Published:

Johnson faces ‘desperate battle’ to secure an election…

“Boris Johnson faces an increasingly desperate battle to force a general election as his opponents plot to trap him in office but without power until after the next Brexit delay. The prime minister suffered two more defeats in the Commons last night as MPs first voted to compel him to secure another extension and then denied him the poll he wants on October 15. His motion to force a general election failed to secure the support of two thirds of MPs — 434. The Commons voted 298 for and 56 against after Labour abstained. Jeremy Corbyn said that he would back another general election once the Brexit delay bill had become law. The Labour leader faces a full-scale rebellion if he seeks to force his MPs to vote for an election before October 31.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister to make emergency speech attacking Corbyn’s “cowardly assault on democracy” – Daily Express
  • Day of defiance and defeat puts Government on the defensive – The Times
  • Johnson will try to ‘ram through’ an election on Monday – The Sun
  • More than 100,000 apply to register to vote – The Guardian
  • Has the Prime Minister got any cards left to play? – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Commons sketch: A strange and ominous day in the Palace of Westminster

…as Labour gripped by own turmoil over vote…

“Jeremy Corbyn was at odds with his own party over a general election last night as Labour MPs tried to force him to delay any vote to go to the polls until November. Despite having called for an election repeatedly over the past two years, Labour has been in chaos over whether to back Boris Johnson’s request for a vote on October 15. Yesterday, the tensions burst into the open as senior Labour MPs demanded that the party wait until a Brexit extension past October 31 had been secured before backing a poll. They said Labour should withhold consent until after the Prime Minister had been forced to request a delay from Brussels. However, Mr Corbyn – who has insisted over and over that he wants an election – hinted that he might agree as soon as next week. He suggested he would once a Bill to tie the Prime Minister’s hands has received royal assent.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour plots to delay poll until November – Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition MPs ‘at odds’ over election – The Times
  • Could Corbyn take office without an election? – Daily Express
  • Is he the most dangerous chicken in Britain? – The Sun

Comment:

  • Why Europe fears an early Brexit election – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: The Commons votes for an early general election by 298 to 56 – not the two-thirds majority required.

>Yesterday:

…peers abandon bid to filibuster anti-No Deal bill…

“The House of Lords has agreed to get the Benn bill ruling out a no-deal Brexit through all stages of parliament before it is suspended by Boris Johnson. Around 1.30am on Thursday following late-night debate, peers were told it had been agreed that the bill – which has been passed by rebel Tories and opposition MPs in the Commons – would be returned to the lower house by 5pm on Friday, ruling out the prospect of attempts at a filibuster. It could then be voted on again by MPs on Monday and presented for royal assent, the Lords heard. Peers are set to debate the Benn bill itself and amendments on Thursday. Baroness Smith, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, said the opposition supported the move, and hoped there would be “no further frustrations” of the bill on Friday.” – The Guardian

  • Government drops resistance to end ‘key barrier to Labour support’ for an election – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: It’s a Third Reading for the Bill by 327 to 299. But an amendment has been added…

…and rebels plan to stand as ‘Independent Conservatives’

“Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Rory Stewart are all expected to try to stand as independent Conservatives in a general election after being stripped of the party whip. Tory rebels were waking up yesterday to the reality of the first day outside the party that some had served for nearly five decades. A total of 21 Tory MPs, including two former chancellors, were sacked in alphabetical order on Tuesday night, with some receiving the news by text message. Now independent MPs, they signalled their determination to fight Boris Johnson’s decision with their first act yesterday, taking their seats on government benches… Mr Hammond has vowed to give No 10 the “fight of a lifetime” to prevent it stopping him standing as a Conservative candidate. Several of the group are understood to be prepared to stand as “independent Conservatives” in their constituencies.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister bets on ballot-box dividend from risky gamble – FT
  • He’s told to ‘rein in’ Cummings – The Times
  • Cabinet members demand u-turn over whip – The Sun
  • So too do ‘over 100 MPs’ – Daily Mail
  • Pressure builds as Party anger mounts over expulsions – The Times

Comment:

  • Why I joined the Conservative revolt against No Deal – Guto Bebb MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Party haunted by ghost of Peel – Lord Lexden, The Times
  • Cummings has gatecrashed a great Party, and must go – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Today: Bobby Friedman in Comment: Enough is enough. The Conservatives must put up a candidate against Bercow in Buckingham.

>Yesterday:

Jenni Russell: It is too early to say that Johnson’s plan isn’t working

“The country is being played on a grand scale by the men in Downing Street. Nothing is as it seems. Boris Johnson wanted and intended to lose his historic vote. The headlines declaring he has lost control are only half right. Johnson and his chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, deliberately planned and engineered last night’s defeat, goading the Commons into opposing him; he was lying to his party, parliament and the country when he claimed that he was being pushed into calling an election. An early election that he could deny seeking is exactly what he has been scheming to achieve ever since he took power. And although elements of this strategy went badly wrong this week it is just plausible that Johnson’s tactics of deception could give him victory still.” – The Times

  • He’s gambling it all on an election that will transform Britain – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Corbyn holds the reins, and the narrative of the election is already shaping up – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The Conservative and Brexit parties must reach a formal compact – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Three thoughts to give Tory strategists insomnia – Alex Dawson, Times Red Box
  • Brexit has read the rites over British Conservatism – Philip Stephens, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Meanwhile, back in the real world, Johnson is doing better than his critics like to suggest

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: PMQs sketch: Johnson sets out to infuriate his opponents

Court rejects bid to block prorogation

“Boris Johnson got a boost today after Brexit wreckers’ bid to stop him shutting down Parliament failed in court. Lord Doherty ruled that suspension of parliament is “political territory” and courts cannot rule on it. And he added: “Accountability for the advice is to Parliament and ultimately the electorate and not to the courts. “In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law.” More than 75 campaigners and MPs had challenged Boris’ plans to prorogue Parliament from next month. Last week he revealed plans to shut it down for five weeks so Britain can prepare for a new Queen’s Speech. But Remainers were in uproar, accusing him of destroying democracy.” – The Sun

Javid finds billions for ‘decade of renewal’

“Sajid Javid promised a “decade of renewal” yesterday after years of austerity as he embarked on a multibillion-pound spending spree, with extra cash for health, schools and the police. In front of a raucous House of Commons the chancellor set out plans to increase spending by 4.1 per cent or £13.8 billion next year, focused on the “people’s priorities”. He told MPs: “We are turning the page on austerity and beginning a new decade of renewal. A new economic era needs a new economic plan and today we lay the foundations with the fastest increase in day-to-day spending in 15 years.” Labour criticised the announcements as “grubby electioneering”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told Mr Javid “not to insult the intelligence of the British people”. He said: “They’re pretending to end austerity . . . it’s almost [as if] they forget they’ve been in government for nine years.”” – The Times

  • Chancellor signals radical shift in strategy – FT
  • National campaign to recruit 6,000 police officers launched – Daily Telegraph
  • Social care and schools also benefit – The Sun

Comment:

  • End to austerity… and Tory prudence – Philip Aldrick, The Times
  • This Government will show police officers the respect they deserve – Priti Patel MP, Daily Telegraph
  • We’re spending money on what people care about – Andrea Leadsom MP, Times Red Box

>Today: Rachel Wolf’s column: When voters say their priorities are the NHS and schools, politicians ought to believe them

>Yesterday:

Carney says No Deal won’t be as bad as the Bank of England anticipated

“Britain’s economy will not be as badly damaged as feared by a worst-case scenario Brexit because of preparations made by several sectors, according to the Bank of England. Mark Carney, the governor, said that measures taken by ports in the UK and France and a last-minute concession by Europe over trillions of pounds of complex financial contracts had lessened the likely impact of a disorderly departure from the European Union. In a letter to the Treasury select committee, he said that Britain would still plunge to a severe recession but GDP would contract by 5.5 per cent over the course of the contraction, not the 8 per cent forecast by the Bank in November. That compares with Britain’s 6 per cent peak-to-trough contraction during the financial crisis. Mr Carney added that there was almost no chance of the Bank reversing its hands-off stance on sterling by intervening in foreign exchange markets to support the pound if it fell sharply after Brexit.” – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Would the Withdrawal Agreement be acceptable without the backstop? 2) Barclay’s reply to Redwood

Patel ‘backtracks’ from plan to end freedom of movement

“Priti Patel has backtracked on the government’s promise to end free movement immediately in the event of a no-deal Brexit, instead returning to the previous policy of giving new EU migrants three years’ temporary leave to remain. The announcement vindicates repeated warnings from lawyers and policy experts that bringing a hard stop to free movement on 31 October – as Number 10 pledged last month – would be impossible to implement in such a short space of time. They also warned it would leave Boris Johnson’s new government open to legal challenge. Ms Patel said on Wednesday she would revert to her predecessor’s no-deal plan to replace freedom of movement. This would grant all EU nationals entering the UK between the planned Brexit date of 31 October 2019 and the end of 2020 a three-year temporary leave to remain.” – FT

  • She admits it will continue until 2021 under No Deal – The Sun

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: How to keep our pledges to the EU nationals who live here

Labour MP demands Johnson apologise for comments

“A Sikh MP demanded Boris Johnson apologise for comparing women in burkas to letterboxes in an astonishing Commons showdown yesterday. Labour MP Singh Dhesi ambushed the new Prime Minister over his “derogatory and racist remarks” made in a newspaper column last year. The astonishing confrontation, which came in Boris’ first ever PMQs, shocked the Commons. And in a rare move, MPs on the Opposition benches erupted into a round of applause for Mr Dhesi – the first turban-wearing Sikh in the Commons… The PM hit back, insisting he defends the rights of people to wear what they want.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The Conservatives are splintering over Brexit, but the time may not be right for a serious split – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Johnson could be about to lose everything… or redefine British politics – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • The Tory party has simply evolved in order to survive – David Waywell, Reaction
  • Look what happens when you ignore Parliament – Diane Purkiss, UnHerd
  • The West must find its hope again – Andrew Bowie MP, 1828

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