The Daily Telegraph - 06.08.2019

(C. Jardin) #1

4 ***^ Tuesday 6 August 2019 The Daily Telegraph

Johnson’s ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge must

overcome parliamentary obstacle course


ominic Cummings, Boris
Johnson’s chief strategist, has
suggested that there is now no
way to stop a no-deal Brexit on Oct 31.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary,
supported that theory yesterday,
saying his view had changed after
Remainer MPs were defeated in trying
to block no deal in a series of votes last
month. A Government spokesman also
reiterated that Britain would leave the
EU on Hallowe’en “whatever the
However, once Parliament returns
from its summer recess on Sept 3, the
Government is likely to face concerted
efforts to dilute Mr Johnson’s “do or
die” pledge. Here are the possible

Emergency motion
MPs could pass an emergency motion
or a resolution of the House by
petitioning John Bercow, the Speaker,
for a debate. With his approval, they
could end that debate with a vote on
whether the House was opposed to no
deal, hoping that a majority against
would mandate the Government to
take no deal off the table. The trouble
with this idea is that Mr Johnson has
said he will ignore any moves in the
Commons that are not legally binding.

Boris Johnson wins vote of no
Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn said he
would call for a vote of no confidence
in the Government at an “appropriate
very early time”, adding: “When we
can win it.” But with some Remainers
questioning whether dissolving

Parliament through a confidence vote
might actually cause a no-deal Brexit,
and independent MPs unlikely to vote
for their own demise, Labour has been
stalling because it knows a win by Mr
Johnson would significantly
strengthen his hand.

Johnson loses first vote but wins
With a majority of just one, and rebel
Remainer Tories threatening to bring
down the Government to stop no deal
with Opposition MPs, Mr Johnson
could easily lose a no-confidence vote.
Under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act,
he would then have 14 days to form a
new government, which his detractors
could use to pressure him to soften his
Brexit stance with the threat of pulling
together an alternative “government
of national unity”. But the chances of
such a cross-party alliance appear slim
when there are strong Leave/Remain
factions within both Labour and the
Tories, and with independent MPs
ploughing their own furrow.

Johnson sets election date for after
Oct 31
If Mr Johnson failed to command the
House in two confidence votes, a
general election would be called.
Mr Cummings has reportedly said:
“The idea we will hand over to a new
government rather than leave with an
election after Oct 31 is laughable.”
Mr Johnson could theoretically call
a general election after Oct 31, as the
Act states the Queen chooses the date
on the “recommendation of the Prime
Minister”. Under paragraph 2.9 of the
Cabinet Manual, the Queen reserves
the power to dismiss a Prime Minister
who outstays their welcome, but it
would be highly unlikely.

Extend Article 50
MPs might try to pass legislation
forcing Mr Johnson to ask for extra
time to hold a second referendum –

Labour links Javid

to financial crisis in

‘desperate smear’

By Harry Yorke

ALLIES of Sajid Javid accused John Mc-
Donnell of launching a “desperate”
smear campaign, after Labour called
for the Chancellor to be investigated
over his previous career in finance.
Whitehall sources said last night that
the shadow chancellor was attempting
to distract from Labour’s own failings
on Brexit, after he wrote to Boris John-
son questioning Mr Javid’s suitability.
In the letter, Mr McDonnell tried to
link Mr Javid’s role at Deutsche Bank to
the financial crash, claiming he “prof-
ited from the greed that contributed to
it”. He said that during his 18 years at
Deutsche, Mr Javid sold bonds and
complex derivative products as head of
credit trading for Asia.
Labour also called on him to publish
his tax returns, amid claims he used a
“tax avoidance scheme” known as
“Dark Blue” whilst at the bank.
Last night, an ally of the Chancellor
said: “This is desperate stuff from La-
bour who are trying to distract atten-
tion away from the fact that they have
no plan to deliver Brexit by Oct 31.”


Up to 30 Labour MPs set to back Brexit deal

By Camilla Tominey

UP TO 30 Labour MPs are prepared to
vote for a Brexit deal if Boris Johnson
secures fresh concessions from Brus-
sels, as the Prime Minister yesterday
insisted: “The last thing I want to do is
call another election.”
Although the EU is now working on
the hypothesis that Britain plans to
leave without a deal, Downing Street

appeared to open the door to bringing
the Withdrawal Agreement back to
Parliament by insisting that removing
the Irish backstop would represent
“significant progress”.
The move is likely to anger the so-
called “Spartans” in the European Re-
search Group of Eurosceptic Tories
who want the Brexit deal to be torn up
in favour of an interim free trade agree-
ment (FTA) with the EU.
But a government spokesman said:
“We are ready to negotiate in good

faith an alternative to the anti-demo-
cratic backstop,” insisting Mr Johnson
wanted a “friendly and constructive”
relationship with Brussels with a view
to negotiating an FTA after Oct 31.
Until then, the spokesman said, the
Prime Minister’s view remained un-
changed, adding: “The UK will be leav-
ing the EU on October 31, whatever the
circumstances ... no ifs or buts.”
It comes as sources close to Mr John-
son suggested he would still stay on
even if he lost a vote of no confidence,

using his executive powers to delay a
general election until after Brexit.
The Daily Telegraph has learnt that a
backchannel between Downing Street
and Opposition backbenchers is being
co-ordinated by John Mann, the La-
bour MP recently appointed the gov-
ernment’s adviser on anti-Semitism.
The Bassetlaw MP’s constituency,
which voted Leave by 68 per cent, is set
to benefit from £1.8 billion of extra NHS
funding announced by Mr Johnson.
A senior backbencher said that

between 20 and 30 Labour MPs were
ready to deliver Brexit should Mr John-
son get any movement from Brussels,
including a number of Remainers.
The MP also claimed that the six
Labour MPs who have announced they
will not stand again at the next election
had effectively become “free agents”.
Two independent MPs are under-
stood to have confided that they would
not seek to bring down the Govern-
ment for fear it would lead to a no-deal
Brexit. One MP said: “People shouldn’t

assume all Remainers will vote to bring
down the Government.”
Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn said La-
bour planned to table a no-confidence
vote at an “appropriate very early time”,
thought to be soon after MPs return on
Sept 3. It came as John McDonnell, the
shadow chancellor, accused Mr John-
son of planning an election in “either
October or the spring”.
Mr Johnson denied the claim, say-
ing: “The last thing I want to do is call
another election.”


By Camilla Tominey

and only turn to a no-confidence vote
if that fails. With the help of the
Speaker, the rebels could try to seize
control of the order paper with a view
to forcing an extension of Article 50 or
revoking it altogether. This would
require a Bill to be passed but, and
observers have questioned whether
there would be enough time to push it
through both Houses with MPs only
sitting for less than a month between
Sept 3 and Oct 31. A Government
spokesman said Britain could leave the
EU on Hallowe’en without any other
legislation being passed even though a
number of Bills covering post-Brexit
policy on a range of issues – including
immigration, fisheries and agriculture

  • have yet to complete their passage.

Petition the Queen
It has been suggested that a “humble
address” could be made by Remainers
to the Queen, calling on her to travel
to the next EU summit in October and
request an extension to Article 50.
Notwithstanding the fact that the
Queen has spent her 67 years on the
throne remaining politically neutral,
any attempt to drag the 93-year-old
monarch into a Brexit war is unlikely
to get the support of a majority of MPs.

Prorogue Parliament or extend
Another controversial option touted
by Leave-backing MPs is reducing the
amount of time rebel Remainers have
to block Brexit by either proroguing
Parliament or extending the summer
recess to conference season. While Mr
Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule
out prorogation, Cabinet members are
not keen on trying to enforce “the
democratic will of the people” by
undemocratic means. The summer
recess dates have already been set –
making it unlikely that they can be
changed to prevent MPs returning on
Sept 3 without yet more accusations of
unconstitutional interference.

‘The idea we

will hand
over to a new

rather than
leave with

an election
after Oct 31
is laughable’

Frontline service Prime Minister Boris Johnson inspects an ambulance at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincs. Mr Johnson has announced that NHS trusts
in England will receive £1.8 billion to upgrade facilities and equipment. The Pilgrim’s A&E department will benefit from £21.3 million in investment.


EU27 operate on ‘working hypothesis of no deal’ after losing faith in MPs

Continued from Page 1
he meets them in the margins of the G
meeting in France later this month, but
there is no expectation that these dis-
cussions will change the situation.
The European Commission has in-
sisted that it will not be to blame if
there was a no-deal Brexit.
A spokesman said that no deal would
hurt the UK and the EU, with a “serious
economic impact” on Britain “propor-
tionally higher” than in Europe.

In March, the EU said it had com-
pleted its no-deal Brexit plans – 46
measures designed to mitigate the
worst impact.
They cover the financial sector,
transport and travel, customs and the
export of goods, climate policy, agri-
culture and fisheries, social security
co-ordination, and international trade.
They include plans to ensure the
most basic form of flying rights be-
tween the EU and the UK, allowing air-

lines to fly between UK and European
cities but not onto other EU destina-
tions nor will they be allowed to take
new passengers to non-UK places.
UK-licensed trucks will be allowed
to carry goods into the EU until the end
of 2019 but will not have cabotage
rights, when goods are transported
within a country by a foreign operator.
“For a negotiation to be successful it
takes two to tango,” a spokesman said
yesterday. “If the music and the rhythm

is not right then you have no dance but
that doesn’t mean that it was a failure.”
She said the EU was sticking to its
red line that it would not renegotiate
the Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Johnson insists that it must be re-
negotiated and the backstop removed.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s
spokesman reiterated that removing
the “undemocratic” backstop would
represent “significant progress”, sug-
gesting that the Government could be

tempted to bring the deal back to the
Commons if the concession was made.
But added that Britain will leave on
Oct 31 “whatever the circumstances”.
As reported in The Sunday Telegraph,
Mr Cummings said that even if the
Government lost a vote of confidence
when Parliament returns in Septem-
ber, Mr Johnson could remain in power
by delaying an election until after Oct
31 by which time, under current legis-
lation, Britain would be out of the EU.

Majority of Scots

back independence,

poll suggests

By Simon Johnson

Johnson yesterday that his opposition
to a second independence referendum
was “completely unsustainable” after a
major poll showed a majority of Scots
backed separation.
The survey, conducted by Lord Ash-
croft in the wake of Mr Johnson’s visit
to Scotland a week ago, put support for
independence at 52 per cent when un-
decided and non-voters were excluded.
In a major shift in Scottish public
opinion, 47 per cent said there should
be a new vote by 2021 compared with
45 per cent who were opposed.
The First Minister seized on the
“phenomenal” poll and argued it would
be a “democratic outrage” for Mr John-
son to refuse to give her the powers for
another referendum.
The poll, the first since March 2017 to
show a narrow majority for independ-
ence, is a blow to Mr Johnson and Ruth
Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader.
They have repeatedly rejected calls for
a new vote, arguing there is little appe-
tite among the Scottish people.


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