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Johnson warns Tory rebels – ‘it’s me or Corbyn chaos’

“In his first newspaper interview since becoming prime minister, Johnson delivers an ultimatum to former ministers leading the charge against him to pick a side. About 20 have talked about breaking away from the party if he makes them fight a snap election on a no-deal manifesto. Locked in the deepest constitutional crisis for a century, the prime minister promised to unveil the “biggest, most generous spending review since the height of Tony Blair’s New Labour” in Wednesday’s spending review. Local councils will get £3.5bn extra — the first real-terms rise in their budgets for a decade — with £1bn earmarked for social care. “We need to put a tiger in the tank, put our pedal to the metal, foot to the floor,” he said. “We’re putting a huge amount into social care, into schools, into transport and education.” But Johnson also warned Conservative MPs intent on “parliamentary shenanigans” this week to block a no-deal Brexit that they would make it “impossible” for him to get a new deal with Brussels and would put Corbyn in power. Johnson accused the Labour leader of having “made a historic decision to turn his party into the anti-democratic, referendum- cancelling party”. – Sunday Times

  • Exclusive interview with Johnson – Sunday Times
  • Senior rebels threaten to stand as independents – Sunday Times
  • Johnson considers expulsion of Tory rebels as Barnier rules out backstop change – Sunday Telegraph
  • And he will call election in days if No Deal blocked – Sun on Sunday
  • Europe alarmed by ‘brutal’ Johnson – Sunday Times
  • Rees-Mogg dares Remainers to bring Johnson down – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson allies threaten to topple Bercow – Mail on Sunday
  • Anti-Brexit MPs could have Parliament passes deactivated – Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson and Farage ready for polls – Sunday Express
  • No Deal Brexit plan – ‘to turn blind eye at border’ – Belfast Telegraph
  • Welby calls for Remainers to stop whingeing – Sunday Telegraph
  • Investors pull billions from UK at prospect of No Deal – FT
  • A voters’ guide to the blizzard of spending pledges from No 10 – Sunday Times
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Davidson
>Today:
>Yesterday:

Michel Barnier: No change to backstop until a deal is agreed

“More than three years ago, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Shortly afterwards, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, said that this meant that the UK would leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. The current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed this position. The consequences of these decisions are clear: they create barriers to trade between the EU and the UK that do not exist today. After two years of painstaking talks, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on operational solutions for a whole range of areas where the UK’s withdrawal creates uncertainty: first, how do we make sure that UK and EU citizens continue to enjoy their existing rights, with strong enforcement mechanisms and life-long guarantees? What happens to researchers or organisations in the UK that receive EU funding? What should we do after Brexit with the extradition of criminals that began under EU law? How should we make sure that Cypriots living in the UK Sovereign Base Areas continue to enjoy their rights under EU law? It is now nine months since the 27 EU governments reached an agreement with the UK on the terms of an orderly withdrawal and on the framework for the future relationship. So far, the House of Commons has failed to approve the agreed package. Some MPs voted against it because they do not want Brexit at all, others because they would prefer a “no-deal” outcome.” – Sunday Telegraph

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Meanwhile, ending freedom of movement is postponed…

“The government’s plans to end freedom of movement at midnight on October 31 have been torn up after lawyers warned that ministers risked losing a court case that would derail no-deal preparations. Priti Patel, the home secretary, signalled last month that freedom of movement would legally end when the UK leaves the EU. However, plans to change the law in one move were shelved when lawyers hired by the Home Office said this could cause chaos. Freedom of movement for EU nationals was to be abolished using the upcoming Immigration Bill, but that will not become law in time for the Halloween deadline. Ministers then explored plans to use provisions in the European Union Withdrawal Act that would allow ministers to change the law without primary legislation. The government’s no-deal war cabinet — known as the XO committee — was told last week that doing so would result in ministers being taken to court, where they would have a 70% chance of losing.” – Sunday Times

…As Gove is accused of watering down No Deal report

“Sources familiar with the document, which was compiled by the Cabinet Office, described the version being prepared for release to the public as “soft soap” and “neutralised”. It comes in the wake of last month’s leak to The Sunday Times of the “Operation Yellowhammer” planning assumptions, which stated that the UK faces fuel and food shortages, a meltdown at its ports and an expected hard border with Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The document was dated early August. A Westminster source said: “This document is currently being neutralised, with all emotive language being stripped out. It’s going to be an update of the leaked version, but it is being made bland.” A senior Whitehall source, who is familiar with the Yellowhammer file, added: “The public aren’t going to be fooled by a document that looks dramatically different from one compiled just over a month ago. How can things have changed so much in this short period?” Last night opposition MPs fired a warning shot at Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who is responsible for no-deal planning, calling on him to be transparent with both parliament and the public.” – Sunday Times

Michael Gove: Parliament must give the Prime Minister space to deliver a Brexit deal

“At times in the last three years it has seemed that Parliament will do anything but the one thing it promised. To honour the democratic vote to leave the EU. Instead of coalescing behind a deal to get us out, Parliament has quibbled, prevaricated, delayed and disappointed. The Commons has repeatedly said what it won’t accept, but has never accepted that we are here to serve the people and respect their decision. The Labour Party, in particular, has been guilty of the most spectacular bad faith. They promised on page 24 of their 2017 election manifesto to honour the referendum result but then, with some honourable exceptions, have consistently voted not to. The Prime Minister has made clear that we will, at last, honour the referendum decision. We will leave on October 31, deal or no deal. And, already, that resolution is helping us secure a solution. EU leaders are now ready to talk about a different way forward. As of next week we will be in talks with the EU to try to find a new deal which can command the confidence of the Commons. The EU knows that a deal which has failed to pass the Commons three times cannot be brought back unamended. The only possible way forward that has ever commanded a majority in the Commons was the principle put forward by my colleague Sir Graham Brady – that the central issue with the Withdrawal Agreement has always been the backstop. Until now, the EU has refused to entertain that idea. Now they are shifting.” – Sunday Telegraph

Protests against suspension held across UK

“Thousands of protesters turned out at scores of demonstrations across the UK on Saturday aimed at forcing Boris Johnson to reverse his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the October 31 departure from the EU. However, while Another Europe is Possible, the main organiser of the protests, expressed satisfaction at the scale of the turnout in Westminster, outside the prime minister’s official residence, participation appeared to fall well short of their predictions that hundreds of thousands would attend. Demonstrators outside the gates of Downing Street shouted, “Boris Johnson, shame on you.” Addressing a rally just over a mile away at Russell Square, Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour party’s Brexit spokesman, told a group of a few hundred demonstrators that it was necessary to defeat the “slide into Trumpian politics”. “Johnson wants to shut down parliament to silence us,” he told the crowd. “He is scared of scrutiny, of accountability.” The protests had been hastily organised — under the hashtag #StopTheCoup — in the wake of Mr Johnson’s announcement on Wednesday that he had asked the Queen to allow him to prorogue — or suspend — sittings of parliament from the week starting September 9 until October 14. The move has been widely interpreted as an effort to prevent MPs from legislating to prevent the UK from leaving the EU on October 31 without an exit agreement.” – FT

  • Tens of thousands march against ‘the coup’ – Sunday Times
  • How a secret plan sparked uproar – Observer
  • From Bodmin to Berlin crowds vent their fury – Observer

Cummings accused of using armed officer to humiliate Khan

“The Prime Minister’s all-powerful Brexit chief Dominic Cummings has been accused of using an armed officer to humiliate a female aide by marching her out of No 10 after he sacked her. Colleagues claimed that Mr Cummings had used the officer to escort Sonia Khan, 27, embarrassing her over a political feud. But Scotland Yard insisted that it was ‘standard practice’ for Downing Street visitors to be escorted off the premises after a meeting. Ms Khan, one of Sajid Javid’s top advisers, was fired by Cummings on Thursday evening for allegedly misleading him over the extent of her contact with Philip Hammond – her former boss at the Treasury and an avowed opponent of Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy. The sacking left Mr Javid ‘absolutely furious’ and he confronted an ‘apologetic’ Mr Johnson on Friday to demand an explanation about why Ms Khan had been escorted out of Downing Street by police. Attention was drawn to the armed officer who escorted Ms Khan from No10, with a former colleague saying that it was done to embarrass and upset a ‘young female aide’. One ex colleague said: ‘Dozens of visitors leave Downing Street through the front door without a pass every day without being escorted.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Hammond calls spad sacking ‘implausible’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Cummings faces inquiry after aide is ‘marched’ out of Downing Street – Sunday Times
  • And he is a ‘Maoist’ say French – Sunday Times
  • PM urged to launch inquiry into ‘reign of terror’ – Observer
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