Boris Johnson vows to deliver Brexit by October 31st ‘by any means necessary’: Brexit News for Sunday 28 July

Boris Johnson vows to deliver Brexit by October 31st ‘by any means necessary’: Brexit News for Sunday 28 July
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Boris Johnson vows to deliver Brexit by October 31st ‘by any means necessary’…

Boris Johnson has set up a “war cabinet” to deliver Brexit “by any means necessary” by October 31 as a senior cabinet minister warned that there was “now a very real prospect” of no deal. In a dramatic shift Michael Gove, the minister responsible for no-deal preparations, said the government was “working on the assumption” that Brussels would not strike a fresh agreement. In a Whitehall revolution, Johnson will make every decision on Brexit policy with a team of just six senior ministers — all of them Brexiteers who support no deal. Starting tomorrow, the war cabinet — Gove; the chancellor, Sajid Javid; the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab; the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay; and Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general — will plot the nation’s course. Putting the country on a war footing, Johnson has ordered Gove to chair meetings of civil servants and political advisers every day — including Sundays — until the 2016 referendum result is delivered. – Sunday Times (£)

  • Boris Johnson will make every decision on Brexit with all-male team of six senior ministers as he vows to take Britain out of the EU by ‘any means necessary’ – The Sun

…as the government launches a campaign to prepare Britain for a no-deal Brexit…

An information blitz will be launched by the Government to prepare Britain for a No Deal Brexit. TV ads and leaflets are being produced to ensure every family and business is geared up to leave the EU on October 31. Ministers are eager to spread the message that there is no need to panic — while ensuring the most vulnerable will be fully cared for. A campaign costing up to £10million is likely to include sending a leaflet to 27million households setting out the facts. PM Boris Johnson has ordered the move as he cranks up planning for a No Deal exit. Last night an insider said: “This is all part of sensible planning for the unlikely event of the EU refusing to offer a new deal. “He believes there is nothing to fear from leaving without a deal — but it would be nothing short of folly if we failed to keep the public fully informed.” Leaflets will give advice on imports, travel and taking pets abroad, medicines and food supplies and warn against stockpiling. Officials have also begun work on a No Deal website. – The Sun

…and Sajid Javid prepares a Brexit spending blitz to prepare for No Deal…

Sajid Javid will announce an urgent spending blitz to prepare for Brexit on Oct 31. In his first media intervention since becoming Chancellor, Mr Javid pledges an overhaul of the Treasury’s approach to Brexit, beginning with “significant extra funding” this week to get Britain “fully ready to leave” on Hallowe’en, with or without a deal. The additional spending will include financing one of the country’s “biggest ever public information campaigns” to ensure individuals and businesses are ready for a no-deal exit, Mr Javid reveals in The Sunday Telegraph. He states that “all necessary funding will be made available” to ensure the UK is ready to leave the EU on Oct 31, with plans for 500 new Border Force officers and possible new infrastructure around the country’s ports. The Chancellor declares that the Treasury will have “new priorities” under his leadership and “play its full role” in helping deliver Brexit, in an apparent victory for Leavers who have long accused Philip Hammond, Mr Javid’s predecessor, of holding back full no-deal preparations. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • Sajid Javid will announce £1billion of extra spending to ensure Britain is properly prepared for No Deal Brexit – MailOnline

…while Michael Gove says a no-deal Brexit is now ‘assumed’ by the government

The government is now “working on the assumption” of a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove has said. Mr Gove said his team still aimed to come to an agreement with Brussels but, writing in the Sunday Times, he added: “No deal is now a very real prospect.” Mr Johnson has made Mr Gove responsible for planning a no-deal Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Mr Gove to chair meetings seven days a week until Brexit is delivered, according to the paper. Mr Gove said tweaks to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement – which was approved by the EU but resoundingly rejected by Parliament – would not be enough. “You can’t just reheat the dish that’s been sent back and expect that will make it more palatable,” he wrote. He added he hoped EU leaders might yet open up to the idea of striking a new deal, “but we must operate on the assumption that they will not. While we are optimistic about the future, we are realistic about the need to plan for every eventuality.” Mr Gove highlighted a major flaw of Mrs May’s deal as the Irish backstop plan – a measure designed to prevent the introduction of a hard border on the island of Ireland. – BBC News

No-confidence vote and election ‘can’t legally halt Boris Johnson’s Brexit’, declares Geoffrey Cox

Boris Johnson is legally entitled to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 without a deal even if he loses a vote of confidence and his government falls, the attorney-general has suggested. Geoffrey Cox is understood to believe that there is no legal basis to prevent the prime minister from taking Britain out of the EU, even if October 31 arrives amid a general election campaign triggered by a no-confidence vote in the government over no-deal. There is concern in government that Mr Johnson’s majority of two means he could be defeated in a vote of confidence and be forced to go to the polls. Tory rebels have held talks with Labour and opposition parties about a possible vote of confidence in Mr Johnson when parliament returns in September to try to stop a no-deal Brexit. Cabinet ministers have debated about what would happen if the run-up to the election, which usually lasts for seven weeks, fell as Britain is due to leave the EU. – The Times (£)

  • Boris Johnson can take Britain out of EU by October 31 even if he loses no confidence vote’ warns Attorney General Geoffrey Cox – The Sun
  • No Deal Brexit will happen on 31 October, even if MPs vote to bring down the government, Geoffrey Cox says – iNews

Jacob Rees-Mogg dares Remainer rebels to revoke Article 50 as it’s the ‘only way to stop Brexit’…

Jacob Rees-Mogg has faced down Conservative rebels threatening to block no deal, saying the only way they can stop Brexit is to revoke Article 50. In an interview with The Telegraph, the new Leader of the House of Commons attacks Remainer colleagues “wittering on about no deal”, saying they “wouldn’t dare” overturn the law. On Friday Boris Johnson told Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, that the Brexit “divorce” deal must be reopened to end the deadlock, prompting a backlash from EU leaders. A No 10 spokesman said: “He reiterated the message he delivered in the House of Commons: Parliament has 
rejected the Withdrawal Agreement three times and so the UK must fully prepare for the alternative – which is to leave without a deal on Oct 31. “He said the only solution that would allow us to make progress on a deal is to abolish the backstop.” – Telegraph (£)

…as Philip Hammond backs fellow backbenchers Rory Stewart to lead the charge against a no‑deal Brexit

Rory Stewart is being lined up to lead a campaign to stop a no-deal Brexit, as former cabinet ministers and millionaire donors hold secret talks on the plans. Philip Hammond, who resigned as chancellor last week, is drumming up support for the campaign and wants Stewart — who had launched a spirited tilt at the Tory leadership that attracted support from young voters — to lead the charge. Stewart resigned last week as international development secretary over his opposition to Boris Johnson’s plans to pursue a no-deal Brexit. Hammond and his former cabinet colleague David Gauke, the former justice secretary, are said to be in talks about how to kick-start the campaign, which they hope will eclipse the People’s Vote calls for a second referendum. The former chancellor even met Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, shortly after resigning last week to work on ways to stop no-deal. “The plan is for a huge national campaign, a bit like the People’s Vote, which will mobilise MPs and voters with adverts, rallies and original research,” said a source familiar with the discussions. “Philip is talking to people and there will be no shortage of support from donors. But he’s convinced that Rory has the most cut-through with voters.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Hammond plots with Labour to kill Johnson’s no-deal Brexit – Observer

Johnson’s No 10 guru Dominic Cummings plans to turn Tory Conference into a no-deal Brexit rally…

Boris Johnson’s new Downing Street guru Dominic Cummings plans to turn the Conservative Party conference at the end of September into a Brexit rally, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The annual gathering of the Tory faithful, to be held in Manchester this year, finishes just 29 days before the Government’s planned EU departure on October 31. And Mr Cummings – the architect of Vote Leave’s historic 2016 referendum win and now the new Prime Minister’s enforcer – has instructed ministerial advisers that they should do the ‘bare minimum’ to prepare for the event, which is traditionally a major part of the political calendar. This year, the entire four-day meeting will be used to ‘hammer home the Government’s message that we are leaving on October 31 with or without a deal’. Mr Cummings told Whitehall advisers and spin doctors on Friday that they were not part of ‘a usual Government’ but rather one facing ‘a constitutional crisis’. – Mail on Sunday

…while the Lib Dems urge the Cabinet Secretary to block his appointment as Johnson’s senior aide

The head of the civil service has been urged to block the appointment of Brexit mastermind Dominic Cummings to a senior Downing Street role. Boris Johnson’s decision to invite Mr Cummings to become a key No 10 adviser has sent shockwaves through Westminster, coming only months after he was found in contempt of parliament for refusing to give evidence to the Commons fake news inquiry. The move also sparked fears among Tory moderates about the new prime minister’s Brexit approach, as Mr Cummings was the architect of Vote Leave’s Take Back Control slogan and the pledge to claw back £350m a week from the EU for the NHS. The Liberal Democrats have written to Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s most senior mandarin, urging him to intervene as they warned the news should “send shivers down the spines” of the British public. – Independent

Dominic Raab will fly to Washington to step up negotiations with Trump over US trade deal and says ‘Brussels isn’t the only game in town’…

Britain’s new Foreign Secretary says he is to step up trade negotiations with the US – in a clear message to the EU. Dominic Raab is to fly to Washington in the coming weeks to “pave” the way for a future trade deal with President Donald Trump. In an interview with the Times, he said: “We want a strong relationship with our European friends and partners.. but we also want to raise our horizons. Brussels isn’t the only game in town.” Boris Johnson’s new deputy then revealed he had already spoken to Mike Pompeo, who is the US Secretary of State. He said: “I explained how pleased we were to have a US administration, including the president, speaking so warmly about this country. We’ve got a president who has spoken about this country with the kind of warmth we haven’t heard for quite a long period of time. Now people will have their views and it’s quite right that in domestic politics, pundits and politicians are (free to) express them about any leader. But I’m delighted that we’ve got a US president talking about this country with such warmth.” The news comes after Boris Johnson and Mr Trump vowed to broker an “ambitious” free trade deal as soon as the UK leaves the EU. The two world leaders used their first phone call to discuss the “unparalleled” opportunities Brexit will bring to the Special Relationship. – The Sun

…as the Foreign Secretary declares: ‘No more weakness. The EU must know we’re serious’

They are still getting used to Dominic Raab in the new foreign secretary’s private office. The man who famously sent his staff to buy him the same Pret lunch every day now sends back coffee when it arrives in a green porcelain cup. “I’d like it in the one I had before,” he says to an aide, a vessel that turns out to be a large pink travel mug. Brussels is already well aware of Mr Raab’s single-minded determination to have things his own way. The former Brexit secretary, who resigned in protest at Theresa May’s compromise with the EU, is back as foreign secretary and Boris Johnson’s deputy and is hell-bent on securing a deal to his taste. While reaching an agreement is a “joint responsibility” of the EU and Britain, he says it will be “their choice if we’ve left on WTO terms” on October 31. “We are making it clear there’s a deal to be done, but the EU needs to move,” he says. Only 48 hours into the job, he has been ringing European capitals to make the point but it is clear that he is far more pleased to have taken a call from Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state. Some around Mr Johnson have spoken about seizing a moment to “reset” the relationship with President Trump and Mr Raab does little to dispel the idea. “I explained how pleased we were to have a US administration, including the president, speaking so warmly about this country,” he says of his call with Mr Pompeo. In what is intended as a very clear message to the EU Mr Raab, who is 45, will also visit Latin America and Asia, focusing on countries most keen to access the British market. Brazil is an obvious destination not least because his wife, Erika Rey-Raab, is from Sao Paulo. “Brussels isn’t the only game in town,” he says. “We want a strong relationship with our European friends and partners. I prize that relationship. My father came from Czechoslovakia. I understand the historic context of our relationship and I feel very warmly about it. But we also want to raise our horizons.” – The Times (£)

Johnson faces Tory backlash after new government says there’s no no plan for a law to guarantee EU citizens’ rights after Brexit

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from his own MPs after his government dismissed demands for new laws to protect the rights of EU citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Conservative MPs warned that failure to guarantee the rights in law would be an “abrogation of responsibility”, because the EU is unlikely to guarantee the rights of the 1.3 million Brits living in its member states unless the UK acts first. But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, a senior ally of Mr Johnson, told The Independent that ministers would be reluctant to bring forward a news law on citizens’ rights because of fears that it would be “hijacked” by MPs trying to block a no-deal Brexit. The claim came as Tory MPs warned Mr Johnson not to prioritise a no-deal exit ahead of guaranteeing the rights of 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, and Brits living in the EU. MPs said that some Tories would be willing to support Mr Johnson’s threat to opt for a no-deal Brexit if citizens’ rights were protected, but would not contemplate doing so otherwise – potentially stopping the new prime minister from getting a no-deal plan through parliament. – Independent

Tory Eurosceptics accuse Theresa May of cronyism over proposed peerage for Gavin Barwell

Theresa May is facing a new cronyism row as it emerged that her controversial chief of staff is expected to be appointed to the House of Lords. Tory sources said that Gavin Barwell, who was appointed to Downing Street after being ousted as MP for Croydon Central, headed a resignation honours list drawn up by the Prime Minister before her departure. A peerage for Mr Barwell would infuriate many Tory Eurosceptics after he was blamed for helping to orchestrate the Brexit deal that Brexiteers insisted could leave the UK tied to the EU’s structures indefinitely. One adviser who worked in Mrs May’s Government said: “If she gives her failed MP chief of staff a peerage than any shred of decency will have gone.” But an ally of Mr Barwell said: “The contribution he has made to the Government over the last two years and the experience and ability that he could bring to the House of Lords make him an ideal candidate for a peerage if that was to come about.” – Sunday Telegraph (£) 

Daniel Hannan: Boris Johnson knows Brussels better than anyone. He’s not bluffing about no-deal

Boris isn’t bluffing. Every action, every appointment, every word since he entered Number 10 signals the same thing: Britain is leaving the EU on 31 October. Among Brussels officials, there is still a lazy assumption that the new prime minister will be, as they see it, chastened by reality. The United Kingdom, Eurocrats believe, will not leave without a deal, however harsh and unreasonable its terms. Three years of dealing with Theresa May have convinced them that Brits always back down in the end. The new PM, fonctionnaires tell one another, faces the same constraints as the old one. He, too, will be boxed in by a Europhile Parliament and a civil service that is dead set against rupture. Boris is also, they believe, frivolous. Sure, he made all sorts of statements to get himself elected; but, now that he is in office, the theory goes, he will have to listen to the serious men, the experts, the mandarins. Au contraire, messieurs. There is nothing unserious about Britain’s new leader. I have known Boris for 25 years, and he is the cleverest man I have worked with. Sure, he is well-mannered enough to keep his sharpness under wraps, but don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that his Falstaffian persona implies intellectual levity. He knows exactly what he is doing, especially when it comes to Brussels – the place he went to school, and to which he returned in 1989 as the Daily Telegraph’s correspondent. No British politician has a keener appreciation of how the EU works, how its policies are made, how its deals are brokered. Where Mrs May deferred instinctively to her civil servants, Boris understands this subject better than they do. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Nigel Farage: If the government can’t get a clean break Brexit sorted, the Brexit Party will

Boris Johnson has begun his reign by saying the right things and putting genuine Brexiteers in government. Three years after the majority voted to leave the EU, Leavers are finally in power – and that has outraged the Remainer establishment. We wish Boris Johnson well and hope he is sincere about delivering Brexit by October 31, “do or die”. But we also want to warn him not to take the British people for fools. If he thinks that reviving the corpse of Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement, with one or two changes or even without the backstop, is acceptable, then he’s got another thing coming. Mr Johnson says he wants a deal with the EU but that this must include “the abolition of the backstop”. Fair enough. The backstop is an imposition that could mean the whole of the UK being trapped indefinitely under the rules of the customs union. We are not the only ones questioning if this sort of betrayal will happen. ERG member Steve Baker and others have also spoken of their fear that they may be asked to vote for a “compromise” agreement with a time limit on the backstop. Now Boris says he wants a deal – despite the EU making clear the treaty is the only one on offer. It seems reasonable to assume the result will be a bid to resurrect some version of Mrs May’s unacceptable betrayal of Brexit. There has been much speculation about electoral pacts between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party. We share an interest with Leavers from all parties in delivering Brexit and standing up to the Remainer Labour Party and Lib Dems. As the European election showed, only the Brexit Party is able to fight Labour in their northern heartlands and win. But if this is what Boris means by Brexit, I have to tell him now. There will be no prospect of any pact and the Conservatives will not win a general election. If they try to resurrect Mrs May’s treaty in any form, it is definitely no-deal. And if the Tories can’t or won’t deliver a clean-break Brexit by October 31, then the Brexit Party will. – Nigel Farage MEP for the Sunday Express

Sherelle Jacobs: To call the EU’s bluff, Boris Johnson must grasp he is dealing with a bureaucratic psychopath

Great strategists are unpredictable strategists. So it has been exhilarating to watch Boris Johnson hurl the lightning bolts of shock-and-awe regime change through Britain’s May-grey political skies with such unexpected ruthlessness. Since becoming PM, he has surprised everyone from paranoid Brexiteers to complacent centrists by forming a serious no-deal Cabinet and bellowing for the “abolition” of the backstop from the despatch box. Of course, such unpredictability is anathema to homo bureaucratus, that snarling, slow-witted behemoth in Brussels that Mr Johnson must take on. True to form, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, responded to our new PM with the contemptuous raising of a single legalistic eyebrow; in a communiqué to EU members, he rejected our PM’s “combative” request for “unacceptable” concessions. Johnson’s strategy is ideal if he wants to leave without a deal on a wave of patriotism and resentment at EU intransigence. But it spells disaster if he hopes to call Brussels’ bluff. The “Boris hypothesis” seems to be that if we prepare seriously for no deal, the EU’s position will drastically shift. The story goes that greedy Brussels has overplayed its hand by drawing up such a debilitating contract, and that if we hold our nerve, member states will eventually pressure Brussels to crack. Unfortunately, this narrative fails to grasp the intrinsically psychopathic, imbecilic and corrupt nature of all bureaucracies, from Brussels and sub-Saharan Africa to the Soviet Union. There is good news, though: if Mr Johnson’s team take the two former characteristics seriously and exploit the third, Brussels may yet blink. – Sherelle Jacobs for the Telegraph (£)

Nile Gardiner: Here’s how Boris Johnson can use his popularity in the US to rebuild the Special Relationship

Boris Johnson’s premiership is a huge positive for Great Britain and the United States. In Washington, the news that he had won the Tory leadership race was warmly welcomed by the White House, and President Trump praised Britain’s new leader to rapturous applause in front of a conservative student conference. There is immense good will towards the new Prime Minister on this side of the Atlantic, and he is widely seen as a breath of fresh air after the stale Theresa May era. To Americans, Johnson is an exciting charismatic leader who wants to revitalise the Special Relationship. To say that May was unpopular with the present US Administration would be an understatement. She was viewed as hostile and unhelpful, as well as lacking any interest in cultivating the alliance with Washington. Johnson could be meeting with Donald Trump three times in his first 100 days: briefly in the US in August (but likely outside Washington), at the G7 Summit in Biarritz later in the month, and at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in the final week of September. This sends the right message that Johnson is making strong relations with the US President a top priority. Downing Street must, however, add a fourth meeting to the schedule. It is imperative that the Prime Minister travel to Washington in early to mid September when Congress is back in session. A two-day summit level visit to the capital of the free world would be a powerful statement that the Special Relationship is alive and well and that the partnership between Great Britain and the United States remains the beating heart of the free world. Johnson must reach out to both the US Executive and Legislative branches, as each will play a key role in helping Britain to thrive and prosper outside of the EU. – Nile Gardiner for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in Brief

  • Has Boris the integrity, determination and will to deliver a clean Brexit? – John Longworth for ConservativeWoman 
  • Varadkar is wrong to disregard the ancient ties between Britain and Ireland – Simon Heffer for the Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • Remainer Jamie Oliver finally backs Brexit saying he ‘believes in democracy’ – Sunday Express