Boris Johnson enters Downing Street declaring ‘we’re leaving on 31st October , no ifs or buts’: Brexit News for Thursday 25 July

Boris Johnson enters Downing Street declaring ‘we’re leaving on 31st October , no ifs or buts’: Brexit News for Thursday 25 July
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Boris Johnson enters Downing Street declaring ‘we’re leaving on 31st October , no ifs or buts’…

Boris Johnson promised extra cash for the economy to smooth Brexit as he made a “no ifs or buts” promise to leave the EU on October 31. Speaking outside No 10, the new prime minister said that he would prove the “doomsters” wrong and would provide “strong leadership . . . to change this country for the better”. He said that while a no-deal exit from the EU was a “remote possibility”, it was necessary to prepare for one. Mr Johnson made a commitment to publish plans to reform social care and sketched other domestic priorities including an increase in police numbers and upgraded hospitals. As he arrived from Buckingham Palace where the Queen had invited him to form a government, Mr Johnson was applauded by his team and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. He said he would succeed in delivering Brexit by Hallowe’en. Mr Johnson added: “The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy. And we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts. – The Times (£)

…and promises to take ‘personal responsibility’ for delivering Brexit in his first speech as Prime Minister

Boris Johnson has promised to take “personal responsibility” for delivering a successful Brexit, as he used his first speech as prime minister to repeat his pledge to take the UK out of the EU by 31 October with or without a deal. Standing outside Downing Street moments after being asked by the Queen to form a government, Mr Johnson declared: “Never mind the backstop. The buck stops here.” The new PM had dodged the question during the leadership campaign of whether he would resign if he misses the Halloween deadline for Brexit, but his comment is the closest he has come to saying he might. – Independent

> WATCH: Boris Johnson’s first speech as Prime Minister

> On BrexitCentral: New PM Boris Johnson promises to “restore trust in our democracy” and leave the EU on October 31st – “no ifs or buts” 

Johnson clears out 17 ministers in ‘summer’s day massacre’ – the biggest Cabinet cull in 60 years

Boris Johnson carried out the biggest Cabinet cull in almost 60 years on Wednesday as he promoted Brexit loyalists to help him get Britain out of the EU on October 31, “no ifs or buts”. The new Prime Minister, who had recently said his favourite film moment was the “retribution scene” in The Godfather, staged his own political massacre as 17 ministers either resigned or were sacked. Among those fired in a breathtakingly swift transition were Jeremy Hunt, who was shown the door after refusing a demotion, and nine ministers who had supported the outgoing foreign secretary in the leadership race. In their place, Mr Johnson packed the Cabinet with loyalists and Brexiteers, including Dominic Raab, who becomes both Foreign Secretary and Mr Johnson’s de facto deputy; Priti Patel, who is the new Home Secretary; and Sajid Javid, who becomes Chancellor. Mr Johnson also buried the hatchet with Michael Gove, the man who scuppered his 2016 leadership bid, by keeping him in the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with responsibility for co-ordinating no-deal planning. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson assembles team of Brexit true believers to take Britain out of the EU – The Sun

> Jonathan Isaby on BrexitCentral today: We finally have a Cabinet that believes in Brexit – how Boris Johnson’s top team shapes up 

Dominic Cummings, brains of the Brexit campaign, is hired to make it happen…

Every political aide across the government will report to Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of the Vote Leave campaign, after he was appointed one of Boris Johnson’s most senior Downing Street advisers. The man who, perhaps even more than Mr Johnson himself, was responsible for persuading Britain to vote to leave the European Union has been brought in to spearhead the new prime minister’s pledge to deliver Brexit “do or die” in less than a hundred days. In a move that is eye-catching and controversial, Mr Cummings, who devised the infamous Vote Leave NHS funding pledge, will help to form and enforce Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy and has successfully demanded that all political aides across government report to him. Mr Cummings, 47, has previously described the government’s Brexit strategy as a “train wreck” and accused civil servants of trying to overturn the result of the referendum by stealth. – The Times (£)

  • Boris Johnson hires Vote Leave’s controversial and ‘high risk’ boss Dominic Cummings to help deliver Brexit – The Sun

…while Michael Gove is given key role overseeing no-deal Brexit plans…

Michael Gove was yesterday brought back into the heart of government by his erstwhile friend and rival as Boris Johnson handed him the job of preparing the government to deliver a “do or die” Brexit. The former environment secretary will move to the Cabinet Office where he will oversee no-deal Brexit preparations across Whitehall. The Department for Exiting the European Union, which has been in charge of no-deal planning, will be stripped of this responsibility to focus on EU negotiations. The deliberate switching of roles and centralising of no-deal planning in the Cabinet Office will send a clear signal to Brussels about the new government’s priorities. Previously the Cabinet Office had been in charge of EU negotiations. Symbolically Mr Gove’s new role means that the two men who led the successful referendum campaign will be reunited in finally trying to deliver the vote to leave the EU that they both campaigned for. – The Times (£)

…and Jacob Rees-Mogg gets major promotion with first ministerial job

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been handed a key role in Boris Johnson’s Government following a major Cabinet shake-up by the new Prime Minister. The arch-Brexiteeer and chairman of European Research Group (ERG) has been appointed Leader of the House of Commons. Mr Rees-Mogg – a staunch opponent of Theresa May’s handling of Brexit from the backbench – will now be thrust onto the frontbench of Mr Johnson’s team. The ERG chairman was full of praise for Mr Johnson’s address to the nation and said his speech outside Number 10 this afternoon was “an inspirational declaration of purpose and independence”. Mr Rees-Mogg will now become instrumental in the Brexit process and will play a vital role in setting the Commons agenda – including laying out what MPs are going to vote on and when in parliament. – Express

Jeremy Hunt quits Cabinet as he refuses a demotion from his ex-leadership rival…

Jeremy Hunt has quit the Cabinet after refusing a demotion offered by Boris Johnson. The Tory leadership runner-up was offered the opportunity to continue serving in Cabinet but in a new role. After rejecting the demotion thought to have been offered by the new Prime Minister, Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter: “I would have been honoured to carry on my work at the FCO but understand the need for a new PM to choose his team. “BJ kindly offered me another role but after nine years in Cabinet & over 300 cab meetings now is the time to return to backbenches from where PM will have my full support. I’ve been a cabinet minister for every hour my three gorgeous children have been alive. So whilst it may seem strange for someone who just tried to become PM (& is a terrible cliche) I have decided now is the time for the biggest challenge of all – to be a good dad!” – Express

…and Penny Mordaunt is sacked as Defence Secretary…

Boris Johnson has sacked the defence secretary and Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt as he starts to reshape his cabinet. The new prime minister is understood to have sacked Ms Morduant during a brief conversation. Ms Morduant, who backed Jeremy Hunt’s campaign for Tory leader, later posted on Twitter that she would support Mr Johnson’s government from the back benches. Liam Fox, another supporter of Mr Hunt, also said he had “sadly” left his job as international trade secretary while Greg Clark stepped down from his role as business secretary. Chris Grayling has resigned as transport secretary, a source said, while Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland secretary, has also stepped down. – The Times (£)

…and Liam Fox is also fired as International Trade Secretary…

North Somerset MP Liam Fox has been sacked as international trade secretary less than an hour into Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister. Dr Fox tweeted confirmation on Wednesday afternoon that his time in the Cabinet and Government was over, as the former London mayor takes drastic measures to shape his administration. The MP of 27 years said he would head to the backbenches to “support Boris Johnson and the government”. His team confirmed that he was not offered an alternative position. The 57-year-old was appointed trade secretary as part of a trio of Brexiteer appointments when Theresa May took office after the 2016 referendum. He was promoted to the job of secretary of state along with David Davis and Mr Johnson, who took the Brexit and foreign secretary roles respectively before they both resigned last summer over the detail of Mrs May’s European Union exit deal. – Bristol Post

…as Philip Hammond resigns as Chancellor with a warning

Philip Hammond resigned as chancellor before he was sacked with a pointed message for the new government on the economic risk of a no-deal Brexit. In his resignation letter to Theresa May, sent in her final hours as prime minister, Mr Hammond cautioned that the “headroom” built up in the public finances could only be used for tax cuts and spending boosts if a Brexit deal was reached with Brussels. He was one of a number of senior ministers to quit before they were fired, including David Gauke, who was the justice secretary and also opposes a no-deal Brexit. Both made clear that they were keen to support Mr Johnson in his stated aim of securing a Brexit agreement with Brussels. – The Times (£)

Johnson’s win brings Brexit Party voters back to Tory fold…

The Conservatives have picked up voters from the Brexit Party since the election of Boris Johnson but lost support to the Liberal Democrats. A Times/YouGov poll conducted over the past 24 hours in the wake of Mr Johnson’s election as Conservative leader put the Tories on 25 points, the LibDems on 23 points, Labour on 19 and the Brexit Party on 17. While the level of support for the Conservatives is unchanged, the polling suggests that Tory voters who defected to the Brexit Party are already returning to the Conservatives under Mr Johnson. Last week 30 per cent of those who voted Tory in the 2017 election said that they would defect to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. In the new poll the figure is 25 per cent. The polling suggests that support for Brexit Party has fallen to the lowest level since April. – The Times (£)

…as Matt Hancock says the new PM will not form a pact with Nigel Farage’s party

Incoming British prime minister Boris Johnson will not form an electoral pact with the Brexit Party or seek an early election to gain stronger parliamentary backing for his Brexit plans, health minister and Johnson ally Matt Hancock said on Wednesday. “There is no way that we are going to have any kind of electoral pact with the Brexit Party and Nigel Farage,” Hancock told BBC radio, after being played a clip of U.S. President Donald Trump saying that he expected Brexit Party leader Farage and Johnson to work well together. “What we are going to do is deliver on Brexit, deliver on the domestic agenda and then defeat the Brexit Party at some point, I hope a long way off, in a general election,” he added. – Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn rules out confidence vote in Boris Johnson until September as 40 Tory MPs braced to try and block a no-deal Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out bringing a confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s Government until at least September. It comes as “a minimum of 40” Tory MPs are braced to rebel against the government to block a no deal Brexit after Remain-backing ministers quit before Mr Johnson entered Downing Street. However the Opposition leader said he will only table a confidence vote when he think it will be “successful”, effectively ruling it out until Parliament returns after summer recess. Mr Corbyn said: “Conservative and DUP MPs need to recognise this is a Government that barely has an arithmetic majority in Parliament and certainly doesn’t have the confidence of the people of this country.” Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, submitted his resignation letter to Theresa May after her final Prime Minister’s Questions. He used it to warn Mr Johnson over his spending commitments, saying the fiscal headroom he built up as Chancellor is a “luxury” which the new Prime Minister should “use wisely”. – Telegraph (£)

Guy Verhofstadt savages ‘irresponsible’ Johnson as MEPs vow to veto his plan to ditch the backstop

The European parliament has vowed to block Boris Johnson’s plan to ditch the Irish backstop from the Brexit withdrawal agreement – warning that it is not up for negotiation. Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the parliament’s Brexit steering group, blasted the new prime minister’s “irresponsible” claims during the Tory leadership contest which he argued had increased the risk of no deal. After a meeting of the legislature’s steering group, MEPs said in a statement that an orderly exit was “only possible if citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the backstop, that in all circumstances ensures no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland, safeguards the Good Friday Agreement and protects the integrity of the single market, are guaranteed”. – Independent

Owen Paterson: Boris Johnson has a mandate for No Deal and it’s no use Remoaners pretending otherwise

Boris Johnson’s resounding victory in the Conservative leadership election came as a result of his promises to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Corbyn. On the first pledge, he was completely clear that the UK simply must leave the EU by the 31st October, come what may. It is “do or die.” Yet despite Boris winning the contest by a ratio of 2 votes to 1, the argument is already being put out – from entirely predictable sources – that he has no “mandate” to take the UK out of the EU without a deal. Of course, this argument would have been trotted out had Boris won by 10 to 1, or 100,000 to 1. But in fact, it would have been just as wrong had he won by a single vote. – Owen Paterson MP for the Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: Britain needs a real deal and if Boris Johnson cannot get it done he will follow Theresa May through the Brexit door

One issue will make or break Boris Johnson’s premiership, Brexit. He is only Prime Minister because of Theresa May’s failure to get Britain out of the EU on March 29. If Boris can’t get Brexit done, then he’ll be done. So what’s the plan? Well, it is to seek a deal while preparing for No Deal. Boris has long regarded a genuine threat to walk away without a deal as being a bit like the Trident nuclear deterrent: Because you have it, you don’t have to use it. But as one of those involved in devising this approach tells me, for it to work, “both elements of the strategy have to be credible”. In other words, both the No Deal preparation and the proposed deal must be realistic. This is where his key Brexit lieutenants Dominic Cummings and David Frost come in. They might be backroom appointments but they are as — if not more — important to the success of Boris’s premiership as the Cabinet appointments he has made. Cummings is a unique figure in Westminster. He is interested in getting things done with little regard to what people think of him and the political niceties. – James Forsyth for The Sun

Andrew Lilico: Boris Johnson’s Cabinet signals that Britain is serious about a no-deal Brexit

First they trailed out – the last march of the defeated Mayites. May, Lidington, Hammond, Hunt, Mordaunt, Gauke, Hinds, Fox, Clark, Grayling, Brokenshire, Mundell, Bradley, Stewart. Dominic Cummings in as Boris’ special advisor. Irreconcilable Spartan Priti Patel as Home Secretary. The ideologues ideologue Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary. Even Michael Gove — the Leavers’ Severus Snape — returns as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in charge of No Deal preparations. Did someone say No Deal would create problems for the food supply and farmers? Well, core Vote Leaver Theresa Villiers has DEFRA. Even Andrea Leadsom returns, at BEIS. Suffice it to say Brexiteers have been more than slightly pleased, with prominent online Leavers sharing Too Much Information about how excited this Cabinet makes them. Others, however, wonder how sustainable all this can be? – Andrew Lilico for the Telegraph (£)

Allister Heath: Boris Johnson’s brilliant Brexit dream team proves that he is deadly serious

Could this finally be The One? The Government all true conservatives, all true Eurosceptics and all true free-marketeers have spent years pining for? The first genuinely centre-Right government since Margaret Thatcher, committed to changing Britain in deep, radical ways? It rarely pays to hope in politics: incompetence, weakness, betrayal, venality and events almost always conspire to shatter dreams. Failure is the norm; success is the twice-in-a century exception. The outlook is especially inauspicious today: Boris Johnson won’t even be granted a honeymoon such is the Remainer establishment’s loathing of him, and he cannot count on a majority of MPs in Parliament. He could easily end up as the shortest-lived PM in history. But despite all of these obvious, almost overwhelming dangers, the early signs are that there is at least a chance that something extraordinary might happen, for the first time since the early 1980s. Contrary to what the naysayers had claimed, there is a plan, there is a method and there are the people to deliver it. – Allister Heath for the Telegraph (£)

Nigel Jones: Boris can win the Brexit war by smashing the Remainer enemy in a snap election

Now that Boris Johnson has become Prime Minister he faces the stark reality of overcoming an overwhelmingly Remainer Parliament if he wants to achieve the meaningful Brexit that he has repeatedly promised. Although in the immediate aftershock of the 2016 referendum Parliament voted almost unanimously to enact Article 50 to leave the EU, everything they have done since, by accident or design, has conspired to thwart it. As a result, we now have a paralysed Parliament which has blocked all outcomes. It has thrice rejected Theresa May’s so-called Withdrawal Agreement; rejected a second referendum; and rejected leaving the EU on WTO terms. So how can a new PM, with a fast diminishing majority, a hostile opposition, and a sizeable group of diehard Remainers in his own party’s ranks, possibly achieve the clean Brexit that the British people voted for in 2016? To change the Parliamentary arithmetic, this do nothing Parliament must itself be changed. – Nigel Jones for the Telegraph (£)

Martin Howe: There’s another option beyond No Deal or May’s deal – and Boris knows it

The only viable route to leaving the EU with a deal is to leave May’s WA unratified in its box and bypass Article 50 altogether. This can be achieved via a free trade agreement (FTA) similar to Canada’s but with enhanced mutual recognition of services, as well as security and criminal justice cooperation. Since it would take time to negotiate and conclude such a deal, we would need short-term bridging arrangements to keep trade flowing freely in both directions while the details of the long-term FTA were being hammered out. The UK and the EU would continue to recognise goods and services as conforming with their standards, unless and until relevant laws are changed. Most of these bridging arrangements could be implemented (at least in the short term) through the UK and the EU using unilateral powers under the umbrella of a political agreement, as opposed to needing a formal legal agreement. – Martin Howe QC for The Spectator

The Sun: Boris Johnson’s first speech as Prime Minister was a brilliant debut and a game-changer for our country

Boris Johnson’s sensational first speech at No10 looks a game-changer for Britain.It was delivered at such a breakneck pace, so packed with detail and infused with such energy, optimism and national pride that we defy anyone bar the most bitter Remoaners not to feel inspired. There was virtually no aspect of our lives Boris claimed his Government would not improve. We can all be cynical about how much he will actually achieve, with Brexit still paramount and his Commons majority near non-existent. But what a hurricane blast of fresh air it was after three years of grim defeatism and paralysis. In 11 minutes we learned about Boris’s “new deal” Brexit and Boris’s Britain — where no town is left behind, where the strength and ingenuity of our people conquer all adversity and in which 3.2million EU migrants are welcome to stay. There will be 20,000 more police, 20 hospital upgrades, a new social care plan and more cash for schools. – The Sun says

Telegraph: Boris Johnson has assembled a crack team intent on achieving Brexit and reviving the nation

On a searingly hot day under a cloudless London sky, Boris Johnson yesterday entered 10 Downing Street as its 77th occupant since Sir Robert Walpole in 1721 and the 14th of the Queen’s reign. It was an extraordinary moment for a man who once said his chances of becoming prime minister were “about as good as my being reincarnated as an olive”. That arresting phrase was typical of a politician for whom the English language can be mobilised and sent into battle, as was once said of Churchill. Those rhetorical skills were deployed in Downing Street, after Mr Johnson returned from Buckingham Palace, to deliver an unabashedly optimistic, bullish and defiant speech intended to dispel three years of gloom and doom. He also set out an unexpectedly detailed domestic agenda designed to show that his Government has plenty of ideas for the future of the country beyond Brexit. These include 20,000 more police officers in England and Wales, a plan to fix the social care crisis, an overhaul of GP services so that patients do not have to wait three weeks for an appointment, and an extension throughout the land of full-fibre broadband. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Brexit in Brief

  • My advice to comrade Boris: never, ever, try to bluff the EU – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the – Telegraph (£)
  • What will the new Prime Minister’s Parliamentary options be on Brexit? – Chris White for ConservativeHome
  • French minister says Paris ready if Johnson goes for no-deal Brexit – FT (£)