Boris Johnson challenges Jeremy Corbyn to 'come clean' on his plans for Brexit: Brexit News for Tuesday 5 November

Boris Johnson challenges Jeremy Corbyn to 'come clean' on his plans for Brexit: Brexit News for Tuesday 5 November
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Boris Johnson challenges Jeremy Corbyn to ‘come clean’ on his plans for Brexit…

Boris Johnson has written to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to demand he “come clean” over what his position is on Brexit. The prime minister said voters “deserve to have a clear picture of what each potential leader will do when it comes to Brexit”. Ahead of the first TV debates – being staged by ITV – Mr Johnson warned any further delay, or possibly another referendum, risked destroying “all faith in our democratic process”. In his letter, Mr Johnson says: “Your current position seems to be that you want to go back to square one. “You want to throw out the great new deal we have reached with our European friends, and instead negotiate a whole new treaty from scratch. “Even assuming the EU agrees to go back to the very beginning, this will take months and possibly years to do – under your proposals, 2020 will be lost to more dither and delay over Brexit. “Voters also have the right to know: what would your supposed Brexit ‘deal’ actually back control of? “For months you have refused to say what sort of ‘deal’ you want with the EU. Now the time has come for you to come clean, and explain what your plan really is.” Mr Corbyn was adamant in the run up to the general election that he would only agree to one once a no-deal Brexit had been taken off the table. With the EU granting another extension to the end of January 2020, he finally said Labour was in a position to go to the country. But, the party’s position on Brexit is still confused. It will go into this election with a strategy that promises a second referendum but doesn’t say which side the party would support. – ITV News

…as the Labour leader claims Johnson’s Brexit would be ‘Thatcherism on steroids’

Jeremy Corbyn is to accuse Boris Johnson of seeking to “hijack” Britain’s exit from the EU in order to unleash “Thatcherism on steroids” by slashing workers’ rights and throwing the NHS open to US corporations. With Labour’s stance on Brexit under intense scrutiny, Corbyn will promise an audience in the leave-supporting Tory-held seat of Harlow, Essex, on Tuesday that he will “get Brexit sorted” within six months. Labour is again trying to appeal to both leavers and remainers at this election by promising another referendum – but declining to say how a Labour government would campaign in it. Corbyn will be introduced by the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, who will explain how the party plans to renegotiate a Brexit deal within three months, which Labour says would then put to the public in a referendum by next June. Starmer is among those who had pushed for Labour to announce that it would campaign for remain in that vote – but that view did not prevail at the party’s conference in September, and Corbyn insisted on Sunday: “The debate is over.” – Guardian

Downing Street rules out extending the Brexit transition period past 2020

Downing Street today categorically ruled out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020 after a Cabinet minister warned trade talks with the EU would not be ‘straightforward’. Under the terms of Boris Johnson’s divorce deal, the EU and the UK have until the end of next year to hammer out the details of their post-Brexit trading relationship. Critics believe there is no chance of the two sides getting everything done in such a short space of time and the divorce deal does include the option of a delay of up to two years. But Number 10 insisted this morning that the December 31, 2020 deadline will be stuck to after Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey appeared to suggest it would be tough to meet. Mr Johnson said in an interview broadcast yesterday that he could ‘see no reason whatever why we should extend the transition period’ – but he did not give a guarantee. However, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman was unequivocal on the subject this morning. ‘The government will not be extending the transition period,’ the spokesman said. – MailOnline

Jacob Rees-Mogg warns Nigel Farage that he could snatch a Brexit ‘defeat from the jaws of victory’…

Nigel Farage has been accused by Conservatives of putting Brexit at risk with his plans to run candidates in more than 600 constituencies in the general election. The Brexit Party leader has promised to hurt Labour in “the most extraordinary way” in the 12 December poll. But Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned Mr Farage was in danger of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” if he persists with his plan. He insisted Boris Johnson’s deal with the EU was a “complete Brexit” and that Mr Farage should recognise the time had come to “retire from the field”.“I think he would be well-advised to recognise that that battle he won. He should be really proud of his political career,” Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC radio. “It would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” – iNews

> WATCH: Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks out against Nigel Farage’s stance on the Brexit deal and election pact offer

…as it emerges 20 Brexit Party candidates have already quit over Farage’s dismissal of Johnson’s Brexit deal…

Nigel Farage yesterday set out his plans for Brexit Party candidates to fight every seat in the country at the general election as it emerged that more than 20 of his candidates have already quit. On Monday night a Brexit Party source confirmed that more than 20 Brexit Party candidates had stood down over concern about Mr Farage’s dismissal of Mr Johnson’s deal and other factors. The Brexit Party had been expected to publish the details of many of its 630 candidates to fight the main parties at the Dec 12 general election. However the details of only seven were made public. The party source said that around 3.5 per cent of the party’s 630 candidates had stood down, some over Mr Farage’s position on the Government’s Brexit deal, and others because of abuse experienced by Brexit Party candidates who had been unveiled by Mr Farage over the past few weeks. The source said: “There is a lot of grief out there. It has been going on all summer. It is not good, but it is life.” – Telegraph (£)

  • Nigel Farage is under fire from his own party – Daily Mail
  • Brexit Party candidate defects, backs Tory MP – Guido Fawkes

…while Nigel Farage vows his party will ‘hurt Labour in the most extraordinary way’

Nigel Farage has said his Brexit Party will hurt Labour in “the most extraordinary way” in the forthcoming General Election. Mr Farage has been accused by furious Tories of putting Brexit at risk with his plans to run candidates in more than 600 constituencies in the poll on December 12. However the former Ukip leader said his “number one target” would be Labour Leave voters who had been “completely betrayed” by their party. He vowed to target seats in the North of England and South Wales. Mr Farage, who is due to unveil his candidates later today, told Good Morning Britain: “I led Ukip into the 2015 general election. I had all the same stuff, all the same arguments. The Tory tribe screaming and shouting, ‘Don’t take our votes’. “The Ukip vote took more votes from Labour than it did from the Conservatives, (David) Cameron wouldn’t have even got a majority without Ukip. We are going to hurt the Labour Party in the most extraordinary way. We’ll do it in South Wales, we’ll do it in the Midlands, we’ll do it in the north of England. Those Labour voters have been completely betrayed by the Labour Party. They are my number one target. I got those votes in 2015, I’ll do it again.” – Evening Standard

Jean-Claude Juncker accuses Boris Johnson of telling ‘lies’ at the 2016 EU referendum…

The outgoing European Commission president told Der Spiegel that politicians should have done more to “counter” untruths about the EU in the run-up to the vote for Brexit. And he revealed that the Commission had decided not to wade into the fierce debate over Britain’s future on the advice of the then-Prime Minister David Cameron. “So many lies were told, including by current prime minister, Boris Johnson, that there needed to be a voice to counter them,” he said. The Brussels boss – who is soon to be succeeded by Ursula von der Leyen – also hit out at successive generations of British politicians, including his “friend” Tony Blair, for failing to talk up anything other than the economic benefits of EU membership. “I have been involved in European politics since December 1982 and have seen time and again that the British have operated on the premise: We are only in the EU for economic reasons,” he said. “When it came to the political union, to moving closer together, they wanted nothing to do with the EU. That was even the case with my friend Tony Blair. “If you stick to that narrative for over 40 years, it should not come as a surprise when people remember it during the referendum.” Mr Juncker also revealed that he had warned Mr Cameron – who campaigned to Remain in the EU – that he would lose the 2016 referendum. – PoliticsHome

…while saying Tony Blair’s approach to the EU helped cause Brexit

Tony Blair‘s approach to European integration as prime minister helped sow the seeds of Brexit by failing to make the case for political union in the UK, Jean-Claude Juncker has said. The outgoing European Commission president said that “my friend” Mr Blair was among politicians who “wanted nothing to do with the EU” as a political project while they were in office. Asked whether the British were ever at home in the European Union before they voted to leave, Mr Juncker said the departure “should not come as a surprise”. “That is indeed the fundamental question. I have been involved in European politics since December 1982 and have seen time and again that the British have operated on the premise: We are only in the EU for economic reasons,” he told the German magazine Der Spiegel in a farewell interview. “When it came to the political union, to moving closer together, they wanted nothing to do with the EU. That was even the case with my friend Tony Blair. If you stick to that narrative for over 40 years, it should not come as a surprise when people remember it during the referendum.” Mr Juncker is set to be replaced as Commission president by Ursula von der Leyen, who is hoping to take office at the start of December. – Independent

Lib Dems claim stopping Brexit will deliver a £50 billion ‘Remain bonus’ for public services…

Stopping Brexit will deliver a £50bn “Remain bonus” for public services over the next five years, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will say later. Launching her party’s anti-Brexit election campaign on Tuesday, Ms Swinson is expected to say: “The Liberal Democrats are the only party standing up to stop Brexit and build a brighter future for the UK. “Brexit has taken far longer and cost far more than anyone said it would. “But any form of Brexit will damage our jobs, our economy and our public services, starving them of vital cash as the economy struggles along.” The party said the £50bn figure – the amount that it has calculated will be saved over the next five years by staying in the EU – is based on the UK economy being 1.9% larger in 2024-25. It reflects the extra tax income over the next five years and is based on a 0.4% average annual boost to GDP if the UK stays in the EU. – BBC News

…as anti-Brexit parties’ plans to field ‘Remain Alliance’ candidates are close to being finalised

Anti-Brexit parties are finalising their plans to field “Remain Alliance” candidates in seats that could otherwise be won by the Conservatives, the Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said. He said his party is holding “positive discussions” with the Liberal Democrats and Green Party over standing down candidates for each other to maximise the pro-Remain vote in the general election. The talks are understood to be focusing on up to 60 seats, although firm moves have only so far been announced in two constituencies. The Lib Dems have said they would step aside in favour of the Greens in Brighton Pavilion, held by the former Green leader Caroline Lucas, and the Isle of Wight, a key target for the party. Meanwhile the arrangement in Lib Dem-held Brecon and Radnorshire, which was not contested by the Greens or Plaid Cymru in August’s parliamentary by-election, looks certain to continue. – iNews

Tory ads target Leavers on Facebook

The Conservatives are using Facebook to target pro-Brexit Labour voters in key northern and Midlands seats. The Tory campaign will be launched officially tomorrow but advertising directed at Leave voters in 29 constituencies began running at the weekend. “Your vote in Alyn & Deeside will be the difference between a majority government that will get Brexit done and another hung parliament,” one of the 29 variations of the advert says. “It only takes 2,618 people to switch their vote in Alyn & Deeside to elect a Conservative MP that will back Boris to get Brexit done. A vote for anyone else, including the Brexit Party, will just create a hung parliament with more delay, confusion and indecision.” The advert is illustrated with the number of voters who would need to switch to the Tories to win the seat from Labour, along with pictures of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Such microtargeting was a feature of the 2017 election and the EU referendum in 2016 but until now has been impossible to identify. This year Facebook agreed to publish details of political spending on adverts. In 2017 parties in the UK spent £3.2 million on Facebook adverts, compared with £1.3 million at the 2015 election. – The Times (£)

Sinn Fein not standing candidates in three seats in bid to defeat pro-Brexit DUP

Sinn Fein has announced it will not stand in three constituencies in Northern Ireland to help other pro-Remain candidates defeat DUP Brexiteers. The party is standing aside in south and east Belfast and North Down – a move that puts the republicans in the highly unusual position of explicitly urging supporters to vote for a unionist, in the form of incumbent North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon. Announcing the move in Belfast, party president Mary Lou McDonald also urged voters to back the SDLP’s Claire Hanna in South Belfast and Alliance Party leader Naomi Long in East Belfast. The move came hours after the SDLP announced it would stand aside in three seats as well, again to facilitate Remainers in their efforts to beat DUP candidates. The nationalist party will not put forward candidates in North and East Belfast and North Down. The move in North Belfast will give Sinn Fein candidate John Finucane a better chance of unseating DUP deputy leader and long-standing MP Nigel Dodds, who has a majority of just over 2,000.Outlining Sinn Fein’s decision on Monday afternoon, Ms McDonald said: “In many ways this is a once-in-a-generation election, the stakes are very high in this election. She added: “The reality is we are asking people to come out and vote for those pro-Remain candidates. We believe that is the right and progressive thing to do.” – Belfast Telegraph 

  • What does the Sinn Fein-SDLP electoral pact in Northern Ireland mean for Brexit? – Independent

Sir Lindsay Hoyle elected Speaker of the House of Commons

Labour MP and deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been elected by MPs as the new Commons Speaker, after John Bercow stepped down. After winning the final round of voting against Chris Bryant, Sir Lindsay was dragged to the chair by MPs, where he pledged to be a “neutral” Speaker. He also paid tribute to his daughter, Natalie, who died in 2017, saying she would “always be missed”. The Speaker keeps order in Commons debates and calls MPs to speak. Speakers must be politically impartial, which means Sir Lindsay will be required to resign from the Labour Party in order to carry out his role. Mr Bercow stood down last week after an eventful and frequently controversial decade in the Speaker’s chair. His resignation as MP for Buckingham was officially confirmed on Monday. Seven candidates were originally in the running to succeed Mr Bercow, including former minister and deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman and former Labour minister Meg Hillier. – BBC News

Asa Bennett: Nigel Farage’s war on the Boris deal has left him out in the cold with Brexiteers

Nigel Farage may not be the biggest team player, but even he would acknowledge that David Cameron’s promise to hold the EU referendum was not extracted solely by his own efforts. While the outspoken Eurosceptic piled heaps of pressure on the Tories, it would not have happened without sympathetic MPs in Cameron’s own party rising up to demand it in turn. Mr Farage could only get his cause so far from the outside. Once the cracks showed in the Tory establishment, with then European Research Group boss Steve Baker among the scores of backbenchers to agitate for a referendum, it was clear that support for holding one was only ever going to snowball as MPs realised it was what the people wanted. Three years on from the referendum, Farage now hopes to repeat his successful lobbying of the Tories with his audacious threat to field 600 Brexit Party candidates across the country unless Boris Johnson drops his deal. The now Brexit Party chief indicated that any Tory candidate would be spared from his electoral wrath if they took up his invitation to renounce the deal. Clearly, part of him must have hoped to spark another chain reaction that would clear the way for just what he wanted. Instead, the response he has had in his war against the deal, which every Tory MP publicly backed, has been far from sympathetic. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

William Hague: Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn have more in common than either will admit

Farage has been particularly influential in setting the trajectory of Britain in the years to come. He has spearheaded not one but two successful protest parties, and exerted great pressure on the Conservatives and even Labour. He triumphed in the referendum and can lay claim to being a father figure of Brexit, for good or ill. If he wished, he could now use that accumulated influence and ability to persuade people to make virtually certain that his dream of leaving the EU gets over the line. Yet he doesn’t want to do that. His instinct is to keep calling for his perfect vision, and not at any stage become involved in the messy practical questions of how exactly to bring it about. For how can an inveterate campaigner keep his purity if he supports an actual solution? How can it be true, if the world is an establishment fix, that such arch representatives of that establishment as a Conservative Prime Minister and the EU Commission have agreed on an acceptable outcome? How dare they? This could put permanent campaigners out of business. This is why Corbyn and Farage are surprisingly similar. Corbyn genuinely believes in nuclear disarmament, but for him it is even more important to believe that British foreign secretaries and Israeli leaders are always the villains. He can sleep soundly, knowing there is no solution they will come up with that can ever satisfy him. Similarly, Farage is truly passionate about Brexit, but the cause is now inseparable in his mind from his view that it will always be betrayed by Tory leaders and EU officials. – Lord Hague for the Telegraph (£)

Stephen Pollard: Farage’s demand that Boris dumps his deal is politically ludicrous

A convincing case can be made that Nigel Farage is the most successful – and certainly the most influential – politician of the past ten years. When he became leader of Ukip in 2006, the party he helped found in 1993, the idea of Britain leaving the EU was advocated only on the fringes of politics. Today the only serious argument is the form that Brexit should take. And then, when he sought to stop Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement earlier this year, he started the Brexit Party – and promptly won the European elections. But his behaviour in recent days risks undermining his previous successes and ushering in a Labour government that would be disastrous for the country. By pledging to stand Brexit Party candidates in every constituency he may well hive votes off from the Conservatives and allow Labour or the Lib Dems to come through the middle. If that happens and we wake up on December 13 with Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, Mr Farage will – rightly – never be forgiven. – Stephen Pollard for the Express

Brexit in Brief

  • Remember, remember, all you Remainers – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • With Lindsay Hoyle in the Speaker’s chair, the damage left by John Bercow can be undone – Joe Armitage for the Telegraph (£)
  • Tory Brexit countdown clock now counts days since October 31 – TalkRadio