Boris Johnson warns Tories they risk 'extinction' if they don’t deliver Brexit by October 31st: Brexit News for Wednesday 5 June

Boris Johnson warns Tories they risk 'extinction' if they don’t deliver Brexit by October 31st: Brexit News for Wednesday 5 June
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Boris Johnson warns Tories they risk ‘extinction’ if they don’t deliver Brexit by October 31st…

The Conservatives face “potential extinction” if they do not get Brexit done, Boris Johnson has warned. The former foreign secretary told a leadership hustings the party will “not be forgiven” if it does not take the UK out of the EU by 31 October as planned. He said he was best placed to beat Labour and “put Nigel Farage back in his box” but reportedly ruled out a snap general election if he becomes PM. Mr Johnson is one of 11 candidates vying to succeed Theresa May as leader. His comments came as the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) called on leadership contenders to abandon Mrs May’s Brexit deal. A paper published by the influential ERG said the next prime minister should sign up to the 31 October deadline and step up preparations for a no-deal exit on World Trade Organisation terms. On Tuesday, two candidates pulled out of the leadership race as the party tightened the rules for the contest amid concerns about the size of the field. Mr Johnson, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and ex-Commons leader Andrea Leadsom addressed the One Nation Conservative Caucus of Tory MPs in Parliament at the first hustings of the campaign. The group, which opposes a no-deal Brexit, has invited all the candidates to appear before them to make their case for the top job. – BBC News

  • Boris Johnson: No Halloween Brexit could mean Tories being wiped out – Sky News

…while Sajid Javid says Conservatives must not ‘become the Brexit Party’ at first hustings of contest

Sajid Javid has told Tory MPs that the Conservatives will not beat the Brexit Party “by becoming the Brexit Party”. The Home Secretary made the comments on Tuesday night at the first hustings of the leadership contest to succeed Theresa May. The press were barred from the meeting, despite it being the first major event for Tory MPs in the process to choose the next Prime Minister. More than 80 MPs packed into a Commons committee room for the private hustings, which was for Tory MPs in the centre-right One Nation group. Leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson, Rory Stewart and Andrea Leadsom were also due to take part.There are 11 MPs vying to take on the role as Tory leader. Mr Javid told the MPs: “If we make the wrong choice in this leadership election we could end up with a leader who thinks the way to lead is to exploit division.” He warned that “if we don’t look like change, voters will go for change in the form of Corbyn”. He received a warm response, with banging of tables heard from outside, after telling the MPs: “We will not beat the Brexit Party by becoming the Brexit Party.” He also ruled out a pact with the party, adding: “I wouldn’t enter into a confidence and supply arrangement with the Brexit Party.” – Evening Standard

Andrea Leadsom says Tory rivals Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab ‘made Brexit harder’ by quitting Cabinet

In a thinly-veiled swipe at fellow contenders Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, Ms Leadsom said resignations by high-profile Brexiteers had made the Cabinet “more Remain-centred”. Mr Johnson, the current frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, quit as Foreign Secretary last summer following a Brexit Cabinet summit at Chequers. Meanwhile Dominic Raab walked away from his post as Brexit Secretary in November as Theresa May outlined the deal she had struck with the European Union. But Ms Leadsom – who herself resigned as Leader of the Commons last month – told the Telegraph: “I stayed in government to fight for Brexit and those who didn’t made things that much harder.” She added: “People have said to me: ‘You should have resigned earlier’ but the reality is those who resigned did not help to deliver Brexit in any way. It meant that the balance in Cabinet became a lot more Remain-centred.” Ms Leadsom, who is making a second run for the Tory leadership, claimed that Brexit-backing ministers “had their voices drowned out” by their Remain-supporting colleagues. And she insisted she was the only member of the Cabinet who had pushed for a “managed exit” from the European Union without a deal. – PoliticsHome

Brexiteers Kit Malthouse and James Cleverly quit Tory leadership race

Housing minister Kit Malthouse has withdrawn from the Tory leadership race as the party changed its rules to make it harder for outsiders to stand. The field of candidates is now down to 11 after James Cleverly also pulled out of the contest. Mr Malthouse said he was a “realist” and acknowledged there was an “appetite for this contest to be over quickly”. Announcing his decision to withdraw, Mr Malthouse said: “The last few days have demonstrated that there is an appetite for this contest to be over quickly and for the nation to have a new leader in place as soon as possible. “As such, it seems right to me that I withdraw my candidature and wish those remaining the very best, always recognising there are going to be very challenging times ahead.” Earlier on Tuesday, Brexit minister Mr Cleverly said he had withdrawn because his fellow MPs were not comfortable with the idea of picking a “relatively new” colleague. The MP for Braintree, first elected in 2015, concluded he was “highly unlikely” to reach the final two candidates chosen by MPs. Mr Cleverly said: “I felt that we needed to deliver Brexit and then quickly move the conversation on to other important issues that face the country. “I had hoped that the Conservative parliamentary party would support me to be the face and voice of that conversation. “To do this I asked them to make a leap of faith, skip a generation and vote for a relatively new MP. – Belfast Telegraph

  • The timetable for the Parliamentary stage of the Conservative leadership election – Conservative Home

> WATCH: James Cleverly MP announces his withdrawal from the Tory leadership contest

Steve Baker could join Tory leadership race unless rivals back his Brexit plan

Arch Eurosceptic Steve Baker will pave the way for his own Tory leadership bid by demanding candidates back a Hard Brexit masterplan. And he is expected to say that if Boris Johnson and other leading Eurosceptic contenders don’t back his proposals – he will stand himself. Sources claimed the self-styled Brexit ‘Spartan’ has been preparing a bid for weeks. One of the Tory contenders told The Sun: “Steve is setting the bar too high purposely, so he can run himself. “His plan is a one way ticket to No Deal. He’ll have 15 members of the (Tory Eurosceptic group) ERG that (Tory MP) Mark Francois will whip up for him and then he’ll get knocked out.” Challenged, the former Brexit Minister refused to comment on his own ambitions. But he said: “This is a major national crisis. Conservative MPs need to understand that the Conservative Party will be obliterated by the Brexit Party if they don’t satisfy our voters who have defected. This is the time to put a stake in the ground.” Allies of Mr Baker insisted that he still hadn’t decided if he would stand. One said: “He’s going to leave himself a bit of wriggle room.” But his new plan – backed by 16 Eurosceptic Tories – comes just days before nominations for the contest close. And it is thought the document – demanding a “clean, managed Brexit” – has already been circulated around some leadership contenders’ camps. – The Sun

> Read: A Clean Managed Brexit by Steve Baker

President Trump promises ‘phenomenal’ post-Brexit trade deal…

Donald Trump today vowed to give Britain a “phenomenal” trade deal after Brexit in a parting gift to Theresa May as they stood on stage together. The President vowed to double or triple UK-US trade in future as he paid tribute to the “tremendous” PM on the second day of his state visit. He backed Brexit and praised Mrs May’s efforts to get a deal with the EU – predicting she won’t get the credit she deserves. Mr Trump said: “The United States is committed to a phenomenal trade deal – there is tremendous potential in that trade deal, probably two and even three times what we are doing now.” But he warned that the NHS would have to be on the table in any future trade deal. Asked about Britain’s EU exit, the President said: “This is a great, great country and it wants to have its own identity and control its own borders. “I believe the Prime Minister brought it to a very good point where something will take place in the not too distant future.” Turning to Mrs May, he added: “I would have sued and settled baby, but you never know. “I think the deal is teed up – perhaps you won’t get the credit you deserve when they do something.” – The Sun

  • Donald Trump: UK can strike ‘very substantial’ trade deal with US after Brexit – City A.M.

…but sparks a row as he says the NHS must be on the table in trade talks…

Donald Trump today sparked a massive row as he insisted the NHS must be “on the table” in trade talks. The US President insisted American firms must have access to the health service after Brexit during his state visit. But Tory leadership contenders insisted they would protect the NHS during talks over a transatlantic trade deal. And opposition parties insisted that cutting a deal with Mr Trump would mean “selling off the NHS”. Speaking alongside Theresa May in London today, the President said: “I think everything with a trade deal is on the table. “When you’re dealing in trade everything is on the table so NHS or anything else, a lot more than that, but everything will be on the table, absolutely.” US healthcare firms are keen to compete for privatised NHS contracts on the same basis as British and EU companies do. Left-wingers fear that will mean more parts of the health service being operated by private companies. Labour’s Jon Ashworth said: “US corporations taking over our NHS is a nightmare scenario. “The Tories appear happy to give Trump what he wants, and some want to offer up our NHS to get the No Deal Brexit they are campaigning for.” – The Sun

…but then backtracks as he says the NHS is ‘not part of trade’…

Donald Trump has said he doesn’t see the NHS “being on the table” in any future trade negotiation between the UK and US, following earlier comments in which he said “everything is on the table”. The US president clarified his remarks during an interview with Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan, held in the historic Churchill War Rooms on the second day of the UK state visit. He said: “I don’t see it being on the table, somebody asked me a question today and I say ‘everything’s up for negotiation’ because everything is, but that’s something that I would not consider part of trade.” Earlier in the day Mr Trump called Jeremy Corbyn a “negative force” during a press conference with Theresa May and revealed he turned down a request for a meeting from the Labour leader. He said: “I don’t know Jeremy Corbyn, I’ve never met him, never spoke to him, but he wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided that I would not do that. “I think that he is, from where I come from, somewhat of a negative force.” Speaking outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office alongside the PM, Mr Trump also took aim at Sadiq Khan, saying “he’s done a poor job” as London mayor, before heading for a tour of the Churchill War Rooms. The president was shown around the nerve centre of Churchill’s war effort before meeting Mr Morgan in front of the generator that helped power the fight back against the Nazis in World War II. In the interview he appeared to back-peddle on his earlier Corbyn criticism, saying he “certainly would” meet the Labour leader in the future. – ITV News

  • Trump U-turns on NHS trade comments, saying ‘I don’t see it being on the table’ – Independent
  • Donald Trump U-turns on calls for NHS to be covered in ‘phenomenal’ post-Brexit trade deal after backlash – Evening Standard

…while Nigel Farage says Trump is concerned by the Brexit delay after meeting the US President

Nigel Farage, leader of the Britain’s Brexit party, said U.S. President Donald Trump told him in a meeting on Tuesday that he was concerned at how long it was taking Britain to leave the European Union. Trump has said he considers Farage, who was a major player in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU during the 2016 referendum, a friend and has called him a “smart person”. Farage said he had enjoyed a “good meeting” with the president and added that Trump was enjoying his state visit to Britain, which began on Monday. “He absolutely believes in Brexit, thinks it’s the right thing for the country to do, and he’s concerned that it seems to be taking a very long time,” Farage said on his LBC radio show. Farage was one of the first Britons to visit Trump in New York following his 2016 election victory, and the president recently described him as “a friend of mine.” Farage was pictured by a Reuters photographer arriving at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in London where Trump is staying during his state visit after the president returned there following a news conference with Prime Minister Theresa May.  Trump earlier said May deserved a lot of credit for her work on Brexit. May’s Brexit deal has been defeated by British lawmakers three times, and Farage, a lawmaker in the European Parliament, has been one of her staunchest critics, saying Britain should not be afraid to leave without a deal on future relations with the EU. – Reuters

  • Donald Trump meets Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage – The Scotsman
  • Nigel Farage has ‘good meeting’ with Donald Trump – Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May is awarded top marks by Trump for the art of her EU withdrawal deal

President Trump hinted that Brexiteers should compromise over Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, praising her negotiating skills and saying she deserved “a lot of credit” for her work to draw up a deal. At a joint press conference with Mrs May, he praised the prime minister for doing “a very good job” in striking her withdrawal agreement with Brussels.

“She has got it, in a sense, that deal is teed up,” Mr Trump said. “I think they have to do something.” Mr Trump even suggested that Mrs May’s negotiating skills might be better than those he boasted of in his book The Art of the Deal. Asked if she should have taken Mr Trump’s advice, Mrs May responded: “I seem to remember the president suggest I sued the European Union, which we didn’t do. We went into negotiations and we came out with a good deal.” To laughter, Mr Trump shrugged and said: “I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know. She’s probably a better negotiator than I am. Perhaps you won’t be given the credit that you deserve if they do something, but I think you deserve a lot of credit.” Earlier Mr Trump had suggested that Mrs May “stay on” to close a trade deal with the US after Brexit. Mrs May said she would stick to her pledge to make way on Friday for a successor. “I’m a woman of my word,” she said. The president, who credited himself with predicting the referendum result, said of Brexit: “I would think that it will happen and it probably should happen. “This is a great, great country and it wants its own identity. It wants to have its own borders, it wants to run its own affairs. This is a very, very special place and I think it deserves a special place.” – The Times (£)

Anti-Brexit Change UK split as six MPs return to being Independents but five stick with new party

Change UK are set to split – just four months after the 11 former Labour and Tory MPs formed a new party. It came on the back of dismal European election results for the party when it failed to pick up a single MEP and has since trailed as low as 1%. The Mirror understands six MPs will return to being Independents but five plan to stay as part of Change UK. There was a suggestion the breakaway MPs could join the Liberal Democrats who soared into second place in the European poll as the leading Remain party while Change UK languished in eighth place on 3.4%. The group is meeting this afternoon to discuss their future. It has been beset by disagreements over strategy including a spat over a pro-Remain pact for the European elections. Former Tory MP Anna Soubry publicly slammed interim leader Heidi Allen for suggesting voters tactically back the Liberal Democrats. She said: “I think it is rather bizarre for an interim leader on the eve of poll to tell people essentially not to vote for their party. You do not stand candidates and then say to people ‘we are going through a complete farce please don’t vote for them. Let’s engage now in big grown-up politics.” – Mirror

  • Change UK loses six of its 11 MPs after dire EU elections result – Guardian

Ministers accused of ‘shocking complacency’ over EU citizens’ voting rights

The government has been accused of “shocking complacency” over the European election voting rights controversy as new data revealed that as few as one in 10 EU citizens were able to cast their vote in some areas of Britain. While Westminster attention was focused on Donald Trump’s state visit on Tuesday, a Cabinet Office minister was facing criticism in the parliament over the election last month. However, the government refused to heed calls for a public inquiry into why so many EU citizens said they had been denied a vote in an election that turned into a proxy ballot on Brexit. Kevin Foster, a junior Cabinet Office minister, said the government had taken “all legal steps necessary” to ensure EU citizens were able to exercise their right to vote. He said the government would wait for the Electoral Commission’s post-election report, but his response is unlikely to quell the outcry. Figures obtained by the Guardian from local authorities across the country suggest there was a lack of awareness among EU citizens that they needed to notify their councils that they were going to vote in the UK and not in their home country by 7 May. They had to do this using a form known as a UC1. – Guardian

> WATCH: Cabinet Office Minister Kevin Foster regarding the denial of EU citizens’ votes

Brexit party upbeat ahead of Peterborough by-election…

Mike Greene broke with the Conservative party when Theresa May decided in March that it was better for the UK to delay Brexit than to leave the EU without a deal. On Thursday the 53-year-old hopes to become the fledgling Brexit party’s first MP, thanks mostly to disaffected Tory voters in the Leave-supporting constituency of Peterborough in eastern England. Mr Greene says that after years of supporting the Tories, he was left “angry” and “agitated” by Mrs May’s postponement of Brexit, which he denounces as a move to “betray the people”. “All of my adult life I’ve voted Conservative,” he told the FT. “But that all changed . . . on 29 March.” The question about this week’s by-election is whether there are enough other furious former Tory voters to catapult Mr Greene and the Brexit party to Westminster — and what threat that poses to the Conservatives’ longer-term electoral prospects. Although Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader, declined to fight the Peterborough race himself, the circumstances of the election could hardly be more favourable for his upstart force. – FT(£)

…as Nigel Farage faces European Parliament ban over alleged gifts from Brexiteer businessman

Nigel Farage faces a European Parliament ban after he was set a 24 hour deadline to explain why he allegedly failed to declare almost half a million pounds in gifts from Brexiteer tycoon Arron Banks. Mr Farage, whose Brexit Party triumphed in the recent European elections, was issued a summons to a formal hearing on Wednesday after a meeting of the parliament’s code of conduct committee on Tuesday afternoon. He vowed to ignore the demand to attend, branding the committee an “EU kangaroo court” and an attack on everybody who had voted for the Brexit Party in May’s vote. European Parliament sources said Mr Farage is likely to be found in breach of EU rules even if he does turn up.  None of the alleged donations from insurance tycoon Arron Banks, which included a chauffeur-driven car and rent and bills on a £4.4m Chelsea home, were published on the parliament’s online register of interests. The MEP could be fined or banned for up to 30 days from parliamentary activity. His right to vote can’t be removed. In what would be an unprecedented and unlikely move, Mr Farage could have his parliament badge temporarily revoked, according to a source involved in the investigation, although that was denied by the parliament. – Telegraph (£)

  • EU gives Nigel Farage 24 hours to explain Arron Banks funds – Guardian

Yanis Varoufakis: The only hope left for the next Tory PM is to call an election and go for a no-deal Brexit

Theresa May’s sequence of strategic errors has rendered impossible a soft Brexit. By adopting red lines consistent solely with a hard Brexit, while denying herself the option of walking out without a deal, the Prime Minister engineered the current stalemate. Now, Mrs May is about to bequeath a poisoned chalice to her successor. The next Tory prime minister must, to begin with, avoid any temptation to promise to go back to Brussels to renegotiate Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement. Such a negotiation would serve only to deepen the sense of humiliation bestowed upon the good people of Britain as they watch a third successive prime minister return from Brussels dejected and empty-handed. That such a renegotiation will end in failure is beyond doubt. Over the next few months, EU leaders will be locked in a tussle over the distribution of three major European presidencies: Council, Commission and Central Bank. President Emmanuel Macron’s determination to block Manfred Weber, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s candidate for the Commission presidency, has stirred up tensions between Paris and Berlin. These have been magnified by the new arithmetic in the European Parliament which, for the first time, requires a four-way deal, one that includes not only the hitherto dominant European People’s Party and the waning Socialists & Democrats but also the Greens and the liberals. In this context, a new British prime minister arriving in Brussels to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement will be treated as a nuisance and sent packing whatever the economic cost to the EU of a hard Brexit in October. Confusing the fact that it is in the interests of the EU to complete a renegotiation with an incentive of its leaders to complete it would be the next prime minister’s first fatal error. Instead, the new Tory leader should seek Labour’s consent to stage a general election immediately. The new Tory leader will have no choice, given the emergence of the Brexit Party, but to promise unconditionally and immediately to take the UK out of the EU before any renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement or the political declaration regarding the future relationship. – Yanis Varoufakis for the Telegraph (£)

Ross Clark: Why have Brexiteers stopped making the case for Brexit?

For at least a year the Brexit debate has been conducted almost entirely on negative ground – arguing over how harmful it might be if we leave with no deal, or whether leaving the EU is already threatening the economy. There has been rather less discussion of the benefits of Brexit – what Britain will be able to do in the future which it can’t do as a member of the EU. It was this, after all, which won the 2016 referendum for Leave, so why have leavers been so shy about continuing to make the case for Brexit? This week, though, comes one positive contribution in the shape of a paper on the financial services industry by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Resulting from a series of round table meetings with members of the industry it has produced a list of suggestions as to how Britain can benefit, post-Brexit, by changing the regulatory regime which is currently imposed through the second directive on markets and financial instruments (MiFID II). Its conclusion? That well-meaning directives which were supposed to protect the consumer have had the perverse effect of increasing charges, reducing choice – while at the same time making it more difficult for small companies to raise capital through stock markets. Come Brexit, there is no reason why UK firms should be bound by such regulation except where they are offering services to clients within the EU. Then there is the matter of bankers’ bonuses, which the EU has restricted to 100 per cent of salary, or up to 200 per cent with shareholder approval. The limit was supposed to make bankers more responsible, by forcing them to look to the long term rather than to their next bonus. But there was an obvious loophole – what if bankers simply increased their salaries to make up for lost bonuses? In practice, this is exactly what has happened – salaries have been jacked up threefold. For the banks themselves this has created a problem by increasing their fixed costs. Whereas in the past if they suffered a lean year they could slash bonuses, now there are still inflated salaries to pay. There must be plenty of other industries which could benefit by being regulated in a smarter, more effective way than EU directives currently allow. Why are we not hearing more from them? – Ross Clark for The Spectator

John Redwood: MPs talk to themselves as the public looks for change

This Parliament went to war with the people when it decided to delay Brexit. Labour and  government supporting Conservative MPs who were elected to implement the referendum decision decided to support a Prime Minister who broke her word and begged for an extension of our membership of the EU. From that moment the two main parties went into freefall in opinion polls and elections. Both hit just 28% in the locals with no Brexit party on offer, and then slumped to 14% and 9% in the European election when there was a pro Brexit party many wanted to vote for. Never have the two main parties been so low in support and esteem. You would have thought this would wake up all those MPs who promised Brexit and then spent the next two years trying to dilute or delay it, or even to reverse it. Yet listening to the continuing conversations in both parties there are many who still do not get it. They want to believe the European election was just a warning or a by election or a flash in the pan. They want to believe it will all be different when we get to a Westminster election. They should try reading the latest opinion poll. That shows the Brexit party clearly in the lead at 26%, with Labour on just 22% and the Conservatives on a near wipe out score of 17%. All those currently jostling for the position of Leader of the Conservatives have to understand the magnitude of Mrs May’s decision to lose the trust of the people by delaying Brexit. In February the Conservatives were still on 43% in the polls because people believed her when she said deal or no deal we would be out on 29 March. Polling made clear they did like not her Agreement which had already been decisively rejected by Parliament. Many Leave voters did not see the Agreement as leaving, whilst many Remain voters thought the Agreement worse than staying in, so the Agreement lacked friends. If Mrs May misunderstood this, she surely now must understand it. Her Agreement was the only thing she offered in the European election, and the Conservative party was the only party offering it. It went down to a catastrophic defeat. Many former Conservative voters wanted to leave without the Agreement, and were happy voting for just that policy when the Brexit party came along with it. – John Redwood’s Diary

Brexit in Brief

  • Tory leadership contest: Rule change agreed to limit candidates – BBC News
  • Boris Johnson trying to appeal court summons over Marcus Ball’s allegations of misconduct in public office – iNews
  • Boris Johnson’s appeal against a court summons over Brexit bus is delayed because the judge is Ed Miliband’s wife – The Sun