Scottish judges rule prorogation was ‘unlawful’

“Parliament will be recalled if the UK’s top court upholds a Scottish court’s explosive ruling that Boris Johnson gave the Queen unlawful advice, the government has promised. Downing Street was forced to make the pledge after outrage among Conservatives when a senior minister and an official at No 10 cast doubt on the impartiality of Scottish judges. A constitutional crisis provoked by the prorogation of parliament will come to a head in the Supreme Court on Tuesday after diametrically opposed rulings from judges in England and Scotland. This week parliament was prorogued for five weeks, the longest such shutdown since the Second World War.” – The Times

  • MPs used 300-year-old Scottish law to win – Daily Telegraph
  • Kwarteng accuses judges of ‘interfering in politics’ – Daily Mail
  • Eyes on Johnson over whether he misled the Queen – FT
  • Sturgeon slams Government for ‘bias’ jibe at Scottish courts – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister pans ‘anti-democratic’ Remainers for blocking election – The Sun
  • Belfast court to rule today on legal challenge to No Deal – Daily Express


  • Ruling takes us into uncharted legal terrain – Michael Gordon, Times Red Box
  • Supreme Court would be wise to accept prorogation is political – Clive Thorne, Daily Telegraph
  • Parliament must be recalled – Joanna Cherry MP, Times Red Box
  • Remainers are confirming Leavers’ worst fears with litigation spree – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Court ruling plays into Johnson’s strategy – Henry Zeffman, The Times


  • Remainers hope courts will do their dirty work – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Scottish court rules prorogation unlawful. Government says that Parliament won’t be recalled.

‘Yellowhammer’ worst-case scenario documents published

Boris Johnson has faced renewed pressure to recall Parliament after the Prime Minister was forced to publish its “worst case scenario” plan for a no deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer. The opposition seized on the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments of the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement to insist MPs return to Westminster. However, the document, which was released following a vote in Parliament that demanded its publication, is already almost six weeks out of date, meaning it does not take into account Mr Johnson’s ramped up no deal planning in that time.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Food shortages, delays, and disorder – The Times
  • Or is it chaos, but no food shortages? – Daily Mail
  • Union warns Johnson not to make civil servants break the law – The Guardian
  • No Deal ‘existential threat’ to many Ulster businesses – FT


  • Damage would pale in comparison to a Corbyn-led government – Liam Halligan, The Sun

Johnson offers ‘olive branch’ to rebels…

Boris Johnson has offered Tory rebels a way back into the party amid a growing split among Conservatives over his decision to kick them out. The Prime Minister instructed the Chief Whip to write to all MPs setting out the appeals process to restore the whip, which was described as a “ray of light” for the rebels by a senior party source. It comes amid growing signs Mr Johnson could be about to broker a Brexit deal over Northern Ireland for which he would need the maximum possible number of Tory MPs to get it through the Commons. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, have all urged the Prime Minister to offer an “olive branch” to some of the rebels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chief Whip opens door for favoured renegades – The Times
  • Prime Minister forced into ’embarrassing u-turn’ – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: “The landing zone”

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP’s column: The choice for Conservatives. Back the Prime Minister, or face election oblivion.

…as he refuses to hand over private messages…

“Boris Johnson last night defied MPs’ orders that he publish private messages on proroguing parliament only hours after a court ruled the shutdown to be illegal. The prime minister rejected the demand by the Commons to see advisers’ communications, calling it “unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate”. He added that MPs were to blame for the “real failure of democracy” because the result of the EU referendum had not been honoured… In a letter last night to Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative MP who brought the motion, Michael Gove, who is in charge of no-deal planning, said the demand “goes far beyond any reasonable right of parliament”.” – The Times

…again rules out Ulster-only backstop in ‘People’s PMQs’…

“Boris Johnson has ruled out a Northern Ireland only backstop after an Irish EU chief said chances of a Brexit deal are rising. Bo-Jo told a People’s PMQ’s session that he “would not accept” any form of backstop in talks with the bloc because it “simply doesn’t work for the UK”. The backstop, the most controversial element of Theresa May’s deal, has been a constant stumbling block in Brexit negotiations. But the PM was handed a boost this week when Phil Hogan, a nominee for EU trade commissioner,  said the “penny had dropped” after he suggested an “all-Ireland” farming market after our divorce from the bloc.” – The Sun

  • Poll shows Northern Irish voters narrowly choosing Dublin – Daily Express
  • PSNI seeks 800 new officers to combat growing terror threat – The Guardian
  • Why does Johnson think he can bridge the Irish Sea? – Daily Mail


  • Merkel insists there is ‘every chance’ a deal can be reached… – The Sun
  • …as she warns of danger to EU of ‘Singapore-style’ UK – The Guardian
  • France accuses Prime Minister of pursuing ‘mini-deals’ which undermine negotiations – FT
  • European Parliament to ‘raise alarm’ over treatment of EU nationals – The Guardian

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

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My Northern Ireland polling. Six out of ten voters there accept the backstop. But only one in five Unionists do so.

…and rejects pact with the Brexit Party

“Allies of the prime minister attacked Nigel Farage yesterday and said that he should never be allowed “anywhere near government” as Boris Johnson appeared to kill off the Brexit Party leader’s hopes of an electoral pact. A senior Conservative source added that Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, was not a “fit and proper” person. Mr Farage had told the prime minister that the Brexit Party could be his best friend or his worst enemy and that the Conservatives would lose a general election if he rejected a “non-aggression” agreement. However, a spokesman for the prime minister said: “The PM will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage.”” – The Times

Shipbuilding ‘renaissance’ could save iconic Ulster firm

The fortunes of troubled shipbuilder Harland and Wolff could be revived with the announcement on Thursday of the preferred bidder to design new Type 31 frigates to be built in the UK. Work will commence before the end of this year with the first of at least five ships ready by 2023 as part of a pledge to expand the Royal Navy’s fleet over the next 20 years. British shipbuilders BAE Systems, Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK are on the shortlist for the £1.25 billion contract to replace Type 23 frigates. The Babcock-led team, which the Daily Telegraph last month reported was set to win the tender, included Harland and Wolff before the 158-year-old company which built the Titanic went into administration last month.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Warship deal worth £1.3 billion – The Times
  • Lifeline for collapsed shipyards in Scotland and Northern Ireland – FT


  • Midlands seeks £3.6 billion for regional rail projects – FT

Javid offers prospect of reprieve for hounded freelancers

“Freelancers who took advantage of tax avoidance schemes could be spared penalties worth billions of pounds after the chancellor ordered an independent review into the government’s policy to pursue them. Self-employed locum nurses, IT contractors, management consultants and other freelancers face fines totalling £3.2 billion after signing up to so-called disguised remuneration schemes to minimise their tax burden going back more than 20 years… Politicians, lawyers and campaigners have argued that HMRC has acted improperly in pursuing many of those who used such schemes.” – The Times

  • Treasury bows to campaigners’ demands to reconsider ‘retrospective tax’ – FT


  • Hancock criticises Treasury for promising return of ‘cheap booze and fags’ – Daily Mail

Priti Patel and Gavin Williamson: Allowing graduates to stay shows we’re an outward-facing nation

“To be eligible for the graduate route, students will need to have successfully completed a course at undergraduate level or above at a reputable higher education institution. For two years after they have finished their studies, they will be able to get a job in any sector while they consider their career options. Once they have found a suitable role they will be able to switch to a skilled work visa. There will be no cap on the route; all graduates who meet the criteria will be able to apply. The UK is one of the most popular study destinations in the world, second only to the United States, but this is a crucial step in our efforts to attract even more of the brightest and best students.” – The Times

>Today: Philip Salter in Comment: Letting overseas students stay to work is right, and opens up new opportunities for our economy

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Ministers must ensure a visa regime aimed at retaining skilled graduates does just that

Rudd calls for proportional representation

“Amber Rudd is to use her first speech since leaving the government to call for cross-party efforts to consider proportional representation. In a speech to the Reform thinktank in London on Thursday evening, Rudd – who quit as work and pensions secretary and resigned the Conservative whip over Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans – will call for compromise on leaving the EU, warning that either no deal or revoking article 50 would risk public anger. The comments on electoral reform are more notable given they indicate a potential willingness among at least some senior Conservatives to consider replacing the current first-past-the-post system. Given the Brexit impasse, Rudd is to say, it is time to “ask ourselves some tough questions about whether our institutions remain fully fit for purpose”.” – The Guardian

Labour considers holding EU referendum before negotiating…

“Voters would face a re-run of the 2016 EU referendum under a Labour government, according to plans being considered by the party’s leadership. In a reversal of the present position, Labour strategists have drawn up a proposal to hold a second referendum as soon as the party came to power and before striking a revised deal with the European Union. Under the terms of the proposed referendum, Labour would revoke Article 50 if the Remain campaign prevailed. It would pledge to take Britain out of the EU on the “best possible terms” if the Leave campaign won again.” – The Times

  • Corbyn will let his MPs campaign for leave or remain – The Sun
  • EU officials regret alliance with the Opposition – The Times


  • Watson has worked out that fence-sitting won’t work – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • But he’s wrong, we need an election before a referendum – Tom Kibasi, The Guardian

…as a score of Labour MPs signal they might back the Prime Minister if he comes back with a deal

“Up to 20 Labour MPs may be prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn and support any revised Brexit deal that Boris Johnson is able to strike with the European Union, senior party figures believe… One senior Labour source said that about 20 of their MPs would vote for a revised Johnson deal even if the Labour leadership opposed it. “It is hard to calculate because you don’t know what the deal will be,” they said. “But if it is not that different from the current withdrawal agreement and the government had a realistic prospect of getting enough support on their own side I think you could see up to 20 of our lot backing it.”” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • A court ruling that spells trouble, and not just for Johnson – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The Remain alliance has taken control of parliament – and Brexit – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • This Lord of the Flies Commons needs to raise its tone, and fast – Philip Patrick, Reaction
  • Why conservatism is failing – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • Gen Z is more entrepreneurial than you think – Amelia Stewart, 1828

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