New polling shows voters would prefer the short-term disruption of a no-deal Brexit over a Corbyn Government - including Labour supporters: Brexit News for Sunday 29 September

New polling shows voters would prefer the short-term disruption of a no-deal Brexit over a Corbyn Government - including Labour supporters: Brexit News for Sunday 29 September
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New polling shows voters would prefer the short-term disruption of a no-deal Brexit over a Corbyn Government – including Labour supporters…

Voters would overwhelmingly prefer the short-term disruption of a No Deal Brexit over the chaos of a Jeremy Corbyn Government – and that even applies to Labour supporters. Exclusive new research has found that nearly half of voters – 48 per cent – would be happy for the UK to leave the EU without a deal if the alternative scenario was Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister, while just 35 per cent preferred to have the Labour leader in Downing Street. Strikingly, the analysis of more than 8,000 voters’ intentions, conducted by former Conservative Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft, discovered that, among Mr Corbyn’s own voters who back Brexit, the figure was 57 per cent for No Deal, against 28 per cent who wanted to see their party leader in No 10. – Mail on Sunday

…although the whipless rebels claim No Deal risks sending the Tory Party into ‘terminal decline’

Boris Johnson has been warned that he risks sending the Conservatives into “terminal decline” if he allows this week’s party conference to become a rally for the hardest form of no-deal Brexit. With a general election expected within weeks, former Tory MPs who were stripped of the party whip over Brexit said the prime minister must use to Manchester gathering to show that the party is more than a narrow ideological sect obsessed by Europe if he is to hold onto the voters who have previously delivered Conservative majorities. The warnings came as ex-chancellor Philip Hammond said that the Tories’ “convulsions” over Brexit had left the party “unrecognisable” to him, with the broad church of earlier years replaced by “an ideological puritanism that brooks no dissent and is more and more strident in its tone”. Mr Hammond’s call for the PM to retrieve the party’s position by shifting to a position of compromise over Brexit was echoed by some of the other 21 MPs barred from being Tory candidates after they rebelled in a vote to prevent a no-deal outcome earlier this month. Former foreign minister and deputy Tory chair Alistair Burt said the annual conference, which opens on Sunday, was a chance for the party to show that “it is about more than just Brexit”. – Independent

Sajid Javid unveils £16.6 billion no-deal Brexit compensation package for businesses, universities and charities

Chancellor Sajid Javid is to unveil a £16.6 billion guarantee to compensate UK businesses, universities and charities in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Mr Javid told the Daily Mail that the money would make up for lost grants from the European bloc. The sum, which includes £4.3 billion for the coming year, is one of “many mechanisms and processes” that Mr Javid says the Conservative Party is implementing to mitigate for a no-deal Brexit. The guarantee follows the Scottish Government’s £52 million request to Westminster in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Mr Javid said that a no-deal departure was “very much on the table” and spoke of his fears for “the fabric” of society should the 31 October deadline not be honoured. – iNews

  • Chancellor warns failing to deliver on referendum would ‘tear the fabric of our society’. – Daily Mail

No. 10 probes Remain MPs’ ‘foreign collusion’ amid plot to allow John Bercow to send ‘surrender letter’ to Brussels asking for a delay to Brexit…

Downing Street has launched a major investigation into alleged links between foreign governments and the MPs behind the ‘Surrender Act’ which could force Boris Johnson to delay Brexit, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Sources said No 10 took the unprecedented action after officials received intelligence that the MPs, including former Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin, had received help drafting the Bill from members of the French Government and the European Union. This newspaper has also learned that the rebel MPs have drawn up plans for a second Act which would allow Commons Speaker John Bercow to bypass the Prime Minister if he cannot strike a deal to leave the EU on October 31. The new law would allow Mr Bercow to personally ask Brussels for a further delay on behalf of the Commons. The rebels have even discussed using the legislation to give Mr Bercow the power to appoint a new British commissioner to the EU, with pro-Remain former Home Secretary Amber Rudd mentioned as a candidate. – Mail on Sunday

…as it emerges that Tony Blair lobbied the EU for a Brexit delay as he led new referendum calls…

Tony Blair personally urged the EU’s chief negotiator to delay Brexit beyond March 29 as Theresa May was insisting to European leaders that she wanted the UK to leave on time, The Telegraph can disclose. The former prime minister held a private meeting with Michel Barnier in February in which he declared that an extension of the Article 50 notice period would “provide the time required” for “clarifying” the type of relationship Britain wanted with the EU. At the time he was leading calls for a second referendum. Mr Blair’s intervention, at a one-to-one meeting in Munich, came as Mrs May was urging EU leaders to offer concessions that would allow the UK to leave on its intended exit date of March 29. Last night Liam Fox, who was trade secretary at the time, said: “It’s clear that all parts of the Remain resistance were deployed to try and thwart the democratic result of the referendum. Their hope is that if they delay enough then we won’t leave.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…while Tory Chairman James Cleverly reports ‘Remain alliance’ to elections watchdog over concerns about ‘shell parties’

The Conservative chairman has reported a “Remain alliance” to the elections watchdog, claiming that pro-EU MPs are preparing to use “shell parties” to circumvent campaign spending limits. James Cleverly claimed that politicians led by Heidi Allen, a former Conservative MP, intend to “sidestep legal spending limits” in a general election campaign. The Cabinet Minister has given Sir John Holmes, the Electoral Commission chairman, a copy of a text message Mrs Allen sent to several Tory MPs urging them to stand as independent candidates through “shell” or “mini” parties. She promised that Unite to Remain, an alliance of Remainers which she is fronting, would support any MPs who took up her offer to defect. “There are a number of ways this could be done to maximise the amount of spending in your seat, either through a shell party for a group of independents or a mini-party in your constituency,” Mrs Allen wrote to MPs. In a letter to Sir John, Mr Cleverly claimed that, in the event of a general election, the set-up proposed by Mrs Allen could breach laws governing spending and campaigning. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • No 10 probes Remain MPs’ ‘foreign collusion’ amid plot to allow John Bercow to send ‘surrender letter’ to Brussels asking for a delay to Brexit – Mail on Sunday

Dominic Raab warns that the Benn ‘Surrender’ Act would force the UK to roll over to anything Brussels demands…

Dominic Raab’s vast colonial-era office overlooking St James’s Park is the size of a tennis court – appropriate dimensions for the most athletic member of the Cabinet, with his black belt in karate and a ferocious boxing style modelled on his hero Muhammad Ali. As he paces the length of the room towards his desk, the Foreign Secretary bristles with political machismo when he vows that Boris Johnson will be able to defy the ‘Surrender Act’ stipulating that he must ask for a delay to Brexit if he can’t secure a deal. Describing it as an Act ‘which requires us basically to roll over to the most punitive conditions that Brussels could inflict on us’, he says: ‘It is a shoddy bit of legislation. The way it was put together was pretty ramshackle. It didn’t have the scrutiny that you have with a Government Bill.’ His implication is clear: the Government is still confident that it can find a loophole in the legislation which will allow the Prime Minister to take us out of the EU on October 31 even if he has not secured a deal. In his exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Raab even hinted at the prospect of EU law being employed – for the final time – to over-ride the Act, by using the legislation under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. According to some Government lawyers, the Treaty – which enshrined the leaving date of October 31 – could be used to veto the Act passed by Labour MP Hilary Benn and fellow anti-Brexiteers. – Mail on Sunday

…as Boris Johnson rebrands it the Abject Capitulation Act in a Telegraph interview…

Mr Johnson springs up from reading The Telegraph’s obituary of Jacques Chirac to conduct what will turn out to be his most candid interview since entering Downing Street, ahead of the Conservatives’ annual conference in Manchester. In 2016 the Vote Leave campaign, fronted by Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, controversially insisted that Brexit would allow Britain to take back control of  £350 million each week, which they said should be spent on the NHS. And, announcing his new investment in hospitals, Mr Johnson insists: “Ultimately, there will be considerable savings to this country, every week, as I said [during the campaign], by coming out of the EU. “And I just remind you, that there is another party, viz the Labour Party that, for reasons of its own, I think selfish, political reasons, wants to stay in the EU beyond October 31, at a cost of a billion pounds a month, net, not gross but net. It’s unbelievable.” The Prime Minister also refuses to recant his use of the “surrender act”, insisting: “I won’t be bullied off use of that term. It seems to me a perfectly humdrum political metaphor.” In comments likely to cause further consternation among MPs, he adds: “Actually, when you read the the text of the Benn Act, the ‘abject capitulation act’ might be just as good a term for it, because it would attempt to force the prime minister of the UK to  write a letter requesting to stay in the EU, and it would … allow the EU to decide how long we would stay on in the EU. If that isn’t an attempt of the wholesale destruction of a country’s negotiating position, I don’t know what is.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…as he reportedly plans to collapse his government to force an election if the EU refuse a new Brexit deal at next month’s summit…

Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to collapse his government in a last ditch bid to force a General Election. The PM will demand that the entire Cabinet resigns with him on Friday, October 18 if the EU will not give him a Brexit deal. Mr Johnson is gambling on Jeremy Corbyn being unable to form a temporary government within the 14 days required by law. That means Britain would have to trudge to the polls in the depths of December. And although Mr Johnson, whose party conference kicks off in Manchester on Sunday, would quit as PM he would stay Tory leader so he could fight the election. But as the chaos would cover October 31, when Britain is due to leave the EU, MPs including Tory Dominic Grieve and Labour’s Hilary Benn are determined to get a three-month extension to stop us crashing out with no deal. If Mr Johnson has resigned as PM he will not have to write the letter asking for delay required by law. And that means Commons Speaker John Bercow would do it instead, postponing Brexit until January 31. A Westminster source said: “We say the Speaker is constitutionally entitled to do this with Parliament’s support.” The crunch comes when Mr Johnson faces the EU Council at a two day summit on October 17 and 18. – Sunday Mirror

…while he is set to be targeted by ‘dirty tricks’ next week as the Remainer rabble plot to ‘bring him down’ and stop Brexit

Boris Johnson will be targeted this week with a wave of dirty tricks by Remainer MPs desperate to stop Brexit. They have declared him “a marked man” as they plot a relentless campaign to weaken or destroy him. A secret meeting of “rabble alliance” MPs concluded the PM is a hero to the millions who voted to leave the EU. One Europhile MP admitted: “If we can get Boris, we can stop Brexit. He has become its human embodiment and has to be stopped. “We’re going to throw everything at bringing him down.” Brexit-wreckers are becoming increasingly frantic with just 32 days until departure. Ringleaders will litter Boris’ path with political “landmines”. He faces an ambush as he speaks at the Tory conference in Manchester this week. – The Sun

Michel Barnier says Boris Johnson’s behaviour has ‘limited the chance’ of a Brexit deal

Michel Barnier has told the British government that he fears Boris Johnson’s polarising behaviour has effectively blown any chance of finding a majority for a Brexit deal in the Commons. In private discussions with the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, the EU’s chief negotiator said that developments in Westminster had damaged the already slim hope of winning MPs over. According to a leaked note of the meeting, Barnier spoke of the “limited chance of approval of a deal in the current parliament” given recent events, an assertion with which Barclay disagreed, insisting a majority could be found. Barnier concluded, however, in a briefing to EU diplomats for the 27 member states, that the “current polarisation in the UK has further reduced the chances of agreement”, according to minutes seen by the Observer. – Observer

Philip Hammond under fire for propagating ‘smear’ that PM’s Brexit stance is down to currency speculator backers

Philip Hammond has come under fire for propagating “smear” that Boris Johnson’s Brexit stance is down to currency speculator backers. The former Chancellor used a comment piece in a national newspaper to state that the Prime Minister was prepared for a hard Brexit due the speculators who had backed him that had “bet billions” on this outcome. However he was lambasted by Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory business minister, who accused Mr Hammond of a creating an “ugly smear” against Mr Johnson. “Philip you let yourself down by claiming speculators on “no deal” are interfering in us leaving the EU,” he posted on Twitter. “This is an ugly smear that is completely untrue. If you know anything about finance or the city then you will know that.” Mr Zahawi told The Sunday Telegraph that Philip Hammond “knows that this cannot be true, yet he uses it. It is a very sad day when a distinguished ex Chancellor, who understands finance, resorts to such smears,” he said. “This really is desperate stuff. When we should all be focused on supporting our Government and our country to get the best deal possible.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

CBI boss goes to war with Boris over no-deal Brexit

The powerful lobby group boss accused of being an architect of Project Fear has launched a blistering attack on the Government’s Brexit plans that puts business at war with Downing Street. Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, last night set big business on a collision course with Boris Johnson and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings by warning that a No Deal Brexit would leave firms ‘mired in a swamp of uncertainty’. In comments to The Mail on Sunday that were lambasted by MPs and City grandees, the CBI boss said it was a ‘myth’ that firms could ever be prepared for leaving the EU without a trade deal. Her outburst is likely to infuriate the Prime Minister because it directly contradicts briefings by No 10 advisers, who are understood to have pressured business leaders to support the Government’s stance on Brexit. – Mail on Sunday

Ex-Tory minister turned Lib Dem Phillip Lee to stand against Brexiteer John Redwood

Tory defector Phillip Lee will challenge arch-Brexiteer John Redwood for his Berkshire seat in an upcoming general election. The former justice minister told activists on Saturday of his plans to stand in Wokingham for the Liberal Democrats, where the party will attempt to overturn the Conservative Party’s 18,798-vote majority. Mr Redwood, a long-standing Eurosceptic, has held the seat since 1987, and the constituency has consistently elected Conservative MPs since the 1950s. However, the Liberal Democrats have set their sights on winning the seat with their anti-Brexit message, as Wokingham voted to Remain by 56.7 per cent to 43.3 per cent in the 2016 referendum. Dr Lee, who currently represents the neighbouring seat of Bracknell, told The Independent: “I don’t think Wokingham is being represented well by the incumbent MP. “Wokingham was 57-43 Remain, so on the issue of Brexit the incumbent MP is a no-deal Brexiteer. – Independent

The Sun: The future of our way of life is at risk if Jeremy Corbyn is able to drive Britain away from Brexit

In the past week the political gulf over Brexit has grown as wide as the Grand Canyon. On one side is Boris Johnson, who is committed to delivering the will of the 17.4million people who voted to leave more than three years ago. On the other are the forces of a Remainer elite who want to turn this country into a permanent Eurocracy governed from Brussels. Be in no doubt this rabble, egged on by a rogue Speaker, are not just determined to cancel Brexit. They could end up re-shaping the political landscape of this country forever. The Supreme Court’s outlawing of a political decision and the coward Corbyn’s refusal to trigger a general election have created a dangerous Commons stalemate. At the same time voters are powerless as political conventions which are the backbone of our democracy are reshaped before their eyes. – The Sun says

Patrick Benham-Crosswell: If Boris goes for May’s lousy deal, the Brexit Party will fight him tooth and nail

It’s been one heck of a week. According to the Times, at least one cabinet minister fears civil unrest if Brexit is not delivered. At the same time the EU is refusing to negotiate, in effect leaving the country the options of either agreeing Mrs May’s thrice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement, extending the Article 50 process or leaving with no deal. Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is not Brexit at all, as explained last week in TCW. The European Court of Justice remains in charge, we don’t get our fishing grounds back, we remain in the single market etc, etc. Read all 599 pages of it, plus the Political Declaration, and weep. If the EU is not prepared to negotiate, there is no point in extending the deadline. This is a trap, as in December further provisions of the Lisbon Treaty start to bite, handing a large chunk of foreign and defence policy to the EU. (This is the treaty on which, you may recall, Gordon Brown considered giving us a referendum but didn’t. The Irish did have a referendum, voted against and then, following some haggling, voted in favour at a second referendum. Sound familiar?) So the only way to leave would be a clean break. This is important: following three years of negotiation (being charitable, I’ll assume everyone was using their best endeavours), the options are a clean Brexit or no Brexit at all. Yet, in spite of 80 per cent of MPs being elected on a manifesto commitment to implement the result of the referendum, Parliament has sought to prevent a clean-break Brexit. If Boris Johnson seeks to pass off Mrs May’s deal as Brexit in the hope of saving the Conservative party, the Brexit Party will fight him, placing country before party or individual ambition. – Patrick Benham-Crosswell for The Conservative Woman

Rory Sutherland: Why business is perfectly relaxed about Brexit

It’s difficult to go into the office nowadays, since most of my colleagues are so distraught by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit that they rarely speak. The finance department have painted European flags on their faces for solace, and spend the day staring blankly out of the window sobbing over a tear-stained picture of Guy Verhofstadt. Except, um, no. None of this has happened. In fact, most businesses seem weirdly calm in contemplation of a no-deal Brexit. I have met people from multinationals who are sanguine about Brexit, and those who are worried, but few get emotional about the subject as, say, academics, politicians or journalists do. Brexit has all along been a political problem, not a commercial one. As one eminent German businessman commented under conditions of anonymity: ‘If you put 15 business people in a room, we could sort out a deal in an afternoon.’ Which might cause us to wonder why we need a vast bureaucracy with an annual budget of €160 billion just to allow businesses to get on with the perfectly natural habit of trading with each other. The truth is that the market mechanism is much more resilient and better at solving problems than economic theory gives it credit for. Business approaches problems using a distributed intelligence applied locally, so problems that seem intractable to a central policy-maker are often solved easily through hundreds of instances of local ingenuity. – Rory Sutherland for The Spectator

Brexit in Brief

  • Language matters – get Brexit done and dusted – Adam Honeysett-Watts for Tories in Comms
  • Margaret Thatcher biography: How the Bruges speech was deemed a declaration of war that caused ‘absolute horror’ in Brussels – Charles Moore for the Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • Our arrogant political class holds the British people in open contempt – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • Margaret Thatcher wanted Britain to leave the EU despite claims she would have voted Remain, new authorised biography reveals – Sunday Telegraph (£)