Boris Johnson declares he’ll ‘get Brexit all wrapped up’ days after an election win: Brexit News for Sunday 3 November

Boris Johnson declares he’ll ‘get Brexit all wrapped up’ days after an election win: Brexit News for Sunday 3 November
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Boris Johnson declares he’ll ‘get Brexit all wrapped up’ days after an election win

Boris Johnson says an election victory for the Tories could see Brexit wrapped up in days. Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express, the Prime Minister insisted he will drive through his deal at full speed if he wins the election on December 12. Mr Johnson said: “You could put it in Gas Mark 4, 20 minutes and Bob’s your uncle. He added: “I’ll get Brexit wrapped up fast. What I would say is, ‘Vote for us and you get Brexit done, you will get it done very fast and you will avoid another infinite period of dither and delay’.” The Prime Minister added: “We get out of this thing – which we will, if I am lucky enough to be returned – then we have the opportunity of not just doing one big free trade deal with the EU but to become the centre of a great new push for global free trade.” In a further sign of his positive vision for the country, Mr Johnson – speaking to mark his 100 days in office and launch his election campaign – also said that once Brexit was completed, it would be a time “for prosperity not austerity” as Britain begins a new era. The Prime Minister admitted he was “wary” when it came to committing to a firm date after Remainer MPs prevented Britain leaving the EU on October 31, as he had pledged. But with MPs likely to be back on December 13 or 16, Brexit could be pushed through quickly if the Tories have a majority. The EU “flextension” means Britain can leave the bloc any time before January 31. – Sunday Express

‘Vote Leave takeover’ at Tory HQ as party chairman James Cleverly is reportedly sidelined

The Tories are at war over the selection of candidates in key seats amid claims that their party chairman, James Cleverly, has been “sidelined” by Boris Johnson’s team. Cleverly has in effect been tasked with “going on television”, according to party sources, while the main apparatus of the Conservative campaign headquarters is under the command of his co-chairman Ben Elliot, a nephew of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. At a fractious meeting of the Conservative Party board last week, Elliot handed control of parachuting in candidates to safe seats and key marginals to Dougie Smith, an old party fixer who is close to the prime minister, Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove, the core team which won the 2016 EU referendum. The “Vote Leave takeover” of the candidate selection led to a “blazing row” at the board and the resignation of Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee. “Charles was angry that the elected people were being frozen out,” said a cabinet minister. “It was made crystal clear that James Cleverly is not running the show at all, and they weren’t subtle about it.” – Sunday Times (£)

Nigel Farage slams Boris Johnson’s plans to take No Deal off the table…

Nigel Farage has blasted Boris Johnson over his plans to drop the option of No Deal Brexit, saying the UK would “never be free from EU rules”. The Brexit Party leader hit out at the Prime Minister after reports that the Conservative Party manifesto would jettison the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal. The policy represents a step back from Mr Johnson’s previous “do or die” promise to leave the EU with or without a deal. The move is a bid to try to capture the centre ground and appeal to any Liberal Democrat voters who have concerns over holding a second EU referendum. Mr Farage wrote on Twitter: “If Boris Johnson will abandon a clean break Brexit, and he wins an election on this, we will never be free of EU rules.” The comments come after Mr Johnson made it clear he would not take up Mr Farage’s offer of forming a Leave Alliance between the Tories and The Brexit Party for the general election on December 12. – The Sun

…as he insists won’t be bought off with baubles, claiming the Tories have twice offered him a peerage…

Nigel Farage has claimed that he was twice offered a peerage and that a senior colleague was offered a safe Tory seat in a bid to persuade the Brexit Party not to run against the Conservatives in the general election. In an interview over lunch with The Sunday Times, the Brexit Party leader said the Conservatives had tried to “buy” his backing with “Christmas baubles” but added: “We won’t be bought.” The claims emerged after Farage on Friday issued Boris Johnson with an ultimatum: his party will have candidates standing in every constituency in Britain unless the prime minister ditches his deal with Brussels and agrees to leave the EU on World Trade Organisation terms after the election on December 12. He gave the Tories until nominations close on November 14 to decide and also threatened to send an election address to all 27m households in Britain explaining why Johnson’s deal “is not Brexit”. Farage has not met or spoken to Johnson since he became prime minister, but has been in regular dialogue with Tory MPs such as Andrew Bridgen, Richard Drax and — before she returned to the cabinet in July — Priti Patel, who is now home secretary. He has talked to them about the prospect of an electoral pact. – Sunday Times (£)

…while Farage is slammed by Arron Banks for risking Brexit by splitting the Leave vote

Nigel Farage has been condemned by his closest political ally for threatening to wreck Boris Johnson’s Election hopes by fielding a Brexit Party candidate in every seat. Arron Banks, who campaigned with Mr Farage under the Leave.EU banner during the 2016 referendum, told The Mail on Sunday that the Brexit Party leader was risking the entire project by splitting the Tory vote. He accused Mr Farage of being a ‘dog in the manger’ about Mr Johnson’s EU deal because he wanted to feature in the TV debates between the party leaders. Mr Farage infuriated Downing Street with Friday’s vow that his party would stand in seats across the country unless the Prime Minister scrapped the withdrawal agreement he struck with Brussels. Mr Banks, who was also a key donor to Ukip when Mr Farage was leader, said: ‘He is being very dog in the manger about it. Like everything in life, what is the point of doing something if you can’t win? I don’t think he will go through with his threat, but if he does, it is the wrong thing to do. He risks splitting the vote in some seats and letting a Lib Dem through the middle to win – a party which wants to cancel Brexit altogether.’ – Mail on Sunday

Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru plotting ‘Remain pact’ to repeat Brecon by-election win…

The Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru are set to announce plans for a “remain pact” in up to 60 seats in a bid to deny Boris Johnson a Conservative majority. Jo Swinson’s party is also expected to strike a pact with Anna Soubry, the pro-remain former Tory MP who leads the Independent Group for Change, to give her a free run in her Broxtowe seat. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday and follows the disclosure that the Lib Dems would stand aside to help former Tory MP Dominic Grieve save his Beaconsfield seat. Yesterday it emerged that Nick Stuart, the Lib Dem candidate on the Isle of Wight, was standing down as part of an electoral alliance with the Green Party. In a statement to activists, he said the party had decided that an “alliance with the Greens to maximise the remain vote is the best course of action”. According to those familiar with the discussions, the Lib Dems are also likely to stand aside in Brighton Pavilion, the seat held by the former leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas. – Sunday Times (£)

…as Vince Cable urges people to abandon ‘tribal loyalties’ and vote tactically to block Brexit…

Voters should abandon “tribal loyalties” and cast their ballots tactically to block Brexit at the first December election for almost a century, former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has urged today. In his regular column for The Independent, the ex-coalition cabinet minister has reluctantly suggested that in some constituencies it may be necessary for Lib Dem supporters to back a different party. Preparing to contest his 11th general election, Sir Vince, who led his party between 2017 and 2019, said the upcoming vote will represent a “challenge for all of us in the political world” and the last chance to stop Brexit. “I am very anxious to see my party fully recover from the depths of 2015 and 2017 and to build on our two successful elections – local and European – this year and make big gains at the expense of the two major parties,” Sir Vince wrote. He added: “But I also want to save the country from Brexit. My ambition for the former will be tempered by the latter. Fortunately, these aims coincide in large parts of the country. But they do not yet do so everywhere. Remain vs Leave is the new dividing line in British politics, along with the issues of identity that lie behind it. Voters are smart enough to get what they want.” – Independent

…and the Lib Dems lodge a formal complaint after Jo Swinson is left out of  ITV election debate

The Liberal Democrats have lodged a formal complaint with ITV for excluding their leader, Jo swinson, from the forthcoming election debate. The party said there was “no reasonable justification” for staging a debate involving only Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Scheduled for November 19, the live event, hosted by Julie Etchingham, will make television history as the first head-to-head debate between the leaders of the two main parties. The 2010 campaign saw three-way debates involving Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, which boosted the then Liberal Democrat leader’s profile but failed to translate into significant electoral gains. In a letter to ITV Chief Executive Dame Carolyn McCall, the party President, Baroness Brinton, says: “The voters of this country deserve to hear from a Remainer on the debate stage, not just from the two men who want to deliver Brexit. They deserve to know that there is another way.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

Tory majority in doubt as Telegraph poll shows lead of just eight points…

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are only eight points ahead of Labour, according to a poll for The Sunday Telegraph. The ORB International survey for the newspaper puts the Tories on 36 per cent, with 28 for Labour, 14 per cent for the Liberal Democrats and 12 per cent for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Undertaken on Wednesday and Thursday, the new poll is likely to spark concern within the Conservative campaign. Experts warned that Mr Johnson will need to significantly increase his lead to be sure of securing a majority. Four separate polls conducted in the two weeks before gave the Conservatives a lead of between 13 and 16 points. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Professor Sir John Curtice said that Mr Johnson is behind the vote share achieved by Mrs May at the 2017 election. He predicts the Prime Minister’s hopes rely in part on winning Labour-held marginals, identifying roughly 50 seats where Mr Corbyn would be vulnerable to a five-point swing to the Conservatives. The latest poll of 1,510 voters comes after the Prime Minister rejected an offer of an electoral pact with Mr Farage, warning that a vote for the Brexit Party risked gifting Jeremy Corbyn Number 10. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • General election poll: double trouble for Boris Johnson with Corbyn bounce and remainer electoral pact – Sunday Times (£)

…but other polling suggests the data looks good for the Tories

The polls have been moving in the Conservatives’ favour since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister, and Deltapoll’s latest results in today’s Mail on Sunday have the Conservatives on 40 per cent, slightly down on their share of the vote in the 2017 Election, but well ahead of Labour on 28 per cent. Behind the headline figures the situation continues to look good for the Conservatives generally, and Boris Johnson in particular, based on the underlying data. Nearly half (48 per cent) of people say the Prime Minister is doing well in his job compared to only a quarter (25 per cent) who say the same for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Similarly, when given the choice between the two main parties, the Conservatives are seen as the best party, by some distance, to deal with the issue of Brexit and to manage the economy. It has never been the case in the history of British politics that a party has come from behind on both leadership and economic management ratings to win the most seats at a General Election, so the data is on Mr Johnson’s side. – Deltapoll’s Joe Twyman for the Mail on Sunday

Brexit rebel Margot James set to stand down despite regaining Tory whip

Former culture minister Margot James – who lost the Conservative whip after rebelling over Brexit – will not stand in December’s General Election. The Stourbridge MP was one of the 21 Tory rebels who were kicked out of the party after backing a plan to take control of the Commons timetable to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit. She was reinstated to the party last week after a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. First elected in 2010, Ms James told the Stourbridge News there was a “conflict” between her views on the future interests of the country and those of her constituents. She told the paper: “I was very pleased to receive the whip back and I wanted to continue in Parliament. “It was only after a period of reflection that I realised that I needed to bring the three-and-a-half year conflict between the result of the referendum in my constituency, and my own view of where the future interests of the country lie to a close.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

People’s Vote staff ramp up mutiny against chairman Roland Rudd

Staff at the People’s Vote campaign have launched a collective grievance against the organisation’s chairman, Roland Rudd, as bitter infighting in the pro-remain group continues to escalate. More than 40 members of staff have signed a letter raising “serious concerns” about Rudd’s operation, including “extremely serious and sensitive allegations” about the “treatment of young female staff members”. There is no suggestion these allegations are aimed directly at Rudd or are of a sexual nature. The letter, seen by this newspaper, was sent to Rudd and the board members of Open Britain, the most powerful group within the coalition that makes up the People’s Vote campaign. Staff at the campaign for a second referendum have been in open revolt since last Sunday night when Rudd dismissed two senior members of People’s Vote: its director James McGrory and its communications chief Tom Baldwin. Dozens have since refused to turn up to work, while others have passed a motion of no confidence against Rudd and Patrick Heneghan, the new chief executive of People’s Vote. – Sunday Times (£)

Daniel Hannan: Boris Johnson has risen to his role as PM – and the Remainers don’t know how to react

Several times over the past three months, I have heard former Telegraph colleagues voice their wonder at the PM’s newfound qualities. “Blimey,” they say. “Boris, eh? I mean, we all knew he’d be clever and charming and whatnot. But who knew he could be so single-minded?” Indeed. Boris now speaks at the Dispatch Box with a power and fluency that he never showed on the back benches. All the verbal fumbling has gone. The jokes are still there, but they have been pressed into service: they are these days deployed to make a point memorable, never as ends in themselves. Nor does the PM display that need to be liked that is a strength in a commentator, but a weakness in a leader. WB Yeats shuddered in awe at the way the amiable Prince Hal turned into Henry V, “as remorseless and undistinguished as some natural force”. Then again, Henry V won when it mattered. If Boris’s friends, who were aware of his genius, are impressed by the way he has gone up a gear, what must his opponents think? All those Euro-fanatics who had come to believe their own propaganda about him, who truly thought of him as a gadfly, a flâneur, a clown? All those opposition politicians who couldn’t wait to crush the dilettante Etonian in a snap election, and who are now staring in slack-jawed despair at the opinion polls? No wonder they sound so tetchy. It must be dawning on them that they have been outsmarted and outmanoeuvred. Boris is not just going into this election campaign with the only serious economic policy – something that is often true of the Conservatives. He also offers the only credible policy on the EU. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Dominic Lawson: It’s truly surreal to see Nigel Farage oppose Brexit

Nigel Farage has spent many years, on and off, in Brussels: but until now I did not think he had come under the influence of Belgian surrealist art. However, his insistence that Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement with the EU “is not Brexit” is the political equivalent of René Magritte’s painting of a pipe above the words: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. But Magritte intended to provoke a certain incredulity, while Farage wants to be taken seriously. He will struggle in that endeavour, even among his admirers. When Johnson struck his deal with the European Commission, the man who long bankrolled Farage and his anti-EU campaigns, Arron Banks, declared it was good enough for him. A number of Brexit Party MEPs said the same, observing that Johnson had succeeded in excising the dreaded UK-wide “backstop” from the treaty with the EU (which had threatened to keep us indefinitely bound in to the Brussels customs union). Farage, however, was so discombobulated by the PM’s success that he demanded the EU observe parliament’s request to keep the UK inside its ranks for another three months, rather than present Westminster with the choice of Johnson’s deal or “crashing out”. He was, in effect, siding with what the PM called “the surrender act” (otherwise known as the Benn Act) rather than with Johnson’s “do or die” pledge to leave on October 31. This caused consternation among Farage’s most faithful supporters on social media. “Nigel, you risk losing the very thing you have spent 25 plus years fighting for with your arrogance! Compromise is necessary and Boris’s deal is Brexit” was one comment. Another was: “Six months ago the EU wouldn’t have budged. I paid my £25 to BP [Brexit Party] but I’d rather Boris’s Brexit.” – Sunday Times (£)

Bill Cash: General election 2019: my friend Nigel Farage should back off and let Boris Johnson finish the job

After the Brexit Party’s victory in the EU elections in May, I texted my old boss and friend Nigel Farage to congratulate him. Leave voters of all flavours were thrilled with his bravura in setting up a party and humiliating Theresa May at the polls. From being the “bad boy” of Brexit, he became St Nigel after bowling out May with a spell of googlies straight out of the Steve Bannon political playbook. It was now only a matter of when, not if, she was replaced. For most Tory party members, myself included, that meant by the Brexiteer-in-chief and the Tories’ greatest electoral asset: Boris Johnson. The day after my text, when May was still in No 10, Nigel called me back. The gist of his call was to ask me to pass on a message to senior Eurosceptic MPs (who risked losing the whip if they were caught plotting with him). He and his party could become the Tories’ best friend by forging a pact at the next election — or their “worst enemy”. Unless Boris has done a secret deal — unlikely — the Tories and Farage are at war. Many of those who toasted his European victory are dismayed by Farage’s decision to stand 500 candidates. The reason I’m backing the prime minister is that the election is seen as a choice between stopping Brexit or delivering it, and only Boris can deliver it. – Sir Bill Cash MP for the Sunday Times (£)

Aaron Banks: Brexit Party support will erode further – public opinion has been misread

Nigel Farage certainly grabbed the headlines on Thursday with President Trump phoning his radio show: “This is the White House calling, will you take the call, Mr Farage?” The President was in a relaxed mood which mirrored the meeting we had with him in the New York days after his historic victory in 2016. In many ways, the Leave result and the Trump victory were part of the same political revolution. The difference was that Trump had achieved a stunning reverse takeover of the republican Party and then taken the reins of power. In the UK, we ended up with David Cameron resigning as prime minister to be replaced by the disastrous Mrs May who promised to deliver Brexit and launched the worst election campaign in memory – losing the Tory majority in the process. Her so called “Withdrawal agreement” failed three times to be passed in Parliament and she was thrown out after the Brexit Party triumphed in the European elections. New Tory leader Boris Johnson marked a change of attitude in the Conservative party, preferring to “die in a ditch” rather than delay Brexit. The failure to deliver on these promises should have spelled the end for the Conservatives but a general election has allowed Boris to frame it as the last chance to deliver Brexit. He was prepared to expel 21 Brexit-blocking Tory MPs and did his best to deliver on October 31. But parliamentary tricks and the Supreme Court left him boxed in and in the end an election was the only way to break the deadlock. Personally I think he should have refused to sign the extension and taken the consequences but the public accept he did his best. However the Brexit Party have misread public opinion, which is why the last few polls show falling support. – Aaron Banks for the Sunday Express

Sunday Express: Farage has won place in history but his time’s up

Nigel Farage’s place in the history books is secure as a brave and visionary Briton who inspired millions of his countrymen and women to vote to shatter the shackles that bind our nation to Brussels. For the rest of his life, he will walk into pubs and people will want to buy him a pint as a gesture of thanks for making Brexit possible. Today, he is once more in the electoral fray. He is threatening to field Brexit Party candidates against Boris Johnson’s Conservatives because he does not like the deal the Prime Minister won in one of the greatest diplomatic breakthroughs in living memory. Mr Johnson has no interest in ditching this landmark deal or giving the Brexit Party a free run in Labour strongholds. We hugely respect Mr Farage’s contribution to our democracy but there is no prospect of Mr Johnson going back to Brussels for a renegotiation – not when he has secured a deal which will allow the UK to escape the customs union and strike its own trade deals. The public yearns for an end to parliamentary paralysis and jobs-endangering uncertainty. – Sunday Express editorial

Brexit in Brief

  • Flipping MPs! Why can’t we get rid of them? – Get Britain Out’s Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie for The Commentator
  • Help Boris Johnson give Jeremy Corbyn a stuffing and get Brexit done by Christmas – The Sun says
  • The 50 seats where a five-point swing could see Labour lose to the Tories – Professor Sir John Curtice for the Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • The man paving the way for a hard left Labour government – Sunday Times (£) editorial