Philip Hammond leads 30 Tory MPs in plot to stop a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Saturday 6 July

Philip Hammond leads 30 Tory MPs in plot to stop a no-deal Brexit: Brexit News for Saturday 6 July
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Philip Hammond leads 30 Tory MPs in plot to stop a no-deal Brexit…

Thirty Tory MPs led by Chancellor Philip Hammond are plotting to stop a no-deal Brexit in October in a move which would raise the chance of a second referendum, Sky News understands. The informal group of rebels, mostly serving ministers, have held three meetings since Theresa May announced her departure a month ago, about how to prevent the UK crashing out on 31 October. Two sources said the group’s key aim is to secure – within the next three weeks before parliament rises for the summer – a date in October on which MPs will control the agenda and can force through legislation. – Sky News

  • Boris cannot expect to beat Brussels at no-deal chicken without facing down Tory rebels – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Tories threatening to ‘block’ No Deal Brexit are clueless to damage they will cause – The Sun editorial

…as Sir John Major endorses Jeremy Hunt and claims Boris Johnson misled the country…

Sir John Major has endorsed Jeremy Hunt’s campaign to become prime minister, saying he could not vote for someone who “misled the country”. The former prime minister urged Tory members to wait to vote until after next week’s head-to-head debate between Mr Hunt and Boris Johnson because the candidates need to be “properly examined”. He told the BBC’s Hard Talk: “It’s fairly evident from my views that I cannot vote for someone who was part of the Brexit campaign that misled the country, so I shall offer my vote to Jeremy Hunt, and I don’t think anyone would be in any doubt about that.- The Times (£)

…but Farage donor Robin Birley puts £20k behind Johnson’s campaign

Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign has been boosted by a £20,000 donation  from a Mayfair private members’ club owner who has given more than £250,000 to Ukip. Robin Birley is one of several wealthy donors to back Mr Johnson’s attempt  to become prime minister. In the past six weeks Mr Johnson has had nearly £300,000 of donations including from property developers, financiers and hedge fund magnates. He has raised nearly double the £150,000 that each  candidate can spend during the membership campaign period. Money spent before June 7 does not count towards the total. Jeremy Hunt, Mr Johnson’s rival, has received about £100,000. – The Times (£)

Boris Johnson promises more cash for Scottish farmers post-Brexit…

Conservative leadership candidate Boris Johnson has made a play for the support of Scottish farmers while visiting the country for a hustings event. The front-runner in the race to be Prime Minister pledged to end the “poor deal” delivered by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, promising additional funding. … The SNP said Mr Johnson had been a member of the UK government responsible for short changing Scottish farmers by £160 million. Mr Johnson said the UK government had received extra money from the EU, known as convergence funding, due to the larger amount of poorer quality agricultural land north of the border, but did not pass on the money to Scottish farmers. Mr Johnson said: “For years, British farmers have been given a poor deal by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy – but it’s clear that Scottish farmers have been particularly poorly treated. “It’s time that we stopped this. Once we leave the EU on 31 October, we will have a historic opportunity to introduce new schemes to support Scottish farming – and we will make sure that Scotland gets a better deal.” – The Courier

…and says immigrants must learn English…

All immigrants must learn English because there are too many parts of the country where it is not the first language, Boris Johnson said yesterday. The former mayor of London and Tory leadership favourite praised the “amazing” story of immigration into the UK. Specifically identifying “waves” of people who have come to London including Bangladeshis, Jewish refugees from Tsarist Russia, and French Huguenots, Mr Johnson said that immigrants had “adapted and made their lives and they have helped to make our national culture and they have bought into it”. However, he complained that too many were failing to integrate. Speaking at a Conservative leadership hustings in Darlington, Mr Johnson said: “I want everybody who comes here and makes their lives here to be and to feel British, that’s the most important thing, and to learn English. – The Times (£)

…but claims safeguarding the Union must come before Brexit

Preserving the Union must take priority over Brexit, Boris Johnson has said as he denied being hurt by a Scottish Tory campaign to keep him out of No 10. In a bruising hustings debate with his rival Jeremy Hunt in Perth, Mr Johnson reiterated his pledge to leave the European Union with or without a deal on October 31. A poll by Survation in April found that a majority of Scots would vote for independence in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson’s statement puts him at odds with UK party members. A YouGov survey found that 63 per cent would prioritise Brexit over the Union. The character of the frontrunner for the Tory leadership contest also came under scrutiny. – The Times (£)

Head of largest EU Parliament group condemns lack of democracy after leaders ignore election results…

EU leaders are “damaging democracy” by ignoring the results of the European parliament elections, the leader of the legislature’s largest party has said. Manfred Weber, whose centre-right group won last month’s contest, said the decision by leaders to reject all the candidates for European Commission president and instead pick a little-known ally of Angela Merkel in a closed meeting was “not the Europe I imagined”. It comes as a poll by German broadcaster ARD found that the German public does not support the appointment of Ursula von der Leyen, the leaders’ pick for the top job. More than half (56 per cent) said they did not agree with the decision. Another recent poll in Der Spiegel magazine found she was the second most unpopular cabinet minister in Germany. – Independent

> Tom Colsy on BrexitCentral today: What were EU leaders thinking to want Christine Lagarde in charge of the European Central Bank?

…and even Jean-Claude Juncker blasts EU’s backroom stitch-up to ‘elect’ next Commission chief

Jean-Claude Juncker has blasted EU leaders over the backroom stitch-up that led to the appointment of his successor as Commission chief. The outgoing Brussels boss said the process by which Ursula von der Leyen was chosen showed the bloc is going backwards in terms of openness. In a shock outburst the 64-year-old arch-europhile implied the German defence minister would have less democratic legitimacy in the post than he did. He fumed: “The process was not very transparent. But the process which led to my nomination in 2014 was very transparent. “We had lead candidates and we knew what would happen if this party or that party would be the strongest party in the European Parliament.” Mr Juncker was selected via the Spitzenkandidat system – German for lead candidate – which was meant to make the EU more democratic.  – The Sun

  • Ursula von der Leyen too weak to run EU, Germans fear – The Times (£)

Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe hits back at fury over her ‘slavery’ jibe in maiden speech at the European Parliament

Ann Widdecombe has flatly dismissed fury over her ‘slavery’ jibe at the EU – saying critics accusing her of ‘white privilege’ are being ‘melodramatic’. The Brexit Party MEP said she ‘stood by’ comparing Brussels to slave owners and ‘feudal barons’. Shrugging off a backlash from Labour MPs, the veteran politician said she was merely highlighting decades of ‘oppression’ in her incendiary maiden speech at the European Parliament yesterday. ‘Frankly if I said good morning people would interpret that adversely,’ Miss Widdecombe told the BBC’s Newsnight programme. ‘They would say Ann Widdecombe is insensitive because it is not a good morning for everyone… ‘I said we have been oppressed. I stand by that.’  – Daily Mail

  • Ann Widdecombe is right to take the fight to Brussels – but the real threat to democracy is here at home – Fraser Myers for the Telegraph (£)
  • Widdecombe gives EU eardrums a beating – Quentin Letts for The Times (£)

France angers EU by opting for regulatory divergence on sweets

France is trying to make sweets less shiny — against the EU’s wishes. Paris is worried that the whitening additive that makes sweets gleam — titanium dioxide, also called E171 — and that is used in a host of products from toothpaste to ice cream, chewing gum and cake frosting, is unsafe. But the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) doesn’t agree.  It’s part of a broader trend, with Paris adopting more restrictive rules than the rest of the EU on products ranging from the weedkiller glyphosate to bisphenol A — a plastic softener essential in the production of many consumer goods. France has long been much more activist on environmental issues than other EU countries. Its fervent movement opposed to genetically modified foods in recent years has broadened into a politically powerful effort to curtail chemicals — creating a force that President Emmanuel Macron can’t ignore. – Politico

Nigel Farage warns Britain will shut down Paris and Frankfurt if Brussels tries bullyboy tactics

Paris and Frankfurt could be shut down within a year by Brexit Britain if Brussels tries the same strong-arm tactics on the City of London that it is using on Switzerland’s financial sector, Nigel Farage has warned. The Brexit Party leader is not intimidated by the EU freezing Swiss stock exchanges out of the bloc’s market on July 1. Bern has retaliated by banning EU stock exchanges from trading Swiss shares, forcing EU traders to go through intermediaries to trade them, which is slower and more expensive. The European Commission decided to cut out the Swiss in a bid to force them to sign up to a new partnership treaty but also to send Britain a clear message it would not bend on its single market rules ahead of October 31 Brexit deadline.  – Telegraph (£)

Treasury spends £3 million extra on outside lawyers to cover Brexit overload

Treasury officials have spent £3 million bringing in outside lawyers to help with their Brexit overload, new documents show. The contract also gives an insight the Government’s thinking over potential problems in the financial services sector – which is strained by the uncertainty around Brexit. Hogan Lovells will spend a year at the Treasury dealing with a “marked and continuing” increase in its legal work over Brexit and help in “establishing an effective and efficient customs regime”. Gus Tugendhat, founder of Tussell, said: “Untangling the legal complexity of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU has created an unprecedented workload for the Government.” – i News

Robert Colls: Why Labour should be the party of Brexit

Labour should come out in favour of a clean-break Brexit that says enough is enough: first, because it is true, enough is enough (and Labour would not be alone in thinking that); and, second, because we are going to leave without a deal in any case, and it is better for Labour to come out on the back of history and instinct rather than by default, or trailing in Boris Johnson’s wake. Deal-making only promises to prolong the national agony. Let’s get clear, let’s restore our self respect, and let’s get on with trade talks as trade talks and not some other thing. Labour’s old left position was always Eurosceptical. The EU has its origins in the 1952 European Coal and Steel Community. There is no way Clement Attlee’s Methodistic Labour movement would have agreed to joining an organisation conceived by Catholic conservatives devoted to rationalising British coal and steel. Hugh Gaitskell talked about joining Europe but losing a thousand years of history. Peter Shore, Bryan Gould, Michael Foot (and George Orwell) talked about socialism as essential to the national genius. – Robert Colls for Spiked

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

Niall Ferguson: We’re divorcing a slowly decomposing spouse

The idea that the EU ‘guaranteed peace’ in Europe is a silly argument because the one thing that didn’t happen was the creation of a European defence union. Europe integrated in every other respect, leaving Nato to do the hard work of protecting Europe from the Soviet threat. Nato’s the key to that story of peace in Europe, not the EU and even when the EU tried to play a peacemaking role in the Balkans in the 1990s it failed abjectly.  I still hold the view that Brexit will be a footnote in a chapter about the break-up of the European Union…It might not go any further in the direction of integration, but it won’t quickly disintegrate. Ultimately you could argue, in that case Brexit doesn’t really matter – and I would say ‘right, exactly right!’. So why waste all this time on a divorce from something that is in the end becoming weaker over time and is almost certain not to become a superstate…We’re divorcing a slowly decomposing spouse. – Niall Ferguson for CapX

John Longworth: Diary of a reluctant MEP: Au revoir, said Ann, but it’s all too easy to get used to life in Brussels

Incidentally, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” was not just an instrument of torture in Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, but a favourite of Hitler, played at his birthday. The fact that the “snowflakes” are melting over this is a reflection of how significantly the Orwellian propaganda of the EU project has managed to undermine the concept of the traditional nation state. It was natural, therefore, that the highlight of the week was when my fellow MEP, Ann Widdecombe, won the ballot (yes, you have to enter a lottery to get to speak in the EU Parliament) to give her maiden speech and a resounding tour de force it was too. Auf wiedersehen, au revoir, I think they got the message. Ann was roundly congratulated by a stream of MEPs from other countries, the oppressed people of Europe.  – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Pieter Cleppe: An Ursula von der Leyen presidency would be a huge victory for Angela Merkel

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been put forward by European leaders as the candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the President of the EU Commission, a powerful position. If she is approved by the EU Parliament (which is not yet certain) it would be a victory for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a bad thing for Europe. Von der Leyen attended the European School in Brussels, just like Boris Johnson. Like Boris, she’s the child of a European Commission official, but that’s where her similarities with the potential prime minister end.- Pieter Cleppe for The Spectator

Comment in Brief

  • A WTO Brexit isn’t really No Deal – Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie of Get Britain Out for The Commentator
  • A new tune: Boris Johnson on his plan to unite Britain – James Forsyth and Katy Balls for The Spectator
  • Theresa May hopes Union pledge will be her legacy, not Scottish independence – Alan Cochrane for the Telegraph (£)
  • Christopher Booker was right about the EU – Philip Patrick for Reaction
  • The sooner we leave the unreformable and appallingly undemocratic EU, the better – Nigel Farage MEP for the Telegraph (£)
  • Who should Conservative members vote for in the leadership election? What matters most for Party and country is delivering Brexit – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • New direction in the EU? – John Redwood’s Diary

News in Brief

  • Sir Keir Starmer says Jeremy Corbyn is ‘like a brick wall’ over Brexit referendum – The Times (£)
  • Andrew Neil tears into the next EU leaders –  The Spectator
  • UK house prices pick up a bit more speed says Halifax – Reuters
  • Brexit Britain under Boris Johnson will spark major new US trade deal says Iain Duncan Smith – Express
  • Veolia will continue to invest in the UK despite Brexit, CEO Says – Bloomberg