Labour launches new bid to seize control of the Commons agenda and seek to block No Deal: Brexit News for Wednesday 12 June

Labour launches new bid to seize control of the Commons agenda and seek to block No Deal: Brexit News for Wednesday 12 June
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Labour launches new bid to seize control of the Commons agenda and seek to block No Deal…

Labour has tabled a cross-party motion to try and stop a no-deal Brexit by taking control of Parliamentary business later this month. The party plans to force a vote on Wednesday, which would give MPs control of the timetable on 25 June. Labour says if the motion passes, MPs will be able to introduce legislation to avoid a no-deal scenario at the end of October. Some Tory leadership hopefuls have said they would leave the EU without a deal. The government normally controls business in the Commons – but MPs have previously seized control to legislate in favour of extending the Brexit process. Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer said MPs “cannot be bystanders” while the next prime minister “tries to crash the UK out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people”. “That’s why we are taking this latest measure to end the uncertainty and protect communities across the country,” he said. “My challenge to MPs who disagree either with a no deal Brexit or proroguing Parliament is to back this motion and act in the national interest.” The motion has cross-party backing, including from one Tory MP – Oliver Letwin. It has been signed by Jeremy Corbyn, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts and former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas. – BBC News

  • MPs line up against threat of ‘ludicrous’ no‑deal Brexit – The Times (£)
  • Remainer MPs launch cross-party plot to scupper a no-deal Brexit – Daily Mail

…as Rory Stewart signifies support for the move, before swiftly rowing back

Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart has rowed back on suggestions he made that he is instinctively “sympathetic” to a Labour-backed bid in the Commons to block a no-deal Brexit. The move comes after Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour will use its opposition time on Wednesday to try to give control of Parliament’s agenda to MPs on June 25. The motion – which has the backing of other opposition parties as well as Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin – could be used to try to prevent the next prime minister forcing through a no-deal break with the EU. Mr Stewart provoked a political stir at his Tory leadership campaign launch when he indicated he was broadly sympathetic to the plan, although he stopped short of saying he would be prepared to vote for it. But after the event, Mr Stewart tweeted: “For the avoidance of any doubt – I have read the Labour motion proposed for tomorrow and I will not be voting for it.” Asked about the Labour move at his launch, Mr Stewart had said: “My instinct is that I would be wholly sympathetic to a move that tried to do that,” he said. “I am entirely against no deal.” – Belfast Telegraph

Cabinet ministers were at odds yesterday over preparation for No Deal…

Ministers clashed at a cabinet meeting yesterday over preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, criticised the Treasury as part of a complaint at Whitehall “drift” over planning for October 31 — the deadline for leaving the European Union. Sajid Javid accused Philip Hammond of ignoring a request for more money to keep Britain’s border forces on full no-deal readiness. After the meeting he submitted a formal demand for up to £1.2 billion extra cash — a request described by Home Office sources as “a reminder”. The chancellor said that he had not seen a Home Office bid for more cash. Allies described the home secretary’s four-paragraph reminder as “political posturing”. The border force has estimated that it may need 2,000 extra staff as well as investment in new technology to secure borders if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Chris Grayling, the transport secretary who was humiliated over his attempts to award a contract to a ferry company that didn’t have any ferries, said that freight capacity remained an urgent issue that needed to be addressed. The chancellor said that the Home Office had been allocated £480 million, the largest amount of any department, in a round of Whitehall funding for Brexit preparations in December. The spat illustrates the difficulties faced by Whitehall departments as they wait for the outcome of the Tory leadership race. Four of the ten candidates, including the front runner Boris Johnson, insist that the UK will leave on October 31 with or without a deal. – The Times (£)

…with Sajid Javid calling for £1.2bn to prepare police and border force for a no-deal Brexit

Sajid Javid demanded the Chancellor release £1.2 billion for police and border force to prepare for a No Deal. In a bitter Cabinet bust-up the Home Secretary accused the Treasury of failing to release money to help his department get ready for a ‘cliff edge’ EU exit. And he followed it up by sending a four paragraph demand to the Chancellor within minutes of the meeting ending yesterday. He insisted extra police and border staff hired before the original Brexit deadline of March 29 need to be kept on. Sources claimed the Home Office had already received £480 million of £2 billion released by the Treasury for 2019-2020. One said: “Sajid appears to be trying to score some political points.” – The Sun

Boris Johnson to launch leadership campaign today as poll suggests only he could lead the Tories to a general election victory

Boris Johnson is launching his Tory leadership campaign boosted by a major new cabinet endorsement and a highly favourable opinion poll. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has become the latest senior Tory to back the former foreign secretary, telling Sky News Mr Johnson will deliver Brexit on 31 October. And a ComRes poll in The Daily Telegraph suggests that with Mr Johnson as leader the Conservatives could be heading for a landslide at the next election with a majority of 140. But Mr Johnson and other pro-Brexit leadership candidates are facing a potential blow as Labour and the opposition parties stage a Parliamentary ambush aimed at blocking no deal. MPs will be asked to vote on a motion seizing control of Commons business from the government on June 25, paving the way for legislation ruling out a no-deal Brexit. At his campaign launch, Mr Johnson will say: “Now is the time to unite this country and unite this society, and we cannot begin that task until we have delivered on the primary request of the people; the one big thing they have asked us to do. “After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on 31 October. – Sky News

  • Johnson to launch PM bid with Brexit rallying cry – ‘Delay means defeat’ – Express
  • Boris Johnson on course for 140-seat majority at general election if he becomes Tory leader, poll shows – Telegraph (£)

Conservative leadership hopefuls Stewart, Leadsom and Harper clash on Brexit deadline…

Three more Conservative candidates have launched their campaigns to become leader of the Party – and Prime Minister. Andrea Leadsom, Rory Stewart and Mark Harper have all made their pitch — with Brexit once again the main source of division. But for the moment there has still been no word from the candidate they all have to beat: Boris Johnson. The launches came on the same day Labour said they will attempt to block any attempt at a no-deal Brexit. Leadership hopeful Rory Stewart launched his campaign to become the next prime minister, calling on voters to make a choice between “seriousness” and “fairy stories”. While Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper focused on the UK’s deadline. Former Cabinet minister Ms Leadsom, who resigned over Theresa May’s handling of Brexit negotiations, said leaving the EU by October 31 was a must and a “hard, red line”. Yet outsider Mr Harper, who served as chief whip under former prime minister David Cameron, said it may not feasible for the UK to secure a deal by October 31. – ITV News

  • Tory leadership rivals split over Brexit deadline – BBC News

…with Leadsom insisting it is ‘not possible’ for Parliament to block a no-deal Brexit…

Speaking at her campaign launch, the former Commons Leader said MPs would not be able to halt a hard Brexit, despite claims to the contrary by rival candidate Matt Hancock. Ms Leadsom, who resigned from the Cabinet over Mrs May’s Brexit deal, said leaving the bloc by 31 October was a “hard red line” as she pledged to negotiate a “managed exit” with Brussels. The Brexiteer MP’s plans include securing a “temporary free trade agreement” with EU leaders as well as introducing new legislation on citizen’s rights, air traffic agreements and the future security relationship. But she committed to delivering Brexit by 31 October “in all circumstances” even if MPs rejected her plan. I will be honest with the country and say in all circumstances we are leaving the European Union on the 31 October this year,” she said. “Our country and our party cannot afford any more indecisiveness, what I would say is that my managed exit offer sensible measures that sensible politicians both her in Parliament and in the European Union, will, in my opinion, agree to. So, I don’t think we need to have the choice between no Brexit and no deal, I think a managed exit is the way forward, and it is something I pledge to deliver. She added: “Having been leader of the Commons over the past two years, it is quite clear to me that there are procedural ways that Parliament, in the past, has been able to require an extension to Article 50. That would not be the case in the situation of a managed exit… I do not think that Parliament has the ability to prevent us from leaving at the end of October, which is the legal default position.” – PoliticsHome

  • PM candidate Andrea Leadsom says: parliament cannot stop Brexit – Reuters

> WATCH: Tory leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom’s speech at her campaign launch

…and asserting that leaving the EU by October 31st is for her a ‘hard red line’

Andrea Leadsom underscored her Brexiteer credentials today warning that leaving the EU by October must be a ‘hard red line’. Launching her Tory leadership campaign, the former Cabinet minister declared Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement dead. She insisted the best option now was a ‘managed’ departure to ease the impact of leaving without a comprehensive deal. The intervention comes as candidates struggle to make their mark in the race to succeed Theresa May as PM. At her launch, Mrs Leadsom presented herself as the ‘optimistic yet realistic Brexiteer’ who can heal the divisions in the country. She joined Mr Johnson, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey in calling for the UK to leave by the next deadline of Halloween – in contrast to Mr Hunt, Mr Gove and others who are refusing to rule out an extension. ‘Leaving the EU on the 31st of October is, for me, a hard red line,’ Mrs Leadsom said. ‘The next prime minister must have a clear plan to a managed exit by the end of October.’ – MailOnline

  • Andrea Leadsom says she’ll work with Labour on next stage of Brexit – Bloomberg

Mark Harper vows to destroy the Brexit Party, but says a new Brexit deal is not possible by October 31st…

Mark Harper has insisted he will “destroy” the Brexit Party in a scathing attack against Nigel Farage. Speaking to fellow Tory MPs during today’s leadership hustings, Mr Harper insisted leaving the EU on October 31 was unrealistic, and that making and then failing to deliver such a promise would “put rocket boosters” under Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Speaking to reporters, he said: “I think promising it and failing to do so would put rocket boosters under Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, whereas what I want to do is destroy The Brexit Party.” In his campaign speech, the MP for the Forest of Dean constituency said it was “not possible or credible” to leave on the terms of a new deal if the UK were to leave the EU on October 31. He also said that renegotiating and passing a new deal through Parliament would take even longer. Express

> WATCH: Tory leadership candidate Mark Harper speaking at his campaign launch

…and that it will be necessary to woo the Irish PM to get a better Brexit deal

Rebuilding diplomatic ties with Ireland is the key to getting a better Brexit deal from the European Union, says Mark Harper, the self-styled “serious underdog” in the contest to be Britain’s new prime minister. The future of the land border between EU-member Ireland and British province Northern Ireland proved to be the downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, causing a deep rupture in her Conservative Party that culminated in three crushing defeats in parliament on her proposed Brexit deal. Now the party is choosing a new leader to take on the job of plotting a course to Brexit through a divided parliament with no consensus on what it wants – except that it does not want May’s deal – and an EU that is adamant it will not renegotiate. “The most important thing we’ve got to do is to get Brexit done, and I think the person that is most important to getting Brexit done – it’s building a relationship with the Taoiseach, the leader of the Irish republic,” Harper told Reuters. – Reuters

Matt Hancock promises to hold Brexit deal vote before the end of July…

Tory leadership contender Matt Hancock has promised to hold a vote on his Brexit deal before the end of July. The health secretary said on Tuesday he would ask MPs to back his plan “immediately” after becoming prime minister. Theresa May’s successor is due to be announced on Monday July 22 and be in place before the Commons rises for its summer recess. Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Hancock said a positive vote would “show the European Union that this plan is deliverable through the House of Commons” Hancock has claimed he will be able to persuade the EU to put a time limit on the Northern Ireland backstop – despite Brussels having rejected this idea in the past. “They nearly proposed a time limit on the backstop before,” Hancock said, “but they didn’t think that the prime minister, Theresa May, would be able to get it through the House of Commons.” – Huffington Post

> LISTEN: Matt Hancock on the Today programme

…but refuses to rule out staying in the EU after October 31st

The Conservative leadership challenger, Matt Hancock, has refused to rule out extending Britain’s membership of the EU beyond October, but insisted he could secure a time limit to the backstop from the EU that would pass parliament. The health secretary said his rival candidates who had pledged to leave – deal or no deal – by 31 October were making false promises because parliament would block any no-deal departure. He said the outcome would be a general election, which would be a “catastrophe for my party and extremely damaging for the country”. Hancock claimed his plan for renegotiation was detailed, “unlike some of the other candidates”, and would involve first putting a deal to parliament that included a backstop with a time limit, to prove to the EU27 that it could pass. He would then restart the negotiations. The backstop is a device intended to ensure there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, even if no formal deal can be reached on trade and security arrangements. – Guardian

Jean-Claude Juncker rules out changing Irish backstop as Britain is warned that failing to pay £39bn Brexit bill could ‘break the law’…

Brussels ruled out changing the Irish ‘backstop’ – as France warned Britain would break international law if it withholds the £39bn Brexit bill. Jean-Claude Juncker said there’s no chance of a time-limit for the border fix and the best Britain can hope for is tweaks to the non-binding trade plan. The Commission chief shut down hopes of a compromise insisting Theresa May’s deal “has to be respected by whomsoever will be the next British PM”. He said: “There will be no renegotiation as far as the content of the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned. “We can have some clarifications, precisions, additions to the Political Declaration relating to our future relations.” Asked if that could include a time limit to the backstop, he replied: “No.” The Commission chief hit out as Emmanuel Macron’s EU chief warned refusing to pay the divorce bill would severely sour relations with France. Amélie de Montchalin insisted Mrs May’s pact is the only way for the UK to leave the EU amicably and October 31 is the “final deadline”. She added Britain can have another delay to Brexit if pursues a General Election, second referendum, or a “totally new political line”. – The Sun

…and he says UK politicians were more interested in ousting Theresa May than solving Brexit…

The president of the European Commission has criticised the British political class for being more interested in ousting Theresa May than finding a solution to Brexit. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, Jean-Claude Juncker said the withdrawal agreement could not be changed and was not open to negotiation by future Tory leaders. “I don’t like what is happening … I have the impression for months now that the main interest for the British political society was how to replace Theresa May and not how to find an arrangement with the European Union,” he told Politico in a live interview. The commission president added: “We have concluded the withdrawal agreement: this is not a treaty between Theresa May and Juncker, it is a treaty between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It has to be respected.” Mr Juncker’s comments echo a warning from a commission spokesperson earlier on Tuesday that a new prime minister would not be able to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. A spokesperson had told reporters at lunchtime in Brussels that “the election of a new prime minister will of course not change the parameters of what is on the table”. The spokesperson added that Brussels was on a “Brexit break” and that it would also “refrain from any positions or opinions that would risk interfering with the ongoing leadership contest in the Conservative Party”. Asked whether he had a favourite in the Tory leadership contest Mr Juncker simply responded: “No.” He later added: “It’s not our choice and nobody asked our opinion.” “The withdrawal agreement will not be negotiated. It’s the decision of the Conservative Party to appoint the new prime minister. We have to work with the incoming prime minister like we did with the outgoing prime minister.” He also explicitly ruled-out a time limit on the controversial Northern Irish backstop. – Independent

…as Brussels claims a new UK Prime Minister will not change the ‘parameters’ of Brexit

The UK’s new Prime Minister will not be allowed to bring a new Brexit deal to the table, European officials said today. A European Commission spokesman said the Brexit deal that is on the table “has been approved by all member states”, adding that “a new prime minister will not change the parameters.” When asked about a pledge from Boris Johnson, the favourite to succeed Theresa May, to withhold billions in liabilities owed to the European Union’s budget, the spokesman said: “Everybody knows what is on the table. “What is on the table has been approved by all member states and the election of a new prime minister will not change the parameters.” – Evening Standard

  • Britain won’t get a better Brexit deal, German minister tells Conservatives – Reuters

Sammy Wilson says EU’s reported planning of  Irish border technology is ‘no surprise to the DUP’

Sammy Wilson has said that reports the EU is making plans for technology to facilitate trade at the Irish border in the event of a no-deal Brexit “come as no surprise” to the DUP. The party’s Brexit spokesperson was speaking after the Sun reported that the EU will use “IT systems” to keep trade moving between Ireland and the EU. According to reports, a dossier to be presented next week says that a fix “can be implemented swiftly” in the event of a no-deal Brexit. EU officials are said to be in “regular contact” with authorities in Ireland, France and the Netherlands over contingency plans. The dossier advises EU countries to use the Brexit extension until October 31 to review progress on new border inspection posts “and ensure that they are fully functional from the outset” in the event of a no-deal. “Furthermore, the Commission maintains regular contacts with the most concerned Member States so that a land-bridge route between Ireland and the rest of the EU via the UK can be implemented swiftly in the event of No Deal, including support from the necessary IT systems,” it reportedly reads. Mr Wilson said that he was not surprised by news of the plans despite EU “intransigence over the Irish backstop”. The backstop aims to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit, but the DUP claim it will keep Northern Ireland closely aligned with the EU and create a trade border in the Irish Sea. The backstop issue effectively ended Theresa May’s hopes of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament and its failure hastened her departure as Prime Minister. The DUP Brexit spokesperson said that a no-deal Brexit looks “increasingly likely” as it is backed by the majority of Tory leadership contenders vying to replace Mrs May. – Belfast Telegraph

Outgoing UK diplomat slams ‘chaotic politics’ and Brexit ‘shambles’

The outgoing British high commissioner to Singapore has warned that the Asian city-state’s leaders are “baffled by the U.K.’s chaotic politics” and that Brexit is doing lasting damage to the U.K.’s reputation. In a devastating assessment of the damage Brexit is doing to the U.K.’s global reputation, Scott Wightman, one of the country’s most senior diplomats, said major investors told him the balance of future investment in Europe “will inevitably be weighted more towards Germany and France,” with post-referendum political risk now their “principle consideration.” His comments also cast doubt on the U.K.’s Global Britain strategy aimed at averting the economic damage of Brexit by using the country’s network of influence and trade links around the world. – Politico

Irish Revenue steps up no-deal Brexit preparations with extra staff

In September last year, the Government granted approval for the phased recruitment of an additional 600 Revenue staff to meet the challenges posed in the case of a no deal. Budget 2019 provided Revenue with the funding needed for 270 of the additional 600 staff, to manage an orderly UK withdrawal. In March, prior to the agreed Brexit extension, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said Revenue was on track to appoint 400 additional staff in customs and related roles by the end of March. Since then the Brexit deadline has been extended to 31 October, but Revenue has continued to appoint staff from open recruitment and interdepartmental competitions, 450 additional staff have been assigned Customs related roles, the majority of whom completed initial training in April 2019. They are deployed across a range of functions according to Revenue, with the majority assigned to import and export trade facilitation activities and policy and operational roles. New staff are being “mentored” by experienced Customs staff to “enhance” their customs competency and are also receiving additional training on “Revenue enforcement procedures and Revenue systems”. Revenue said resources will be deployed based on the evolving business needs and to tackle any risks as they emerge. – RTE

> Ray Bassett on BrexitCentral today: The Irish Government’s Brexit policy is in tatters and its bluff is now being called

Unemployment falls again to its lowest level since 1974 – and pay is up too – despite Brexit

Unemployment keeps falling and wages are rising despite the current Brexit paralysis, official figures revealed today. The Office for National Statistics has said that the number of people out of work fell by 34,000 to 1.3 million in the three months to April. The overall employment rate of 76.1 per cent is also the joint highest total since records began in 1971. There is also a record number of women in work in the UK – with 72 per cent in jobs – this is the highest ever level in Britain. And average earnings increased by 3.1 per cent compared with 3.3 per cent in the previous month. The UK’s unemployment rate is now lower than at any time since the end of 1974. The buoyant figures show Britain’s economy still defies the Brexit paralysis and seemingly unending deadlock at Westminster. Unemployment fell by 34,000 to 1.3 million, continuing a general trend which started in early 2012. The UK’s unemployment rate of 3.8% remains the joint lowest level since the end of 1974, reported the Office for National Statistics. Average earnings increased by 3.1% compared to the same period a year ago. This was slower than a 3.3% rise last month. The employment rate for women was the highest on record at 72%, following changes to the state pension age which have resulted in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65. Economic inactivity, the ONS’s measure of people with no job who are not actively seeking one, also fell to a record low among women of 25.2%. – MailOnline

Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson: Why Johnson is the best choice for the Party. For our town, Swindon. And for the country

They say that politics can’t get weirder, but events since 2016 have proved almost impossible to navigate. Seasoned commentators and hardened politicians have struggled even to keep abreast of the rapidly-unfolding chain of events. The issue of Europe has claimed the scalp of yet another Prime Minister. The task is now on to choose the best person to lead our country and our party through these unprecedented circumstances, delivering Brexit so that people can once again begin to see the excitement and progress the Conservative Party can deliver. We believe that person is Boris Johnson. We are both MPs who won our seats after years of hard work and grassroots campaigning. We are MPs who supported Remain and Leave respectively, but who continue to work closely together to carry out the referendum result. As Ministers of State, we are striving every day to improve the working of our vital public services. We are looking for a Prime Minister who will seek to reach agreement with the EU, who will be realistic and honest in that process and who will be able to unite the nation behind any deal that is done. At a time when we face this unprecedented peacetime challenge, and the party system is coming under strain as never before, the situation calls for charismatic, uplifting and positive leadership. We believe that now is the time for Boris Johnson. In the aftermath of the EU referendum in 2016, we both felt then that he was the best choice as Prime Minister. That option did not come to pass, but now it can happen. Why Boris Johnson? He recognises that the greatest threat our country faces is a hard left, extremist Corbyn-led Government that will destroy the means by which we raise the revenue to support our valued public services and that will lead our nation into economic collapse, supported by the SNP, risking the destruction of everything that we in Swindon have been working for. – Robert Buckland MP and Justin Tomlinson MP for Conservative Home

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The EU’s new commission will be a different animal when it comes to Brexit

Italy’s insurgent government has settled on a hardline eurosceptic and Brexit sympathiser to be the country’s next European commissioner, a sign of stark changes to come in the political atmosphere of Brussels. Matteo Salvini, the ‘Italy First’ leader of the Lega party, is flexing his muscles in Rome’s fraying coalition and exploiting his victory in the European elections to demand a purge of pro-EU establishment figures at the helm of Italian diplomacy. Political sources in Rome say he has secured tacit acceptance from his Five Star partners for the veteran eurosceptic Giancarlo Giorgetti, the Lega’s elder statesman and an advocate of a parallel ‘minibot’ payments system. This scrip money would be used to settle €52bn of arrears to state contractors and households. Mr Giorgetti has praised Brexit effusively in the past, congratulating the English for “giving us all a great lesson in democracy”. He has long denounced the EU as a project hostile to self-governing democracies and accused it of provoking the current revolt across Europe by ignoring a string of popular votes and referenda against further EU integration. A bloc of like-minded commissioners from eurosceptic parties and countries would coalesce around an Italo-Polish axis of sorts in the ‘College’. This would be a new experience for Brussels. Italy is in some respects in the same boat as the UK. It is facing its own showdown with Brussels over budget rules. Mr Salvini is incensed that his country is being singled out as the first violator of the revamped ‘Excessive Deficit Procedure’, threatened with fines of €3bn. This is treacherous terrain for the Commission. Italy is a net EU contributor. It has been running one of the tightest fiscal policies in Europe for 15 years. It has one foot in recession and currently needs fiscal stimulus. EU-imposed austerity at this juncture playing with political fire. “We’re not asking the Germans or Spanish for money. We want to use Italian money for Italians,” said Mr Salvini. “When my son is hungry and Brussels says ‘No’ Matteo, you can’t give him anything because it is against European rules, do you really think I am going to accept this? My son comes first, and my children are 60 million Italians.” Mr Salvini warned Brussels that any attempt to pressure Italy into submission would have grave consequences. The minibot is his weapon of nuclear deterrence. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)

Lucy Frazer, Richard Drax, Marcus Fysh and Damien Moore: From Somerset to Sunderland only Boris Johnson can deliver

What voters want Conservatives to offer is an outward looking message of hope for the future. Brexit hit British politics like a tsunami; uprooting traditional party loyalties and for some has turned into a question of democracy itself. Without delivering on the vote of the people we, as a party, face electoral oblivion because voters won’t listen to anything else we have to say. Many seats that the Lib Dems lost in 2015 voted for Leave in the referendum. Any vulnerability in those seats is more a consequence of the Brexit Party quickly gaining support than it is the result of any sort of Lib Dem recovery. Holding both leave and remain leaning seats at the next election becomes almost impossible if Brexit Party support remains anywhere near its current level. The only way to halt the rise of Nigel Farage is to deliver Brexit, like the voters demanded in their droves in recent elections. We must show the electorate that they can trust us to deliver. – Lucy Frazer MP. Richard Drax MP, Marcus Fysh MP and Damien Moore MP for The Times (£)

Annabelle Dickson: Why Boris Johnson is no slam dunk for the Tory crown

Boris Johnson is the bookies’ favorite to succeed Theresa May — but don’t bet on it. Previous leadership contests for the U.K.’s Tory party suggest that the title of “front-runner” — the tag currently attached to the former foreign secretary — is more hindrance than help. It draws fire from other contenders and brings disproportionate scrutiny from the media early in the race, as well as from what one veteran described as the “duplicitous electorate” of Tory MPs. “Do the favorites win? History says very rarely,” said Steven Norris, a veteran former Conservative MP.  David Davis, the Brexit secretary until July last year, was the early front-runner in the 2005 contest to replace Michael Howard, who announced he was standing down following another Tory election defeat. Seven months later the lesser-known Cameron had wowed the Tory parliamentary party and faithful, and became the leader of the opposition and subsequently prime minister in 2010. Many commentators believe a quick leadership election would have favored Davis, who had lots of MP backers, but the lengthy contest gave Cameron a chance to build support among MPs and the membership. It was a memorable and passionate no-notes speech to party conference that really sealed the deal. – Annabelle Dickson for Politico

Chris Moncrieff: Has Labour’s win in Peterborough put paid to Nigel Farage and his Brexit crusade? Don’t count on it

The Labour Party’s surprise victory at the Peterborough by-election, despite the party’s muddled policy over Brexit, came as a welcome surprise to Jeremy Corbyn, who, however, would be mistaken if he believes this triumph has put paid to Nigel Farage and his flashy new Brexit Party. Farage is made of sterner stuff and he will be well aware that his own triumphs at the EU elections have made him a serious force to be reckoned with in British politics. After all, his party was runner-up at the Peterborough election, knocking the Conservatives into third place. The Brexit Party continues to win support from some disillusioned Conservative and Labour party members and will represent a danger to both parties when the general election arrives. Meanwhile, the Tories will at least be gratified that they have pushed the upsurging Liberal Democrats into fourth place at Peterborough. This constituency used to send MPs to parliament on single-figure majorities and so the 600-vote Labour victory can be regarded as almost a luxury in this part of the country. But both the major British political parties have much work to do to restore the kind of faith they enjoyed among the British electorate for years. So, Farage, although he hoped to win at Peterborough, will not be disappointed by being runner-up. His party’s future seems brighter at the moment than that of Labour – or the Tories. – Chris Moncrieff for the Belfast Telegraph

Brexit in Brief

  • I have shown in government that I deliver. And as Prime Minister, I will deliver Brexit – and stop Corbyn – Michael Gove MP for Conservative Home
  • Brexit declared ‘children’s word of the year’ – Independent