Anti-Brexit Campaigner Gina Miller threatens court battle to prevent No Deal: Brexit News for Monday 15 July

Anti-Brexit Campaigner Gina Miller threatens court battle to prevent No Deal: Brexit News for Monday 15 July
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Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller threatens court battle to prevent No Deal…

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller says she will take the government to court if the next PM tries to shut down Parliament to push through no deal. Ms Miller, who won a legal battle against ministers over Article 50, said the step would be “an abuse” of powers. She told Sky News she wanted to “defend Parliamentary sovereignty”, not stop Brexit. Brexiteer MP Priti Patel said it was “not acceptable” to use the courts to try to tie the hands of MPs. Most MPs are against leaving the EU without a deal and could try to stop it from happening. Shutting down – or proroguing – Parliament could potentially provide a way for a prime minister to force through a no-deal Brexit against MPs’ wishes. With Parliament not sitting, MPs would not be able to block it – for example, by holding a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. – BBC News

  • Gina Miller threatens legal action if Parliament is bypassed for no-deal Brexit – ITV News

> WATCH: Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller on taking legal action against the prorogation of Parliament 

…prompting Priti Patel to blast that the public is ‘sick to death’ of bids to block Brexit

Brexiteer MP Priti Patel lashed out at attempts to “stop” or “delay” Brexit and “question the integrity” of a possible future Government. The Boris Johnson backer spoke out after it emerged Gina Miller has written a letter to the Tory leadership hopeful instructing him to provide notice, should he become Prime Minister, if he plans to suspend Parliament and push through a no deal Brexit. Priti Patel criticised the letter, claiming the public are “sick to death” of attempts to “tie the hands” of politicians in Parliament. The former International Development Secretary told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday: “I think first of all the issue is that it’s now down to members of Parliament and a new Government to actually take action, not for third parties by going through the courts. “I think that’s exactly how it should’ve been previously as well after 2016, after the referendum the Government was very clear back then that Brexit meant Brexit and we were going to leave the EU. Instead we had a range of third party anti-Brexit organisations and positions that chose to go to the court to derail the whole Brexit delivery. And also to tie the hands of the Government and politicians in Parliament, that’s simply not acceptable and quite frankly the British public are sick to death of this. They want to see a Government now with renewed conviction, get out there and do exactly what it said it will do, which is now to deliver Brexit”. – Express

> WATCH: Priti Patel MP on Gina Miller’s latest legal action threat, and Johnson’s Brexit policy 

Amber Rudd publicly U-turns over her opposition to No Deal…

Amber Rudd has dropped her opposition to a no-deal Brexit but vowed to fight any bid by the next prime minister to suspend parliament to force it through. The work and pensions secretary admitted her mind had “changed” about trying to fight Britain leaving the EU on 31 October without a withdrawal agreement. She had previously defied the Tory whip by abstaining on a vote to rule out no-deal in March, and warned in a joint article with two other ministers that “it would be better” to delay Brexit than “crash out of the EU”. But speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, the Hastings MP said the circumstances had now changed because there was time to use the threat of no-deal to get a better deal. “We now need to allow no-deal to be part of the leverage to make sure that people compromise more,” she said. “I hope that the EU will compromise.” – Sky News

> WATCH: DWP Secretary Amber Rudd discusses Brexit on The Andrew Marr Show

…and gets herself thrown out of Philip Hammond’s Remainer group after her latest flip-flop

Amber Rudd has been thrown out of Philip Hammond’s group of 30 Remainer MPs plotting to block a No Deal after her latest Brexit flip-flop. One insider said she could not be trusted and branded her “two-faced”. The Work and Pensions Secretary revealed she no longer thinks a second referendum is preferable to a No Deal Brexit. On Sunday she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Circumstances have changed.” She joked she would not “lie down in front of bulldozers” to stop No Deal — in a dig at Boris Johnson’s Heathrow pledge. Her latest flip-flop comes after she said she would now be prepared to serve in Mr Johnson’s Cabinet if he becomes the PM. Her comments sparked “consternation” among the Chancellor’s group of 30 Tory MPs and ministers who were previously dubbed the “hair-shirt” club of Remainers. Ms Rudd was seen in the same category as fellow Cabinet Europhiles such as Mr Hammond, David Gauke, David Lidington and Greg Clark, some of whom may sacrifice their careers to stop a No Deal. – The Sun

…as Hammond claims Britain will be ‘at the mercy of Macron’ if there is a no-deal Brexit…

Britain will be at the mercy of Emmanuel Macron if there is No Deal Brexit, Philip Hammond warned today. The Chancellor dismissed Boris Johnson’s claims the UK can control the fallout from failure to reach an agreement with the EU – saying the bloc holds ‘many of the levers’ needed to minimise damage. He said France could ‘dial up’ delays at Calais to cause chaos at ports like Dover. Mr Hammond is expecting to leave government next week, when Mr Johnson is the hot favourite to take over from Theresa May as PM. But he has vowed to keep fighting to avoid No Deal, after delivering some of the most blood-curdling warnings from ministers over the consequences. Earlier this month Mr Hammond angered Brexiteers by highlighting fears the Treasury would take a £90billion hit from leaving without an agreement. Mr Johnson has insisted that Brexit must happen by October 31 ‘come what may’, saying the impact of No Deal could be ‘vanishingly inexpensive’ if the UK prepares properly. But in an interview for a BBC Panorama programme being broadcast on Thursday, Mr Hammond said the impact should not be played down. Asked if the UK can control No Deal, he said: ‘We can’t because many of the levers are held by others – the EU 27 or private business. We can seek to persuade them but we can’t control it.’ He added: ‘For example, we can make sure that goods flow inwards through the port of Dover without any friction but we can’t control the outward flow into the port of Calais. ‘The French can dial that up or dial it down, just the same as the Spanish for years have dialled up or dialled down the length of the queues at the border going into Gibraltar.’ – MailOnline

…and vows to fight a no-deal Brexit from the backbenches

Philip Hammond vowed to oppose a no-deal Brexit from the back benches in a valedictory speech to civil servants last week, The Times has learnt. The chancellor also used his address at an all-staff meeting at the Treasury to tell his department that they should not change their advice on the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal in an effort to suit the priorities of a government led by Boris Johnson. Mr Hammond, who is expected to be sacked by the new prime minister after 21 years on the Conservative front bench, is understood to have told his officials: “It has not escaped my attention that the next prime minister’s majority will be only three, and that I will be a backbencher.” He added: “Parliament is going to be where the action is, and I will be there on the back benches.” Mr Hammond is expected to become a vocal member of the anti-no-deal bloc on the Conservative benches after the new prime minister enters Downing Street this month. He is likely to be joined there by his fellow cabinet ministers David Gauke, the justice secretary, Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, and Greg Clark, the business secretary. – The Times (£)

Boris Johnson would seek Trump trade deal in first move if elected PM…

Boris Johnson wants to make resetting relations with President Trump one of his first acts in Downing Street by travelling to the US to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal. The former foreign secretary is ready to fly there as soon as possible if he wins the leadership contest to try to secure a limited agreement in time for his “do or die” deadline of October 31. “The key to the whole thing is the US. If we get a trade deal with America we will be very quickly in the market for other deals. It encourages others to realise that we mean business,” an ally of Mr Johnson said. Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, resigned last week after leaked memos revealed that he had described Mr Trump’s administration as “clumsy and inept”. The president refused to work with him any longer and he stepped down hours after Mr Johnson refused to guarantee his future in a televised debate. Allies of Mr Johnson said that he would meet Mr Trump in the US within two months of becoming prime minister. An official visit is being considered at about the time of the UN general assembly on September 17 but some believe he will visit even sooner. – The Times (£)

  • Boris Johnson ‘will travel to America within two months of taking office to agree a trade deal’ in bid to repair strained special relationship – MailOnline

…while his Brexit plan has reportedly already been dismissed by the EU after Steve Barclay meeting

Brussels has already rebuffed Boris Johnson’s plan for Brexit — after Steve Barclay was sent to test the waters with senior Eurocrats. The Brexit Secretary demanded the backstop be scrapped and insisted Theresa May’s deal is “dead” five times during a tense meeting with Michel Barnier, according to a diplomatic note. Mr Barclay met the Frenchman on Tuesday for talks about protecting citizens’ rights under No Deal and progress on tech solutions to the Irish border. But EU sources said he treated the occasion “like a job interview” for a place in Mr Johnson’s cabinet and was sounding out the Brexiteer’s key positions. They described the meeting as not constructive and said Mr Barnier had been left “unimpressed” by the Brexit Secretary’s approach. Afterwards the chief negotiator’s deputy, Stephanie Riso, sent out a downbeat memo to Member States describing the talks as deadlocked. One EU source said: “Things are going nowhere. If that’s what Boris is going to come out and say, then we’re in real trouble.” – The Sun

Checks at the Irish border are avoidable even under a no-deal Brexit, says Ireland’s man in Brussels

A way can be found to avoid animal and food checks on the border – even in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the Republic’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has said. Mr Hogan moved to allay a growing view that checks, especially for live animals, cannot be avoided at the Irish border if the UK quits the EU without a deal on October 31. Earlier DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he was open to the idea of checks on animals from Great Britain in a no-deal scenario taking place as they arrive anywhere on the island. Amid ongoing uncertainty in Britain, there is a growing acceptance that the risk of a no-deal Brexit has increased, with a result in the UK Conservative Party leadership election due next week. But Mr Hogan also held out the hope that a new Prime Minister – be it Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt – can deliver “a good Brexit outcome” this autumn. He insisted that a no-deal result is far from inevitable. The former Fine Gael minister said the entire island of Ireland was already treated as one entity for animal and public health issues. “We’d like to continue that arrangement and I don’t see any difficulty between the UK and the EU in respect of this,” Mr Hogan said. He said the UK has published 16 pieces of legislation, and the EU 19 draft laws, to allow a smooth transition dealing with border issues on a “pragmatic basis”. – Belfast Telegraph

DUP MP urges Dublin to work with UK on Brexit as peace guarantor…

The Government should engage directly with London on its post-Brexit proposals to avoid a hard border as a co-guarantor of the Northern Irish peace process, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has said. Mr Donaldson said that if Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has proposals to break the deadlock over the Brexit process around the contentious “backstop” – the insurance policy within the withdrawal agreement to maintain an open border – then he should engage directly with the British government.  British MPs have rejected the withdrawal agreement three times amid fears that the backstop could keep the UK tied to EU economic rules indefinitely after Brexit. This has raised the prospect of a no-deal exit by the next deadline for the UK’s exit on October 31st. The DUP chief whip urged the Government to discuss any post-Brexit solution for the Border directly with the UK. But this is a suggestion the Government has previously rejected as negotiations are directed through the EU. Mr Donaldson urged the UK and Irish governments to speak directly to each other to find a solution to the Border problem as co-guarantors of the 1998 Belfast Agreement underpinning the peace process. – Irish Times 

…while ministers believe Northern Ireland is set for direct rule to aid Brexit

Direct rule will be imposed in Northern Ireland within the next three months to see through Brexit, ministers believe. Senior Conservatives believe that only a delay to the exit date from the European Union or the restoration of the Stormont assembly would prevent the British government from taking control of the province. It has been reported that senior civil servants in Belfast fear that they are being asked to make decisions that were once made by members of the Northern Irish assembly. Sources said that such judgments, over security and the economy in particular, would become more complex and increasingly political once Britain left the EU. Stormont’s present deadlock began in January 2017, when the partnership between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein fell apart. A cabinet source said: “If Stormont is not back then who will make the decisions on processes? Not the civil service. It will have to be direct rule or Brexit will have to be put back again. “It can’t be delivered without something in place. This needs to be done by October and is an incentive for the DUP in particular to get on with talks.” Another senior government figure confirmed that direct rule would need to be implemented or Stormont restored before October to ensure that Westminster was ready for Brexit. – The Times (£)

Brexit Party speaks out on ‘risible’ claims chairman Richard Tice was involved in leaks of ‘Trump files’

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice has been dragged into the Sir Kim Darroch email leak scandal. So what was his involvement? The chairman of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has been embroiled in the scandal which saw emails written by the UK’s ambassador to the US leaked. The “Trump files” saw Sir Kim Darroch accuse the US president’s administration of being “inept” and “dysfunctional”. The implications against chairman Richard Tice were made in The Mirror and The Sunday Times, claiming “Trump leak scandal engulfs Brexit Party”. It emerged on Saturday night that Mr Tice is in a relationship with Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist who wrote the story which resulted in the resignation of Sir Darroch. Ms Oakeshott, 45, is the former Sunday Times political editor who worked as a spokeswoman for the Brexit Party during their triumphant EU election campaign. She has been in a relationship with Mr Tice, 54, since last year. Mr Tice categorically denies any involvement or handling of the information, or any desire to take the ambassador job. – Express

Medicine supplies cannot be guaranteed in no-deal Brexit, SNP minister claims

The supply of all medicines cannot be guaranteed in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary has said. Mike Russell said leaving the European Union without a deal would be “disastrous” and that everything should be done to avoid it. Mr Russell said arrangements had been in place following discussions with the UK Government to ensure continuity of supplies for the original Brexit date of March 31 but that preparations for the new date in October have not been finalised. He called for another referendum on the whole issue of leaving the EU and said people should be voting to remain. Mr Russell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme: “A no deal would result in substantial increases in unemployment very quickly, it would result in businesses closing down, it would result in problems with the food chain, it would result in problems with the supply of essential medicines, all those things are really, really difficult and the further you are down the supply routes, and Scotland of course is at the end of many supply routes, the worse it would be.” He said the Scottish Government is working with the UK Government to ensure preparations are finalised for October but said it is very difficult to guarantee everything. – The Scotsman

Nigel Farage: Labour has signed its own death warrant by backing Remain

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has finally come out as the anti-Brexit party we always suspected it to be. By demanding a second referendum and pledging to campaign for Remain, Labour may well have signed its own death warrant in the Leave-voting regions. Just look at today’s exclusive Sunday Express poll. Overall, 37 per cent of voters say they are now less likely to vote Labour. That “less likely” figure goes up to 40 per cent in the North-west, 41 per cent in Eastern England, 42 per cent in the South-west and 43 per cent in Yorkshire and Humberside. In other words, more than four out of 10 voters in the regions feel let down by the Remainer Labour Party. This betrayal of Brexit confirms that Corbyn’s Labour is now the party of north London – not the North of England, the Midlands or Wales. Labour has failed the people of the regions. It has taken their votes for granted in the contemptuous belief they would “elect a donkey if it wore a red rosette”. – Nigel Farage MEP for the Express

Matthew Patten: EU faces chaos as Brexit Party rallies MEPs for first upset against Europhiles

On Tuesday in Strasbourg we’ll see the European Parliament’s only moment of real power for the next five years. It can approve or reject Jean-Claude Juncker’s chosen successor as European Commission President – German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen. Usually a key vote like this is agreed in advance but MEPs across Europe feel betrayed that the candidate was just dumped on them. Many are also furious that key committee positions have gone to federalists, rather than being shared among all parties in line with the parliament’s precious D’Hondt system. Suddenly parliamentary bars are buzzing with talk about what can be done to get some democracy into the place. What would happen if parliament rejected the new president? Would its largest political party, the Brexit Party, help? When Donald Tusk announced the European Council’s nomination for new president, it didn’t go down well. Speech after speech criticised the way the council had turned its back on the Spitzenkandidat system, which links the Commission presidency to the outcome of the European elections. There’s a battle going on between the federalists and Eurosceptics for the soul of the European Parliament. The federalists want a United States of Europe. The Eurosceptics want to see a reformed EU-lite which returns powers to constituent nations. – Matthew Patten MEP for the Express

Trevor Kavanagh: The omens are good for a real Boris Brexit — he’ll win despite the odds

Barring a political earthquake, Boris Johnson will be living his dream as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland a week tomorrow. The only point of his expected premiership is to deliver Brexit. Pundits give him an agonising 100 days from next Tuesday to honour that promise. In fact, we will know in an instant if Brexit — and Boris — will live or die. The moment will come, perhaps on his first day, as he names the man or woman to prise theTreasury from the cold, dead hands of Chancellor Philip Hammond. If Boris picks Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock or Liz Truss — or anyone else who voted Remain — 17.4million Brits can kiss goodbye to their dream of leaving the European Union. We will end up with a just another bodged version of Theresa May’s BRINO sell-out — Brexit in Name Only. It will be the beginning and the end of King BoJo the First. There will be no second chances. The next Chancellor of the Exchequer must be a proven Brexiteer in word and deed if Boris has a chance of surviving his 100 days. He is up against a Remain-dominated Parliament aided by slippery Speaker Bercow, an army of civil service mandarins skilled in the machinery of government and covering fire from BBC propagandists. In the face of such overwhelming odds, a pro-Leave PM is surely doomed to fail. Not so. Despite appearances, Boris has a plan. He will fly immediately to Brussels with a genuine bid to reopen Theresa May’s botched withdrawal agreement. If Boris Johnson has one proven gift, it is for winning against the odds. In fact, despite gloom-mongers, the odds could not be better. To quote Boris, there is an appetite among voters for optimism . . .  stepping off the “hamster wheel of doom”. So brace yourselves for an early general election, folks — and round two of King BoJo. – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun

Brexit in Brief

  • Sorry, Sir John Major, but Brexit is nothing like the English Civil War – Robert Tombs for the Telegraph (£)
  • Liam Fox recruits new generation of trade negotiators – BBC News