Boris Johnson insists he is 'not bluffing' about delivering a no-deal Brexit on October 31st: Brexit News for Sunday 7 July

Boris Johnson insists he is 'not bluffing' about delivering a no-deal Brexit on October 31st: Brexit News for Sunday 7 July
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Boris Johnson insists he is ‘not bluffing’ about delivering a no-deal Brexit on October 31st…

Boris Johnson has insisted that he is “not bluffing” about delivering a no-deal Brexit on October 31. The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May in little over a fortnight urged European leaders to “look deep into our eyes” and understand that the UK will leave the EU with or without an agreement on Halloween, if he becomes prime minister. The warning, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, will rankle in Brussels where EU figures insist they will not re-open the exit deal agreed with Theresa May. Mr Johnson hopes to secure changes by making clear that he will walk away if Brussels refuses to budge, after Mrs May failed to deliver on a similar promise in March. On Sunday, Mr Johnson is expected to receive a boost to his campaign with the formal endorsement of Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, who has been tipped as his possible chancellor. It comes after polling of Conservative members put Mr Johnson 48 points ahead of Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative leadership contest. He accused Theresa May of presiding over a “diet of miserablism” and a “computer says no” attitude in government. The former Mayor of London said the Conservative Party needed to once again make the “moral case” for supporting business and home ownership in order to give people “a stake” in society. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • Johnson warns EU he is not bluffing over leaving with no deal on October 31 – Sunday Express

…and vows not to enter into election pact with Farage’s Brexit Party…

Mr Johnson ruled out an election pact with Nigel Farage to stop his Brexit Party destroying the Tories. The frontrunner said there will be no need to do a deal if he leads Britain out of the EU on time – and comes up with a “great programme” for the future. He added: “Everyone should be very, very optimistic about our agenda. People say why don’t you do a deal with this or that other party? I see no point in that. We’ve got to believe in our own party. As Nigel Farage will tell you, there was a historic meeting 25 years or so ago in a pub when he tried to recruit me and I tried to recruit him. It didn’t get anywhere and we went our separate ways. We are going to deliver Brexit and that’s what I hope Sun on Sunday readers will recognise. We’re the only party that can keep out Jeremy Corbyn – all the Brexit Party or Lib Dems can do is let him in.” The hot favourite for the Tory leadership admitted he will make a “different sort” of PM — avoiding a repeat of Theresa May’s cautious approach for a more swashbuckling style. In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, he insisted he will be batting for Britain with “maximum energy” and fighting to win. – The Sun

…while pledging to ‘roll back the influence of the state’ and scrap EU rules to help British businesses 

Boris Johnson has pledged to “roll back the influence of the state” and scrap European Union rules stopping the Government from backing British businesses if he becomes Prime Minister. In a leadership hustings in Nottingham, Mr Johnson said he wanted to change public procurement rules which could see UK companies favoured when bidding for billions of pounds worth of Government work. He told party members: “We should treat coming out of the EU not as a threat, not as a plague of boils, there is a massive opportunity to do things differently if we need to and to turbocharge the advantages of the UK economy… There are ways in which you can roll back the influence of the state. Perhaps the most important is to give people more freedom to spend their own money, and give people more freedom to invest and start up their own businesses. One of the advantages of coming out of the EU – which is not often talked about – is that we will no longer be stuck with this great inherited conglomerate of EU regulation and legislation that we cannot change… So I do think that the tax burden is very high, the regulatory burden is very high and it should be our job as Conservatives to be extremely vigilant about both.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

Scottish Secretary warns Johnson that a no-deal Brexit could split the UK

Boris Johnson is being warned that embracing a disruptive no-deal Brexit would fuel nationalism in Scotland and risk the future of the union, as both opponents and supporters predict that he will now claim a decisive victory in the Tory leadership election. With Johnson seemingly weeks away from entering Downing Street, the Scottish secretary, David Mundell, issues a thinly veiled warning to him that Nicola Sturgeon would welcome a no-deal Brexit with “unseemly glee”. Both Jeremy Hunt and Johnson have suggested they would be willing to back a no-deal Brexit if necessary. Yet, with signs that Johnson has retained a clear lead over Hunt, Mundell’s words appear squarely aimed at the former foreign secretary over his threat to leave the EU – with or without a deal – at the end of October. “Scotland has a first minister whose only true priority is the pursuit of independence,” he writes in an article for the Observer. “She poses as a defender of devolution while seeking to destroy it. She seizes on the problems of leaving the EU with unseemly glee. But it is easy to see why. “A difficult no-deal Brexit would not only damage our economy, it would fuel nationalist claims of a UK that is insensitive to Scotland’s needs. The new prime minister faces considerable challenges, and the future of the UK is high on the list.” Concerned figures across the party have already shifted from trying to stop Johnson’s ascent to Downing Street to restraining him once in office. An attempt to prevent him from suspending parliament in October, effectively stopping it from standing in the way of a no-deal Brexit, could be staged this week. – Observer

> Matt Smith on BrexitCentral today: Bad news for Scottish and Welsh nationalists: Brexit strengthens the Union of the United Kingdom

Britain could face €200bn EU bail-out bill – unless there is a clean Brexit

Britain could face paying more than €200bn to the European Union in the event of a eurozone bail-out unless the UK leaves under a managed clean Brexit, according to leading City and business figures. The warning comes from the Brexit Coalition, a new grouping that represents 29 diverse pro-Brexit campaigning organisations, including the Alliance of British Entrepreneurs, Artists for Brexit and Farmers for Britain as well as Labour Leave and Green Leaves. In a letter sent this week to Conservative Party constituency chairmen and senior Tory officials, the Brexit Coalition urges members to support a new prime minister who is “committed unequivocally” to backing a clean WTO-based Brexit, one which would avoid having to pay such massive contingent liabilities to the EU. Daniel Hodson, coalition president and former Liffe boss, says that under existing rules the UK Government is obligated to a contribution of around €207bn (£186bn) to any bail-out should the eurozone tip into financial crisis. “Given the current dire straits in which the eurozone finds itself, a financial crisis is an increasingly likely scenario,” he says. The UK is liable for at least this amount – a figure which could grow to as much as €441bn or even more – if the Brexit process becomes so drawn out that it overlaps with the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

> Bob Lyddon on BrexitCentral last month: Why the Eurozone’s fate makes an immediate Brexit vital

Stephen Kinnock says Corbyn should order MPs to back May’s Brexit deal

A prominent Labour MP today calls on Jeremy Corbyn to order his MPs to back the legislation required to implement Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on Brexit – in order to avoid a “catastrophic” no-deal departure from the European Union. In a move that further exposes bitter divisions between Labour MPs over Brexit, Stephen Kinnock says supporting the withdrawal agreement bill (WAB) is now the only realistic way out of the impasse for those who want to leave with a deal, while offering hope to those supporting another referendum. His comments on prompted an angry reaction last night from pro-Remain Labour colleagues, who said that supporting the May plan, or anything close to it under a new Tory prime minister, would be political suicide for their party, and betray the majority of Labour supporters and party members who support staying in the EU. – Observer

Liam Halligan: We didn’t listen to Project Fear before and here’s why we won’t listen to it now

Barely a day goes by when I’m not asked for my thoughts on the UK economy. Whether it’s over email, people phoning, or coming up to me on the train, I’ve never known a time – apart from the 2008 global financial crisis – when interest in our future economic direction has been so high. The difference with 2008 is that rather than focussing on the hard data of US stock markets, global currencies and international interest rates, today’s economic discussions are fixated on domestic politics. Almost every utterance about the UK economy comes across as a statement on the Tory leadership, Corbyn or some point of Parliamentary procedure. Every economic prediction, it seems, is about reading the political runes. Philip Hammond said he and other MPs would “find a way” of blocking a “no-deal” Brexit. The Chancellor will, he says, personally oppose leaving the European Union without a legal agreement on October 31. Hammond told the Commons that “No Deal” could cost the country £90bn  – equivalent to a whopping 4pc of annual GDP. Such catastrophism was echoed by would-be Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt, who said leaving without Brussels’ permission could do economic damage “equivalent to the 2008 financial crash”. This is despite Hunt recently declaring he agrees with Boris Johnson and would, too, leave with no deal “if necessary”. The idea that leaving the EU could cause a shock to the UK equivalent to the largest peace-time global slowdown in a century, when the entire world economy slumped, is absurd. The fact that someone who purports to be our Prime Minister can make such a claim, and be taken seriously, speaks volumes about the chronic lack of objective economic analysis that pervades our political discourse. No Deal continues to be demonised by those who say they “respect the referendum result” but are really Brexit-blockers. – Liam Halligan for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Daniel Hannan: The new EU leaders show that the Brexit Party aren’t the only ones facing backwards

Where do people get the idea that Brexit is nostalgic? If you want proper château-bottled nostalgia, listen to Euro-federalists repeating their 1950s-era slogans about “more Europe”. Watch the EU pursuing ever-closer union while the rest of the world divides into smaller and more accountable units. Yet again, the people nominated to run the EU have one thing in common: they want to be citizens of a country called Europe. Here, for example, is Ursula von der Leyen, the German defence minister who has emerged as the successor to Jean-Claude Juncker: “My aim is a United States of Europe, modelled on federal states like Germany, Switzerland or the US”. Few European voters share that view, but it has been more or less compulsory in Brussels for 65 years. It is hard to imagine a more backward-looking slate of Eurocrats than the one just proposed. The nominees are backward-looking, obviously, in terms of ideology, longing for the federal superstate that Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman proposed after the war. They are backward-looking, too, in terms of geography. Eastern Europe is (again) under-represented, while the top jobs have gone (again) to people from the EU’s old, Carolingian core. They are even backward-looking in terms of ancestry. Mrs von der Leyen, the daughter of a German Eurocrat, grew up in Brussels. Charles Michel, who will take over from Donald Tusk, is the son of a European Commissioner. The EU is past the point where it can regenerate. It responded to the Brexit vote as it responds to everything, by pushing ahead with deeper integration, notably plans for a common army and a pan-European taxation system. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

The Sun: Tories threatening to ‘block’ No Deal Brexit are clueless to damage they will cause

Is anyone in Westminster more clueless than the handful of Tories threatening yet again to “block” No Deal? What happens if they pull the rug from under another Prime Minister? Will MPs magically rally round Theresa May’s defeated Brexit deal after all? Or revoke Article 50? No, neither. Do they somehow think they can inflict a second referendum on voters now, without terminal catastrophe for their party and an explosion of social unrest? All they will do is force our new PM into an election. He will have to roll the dice even if it destroys the Tories. The EU will not budge unless it knows MPs are prepared to leave with No Deal. Philip Hammond and David Gauke think that will be damaging. They won’t serve in any Cabinet backing it. So what? Who would have them? No Deal must be kept alive. Why else would Brussels compromise and break this crippling stalemate? – The Sun says

Robert Peston: The plan to block no-deal 

Brexit MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit will make an almost-final attempt early this coming week to make it impossible for Boris Johnson – if he becomes PM – to prorogue or suspend parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.The plan which has been designed largely by Dominic Grieve, the senior Tory MP and former Attorney General, would amend the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation bill) – which is due to be debated on Monday – to force the government in October to make an oral statement on the progress of efforts to restore fully devolved government to Northern Ireland.- Robert Peston for The Spectator

Fraser Nelson: Labour’s losing its old heartlands. Backing Remain could make things worse

A moderate, halfway-competent Labour party could crush the Tories. But given that Labour members are Corbynite in inclination, what are the chances of a moderate leader emerging? In my latest Daily Telegraph column, I argue that to change leader now in order to make Labour the party of Remain might well make this even worse for Labour – and create an opportunity for the Tories.The Morten Morland cover image we ran a few weeks ago – Corbyn depicted as a scarecrow being picked apart by the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats – has come to pass.- Fraser Nelson for The Spectator

Janet Daley: No-deal Brexit is not going to happen, whichever candidate wins the leadership race

Most of the contention in the Tory leadership race – let’s say 78 per cent for the sake of that mock precision that politicians love – is nonsense. The most clamorous, incendiary argument of all, about the prospective date on which the leader would be prepared to leave the European Union with no deal, is complete blather. We are not going to leave the EU without a deal, ok? That is because it would be in absolutely nobody’s interest on either side of the negotiation, to do so. In fact, a No Deal of the kind which most people imagine – an acrimonious, unmitigated flounce-off with maximum bitterness all around – would cause gratuitous damage of such dimensions to all the parties that no one in his right mind would contemplate it. The trash talk that has dominated the public utterances of both the Brussels negotiating team and the UK side is absurd. In the end, none of the major economic players in Europe – German manufacturers, French and Italian agricultural producers and Irish exporters – will be prepared to jump off a cliff for the sake of the Brussels centralisers’ death cult. It’s a non-starter. Never going to happen. This doesn’t mean that we should not, as everybody keeps saying, prepare for No Deal. Preparation is good. Preparation is indeed essential on both sides if negotiating interlocutors are to take one another’s positions seriously. And it is time that everybody got serious. The eurozone is in real difficulty with a rate of growth below that of the UK and the resentments of its more disfavoured members growing in organised force. – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

John Asmore: Is Brexit just a footnote? 

It’s not been a great week in Brussels. We had the unseemly spectacle of European leaders clubbing together to elect a series of new leaders whose qualifications for the top jobs were at best dubious. Pending the usual rubberstamping from the European Parliament, the German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen will be taking the helm as Commission president. That von der Leyen’s tenure in her current brief has been widely regarded as a failure seems to matter little to the leaders who nominated her. – John Ashmore for CapX

Brexit in Brief

  • I wouldn’t trust new Eurocrats to run a whelk stall – Tony Parsons for The Sun
  • What Sir Ivan Rogers gets wrong about Brexit – Robert Tombs for The Spectator
  • Boris Johnson says ‘no more defeatism’ and warns Brexit must not be treated like a ‘plague of boils’ – The Sun
  • External sources of growth – Commission Staff Working Document – Briefings for Brexit
  • The EU: no friend of workers’ rights – Will Podmore for Briefings for Brexit
  • Federalists dream of major steps towards United States of Europe under new EU leadership – James Crisp for the Sunday Telegraph (£)