Downing Street investigation into “collusion” between Remainers and foreign Governments

“Downing Street has launched a major investigation into alleged links between foreign governments and the MPs behind the ‘Surrender Act’ which could force Boris Johnson to delay Brexit, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Sources said No 10 took the unprecedented action after officials received intelligence that the MPs, including former Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin, had received help drafting the Bill from members of the French Government and the European Union…Last night, a senior No 10 source said: ‘The Government is working on extensive investigations into Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Hilary Benn [who tabled the Bill] and their involvement with foreign powers and the funding of their activities. Governments have proper rules for drafting legislation, but nobody knows what organisations are pulling these strings. ‘We will demand the disclosure of all details of their personal communications with other states. The drafting of primary legislation in collusion with foreign powers must be fully investigated.’ ”

>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson: why a Second Referendum would be “like the Seven Years’ War”

Bercow could be granted power to block Brexit

“Rebel MPs have drawn up plans for a second Act which would allow Commons Speaker John Bercow to bypass the Prime Minister if he cannot strike a deal to leave the EU on October 31. The new law would allow Mr Bercow to personally ask Brussels for a further delay on behalf of the Commons.  The rebels have even discussed using the legislation to give Mr Bercow the power to appoint a new British commissioner to the EU, with pro-Remain former Home Secretary Amber Rudd mentioned as a candidate. The Benn Act, passed earlier this month and controversially dubbed the ‘Surrender Act’ by No 10, states that if Mr Johnson fails to win a deal by the end of the next EU summit on October 18, he must write a letter to Brussels asking for the UK’s departure to be delayed until January 31 – something which he says he will refuse to do. Under the rebel plan, the Commons would sit on October 19 – the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands War in 1982 – to pass a new Bill giving Mr Bercow the power to write the letter.” Mail on Sunday

  • Politics turns toxic – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
  • Beat Bercow’s surrender Parliament – by staging a Government strike – Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday
  • Gloating liberals may soon regret the power now being wielded by Supreme Court judges – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

Remainers plot to impeach Johnson

“Boris Johnson is facing impeachment proceedings under proposals being considered by opposition parties in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling. Plans to impeach the prime minister were put forward at a meeting of the parties on Thursday and are among options being explored to censure Johnson for the unlawful suspension of parliament. The motion, which has been drafted by Plaid Cymru, could be tabled as early as this week, disrupting Johnson’s first Conservative Party conference as leader…The process would see the House of Commons vote on an impeachment motion, which, if passed, could lead to prosecution and trial. Historically, trials have taken place in Westminster Hall on the parliamentary estate.” – Sunday Times

  • Sir Bernard Ingham said Mr Johnson would win a landslide election victory even if he is behind bars – Sunday Express
  • Gauke to warn against being the”party of Trump” – Sunday Times
  • Scottish Nationalists plan a vote of no confidence – Sun on Sunday
  • PM apologised to Queen – Sunday Times

“Surrender Act? More like the Abject Capitulation Act,” declares the PM

In comments likely to cause further consternation among MPs, Johnson adds: “Actually, when you read the text of the Benn Act, the ‘abject capitulation act’ might be just as good a term for it, because it would attempt to force the prime minister of the UK to  write a letter requesting to stay in the EU, and it would … allow the EU to decide how long we would stay on in the EU. If that isn’t an attempt of the wholesale destruction of a country’s negotiating position, I don’t know what is. So I think my language was really quite moderate.” – Interview with Boris Johnson, Sunday Telegraph

  • Britain needs a General Election as soon as possible, Leader, Sunday Telegraph

Hancock promises £13 billion for 40 new hospitals

“The government has pledged £13bn for 40 hospital projects across England in the next decade, at the start of the Conservative party conference. The plans include a £2.7bn investment for six hospitals over five years. A new approach to NHS mental health treatment is also to be trialled in 12 areas of England – with housing and job support alongside psychological help. The government says £70m is being invested and the NHS will build more ties with charities and local councils. About 1,000 extra specialist staff will be recruited in 12 pilot sites, with expertise in a range of mental health issues, the government says. Under plans drawn up by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, £13bn will be spent on creating “new” hospitals – either with entirely new buildings or revamping existing structures to improve facilities. Mr Hancock said it was “the largest sum that has ever been invested in the NHS” after the extra £33.9bn the government has committed to spend on the health service up to 2023.” – BBC

>Today: MPsETC: Raab, Hancock, Gauke – and a special live edition of the Moggcast. Welcome to ConHome’s Party Conference programme.

Patel outlines increase in police powers

“Home Secretary Priti Patel has told of the terrifying moment she was threatened with a knife on her doorstep. A drug-crazed thug pulled the blade on her as she stepped from a taxi after visiting her sick husband in hospital….Ms Patel has begun engaging with the Sentencing Council about toughening up the guidelines, with greater punishments for assaults on police — and mandatory jail for carrying a knife, including first-time offenders. She said: “I want an end to this slap-on-the-wrist culture for criminals who assault police officers. A civilised society requires support for our law enforcers but respect as well.” – Interview with Priti Patel, Sun on Sunday

Raab suggests the Benn Act could be overridden by EU’s own Treaty

“As he paces the length of the room towards his desk, the Foreign Secretary bristles with political machismo when he vows that Boris Johnson will be able to defy the ‘Surrender Act’ stipulating that he must ask for a delay to Brexit if he can’t secure a deal. Describing it as an Act ‘which requires us basically to roll over to the most punitive conditions that Brussels could inflict on us’, he says: ‘It is a shoddy bit of legislation. The way it was put together was pretty ramshackle. It didn’t have the scrutiny that you have with a Government Bill.’ His implication is clear: the Government is still confident that it can find a loophole in the legislation which will allow the Prime Minister to take us out of the EU on October 31 even if he has not secured a deal. In his exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, Mr Raab even hinted at the prospect of EU law being employed – for the final time – to over-ride the Act, by using the legislation under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. According to some Government lawyers, the Treaty – which enshrined the leaving date of October 31 – could be used to veto the Act passed by Labour MP Hilary Benn and fellow anti-Brexiteers.” – Interview with Dominic Raab, Mail on Sunday

Arcuri told friends she had an affair with Johnson when he was Mayor of London

“Fresh details have emerged about Boris Johnson’s close relationship with the American ex-model and entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri as the prime minister faces an unprecedented police investigation into the scandal. The Sunday Times has been told Arcuri confided to four friends that she was engaged in a sexual affair with Johnson while he was mayor of London. David Enrich, now the finance editor of The New York Times, says he was told of an alleged sexual relationship between the pair by two of the entrepreneur’s friends when he was working for another newspaper; his account corroborates that of other sources who spoke to Arcuri. Johnson has repeatedly dodged questions about the close friendship but has denied impropriety following revelations in this newspaper last weekend that he failed to declare a series of potential conflicts of interest over benefits provided to Arcuri’s business.” – Sunday Times

  • Mystery £700,000 loan adds to pressure – Observer
  • Johnson squeezed my thigh in 1999, claims journalist – Mail on Sunday

Hodge fighting deselection threat

“Dame Margaret Hodge, a veteran Labour MP and prominent critic of Jeremy Corbyn, has been triggered for reselection contest by her local constituency party. Hodge has served as MP for Barking in east London since 1994. In a statement to the Huffington Post, Hodge said: “I am obviously disappointed. My priority remains serving the people of Barking as I have done for the last 25 years. At a vital time for the country, with a general election looming, we should be focusing our efforts on holding Boris Johnson and the Tories to account. “I will work to secure the full backing of Barking Labour party, so I can continue to play my part as their MP in doing that.” Under reformed Labour rules, a selection contest can be triggered if a third of local Labour branches vote in favour.” – Observer

  • Corbyn is a bungling Bolshevik who hates everything that’s made Britain great – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mail on Sunday

Polling 1) Voters would prefer a “no deal” Brexit to Corbyn as PM

“New research suggests that UK voters would much rather have a no deal Brexit compared to Jeremy Corbyn being in Downing Street. The research, conducted by former Conservative Deputy Chairman Lord Ashcroft, found that nearly half of voters would be happy for the UK to leave the EU without a deal if the alternative scenario was a Jeremy Corbyn government. Around 48 percent of people preferred the former, with just 35 percent of participants admitting that their preference rested with having Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister. The analysis by Lord Ashcroft was of more than 8,000 voters’ intentions. It discovered that, among Corby’s’ own voters who back Brexit, the 57 percent would prefer no deal, while 28 percent wanted to see their party leader in No 10.” – Sunday Express

  • The public’s verdict on our political class? They waver between fury and contempt – Lord Ashcroft, Mail on Sunday

>Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: What my new poll of 8000 voters tells us about the country, the parties – and Brexit

Polling 2) A survey for Observer has 12 point Conservative lead

“The Conservatives head into their annual conference in Manchester with a 12-point lead over Labour, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer. Labour is up three points to 24% after its conference in Brighton last week, at which it rejected pressure to back an explicitly pro-remain stance on Brexit. But the Tories are on 36% (down one) despite another difficult week for Boris Johnson, during which the supreme court ruled his five-week suspension of parliament to be unlawful. Worryingly for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, the Liberal Democrats are up three points on 20% and for the first time now have the most support among remain voters.” – Observer

Stewart hints he could start his own party

“Rory Stewart is to launch a new centrist “party” modelled on Emmanuel Macron’s ‘En Marche’, he has said. The former Tory MP said it would be based on youth participation and the “radical exercise of listening”. Mr Stewart had the Conservative Party whip removed after he voted against the Government on the Benn Act, which requires Boris Johnson to seek a Brexit extension from the EU. He told Cliveden Literary Festival on Saturday that setting up a new party was the right thing to do, even though it would be difficult under the UK’s first past the post electoral system.” – Sunday Telegraph

Hannan: Tax cuts will help us all

“Scrapping income tax on the first £12,500 was a major factor in the jobs miracle we have seen over the past decade. Bringing NI contributions into line will help everyone who works, but will be especially valuable to those on lower incomes. Yet, with dreary inevitability, the IFS has complained that the poorest won’t see the biggest gains. This is, of course, true of almost every tax cut, as the IFS implicitly admits when it argues for changes in Universal Credit instead. “Don’t cut taxes for the rich!” means, in reality, “Don’t cut taxes for anyone!” The mistake is to calculate only the immediate gain or loss in revenue without factoring in the impact on growth. The IFS talks of the Government “spending” money on tax cuts when what it of course means is “taking less than before”. Lower rates can lead to higher revenues.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

“Heat map” drawn up to stop masonry falling on MPs

“Parliament chiefs have drawn up a ‘heat map’ to stop falling masonry hitting MPs – after a string of near misses. The crumbling Westminster site has seen at least eight incidents in the 18 months where stonework has come crashing to the ground. The lumps have been nearly the size of a house brick in one instance and injuries could have been sustained on four occasions. Authorities have assessed the whole of the Grade 1-listed estate devising a colour-coded map to show risk areas. There are two records of lumps falling of the historic Victoria Tower including one ten-inch inch lump crashing down. A foot-long chunk of masonry was reported to have fallen in the chapel.” – Sun on Sunday

Thatcher “wanted up to leave the EU”

“Margaret Thatcher backed Britain leaving the European Union and transforming itself into a low tax economy like Singapore, according to the final volume of her authorised biography. The former Tory Prime Minister also confided to a friend that the UK would be “better off outside” the EU once she had left Number 10, according to the third and final volume of Charles Moore’s biography of Lady Thatcher. In a letter uncovered by Moore from 1992 after she had stood down as PM Mrs Thatcher told the late Eurosceptic Tory MP Sir Teddy Taylor that the UK was better off out of the bloc…Out of office Mrs Thatcher had gradually come to think that Britain should find a way to leave the EU and told this to “many people … in the manner of confiding a secret,” Moore says.” – Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Yellow vest-style violence has happened before – Daniel Johnson, The Article
  • The message behind this year’s Conservative party conference – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • A bad week for Boris – but the key facts have not changed – John Ashmore, CapX
  • The angrier Britain is, the better for Johnson – Sean O’Grady – Independent

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