Boris Johnson was on Tuesday night forced into seeking a snap general election after falling victim to an unprecedented parliamentary coup aimed at delaying Brexit. He lost his first vote as Prime Minister by 328 to 301, a majority of 27 votes, after 21 Tories rebelled, and said he would move the vote for an election if Parliament on Wednesday opted in favour of a Bill to delay Brexit until Jan 31. Mr Johnson said: “Let there be no doubt about the consequences of this vote tonight. It means that Parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal we might be able to strike in Brussels because tomorrow’s Bill would hand control of the negotiations to the EU, and that would mean more dither, more delay, more confusion …
Boris Johnson faces a fresh pummeling in the Commons today as he tries to win support for a snap General Election. A furious Mr Johnson last night called for Britain to go to the polls, handing the future of Brexit back to the public after Remainers seized control of Parliament in a bid to rule out No Deal. The Prime Minister had lost a crunch vote, giving a rebel alliance control of Commons business with the aim of passing a law to stop the UK crashing out of the EU at the end of October, by an unexpectedly large margin of 328 to 301.
The government is tabling a motion for a general election in the wake of a humiliating Commons defeat on Boris Johnson’s strategy of putting Britain on course to crash out of the EU. The prime minister said he would put forward the motion, which must win the support of two-thirds of the Commons in order to trigger a poll, after rebel Tories defied his threat to throw them out of the party and united with opposition MPs to seize control of Commons business, paving the way for a vote tomorrow on a bill that would outlaw a no-deal Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn has refused to sign up to an early election until the rebel anti no-deal bill becomes law to make Boris Johnson “stew in his own juices”. After the Commons voted to seize control of the order paper last night, Mr Corbyn told the prime minister that he would back a general election only as soon as the bill has passed. “If the prime minister has confidence in his Brexit policy — when he has one he can put forward — he should put it before the people in a public vote,” Mr Corbyn said.
Labour is backing away from granting Boris Johnson the 14 October general election he is threatening, fearing a “trick” that will end in a no-deal Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn will only deliver the two-thirds Commons majority required to trigger a snap poll if legislation to block a no deal is “locked down” first, the party says. Labour also fears Mr Johnson could be handed the election – and only then switch the date to after 31 October, when the UK would have left the EU.
JEREMY Corbyn said he will refuse to back the PM’s bid today to hold an election – unless he can also ram through a law to stop a No Deal. The Labour leader has spent the past two years furiously calling for another general election. But he is now demanding a cast iron guarantee Brexit will be delayed before he will order his MPs to support Boris Johnson’s snap general election. Corbyn demanded legislation to delay Brexit is passed before any election is triggered, after Johnson was defeated in the Commons last night.
Jeremy Corbyn has signalled that Labour will back a snap election once the Commons approves radical legislation to block a no-deal Brexit. The Labour leader revealed his hand immediately after Boris Johnson suffered a humiliating defeat on his very first vote since becoming prime minister. A total of 21 Tory MPs rebelled against the government and were expected to have the whip withdrawn by their party. But as the PM confirmed his next step would be to table a motion for a snap election, Corbyn made clear for the first time he would back the move – as long as an emergency bill to stop a no-deal Brexit was passed first.
Boris Johnson lost control of Brexit last night as MPs paved the way for an extension of the October 31 deadline. The prime minister also faced being unable to carry out his threat of calling a snap election after suffering a humiliating defeat in his first Commons vote. MPs took control of the parliamentary agenda by 328 votes to 301, a majority of 27. The government confirmed that it would strip the whip from the 21 Conservatives, including nine former cabinet ministers, who rebelled.
Rebel MPs have defied threats from Boris Johnson to vote through a motion paving the way for legislation to block a no-deal Brexit. MPs voted to seize control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday afternoon in order to force through a bill requiring the prime minister to request an extension in Brexit talks to 31 January unless he secures a deal with Brussels or parliamentary approval for no deal by 19 October.
ITV News (by Robert Peston)
I have belatedly worked out that Boris Johnson can and probably will accept the legislation delaying Brexit as the price of the country going to the polls in a general election. Because the Prime Minister would campaign on a manifesto of leaving the EU on October 31. So if he wins the clear Commons majority he seeks, allowing an election to take place, he could repeal that legislation in a single day before October 31 and could insist the Lords do not block repeal (because repeal would be in Tory manifesto).
The European Commission on Tuesday told EU-27 diplomats a no-deal Brexit had never been closer, after Stephen Barclay dismissed Michel Barnier’s vow that the EU would never renegotiate the Irish border backstop. “This is in contrast to the position I have heard in several EU capitals. They are open to creative and flexible solutions and are interested in seeing the details from the UK,” Mr Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper.
The British government has shown EU negotiators no “concrete proposals” to replace the backstop, despite it claiming to have made progress and “intensified” Brexit talks, Brussels has said. Asked about progress in talks, a spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters in Brussels: “I cannot report any concrete proposals having been made that we have seen.”
High EU tariffs on British exports present the “biggest challenge” in a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove admitted. Yesterday the minister for no-deal planning also said that large parts of industry would need government subsidies to stay viable if Britain crashed out of the EU. In his first Commons appearance in his new role, he said the food and chemical industries, farming and some manufacturers would face particular challenges.
Twenty one Tory MPs will be kicked out of the party in a ‘bloodbath of the Remainers’ after condemning Boris Johnson to his first Commons defeat last night. In a major rebellion, a string of senior Tories – including eight former Cabinet ministers and Winston Churchill’s grandson – voted with opposition parties to wreck the Prime Minister’s negotiation plans and stop No Deal. They are expected to be stripped of the whip within hours, meaning that if – as expected – an election is called within days, they will lose their right to stand as Tory candidates and their political careers will come to an end.
BORIS Johnson swiftly sacked TWENTY ONE Tory rebels last night after a historic vote to block No Deal plunged Westminster into chaos. In an unprecedented show of strength, the PM ordered the whip be removed from a list of high-profile MPs – including Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. His no-nonsense cull of turncoat Tory defectors came after the Government lost the first round of a 48-hour Brexit battle against a hardline Remainer alliance.
House of Lords
THE HOUSE of Lords is plotting to sabotage embattled Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy by racing through a militant debate to prevent any scrutiny from Brexiteers. The motion – known as the Benn Bill after Labour’s Hilary Benn tabled it – was posted onto the Labour Lords’ Twitter page where peers demanded an “orderly debate” on it. The post read: “Finer details of motion tabled by @LadyBasildon for @UKHouseofLords business (Weds) to ensure orderly debate on #Article50 Extension Bill – aka #BennBill.
The Conservatives are set to break with convention and stand against John Bercow in the next general election, the Telegraph understands. In what would be a dramatic move, the Tories are lining up a Brexiteer to take on the Commons Speaker in the constituency of Buckingham, in Buckinghamshire. Convention dictates the major parties avoid contesting the Speaker’s seat to give them a clear run at victory and maintain continuity in the Commons chair.
Over ten years ago John Bercow was elected Speaker of the House of Commons. While he has certain important positive qualities this was always a controversial choice. To start with he was very much the Labour candidate, despite having been nominally a Conservative MP. Only a tiny number of his fellow Tory MPs voted for him. Traditionally it was understood as a basic requirement of being Speaker that you could carry broad respect from across the House of Commons.
The Brexit Party
BORIS JOHNSON is facing pressure from MPs after they voted to take control of Parliament and prevent a no deal Brexit. But could Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage become Mr Johnson’s deputy in an election pact? MPs have voted on whether to take control of Parliament from the Prime Minister to block a no deal Brexit, and will on Wednesday debate Benns Bill. In total 328 MPs voted to seize control, with 21 of those Conservative MPs.
NIGEL Farage has named his price to make an election pact with Boris Johnson – a No Deal Brexit. So will The Brexit Party support the PM and who are the MP candidates in Nigel Farage’s party? The Brexit Party is a new party with a populist outlook that has been launched to push for the EU referendum result to be respected. Mr Farage previously accused former PM Theresa May of turning Britain into a “laughing stock on the world stage” over Brexit.
NIGEL FARAGE has hit back after the chance of a no deal Brexit took a defeat in the House of Commons. Opposition MPs took control of parliamentary business and Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his working majority following the defection of Philip Lee. The Tory Party has not held a majority in the Commons since the 2017 general election. Mr Farage said in a speech: “We are in for the fight of our lives.
While polling suggests a General Election without Brexit having been delivered would be a fatal blow to the Conservatives, the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage has said he would give Boris Johnson a clean run at victory on the condition he scrapped Theresa May’s hated Brexit deal. The prime minister has repeatedly said he would take the country out of the European Union on October 31st “do or die” — meaning with or without a negotiated deal with the European Union — but has made abundantly clear his preferred route is to agree on a deal with Brussels.
Senior Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker has warned Boris Johnson he must do a deal with the Brexit Party ahead of a snap general election in order to have any hope of winning a majority. The new chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative Eurosceptic MPs said if the Tories and Nigel Farage’s party stand candidates against each other the result will be victory for a ‘Remain coalition’.
EUROPEAN UNION chiefs are scrambling to plug a £10 billion blackhole in the bloc’s budget as they ramp up their preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Amid fears that Boris Johnson could still pull the plug on the withdrawal agreement, officials are updating a number of contingency measures. The European Commission is set to mirror its plans to allow Britain to contribute to the bloc’s 2020 budget.
NICOLAS SARKOZY has warned the European Union will lose one of its economic powers due to Brexit, as talks between London and Brussels remain at an impasse. The ongoing divorce drama took a new twist last week after the government confirmed controversial plans to suspend parliament for about a month before Brexit.
The Government is poised to announce a liberalisation of rules on EU nationals’ residency in the UK to allay concerns about their status after a possible no-deal Brexit. It is understood that free movement rules will be replaced by a three-year leave to remain scheme for any EU citizen arriving in the UK and joining the settlement register before the end of 2020.
A “miracle” jab which cures a rare form of child blindness will now be offered by the NHS, Simon Stevens will announce today. Previously no treatment has been available for infants born with inherited retinal dystrophies disorders, which cause poor vision and often result in complete blindness by childhood. Mr Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, is expected to announce the revolutionary gene therapy treatment, which costs over £600,000 per patient, at the Health Innovation Expo conference in Manchester.
BLIND children will have their eyesight restored by a revolutionary new gene therapy on the health service. The life-changing treatment — usually £613,410 a patient but supplied at an undisclosed, reduced price — will be available for everyone from 2020, the NHS says. Boss Simon Stevens told a conference in Manchester that curing blindness was once seen as a miracle but added: “Now modern medicine is making that a reality for our patients.”
Artificial intelligence technology that can accurately predict people’s risk of suffering a heart attack nearly a decade before it strikes will soon be available on the NHS. The breakthrough could save tens of thousands of lives a year by spotting at-risk patients whose heart problems cannot be detected using present scanning methods. Researchers at Oxford University have developed an AI tool that can read normal CT scans, which are given to 40,000 patients a year who complain of chest pain.
A high-tech heart scan developed by Oxford scientists can spot the risk of a heart attack nearly a decade in advance. The new technology – which has received Government funding to fast track it into the NHS within two years – predicts heart risk with 90 per cent accuracy, according to data presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Paris. The breakthrough could save thousands of lives a year by spotting at-risk patients whose heart problems cannot be detected using current scanning methods.
MPs last night demanded a radical shake-up of England’s ‘broken’ social care system to avoid its total collapse. The all-party parliamentary group on social care called for proper training and qualifications for ‘under-valued, exploited and degraded’ care workers. They said a new ‘National Care Service’ should be set up with which all care workers would have to register. All of these – both home helps and those who work in care homes – should wear a National Care Service uniform so they are given the same respect as NHS staff.
HS2 could cost up to £22 billion more than its previous budget and may be delayed by seven years, the company building the high-speed railway said. A report by HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook stated that the original plans ‘did not take sufficient account’ of the effect of building a high-speed line through areas that are densely populated and with challenging ground conditions. He added that the project’s budget has ‘proved unrealistic’, but added: ‘At the same time the benefits have been understated.’
HS2 might not be finished until 2040 and could cost as much as £78 billion, the firm behind the project has admitted. In a statement to Parliament, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that talks had been held with the chairman of HS2, who had doubts about the current completion date and budget. He said: “Colleagues will see that the chairman of HS2 does not believe that the current scheme design can be delivered within the budget of £55.7 billion, set in 2015 prices.” The first stage of the line, running from London to Birmingham was initially scheduled to be finished by 2026. This has now been revised to as late as 2031.
Completion of the first phase of HS2, between London Euston and Birmingham, could be delayed by five years until 2031, the government has announced, and the cost of the high-speed rail network has soared to up to £88bn. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told parliament completion of the full northern section of HS2, to Manchester and Leeds, would probably be pushed back by seven years to 2040. He confirmed that the budget for the project had risen by £22bn from the official £55.7bn at 2015 prices. At today’s prices, HS2 is expected to cost between £81bn and £88bn.
The full HS2 line will be delayed by up to seven years after project bosses admitted that the original budget and timescale were “unrealistic”. A report published by HS2 Ltd, the government-owned company, said that the full Y-shaped network would be opened by 2040 rather than the previous target of 2033. The analysis, delivered to Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said there was “no prospect” of building the line within its budget, indicating that it could cost up to £32 billion more than previously thought.
HS2 could be delayed by seven years, the company contracted by the government to build the high-speed railway has said. The landmark transport project could also cost some £22bn more than previously expected. Its first phase, linking London with the West Midlands, could be set back five years, the transport department has been advised, while the planned link between the West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester may be delayed by seven years.