John Bercow dismisses plan mooted by Dominic Raab to force through No Deal by proroguing Parliament: Brexit News for Friday 7 June

John Bercow dismisses plan mooted by Dominic Raab to force through No Deal by proroguing Parliament: Brexit News for Friday 7 June
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John Bercow dismisses plan mooted by Dominic Raab to force through No Deal by proroguing Parliament

Dominic Raab’s threat to force through a no-deal Brexit by suspending Parliament “is simply not going to happen”, John Bercow has warned. This comes after the former Brexit Secretary became the first leadership contender to say he would be prepared to prorogue Parliament, a move which would – if the Queen approves – end the parliamentary session early, to stop MPs blocking no deal. Ruling anything out would be “weakening our hand with the EU,” Mr Raab told MPs at a Conservative leadership hustings yesterday. “If I become PM, we are leaving at the end of October”. The Speaker of the House of Commons said this morning: “Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision making process on this important matter. That simply is not going to happen, it’s just so blindly obvious it almost doesn’t need to be stated.” – Telegraph (£)

WATCH: .John Bercow reacts to the option of proroguing Parliament to push through a WTO Brexit

…as other contenders for the Tory crown also set out their opposition to the move

A source close to Sajid Javid said: “He firmly believes his honest and credible deal on Brexit can command support of the Commons and the EU. But he wants to be PM – not a dictator.” Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to Tory MPs making clear his opposition to the idea. He said: “Proroguing Parliament undermines parliamentary democracy and risks a general election. I rule it out and call on all candidates to do the same.” Rory Stewart posted a video on Twitter branding the Raab plan as “unlawful, undemocratic, and unachievable”. Former minister Sam Gyimah said: “No question. I’ll rule out prorogation.” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs at a leadership hustings on Wednesday night that he would not consider proroguing either. – PoliticsHome

Theresa May to officially step down as Tory leader today…

Theresa May will officially step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen. Mrs May announced her resignation two weeks ago, saying it was a matter of deep regret that she had been unable to deliver Brexit. Eleven Conservative MPs are vying to replace her as party leader and ultimately, prime minister. Nominations open from 10:00 BST on Monday and close at 17:00 BST that day. Mrs May remains acting leader while the contest takes place. The UK was originally meant to leave the European Union on 29 March. That was then pushed back to 12 April and eventually 31 October after Mrs May failed to get MPs to approve her deal. – BBC News

…as poll finds Boris Johnson best placed Tory candidate to challenge Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn…

Boris Johnson is best placed to win back voters from the Brexit Party and defeat Jeremy Corbyn at the next election, polling has found. As the Tory leadership race intensifies, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has revealed it is on “election footing” in the wake of the Peterborough by-election and is sifting through 3,000 potential general election candidates. Mr Johnson is the most likely candidate to win back Tory supporters who deserted the party under Theresa May’s leadership, according to private polling of the 48 most marginal Tory seats, conducted by CTF Partners, a political strategy group. Six in 10 voters who back the Brexit Party or Ukip said they were more likely to vote Conservative if Mr Johnson was Prime Minister. – Telegraph (£)

…while Remainer Tory MPs will reportedly back ‘malleable’ Johnson in a bid to soften or revoke Brexit

Remainer Tory MPs are beginning to back Boris Johnson for leader as their best hope of softening or reversing Brexit altogether. Having lead the Leave campaign, the mop haired former Foreign Secretary has a bedrock of support from committed Brexiteer Conservative MPs. But others across the parliamentary party are now joining up as they see Boris as “malleable” over the shape of Britain’s EU’s exit, The Sun has been told. If Boris wins power, they now believe he is even likely to order a second referendum to unblock Parliament’s logjam, in the belief he’d win it again for Leave. One Remainer senior minister on the verge of declaring for the former London mayor told The Sun: “Boris is malleable. Boris will do what is in Boris’s own best interests, as and when the time comes. – The Sun

Tory leadership candidates claim Ministers are planning to release new No Deal warnings that could derail their campaigns

Candidates in favour of keeping a no-deal Brexit alive claim departments are trying to influence the race to become prime minister, but the government insists updates will be routine and “sensible”. Conservative leadership candidates fear ministers will release new details of the UK’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit in the middle of the contest to choose the next prime minister, damaging those who are arguing no-deal should be kept on the table. Raising the alarm about what they see as potential government interference in the race, campaign teams for the candidates open to no-deal claimed they had uncovered plans by ministers across several Whitehall departments to release fresh information about the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement. – BuzzFeed News

Corbyn must commit to second referendum ‘now’, says Labour’s Brexit spokeswoman

Labour’s Brexit spokeswoman has told Jeremy Corbyn he must come off the fence and commit to a fresh referendum “now”. Jenny Chapman – a long-time opponent of another public vote – said she was now convinced there was no alternative way to “resolve” the crisis. Asked if the Labour leader should make the announcement “now”, Ms Chapman replied: “I think so – I think it should be now. We need to take the bull by the horns, we need to explain to people why that is the right decision to take.” The intervention comes as Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, attempts to build a party coalition to force Mr Corbyn to change course, following its European elections disaster. – Independent

Brexit Party fails to depose Labour in Peterborough by-election…

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has failed in its first attempt to enter parliament, as Labour held on to its seat in the Peterborough by-election with a slim majority. Lisa Forbes retained the seat for Labour, beating Mr Farage’s candidate Mike Greene by 683 votes. Paul Bristow for the Conservatives came third. The result represents a setback for Mr Farage’s party, which won 29 seats in last month’s European elections without a manifesto and one stated policy of leaving Europe as soon as possible, deal or no deal. However those results were not replicated last night, even despite 61 per cent of Peterborough’s electorate voting to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum. In his first comments after the result, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not mention Mr Farage’s party, focusing instead on the Conservatives. “Peterborough has shown clear support for Labour’s programme to end austerity and invest in services and communities, rejecting a decade of Tory cuts and their disastrous handling of Brexit,” he said. “In this key seat, the Conservatives have been pushed to the margins.” – The Times (£)

…as Farage’s party increases its national poll lead as Tories struggle…

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has opened up a six-point lead in the national polls. A YouGov survey on the eve of yesterday’s Peterborough by-election showed it on 26 per cent, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats tied on 20 per cent. The Conservatives were on 18 per cent and the Greens 9 per cent. The Brexit Party was formally registered only four months ago. By contrast, Change UK, formed by Remain MPs who defected from Labour and the Conservatives, is now polling at zero. The rise of the Brexit Party has been fuelled by anger at the failure of the government to ensure that Britain left the EU on March 29 as planned. Instead, Theresa May was forced to seek an extension to the Article 50 process, compelling the UK to take part in European parliament elections last month, in which the Brexit Party came top, with 31.6 per cent of the vote. – The Times (£)

…and 3,000 people apply to fight the next general election for the Brexit Party

The Brexit Party has almost 3,000 prospective MPs willing to stand in a general election as the fledgling grassroots movement pins its hope on victory in the Peterborough by-election. Nigel Farage’s party will hold an event at Birmingham’s NEC at the end of this month to brainstorm a new manifesto in a bid to take on the Tories and Labour in 2022. The Telegraph has learned that the party has already vetted 200 wannabe MPs, with hundreds more lined up for interviews as it prepares for an assault on Westminster should a snap election be called in the next three years. It comes as multimillionaire former Tory supporter and donor Mike Greene is tipped to become the Brexit Party’s first MP after a closely fought by-election in Peterborough, with Labour enjoying a last-minute surge in the polls. – Telegraph (£)

Mark Francois: Why we should welcome Airbus’s change of heart on Brexit

At a press conference at their Toulouse headquarters on May 21, the new CEO of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, announced a welcome shift in Airbus’ policy towards Brexit. Airbus’ new leader told assembled journalists that the company is now resolved to remain in the United Kingdom, regardless of the outcome of Brexit and, moreover: “The United Kingdom is part of Airbus and Airbus is part of the United Kingdom and we would like to progress that”. We should be under no illusions about what a major shift this is in the position of one of Europe’s largest companies. The previous CEO, the combative Tom Enders, was a fierce critic of Brexit. A couple of years ago, he told the annual dinner of the Aerospace Defence and Space Trade Body (ADS) that Brexit was a clear mistake and that the United Kingdom would suffer as a result. – Mark Francois MP for Conservative Home

James Glancy: D-Day reminds us that we do not need the EU to pull off great military operations

The 75th anniversary of D-Day has been a humbling reminder of the price of freedom. The First World War was supposed to have been the war to end all wars, yet just two decades later, Britain was forced to stand against Hitler’s war machine. As we reflect on the huge sacrifice made by the generation of World War 2, it is important to remember the lessons from history and not be complacent about the future. Operation Neptune, the combined allied assault on Normandy was the biggest and most complex coordination or air, land and naval forces in military history. It was a truly joint coalition operation between British and American forces, which cemented the special relationship and provided a framework of military cooperation for the formation of Nato. The success of D-Day was the result of unprecedented military joint planning and cooperation. – James Glancy MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Toby Young: Could a Tory-Brexit Party alliance actually work?

In 2013, I started promoting a tactical voting alliance between Conservative and Ukip voters. It wasn’t just about avoiding the calamity of a Labour victory at the 2015 General Election – which looked likely then – it was also about trying to secure a parliamentary majority for an EU referendum. I called the campaign ‘Country Before Party’. Given that a potential alliance between the Tories and the Brexit Party is something that almost half of Conservative Party members are in favour of, I thought it might be worth recounting my experience. Having once been a tub-thumper for this type of arrangement, I’m now less enthusiastic. It’s happened before, of course. To give what feels like the most pertinent example, in 1981 a new political party entered into a formal pact with an established party, whereby each agreed not to field candidates in those seats where the other was most likely to win. The SDP-Liberal Alliance held strong for two General Elections – 1983 and 1987 – and only ended when the parties merged in 1988. – Toby Young for The Spectator

Tom Harris: Spare me the crocodile tears of the constitutional Johnny-come-latelies and their ‘outrage’ over prorogation

Brexit has been a learning curve for all of us. Who would have predicted, four years ago, how knowledgeable the average citizen would be about international trade rules? I’m pretty sure we’ve reached an all-time high for the proportion of our countrymen who know what WTO stands for. Nowhere is this more evident than in constitutional matters, where public interest has yielded answers to previously obscure questions, like when and in what circumstances an early general election can be held, or what does a vote of no-confidence in the government actually achieve? Who is Dominic Grieve? Oh, what a time to be a General Studies A-level student! Each week seems to herald a new constitutional conundrum; a fortnight ago it was the sacking of the Prime Minister by her backbenchers, this week the prospect of her successor proroguing parliament in order to stop MPs preventing the UK leaving the EU at the end of October – a tactic the former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has so far refused to rule out should he succeed Theresa May as PM. – Tom Harris for the Telegraph (£)

Benedict Spence: Question Time‘s anti-Brexit bias is getting beyond a joke

One day, I’d like to turn on the TV to watch Question Time, and be greeted by a panel completely devoid of politicians. I know that slightly defeats the point — the show is meant to be a way of holding the powerful to account, after all. But when was the last time it did so?  Every week, without fail, we get the same line-up. A Tory who doesn’t know what Brexit is, but knows they are for whatever the government says it is; a Labour MP who also doesn’t know what it is, but because the Tory is for it, is against it, at least until Seumas says otherwise; a Lib Dem, SNP or Green MP who is steadfastly against it regardless of how mild this week’s version is; and then an odd couple, usually a journalist and someone random, one of whom definitely voted Remain, and the other of whom probably did, unless it’s Nigel Farage. Sometimes, if we’re good, the Tory MP is also a Brexiteer, like Jacob Rees-Mogg or David Davis. In this case, they are roundly harassed, and permitted to speak for approximately nine seconds before they are contractually interrupted by the Labour, Green or SNP MP, spluttering on about “evil Tories” this and “People’s Vote” that. – Benedict Spence for the Telegraph (£)

The Sun: Tory leadership candidates need to tell us precisely how they plan to deliver Brexit

It’s time for detailed plans from every Tory leadership contender: how, precisely, will you deliver Brexit? The next PM will be picked not by voters but by Tory MPs and members. So the country deserves more than rallying calls or vague assertions that they can succeed where Theresa May failed. If No Deal is your strategy, so be it. How will it happen without an election, since the Tories have no current majority for it and the Speaker Bercow will bust his considerable gut to prevent it? If you aim to win new concessions from the EU — which are vital since Mrs May’s deal is dead — great. But what is Plan B if they refuse? Nothing matters more than defeating Corbyn and delivering Brexit. And the former can’t happen without the latter. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • The collapse of traditional cars – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Have attitudes to immigration really softened since the EU referendum? – Sam Lampier for CapX
  • MPs fear Queen will be dragged into Brexit – The Times (£)