Boris

With all the shenanigans going on in Westminster, the Prime Minister is coming under sustained pressure.  The Times says:

Boris Johnson was under pressure from cabinet ministers last night to abandon his Brexit strategy and “come up with a plan B” after opposition parties pledged to veto any bid for a general election before he asks the EU for an extension.
In a blow to Downing Street’s strategy, Jeremy Corbyn told other rebel leaders that Labour would refuse to support an election date if it fell before Brussels had agreed a delay to Brexit.

He has written to Conservatives tell them he might defy the law, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson wrote to all Tory members last night to indicate that he would rather defy the law than beg Brussels for a delay in bringing Britain out of the EU.
The Prime Minister said he was only bound ‘in theory’ by a law which is expected to receive Royal Assent on Monday, taking a No Deal Brexit off the table.
In his letter, he reiterated his determination to stand firm against Remainers, saying: ‘They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.’

The Telegraph claims its Labour’s fault.

Boris Johnson would rather defy the law than ask for another Brexit delay, he has indicated, as Labour was accused of plunging Britain into a constitutional crisis.
The Prime Minister said he “will not” carry out Parliament’s instructions to seek an Article 50 extension if he fails to agree a new deal, adding he was only bound “in theory” by a law passed on Friday.
Mr Johnson also ruled out the option of resigning to avoid asking for an extension, saying he would be staying in office to deliver Brexit and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.

ITV News claims the Tories are split.

The Conservative Party is at loggerheads over the Brexit crisis after Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested he could break the law in order to take Britain out of the European Union without a deal.
The House of Lords passed a bill on Friday effectively blocking a no-deal Brexit, paving the way for it to become law.
But, according to The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister wrote to Tory members on Friday evening, telling them: “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.”

And the Mail quotes Boris saying he will refuse to go cap-in-hand to Brussels.

Boris Johnson has said that he will not ask the EU for a Brexit delay in any circumstances.
But when anti-No Deal legislation makes it onto the statute book on Monday he will be legally required to ask Brussels to push back the departure date by October 19 – a few days before his October 31 do or die deadline.
Many people believe that Mr Johnson will quit rather than break his ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge.

He’s visiting the Queen at the moment but he’s returning to London today, says Sky News.

Boris Johnson is returning to London today to consider his next move in the Brexit crisis, cutting short his visit to the Queen at her Scottish holiday home.
On Friday, the House of Lords passed a bill which effectively blocks a no-deal Brexit, meaning Mr Johnson will have to return to the EU to ask for an extension, should it become law.
But Mr Johnson has remained steadfastly committed to bringing the country out “come what may” on 31 October, with the chances of a new deal fading day by day.

The opposition parties have ganged up on him, says the Guardian.

Boris Johnson’s shrinking options have narrowed further after opposition leaders agreed to reject his demand for a snap general election, until a Brexit  delay has been secured.
Senior members of the “rebel alliance” who have pledged to block a no-deal Brexit, including Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson, agreed to withhold their support when the government holds a second vote on Monday aimed at triggering an early poll.

BBC News adds that there could be further legal action.

MPs, including Tories expelled from the party, are preparing legal action in case the PM refuses to seek a delay to Brexit.
A bill requiring Boris Johnson to ask for an extension to the UK’s departure date to avoid a no-deal Brexit on 31 October is set to gain royal assent.
But the PM has said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay.
Now MPs have lined up a legal team and are willing to go to court to enforce the legislation, if necessary.

No deal

The Bill stopping no-deal needs only Royal Assent to make it law, says the Express.

THE no deal Brexit bill, known as the Benn Bill, has been approved by the House of Lords, meaning the next step is for it to be given royal assent. Could the Queen deny backing the bill?
The Benn Bill, designed to stop a no deal Brexit, has been passed by the House of Lords. The proposed legislation was passed in the Commons on Wednesday after a flurry of Tory MPs turned their back on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, joining the opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn.

But Hilary Benn, who introduced the Bill, is concerned, reports the Independent.

The author of a new law to block a no-deal Brexit, which completed its passage through parliament on Friday, has said he is “very troubled” by suggestions that prime minister Boris Johnson will not comply with it.
Hilary Benn, the chair of the Commons Brexit committee, was speaking after Mr Johnson suggested he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than request a further delay to Brexit negotiations.
In a warning to the prime minister not to ignore the legislation in the hope of forcing the UK out of the EU without a deal against parliament’s wishes on 31 October, the senior Labour MP said: “Either we have the rule of law or we do not.”

Pro-Brexit

Both sides of the argument could take to the streets.  The Independent reports a far-right protest today.

Far-right groups are threatening to riot over Brexit amid warnings that some of Boris Johnson’s language is “calling to” nationalists.
The Metropolitan Police said it was “ready to share resources across the country” if disorder breaks out at protests planned for Saturday.
A demonstration called by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) is expected to draw the largest numbers in Westminster, as Brexiteers take to the streets in Manchester, Birmingham and other cities.

And the Express claims a poll shows The Brexit Party’s support is soaring.

NIGEL FARAGE’s Brexit Party has soared in the polls after a recent survey revealed lost Conservative Party support.
A new poll by ICM put the Tories on 37 percent which left Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party trailing behind on 30 percent. The poll suggested that the Tories had a big enough lead to secure a majority if there was a snap election.
The results reflected how people would vote in a snap election before the October 31 deadline.
However, Conservative Party support dipped to just 28 percent when people were asked how they would vote in an election after October 31.

GE

Another plan to call a General Election on Monday could be stymied says the Morning Star.

LABOUR is set to veto next week’s motion for an early general election after peers passed a Bill today that effectively blocks the Tories from pushing through a no-deal Brexit.
Opposition leaders have agreed to vote against or abstain from voting when PM Boris Johnson triggers Monday’s motion for a general election.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said Mr Johnson was “slippery” and could not be trusted over the timing even though the prospect of an election was “extremely attractive.”

The Telegraph says there are talks about a November election.

Labour has entered into talks about pushing back an election to late November, as senior figures appeared in disarray over the party’s stance on Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn on Friday hosted a cross-party meeting of opposition leaders, at which they agreed to withhold support for a snap poll until Boris Johnson has been compelled by law to rule out no-deal.
The parties will, on Monday, reject a fresh attempt by the Prime Minister to force an election on Oct 15, instead instructing their MPs to abstain or vote against the motion.

In the Mail, a poll calls for an early election.

The British public are utterly frustrated with politicians, a poll for the Daily Mail has found.
Three-quarters of those questioned said the political class had failed to function effectively and were not serving the interests of the country.
The survey found that almost half want an early election and that MPs should not have blocked one in a Commons vote on Wednesday, while less than a third do not.
Boris Johnson remains the most popular choice for prime minister, with a 20-point lead over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who came in behind those who gave the answer ‘don’t know’.
And given the choice between a No Deal Brexit and accepting the Labour leader in No 10, our poll found those questioned overwhelmingly chose the former.

Tories could be wiped out north of the border, says the Independent.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives face a wipe-out in Scotland if a general election is called, with all 13 of the party’s seats north of the border set to fall to the SNP amid widespread rejection of his “do or die” Brexit message, according to new polling.
The YouGov poll, released as the prime minister spends his first night with the Queen at her Scottish estate at Balmoral, records a 14 per cent slump in the Tories’ share of the vote in the constituencies which they won in Scotland in 2017.

And Remainer constituencies even in the south could be sacrificed, says the Times.

Boris Johnson told Tory rebels that he was resigned to losing Remain-voting seats at the next election, according to Sir Nicholas Soames.
When warned that the Tories could lose Guildford, in Surrey, if they pressed on with a hard Brexit, Mr Johnson replied: “Well, Guildford will have to go then.” The constituency is one of dozens of Remain-voting Tory seats targeted by the Liberal Democrats.
Sir Nicholas, the grandson of Winston Churchill, is one of 21 MPs who lost the party whip this week after they voted against the government to compel Mr Johnson to ask Brussels for another Brexit extension. The MP warned that the Tory party was in danger of becoming “a Brexit sect”.

More pressure for the Tories and the Brexit Party to join up electorally is in the Express.

THE BREXIT Party has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “pick up the phone” and call leader Nigel Farage to form an electoral pact – and “go around” special adviser Dominic Cummings if necessary.
Martin Daubney, one of 29 Brexit Party candidates elected to the European Parliament in May’s elections, made his remarks in the wake of speculation that Mr Cummings’s hostility towards Mr Farage was a serious impediment to any future election agreement between the two Brexit supporting parties. Members of the European Research Group are thought to be keen on the idea of striking a deal with Mr Farage.

EU

The Times claims a further extension will be granted.

Rebel Tory MPs and opposition leaders received private assurances from European leaders that a request by parliament for a three-month Brexit extension would be granted in one last attempt to break the deadlock.
The Times understands that senior figures behind the bill to force an extension on Boris Johnson cleared their plan with EU capitals before it was published this week. They received reassurances that the European Council, which is made up of EU leaders, would not stand in the way of one final extension if it was approved by parliament.

But the Independent says the situation could be saved by the French president.

Emmanuel Macron will be strongly tempted to veto another delay to Brexit because of the “deteriorating situation” in the UK, a former top French diplomat is warning.
The French president – who has already threatened not to grant an Article 50 extension – will regard the crisis enveloping Boris Johnson as even “more disturbing” than the preceding events, Pierre Sellal said.
“The situation of the UK as a member state becomes every day more
wkward and strained,” the former French ambassador to the EU warned.

The Express also reports the prospect of a Macron veto.

EMMANUEL MACRON could veto a new Brexit extension, a former French ambassador has warned the day the House of Lords ordered Boris Johnson to go back to Brussels and get a delay to the UK leaving the EU.
The French President is expected to veto another delay to Brexit because of the “deteriorating situation” in the UK. Pierre Sellal, a former top French diplomat, said Mr Macron sees the current state of British politics as “more disturbing” than the crisis that surrounded Theresa May’s battle to try and force her controversial withdrawal agreement through the Commons.
The former French ambassador to the EU told BBC Radio 4: “The situation of the UK as a member state becomes every day more awkward and strained.”

Ireland

The Guardian reports that there are more problems in the May deal than just the Irish border.

The Irish border backstop is widely seen within the Conservative party as the single obstacle to a deal. It has been repeatedly claimed that if it was removed, May’s deal could be swiftly dusted down and passed in parliament.
But this week it emerged that Boris Johnson wants to drive a coach and horses through other areas of the Brexit deal too, so even if the backstop were removed, support would not be guaranteed.
Here is what we have learned this week: The European commission told diplomats that Johnson was demanding that the EU rewrite the part of the political declaration text which committed to a level playing field in key areas such as environment, employment law and social policy.

And it seems the Irish boss is coming round to a technical solution, says the Sun.

IRISH premier Leo Varadkar boosted Boris Johnson’s push for a tech alternative to a backstop by admitting Dublin will have to keep its border open if there is No Deal.
Ahead of crunch talks on Monday, he said some checks will have to be “near” the border but “as far as possible they will take place in ports, airports and at businesses”.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost presented to Brussels the UK’s border plan, first revealed by The Sun.
The UK would agree to an all-Ireland market for livestock and agrifood as long as the Northern Ireland assembly has a veto over EU rules.

The Guardian says the opposite.

Boris Johnson’s first concrete proposal for replacing the Irish backstop has hit the buffers in the latest “disastrous” meeting between the prime minister’s chief negotiator and the EU.
In a heavily trailed move, Johnson’s envoy, David Frost, proposed an all-Ireland food standards zone on Friday, but the UK is also seeking to give the Stormont assembly a say on whether it would continue in the years ahead.
The attempt to give the proposed arrangement what British officials have described as democratic legitimacy by involving politicians in Northern Ireland was firmly knocked back by the EU. European commission negotiators said such a proposal would leave Ireland in a constant state of uncertainty over the future.

Bercow

The Mail is musing on the end of the road for the Speaker.

The Prime Minister will try to end John Bercow’s political career at the next election by standing a Conservative candidate against him.
In a declaration of war against the controversial Speaker, Tory HQ will put up a prospective MP in his Buckingham seat.
The move comes after Mr Bercow tore up Commons rules this week to allow backbenchers to seize control of the agenda and pass a law delaying Brexit.

Fraud

There’s a disturbing story of forgery in the Times.

Banks are forging signatures on legal documents on an industrial scale, one of Britain’s most powerful police commissioners has claimed.
Anthony Stansfeld, police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, accused the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Conduct Authority and the National Crime Agency of sitting on “overwhelming” evidence of falsification of documents for eight months without taking action.
Mr Stansfeld said: “They sit on things and pass the buck so no one takes responsibility. The documents put in front of courts and claimed to be genuine are in many cases forgeries.

And it seems that thousands of shoppers have been scammed, says the Mail.

A gang of fraudsters scammed Tesco, Boots and Goldsmiths out of more than £60,000 after hacking the accounts of four million customers.
The ‘substantial and sophisticated’ fraud saw the gang gain unauthorised access to loyalty accounts and buy high-value goods.
Edward Kumsah, Jade Ofomola, Demi Okoi and Jamie Evans took advantage of people using the same password for several sites and were able to access Tesco Clubcard and Boots Advantage Card accounts.
Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court Judge Nicola Jones described the case as ‘extremely complex’.

Armed forces

In an exclusive report, the Sun says junkie soldiers will not automatically be sacked.

THE Army has reversed former defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s zero ­tolerance drugs policy for soldiers.
Squaddies testing positive for a banned substance were out under the rules drafted last November, with no prospect of a return.
Mr Williamson’s edict replaced a “second chance” policy under which commanders had the discretion to let offenders stay if they showed promise or were in training.
New Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has taken the “common sense” decision to overturn it, we understand.

Air travel

Plane noise has to be curtailed, reports the Times.

Action on the noisiest planes is needed to give hundreds of thousands of households peace from jets operating at UK airports, according to the new aviation noise watchdog.
The government should consider a series of long-term measures to regulate noise from the most disruptive aircraft, Rob Light said.
The head of the newly appointed Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN) said that national league tables could be created to name and shame individual airlines and airports responsible for the worst levels of noise.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email