BORIS JOHNSON has the power to shut down Parliament and deliver a no deal Brexit even if a no confidence motion is passed, a former Clerk of the House of Commons has said. The Prime Minister has maintained Britain will finally depart the European Union “do or die” on October 31 – and now a legal loophole could ensure the UK’s passage out of the bloc in 80 days’ time. Lord Lisvane, who held the position of the most senior constitutional adviser to the Commons, insists Mr Johnson can suspend parliament and delay a possible general election until after the Brexit deadline.
Boris Johnson has the support of more than half of the public to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament, according to a poll. The ComRes survey for The Telegraph found that 54 per cent of British adults think Parliament should be prorogued to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit. The poll suggested the Prime Minister is more in tune with the public’s views on Brexit than MPs, following his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31 “do or die”.
A new ComRes poll out today has revealed that more Brits support proroguing (shutting down) Parliament in order to deliver Brexit than are against the radical move. There are no excuses, Brits want Brexit delivered in October. As The Telegraph report, 54% agreed that “Boris needs to deliver Brexit by any means including suspending Parliament if necessary, in order to prevent MPs from stopping it”.
Rebel MPs are plotting to rewrite the Commons rulebook and rip up parliament’s standing orders in a bid to prevent Boris Johnson from forcing through a no-deal Brexit, The Independent has learnt. It comes as No 10 pinpoints Monday 9 September as the critical day for a legislative battle with the cross-party campaign to block a no-deal departure. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott suggested Labour was gearing up to table a no-confidence motion in the PM.
BORIS JOHNSON is braced for Remainers to pull a “political stunt” to block a no-deal Brexit the week after MPs return to Westminster, according to senior government sources. Downing Street is preparing for a September 9 Commons showdown and believes Brussels will not consider offering any concessions before then. Mr Johnson could meet key EU leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron next week ahead of a G7 summit to set out his plan to stick to the October 31 departure date come what may.
A legal challenge to try to prevent Boris Johnson shutting down parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit is to get under way later. The aim is to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is “unlawful and unconstitutional”. The move is backed by more than 70 MPs and peers. They include Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and SNP MP Joanna Cherry.
Boris Johnson is preparing for a parliamentary battle against MPs trying to block a no-deal Brexit in the second week of September, as his cross-party opponents continue to be divided about the best way to stop the UK crashing out on 31 October. A senior government source said Downing Street believed the first legislative showdown over no deal would be on 9 September, when parliament is due to debate a progress report on power-sharing in Northern Ireland.
BORIS Johnson believes the EU will do a Brexit deal with him to save Ireland, but only at the last minute. The PM now expects Brussels to wait for the outcome of Parliament’s efforts to delay or reverse Brexit next month before engaging with him, a No10 source said. Boris blames Remain MPs’ plots for the delay in any renegotiation of the backstop in Theresa May’s deal with the EU. But close confidantes say he is convinced Europe’s leaders will budge over the key issue if MPs fail, because otherwise “Ireland is f*****”, they insist.
Diane Abbott has indicated Labour could be planning a rapid vote of no confidence against Boris Johnson once parliament returns in September, saying the party was in talks with other opposition groups on how best to proceed. While the shadow home secretary said it was “above my pay grade” to confirm any plans, she agreed Labour and other parties would need to move quickly when the recess ended to stop a no-deal Brexit before 31 October. Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, Labour can rapidly table a simple motion of no-confidence.
Labour will seek a quick vote of no confidence to topple Boris Johnson if the party believes it has the backing of MPs when they return to Westminster early next month, according to Diane Abbott. The shadow home secretary said it was “above my pay grade” to confirm whether the Opposition would move to test MPs’ level of support for the Prime Minister. Ms Abbott initially said she could not say whether the vote would take place immediately after Parliament returns in early September.
Labour has been accused of “reverting to class war” after it emerged it is considering plans to end the badger cull and crack down on people who flout the foxhunting ban. The Telegraph has learnt that the proposals are likely to be included in the party’s new Animal Welfare Manifesto, to be published later this month. The row came less than 24 hours after Labour clashed with gamekeepers over suggestions it could consider banning grouse shooting as part of a government-led review if it won power, having described the start of the shooting season as the “Inglorious Twelfth”.
Countryside groups yesterday dismissed Labour’s calls for a review of grouse shooting as a ‘thinly veiled political attack’. The party has claimed the financial benefits of hunting grouse are outweighed by the environmental cost. Draining moors in preparation for the shooting season, which began yesterday on the ‘Glorious 12th’ of August, destroys plantlife and wildlife, Labour argues.
Labour’s Paul Sweeney, a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow government, has said “all countries should be abolished” as “socialist redistribution of power and wealth… is not achieved through erection of national barriers of any kind.” The Labour MP made the candid admission during an online spat with politicians from the Scottish National Party (SNP), which like Labour is broadly left-liberal but tends to put more emphasis on fashionable “social justice” and pro-mass migration leftism than old-fashioned socialism and trade unionism. A crucial difference is that the SNP support breaking up the United Kingdom and leading Scotland into a form of notional independence within the confines of the European Union, while Labour wishes to keep Great Britain — although not Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in the case of Mr Corbyn and key members of the Shadow Cabinet — together.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY has been thrown into crisis with young members saying that its officials have ignored complaints against a “nightmare” senior campaigner who reportedly masturbating in public in front of a young activist. Almost 200 young members of the party have accused it of having an “abhorrent” complaints procedure that fails to protect people from sexual harassment.
BORIS JOHNSON reportedly believes the EU will give him a Brexit deal to save the Irish backstop from a no deal. The Prime Minister is sure Brussels will make their decision next month, No10 sources have told The Sun. Some diplomats are reportedly waiting to see whether Parliament delay or reverse Brexit before engaging with him. The revelation comes as Mr Johnson is said to blame Remain MPs for any delay to renegotiations on the backstop with the EU.
British diplomats will be pulled out of EU meetings on European law and policy under plans designed to show Brussels that Britain is serious about quitting the bloc on October 31. The move, which is expected to take effect in a matter of days, comes after Boris Johnson said he would “unshackle” British officials from EU affairs in his first statement in the House of Commons. Mr Johnson has vowed Britain will leave on Hallowe’en, with or without a deal from Brussels.
British diplomats will pull out from the EU’s institutional structures of power in Brussels within days, under plans being drawn up by Downing Street. In an attempt to reinforce the message that the UK is leaving the EU by 31 October, “do or die”, the UK will stop attending the day-to-day meetings that inform the bloc’s decision-making. The move under discussion is said by UK officials to be in line with Boris Johnson’s first statement in the House of Commons, in which he said he would “unshackle” British diplomacy from EU affairs.
Boris Johnson was accused of “epic stupidity” last night after Downing Street confirmed that it may pull diplomats out of EU meetings before Britain’s departure from the bloc. Civil servants working in Brussels are expected to be told within days not to participate in routine meetings to fulfil Mr Johnson’s pledge to “unshackle” officials to work on post-Brexit policy.
The German financial sector expects a No Deal Brexit and does not believe the European Union should make any further concessions to the UK to prevent one, a respected survey has found. The mood among German bankers and financial service providers has hardened considerably, according to findings released on Monday by Frankfurt University’s Center for Financial Studies (CFS). The study, carried out since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, found that 86 per cent of senior executives in the German financial sector now expect No Deal.
Donald Trump’s national security advisor has said the United States would “enthusiastically” support a no deal Brexit and accused the European Union of treating voters like “peasants”. Speaking after talks with Boris Johnson at Downing Street today, John Bolton laid out the White House’s vision for a closer trans-Atlantic relationship after Brexit. He said that the President had ordered officials to “fast track” a comprehensive free trade agreement with the UK and predicted a healing of rifts between London and Washington on security issues, including on Huawei’s access to the UK’s 5G market.
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s administration has told the UK “we’re with you” after the Republican’s right-hand man John Bolton vowed quick action with an array of mini trade deals in the first 12 months of Brexit. Hawkish Mr Bolton named a list of sectors and industries as specific areas the US could work alongside Britain with post-Brexit, adding that the financial sector could end up taking longer. He said: “You could pursue a bigger sector that might take longer, or you could pursue some smaller sectors that could be done quite quickly.”
The United States will enthusiastically back a no-deal Brexit and work with Britain immediately on sector-by-sector trade agreements, President Trump’s national security adviser said yesterday. John Bolton, the hawkish White House aide, promised that such a fast-track approach would achieve progress more quickly than a comprehensive agreement.
The UK is “first in line” for a trade deal with the US, President Trump’s National Security Adviser has said. John Bolton said the US supported a no-deal Brexit and added that Washington would propose an accelerated series of trade deals. According to Mr Bolton, deals could be done on a “sector-by-sector” basis, with an agreement on manufacturing being agreed first. His comments came after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson at No 10.
Boris Johnson said the criminal justice system must keep young people off ‘the conveyor belt to crime’ today as he unveiled a clampdown on serious criminals designed to keep them behind bars for longer. The Prime Minister said ‘you cannot just arrest your way out of a problem’ as he hosted senior officials, including the UK’s senior police officer, Cressida Dick, at a Downing Street crime summit. Mr Johnson said ‘faster justice’ was required and cited pledges including increasing prison capacity and employing more officers.
NHS hospitals are unprepared for terror attacks, with half of doctors unaware of emergency plans, a survey has found. Interviews with hundreds of registrars – who tend to lead the emergency response to major incidents – found only a third knew what their role should be in the event of an incident like the Manchester Arena bomb. Since 2004 all hospitals in England have been required to keep a major incident plant, which details how staff should react in the event of an incident involving a large number of casualties.
A company that uses facial recognition technology to track tens of thousands of people in one of the busiest parts of London has been criticised by experts and human rights organisations. The King’s Cross area, which is home to National Rail and Eurostar stations as well as shops, restaurants and cafés, uses multiple cameras to monitor people travelling through its 67-acre space.
The number of sixth formers taking maths A level has suffered a sudden sharp fall and experts have blamed the tough new GCSE in the subject for putting pupils off. Provisional data for this year shows that 86,185 pupils sat A-level maths this summer, down from 91,000 last year. The number of pupils taking other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects such as physics, chemistry and biology, has risen strongly. The final data will be published on Thursday, alongside A-level results.
Dozens of universities plan to admit students who don’t meet their criteria this year – and will put on an extra year’s tuition to help them catch up. An increasing number of institutions are setting aside places in clearing for those with sub-standard A-levels or good grades in the wrong subjects, in order to increase ‘diversity’ on courses. Students will do an extra ‘foundation year’ before their degree, to cover the material they should have learnt in sixth form. In some cases there are no minimum entry requirements – but students must show ‘potential’.
Graduates of English universities will be exposed to an increasing debt burden within the next five years, with total interest on undergraduate student loans set to double. The government figures, highlighted by Labour as an example of the “eye-watering” debts being accrued, show that the interest charged on student loans is forecast to rise by £4.2bn to £8.6bn a year by 2024. Most of the increase will come from the interest on undergraduate student debt after 2012, when tuition fees were nearly trebled to £9,000 a year, which will see total interest rise from £3.5bn to £7.6bn over the next five years.
All phone calls behind the wheel should be banned by law, say MPs, as using hands-free is as dangerous as making a hand-held call. The Commons transport committee said the Government should consider making hands-free calls a criminal offence with fines of at least £200 and six penalty points on a licence. The MPs said research showed the “cognitive distraction” from hands-free calling made it four times more likely a driver would crash, the same as with a hand-held call.
A ban on drivers using mobile phones in hands-free mode should be considered, MPs have said. Current laws which only proscribe the use of devices being held by drivers gives the “misleading impression” that hands-free use is safe despite it creating “the same risks of a collision”, a report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee warned. The cross-party committee acknowledged that there would be practical challenges to criminalising hands-free phone use and enforcing the offence, but insisted “this does not mean that we should not do it”.
Drivers should be banned from using their phones in hands-free mode, MPs have said, amid concerns that they are increasingly the cause of accidents. Motorists may believe that the function is safer than using a handset but it leads to the same risk of a crash, according to the transport select committee. In a report its members have called for tougher penalties, including the possibility of outright driving bans, and they suggest that existing punishments do not reflect the seriousness of the offence. Under the present legislation drivers who use hand-held mobile phones could receive six penalty points on their licence and a £200 fine.
Drivers should be banned from all phone use behind the wheel – including hands-free calls, MPs declare today. Using technology such as car speakerphones or bluetooth headsets can create the same crash risks as holding a phone, they warn. The Commons transport committee warns that current laws give the ‘misleading impression’ that hands-free use is safe. Instead, MPs demand that ministers look at extending the current legislation, which only bans use of hand-held phones while driving. They also want the Government to consider increasing punishments for drivers using mobiles, as well as recruiting more traffic officers or using roadside cameras to catch offenders.
Drivers could be banned from using hands-free mobile phones under plans outlined by MPs today. Stiffer penalties, more enforcement by police and better education are needed to tackle motorists using devices behind the wheel, according to the Commons Transport Committee. The Government should act to prevent the “entirely avoidable” tragedy of deaths and serious injuries from crashes caused by irresponsible drivers on the phone, it says in a 25-page report published today. The study calls on ministers to launch a public consultation on banning hands-free calls in cars.
A ban on drivers using mobile phones in hands-free mode should be considered, MPs have said. Current laws which only proscribe the use of devices being held by drivers gives the “misleading impression” that hands-free use is safe despite it creating “the same risks of a collision”, a report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee warned. The cross-party committee acknowledged there would be practical challenges to criminalising hands-free phone use and enforcing the offence, but insisted “this does not mean that we should not do it”.
Hundreds of BBC employees have been handed 20 per cent pay rises, just as the corporation plans to strip free TV licences from millions of viewers aged over 75. Figures obtained by The Times show that 889 BBC staff received pay increases equivalent to between 10 and 20 per cent of their salaries last year. An additional 256 employees were given more than 20 per cent. Across both groups the average rise was £6,980, costing licence fee payers an additional £7.9 million.