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Brexit vote 1) ‘It’s my deal or No Deal’ Johnson warns MPs

“The Prime Minister said “now is the moment for us to get Brexit done” after Britain and the EU came to a last-minute agreement in Brussels on Thursday morning. He made it clear that Saturday’s Commons vote on the deal will represent the final opportunity for Britain to leave the EU with a deal, otherwise a no deal Brexit will go ahead on Oct 31. But he faces a plot by a Remain alliance of opposition MPs and Tory rebels to make the deal conditional on a second referendum. They could table an amendment to Saturday’s so-called “meaningful vote” which would mean that if the deal passed, Brexit would be delayed while the country chose between the Johnson deal and Remain. Mr Johnson will try to get his deal through Parliament without the support of the DUP, which said it “drives a coach and horses” through the Good Friday Agreement. Some Tory hardliners, including Iain Duncan Smith, said they would wait until Saturday morning before making up their minds how to vote. The Prime Minister will return to London on Friday morning to take charge of an intense whipping operation to persuade hardline Brexiteers, Tory rebels and some Labour MPs to back his deal in Saturday’s vote. The Daily Telegraph understands that between 10 and 15 Labour MPs are now prepared to back the deal, to avoid the risk of a no deal Brexit. Their votes would almost certainly be decisive in a result that remains too close to call. If Mr Johnson loses the vote, he will be obliged by law to write to Brussels asking for an extension to Article 50.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Final hurdle in sight as Johnson gets his deal – The Times
  • As he launches frantic sales pitch – The Guardian
  • And PM drops past positions to win Brexit deal – The Times
  • How he won through with brinkmanship and love bombs – The Times
  • Thank EU and good night! How he pulled off miracle deal – The Sun
  • ‘Greased piglet’ Johnson could get deal through, says Cameron – The Guardian
  • Corbyn rejects deal before it is published – Daily Mail
  • Can the deal pass through Parliament without DUP support? – Daily Telegraph
  • What’s in the new deal and how is it different to the May agreement? – The Times
  • What next for Johnson and the DUP? – The Times
  • Brexit deal backed by public in new poll- Daily Express
Comment
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Brexit vote 2) And ERG locked in talks over deal

“The 28 Eurosceptic Tory hardliners have not said “no” to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, giving No 10 hope that they will swing behind the prime minister. The group, known as “the Spartans”, had indicated they would take a lead from the Democratic Unionist party, which categorically said it would vote against Johnson’s deal. But several of the Tory hardliners – from Peter Bone to Andrew Bridgen – suggested they were likely to vote for the agreement. It was not unanimous, however, as the European Research Group’s steering committee, made up of senior MPs and former ministers, met on Thursday for a “deep discussion” about the new agreement, which they went through line by line. “There were a lot of mixed views. This vote will cause some agony for some members, but it will be up to each member’s conscience,” said a source. Particular sticking points included the role of the European courts of justice in solving disputes – “Why can’t it be the supreme court?” said one member – and the failure to give the DUP a veto. “We have stood with the DUP for so long that for some members it will be painful to choose,” said another. But even some of the most fervent Brexiters, including Steve Baker and Mark Francois, made positive noises about the settlement, saying there were “limited remaining concerns”. – The Guardian

  • Spartans warm to a deal that passes the smell test- The Times

Brexit vote 3) While Remainer MPs back away from forcing referendum

“Although Labour now backs a second referendum in all circumstances, the party refused to confirm that it would use the historic Saturday sitting to try to impose a “confirmatory” vote condition on the prime minister’s deal getting through parliament. Shortly after the agreement was revealed, Jeremy Corbyn said that it was “an even worse deal than Theresa May’s”, which risks “triggering a race to the bottom on rights and protections: putting food safety at risk, cutting environmental standards and workers’ rights and opening up our NHS to a takeover by US private corporations”. He claimed that the “best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote,” raising expectations that Labour would push for a referendum as soon as possible. However, amid fears that a Commons majority for such a move did not exist, a senior source in the People’s Vote campaign sought to dampen expectations. They said instead that they would not force the issue to a vote in an attempt to maximise their chance of winning rebel Tory MPs round before the end of the month.” – The Times

Brexit vote 4) But rebel MPs want extension as insurance policy

“Former Tory MPs last night moved to force Boris Johnson into requesting a Brexit delay even if he succeeds in getting his deal with the EU through the Commons. A number of Conservative rebels expelled for voting to block a no-deal Brexit yesterday indicated that they would back Boris Johnson on what is being billed as Super Saturday, but some are seeking extra time as an insurance policy. The government is confident that 15 to 17 of the 21 MPs kicked out of the party last month will end up backing the deal as the prospect of returning to the Tory fold was dangled before them. Although no promises have been made, Conservative figures suggested that voting for the deal tomorrow would be a “ladder” to returning to the party. Sir Oliver Letwin was among the first to confirm that he would vote for Mr Johnson’s deal, telling the Commons: “The deal, [of] which we’ve admittedly only briefly seen the text, looks admirable, and I shall be supporting it, and indeed voting for the implementation of it in legislation all the way to completion.” However, Sir Oliver also tabled an amendment to the government’s motion that would force Mr Johnson to write to the EU requesting an extension to the Article 50 process until the deal became law. The government hopes the deal will be ratified next week but the rebels are concerned it could take much longer and Britain could crash out by accident on October 31.” – The Times

  • Third extension remains possibility – The Times
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Brexit vote 5) As DUP claims Johnson lost his nerve

“Boris Johnson lost his nerve during negotiations with the EU in his desperation to reach a Brexit deal, the Democratic Unionist Party said as it vowed to fight against the agreement. Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s Westminster leader, accused the prime minister of having been “too eager” to get a deal with the EU before his self-imposed deadline of October 31. Without the DUP’s support, Mr Johnson may face an uphill battle to get his deal through the Commons tomorrow. The DUP, Mr Johnson’s partner in government, has only ten MPs but could also carry the votes of several hardline Eurosceptic Conservatives. It will vote against the agreement, which it said was not “beneficial to the economic wellbeing” of Northern Ireland and would undermine the Union. It also said it would continue to fight the deal even if it passes tomorrow’s vote in the Commons. That will “only be the start of a long process to get any withdrawal agreement bill through the House of Commons,” the DUP said.” – The Times

  • Johnson gambles on winning over DUP – FT
  • ‘We can still put paid to deal in Parliament,’ warns Foster – Belfast Telegraph
  • Rival unionists accuse DUP of catastrophic miscalculation – The Guardian
  • Cautious optimism in province but concerns remain on all sides – The Times
  • Business chiefs in Northern Ireland give deal a wary welcome – Belfast Telegraph
Comment
>Yesterday:

Field to stand down at next election

Mr Field, who has held the Cities of London and Westminster seat since 2001, said a “pragmatic and cooperative” approach to politics has been “tested to destruction” by the EU referendum result. In a statement to his local Conservative Association on Thursday, he said: “I had dearly hoped that by the time of the next general election these issues would have been resolved. “However, it is increasingly clear that divisions over Brexit and our future relationship with the EU27 will dominate and define domestic politics for many years to come.” He said his preference for ruling out a no-deal Brexit and his support for revoking Article 50 in order to restart the two-year clock and give negotiations more time put him at odds with Boris Johnson’s government. He continued: “Yet even if the current proposed deal passes – and naturally I shall support it – we must be clear what lies ahead will not be plain sailing. “But having watched many colleagues follow this path in recent torrid months, I have no desire to become a disaffected, dissenting voice from the backbenches, undermining a government under whose colours I have been elected.” – Daily Telegraph

Farage’s rejection of deal threatens to split party

“Boris Johnson’s general election campaign received a boost as he seemed to succeed in splitting Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party over the merits of his deal with Brussels. Mr Farage denounced the agreement as “not Brexit” and said that he would rather see the UK’s exit from the European Union delayed than the accord being implemented. However, one of his MEPs, Lance Forman, described the deal as “quite positive” and one “we can move forward with”. Mr Farage had said that his new party could be the Conservatives’ best friends or their worst enemies in the forthcoming general election and he called on Mr Johnson to agree an electoral “non-aggression” pact. The Brexit Party stands on 11 per cent in the polls, trailing far behind the Conservatives on 37 per cent, but Mr Farage believes that it can do real damage, taking enough votes to potentially deny Mr Johnson’s party seats in certain areas by being strong advocates of a hard Brexit. No 10 insiders, though, argued that taking the UK out of the EU would make the Brexit Party an irrelevance. The split within its ranks will strengthen their argument.” – The Times

Corbyn could lose another senior MP

“Jeremy Corbyn is facing the prospect of losing another senior Labour MP as friends of Dame Margaret Hodge say she cannot rule out leaving the Labour party over its handling of anti-semitism allegations. The news came after Dame Louise Ellman quit the party after 55 years as a member as she said the Labour leader was “not fit to serve as our prime minister”. Barking MP Dame Margaret is already facing a fight to remain as Labour’s election candidate after the constituency party triggered a reselection vote last month. Dame Margaret declined to comment. But a friend said she could not rule out quitting in the longer term: “At the moment she is staying for sure. She is fighting for her Barking seat.” The friend added: “There are two left now – Ruth Smeeth and Margaret. Ruth will never leave.” Sources close to Ms Smeeth confirmed to the Telegraph that she will stay in the Labour party. Dame Louise said late on Wednesday that under Mr Corbyn’s leadership, “anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party, Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out”. Dame Louise has served as the MP for Liverpool Riverside since 1997. Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “Louise Ellman has taken a characteristically brave and principled decision.” – Daily Telegraph

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