Jeremy Corbyn says Labour would offer 'a credible Leave option' in a second referendum: Brexit News for Wednesday 11 September

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour would offer 'a credible Leave option' in a second referendum: Brexit News for Wednesday 11 September
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Jeremy Corbyn says Labour would offer ‘a credible Leave option’ in a second referendum…

Jeremy Corbyn has promised a further referendum on Brexit with a “credible Leave option” if his party wins the next general election. He said Labour was “ready” for the campaign, but its “priority” was to stop a no-deal Brexit. The statement comes after union leaders called for a Leave option from Labour. But some senior party figures – close Corbyn allies – say they will campaign to stay in the EU in any circumstances, even if Labour negotiates its own deal. They include shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who have both said remaining would be the best thing for the UK. Mr Corbyn has been meeting union leaders to discuss the issue. He has not said whether he would campaign for Remain or a Labour Leave deal if he became prime minister. – BBC News

> WATCH:  Jeremy Corbyn discusses Brexit as he addresses the TUC Congress

…as his deputy Tom Watson calls for a referendum ahead of an election, with Labour campaigning ‘unequivocally’ for Remain…

Labour must prioritise reversing Brexit through another referendum, over winning power in a general election, its deputy leader Tom Watson is to say. He will warn that a snap election before the end of the year may fail to resolve the current deadlock. Putting himself at odds with Jeremy Corbyn, he will say there is “no such thing as a good Brexit deal” and Labour must campaign unequivocally to remain. Mr Corbyn has said Labour must offer voters both Leave and Remain options. Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, said this was the “only common sense” position and the binary choice on offer in a referendum was a “huge gamble” which risked “perpetuating” existing political divisions. “I think Tom Watson’s intervention is irresponsible and not what Labour communities need,” he told the BBC’s Newsnight. In a speech in London, Mr Watson will say that while an autumn general election seems inevitable given Boris Johnson’s loss of control in Parliament “that does not make it desirable”. “Elections should never be single issue campaigns,” he will say, suggesting vital issues such as the future of the NHS, economic inequality and crime will be “drowned out” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “do or die” Brexit message. “The only way to break the Brexit deadlock once and for all is a public vote in a referendum,” he will say. “A general election might well fail to solve this Brexit chaos.” In the event of another general election in the coming months, Mr Watson says Labour must be “crystal clear” about where it stands on Brexit if it wants to get a hearing for the rest of its domestic policy agenda. “There is no such thing as a good Brexit deal, which is why I believe we should advocate for remain. – BBC News

…with Labour fearing being outflanked by the Lib Dems on Brexit…

Jeremy Corbyn presented a no-deal Brexit as the project of Boris Johnson’s “wealthy friends” as he risked being outflanked by the Liberal Democrats campaigning to cancel the referendum result altogether. On the first day of parliament’s five-week suspension, or prorogation, the Labour leader repeatedly associated leaving the EU without a deal with Donald Trump and the rich. But Mr Corbyn faces a revived fight over his Brexit position, which is to campaign for a Labour government which would renegotiate a deal with the EU and then put that to a referendum against Remain. Senior Labour figures, including Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, and Tom Watson, Mr Corbyn’s deputy, want the party to make an unambiguous commitment that a Labour government would campaign to remain in the EU. Their argument is likely to be bolstered by the revelation that the Liberal Democrats will campaign in a general election to cancel Brexit without a second referendum. – The Times (£)

…as Jo Swinson’s party splinters over proposal to back revoking Article 50 over a second referendum

The Liberal Democrats are poised to campaign to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50 to allow the UK to remain in the European Union, party leader Jo Swinson has said. The proposal will be voted on by party members at the Lib Dem annual conference which starts on Saturday in Bournemouth. But it risks sparking controversy within the party. Senior MP Sir Norman Lamb, who backs a compromise deal, said he was “obviously concerned” about the development. Speaking at the launch of the MPs for a Deal group, Sir Norman said: “If it came down to a choice between revoke or no-deal, I may well end up voting revoke because the economic consequences of no-deal are so serious.” Ms Swinson said: “The Liberal Democrats are fully behind a People’s Vote with the option to remain, and we would campaign to stay in. We believe this is the best way to resolve the Brexit mess, and it is in the country’s best interest. However, a general election may well happen before a People’s Vote. I relish the chance to take the fight to Boris Johnson in an election, and I’m confident we’d make significant gains. – Independent

EU looks to Northern Ireland-only backstop to break the Brexit impasse…

The EU is pinning its hopes on British negotiators reverting to the Northern Ireland-only backstop previously rejected by Theresa May as a threat to the constitutional integrity of the UK. With Boris Johnson facing a choice between breaking his word and extending the UK’s membership of the EU beyond 31 October, or bringing back a tweaked deal for a last-gasp vote in parliament, officials and diplomats have expressed hope the prime minister will make a U-turn. EU sources insisted there was no other approach that could work and the negotiations were otherwise doomed to hit a “zombie stage” given the likelihood of an imminent general election. “We don’t know what mandate the prime minister has to propose something and obviously there is a strong division between the parliament and the government,” said Nathalie Loiseau, a former French minister for EU affairs. It is hoped in Brussels that Johnson’s EU envoy, David Frost, will further pursue a Northern Ireland-only backstop during meetings with the European commission’s Brexit taskforce on Wednesday and Friday. The newly nominated EU commissioner for trade, Phil Hogan, a former Irish minister, told the Irish Times he believed the “penny is finally dropping” in Johnson’s government over the lack of alternatives. – Guardian

  • Brussels senses Johnson shift on Northern Ireland-only backstop – FT(£)

…but the DUP insist Boris Johnson rejected the idea at a “positive” meeting with Arlene Foster…

Boris Johnson has confirmed his rejection of a Northern Ireland-only backstop as a solution to the Brexit deadlock, the DUP has said. Deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the party had a “very good meeting” with the prime minister in Downing Street. The DUP had insisted the government would not back such a proposal as it would not have “unionist consent”. In a statement, it said a deal without cross-community support is “doomed to failure”. In the statement, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the prime minister had “confirmed his rejection of the Northern Ireland-only backstop and his commitment to securing a deal which works for the entire United Kingdom as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland”. A Number 10 spokesman said the 50-minute meeting was “positive”. The meeting with Mr Johnson came as pressure grows on Downing Street to reach a deal with the EU ahead of a key summit in October. The prime minister has insisted he will not seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if there is no agreement with the EU. The DUP has said it wants a “sensible deal”, but will not support any arrangement that could see Northern Ireland treated differently than the rest of the UK. – BBC News

…as the party’s Chief Whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson dismisses the notion that its influence on the Government is ‘waning’…

DUP chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has dismissed the notion the DUP’s influence on the Government is “waning” and than the Government is seeking a Northern Ireland-only backstop. His comments come as Number 10 has announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would meet the DUP’s Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that he expected the meeting to include discussion on a “range of subjects including Brexit”. Sir Jeffrey told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “I don’t see the Prime Minister who appointed himself as the minister for the Union agreeing to an arrangement that separates Northern Ireland from Great Britain in trading terms. So, I think that this idea that you have a Northern Ireland-only backstop where you have a trade border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain is simply a non-runner, in any event it would contravene the core principles of the Good Friday Agreement, the Belfast Agreement.” He added: “The solution to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland is not to create a second border in the Irish Sea because I think that would be deeply destabilising.” Sir Jeffrey said a considerable number of Tory MPs would look to the DUP to see what its view was on any arrangements relating specifically to Northern Ireland. – Irish News

> WATCH: Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP discusses the Irish border issue on Politics Live

…and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says any Brexit deal must be acceptable to DUP

The former Irish prime minister and joint architect of the Northern Ireland peace process Bertie Ahern has said it is imperative that any Brexit solution be acceptable to the Democratic Unionist party. His intervention is a rare warning by a prominent politician in the Republic of Ireland that imposing a deal not supported by the DUP, such as one with a Northern-Ireland-only backstop, would imperil a lasting solution. Ahern said the principle of “parity of esteem”, one of the core stated values of the 1998 Good Friday agreement, was not just for nationalists and anything that was not backed by both communities in Northern Ireland would be doomed to failure. “Any solution has to include the unionist people because parity of esteem in the Good Friday agreement is both sides; to do a deal through Europe with Britain that creates a problem for the unionist community and will be rejected by the English nationalists in the Commons – that’s not really an option,” he said. – Guardian

Irish Brexit critic Phil Hogan named as European Commissioner to handle EU-UK trade talks…

The European Commission named Phil Hogan, an Irish politician with a hatred of Brexit, to lead the department that will negotiate a free trade agreement with Britain as it announced the distribution of jobs in the next EU executive in Brussels. British negotiators face the daunting prospect of facing “Big Phil”, who will team up with Sabine Weyand, the former deputy chief Brexit negotiator on November 1. Ms Weyand is the top trade official in the commission and the formidable German is well-known for her scathing analysis on the consequences and challenges of Britain quitting the EU. Ursula von der Leyen will replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission, the day after the October 31 Brexit deadline. She warned that, according to EU treaty rules, Britain would have to nominate a commissioner if it asked for an extension to the deadline. The British government refused to name an EU commissioner because it plans to leave the bloc on Halloween. Mr Hogan has been Ireland’s EU commissioner for the last five years and has regularly criticised the British government for its position over the Irish border. He is a close ally of Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, who on Monday warned Boris Johnson that the future trade negotiations would be even harder than the talks over the withdrawal agreement. – Telegraph (£)

  • Hogan signals ‘movement’ on both sides of Brexit negotiations – RTE

…with Michel Barnier set to extend his role as EU Brexit negotiator

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and a key architect of a contentious plan to avoid the return to a hard Irish border, is set to stay on in his role. Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming president of the European Commission, said on Monday that Mr Barnier had done “an outstanding job” since his appointment in July 2016, and that she would hold talks with him on prolonging his current position beyond October 31. Ms von der Leyen, who was chosen by EU leaders in July to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the bloc’s executive arm, said Brussels needed Mr Barnier’s expertise, amid growing expectations that Britain will request a delay to Brexit beyond the scheduled date of October 31. Mr Barnier’s job was created by Mr Juncker, who wanted to make sure Brussels played a central role in the Brexit negotiations, but the Frenchman has since built a solid bedrock of support from national governments and the European Parliament. – FT(£)

Boris Johnson prepares for ‘spears’ from Eurosceptics as he hints at compromise Brexit deal

Boris Johnson has told Tory rebels he is ready for “spears in my back” from party eurosceptics — in a sign he will now try for a compromise Brexit deal. It is the latest in a series of hints he is ready to soften his key demand that Brussels scraps the Irish backstop. That would spark a confrontation with the hardliners of the European Research Group — who call themselves the Spartans. The stab-in-the-back remark came during talks with some of the 21 Tory MPs who were expelled from the party for defying the government and voting for another Brexit delay. Boris, who was pleading with the pro-EU Tories not to rebel, insisted he would need their support soon — saying: “The spears in my back won’t be from you, they’ll come from the Spartans.” The ERG’s backing of Boris during the Tory leadership race was key to him winning — and only came after he pledged to tear up the Irish backstop. But now his hopes of a snap general election has been blocked, some Government advisers are urging him to settle for something like a two or three year time limit to the insurance plan to keep the border open. One senior ally said: “We know the Spartans are going to accuse us of betrayal at some point.” Allies of the PM also said any new Brexit deal will not take shape until very close to the vital EU summit on October 17. He will not publicly climb down from his backstop demand for fear of “blowing up” the party conference in the first week of October, his first as leader. Boris yesterday insisted a deal was possible, adding: “There are loads of people who want this done. That includes our friends and partners across the EU”. – The Sun

Cross-party MPs plot to secure a Brexit deal by the Halloween deadline…

There is time to secure a Brexit deal in Parliament with a “sizeable voice building across the House,” a new cross-party group calling themselves “MPs for a deal” has claimed. The group, which includes former Tory minister Rory Stewart and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, say striking a “pragmatic deal” for the UK to leave the EU is “not a unicorn” and could command a majority in Parliament. At a press conference the group informed journalists of its plan to back a deal similar to what Theresa May almost put to MPs following cross-party negotiations. The group claims around 50 Labour MPs would be prepared to vote for a deal, should one be brought before the House. ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand, who was at the press conference said: “It sounds as if MPs are open to voting for whatever deal (if any) Boris Johnson brings back, but their starting point is the kind of soft Brexit Theresa May put forward in her final days.” Labour MP Caroline Flint told ITV News that “even though the deals before didn’t get a majority”, there were elements of each of those deals “that commanded a lot of support”. She said: “Most importantly now, is all of us in MPs for a deal seeking and supporting the government to get a deal.” – ITV News

  • More than 50 Labour MPs could back Brexit deal in new vote, MP suggests – Independent

…as they explore bringing back a version of Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the option of a referendum

MPs looking to stop no deal are exploring ways to bring back a version of Theresa May’s Brexit deal plus a vote on a second referendum in the last two weeks of October, amid concerns Boris Johnson will still try to pursue a no-deal departure. Several sources told the Guardian that MPs will spend the next few weeks working on ways to bring back the deal – with added concessions to Labour – to the House of Commons via a backbencher or a temporary prime minister. MPs working on the options said more Tory and former Tory MPs were now open to backing a Brexit deal with a second referendum added, taking parliament closer to a cross-party majority for the plan. One former Tory MP said the option was under consideration and would “certainly have to be linked to a referendum”. He added: “We will know in those two weeks whether it is possible or not.” Another former Tory said: “There is an element of seeing what the next step is from No 10. A lot would be pretty hesitant about backing a referendum until all other options have been tried. But, more attractive, is a way of bringing a deal back on to the table – a version of what was agreed between May and Corbyn. And then have a confirmatory vote attached to it, or someone amends one on.” – Guardian

Most Britons want the Brexit referendum result respected and the uncertainty over

More than half of British adults believe the result of the 2016 referendum should be respected, and Brexit delivered, says a new poll. Fifty four per cent agree the referendum result should be respected, the survey by ComRes found. Just 25 per cent disagreed and 21 per cent didn’t know. Of those who voted Remain in 2016, more than a third (35 per cent) said they now wanted Brexit delivered. Last week, Boris Johnson said he would rather “die in a ditch” than extend Article 50 after rebel Tories helped push through legislation compelling him to delay Brexit for three months if he cannot strike a new deal with Brussels within days of the EU summit on Oct 17. Asked if Brexit should be postponed until Jan 31, almost half (49 per cent) disagreed, as against 29 per cent who agreed (22 per cent didn’t know). Some 43 per cent agreed that if the EU makes no concessions, the UK should leave without a deal on Oct 31, compared with a 32 per cent who disagreed (25 per cent didn’t know). Those intending to vote Conservative agreed by a ratio of 10 to one. – Telegraph (£)

Nigel Farage tells Tories to give Brexit Party a free run in 90 parliamentary seats as the price of an election pact

Nigel Farage has spelt out his price for an election deal with the Tories – to give his Brexit Party a free run in 80 to 90 parliamentary seats. In exchange, the anti-EU party chief has told No10 he would not to field any candidates against sitting Tory MPs and in the Conservatives’ target seats. The landmark offer has been relayed to Boris Johnson by senior Tory figures after discreet conversations with Mr Farage opened up, The Sun has been told. The seats that Mr Farage wants Mr Johnson to abandon are ones where the Brexit Party or his old outfit UKIP have come second to Labour. They are spread across south Wales, the Midlands and the North East. The veteran MEP believes he can win “40 to 50” of them, giving him a major foothold in the Commons for the first time. Mr Farage’s second demand for a deal is for the Tory boss to abandon the current Withdrawal Agreement, and replace it with a two year standstill agreement with Brussels while a future trade deal is being negotiated. A source close to Mr Farage told The Sun: “Nigel has had some conversations with people who are very close to Boris, not MPs or ministers to keep them discreet. “They’re more to scope out whether he’s serious about a deal than actual negotiations, and the Tories know appreciate he is. It is a beginning.” The source added: “It’s very simple, it’s all about the numbers. Boris knows he cannot win a majority without our help”. – The Sun

Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson ‘pulling the strings’ of the Remain alliance

Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson are ‘pulling the strings’ behind the Remainer alliance by giving proxy advice to Labour and Lib Dem MPs, it has been claimed. The former prime minister and his New Labour sidekick, once dubbed the ‘Prince of Darkness’, are understood to be at the centre of cross-party attempts to block Brexit, including last week’s passing of a Bill to prevent no-deal. A source told The Telegraph: “Blair and Mandelson are pulling the strings. Mandelson is the puppet master, he has had meetings via proxy with all the parties involved in the Remain alliance and sends emails with ideas. Blair’s people have been speaking to Jo Swinson’s people.” It came after his spokesman had indicated he would support the motion once the Benn bill had received royal assent. Mr Blair gave a speech to the Institute for Government earlier this month describing an election before Oct 31 as an “elephant trap”. “Boris Johnson knows that if a no-deal Brexit stands on its own as a proposition, it might well fail,” he said. “But if he mixes it up with the Brexit pledge and the Corbyn question together in a general election, he could succeed, despite a majority being against a no-deal Brexit because some may fear a Corbyn premiership more. If the government tries to force an election now, Labour should vote against it.” – Telegraph (£)

Northern Irish court to make no-deal Brexit ruling on Thursday

Belfast’s High Court is to rule on Thursday on the legality of a British exit from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement after an activist argued such a move would not be compatible with Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. Rights campaigner Raymond McCord, one of three people taking the case, said he was hopeful the judge would refer it to the British Supreme Court. “I will provide the reserve judgement of the court on Thursday morning,” said Judge Bernard McCloskey, who also heard arguments that a no-deal Brexit is not provided for in existing legislation. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31 whether or not it secures a deal on an orderly exit. A lawyer representing Johnson’s government on Monday said under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the obligation to negotiate is on Brussels rather than the member state. British legislation in 2017 and 2018 “assumes but does not require a Withdrawal Agreement,” said the lawyer, Tony McGleenan. The case is one of a series across the United Kingdom challenging Johnson’s plans. The Supreme Court is due to hear an appeal on Sept. 17 over legal challenges to his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks. – Reuters

France’s business federation warns of ‘Brexit without end’

France’s main business federation says Britain’s Oct. 31 departure from the European Union shouldn’t be delayed again unless there’s a major shift in negotiations, warning that “a Brexit without end” would be economically damaging. The MEDEF federation advised Tuesday that all French businesses should continue to prepare for a so-called “hard” Brexit, without a deal to cushion expected jolts to European economies and firms. In a statement, MEDEF said it is “seriously concerned by this situation and its harmful consequences for all European citizens and companies.” But it also said that only “major political reasons” could justify the EU granting another Brexit extension. It said the EU should not “fall into the trap of a Brexit without end, sterile for our economies and dangerous for the integrity of the union.” – MailOnline

Harriet Harman vows to ensure ‘Parliament will have its say’ on Brexit after confirming her intention to stand as next Speaker

Harriet Harman has vowed to ensure “Parliament will have its say” on Brexit after she confirmed her intention to stand as the next speaker. The Mother of the House said she would put herself forward for election as speaker following John Bercow’s resignation yesterday. Mr Bercow will stand down on Hallowe’en, the day Britain is due to leave the EU. “The Speaker has to ensure that Parliament can have its say,” Ms Harman said. The Speaker doesn’t vote, doesn’t take sides in debates. But the Speaker is not neutral as between Parliament and the executive. The Speaker has to be on Parliament’s side and stand up for Parliament. The Speaker cannot but allow Parliament to have its say on what it wants to do.” The former Labour minister said she agreed with how Mr Bercow conducted the role. “He has been right to say to ministers ‘you have got to come to the House, you have got to account for yourself’,” she said. “Sometimes the Executive doesn’t want Parliament to have its say. It is the job of the Speaker, that Parliament, by majority, has its say. That is what John Bercow has sought to do.” Although she was a prominent Remain campaigner in the EU referendum Ms Harman said she would be able stand back from political issues if she became Speaker. “I think I would be a champion for Parliament,” she said..- Telegraph (£)

UK employment rate hits record high as wages surge higher

The rate of employment in the UK has hit a record high as workers’ wages continue to surge higher, according to new figures. The number of people in work rose by 31,000 to 32.78 million in the three months to July, the Office for National Statistics said. But the growth in employment fell below analyst expectations, which had forecast a 55,000 rise. Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment is at its lowest in 45 years, driven by a record low in the percentage of women who are unemployed. The number of people out of work dropped 11,000 to 1.29 million for the quarter, as the rate of unemployment stayed flat at 3.8%, lower than predicted by analysts. – ITV News

Ministers reverse May-era student visa rules

International students will be allowed to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to find a job, under new proposals announced by the Home Office. The move reverses a decision made in 2012 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May that forced overseas students to leave four months after finishing a degree. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the change would see students “unlock their potential” and begin careers in the UK. But campaign group Migration Watch called it a “retrograde” step. The change will apply to students who start courses at undergraduate level or above from next year onwards. They must be studying at an institution with a track record in upholding immigration checks. – BBC News

Ann Widdecombe: Here’s why Gibraltar is a shining example for Brexit Britain

I am in Gibraltar, which is part of my constituency, for National Day and following a series of briefings on Brexit preparations, am more than impressed with the can-do attitude here. Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU but has spent the last three years making darn sure that it is nevertheless ready to leave and without a deal if necessary. It does not moan and whimper but simply finds solutions. Obviously relations with Spain can be bad enough at any time, depending on the political weather, but arrangements for Brexit have been bedevilled by the uncertain relationship between the two countries. Gibraltar sends its waste to be disposed of in Spain to a facility shared by several regions, but among which only Gibraltar pays for the service. Does Gibraltar wring its hands and wonder how it will get rid of its waste? No. First, it calculates Spain will want to go on receiving its payments but even if it doesn’t Gibraltar has provided for up to a year’s hygienic storage of its waste. Food comes across the land border with Spain. Does Gibraltar whine about likely shortages, chaos and queues? No, it says it has organised transport by sea if that happens and, as a failsafe, by air. The point to note here is not that Gibraltar thinks a no-deal Brexit will be problem-free but rather that it has sorted out in advance how to cope with those problems. When did Britain lose that can-do? – Ann Widdecombe MEP for the Express

The Sun: Boris Johnson’s Leaver Tories must join forces with Nigel Farage…or they’ll wreck Brexit

If the Brexit Party poses a mortal threat to Boris Johnson’s Tories, it is time Nigel Farage ensured it did not. Consider what is at stake. Both men want Brexit “come what may, do or die”. Boris still prefers a civilised deal with Brussels. Fine. But since Remainer MPs have all but killed any chance of that, he’d go for No Deal. Farage seems to have few real political ambitions and will never form a Government. Corbyn will, if the Tories are crushed. Which now means No Brexit. Farage wants a pact. The Tories are resisting — but they should rethink. Remainers will act tactically. Leavers must too. Farage should stand only in Leave-backing seats the Tories can never win. He must only target Remain parties: Labour and the Lib Dems. If he and Boris’s pro-Leave Tories cannot join forces they will wreck Brexit. And Farage’s life’s work will be for nothing. – The Sun says

Brendan O’Neill: John Bercow’s seething contempt for Brexiteers

Bercow is a Remainer. He voted Remain and told students at Reading University in 2017 that it would have been better for the UK ‘to stay in the European Union’. That’s fine, or it would be if he had managed to keep his Remainerism to himself and stayed neutral in Parliament. But he hasn’t. He has sided with the Remainer wing of Parliament again and again, leading Andrew Bridgen to say that the supposedly objective Speaker is ‘conspiring with Remainer MPs to stop Brexit and subvert democracy’. Bercow may have been cheered by pro-Remain MPs yesterday. And the out-of-touch Twitterati might love him too. But to vast numbers of ordinary people Bercow’s barking of insults at the ‘chuntering’ MP who dared to criticise him yesterday will sum up both Bercow’s scandalous, politicised tenure as Speaker and the current dire state of Parliament more broadly. – Brendan O’Neill for The Spectator

Asa Bennett: Prorogation? The real Brexit coup is how badly Remainers have tied up Boris Johnson

It’s hard to see how the House of Commons has been “silenced” over Brexit given that it has just managed to pass a bill into law that is so problematic for the Prime Minister that serious pundits are suggesting he should resign to avoid having to humiliate himself by fulfilling its obligation to extend Article 50. If Mr Johnson had tried to launch a coup, it was a pretty rubbish one, as the legislature was more than able to stick its oar in. Parliament is now suspended until the Queen’s Speech on Monday 14 October, giving Mr Johnson weeks to talk about his preferred election-friendly domestic topics like the NHS and crime. But the trouble is that MPs yet again rejected his bid to hold a formal election, with Remainers judging that they would prefer to see the Prime Minister break his promised “do or die” October 31 deadline by asking European leaders to push Brexit back before they allow one. Can Mr Johnson escape the legal onus of Hilary Benn’s bill? He told ministers that his Brexit policy remained unchanged, indicating that his intended approach to the delay law will only emerge nearer the October 19 legal deadline for a delay. The Prime Minister and Dominic Cummings will need to have come up with a convincing way around the law by then, otherwise Brexiteers worry what Remainers could do next. – Telegraph (£)

Leo McKinstry: Boris Johnson has three choices to be able to deliver Brexit

The country is sliding towards an historic constitutional crisis. Our political system in in meltdown, due to Parliament’s determination to delay Brexit yet again. Last week, an unprincipled alliance of opposition MPs and Tory rebels passed legislation that forces the Government to ask Brussels for another three month extension if a new deal is not reached at the next EU summit in mid-October. But the Prime Minister seems resolute in his resistance, declaring dramatically last week that he would “rather die in a ditch” than indulge in further procrastination. This stance is typical of the robustness Boris Johnson has shown since entering Downing Street. To supporters, his ruthless, dynamic strategy is just what the Government needs to finally deliver Brexit after more than three years of drift and dither. With no Commons majority, the Prime Minister looks to be trapped. – Leo McKinstry for the Express

Robert Peston: Could Boris Johnson betray the DUP and ERG?

Don’t laugh, but Boris Johnson would genuinely prefer a Brexit deal to no deal. And that should make Northern Ireland’s DUP and the Brexiter purists in the Tories’ European Research Group very nervous indeed. Because the EU has made it clear that it thinks a deal could be done if the backstop arrangement, designed to keep open the border in the island of Ireland, was remade as a Northern-Ireland only backstop rather than a hybrid of customs union for the whole UK and some NI-only arrangements. There is evidence of Johnson moving in that direction, with his initial concession that there could be a single market for agriculture for the Republic and Northern Ireland that would be bossed by Brussels. Which to some unionists will look like the thin end of the wedge towards that regulatory border in the Irish Sea they regard as toxic. And which to ERG Brexiter fundamentalists is redolent of the PM failing to do as they thought they had instructed him, namely to rip up the whole of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. To be clear, we are weeks away from what would be seen by Arlene Foster, Steve Baker and their allies as the great betrayal – if it ever comes. But they know their leverage to stop it has vanished. Because the very worst they can threaten is to bring down the government and force a general election. To which Boris Johnson would presumably respond with a Beano or Pericles version of ‘bring it on’ and ‘make my day’. – Robert Peston for The Spectator

Matthew Lynn: There’s still one small window that Boris Johnson might be able to squeeze through to get a deal

Parliament has been shut down. The government has lost its majority. Leaving without a deal has been outlawed, but the Prime Minister has vowed to die in a ditch, or at least meet some other gorily metaphorical end, rather than ask for another extension. If you can come up with a way out of that fix there’s probably a job waiting for you writing the escape scenes for the next James Bond movie. So hopeless has the impasse become that even another election might not find a way for Britain to finally leave the EU. But hold on. There is still one small window that Boris Johnson might be able to climb through. It is just possible that a deal could be reached that might squeeze through Parliament. Likely? Not really. But possible? Just perhaps. As a recent report from the Alternative Arrangements Commission made clear, there is still some scope for haggling. The key problem all along has been the Northern Irish border, and how to keep that open even as the UK leaves the Single Market and the Customs Union. No one wants to see full-blown customs checks reintroduced. But there are other possibilities. Such as? An all-Ireland solution is the most obvious. Even outside the Single Market there could still be special arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic. – Matthew Lynn for the Telegraph (£)

Philip Johnston: Politics has become so twisted, that our PM may have to resign to deliver Brexit

Of course it suits Mr Johnson not to have Parliament sitting given the trouble he got into when it came back for just a week. But is not a constitutional outrage, which is why the Queen has agreed to prorogation and the courts have rejected the challenges to the exercise of this prerogative power ahead of the State Opening on October 14. Nonetheless, Mr Johnson’s options are narrowing rapidly. He failed to get a snap election but he should have made that move in July when he entered Downing Street, since Labour would have found it impossible to resist, whereas now the Brexit extension Bill has become law they call the shots. The opportunity was there but he missed it. Now he will have to fight an election after October 31 with the UK almost certainly still in the EU. Effectively, he has until the end of the month to demonstrate the statecraft he spoke about in Dublin on Monday in order to secure a new deal he can put to parliament before October 19. If he hasn’t got one – or if he has but it is voted down – then he must, by law, request an extension. However, this may not be entirely clear cut. Sir Bill Cash says the failure of the Bill to repeal section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act stating that October 31 is Brexit Day may give Mr Johnson legal cover to ignore the new law. But it will not give him political cover; and since he would rather die in a ditch than ask for more time, his only realistic option would be to resign. – Philip Johnston for the Telegraph (£)

Con Coughlin: Corbyn’s hypocritical Remainer alliance is a threat to the national interest

Of all the pathetic excuses the so-called “Rebel Alliance” have used to justify their attempts to frustrate Brexit in parliament, the most odious must be the claim that they are somehow acting in the national interest. Time and time again, when Remainer MPs come up with some new stunt to frustrate the democratic will of the majority of Britons, they claim they are putting the interests of the nation above their own political ambitions. Setting aside the sheer arrogance of those who believe they know better than British voters, you only have to examine how these self-proclaimed saviours of democracy have conducted themselves in a different political context to see that their actions amount to nothing more than rank hypocrisy. The Remainers may claim their intention is to protect Britain’s interests. The brutal truth is that they are making it almost impossible to find a solution to the Brexit crisis. – Con Coughlin for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in Brief

  • A Corbyn-led government would be infinitely worse than a no-deal Brexit – Julian Jessop for the Telegraph (£)
  • Johnson can’t escape the clutches of May’s zombie Brexit deal – Rafael Behr for the Guardian
  • The badgers want a word with you about Brexit – Fleet Street Fox for the Mirror
  • Polling guru Curtice names party who will ruin Remain alliance – Express