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Protests, and yelling from the chair, as Parliament is prorogued

‘Signs with “silenced” written on them were held by some Labour MPs, including Clive Lewis (Norwich South). Before walking to the Lords, Mr Bercow said of the protest: “I recognise that our presence is desired by our Majesty the Queen’s Commissioners. They are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my role in this matter.” Mr Bercow added: “I’m perfectly happy to play my part, but I do want to make the point that this is not a standard or normal prorogation.” The Speaker continued: “It’s one of the longest for decades and it represents an act of executive fiat.” Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) shouted at the Speaker and left the chamber. In response, the Speaker said: “I don’t care if you don’t like it. I require no response from you young man. I require no response from you. Get out man, you will not be missed.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • Some Labour MPs try to hold the Speaker in the chair – The Sun
  • Mayhem dismays voters – Daily Mail

>Today:

Bercow announces his imminent departure

‘John Bercow announced he is stepping down after a decade as Speaker of the House of Commons with a swipe at Boris Johnson for his government’s perceived attacks on the UK’s parliamentary democracy. Mr Bercow said he would quit immediately in the event of MPs voting later on Monday for a general election next month. Otherwise he will stand aside on October 31, the day the UK is set to leave the EU. His last act would likely be to assist MPs in blocking a no-deal Brexit. In an emotional statement, the Speaker said the role had been “the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life” and he hoped his successor would continue to defend the role of parliament. “I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually, and for parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons,” he said.’ – FT

>Yesterday: MPsETC: MPs praising the Speaker’s record ought to read the Cox Report on the bullying of Commons staff

MPs vote to compel ministerial advisers to disclose private correspondence…

‘Rebel MPs last night ordered Boris Johnson’s aides to hand over secret messages they claim prove Parliament was shut down to force through Brexit. The PM has furiously denied the claim and says Westminster was ‘prorogued’ so he can set out his domestic plan. But in a blistering attack on No10, sacked Tory Dominic Grieve said public officials had told him the shutdown “smacked of scandal”. His motion to order nine No10 aides – including Dominic Cummings – to hand over their private emails and texts scraped through by 311 votes to 302. It orders No10 to hand over the messages and secret No Deal plans, known as Operation Yellowhammer, by 11pm on Wednesday night. The motion even asks for any messages, whether formal or informal, on the applications WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger. But Downing Street immediately hinted they could defy the order, branding it “disproportionate and unprecedented”.’ – The Sun

  • Cox warns that the motion would ‘trespass on fundamental rights’ – The Times

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Ex-Tory MPs split three ways on the question of compelling advisers to publish private correspondence

…and reject an election yet again

‘The next general election will not take place before the Brexit deadline of October 31 after Boris Johnson pushed ahead with his historic suspension of parliament yesterday. The longest parliamentary session in modern history closed at the end of the sitting early today, removing any possibility that voters would be called to the polls next month. Opposition MPs and Tory rebels rejected for a second time the prime minister’s call for an October 15 election, insisting that a law blocking a no-deal Brexit must take effect first. Amid mass abstentions, 293 MPs backed the prime minister’s motion for a snap election and 46 opposed it. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Mr Johnson needed to secure votes from two thirds of MPs or at least 434.’ – The Times

  • The Prime Minister blasts ‘yellow belly’ Corbyn – The Sun
  • If you want a delay, ask permission from the people, Johnson argues – Daily Telegraph
  • The Tories and the Brexit Party must do a deal – The Sun Says
  • Either that or Johnson must squeeze Farage – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Downing Street demands ministers produce retail policies for conference speeches – The Times
  • Former Rudd adviser claims private polling shows the Conservatives would lose seats – Daily Mail

>Today:

Hints of a backstop shift as Johnson visits Dublin

‘Boris Johnson yesterday hinted that he could sign up to a watered down version of the controversial Irish backstop as government sources suggested that he planned to use the next five weeks to renew efforts to find a deal. Mr Johnson, speaking on the steps of Government Buildings in Dublin alongside Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that a no-deal Brexit would be a “failure of statecraft”. He added that both sides needed to “find a way to ensure the UK is not kept locked in the backstop arrangement and there’s a way out for the UK”. Downing Street denied that Mr Johnson’s comments represented a shift in his position that the backstop needed to be scrapped entirely. However, government sources suggested that Mr Johnson was determined to use the weeks before an EU summit on October 17 to try to bridge the gap between Britain and the EU.’ – The Times

>Today: Simon Fawthrop on Comment: The letter requesting a Brexit delay was sent by carrier pigeon and arrived too late? What a shame.

May’s resignation honours list includes Timothy, Hill and Robbins

‘Theresa May has given honours to the two advisers blamed for her disastrous election campaign in a resignation list that also rewards the Downing Street team that failed to secure Brexit. Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, Mrs May’s former joint chiefs of staff, are both appointed CBE despite being forced to quit after the Conservatives lost their majority at the 2017 election. Mrs May subsequently failed to gain the support to pass her Brexit plan in parliament and resigned this year…Ben Howlett, who was MP for Bath until his defeat in 2017, said: “For those that lost their seats in 2017, this will go down like a cup of very cold sick.”’ – The Times

  • She is accuse of ‘rewarding failure’ – Daily Telegraph
  • John Mann gets a peerage – The Times
  • Knighthood for Boycott – The Times
  • Darroch becomes a Lord – Daily Mail
  • Two major donors are on the list – The Times
  • The former Prime Minister’s diabetes doctor is made a CBE – The Times
  • Robbins is off to work for Goldman Sachs – FT

Wallace: Withdrawing the Whip was brutal, but the 21 left the leadership little choice

‘It’s a question of what it means to be a party. It cannot mean agreeing on everything, or there would be 66 million single-member parties. But nor can it mean just a meaningless logo, with no coherence on ideas or policies. Some people are genuinely tribal, cheering on the badge and chauvinistically believe the best of their own and the worst of everyone else. But for most it’s about some type of common worldview, which you believe to be a better guide to running a country than the alternatives. It was rebellion against that fundamental principle, not simply internal disagreement, which cost the 21 the Whip – they didn’t vote against a policy, which happens all the time, they voted to strip their own party of power, and by extension to put a different, competing worldview into office. In practice, they’d already left their party. The loss of the Whip simply formalised that truth. That disciplinary action was brutal, controversial and costly. But it’s easy to lament and rather harder to suggest what alternative was available. Keeping those MPs on would either require the whole of the rest of the Conservative Party to subjugate its beliefs to theirs – 180,000 members doing what 21 wanted, regardless of the breach of promise to millions of voters.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

Patel pledges longer sentences for ‘monsters’ who attack police

‘Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for urgent action over assaults on police with tougher punishments for the “monsters” who attack officers… Last year the maximum punishment for attacking an emergency services worker was increased to 12 months in prison. Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) event she said: “We need a strong deterrent to make those thugs think twice. The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act was a start, but in its first six weeks only one in four people convicted of new offences were jailed and the average sentence was just over two months. I know the strength of these punishments is a matter of concern to you all, and I share those concerns.”‘ – The Sun

  • Senior officer admits the police cannot do what the public expect of them – The Times

Austin lambasts ‘completely unfit’ Corbyn

‘Mr Austin renounced his whip earlier this year to protest the “culture of antisemitism” he claimed took hold of the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. In a two-minute tirade, Mr Austin said: “No other senior figure in the Labour Party’s history would have joked about lynching a female Member of Parliament. They don’t believe in the rule of law abroad either. They always back the wrong side whether it is the IRA, Hamas or Hezbollah who they describe as friends. No previous Labour leader would have supported brutal totalitarian leaderships such as Cuba or Venezuela who have absolutely no regard for the rule of law. And no previous Labour leadership would have allowed a party with a proud history of fighting racial prejudice to be have been poisoned by racism which is what’s happened under these people. Racism against Jewish people to the extent that members have been arrested on suspicion of racial hatred. The party itself has become the first in history to be investigated under equalities laws but are equalities and human rights commission. These people and the people around them are million miles away from the traditional, mainstream, decent policies of the Labour Party. They have poisoned what was once a great party with extremism. They cannot be trusted with the institutions that underpin our democracy. They are completely unfit to lead the Labour Party, let alone our country.”’ – Daily Express

CIA extracted senior covert source from Russia ‘due to Trump security concerns’

‘The US government extracted one of their most senior covert sources inside the Russian government in 2017 amid fears over how Donald Trump was handling intelligence, a US broadcaster has alleged. The secret removal took place amid fears over the individual’s safety and was successful, according to CNN, which broke the news. The decision reportedly came just weeks after a May 2017 meeting when Mr Trump is said to have discussed highly classified intelligence with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to America. CNN referred to a person said to be directly involved in discussions claiming the removal was driven in part by concerns over the handling of intelligence by Mr Trump and his administration. The CIA did not deny the source had been extracted in a comment given to CNN but categorically denied the suggestion that Mr Trump’s handling of intelligence “drove” the operation.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The President denies knowledge of US airmen staying at his Scottish resort at taxpayers’ expense – Daily Telegraph
  • Putin’s party loses seats in Moscow elections – The Times
  • Freed Iranian tanker predictably sells its oil to Syria – The Times

News in Brief

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