Cabinet allies ‘urge Johnson to seek Article 50 extension’…

Boris Johnson has been urged by Cabinet allies to ask Brussels for a Brexit extension rather than disobey the law and risk a Jeremy Corbyn government. A Cabinet minister told the Telegraph Mr Johnson – who has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay – should back down and follow Parliament’s instruction to ask for a three-month extension if he cannot agree a deal. “The Government does not break the law,” the minister said.  The Prime Minister has staked his premiership on getting Britain out of the EU on Oct 31 “do or die” whether or not he can broker a new deal. The comments from the minister, a Brexiteer, are the first sign of a Cabinet split over Mr Johnson’s insistence that MPs cannot stop him taking Britain out of the EU without a deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministers don’t want to see Corbyn in Downing Street – Daily Mail


  • New legal challenge could see judges sign letter instead – FT
  • Bercow vows to stop the Prime Minister breaking the law – The Guardian

…as Kwarteng is criticised for attack on judges…

“A government minister has been criticised for suggesting “many people” think judges are biased in relation to Brexit. The business minister Kwasi Kwarteng made the remarks after judges at the court of session in Edinburgh said the suspension of parliament was “unlawful”. When asked about the Scottish court’s judgment, Kwarteng told the BBC: “Many people are saying – I’m not saying this – but, many people … are saying that the judges are biased. The judges are getting involved in politics. I think that they are impartial, but I’m saying that many people, many leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges.”” – The Guardian

  • Crass Downing Street jibe unites Scottish politicians – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Government disowns attack on Scottish judiciary and tries to reassure Unionist allies

…who ‘pile on the pressure’ over prorogation

“Judges accused Boris Johnson of waging a “clandestine” operation to shut down parliament last night, hours after he denied lying to the Queen over his reasons for seeking the suspension. The Court of Session in Edinburgh issued detailed reasoning for its ruling on Wednesday that the five-week prorogation was unlawful. One judge accused Mr Johnson of failing “to give a proper and complete account of the executive’s true reasons for exercising the prerogative to prorogue parliament”. The ruling left Mr Johnson open to the accusation that he deliberately misled the Queen in applying for the measure, which he said was necessary to introduce legislation.” – The Times

  • Avoiding scrutiny only ‘rational’ reason for five-week span, court argues – Daily Telegraph
  • Court in Belfast dismisses legal challenge against No Deal – FT


  • The Brexit crisis is political, and so too must be its resolution – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: If judges are seen to become political actors, corrosive media attention will surely follow

Letwin plans ‘zombie parliament’ to endure until next summer…

“Sacked Tory rebel Sir Oliver Letwin wants to create a “zombie parliament” by delaying Boris Johnson’s general election until next summer at least if he fails to get a new Brexit deal. He warned there was a cross-party majority in favour of blocking going to the polls until our EU split is resolved — either by passing a deal or holding a second referendum. Sir Oliver, a leading architect of the law to block a No Deal, said going back to the people to vote on Brexit must come first as an election would “muddle things up”. But Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith accused him of “stabbing Conservative MPs in the back”.” – The Sun

  • Stewart urged to stand against Johnson at an election – Daily Express


  • Forgiving the rebels would be a dangerous move for Johnson – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • How the Prime Minister joined the People’s Vote campaign – Pat McFadden, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “The landing zone”

…as Cummings tears up conference truce to keep up pre-election pressure

“Dominic Cummings has told Tory aides to ignore the conventional conference season truce as the gloves come off before an election. Boris Johnson’s chief strategist instructed special advisers to try to upstage Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn, the rival party leaders, over the next fortnight with a series of high-profile events and policy announcements. The major political parties usually observe an unofficial agreement to allow each other a free run during their annual conferences. The truce generally holds. Conventional wisdom dictates that there is little point in seeking to upstage rivals’ gatherings, since media organisations have already committed resources to their coverage.” – The Times

  • Tory Brexiteers ‘urge Johnson’ to accept pact with Brexit Party… – The Sun
  • …as study shows Farage far more likely to pick up Labour Leave voters – Daily Mail

Has the DUP ‘opened the door’ to a deal with the EU?

“Boris Johnson was handed a lifeline by the Democratic Unionist Party last night when it agreed to shift its red lines in a move that could help to unlock a Brexit deal. The Times understands that, for the first time, the party has said it would accept Northern Ireland abiding by some European Union rules after Brexit in a deal to replace the Irish backstop. The DUP has also said privately that it would drop its objection to regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, which it had called unacceptable as this would separate Northern Ireland “politically and economically” from the mainland. In return Brussels would have to drop its insistence that Northern Ireland remain in a customs union with the EU.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘handed Brexit lifeline’ – The Sun
  • Yet the Ulster party deny softening stance on backstop – The Guardian
  • Johnson says he has ‘rough outline’ of deal – Daily Mail


  • Bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland a ‘very good idea’, says Johnson – The Times


  • Leavers must unite around rebranded deal – Iain Martin, The Times

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: No Deal has failed. The choice is May’s deal, no Brexit – or no United Kingdom.

Philip Collins: Johnson is a liberal, but he’s not a conservative

“When MPs responded with a new law compelling an extension to Britain’s membership of the European Union, No 10 left open the possibility that the prime minister might sit tight and refuse to obey it. When the Scottish court ruled that the suspension was illegal, Mr Johnson permitted his team in Downing Street to imply that the institutions of British justice leave a lot to be desired. Contradictory briefings on the options for an Irish border suggest little if any genuine interest in the future of the Union. Neither does the dismissal of Scottish courts as interfering busybodies. Whatever else, this is not the Conservative and Unionist party of old.” – The Times

  • He has no right to call himself a one-nation Tory – Lord Heseltine, The Guardian

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: The Prime Minister. He gets knocked down. But he gets up again.

Bercow vows not to let ‘limitations of the existing rulebook’ stop Parliament blocking No Deal

“John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has warned Boris Johnson that he will allow parliament to do whatever it takes to stop the prime minister illegally implementing a no-deal Brexit on October 31. In a speech in London, Mr Bercow said he would permit MPs to indulge in “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to stop the prime minister sidestepping a law that was passed by the Commons this month forbidding a no-deal Brexit. Delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London, Mr Bercow said: “If we come close to [the prime minister ignoring the law] I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook nor the ticking of the clock will stop it doing so.”” – FT

  • Speaker likens Johnson to a ‘bank robber’ – The Times
  • Jenkin says role has been ‘irretrievably politicised’ – Daily Express

Johnson to revive ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to woo Labour Leave voters…

“Boris Johnson will revive George Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda today as he continues to woo Labour Leave voters. The prime minister will vow to “maximise the power of the north” in a speech in South Yorkshire and announce the creation of a northern powerhouse group tasked with boosting economic growth. “We are going to make sure that it is people here who are in control over the things that matter to them,” he will say. Mr Johnson will also restate his commitment to the Sheffield city region deal, designed to bring greater devolution and growth to the area, and to beginning negotiations on devolving powers to Leeds and West Yorkshire.” – The Times


  • High time the North was fixed – Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, Times Red Box

…as he promises to revive domestic violence legislation

“Boris Johnson vowed to introduce a new crack down on the “horrific crime” of domestic abuse in October. A new Domestic Abuse Bill would be in the Queen’s Speech when Parliament returns, the PM vowed. It follows an outcry over the fact that Theresa May’s long delayed legislation – forcing councils to provide shelter for victims – was dropped when Mr Johnson decided to ‘prorogue’ the Commons. Charities – outraged earlier this week by the knighthood for Sir Geoffrey Boycott – demanded a “clear pledge” from the PM to reintroduce the legislation in the Queen’s Speech on October 14… Mrs May’s bill was introduced with cross-party support in July.” – The Sun

Cummings’ ex-boss ‘lifts lid on controversial past’

“If Boris Johnson’s Brexit power grab is beginning to read like something out of a Soviet dictatorship manual, that may not be far wrong. The strategy that plunged the Tories and the nation deep into chaos in the past fortnight is masterminded by his special adviser Dominic Cummings – an admirer of the Bolsheviks’ methods. In his controversial career, the spin doctor who helped Leave win the 2016 referendum has been referred to as a “career psychopath” and “unelected foul-mouthed oaf”. More recently, he was dubbed the Prime Minister’s “Rasputin”. And yesterday, the man who gave Cummings his first job – in Russia – said he was obsessed with the Bolsheviks’ “ruthless seizure of power” in 1917.” – Daily Mirror

Labour prepare for Brexit ‘showdown’ at conference

“Labour is set for a fresh Brexit showdown at its annual conference as Britain’s largest opposition party remains deeply divided over its policy on the issue dominating domestic politics. Some senior figures are pushing for a clear Remain position when the party gathers in Brighton on September 21 as they grow alarmed at the “ambiguous” stance, whereby Labour would enter the expected imminent election promising to seek a new, improved withdrawal deal from Brussels and then put it to the country in a referendum. The lack of clarity threatens Labour’s prospects in a general election scenario, they fear. “It’s like having your hand in a blender, you have the choice of leaving it there or taking it out,” said one.” – FT

  • Eurocrats slam Labour’s ‘mad’ policy – Daily Mail
  • Watson accused of ‘sticking two fingers up’ to Labour voters – The Sun

…as McDonnell hints that Labour could back a four-day week

“Labour could back a four-day working week, John McDonnell suggested last night, despite a report commissioned by the party that warned against a cap on workers’ hours. Wage freezes followed France’s decision to introduce a 35-hour week two decades ago, the inquiry report, by the former Tory peer Lord Skidelsky, said. Asked whether Labour could back a four-day working week, an idea he described as “really interesting” last year, Mr McDonnell said: “Watch this space.” He welcomed the report, which also called for tax cuts for companies that reduced working hours and for the government to guarantee every adult a job. No price was put on the recommendations, but Lord Skidelsky warned they “will cost money”. Mr McDonnell’s comments provoked a backlash from business.” – The Times

  • Opposition planning £1.6 billion tax raid on private schools – Daily Telegraph


  • Momentum launch tool to help students register to vote – The Guardian
  • Party boss ‘met police in secret’ – The Times

Liberal Democrats want to give every adult £9,000 for learning

“The Lib Dems want to give every adult in Britain £9,000 tax-free to help them “learn” – a decade after sparking fury by backing £9,000 tuition fees on students. A motion at this weekend’s party conference will see Vince Cable push a £1.5 billion plan for a universal Education and Skills Account which would see the Government hand every person £3,000 when they turn 25, 40 and 55. They would get a top-up if ever they are laid off – or to “encourage workers to retrain into shortage occupations”. Details buried in documents for the party conference reveal: “We would make three contributions to PESAs, each worth £3,000 when 25, 40 and 55.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Gareth Streeter in Comment: An intelligent spending review could halt the Liberal Democrats in their tracks in the South West

News in Brief:

  • How the ‘Minister for the Union’ can live up to his title – Henry Hill, Bright Blue
  • What is Johnson’s next move? – Sunder Katwala, CapX
  • Will turning the Tories into the pro-Leave party pay off? – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • The EU’s soul-destroying rhetoric – Giles Fraser, UnHerd
  • New Italian administration could spring a surprise on the EU high command – Robert Fox, Reaction

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