Boris Johnson defeated as MPs seeking to delay Brexit seize control of today’s Commons agenda: Brexit News for Wednesday 4 September

Boris Johnson defeated as MPs seeking to delay Brexit seize control of today’s Commons agenda: Brexit News for Wednesday 4 September
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Boris Johnson defeated as MPs seeking to delay Brexit seize control of today’s Commons agenda…

Tory rebels and opposition MPs have defeated the government in the first stage of their attempt to pass a law designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The Commons voted 328 to 301 to take control of the agenda, meaning they can bring forward a bill seeking to delay the UK’s exit date. In response, Boris Johnson said he would bring forward a motion for an early general election. Jeremy Corbyn said the bill should be passed before an election was held. In total, 21 Tory MPs, including a number of ex-cabinet ministers, joined opposition parties to defeat the government. After the vote, Downing Street said those Tory MPs who rebelled would have the whip removed, effectively expelling them from the parliamentary party. No 10 had hoped the threat of expulsion – and an election – would bring would-be rebels into line. The prime minister said the MPs’ bill would “hand control” of Brexit negotiations to the EU and bring “more dither, more delay, more confusion”. He told MPs he had no choice but to press ahead with efforts to call an October election, adding: “The people of this country will have to choose.” The result means the MPs will be able to take control of Commons business on Wednesday. – BBC News

  • General Election looms as Boris Johnson loses crucial Brexit vote – Mirror
  • Boris Johnson’s day of reckoning as enemies close in from all sides – The Times (£)

> WATCH: Highlights from the EU Withdrawal Emergency Debate

> Jonathan Isaby on BrexitCentral today: 21 Tories rebel as MPs vote to seize Wednesday’s Commons agenda for Bill to delay Brexit – How every MP voted

…prompting the PM to strip 21 rebel Tory MPs of the party whip, including nine former Cabinet ministers…

Boris Johnson will strip 21 Tory MPs of the whip in one of the biggest parliamentary bloodbaths in history. Nine former Cabinet ministers including Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Greg Clark will lose the Tory whip after rebelling against the government to try and block a no deal Brexit. Tory grandee Ken Clarke and Sir Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson, will lose the party whip. They will sit in the House as independents and the party will block their selection as candidates in the next election. The rebel MPs defeated the government by 328 votes to 301 last night as they passed a  motion paving the way for legislation to delay Brexit. Speaking after the vote Mr Clark said he was “fully aware of the personal consequences” when he voted to stop no deal which he said would “harm” the country. Yesterday Mr Hammond told Boris Johnson that he will face the “fight of a lifetime” if he tries to push him out of the party. A Tory party source said: “The party has the final say over approved candidates. Sitting MPs have to have the whip to be a Conservative candidate. If they don’t, they wouldn’t be reselected as the Conservative candidate.” – Telegraph (£)

…with Johnson having already lost his Commons majority after Tory MP Phillip Lee joined the Lib Dems yesterday

Rebel Tory MP Phillip Lee has dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats – depriving Boris Johnson of his Commons majority. The pro-EU former justice minister walked across the Commons chamber, to sit with Jo Swinson’s party, meaning the prime minister now leads a minority government – the first since 1996. “The party I joined in 1992 is not the party I am leaving today,” said Dr Lee, a supporter of a Final Say referendum on Brexit. The defection is the third to the resurgent Lib Dems in recent months, after Chuka Umunna, a former Labour MP, and Sarah Wollaston, an ex-Conservative, joined the ranks. – Independent

  • Boris Johnson loses Commons majority after Tory rebel quits mid-speech to join Lib Dems – Express

Johnson now seeks to trigger a vote tonight for a snap general election…

Boris Johnson will attempt to trigger a general election today after MPs – including 21 rebels from within his own party – inflicted a stinging defeat on him. Members trying to avoid a no-deal Brexit next month won a dramatic vote to seize control of the parliamentary agenda today, paving the way for a delay in leaving the EU. Springing to his feet to respond, the prime minister said parliament was “on the brink of wrecking any deal that we might have been able to strike with Brussels”. He insisted “I don’t want an election” but if he is forced to try to delay no-deal tomorrow, “the public will have to choose” who should “take this country forward”. Mr Johnson said he would introduce the necessary law calling for a snap poll tomorrow, which will require two-thirds of MPs to support it to pass. – Sky News

  • Election date changed to avoid clash with Jewish festival that could disenfranchise thousands of voters – Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clash as an election is tabled

…but Jeremy Corbyn suggests he won’t back Johnson’s election call until a no-deal Brexit is off the table… 

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested he will not back Boris Johnson’s general election call until a law preventing a no deal Brexit has been passed. Speaking in the aftermath of the Government’s failure to block MPs seizing control of Parliament today to introduce the controversial Bill, the Labour leader held back from saying he would vote today to trigger a snap poll. Responding to the Prime Minister’s call to set the wheels in motion for an electon on Oct 15, Mr Corbyn said: “Fine. Get the Bill through first in order to take no deal off the table.” His refusal to back the election was echoed by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, who said: “It is vital that this House acts with responsibility and does not tip our country into an election at point where there is any risk that we will crash out of the European Union during that election campaign or immediately after.” Ahead of the vote, it was unclear whether Labour would back the call for a general election – which requires the support of two-thirds of MPs under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. – Telegraph (£)

…as rebel Labour MPs call for another vote on Theresa May’s final Brexit deal

MPs should be given a chance to vote for Theresa May’s final Brexit deal, according to rebel Labour MPs. They have tabled two amendments to a bill which aims to make it illegal for Boris Johnson to take the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October. Seventeen Labour MPs have put their names to the amendments, including Stephen Kinnock, Gloria de Piero, John Mann and Caroline Flint. Opposition parties and Tory rebels have given their backing to the rebel bill, which would force the Prime Minister to seek a three-month extension to the Brexit deadline – or accept any other date offered by Brussels. But the rebel Labour MPs say voters will be left “banging their head against a brick wall” if Brexit is delayed any further. Instead, they say there should be a Commons vote on the final version of Mrs May’s deal, which was never put before MPs because it was destined to be defeated. In a statement, they said: “Parliament is paralysed by its extremes. Those who are willing to entertain the prospect of no deal, and those for whom no Brexit deal, however comprehensive, will ever be acceptable. We do not agree with either camp. We need a deal.” The MPs say the final version of Mrs May’s deal – which was drawn up following lengthy negotiations with Labour – would have kept the UK in the EU customs union while guaranteeing workers’ rights and environmental protections. – PoliticsHome

Boris Johnson open to an all-Ireland food zone as a backstop solution…

The prime minister has suggested he is open to an all-Ireland food standards zone as part of a solution to replace the Brexit backstop. Food standards are one of the most difficult border issues. That is due to strict EU rules that say products from a non-member state must be checked at the point of entry. If Northern Ireland was to align with the Republic of Ireland, it would effectively continue to follow EU rules. That would mean that some food products coming from elsewhere in the UK would be subject to new checks and controls at Northern Ireland ports. Mr Johnson has said he will visit Dublin on Monday to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The prime minister said he wants to discuss the issue with the EU, and during the meeting with Mr Varadkar next week. – BBC News

…with the DUP ‘open’ to talks on such a proposal

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds says his party is open to discussions with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a possible all-Ireland food standards zone as part of a solution to the Brexit backstop. Mr Johnson told MPs yesterday that he wants talks on an all-Ireland approach to agriculture and food products. Concerns have been raised that trade deals with countries such as the US after the UK leaves the EU could lead to a lowering of environmental and animal welfare standards or see British farmers undermined by cheaper imports that do not have to meet the same rules that producers in this country have to adhere to. Critics have warned that some foods which are currently not permitted in the UK, could enter the food chain as a result of post-Brexit trade deals. If Northern Ireland were to align with the Republic, it would effectively continue to follow EU rules with some food products coming from elsewhere in the UK being subject to new checks and controls at local ports. Nigel Dodds said his party is “willing to sit down” and look at what Mr Johnson is proposing to see “what can be done”. The DUP Westminster leader told BBC Newsline: “On agri-food, there are issues there in terms of the industry but he (Boris Johnson) made the very important point that it would have to be with the consent and assent of the institutions in Northern Ireland, the Assembly which is exactly in accordance with paragraph 50 of the joint reports which we inserted. “We’re in the business of solving problems. – Belfast Telegraph

Chancellor commits another £2bn for no-deal Brexit planning…

The chancellor, Sajid Javid, will commit an extra £2bn for no-deal Brexit planning, the Treasury has announced, taking the running total for preparations to more than £8.3bn since the 2016 referendum. Javid is due to formally unveil the money as part of his spending round statement to MPs on Wednesday, although it remains to be seen whether this will take place as planned given moves by backbench MPs to take control of the Commons agenda. Downing Street insisted the spending review would happen in some form. However, it is understood that if the order paper is revised to make space for the backbench bill seeking to delay Brexit, it could take place as a written statement. The Treasury said the extra £2bn would be spent on post-Brexit projects and would include cash for the Border Force, for the Department for Transport to assist ports, and for a possible UK replacement for the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system. – Guardian

…as Michael Gove promises to prop up firms hit by no-deal tariffs

High EU tariffs on British exports present the “biggest challenge” in a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove admitted. Yesterday the minister for no-deal planning also said that large parts of industry would need government subsidies to stay viable if Britain crashed out of the EU. In his first Commons appearance in his new role, he said the food and chemical industries, farming and some manufacturers would face particular challenges, but revealed that the Treasury was drawing up plans to support any company that faced collapse because of the change in the UK relationship with its largest trading partner. The level of subsidies has not been revealed but it is expected to cost the taxpayer several billion pounds. Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said that businesses in her constituency were facing “manufacturing suicide”. Mr Gove replied that he accepted the tariffs faced by businesses in a no-deal Brexit would be hard to mitigate. The government has already confirmed that it will provide subsidies to farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit to make up for their exports no longer being competitive in Europe. – The Times (£)

Dominic Raab warns that a Brexit delay will ‘cost £1bn a month’

Pushing back the date of Brexit will cost the UK an additional £1bn a month, Dominic Raab claimed this morning in a bid to kill off the looming Commons rebellion. The Foreign Secretary warned Britain is at a “crossroads” with the Government’s Brexit policy at risk of collapsing if Tory backbenchers vote to seize control of Parliament’s timetable. Rebel MPs want to pass a bill forcing a three-month delay to Britain’s EU departure if Boris Johnson fails to secure a revised Withdrawal Agreement. Calling on Conservatives to reject the legislation, Mr Raab told the BBC’s Today programme: “It would create paralysing uncertainty, it’s craftily designed not just for one extension but to try and allow serial extensions. – iNews

New rules could give EU nationals three-year right to remain after possible no-deal

The Government is poised to announce a liberalisation of rules on EU nationals’ residency in the UK to allay concerns about their status after a possible no-deal Brexit. It is understood that free movement rules will be replaced by a three-year leave to remain scheme for any EU citizen arriving in the UK and joining the settlement register before the end of 2020. The change, to be announced by the Home Office as early as Wednesday, would effectively allow citizens of any of the 27 remaining EU states arriving before the cut-off date to stay in the UK until 31 December 2023. It represents a significant scaling down of earlier proposals to end free movement altogether on 1 November in the case of no-deal. – Independent

Tory civil war intensifies as Philip Hammond claims Johnson cannot expel him from the party over Brexit…

Philip Hammond says Boris Johnson has no power to expel him from the Conservative Party over Brexit and has threatened “the fight of a lifetime” to save it from “entryists”. The former chancellor condemned the “incomers and entryists” – led by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s key aide – who were turning the party into “a narrow faction”. And he poured scorn on Mr Johnson’s claim to be able to strike a fresh Brexit deal, saying: “There is no progress. There are no substantive negotiations going on.” Local Tories in his Runnymede and Weybridge constituency have already reselected Mr Hammond – even with Mr Johnson’s threat to strip the party whip from him and other rebels. – Independent

  • Explosion of loathing at No10: The incendiary row between savage ex-Chancellor and table-thumping PM that led to Tory defeat – Daily Mail

> LISTEN: Philip Hammond on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme

…while the Tories consider breaking convention and standing a candidate against John Bercow if he seeks re-election

The Conservative Party is ready to break convention in order to remove Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. Mr Bercow has been a constant thorn in the side of Brexiteers and has on many occasions intervened to hinder his own party. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Tories will plan to replace Mr Bercow with a Brexiteer to take on the constituency of Buckingham in Buckinghamshire. Such has been his apparent efforts to go against Brexiteers within his own party, that one member of the Buckingham Conservative Association said that Mr Bercow “serves at his own pleasure”. Although the Conservative Party will look to replace Mr Bercow, the move could also allow other parties to contest the position. Former, deputy speaker Natascha Engel, who lost her seat in the 2017 snap election also attacked the Speaker as she insisted that he had “invented new rules” and wanting to switch from “impartial referee to partisan player-manager”. – Express

Reports claim Boris Johnson planned to prorogue Parliament days before No. 10 denied that it was under consideration

Boris Johnson appears to have approved a plan to prorogue Parliament in September in secret documents days before Downing Street outright denied that was his strategy. The Prime Minister announced last week that he planned to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament early in order to make way for a new Queen’s Speech – a move that lead to outrage from opposition MPs who accused him of blocking Brexit debate. The announcement was made on 28 August, just three days after Downing Street had dismissed reports that Mr Johnson was planning to shut down parliament as “entirely false”. But details have emerged through ongoing legal case which suggest the Government was considering suspending Parliament as early as mid-August. The Court of Session – Scotland’s highest civil court – is hearing a legal challenge which is arguing that Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament was not legally his to make. – iNews

  • Boris ignores Scottish court request – legal decision on proroguing parliament today – Express

European Commission says No Deal has never been closer, but the Brexit Secretary disagrees

The European Commission on Tuesday told EU-27 diplomats a no-deal Brexit had never been closer, after Stephen Barclay dismissed Michel Barnier’s vow that the EU would never renegotiate the Irish border backstop. “This is in contrast to the position I have heard in several EU capitals. They are open to creative and flexible solutions and are interested in seeing the details from the UK,” Mr Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper. Boris Johnson hinted he was open to an all Ireland food standards zone on the island of Ireland to help prevent a hard border after Brexit. The prime minister will meet Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, in Dublin on Monday. But multiple Brussels sources have confirmed that Britain is yet to put forward a single concrete alternative plan to the backstop. Stephanie Riso, a senior member of Mr Barnier’s Brexit team, told diplomats that Brussels was ready to hear UK proposals to break the deadlock over the Irish border backstop before the October 31 deadline.  “On the other hand we have been waiting for quite a while for different ideas and proposals and these haven’t come forward before,” she said, according to sources. – Telegraph (£)

Brussels eyes no-deal Brexit amidst turmoil in London

For Brussels, there’s a scenario worse than a no-deal Brexit — a deal that undermines the EU’s single market. As new political tumult unfolded in London on Tuesday, senior EU officials and diplomats insisted they remain open to new proposals from the U.K. that might salvage an agreement. But they insisted even more strongly they would not blink if Prime Minister Boris Johnson forces them to choose between scrapping the “backstop” provision on the Ireland border or accepting the economic harm of a no-deal scenario. “There has been no change in our position on the matter,” the European Commission’s chief spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva, visibly exasperated, said at a news conference in response to a question about potential willingness to change or abandon the backstop provision. Calling a no-deal departure “a very distinct possibility,” Andreeva said the Commission was still waiting for the British side to make proposals on alternatives to the backstop provision, which would similarly safeguard the integrity of the EU’s single market. “I can’t report any concrete proposals having been made that we have seen,” she said, in reply to a question about whether there had been any new idea put forward from London. “We are not insisting now on having anything on paper,” Andreeva added hopefully. “It can be digital as well.” Protecting the single market is of such paramount importance that EU leaders have long said they would sooner suffer the brutal consequences of a no deal than allow a breach. – Politico

EU considers designating no-deal Brexit as ‘disaster comparable to earthquake’ for emergency aid purposes

Brussels is considering designating a no-deal Brexit as a disaster comparable to an earthquake or heavy flooding for the purposes of allocating emergency aid. The proposal would see cash from the bloc’s Solidarity Fund handed to heavily-hit countries like Ireland to deal with the fallout of UK policy. Officials behind the scenes are working on the plan, which would require the approval of the European Parliament and member states. The cash would help any affected member states deal with the significant disruption the bloc is supposed to cause. The UK government has claimed that the EU, particularly Ireland, would be hit hard by the UK crashing out – though virtually all economists believe the economic impact would but significantly greater on the UK than the EU as a whole. The solidarity fund was first set up in 2002 after major flooding in central Europe.  Since then it has been used for 80 disasters such as forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought, with 24 different European countries supported to the tune of €5 billion. – Independent

Arlene Foster says those tying the Government’s hands are trying to cancel Brexit

The DUP leader Arlene Foster has accused the opposition and rebel MPs of trying to ‘cancel Brexit’. She accused them of ‘tying the Government’s hands’ as a vote to take control of the Commons agenda and block a no-deal Brexit was passed on Tuesday evening. “It’s time to respect the referendum result. Focus on getting a sensible deal rather than playing games,” said Mrs Foster in a Tweet. DUP MPs all voted with the Government on the issue. “Those tying the Govt’s hands are really trying to cancel Brexit. We will fight any election on defending the Union & our record of delivery,” she said. – Belfast Telegraph

Nigel Farage launches devastating attack on Remainers 

Nigel Farage has hit back after the chance of a no deal Brexit took a defeat in the House of Commons. Opposition MPs took control of parliamentary business and Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his working majority following the defection of Philip Lee. The Tory Party has not held a majority in the Commons since the 2017 general election. Mr Farage said in a speech: “We are in for the fight of our lives. “We may find ourselves in a few weeks, with no Brexit and with no chance in a general election to do anything about it, I fear that we are rapidly headed towards a very, very dark place. It’s been going on, gradually since 2016.” He explained: “You see democracy works only if you have the principle of losers consent.” – Express

Marcus Fysh: With constructive thinking we can reach a solution on the Irish border

Whether or not the UK makes a deal with the EU before or after it leaves at the end of October, or if the EU decides it doesn’t want to, the arrangements for Ireland’s interaction with the UK on its land border won’t be those within the draft Withdrawal Agreement that Theresa May proposed. They were defeated three times and the UK government’s policy is not to propose them again, however much the EU might like there to be a different reality. The choice for the EU and everyone else is no longer between Theresa May’s deal and alternative arrangements. It is between alternative arrangements or not having mutually agreed arrangements. The status quo, including a customs union in which the whole UK does not have control of its trade policy, are not options. That penny appears not yet to have dropped to all UK parliamentarians and officials, despite the decision made by the people which those parliamentarians voted to implement, and the obvious terminal consequences for trust in politics if it is denied, but hopefully it will soon. It is disappointing to see the politically motivated leakers inside the Government machine are still producing propaganda to prolong such uncertainty, rather than relaying the intensive work that Government is doing to prepare for any eventuality so that borders flow well and worst case scenarios do not come about. First we had the “Cross Whitehall Briefing” economic impact assessments, which among other biases used forecasts for trade costs as a “third country” that were ten to twenty times higher than than they would in fact be. Next we had leaks of the “Yellowhammer” disaster scenario prepared to frighten ministers about what might happen if the Government did nothing at all to prepare the country and cross-border traders for new processes. Now we have a leak of a purportedly official document for ministers involved in the Government’s Alternative Arrangements advisory work streams, designed to frighten parliamentarians and our EU interlocutors into thinking there are no plausible alternative arrangements. How much more could we have done in the last three years had Ministers and their officials been prepared to think positively and practically about their tasks, rather than leak and sabotage? – Marcus Fysh MP for CapX

Daniel Hannan: How to keep our pledges to the EU nationals who live here

Amid all the angst and acrimony, let’s cling to one area of agreement. All sides concur that EU citizens already in the UK should be allowed to stay here with the right to work and claim benefits as now. Labour and Conservative, Leave and Remain, everyone signs up to the principle. During the referendum, both the official Leave campaign and Arron Banks’s spoiler operation declared that, whatever happened, nothing should prejudice the rights of EU nationals who had already made their lives in Britain. Indeed, the only politicians who seemed to have a problem with the idea were Theresa May and, oddly enough, Philip Hammond, who insisted on seeing the issue as part of a bargaining process. Not until 2018 did May finally agree to grant settled status to EU nationals, and months more were to pass before she was prevailed on to waive the £65 processing fee. Boris Johnson, by contrast, always saw the issue in terms of trust and decency. At no stage has he wavered in that view. So what is the problem? Like other politicians, I have been hearing complaints from EU nationals in in my region who believe they have had their applications turned down, despite being resident in Britain – in some cases for many years. Whether we need primary legislation, or whether there is a neater method, others can judge better than I can. If, as rumoured, Priti Patel is about to announce a softening of the abrupt cut-off for EU nationals on 1 November, so much the better: it gives us the time we need. A clear legal entitlement will, I hope, settle the minds of the EU nationals resident here. It is the least we can do. – Daniel Hannan MEP for ConservativeHome

Ruth Davidson: Sorry Nicola but the UK is strong enough to survive Brexit intact

If old generals are guilty of always fighting the last battle, this new generation knows where the arguments will need to go next. Nicola Sturgeon thought she had the answer to that new campaign in 2016, when she announced the morning after the Brexit vote that she had already instructed Scottish Government officials to draw up the legislation for a second independence referendum. With Scotland voting heavily for Remain, the First Minister thought all she had to do was pull a lever marked “Brexit” to get separation over the line. Indeed, so convinced was she by her own argument that she officially requested the section 30 powers required to get a new referendum underway. She was denied the powers and her request proved so popular that at the snap general election called just a few weeks later the SNP lost half a million votes and 21 seats. Since then, she’s continually tried to pull that lever and seems unable to understand why Scottish public opinion hasn’t markedly shifted. It’s almost as if saying that leaving one union is so catastrophic that Scotland must leave a deeper and more important one smacks of illogical opportunism. Or that seeing the delays, confusion and concerns that have dogged Brexit up to this point are hardly the greatest advertisement for sweeping constitutional change. For all Nicola Sturgeon likes to put on a show about the inevitability of Scottish Independence, she hasn’t yet chosen to ask again for the powers to make one happen. Meanwhile Ms Sturgeon’s dreadful handling of the Scottish economy is coming back to bite her. Scotland’s deficit has ballooned to seven per cent, the highest in the EU. The SNP has also failed to use the intervening years to grasp the nettle of what currency an independent Scotland would use, never mind explain how an Irish-border type question wouldn’t apply to Scotland in the event of pitching a campaign on the premise of re-entering the EU. But pointing out the mote in your opponent’s eye is of little use if you’ve a ruddy great log in your own. Brexit uncertainty makes the future shape of the UK harder to express too, which is why I desperately want to see the Prime Minister bring back a deal for the House of Commons to back. – Ruth Davidson MSP for the Telegraph (£)

Asa Bennett: With a Brexit election brewing, why are Labour Remainers so coy about facing the people?

Boris Johnson sought to show last night that he did not want to incur the wrath of Brenda from Bristol and her friends, reassuring the nation: “I don’t want an election, you don’t want an election”. The message was clear: he would only pursue one if forced to do so by MPs tying his hands over Brexit. The campaign he would fight in that scenario is obvious: Mr Brexit vs a Remainer Parliament. Brexiteers would be urged to give a clear mandate to the only main party leader dedicated to delivering on the referendum. Jeremy Corbyn’s Remain-ward slide would be exploited ruthlessly in order to put off Labour Leavers, while the resurgent Liberal Democrats would peel off the truly fervent Remainers, with the intended result that a combined Brexit majority returns Mr Johnson with a mandate to take on the scattered Remain opposition. That would explain why Tony Blair sounded the alarm yesterday, warning the current Labour leader not to fall into the “elephant trap” laid by Mr Johnson by agreeing to allow an election to be held. But Mr Corbyn swept aside such concerns, declaring yesterday he would be “delighted” to fight an election as it would “give the people a choice between two very different directions”Mr Corbyn and his followers evidently fancy their chances. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

John Curtice: With its core vote appeal, Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament could be an election-winning move

The Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament has sparked a major political row. The polls suggest the decision has divided voters too. But it seems unlikely to damage Boris Johnson’s electoral prospects. True, few accept the Government’s argument that it is simply proroguing Parliament in order to pave the way for a Queen’s Speech that will focus on the Government’s domestic agenda. According to Ipsos MORI, only one in eight voters believe that is the main reason for the Prime Minister’s move. As many as 70 per cent feel his true aim is to limit MPs’ opportunities to block a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Even most of those who voted Leave do not accept the Government’s stated reason for its decision. However this does not stop them approving of a step they think will help pave the way for the Brexit for which they voted three years ago. Remainers, unsurprisingly, take a very different view. – John Curtice for the Telegraph (£)

Stephen Pollard: The arrogance at the EU’s core shows we’re right to leave

The recent parliamentary shenanigans over Brexit have certainly got the pundits excited. The talk is of a constitutional crisis and a snap election. Although predictions are difficult at this volatile time, over the next few days the so-called “Rebel Alliance” of around 20 Tory MPs will try to compel the Prime Minister to seek yet another delay to Brexit if he cannot secure a deal. None of us knows what will happen. But compelling as the parliamentary spectacle may be, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We are in this mess, with a government on one side determined to secure Brexit and on the other side a bunch of MPs – quite possibly a majority – now working to stop it, because of a fundamental disconnection between parliament and the people. And it shows more clearly than ever just why we need to get on with leaving. In 2016 the people spoke. By a clear majority, we said that we wanted to leave the EU. Despite “Project Fear”, through which the massed ranks of the establishment told us that the heavens would fall in if we dared to leave, we voted to “Take Back Control”, as the slogan put it. Yet here we are more than three years later and not only are we still members of the EU but MPs are on the brink of once again postponing Brexit. And be in no doubt – when they talk about postponing Brexit what they really mean is stopping it because they have never reconciled themselves to the referendum result. – Stephen Pollard for the Express

The Sun: Voters will take ballot box revenge on Remainers trying to stop Brexit being enacted

The Remainer coup — to seize power and stop the biggest ballot box mandate in British history from being enacted — is now fully and shamefully under way. The chaos, division and damage this could unleash is incalculable. We are repulsed by the self-satisfaction and sickening disregard for our democracy of those behind it: Marxist Labour, the Lib Dems, deluded Tory “rebels”, grandstanding ex-Tory defectors. Last week our streets were blocked by idiotic Europhile protesters, with zero sense of proportion or grasp of history, witlessly branding Boris Johnson a “dictator” orchestrating “a coup”. He must be the first dictator defeated within days by a Parliamentary majority. But how can the Remainer antics be called anything but a coup? When MPs who once vowed to honour the referendum result vote instead to proceed with a dodgy Bill, enabled by their puppet Speaker, surrendering power to the EU to determine a delay of its choosing — to be rubber-stamped by our Remainer-dominated Parliament. Will three months suit Brussels? Six, maybe? How about ten years? Remainers will, have no doubt, sign off whatever the EU decides. They have no plan, beyond the second referendum some want. As for the Brexit majority, the 17.4million little people who voted Leave, they don’t count. Westminster Remoaners despise them. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • At the end of the day it’s a no-deal Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn – Daniel Finkelstein for The Times (£)
  • If Remainer MPs block Brexit then useful work will no longer be done at Westminster – Quentin Letts for The Sun
  • I used to admire John Major and Ken Clarke, now I watch with dismay – Ann Widdecombe MEP for the Express