Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay warns Tory leadership hopefuls that no-deal plans must be 'turbo-charged': Brexit News for Friday 5 July

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay warns Tory leadership hopefuls that no-deal plans must be 'turbo-charged': Brexit News for Friday 5 July
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Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay warns Tory leadership hopefuls that no-deal plans must be ‘turbo-charged’…

Britain’s next prime minister must “turbo-charge” preparations for a no deal Brexit, the Cabinet minister in charge of planning the UK’s departure from the EU has told the Daily Express. In an urgent plea to Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, EU Exit Secretary Stephen Barclay warned that the chances of the country quitting the bloc without a deal are far higher than expected by businesses. He called on the contenders for Downing Street to be ready to “seize the opportunities” of a no deal Brexit this autumn to build new trade links with emerging markets around the world. And taking a swipe at Chancellor Philip Hammond, the Brexiteer Cabinet dismissed Treasury forecasts that quitting the EU without a deal could cost the economy £90billion were neither “accurate” nor “neutral”. – Express

…as Justice Secretary David Gauke insists MPs will ‘find a way’ to block a no-deal Brexit

MPs will find a way to stop a no-deal Brexit if the next prime minister tries to force one through, a senior cabinet minister has said. David Gauke, the justice secretary, predicted that “a way will be found” to stop Britain leaving the EU without a deal, given a majority of MPs are opposed to such an outcome. It is unclear whether the House of Commons has the power to force the government to avoid no deal, but Mr Gauke said he thought MPs would find “other mechanisms” to stop it from happening. He also criticised Boris Johnson’s Brexit policy and called on the former foreign secretary to rule out suspending parliament, saying such a move would be a “constitutional outrage”. – Independent

  • Justice Secretary warns Boris Johnson that Parliament ‘will find a way’ to block No Deal Brexit – The Sun
  • David Gauke says John Bercow will help MPs find a way to block no-deal Brexit – PoliticsHome

Pact between pro-Remain parties in Brecon and Radnorshire by-election could cut new PM’s majority to three

Pro-Remain parties will unite behind a single candidate for the first time at next month’s parliamentary by-election in an attempt to reduce the Tories’ working majority to three. Plaid Cymru and the Green Party will not stand in Brecon & Radnorshire to help Jane Dodds, the Liberal Democrat leader in Wales, to secure the seat. The vote, to be held on August 1, will be the first electoral test for either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt as prime minister. Plaid, which advocates Welsh independence, will actively endorse Ms Dodds, 55. She described the pact as a “historic and courageous decision” in the interests of opposing Brexit. – The Times (£)

Boris Johnson urged to form election pact with Nigel Farage

Boris Johnson will be left with no choice but to form a pact with Nigel Farage if Conservative MPs intent on stopping a no-deal Brexit force a general election, one of his allies has warned. Steve Baker, a leading Eurosceptic Tory MP, told The Times that the Conservatives will have to form an alliance with Mr Farage if a general election were held before the Brexit deadline on October 31. Some Tory MPs have indicated that they are prepared to vote with Labour to force the government’s collapse in an attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit. Mr Baker, deputy chairman of the European Research Group, said: “If Remainer Conservatives drive us to a general election we are going to need a pact with the Brexit Party in order to survive. The manifesto for that will have to be one which the Brexit Party and its voters approve of. – The Times (£)

Next European Commission President tells MEPs the Irish backstop ‘will stay’

The likely next president of the European Commission will not remove the Irish border backstop from the Brexit withdrawal agreement, it has been claimed. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the Tory leadership contenders, have vowed to renegotiate the treaty, which includes the backstop, which, if triggered, would put the whole UK into a bare bones customs union with the EU to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit. EU leaders nominated Ursula von der Leyen , the German defence minister, to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU executive on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Mrs von der Leyen travelled to Strasbourg, France to meet MEPs and officials from the centre-Right European People’s Party.  MEPs will vote on whether to approve her nomination in about two weeks time. – Telegraph (£)

  • Germany says it will stand in ‘full solidarity’ with Ireland over Brexit – Guardian

Jeremy Hunt says he’d order MPs to work through the summer and cancel 5-week holiday to sort Brexit

Jeremy Hunt has put MPs on warning that he could CANCEL their 5-week summer break to make sure we’re ready for Brexit. The Foreign Secretary said that if he gets into No10 the traditional summer recess could be at risk to get an exit deal, or prepare to leave without one. He’s already said he would cancel all planned leave for civil servants if they aren’t ready for us to leave without a deal in October. And now he’s gone a step further, saying MPs would be forced to stay in Westminster for weeks to make sure all the relevant laws are passed in time. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph he said: “I want to be absolutely clear that if we are going to leave without a deal on Oct 31, we have to be ready for that, then the Government must do everything it can to make sure that we are prepared. – The Sun

Labour calls for a Brexit support package for UK manufacturers…

Three Labour frontbenchers have written a joint letter to the government to seek a package of support measures for UK manufacturers, saying continuing uncertainty over Brexit is causing huge damage to the sector. Manufacturers support 2.7m jobs and contribute 45% of UK exports, says the letter, from the shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Peter Dowd, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, and Chi Onwurah, the shadow industrial strategy minister. “At the heart of the industry are small and medium businesses who have the least financial flexibility and are therefore hit the hardest,” they say. “It is essential that they are not allowed to fail because of Brexit uncertainty.” The letter was addressed to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the business secretary, Greg Clark, both of whom are vehement and regular critics of a no-deal Brexit. – Guardian

…as Tom Watson urges Labour members to sign Remain declaration…

Tom Watson is urging grassroots members to sign up to a public declaration calling for Labour to be “the party of remain”, as pressure mounts on Jeremy Corbyn to embrace an anti-Brexit position. In a move likely to be regarded as provocative by Corbyn’s team, Watson is publishing a statement online, and inviting signatures, to underline the breadth of concern about Labour’s stance. “As the party of remain, we will not take every voter with us, but it’s the only way that Labour can win, and the only way to keep our country together,” the statement says. Since the party’s disastrous performance at the European elections in May, winning just 14% of the vote, Labour’s position has already evolved. Corbyn has repeatedly said, including in the House of Commons, that any Brexit deal – or a no-deal Brexit – should be put to a public vote. – Guardian

> Bryan Gould today on BrexitCentral: Formally declaring itself a Remain party would only compound Labour’s current problems 

…while a new poll puts Labour support at a historic low amidst Brexit flip-flopping

Support for the Labour Party has fallen to a historic low, with just one in five voters prepared to back the party in a general election, a poll reveals. Jeremy Corbyn’s party has polled fourth in a YouGov survey published yesterday, with just 18 per cent of voters indicating they would vote Labour if an election were held today.  The party generated 18 per cent support only once previously in 2009 under Gordon Brown’s leadership, its lowest level since polling began. The poll published in The Times today shows a two-point drop in support for Labour since last week, indicating an aversion by voters to the party’s unclear Brexit stance and its handling of anti-Semitism claims. – Telegraph (£)

Theresa May warns Johnson and Hunt not to choose between Northern Ireland and Brexit – or the UK could break up

Theresa May has warned Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt not to take the United Kingdom “for granted” and they can never risk violence in Northern Ireland to deliver Brexit. In a speech in Scotland this evening she told the two Tory frontrunners to make strengthening the union their “first and greatest duty” in No10. She also gave a thinly veiled warning against leaving the EU without a deal, and insisted that only by working together can all the four countries stay safe. “There can and must be no false choice between honouring the solemn commitments of the Belfast Agreement and delivering on the decision of the British people in the EU referendum,” she said this evening. – The Sun

  • No-deal Brexit risks breaking up UK, warns Theresa May – Guardian
    English apathy over no-deal Brexit ‘poses threat to Union’, says Lidington – The Times (£)

Brexit Party’s Ann Widdecombe says the EU treats us like ‘slaves’ and blasts ‘We’re off!’ in European Parliament maiden speech

New Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has blasted the EU for treating us like “slaves” and insisted Britain is right to be quitting the bloc. She used her maiden speech in the European Parliament to give a furious defence of Brexit and tell Brussels bosses just why we’re leaving on October 31. The ex-Tory minister said it was a “great honour” to speak on behalf of the single largest party in the Parliament, just days after they turned their backs on other MEPs in the Parliament. And she slammed them for the way they elect the president of the European Parliament and Council – only voted on after a recommendation from other EU leaders the day before. In a furious broadside she stormed: “If I needed any convincing at all, that the best thing for Britain is to leave here as soon as possible, it was the way that those elections were conducted yesterday.” – The Sun

  • Ann Widdecombe compares EU to slave owners in maiden European Parliament speech – Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: Ann Widdecombe’s maiden speech in the European Parliament

Iain Duncan Smith: By taking us out on time, Boris will jumpstart a trade deal with our friends in America

One thousand Conservative Party councillors have today pledged their support for Boris Johnson. Men and women who work tirelessly – and often unsung – to improve their communities have made it clear that they believe he is the one who should now become our Prime Minister. Leading this surge in support is Gary Porter, the head of the Local Government Association. After a barnstorming performance at the LGA meeting this week by Boris, it is significant that Gary and so many councillors who recognise what needs to change in the UK are backing him. And the sheer scale of this support shows how uniquely placed Boris is to unite the party and then the nation. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for the Telegraph (£)

Telegraph: Boris Johnson is Mr Brexit. Elect him PM and give him a chance to deliver it

Mr Johnson is Mr Brexit. He put his finger on the problem; he led the campaign to leave; he won the 2016 referendum. And now he has a chance to wrest the project back from the politicians who have nearly destroyed it with their opposition or ineptitude… Mr Johnson grasps that Britain put its red lines in the wrong place, that the essential issue is sovereignty, and that unless the EU thinks that Britain is willing to walk away, it won’t renegotiate a Withdrawal Agreement that is totally unacceptable to a democrat. Mr Johnson also sees that it’s not just leaving the EU that matters but what you do next. With tax cuts and investment in infrastructure at home, there are real opportunities in the world beyond Europe: trading with developing nations, attracting top talent, jumping aboard the technological revolution. – Telegraph editorial 

Asa Bennett: If Brexit rebels bring down a no-deal Prime Minister, he could still have the last laugh

The Conservatives’ working majority of five means that it would only take a few Tory MPs to kick off for Parliament to be able to push the Prime Minister around, as Theresa May found to her increasing humiliation. That should mean Mrs May’s successor, all but inevitably Boris Johnson, is doomed in his promise to ensure Brexit happens at very minimum without a deal by October 31. Plenty of Tories have made clear they do not like it, with Richard Harrington – who resigned as business minister over it – despairing on Sky News about it being “madness”. But would he vote down a Conservative Prime Minister hellbent on delivering it? Er, no. Other like-minded Tories, such as Rory Stewart, are unwilling to cross that red line, in part because it would be hard for them to stay in the party any longer if they had just helped to end their time in government. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Anne-Marie Trevelyan: Boris Johnson has the strength of character to lead us out of the EU

‘Brexit means Brexit” and “no deal is better than a bad deal” were great slogans but they turned out to mean nothing. Theresa May didn’t believe Britain could prosper outside the EU. And by extending Article 50 she emboldened the EU hardliners who want to give Britain a terrible deal and prolonged the agony, uncertainty and expense for British business. Jeremy Hunt would simply offer more of the same. Jeremy has already admitted that he won’t get us out of the EU by October 31. It doesn’t matter how good he is at negotiating, this means that Brussels can never take him seriously, will play the man rather than the ball and will safely bank on the fact that he will cave in as soon as they press their advantage as the deadline approaches. – Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP for The Times (£)

Clive Lewis: Labour’s dismal polling is a sign things have gone very wrong – but a strong Remain campaign can claw it back

Eighteen per cent. Fourth place. There is no positive way to spin Labour’s result in the most recent YouGov poll. The only time our party’s support has ever sunk this low in modern polling was in 2009, just after the economy entered recession at the end of Gordon Brown’s ill-fated government. While it is usually unwise to read too much into one individual poll, other surveys confirm the wider trend. So did, unfortunately, the results of the European elections just over a month ago with Labour voters switching to Remain parties en masse. The era of two-party politics is over with the vote now evenly split four ways in England alone. It is no secret that Brexit is the key issue that has shaken our politics up so thoroughly. Three years since the referendum and with consensus far from being reached, the country is more divided now than ever. On the one hand, we have record-breaking marches of millions demanding a final say on Brexit and a chance to end this mess. – Clive Lewis MP for the Independent

Fraser Nelson: Ousting Jeremy Corbyn now would spell catastrophe for Labour

Some of the wildest rumours in Westminster involve Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed ill health. Many of them border on fantasy: that he has suffered a nervous breakdown, can barely speak and is being kept going, Lenin-style, by a cabal of malicious advisers. Such rumours are normally ended when he appears very much alive, revving up an adoring crowd. It’s his resilience, not frailty, that most dismays Labour MPs. They tried to get rid of him – they failed – and they now comfort each other by imagining he’ll resign. They should be careful what they wish for because the brutal truth is that Labour could do a lot worse than Jeremy Corbyn. Plotting to oust him is underway again, this time driven by those enraged at his ambivalence on Brexit. Look at the polls, the plotters say: the Liberal Democrats, proud champions of Remain, have forced Labour into fourth place. Word is that even John McDonnell is now open to a putsch, perhaps over the summer. – Fraser Nelson for the Telegraph (£)

Stewart Jackson: The EU’s new ‘dream team’ stand us proof that Brexiteers are on the right side of history

Ann Widdecombe’s magnificent cri de coeur in the European Parliament neatly encapsulated the anger and frustration of so many Leave voters toward the European Union – its corporate arrogance, political cronyism, disdain for the views of ordinary voters and its comic pretensions to be a proper sovereign state. They really don’t get it, do they? Some naive souls thought that after the 2016 referendum, our friends and partners in the EU would dial back on the bellicose rhetoric, the hubris and catastrophism about Brexit and this country’s biggest democratic decision. But it hasn’t happened. It’s business as usual. Donald Tusk even told many of us to go to hell. – Stewart Jackson for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in Brief

  • It’s time for another leadership race (in the Labour Party) – Joel Casement of Get Britain Out for Comment Central 
  • European Medicines Agency ends Canary Wharf dispute with Wework deal – The Times (£)
  • Jaguar Land Rover to build new electric car in the UK protecting thousands of jobs – Sky News