Boris Johnson could bypass a law stopping him from delivering a no-deal Brexit by exploiting a major loophole in the legislation, a legal expert has claimed. Jolyon Maugham, a barrister and anti-Brexit campaigner, said there was “a flaw” in the so-called Benn Act, passed by parliament earlier this month, that could force MPs opposed to no-deal to take “counter-measures”. The loophole means that the prime minister would be able to lawfully take Britain out of the EU without a deal even if MPs had voted for an agreement, Mr Maugham said. Under the terms of the Benn Act, Mr Johnson must ask the EU for a further delay to Brexit if MPs have not approved an exit deal by 19 October. If a deal is approved, the duty to request an extension would be overridden. However, there is no legal obligation on the government to actually implement the terms of the deal, even if MPs have approved it. Mr Maugham suggested that Mr Johnson could therefore simply refuse to bring forward the Withdrawal Bill, which is needed to implement the deal in law. In that situation, MPs would have approved a deal but it would not have been formally ratified in law, meaning the UK would leave the EU on 31 October without a deal in place.
Boris Johnson has refused to rule out proroguing Parliament for a second time in order to dodge the law and ram through a hard no-deal Brexit . Speaking to the BBC, the Prime Minister insisted he will “uphold the Constitution” and “obey the law”. But he also insisted Britain will leave the EU with or without a deal on Halloween – despite MPs passing a law effectively blocking a no-deal Brexit. Here’s, here’s what I want,” he said. “I will uphold the constitution I will obey the law but we will come out on October 31st.” The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked Mr Johnson eight times how he intends to find a way around the law and take Britain out of the EU on October 3 – without breaking the law. But he refused to explain how that would be possible.
British election officials have called on the government to carry out a risk assessment of the country’s ability to hold a snap general election. The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) said it had “genuine concerns” about the expectation that elections would always be safely delivered regardless of the landscape, timing, funding or capacity of people delivering them. “This view is becoming unrealistic,” it warned in a report, which highlighted “ongoing uncertainty surrounding electoral events”.
The UK will refuse any offer of a Brexit delay beyond the current October 31 deadline, Boris Johnson is to tell European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker today. The Prime Minister will travel to Luxembourg this morning for his first face-to-face meeting with Mr Juncker since taking office in July. A Number 10 source said Mr Johnson “could not be clearer” that he won’t accept further delays to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. They added: “Any further extension would be a huge mistake. It is not just a question of the extra dither and delay – it is also the additional long months of rancour and division, and all at huge expense.
It was, by any standards, an unusual spectacle: the leader of the European Union’s second-smallest country deciding to empty-chair the British prime minister at what was supposed to have been a joint press conference after their meeting. Ostensibly, logistics were the problem: No 10 was concerned by the small but very noisy protest awaiting Boris Johnson outside;
The Prime Minister went to Luxembourg as a favour to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and walked straight into an ambush. Boris Johnson was meant to be holding a joint outdoor press conference with Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, after meeting Mr Juncker. However, he cancelled, fearing his words would be drowned out by a band of 75 vocal anti-Brexit protesters ranged just 10 yards away. Mr Bettel took full advantage. Gesticulating to the empty podium beside him, he said Brexit was a “nightmare”, before criticising the referendum campaign. He refused to say whether he trusted Mr Johnson.
Boris Johnson was ambushed yesterday by the leader of the EU’s second-smallest state who mocked his Brexit strategy after the prime minister withdrew from a press conference to avoid protesters. In an extraordinary break with protocol Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg, stood next to an empty lectern and berated Mr Johnson to cheers from anti-Brexit campaigners. He accused his British counterpart of putting “party political gain” over the interests of his citizens and warned that the EU needed “more than words” to strike a new Brexit deal.
Luxembourg humiliated Boris Johnson by forcing him to cancel his press conference with the country’s prime minister, a number 10 source has revealed. Even though Boris’s team repeatedly asked to move the press conference inside due to the noise coming from Remainer protestors Luxembourg refused. Number 10 and Luxembourg Government could not even agree how and where to hold the press conference. The Downing Street source said: “The whole series of events is extraordinary and reflects far more on them than it does us.”
Boris Johnson failed to turn up to his own press conference as noisy anti-Brexit protesters vented their anger, in extraordinary scenes in Luxembourg on Monday. Xavier Bettel, the country’s leader, went ahead to speak to the press without the British prime minister – standing next to an empty podium as he fiercely criticised him. Attacking the UK’s failure to present fresh proposals to break the Brexit impasse, Mr Bettel said – to applause from onlookers – that the “clock is ticking” and told Mr Johnson: “Stop speaking and act.”
Boris Johnson’s showdown trip to Luxembourg descended into chaos today as protests forced him to abandon a press conference and the leader of the tiny nation launched a savage attack on the PM in his absence. Xavier Bettel tore into Mr Johnson and the ‘nightmare’ of Brexit after refusing to rearrange the press conference and brazenly going ahead with Mr Johnson’s podium empty. Mocking the absent PM, Mr Bettel told Mr Johnson to ‘stop speaking and act’ and stop trying to ‘make the EU the bad guy’, accusing him of ‘holding people hostage’ for the sake of his political career.
BORIS Johnson dodged an “ambush” after an EU boss chose to hold their press conference near furious anti-Brexit protesters. Xavier Bettel milked the whooping cheers and applause from the pro-Remain mob after ’empty-chairing’ the PM in a petty move in front of bemused reporters. No10 said the PM’s aides asked to move the press conference away from the baying crowd – described as a “large Remain gathering” – but the request was denied by their hosts. A Downing Street source said: “We repeatedly asked for it to be moved into the press centre but they refused and said it needed to be outside – by the loud protesters.
Boris Johnson will pursue his case for an Irish backstop alternative at the United Nations next week as British and EU negotiators prepare for daily talks. The prime minister will speak to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, as well as French, German and other EU leaders on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York. Yesterday, Mr Johnson met Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.
PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson will unveil vital crucial alternative arrangements to the backstop plan for the Irish border “at the right moment”, his chief negotiator David Frost has said, offering a massive boost to hopes of delivering Brexit on October 31 with a deal in place. Mr Frost has been shuttling back and forth to Brussels for talks with EU negotiators, and has been working on legal texts of proposed tweaks to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement in a bid to make it acceptable to all parties.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday he must present workable proposals to replace the Brexit backstop in their stalled divorce deal, which the executive said had still not been made. “President Juncker recalled that it is the UK’s responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement,” the European Commission said in a statement after the two men lunched in Luxembourg.
The prime minister is preparing for a potentially embarrassing ruling on the legality of his parliamentary shutdown just as he takes to the world stage at the United Nations. Today the Supreme Court begins hearing appeals on the five-week prorogation of parliament, which Scotland’s highest court ruled last week was unlawful because it was a ruse to dodge scrutiny by MPs. The former prime minister Sir John Major will urge the court to rule that Boris Johnson acted outside the law.
Boris Johnson has said he will “wait and see what the judges say” before deciding whether to recall Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear two appeals that will determine whether the prime minister acted lawfully in suspending Parliament for five weeks. Edinburgh’s Court of Session said the shutdown was unlawful and London’s High Court said it was not a court matter.
A legal battle over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks is set to be heard by the UK’s highest court. The Supreme Court in London will hear appeals from two separate challenges brought in England and Scotland to the prorogation of Parliament over three days, starting on Tuesday. Mr Johnson says the five-week suspension is to allow the Government to set out a new legislative agenda in a Queen’s Speech when MPs return to Parliament on October 14.
The legal battle over claims that Boris Johnson misled the Queen and suspended Parliament to stifle debate over Brexit will come to a head on Tuesday in the United Kingdom’s highest court. In a hearing expected to last two or three days, 11 Supreme Court justices will weigh up the conflicting arguments over whether Mr Johnson abused his powers to prorogue the Commons for five weeks. Their decision – expected late this week or early next week – could have a profound constitutional and political impact.
Labour has been accused of “nakedly factional” behaviour by waiting to choose candidates for a snap election but allowing attempts to deselect serving MPs to continue. The party had invited applications for non-Labour seats earlier this month when a snap election appeared to be imminent. After Labour voted against holding a general election, however, applicants were told that the selection process would wait until after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) had formally decided to start choosing candidates.
Jeremy Corbyn will come under intense pressure to commit Labour to blocking Brexit at next week’s party conference, with more than 80 constituency motions demanding a Remain position and not a single one backing Leave. He will also face demands to sign the party up to an ambitious Green New Deal programme including a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030 and guaranteed green jobs.
Liberal Democrats will halt Brexit “on day one” if they win a parliamentary majority in the snap election expected within weeks, leader Jo Swinson is promising. After delegates at the party’s annual conference voted overwhelmingly to fight the election on a platform of cancelling Brexit, Ms Swinson will make clear that she will not delay in revoking the letter sent by Theresa May in March 2017 to notify Brussels of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU under the Article 50 process.
Chuka Umunna has claimed the Liberal Democrats could win up to 200 seats at the next general election just moments after he made his debut speech to party members. Mr Umunna, the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokesperson, also made clear the party would support an election once an extension to the Brexit deadline has been secured, insisting: “We are not shy”. The bold claim from the ex-Labour MP came as he used part of his first keynote speech to Lib Dem members to launch a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, who he claimed was “relaxed” with the prospect of the UK leaving the EU.
CHUKA UMUNNA has been humiliated on Twitter over his efforts to snub Prime Minister Boris Johnson on BBC Newsnight. Mr Umunna, who left both Change UK to join the Liberal Democrats, was humiliated by Twitter users for trying to snub Mr Johnson on BBC Newsnight. Mr Umunna, who was originally elected as a Labour MP before defecting to Change UK, said on the programme: “I think the Prime Minister has seriously been trying to negotiate a deal for many weeks now.
A split has emerged at the top of the Liberal Democrats over Brexit, as senior MP Sir Norman Lamb warned that the new policy of cancelling EU withdrawal was “playing with fire”. Activists voted overwhelmingly at the party’s annual conference in Bournemouth on Sunday to back leader Jo Swinson’s proposal to revoke the UK’s Article 50 letter informing Brussels of its intention to quit the EU.
The Liberal Democrat leadership is facing a growing revolt within the party over the controversial pledge to cancel Brexit. A senior MP criticised the policy yesterday, warning that it was “playing with fire”. Two other Lib Dem politicians said the stance, agreed at the party’s conference in Bournemouth on Sunday, was “wrong”.
Jo Swinson was last night caught up in a ferocious backlash over Lib Dem plans to cancel Brexit. The party’s dramatic new pledge has been overwhelmingly backed by conference delegates in Bournemouth. Despite the result of the 2016 referendum, the Liberal Democrats are now committed to revoking Article 50 immediately if they win the next general election.
JO SWINSON will today make a desperate plea to voters to back the controversial Liberal Democrat plan to scrap Brexit. The new party leader has faced a furious backlash following the “undemocratic” pledge to cancel Article 50 if the Lib Dems secure a majority at the next general election. Senior members of her own party have also accused the Lib Dems of “playing with fire” and toying with “extremism” because the policy ignores the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU.
Jo Swinson is to use her first conference speech as Liberal Democrat leader to argue the “tired old parties” are losing their dominance following failures over Brexit, amid claims that the Lib Dems could take 100 or more seats at an election. Swinson is due to close the gathering in Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon with a rallying cry to activists ahead of a likely imminent election, and an appeal to voters via renewed condemnations of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.
Millions of people cross the English Channel every year, to be greeted by the iconic white cliffs of Dover. However, for many, the journey is a perilous one as they seek a new and better life in the UK. For the last three days, ITV News cameras have captured extraordinary scenes as boat after over-packed boat heads towards the UK’s shores. Those on board share a common wish – a new life in the United Kingdom. In recent days, the numbers of those making the crossing has increased.
The company preparing to build HS2, the high speed rail line, has been ordered to stop cutting down ancient woodland unless “absolutely necessary”. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, made the order yesterday in response to concerns that removing irreplaceable woodland would cause unnecessary damage if a review resulted in the project being scrapped. Ministers ordered an independent review last month of Europe’s biggest infrastructure project amid concerns that the costs would far exceed the £56 billion budget.
Town halls are acting as ‘recruiting sergeants’ for county lines gangs by making thousands of vulnerable children live miles from home. A damning inquiry by MPs says troubled youngsters are being dumped in unsupervised housing to save costs. Isolated from their friends, families and even social workers, they risk being recruited to sell heroin and crack cocaine. The report by the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults warns the system for ‘looked-after’ children is at crisis point.
The rollout of smart meters has been delayed by four years, ministers admitted last night. In an embarrassing climbdown, they announced that families will now have until 2024 to install one of the devices. The scheme has been so shambolic that only half of homes will have a smart meter by the original 2020 deadline and the estimated cost has soared by £2.5billion to £13.5billion. Only two million of the 15million properties with the devices have models that automatically allow customers to switch supplier.
Homebuyers are being encouraged to seek discounts of up to 20 per cent by checking a new website that reveals the level of air pollution on each doorstep. The site uses data from King’s College London to give the level of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas released when diesel, petrol and gas are burnt, for every postcode in the capital. Addresspollution.org shows that streets in Chelsea, Regent’s Park, Notting Hill and other areas where homes often cost millions of pounds have air pollution well above the legal limit of 40 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air (mcg/m3).
E-cigarettes marketed at teenagers contain potentially cancerous levels of artificial flavouring, new research has found. The study of menthol and peppermint vapes revealed high concentrations of a carcinogenic additive called pulegone that US watchdogs recently banned in food. Even moderate use of the increasingly popular products – available in the UK in supermarkets, specialist stores and online – put users significantly outside the “safe” threshold.
Artificial mint-flavouring in e-cigarettes has been found to contain high levels of a potentially cancerous ingredient, research has found. The study revealed raised concentrations of the carcinogenic additive pulegone in menthol and peppermint vapes. Even moderate users of vaping products are significantly outside the ‘safe’ threshold of absorption of the substance, the study found. Vaping products contain higher levels of the additive than menthol cigarettes, which have minimised use of the additive due to health concerns.