Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay signs 'commencement order' formally beginning the process for UK to leave Europe on October 31: Brexit News for Monday 19 August

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay signs 'commencement order' formally beginning the process for UK to leave Europe on October 31: Brexit News for Monday 19 August
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Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay signs ‘commencement order’ formally beginning the process for UK to leave Europe on October 31 

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has signed the ‘commencement order’ formally starting the process that will take Britain out of the EU on October 31. Senior Tory Brexiteers previously said the signing of the document was ‘totemic’ and a ‘do-or-die’ pledge confirming the UK will be leaving the EU. Theresa May had angered Brexiteers by refusing to sign the order and instead agreeing to delay Brexit until October 31. But now Mr Barclay has signed the document, as reported by The Sunday Telegraph. In a tweet posted today, he said: ‘I have signed the legislation setting in stone the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. ‘This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our law. It underlines that we are leaving the EU on October 31.’ The signing of the commencement order will repeal the European Communities Act of 1972, and bring the European Withdrawal Act into force. The Withdrawal Act was already voted through in the Commons in September last year, but for it to come into effect a ‘commencement order’ needed to be signed by a minister. Signing the ‘commencement order’ was described as ‘not merely symbolic’ by hard line Brexiteer Steve Baker. He told The Times: ‘It is absolutely totemic. It shows a transformation in the approach, that Boris Johnson is willing to leave on a fixed date with no question of extension. It’s the do-or-die pledge in black and white. It’s not merely symbolic. ‘Once it’s signed that’s it, the UK is leaving. Theresa May did not bring the repeal of the European Communities Act on a fixed date because she was always willing to extend.’ – MailOnline

  • Downing Street slams ‘dishonest’ Tory rebels, as Boris Johnson triggers EU exit – Sunday Telegraph (£)

PM to tell EU leaders to renegotiate deal on his first official trip abroad…

Boris Johnson will tell EU leaders there needs to be a new Brexit deal when he makes his first trip abroad as PM later this week. The UK will leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal, he will insist. However No 10 said there will be “very little discussion” of Brexit during the meetings in France and Germany. Meanwhile, the Sunday Times has printed leaked government documents warning of food, medicine and fuel shortages in a no-deal scenario. It says the Treasury paper on preparations for a no-deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer, reveals that the UK could also face months of disruption at its ports, while plans to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are unlikely to prove sustainable. The government said the document was not what it expected to happen, but outlined scenarios being looked at as part of its no-deal preparations. The leak comes as the prime minister prepares to travel to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday, and meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday. He is expected to say that Parliament cannot and will not change the outcome of the 2016 referendum and insist there must be a new deal to replace Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement – which was defeated three times by MPs – if the UK is to leave the EU with a deal. – BBC News

…and hits back at Remoaners trying to sabotage no deal ahead of EU trip

Boris Johnson last night accused Philip Hammond of ‘gravely damaging’ the national interest with his endless bids to frustrate Brexit, and warned that the former Chancellor would be responsible for a No Deal outcome. The astonishing blast against Mr Johnson’s fellow Tory came in a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday savaging Mr Hammond for urging the Prime Minister to rule out a No Deal exit. Mr Johnson said it was ‘plain as a pikestaff’ that Mr Hammond was undermining the UK in negotiations with Brussels and making it harder for Britain to get a new deal with the EU. On Tuesday, Mr Hammond and 20 other Tory MPs wrote to Mr Johnson to warn they would use every parliamentary tool they could find to unpick his ‘do or die’ pledge to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal. It comes as Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has signed a ‘commencement order’ that will trigger the end of the rule of EU law on October 31. Sources told the Telegraph they were ‘surprised and alarmed’ Theresa May had not previously signed the order, which repeals the 1972 European Communities Act. Mr Hammond added that he was ‘very confident’ MPs and peers could block No Deal, hinting he would bring down Mr Johnson’s administration as a last resort. But Mr Johnson has hit back, writing that ‘any such Parliamentary campaign, any tricks of procedure or alliance of factions designed to derail Brexit, gravely damages the chances of our securing a deal.’ – Mail on Sunday

…as Downing Street slams ‘dishonest’ Tory rebels

Downing Street has accused Tory Remainers of “appalling dishonesty” for attempting to use the delay they secured to Brexit to now “cancel the referendum”. In an extraordinary attack on Conservative MPs plotting to block an Oct 31 exit, aides to the Prime Minister said voters wanted politicians to “honour their promises” to respect the 2016 poll, and accused some of Boris Johnson’s MPs of “playing student politics with Jeremy Corbyn”. In a separate attack on Mr Johnson’s predecessor, a Downing Street source said it was “surprising” and “alarming” that Theresa May had failed to initiate the signing of the order, which will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act on Oct 31. The source said: “The public want politicians to honour their promises to respect the referendum – the biggest democratic exercise in British history. This is something the vast majority of the country support. People are totally fed up with watching people like Dominic Grieve, Guto Bebb and Caroline Spelman who promised to respect the referendum clearly abandoning their promises and behaving with appalling dishonesty – after doing everything they could to delay Brexit, they are now saying that the delay justifies cancelling the referendum. It does not.”  – Sunday Telegraph (£)

Jeremy Corbyn ‘open to’ law forcing Brexit delay…

Jeremy Corbyn is “open to” using legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if his plan to overthrow the government in a vote of no confidence fails, the BBC has learned. The Labour leader is understood to have had a discussion with the SNP on Friday over passing a law to extend Article 50, which would delay leaving the EU. Several Labour figures believe the plan could gain a majority in the Commons. PM Boris Johnson says the UK will leave the EU on 31 October “do or die”. He added that, even though he wants a deal with Brussels, Brexit will go ahead if one is not agreed. Mr Johnson argues that it is vital to honour the 2016 referendum, in which 52% of voters supported leaving the EU. But opponents say leaving without a deal will damage the economy and is not wanted by many of the voters who backed Brexit. Labour’s existing plan is to bring down Mr Johnson’s government in a no-confidence vote in the Commons after MPs return in September and install Mr Corbyn as temporary prime minister. However this has been met with opposition by several Remain-supporting Conservative MPs who want to stop no deal, but do not want to put the Labour leader in Downing Street. – BBC News

…and pleads with MPs to back him and stop no-deal Brexit before it’s too late…

Jeremy Corbyn has issued an urgent plea to MPs to unite to stop no-deal Brexit “before it’s too late”, amid cross-party demands for an immediate recall of parliament to deal with the crisis. In a show of defiance, a group of more than 100 MPs representing every Westminster party except the DUP has signed a letter stating it is “unacceptable” for parliament to wait until next month to sit again, with the Brexit deadline looming. The call comes with more Tory MPs opposed to leaving without a deal making clear that they will not back Corbyn’s offer of heading a temporary government that is committed to delaying Brexit and calling an election. Corbyn told the Observer that MPs were flirting with disaster. – Observer

…but opposition MPs could back Johnson to keep power and deliver Brexit by October 31…

Boris Johnson’s bid to keep power and deliver Brexit on October 31 has been boosted after it emerged a series of opposition MPs may back him. Anti-EU Labour MP Kate Hoey became the first on Jeremy Corbyn’s benches to public declare she will oppose her leader’s bid to oust Boris. And rebel Labour sources claimed there were “a good number” of their pro-Brexit MPs who are considering doing the same. Analysis of MPs’ voting records on Brexit by The Sun reveals as many as 15 Labour and independent MPs may refuse to back any Commons vote that ends up delaying Brexit again. That would leave opposition party leaders needing a greater number of Tory MPs prepared to collapse the Conservative government for their bid to succeed. Ms Hoey tweeted: “Like all other Labour MPs I fought on a manifesto in 2017 to respect the referendum vote. Any action taken now to stop us Leaving on October 31st by Labour is a knife in the back of the majority of Labour constituencies who voted to Leave”. Another pro-Brexit Labour MP, John Mann, said Mr Corbyn couldn’t rely on his vote either yet. – The Sun

…and key Tory Remainers refuse to back Corbyn…

Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at leading Tory MPs orchestrating efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit who are refusing to back him as a caretaker prime minister to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU. Former Conservative minister Sir Oliver Letwin, a key figure in parliament marshalling MPs against a no-deal, dealt Corbyn a blow on Saturday when he ruled out backing him to take over in Downing Street. He joined fellow Tory Dominic Grieve, who has previously suggested he could vote against the government in a confidence vote, who said he would not go as far as facilitating a Corbyn government. “Jeremy Corbyn is unfortunately a deeply divisive figure and in trying to stop a no-deal Brexit it is not my purpose to help him into Downing Street,” he told the Guardian. – Guardian

  • Tory Remainer Oliver Letwin says he ‘won’t’ support a caretaker Corbyn government – MailOnline
  • Dominic Grieve backs down and says he won’t help Jeremy Corbyn get into No10 after backlash over Remainer plots to stop Brexit – The Sun

> WATCH: Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says he wants a general election to stop a no-deal Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn will do ‘everything necessary’ to stop no-deal Brexit…

Jeremy Corbyn will announce he will do “everything necessary” to avoid a no-deal Brexit on October 31 as well as setting out his electoral platform ahead of a potential general election later this year. Speaking in Corby, a key Conservative-Labour marginal constituency on Monday, the opposition leader will pledge to deliver “a real change of direction” with big domestic reforms under a Labour government. He will liken the scale of change to Clement Attlee’s postwar government in 1945 and Margaret Thatcher’s ascendancy in 1979. Mr Corbyn will say that the Tories are “driving the country towards a no-deal cliff edge” and the best way of resolving Brexit is to put the question back to the electorate. “If there is a general election this autumn, Labour would commit to holding a public vote, to give voters the final say, with credible options for both sides, including the option to remain,” he will confirm. “We will do everything necessary to stop a disastrous no-deal, for which this government has no mandate.” Labour intends to bring forward a no-confidence motion in the government “days after” parliament returns from its summer recess on September 3. With the Tories on a working majority of one, several pro-Remain Conservatives are considering whether to back Labour in order to try to avoid seeing the UK leave the EU without a deal. – FT(£)

… as Dominic Cummings pledges, we’ll leave EU then smash Jeremy Corbyn

Dominic Cummings has said that the Conservatives will take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal on October 31 and could then “smash” Jeremy Corbyn in a general election. Mr Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, admitted last night that the government could lose a vote of confidence if Tory Remainers joined Labour and the Liberal Democrats in attempting to stop a no-deal Brexit. He said that Mr Johnson would then call a general election after Britain had left the EU. He added: “We control the date” — a reference to the fact that Mr Johnson, rather than parliament, would determine when the election was held. “Imagine what it would be like if in eight weeks we have left the European Union and then we smash Corbyn in a general election,” he told government advisers. “What would our policies be?” He asked government aides to submit a one-page list of their department’s policy achievements with supporting facts to Downing Street to ensure that the Tories were on an election footing. He also asked advisers which wasteful policies in their departments could be “binned” in the event that Mr Johnson defeated Mr Corbyn and secured a significant Conservative majority in a general election. – The Times (£)

Cross party support developing for a Government of National Unity…

Jeremy Corbyn should be given the first chance to try to form an interim government to stop a no-deal Brexit before an alternative caretaker prime minister is found, Harriet Harman believes. The former Labour deputy leader’s name has been proposed by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson as the head of a government of national unity if Boris Johnson is defeated in a confidence vote next month. Ken Clarke, who has also been suggested by Ms Swinson, said he would be willing to head an interim government. Both veteran MPs are willing to step forward if they can command enough cross-party support to wrest control of Mr Johnson’s Government and extend Article 50 to prevent no deal. Yet Ms Harman believes that, as leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn has the right to go first to try to form an interim government, the i understands. If he cannot command the confidence of the House, then it is for whoever can do so, and that the most important thing is to stop a no-deal Brexit, her allies say. This position is a further blow to Ms Swinson, who initially rejected the Labour leader’s cross-party appeal on Thursday to open talks about a caretaker government as “nonsense” before backtracking on Friday and agreeing to have talks with Mr Corbyn. The Labour leader took a swipe at his Lib Dem counterpart’s rejection of his caretaker bid, saying: “It’s not up to Jo Swinson to choose candidates, it’s not up to Jo Swinson to decide who the next prime minister is going to be. – iNews

…and Lib Dems urged to back Corbyn as interim PM to stop no-deal Brexit…

The Liberal Democrats are under growing pressure to back Jeremy Corbyn as a caretaker prime minister to stop a no-deal Brexit after leading opposition figures and even one former Conservative minister said they were open to the idea. With anti-no-deal groups rapidly calibrating their positions in the aftermath of Corbyn’s intervention, a split has opened up among MPs hoping to block Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy. But while the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens said they would engage with Corbyn’s offer, the Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, laid out a rival plan for a national unity government led by the Tory veteran Ken Clarke or Labour’s Harriet Harman. After Swinson initially sounded a hostile note towards Corbyn’s plan, saying it was “nonsense”, the Lib Dems were widely urged to reconsider and found themselves isolated among anti-no-deal groups. – Guardian

…as Tory MP Guto Bebb backs Corbyn as caretaker PM to avoid no-deal…

A Conservative MP has broken ranks to support making Jeremy Corbyn a caretaker prime minister to avert the “generational damage” from a no-deal Brexit. Guto Bebb criticised other parties and MPs who have rejected the Labour leader’s offer, after the Liberal Democrats branded it “nonsense”. “Those who have said they will do anything necessary to stop the long-term damage of a no-deal exit must take seriously this type of offer,” Mr Bebb said. “I certainly take the view that a short-term Jeremy Corbyn government is less damaging than the generational damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit.” Mr Corbyn has called for Boris Johnson to be toppled – when MPs return to Westminster next month – with himself installed as a stopgap premier to block a no-deal exit on 31 October. – Independent

…but Labour veteran Harriet Harman says she is prepared to take the top job…

Veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman has told allies she is prepared to serve as caretaker Prime Minister to stop a No Deal Brexit. The party’s former deputy leader was named today by Lib Dem boss Jo Swinson as one of two candidates who should lead a unity emergency government. The 69 year-old ex-Cabinet minister made it clear to friends in response yesterday that she wants Jeremy Corbyn to try to topple Boris Johnson and then delay Brexit again to negotiate an EU deal. But if the hard left Labour chief fails, she could step up. Veteran Ken Clarke has told the BBC he’s ready to do as well, he admitted this evening. “If it was the only way in which the plain majority in the House of Commons that is opposed to a No Deal exit could find a way forward, I actually said to Jo… that I wouldn’t object to it,” he told Radio 4’s PM. – The Sun

….as does Tory Remainer Ken Clarke…

Tory grandee Ken Clarke has said he is willing to lead a government of national unity to avoid a no-deal Brexit. The former chancellor gave his support to a proposal by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson for an emergency government led by him or Labour’s Harriet Harman. Mr Clarke said it was “not inconceivable” that a government of national unity may be needed to resolve the impasse, suggesting politics was in a similar situation to 1931 and the two world wars. He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “If it was the only way in which the plain majority in the House of Commons that is opposed to a no-deal exit could find a way forward… I wouldn’t object to it, if that was the judgment of people, the only way forward. “But there’s an awful lot to be gone through before then and I haven’t been taking part in any talks with anybody for the last fortnight. “I’ve been on the phone to one or two people in the last couple of days just to find out what the devil’s going on.” – ITV News

…as poll finds no-deal Brexit preferable to a Jeremy Corbyn government offering a second referendum

Britain would rather have a no-deal Brexit than Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister offering a second referendum, a poll has found. Nearly half of the public – 48 per cent – said they would prefer to see the country crash out of the EU than the Labour leader implement his own approach to Brexit, according to a survey by YouGov. By contrast, 35 per cent of the population said they were more in favour of Mr Corbyn entering Downing Street and holding a second referendum including an option to remain in the EU. The findings will make grim reading for the Opposition, who hope to topple Boris Johnson’s Government by building support for a vote of no confidence. Mr Corbyn had suggested he would serve as a caretaker prime minister until a new general election could be held. He also pledged to hold a new referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal if Labour were to take power following the contest. However, pollsters found nearly a quarter of Remain voters (23 per cent) would now prefer a no-deal Brexit to a Labour government under Mr Corbyn, even if it guaranteed a fresh poll. Leave voters were similarly found to be more supportive of the no-deal option (80 per cent) than Remain voters were of the second referendum option (64 per cent). – Telegraph (£)

‘Gaukeward squad’ of rebels plot against Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy…

The so-called ‘Gaukeward Squad’ of Tory ministerial rebels will meet early next week to plot ways to stop a no deal Brexit. The Daily Telegraph has learned that a meeting has been scheduled between former Chancellor Philip Hammond and his former cabinet colleagues David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart to discuss ways to thwart Boris Johnson’s do or die Brexit pledge with other rebel Tory MPs. It comes after they were among 20 remainer rebels who sent a letter to Mr Johnson earlier this week warning him that his demand for Brussels to scrap the Irish backstop had “set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done”. A source inside the pro-remain group said: “There’s going to be a tactics meeting early next week now they’re all back from holiday. They know they’re only got a limited time frame so they’ve got to act quickly.” – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson must fend off a wrecking ball from senior Tories led by Philip Hammond to deliver a No Deal Brexit – Sunday Times (£)
  • As many as 40 Tory MPs back bid by Philip Hammond and David Gauke to stop no-deal Brexit – Telegraph (£)

…but Philip Hammond could face confidence vote from Tories after Brexit ‘interference’

Philip Hammond is facing a backlash from local party members over his attempts to block no-deal, with insiders indicating he could soon face a confidence vote. A “subset” of pro-Brexit members are becoming increasingly “vocal” in their opposition to his stance and recent interventions, according to multiple sources. Insiders in the former chancellor’s local Conservative association have told The Daily Telegraph that anger at Mr Hammond has grown in recent weeks, including among figures on the executive committee. One source said it was “no secret” that members of the MP’s Runnymede and Weybridge association were  “unhappy with what they see as Philip Hammond’s interference”. – Telegraph (£)

More Project Fear as Whitehall’s secret no‑deal Brexit preparations leaked…

Britain faces shortages of fuel, food and medicine, a three-month meltdown at its ports, a hard border with Ireland and rising costs in social care in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to an unprecedented leak of government documents that lay bare the gaps in contingency planning. The documents, which set out the most likely aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit rather than worst-case scenarios, have emerged as the UK looks increasingly likely to crash out of the EU without a deal. Compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, the dossier offers a rare glimpse into the covert planning being carried out by the government to avert a catastrophic collapse in the nation’s infrastructure. The file, marked “official-sensitive” — requiring security clearance on a “need to know” basis — is remarkable because it gives the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s readiness for a no-deal Brexit. It states that the public and businesses remain largely unprepared for no deal and that growing “EU exit fatigue” has hampered contingency planning which has stalled since the UK’s original departure date in March. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…but the Government hits back…

The Government has hit back at a leaked report which suggests that the “most likely” effects of leaving the EU without a deal would be a three-month “meltdown” at the UK’s ports, and food and medicine shortages. Leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents published in the Sunday Times suggest that the UK will face shortages of fuel, food and medicine if it leaves the European Union without a transition deal, jamming ports and requiring a hard border in Ireland. Operation Yellowhammer is the Government’s code name for its over-arching no-deal Brexit contingency plan. However, the Government has dismissed the report as out of date, saying that many changes to no-deal planning have been implemented since the report was compiled. “The document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available,” a Government source told ITV News. “It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with the EU. – ITV News

…and Michael Gove says no-deal Brexit dossier shows worst-case scenario…

A secret dossier warning of the impact of a no-deal Brexit outlines a “worst-case scenario”, Michael Gove has said. Details from the cross-government study, leaked to the Sunday Times, warns of food and medicine shortages if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Mr Gove, who is responsible for no deal preparation, said “very significant steps” had been taken to boost Brexit planning since Boris Johnson became PM. Responding to the leak, Mr Gove tweeted: “We don’t normally comment on leaks – but a few facts – Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario – v significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks to accelerate Brexit planning.” – BBC News

…as Minister dismisses Government’s warnings as ‘scaremongering’… 

The business minister said “a lot of people are playing into Project Fear” after the leak of the a batch of files on the Cabinet Office’s Operation Yellowhammer preparations for a no-deal outcome. He was speaking after the Sunday Times published a series of official Whitehall documents revealing Britain would face shortages of food, fuel and medicine as well as a hard border with Ireland if it left the EU with no agreement in place. The dossier warns months of border delays could disrupt key supplies to the UK, while social care providers – who would be hit by rising staffing and supply costs – could face a raft a closures. But appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Kwarteng said: “I think there’s a lot of scaremongering around and a lot of people are playing into Project Fear and all the rest of it.  “We’ve got to prepare for no-deal. In fact, the previous Prime Minister created DExEU and she said that the mandate of DExEU last year was to prepare for no-deal. I was working in the department. That’s what we were focused on. Now we’ve got a new prime minister who is very much focused on that and the scale and the intensity of those preparations are increasing and we will be fully prepared to leave without a deal on 31 October.” – PoliticsHome

> WATCH: Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng discusses the Government’s Brexit policy

…and Boris Johnson accuses Remain ex ministers led by Philip Hammond of undermining Britain’s attempts to get Brexit deal

Boris Johnson last night accused a group of Remain-supporting ex-ministers led by Philip Hammond of attempting to undermine his bid to negotiate a new Brexit deal from the EU. The Prime Minister’s team accused the group of “deliberately leaking” details of Government no deal planning ahead of crucial talks this week with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. The war of words escalated last night as Mr Hammond denied he or his allies had leaked the “Operation Yellowhammer” document and accused Mr Johnson of having “no negotiating strategy and no serious plan for a no-deal”. The leak of Yellowhammer – Whitehall code for preparations for no deal – to The Sunday Times laid bare civil servants’ concerns about the impact of a no-deal without adequate planning. However, Mr Johnson’s team said the plans – warning of medicine and food shortages and the risk of riots – were drawn up by Theresa May’s government and the leak was purposefully timed to frustrate Mr Johnson’s efforts to secure a new deal to exit on Oct 31. No 10 sources blamed one of a group of ministers led by Mr Hammond, the former chancellor, and David Gauke, the former justice secretary. A source said: “It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders. Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding has already made available and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings.”  – Telegraph (£)

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller grilled by Sky News host…

Gina Miller was grilled by a Sky News host as the campaigner tries to ensure MPs are given the chance to halt Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal at the end of October this year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will deliver Brexit by the end of October this year, “do or die”, despite wanting a deal with the EU. Speaking on Sky News, Gina Miller, the campaigner who won a High Court case against the Government over the involvement of Parliament in Britain’s departure from the bloc, insisted that Mr Johnson could not prorogue Parliament to push through a no deal Brexit. Ms Miller also claimed her team would go back and “seek the reassurance” to ensure that MPs will not be stopped in passing legislation to halt a no deal exit. Speaking on Sky News, host Stephen Dixon, said: “One thing the Prime Minister has made it very clear about is the idea he wants a new deal. In effect, he is going to the EU saying ‘give us a free trade deal’, or we are going to leave anyway. The more you do to rule out the possibility, through legal means, and the more MPs do to rule out the possibility of a no deal Brexit, you just undermine his position don’t you? In trying to actually get the sort of deal he thinks will be good for this country.” Ms Miller replied: “No, because they are two different things. One is leaving, in a way, that if we do leave it is not no deal. The second part which is a difficult bit we haven’t even started is negotiating the future relationship. “Mixing the two things up is not how the process works so they are two separate things. One is leaving and the other is negotiating over – if we were going to get a deal, over the next two years or so, to get that future relationship.” The Sky News host insisted that taking “no deal off the table” is “weakening” the hand of the Prime Minister. – Express

> WATCH: Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller on Sophy Ridge on Sunday

…as she claims Government ‘unequivocally’ accepts it cannot shut down Parliament to force No Deal

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has claimed the Government ‘unequivocally’ accepts that it cannot close down Parliament to force No Deal. The businesswoman, who last month wrote to Boris Johnson arguing any such move ‘would be an abuse of his powers’ and result in legal action, said she had been reassured Parliament would not be suspended. Mrs Miller previously went to court and won the right for Parliament to give its consent ahead of the triggering of Article 50 to begin the Brexit process. She told Sky News: ‘What they have said is unequivocally they accept that to close down Parliament, to bypass them in terms of Brexit – stopping a No Deal Brexit in particular – is illegal. ‘So without having to go to court they’ve conceded we’ve basically called their bluff.’ But Mrs Miller said she would be seeking further reassurance that MPs would be able to pass legislation to stop a No Deal Brexit. – Daily Mail

UK to end freedom of movement for EU citizens on day one of Brexit, under new government plan

Free movement for EU citizens will end on day one of a no-deal Brexit, under new Home Office plans – despite warnings of chaos and of people trapped in legal limbo. Priti Patel, the new hardline home secretary, is pressing for border restrictions to be imposed immediately on 31 October, even though no replacement system is ready, The Independent has been told. Previously, ministers had intended to delay scrapping free movement until new rules are in place, with a bill stuck in the Commons and fierce rows over what those rules should be. The Liberal Democrats condemned the acceleration as “brutal”, warning it exposed Ms Patel as being “completely detached from reality”. And the organisation representing more than 3 million EU citizens in the UK said: “This will open the door to discrimination. There are no systems in place.” The dramatic shift comes despite the government declining to bring forward the stalled bill which would end free movement under a slower timetable, for fear of a Commons ambush. – Independent

MPs demand Boris Johnson recall parliament to assess Brexit options

More than 100 opposition MPs have written to UK prime minister Boris Johnson to request parliament be reconvened early to scrutinise the government’s preparations for leaving the EU on October 31, with or without a deal. The move came as further details were revealed of the potential consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Leaked government documents set out the likely aftershocks of leaving the EU without a deal — including three months of chaos at ports, shortages of fuel and food, nationwide unrest and a hard border on the island of Ireland.  Documents outlining Operation Yellowhammer, the contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, said that businesses were ill-prepared for leaving the EU without a deal due to “EU exit fatigue” resulting from the two delays to the departure date. The MPs’ letter, led by Remainers Luciana Berger, an independent, and Labour’s Stephen Doughty, was signed by Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats, the Westminster leaders of Scottish and Welsh nationalists and Conservatives opposed to leaving without a deal. – FT(£)

Germany expects No Deal and will not renegotiate, says leaked briefing

Germany expects a No Deal Brexit and is not prepared to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, according to leaked details of an internal briefing paper for Angela Merkel’s government. The leaked paper is the first evidence that Germany may be preparing to let Britain walk away with No Deal rather than back down to Boris Johnson’s demand to drop the Irish backstop. The paper was prepared by civil servants for the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, ahead of face-to-face talks with the chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, in Berlin on Friday. In public, Mr Scholz has said Germany will do everything it can to secure a deal with the UK. But according to details leaked to the usually reliable Handelsblatt newspaper, the briefing paper calls for the European Union to stick to its previous line of refusing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. It warns that there is now a “high probability” of a No Deal Brexit on October 31, but says  the EU must not “lose its nerve”. Preparations by Germany and the rest of the EU-27 to manage the impact of No Deal are “largely complete”, and the European Commission is not planning any further emergency measures, it says. – Telegraph (£)

  • Angela Merkel ‘will reject’ British attempt to ditch backstop – The Times (£)

Boss of retail giant says Britain is ready for no deal

The Brexit deadline is just over then weeks away now, and the Prime Minister’s apparent willingness to leave without a deal has alarmed some businesses. But according to the CEO of Next, the UK is ready. Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise, chief executive of Retail Giant Next, said there will only be a “mild disruption” in the event of a no deal Brexit, though a deal is still preferable. He previously said he was nervous about the idea of leaving the EU without a deal, but says he’s changed his mind under the leadership of Boris Johnson. He said he’d been encouraged by Mr Johnson’s ramped-up contingency planning and no longer believed a no deal would bring disorder and chaos. Lord Wolfson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was “much less frightened by no-deal if the Government is prepared and there is every indication it’s taking it more seriously.” – Express

Firms told of new export opportunities in Brexit PR blitz

Businesses will be told about new “opportunities” that will be opened up by Brexit, as part of one of the country’s biggest ever public information campaigns, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. Plans for a £138 million communications drive include advertisements setting out the advantages of the UK being free to strike its own trade deals after leaving the EU. A Whitehall source said the advertisements were intended to help firms prepare for new export opportunities. The campaign, which is being put together with the help of at least one advertising agency, is likely to draw criticism from pro-EU MPs over the use of Government resources to talk up the benefits of Brexit. Last week Labour MPs claimed that an unrelated video distributed online by Downing Street amounted to a partisan “propaganda” film for the Conservative party. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

Donald Trump says ‘fantastic and big’ trade deal with UK is ‘moving along rapidly’

Donald Trump has promised a “fantastic and big” US trade deal with the UK and said the two countries were moving rapidly towards it. The US president said he had spoken to Boris Johnson on Wednesday, adding: “He and I are very much aligned.” Mr Trump said: “I think we’ll make a fantastic and big trade deal with the UK. That’s moving along rapidly. We should do much more business than we’re doing.” The US president added: “I don’t want to say closest ally, because it would make others jealous. But certainly it’s one of our closest.” Mr Trump has repeatedly indicated his desire for close trading ties once the UK leaves the European Union. – Telegraph (£)

David Davis: Tory rebels backing Jeremy Corbyn won’t stop Brexit…but they must be careful what they wish for

So Philip Hammond thinks that a No Deal Brexit would be a betrayal of the decision taken by the British people in the 2016 referendum? This is a spectacular irony, given that no one else in government has done more to undermine that decision by the people than the ex-Chancellor. For example, in March 2018 the Treasury stopped the Government briefing small businesses on how to deal with European customs in the event of No Deal. Had we carried out this briefing, the small business sector would have had a whole year to prepare for No Deal in March 2019? So it is a bit rich for the former Chancellor to complain that the United Kingdom is not ready for No Deal when his own department actively prevented preparation. Of course, this was not the only way in which the Treasury — and the Bank of England — acted to undermine our negotiating position. And they are not alone. Only this week we have seen any number of shabby little manoeuvres aimed at undermining our Prime Minister and even replacing him in a last desperate bid to stop Brexit ever happening. – David Davis MP for the Sunday Express

Iain Duncan Smith: Leaving with no deal isn’t a betrayal of the British people, but trying to stop it is

Earlier this week, Philip Hammond declared that leaving the EU by Oct 31 without a Withdrawal Agreement would be a disaster and that his purpose was to stop that happening. He went further, claiming that to leave without a deal was a betrayal of the referendum result. No one, he maintained, voted to leave without a deal. Other Remainers have intoned similarly (and endlessly) that no one voted to lose their jobs or to be poorer, as though they had some incredible insight into not just what motivated those who voted Leave, but also into the consequences of our departure. This is, of course, utter nonsense. The only thing we know the majority of people didn’t vote for was to remain in the EU. The question on the ballot paper was simple: we were asked whether we wanted to leave the EU or remain in the EU. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for the Telegraph (£)

Stewart Jackson: The Remain ultras are playing straight into Boris Johnson’s hands

From Downing Street’s point of view, the erratic, panicked response of the Remain refusenik rump in Parliament to the impending and likely irreversible EU exit on October 31 is exactly what they expected and have planned for. Theirs is not the tone-deaf operation of the May regime but a tight, focused and ruthless team effort which will take no prisoners and use every mechanism available to get the job done. It’s no wonder that many civil servants, special advisors and most MPs feel the smack of firm government is a refreshing change of style. The ultra Remainer hold outs are staking out the ground on which they’ll fight and gifting the Johnson administration tactical and strategic advantages as a result, as we move to the epic September denouement and likely no confidence vote. Fundamentally, as Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay prepares to end, by ministerial order, EU legal jurisdiction in the next few days, Tory Remainers know the Rubicon is being crossed and they don’t have a plan. The noted constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor has dismissed the chance of an alternative government being assembled in less than two weeks or of the Queen stepping in to oust the current Prime Minister. Even if a “Government of National Unity” were to be formed, to what end would it operate? The EU has expressly ruled out further negotiation in any extension of Article 50 and there’s no guarantee that a new general election will deliver a Remain majority. It’s over. They’ve hit a wall. Before the battle has even begun and certainly before Downing Street has started to really turn the screws. The wiser ones know it. Perhaps Remainers should be wary of another Sun Tzu dictum: “The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” – Stewart Jacskon for the Telegraph (£)

Charles Moore: Hammond the hypocrite is making a no-deal Brexit even more likely

This week, after a few weeks of grumpy silence, Mr Hammond said yet again that “no one voted for no deal”. This is a clever remark: it is both true and utterly misleading. No one voted for no deal, or for any deal. Neither was on the ballot. There was a good reason for this. Voters were invited to answer the one really important question: did they want Britain to be in the EU or not? They did not need to be asked anything else, because their legitimate MPs had collectively assured them that they would enact their decision. The hypocrisy of Mr Hammond’s position today extends to all MPs who, like him, opposed no deal, yet voted for Article 50 and the Withdrawal Act, both of which provide for it. That is the context of the current excitements about no-confidence motions, Governments of National Unity and Mr Speaker telling the Edinburgh Fringe he is fighting “with every breath in my body” to make sure that “the House of Commons must have its way”. These are all devices to conceal the weird but true fact that although several Commons indicative motions have shown a majority against no deal, when it came to actual legislation, no deal is what Parliament voted for. – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Michael Deacon: Remainers have a plan to stop a no-deal Brexit. There’s just one tiny flaw

At long last, politicians have begun their preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The most important part of these preparations, of course, is deciding who to blame when it happens. The plan appears to be as follows. The Conservatives will blame the EU, for not offering a good enough deal. Labour will blame the Conservatives, for not getting a good enough deal. The Lib Dems will blame Labour, for failing to prevent a no-deal. Labour will blame the Lib Dems, for refusing to support Labour’s idea to prevent a no-deal. And the Conservatives will blame both Labour and the Lib Dems, for being so obstinately anti-Brexit that they made any kind of deal impossible. – Michael Deacon for the Telegraph (£)

Tom Harris: Stop telling us you’ll do “anything” to stop no deal, Remainers – it simply isn’t true 

Leavers have many reasons to be grateful to their Remainer opponents. It really isn’t a good look for any politician to be caught quite so red-handed when they perform a u-turn over any major policy. But on the Labour side we have Tom Watson, Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn all having pledged to honour the 2016 referendum, only for a few months later to claim that doing so would be unforgivable and that another referendum is needed. On the Tory side we’ve seen a similar state of affairs. Dominic Grieve, the arch Remainer-in-Chief, promised his constituents he would respect the referendum result. Two years later? Not so much. Chuka Umunna, the Liberal Democrat MP, warned back when he was a Labour MP not only that there should not be a second referendum but that we should even be prepared to sacrifice membership of the EU single market in order to end freedom of movement. As with the case of Dr Sarah Wollaston, about whom I wrote yesterday, we are left with the difficulty of judging which of these positions is the one that most accurately reflects the position of the politician in question. Boris Johnson is still, to this day, castigated by angry Remainers (the “angry” may be a superfluous descriptive) for writing two opposing articles on the issue on the eve of his decision to support the Leave campaign. And yet the same people invite us to trust the word of politicians who have publicly and shamelessly reversed their position. – Tom Harris for the Telegraph (£)

Richard and Judy: You need to just Leave it be, Phil

R – if you want a near-perfect example of double-think and hypocrisy combined, look no further than ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond’s nerveless attack this week on No.10’s tooled-up Brexit strategy. On Wednesday my former classmate (Phil and I were at school together in Essex) finally unsheathed his knife and plunged it deep into the Government’s back. Actually, make that its chest. Hammond said leaving the EU without a deal on October 31 would be a “betrayal of the referendum”, because voters were never offered the prospect of no-deal in the 2016 poll. Er… no, mate. A betrayal of the referendum (and I speak as a Remain voter) is not delivering it. And as you and I and the world’s wife know, that’s something you’ve been scheming to pull off since the 52 percent Leave majority won the day. Sure, a no-deal exit wasn’t specified on the ballot paper, but neither was Theresa May’s ludicrous alternative; probably the most inept, humiliating surrender ever negotiated by a British government. Thank God MPs of all stripes stood firm against it. Phil, I remember, always came effortlessly top in history when we were grubby-necked teenagers at Shenfield School. I never thought I’d have to give my brilliant classmate a history lesson, especially one dating back barely a handful of years, but there it is. So, OK. I’ll keep this really, really simple. After around 40 years or so of squabbling, treachery and stalemate, Parliament finally threw up its hands over Europe and turned directly to us, the people. “We can’t sort this,” we were told. “Frankly, we give up. Over to you guys. “Tell us what to do, and we’ll do it. Promise. Cross our hearts and hope to die. Just get us out of this, for Gawd’s sake.” It was a simple binary choice under basic majority rules. Stay or go. But when 52 percent trumped 48 percent, the establishment – exemplified by The History Boy – reneged on their promise. – Richard and Judy for the Express

Paul Goodman: Brexit and No Deal. The Prime Minister has a policy, and a plan to deliver it. His opponents agree on neither

As an exercise in political strategy, in which thought is taken for the medium-term, Jeremy’s Corbyn’s latest Brexit gambit makes no sense. He would be unlikely even to clear the first hurdle: namely, his installation as Prime Minister in the event of Boris Johnson were the latter to lose a confidence vote. If he did succeed in vaulting it, he would then either face a general election while his party lags in the polls, or a vote of no confidence in the Commons if he tried to delay it. If he leaped this third bar, and regained office as Prime Minister in the wake of that election, his Brexit policy would be, in so far as it is comprehensible, first to negotiate a “Labour Brexit” that would in all essentials be almost identical to Theresa May’s “Tory Brexit”, which he opposed. If he overcame that fourth obstacle, he would then seek a referendum offering voters a choice between his “Labour Brexit” and Remain. Parliament might not approve it – since although Corbyn, in this circumstance, would be Prime Minister, there is no guarantee he would be governing with a majority. If he mastered fence number five, he would then have a win a referendum majority for the “Labour Brexit”. Harold Wilson pulled off a similar stunt in 1975. But he was supporting the status quo – Common Market membership.  Corbyn would be offering a more partisan proposition. If he lost, it would surely be curtains for him. But rather than continue to list further hazards for Corbyn’s plan, let this Conservative site concede that although it makes no sense if pondered strategically, it makes quite a bit if viewed tactically. For a start, it gets him on the front foot again, for the first time since the European elections. The Labour leader is making the news again. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Douglas Murray: Opportunistic MPs are wrong to think they’ll become Prime Minister by thwarting Brexit

All MPs have one thing in common. They all think that one day the nation will call and, by some freakish chain of events, they might end up living in No10. But rarely have so many bizarre bids for Downing Street occurred in the same week. This week started with the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas’s latest bonkers proposal. This is that what is needed is a cabinet of national unity. Led by her, naturally. And consisting solely of women. This is because, according to Lucas, women “bring a different perspective to crises” and “are able to reach out to those they disagree with”. There is a lot to dispute in that. But let me just mention that on the only occasion I appeared with Ms Lucas (on a BBC panel), she made no effort to reach out to me — someone she certainly disagrees with. Indeed, I found her one of the most unpleasant politicians of either sex I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. Of course, what she really means is that her all-women cabinet — who, surprise surprise, just happened to share Ms Lucas’ hard-line opposition to Brexit — would reach out to those they agree with. Because she and her fellow Remainiacs are right and those of us who voted for Brexit are wrong. “Criticise this bold plan and you’re a misogynist” was the subtext. Groan. In any case, her dash for No10 stalled. It was not helped by the fact she did the political equivalent of stepping on a rake when it was quickly pointed out to her no “women of colour” had made it on to her proposed cabinet list. Oh, Caroline! Yet her bigger problem was a democratic one. For outside of a very small number of vegans on the south coast, there is no mandate to put the only MP for the Green Party — which took a 1.6 per cent share of the vote in 2017 — in No10. Fast forward a couple of days and it was Jeremy Corbyn’s turn. On Thursday, the Labour leader insisted that only he has a mandate to lead the country. It is an interesting interpretation of events. – Douglas Murray for The Sun 

Janet Daley: The EU’s devout belief in the doctrine of integration is pushing us towards no deal

I’m running out of ways to say this so I’ll just have to repeat, in slightly different words and in a more exasperated voice, what I have written before on this page. It is the European Union, not Boris Johnson’s government, which is making a no deal Brexit more likely. The Withdrawal Agreement signed off by Theresa May has been rejected comprehensively, overwhelmingly, with record-breaking majorities, by the UK Parliament three times. It is inconceivable that a new prime minister – this one or any other – could regard it as viable. It is definitively, unalterably, irrefutably dead. The Johnson government has asked for further negotiations to remedy this stalemate. The EU says that there can be no further negotiations. Ergo this deal is the only one that is now, or ever will be, available. Ergo there is no other possible way for the UK to leave the EU except without a deal. So I ask you: who is being unreasonable here? (Oddly, I have not heard a single BBC interviewer pose this question.) There are two obvious explanations for the EU stance. Either it regards national democracy as of no consequence – simply an irritating impediment to the great supra-national project which is designed to displace it – or it actively wants a no deal outcome on the assumption that the damage it will cause to the UK economy will serve as a lesson to any other member state that might have similarly disruptive ideas. – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Sunday Telegraph: Don’t listen to the Tory Remainers

A Remain-voting PM and Chancellor were in charge of Brexit for three years. They drove the country into a cul-de-sac and made it clear to Whitehall that they were not actually committed to leaving the EU at all. Theresa May came up with a Withdrawal Agreement written on the EU’s terms and, not surprisingly, Parliament refused to back it. When Brexit didn’t happen as originally scheduled for March 29, the public, the civil service and the Europeans all assumed this was how things would end. By incompetence or conspiracy, the elite would overcome the referendum and leave Britain stuck in the EU for good. Now the same Remain forces are arguing that Brexit must be cancelled because of the huge mess that they themselves created. But this would only make things much, much worse. If Boris Johnson were to listen to Philip Hammond and Dominic Grieve, abandon no-deal planning and delay our exit, the Tories would tear themselves apart, the Brexit Party would surge and Jeremy Corbyn would surely win the next general election, or at least be able to govern with support from Left-wing allies. Therefore, there is only one way out of the disaster orchestrated by the Europhiles: to once and for all commit the Tories to Brexit. Boris must prepare for a no-deal outcome, whatever it takes. He needs to maintain the chance of a deal on October 17, the relevant meeting of the European Council, by when the EU will hopefully realise that Britain is not bluffing. In any event, Britain has to leave on October 31. This can be done in concert with a radical, once-in-a-generation budget that delivers huge tax cuts, along with big changes to infrastructure and science, all so that Britain can lay the foundations for its new, post-EU role. This strategy is the only path to a revival of Conservative fortunes. – Sunday Telegraph (£) editorial

The Sun: There’ll be some disruption in the event of No Deal but it won’t be Armageddon that Project Fear promoters would like you to believe

You can just imagine the Remoaner MPs rubbing their hands in glee at the leak of a secret Government report warning of food, fuel and medicine shortages in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Predictions of doom and gloom suit their smug pretence that they are only trying to block our departure from the EU for our own good. The truth is they would rather see the country in chaos than accept the referendum result, with or without a deal. Ironically, it is their signals to the EU that they can stop Brexit which make a No Deal Brexit more likely. The leak of the classified “Yellow-hammer” documents was doubtlessly designed to sabotage the Prime Minister’s efforts to get an agreement, but the information is already out of date. The dire warnings were of likely outcomes while the previous administration was dragging its heels and actively delaying No Deal preparations. Under Boris Johnson, there is now a real urgency about planning for the consequences of the EU refusing to negotiate a reasonable deal, and serious money being invested to mitigate the effects if that happens. It would be unrealistic to say there would be no disruption in the event of a clean-break Brexit, but it would not be the Armageddon that Project Fear promoters would like you to believe. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • Boris Johnson is the EU’s nemesis. But could he be Europe’s saviour? – Matthew Leeming for The Spectator
  • Corbyn plot to oust Boris Johnson will backfire and cause no deal Brexit – Nick Tyrone for the Sunday Express
  • From gene editing to robotics, Brexit will free us to build the farms of the future – Owen Paterson MP for the Telegraph (£)
  • He pleads ignorance, but Brexiteers fear Clarke still has half an eye on Number  10 – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Wake up, Remainers – Brexit is happening and Boris Johnson will win the election immediately afterwards – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun
  • Recession threat may be real – but it’s not Brexit’s fault – Ross Clark for the Express
  • Rupert Lowe: A triumphant Brexit can spell the end of the EU by showing Europe how to save itself – Rupert Lowe MEP for the Telegraph (£)
  • Top Brexiteer gives passionate warning to ‘ruling class’ Remainers – Express
  • Only 40 per cent of Irish are happy with how Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is handling Brexit, poll reveals – The Sun