US promises fast-track trade agreements and backs No Deal

“The United States will enthusiastically back a no-deal Brexit and work with Britain immediately on sector-by-sector trade agreements, President Trump’s national security adviser said yesterday. John Bolton, the hawkish White House aide, promised that such a fast-track approach would achieve progress more quickly than a comprehensive agreement. “We are with you,” Mr Bolton said after meeting Boris Johnson. The US would wait until after Brexit before seeking to exert pressure on Downing Street to fall into line over issues such as the Iran nuclear deal and Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network, he added. He dismissed fears that Congress could block a trade deal over the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland, and said he did not understand concerns that deepening trade ties could leave the NHS vulnerable. “We see a successful exit as being very much in our interests,” he said. “Britain’s success in exiting the EU is a statement about democratic rule. The fashion in the European Union when the people vote the wrong way from the way the elite wants, you make the peasants vote again and again until they get it right.” If the government decided to leave with no deal “we will support it enthusiastically”, he said. “President Trump and I were leavers before there were leavers.” – The Times

  • US and Britain could sign sector-by-sector trade deals says Bolton – The Guardian
  • UK will look at Huawei ‘from square one’ according to Bolton – FT
  • Britain will be ‘first in line’ for a trade deal with the US – Daily Mail
  • US promises fast-track trade deals and backs No Deal – The Times
  • Johnson and Trump speak for third time in three weeks – Daily Mail
  • Trump adviser says US backs No Deal – The Sun

Court to hear legal bid by MPs to stop No Deal

The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending Parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is “unlawful and unconstitutional”. The petition has been filed at the Edinburgh court, which sits through the summer, and was granted permission to be heard by a judge. An initial hearing is due to take place before Lord Doherty at the Court of Session on Tuesday morning to determine how the legal challenge will proceed. A cross-party group of politicians is backing the legal petition, supported by the Good Law Project, which won a victory at the European Court of Justice last year over whether the UK could unilaterally cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50. Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said: “A man with no mandate seeks to cancel Parliament for fear it will stop him inflicting on an unwilling public an outcome they did not vote for and do not want. “That’s certainly not democracy and I expect our courts to say it’s not the law.” One petitioner, Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray, said: “When Boris Johnson unveiled his vacuous slogan ‘taking back control’, voters weren’t told that this could mean shutting down Parliament. “The Prime Minister’s undemocratic proposal to hold Westminster in contempt simply can’t go unchallenged.” – ITV News

  • Labour planning rapid no confidence vote in Johnson – The Guardian
  • No Deal battle set to come to head in September – The Guardian
  • MPs prepare for Brexit showdown on 9 September – FT
  • Johnson prepares for ‘stunt’ to prevent No Deal – Daily Express
  • Lib Dem leader warns of no good Brexit for Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph
  • Irish consumer sentiment sinks to five-year low with Brexit blues – Irish Times

But poll suggests Johnson has public support to shut down Parliament

“Boris Johnson has the support of more than half of the public to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament, according to a poll. The ComRes survey for The Telegraph found that 54 per cent of British adults think Parliament should be prorogued to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit. The poll suggested the Prime Minister is more in tune with the public’s views on Brexit than MPs, following his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31 “do or die”. Brussels has so far refused to give any ground to Mr Johnson on Brexit, but Government sources said on Monday that the EU had not reopened negotiations because it was waiting to see if Remainer rebels would act to try to prevent no deal. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I would hope that the EU now fully understands the UK’s determination to leave the EU on Oct 31, no ifs or buts. We stand ready to negotiate.” Government sources think formal talks with Brussels are unlikely to resume before an EU summit on Oct 17.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Majority of Britons back suspending Parliament to get Brexit done – Daily Mail
  • Brits back Johnson plan to suspend Parliament – The Sun
  • Stunning poll shows support for Johnson No Deal plan – Daily Express
  • PM believes EU will cave in at last minute to save Ireland from No Deal – The Sun
  • Corbyn and Johnson ‘must play by the rule book to avoid a constitutional crisis – The Times
  • Carrie Symonds seen inside No 10 for first time – Daily Mail

Paul Goodman: Keep the Queen out of it? There’s no chance

“Boris Johnson’s new government may face and lose a vote of confidence when the Commons returns in September. And it is reported that Buckingham Palace and No 10 would “bust [their] gut” to keep the Queen out of any decision about the consequences. This sounds extremely painful. It would certainly be pointless. For the reality is that the Queen will be at the very heart of the matter, if MPs indeed pass such a vote. To understand why, it is necessary to turn to the piece of legislation which governs what would follow it: the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. The act is a classic illustration of the law of unexpected consequences. It was driven by short-term political need rather than long-term constitutional thinking, as is so often the case in these affairs. Essentially, it was a mutual insurance policy drawn up in 2010 by the two partners in the coalition government. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats wanted a guarantee that neither would rat on the other mid-term and pull out of government, forcing a general election. The solution was the Fixed-term Act. It made it harder, though not impossible, for a parliament to last less than a five-year term. One of the ways in which an election is still possible within those five years is as follows. The Commons passes a motion of no-confidence in a government. An election does not automatically follow. Instead, MPs have 14 days to find a new administration and endorse it with a confidence vote. An election takes place if they can’t.” – The Times

Johnson planning whirlwind trip to Berlin and Paris ahead of G7 summit

“The plan is believed to be under consideration by Downing Street in order to avoid Brexit dominating the G7 summit set to be held in Biarritz, France, from August 24-26. The EU and the UK are locked in a state of Brexit stalemate after Mr Johnson adopted a hardline negotiating stance as soon as he won the keys to Downing Street last month. Mr Johnson has insisted talks can only begin once Brussels accepts that the existing Withdrawal Agreement must be radically overhauled and the Irish border backstop deleted. But the EU has been adamant that the divorce deal struck with Theresa May cannot be changed and that the backstop protocol is non-negotiable. Despite both sides refusing to budge, government sources believe there would be merits to Mr Johnson spelling out the UK’s position to the French president and German Chancellor personally. They believe it would hammer home that he is serious about his ‘do or die’ pledge to deliver Brexit with or without a deal by October 31. One government source said there would be ‘nothing to be lost from delivering that message face to face’. – Daily Mail

  • UK officials to pull out of EU meetings – Daily Telegraph
  • London to cut back on EU meetings – FT
  • Diplomatic snub to EU is ‘epic stupidity’, Johnson told – The Times

And PM to unveil £100m prison fund

Boris Johnson goes to prison tomorrow as ministers are forced to deny his justice crackdown is a general election bribe. The PM is expected to become the first British leader in seven years this morning to visit the inside of a medium security Category B jail. He will tour it to unveil another £100million for the Ministry of Justice to upgrade security inside prisons to curb spiralling violence. The fresh cash will pay for more airport-style x-ray machines to stop drugs and weapons smuggling as well as mobile phone jammers. It is part of a jumbo £2.5billion splurge on popular new crime-fighting initiatives, that also include toughening up sentencing and 10,000 more prison places. But it has lead MPs to suspect Downing Street is secretly planning to go to the country in the Autumn to boost the PM’s wafer-thin Commons majority of one. As Mr Johnson also held a criminal justice summit in No10 yesterday, the Justice Secretary insisted the moves were not “election talk”. – The Sun

  • Public overwhelmingly backs greater stop and search powers, Daily Mail
  • Thank goodness we now have a home secretary who wants to terrify criminals, Tim Stanley – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson accused of ‘electioneering’ on crime – FT

Green MP apologises after naming all-white female cabinet

“As the country’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas came up with an inevitably very right-on proposal to see off a No Deal Brexit – an all-female Cabinet. But the Brighton MP was given a somewhat painful lesson in political correctness yesterday when forced to apologise for her list of women after it was pointed out that everyone on it was white. Miss Lucas had urged ten high-profile female cross-party politicians to come together in a Cabinet of national unity. Writing in The Guardian – of course – she said it could ‘bring a different perspective’ and force a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson to prevent No Deal. But she apologised yesterday, admitting she was ‘wrong to overlook’ her ‘women of colour colleagues’. She wrote on Facebook: ‘An all-white list of women isn’t right. I should have reached out further and thought more deeply about who, and what kind of politics, an all-white list represents. I apologise.’ – Daily Mail

  • Caroline Lucas calls for all-female cabinet – The Times

Ban drivers from using hands-free phones, MPs demand

“Motorists may believe that the function is safer than using a handset but it leads to the same risk of a crash, according to the transport select committee. In a report its members have called for tougher penalties, including the possibility of outright driving bans, and they suggest that existing punishments do not reflect the seriousness of the offence. Under the present legislation drivers who use hand-held mobile phones could receive six penalty points on their licence and a £200 fine. The rules do not cover hands-free devices. However, motorists using a phone, whether directly or in hands-free mode, are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, according to the report to be published today. The cross-party committee acknowledged practical challenges to banning hands-free phone use and enforcing the offence but added: “This does not mean we should not do it.” In 2017 there were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads in which a driver using a mobile phone was a factor, including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries. The number of deaths or serious injuries in which mobile phone use featured has risen by more than four fifths, from 97 in 2011 to 178 in 2017. Over the same period the number of people facing enforcement action has fallen by more than two thirds, from 162,400 to 53,000.” – The Times

  • Now they want to ban hands-free phones in cars – Daily Mail
  • Using a hands-free phone in car must be banned, MPs say – The Sun

National grid ‘had three blackout near-misses in three months’

“The system operator, already under investigation by the energy watchdog, faces criticism from within the industry that it has not done enough to guard against the risk of blackouts. National Grid blamed the “incredibly rare” nationwide power cut on a severe slump in the grid’s frequency – a measure of energy intensity – following the unexpected shutdown of two power generators. It will face an investigation into its handling of the energy system after the first blackout in more than a decade following the shutdown of a gas-fired power plant in Bedfordshire and the Hornsea windfarm in the North Sea at about 5pm on Friday. It said it would work with the regulator and energy companies to “understand the lessons learned” after two power plants shut down unexpectedly within minutes of each other, causing severe rush hour travel disruption across the country. But industry sources claim National Grid has been aware of the growing potential for a wide-scale blackout “for years”,and has suffered a spate of near-misses in recent weeks.” – The Guardian

  • National grid boss to examine how power supplies prioritised – FT
  • Patel questioned child citizenship fees before taking up job – The Times
  • BBC staff pick up 20% pay rises while over-75s lose free licences – The Times
  • Labour accused of ‘class war’ over plan to end badger culling and crack down on fox hunting – Daily Telegraph
  • Flight chaos as Carrie Lam warns of ‘path of no return’ – The Guardian
  • New Ukip leader sparks race row – Daily Mail
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