in extended membership fees to the EU. MPs are currently debating on the Benn bill in the House of Commons after the Labour Party launched a plan to sabotage the Prime Minister’s attempted EU renegotiation by blocking a no deal Brexit. After Tory rebels supported Mr Corbyn in a Commons vote last night, MPs have wrestled control of the chamber’s agenda to vote on outlawing a no deal Brexit on October 31. The plot would force the UK to remain in the trade bloc until January 2020. However, Brussels will charge the UK around £1billion a month and impose “punitive” conditions to extend the Article 50 process should the veteran left-winger succeed this evening in gathering enough votes to delay the UK’s departure from the EU until 2020.
EU fears that Boris Johnson will create a light-regulation British economy after Brexit has scuppered the prime minister’s alternative plan for the Irish backstop. David Frost, the prime minister’s lead negotiator, held talks in Brussels yesterday accompanied for the first time by a team of British officials specialising in regulatory enforcement and customs controls. Mr Johnson told MPs on Tuesday night that the plan for alternative arrangements to the Irish backstop, a UK-wide customs union with the EU, would be based on managing “agri-food . . . on a common basis across the island of Ireland”.
Limitless numbers of EU migrants will be allowed to come to Britain for up to three years even if there is a No Deal, the Government admitted last night. Home Secretary Priti Patel said European citizens would be able to enter the UK to visit, work or study after Brexit day on October 31. If EU nationals and their families want to stay beyond the end of December 2020, they can apply for a new immigration status called European Temporary Leave to Remain – valid until December 2023. After that, they could seek to live here permanently.
The EU warned on Wednesday (4 September) that in the case of a no-deal Brexit, there will be disruption on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where the EU’s new external border will lie after the UK leaves the bloc. “All the checks will have to be carried out, it will be disruptive because the backstop would have been the only way that could have avoided disruptions,” an EU official said.
TORIES are set to rip up years of convention and depose Speaker John Bercow at the next election – after his furious blast at Michael Gove last night. The Conservatives are getting ready to break with long-standing rules and line up a Brexiteer to take on the Commons Speaker in his Buckingham constituency, according to The Telegraph. At the moment it’s a tradition that no other major party runs any candidate against the Speaker, giving them a clear shot at winning. In 2010 only Nigel Farage, then Ukip leader, and several independent candidates ran against him. This means there’s not a huge risk of the Speaker being booted out mid-way through their term in office. But Speaker Bercow has been accused of bias and helping pro-Remain MPs from ripping up rules in the Commons to thwart Brexit.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a vote to the Remainer-dominated House of Commons, the Europeans have said that a no deal Brexit is now more likely than ever. MPs voted on Tuesday night in favour of holding a vote on whether to make no deal Brexit illegal and force the government to ask the EU for a further Brexit delay, likely until January 31st, 2020. Those who voted to back the Remainer motion included 21 Tory rebels who were later expelled from the Conservative Party. Mr Johnson had warned his colleagues that to vote against the government would weaken his negotiating hand with Brussels while attempting to rewrite the terms of the withdrawal treaty. EU diplomatic sources have told The Times that they believe Johnson has “lost control” and any further negotiations on the backstop is “pointless” because no new bill would be supported in the Commons.
A Tory backlash was growing against Boris Johnson last night over his controversial “purge” of 21 rebels from the parliamentary party this week. Scores of colleagues demanded that the prime minister reverse his decision to expel “moderate” Conservative MPs from the party, as he also faced pressure at a meeting of the 1922 Committee. The One Nation caucus of almost 100 MPs declared in a statement that his decision had been “wrong in principle and bad practical politics”.
Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Rory Stewart are all expected to try to stand as independent Conservatives in a general election after being stripped of the party whip. Tory rebels were waking up yesterday to the reality of the first day outside the party that some had served for nearly five decades. A total of 21 Tory MPs, including two former chancellors, were sacked in alphabetical order on Tuesday night, with some receiving the news by text message. Now independent MPs, they signalled their determination to fight Boris Johnson’s decision with their first act yesterday, taking their seats on government benches.
SENIOR Cabinet ministers yesterday confronted Boris Johnson to call on him to overturn his expulsion of 21 rebel Conservative MPs as the insurrection against the PM grew. No Deal chief Michael Gove lead the charge from a series of senior figures during a tense meeting of the Cabinet in No10 yesterday. Pleading for Boris to relent on his tough punishment, they insisted he offer the expelled rebels “a way back” so they can rejoin the Parliamentary party. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also questioned the controversial decision during the tense Cabinet meeting, and asked the PM to spell out how the rebels could “find redemption”.
The court of session in Edinburgh has rejected an attempt to prevent Boris Johnson’s prorogation of the House of Commons. Lord Doherty, the judge who heard the case, said the decision could not be measured against legal standards as it was matter of high policy and political judgment, and was therefore for politicians to settle. “In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law. Parliament is the master of its own proceedings. It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation,” he said. Doherty told the court it was for parliament, and ultimately the electorate, to hold the government accountable for such political decisions.
Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks will be challenged by the legal campaigner Gina Miller in the high court in London on Thursday. Her judicial review application will be supported by statements from the former prime minister Sir John Major, the shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti as well as lawyers for the Scottish and Welsh governments. Despite Edinburgh’s court of session ruling on Wednesday that the prime minister’s move to shut down parliamentary debate is lawful, similar arguments will be put to the most senior judges in England and Wales. The case, expected to last all day, will be argued before the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the master of the rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and the president of the Queen’s bench division, Dame Victoria Sharp.
Sajid Javid promised a “decade of renewal” yesterday after years of austerity as he embarked on a multibillion-pound spending spree, with extra cash for health, schools and the police. In front of a raucous House of Commons the chancellor set out plans to increase spending by 4.1 per cent or £13.8 billion next year, focused on the “people’s priorities”. He told MPs: “We are turning the page on austerity and beginning a new decade of renewal.
Sajid Javid today vowed to ‘turn the page on austerity’ and pledged to increase public spending by £13.8 billion in the UK’s first year outside of the European Union as the Chancellor repeatedly clashed with John Bercow. Mr Javid said Boris Johnson’s administration was focused on building a ‘stronger, fairer and more prosperous future’ regardless of the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc as he announced an extra £2 billion for Brexit preparations. Setting out the results of the government’s spending review, the Chancellor insisted: ‘Deal or no deal, I am confident that our best days lie ahead.’
The chancellor has announced “the end of austerity” with the biggest increase in spending on public services for 15 years, despite the Brexit crisis. Sajid Javid pledged extra cash for schools, hospitals, the police, prisons and the homeless – a 4.1 per cent hike in real terms, worth £13.8bn in 2020-21, the biggest since 2002. In a spending round brought forward, with an eye on the looming general election, Mr Javid announced he was ripping up his spending rules in an apparent admission they would soon be bust. The cash boosts went to the NHS (£6.2bn), education (£7.1bn – over three years), defence (£2.2bn) the police (£750m), further education (£400m) and special educational needs (£700m).
Sajid Javid has promised the largest increase in public spending in more than 15 years as he outlined a £13.8bn package ahead of a possible general election. Announcing departmental budgets for next year, the chancellor committed the government to a 4.1% increase in expenditure from 2019-20 to 2020-21, in a bid to draw a line under the era of austerity. Javid said he was in a position to announce an increase after the annual spending deficit – the difference between government income and expenditure – had fallen to 1.1%, well below the 2% target set by the Treasury. Under his plans, no department will experience real-term cuts in funding next year and the chancellor said this protection “is what I mean by the end of austerity”.
More than a third of cancer patients are still having to go to their GP at least twice before being sent to hospital for tests, a damning report has revealed. The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey found a small number of patients (six per cent) saw their doctor five or more times before being referred. The picture is made bleaker by the fact those numbers were exactly the same a year ago, meaning there have been no signs of improvement. Cancer survival rates in Britain lag behind those in Europe and the US, which experts say is primarily due to slow diagnosis.
Patients with high cholesterol could be diagnosed and given statins by pharmacists for the first time under NHS plans to cut the number of people dying from heart attacks and strokes. If approved, the change in medical practice would lead to patients with the potentially fatal condition being diagnosed in high street chemists rather than in GP surgeries. Someone a pharmacist suspects of having dangerously high levels of “bad” cholesterol could have a health check on the spot and receive the drugs without needing to get a prescription from a GP.
RYANAIR pilots are to stage a fresh series of strikes after failing to resolve an ongoing dispute with the airline, the Balpa union has announced. Members of the British Airline Pilots Association have said further strike dates follow the company’s refusal to seek conciliation talks. Pilots are already in the middle of industrial action, having begun a strike on Monday that will last until 23.59 on Wednesday. The next round of strikes will be on September 18 and 19 for 48 hours, and then on September 21, 23, 25, 27, and 29 for periods of 24 hours. UK-based pilots working for Ryanair are exasperated about a number of issues, with Balpa saying the disputes are the result of “decades” of Ryanair refusing to engage.