Published On: Sun, Sep 8th, 2019

Brexit LIVE: Gutsy Boris Johnson will 'sabotage' Brexit delay – has plan to provoke EU

The Prime Minister will go to the EU’s summit on October 17 to seek a deal with Brussels. But if a deal is not agreed, he will then refuse to demand a delay to article 50, despite the rebels’ legislation being passed by the House of Lords on Friday. A senior Number 10 source told the Times: “If there isn’t a deal by the 18th we will sabotage the extension.” 

Another source said Mr Johnson was prepared to “take a chainsaw to anything” standing in its way.  

This comes after reports of Mr Johnson will attempt to provoke Brussels chiefs into kicking the UK out of the EU.

Mr Johnson’s ­advisers have found an ­obscure EU law which they claim would ­enable the UK to paralyse the ruling European Commission if the UK is still part of the EU on October 31, Mirror Online has reported.

The Commission needs to have 28 commissioners by November 1, as this will be one for each member state.

But Mr Johnson will refuse to ­supply one from Britain, which means the Commission cannot legally constitute itself.

A No.10 source said: “We will play the EU at their own game and fight fire with fire.”

This comes after Mr Johnson faced more opposition from within his own party following the resignation of Amber Rudd.

The now former Work and Pensions Secretary quit the Cabinet after the Prime Minister sacked 21 rebels this week.

Mr Johnson removed the whip from two former chancellors and Winston Churchill’s grandson after they voted to give Opposition MPs control of the order paper and start the process of blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Rudd said: “I cannot stand by as good, loyal moderate Conservatives are expelled.
“I have spoken to the PM and my Association Chairman to explain. I remain committed to the One Nation values that drew me into politics.”

She added she felt Mr Johnson’s decision was “short-sighted”.

Ms Rudd said: ”This short-sighted culling of my colleagues has stripped the party of broad-minded and dedicated Conservative MPs. I cannot support this act of political vandalism.

“Therefore, it is with regret that I am also surrendering the Conservative whip.”


9.59am update: Greening unimpressed by ‘most profoundly un-Conservative policy’

Former Conservative cabinet minister and independent Justine Greening said: “For me it’s impossible to stand by and simply allow a Government to inflict a no-deal Brexit on Britain, for me it is the most profoundly un-Conservative policy I have ever seen, it destroys jobs, it harms our economy, it damages opportunity, it will damage social mobility.”

On Ms Rudd’s departure, she told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “She’s been clear that there isn’t really a negotiation going on with the EU to try and get any kind of Brexit deal and, from my perspective, I’m waiting to see the Prime Minister get on a plane to Brussels.

“That’s not happened yet and so my concern’s always been that there isn’t really a negotiation happening on Brexit now and therefore the main objective of the Government is to leave with no-deal.”

9.50am update: Corbyn would need to head any UK caretaker government 

Any British caretaker government would have to be headed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition party’s finance policy chief John McDonnell said on Sunday.

Speaking to the BBC, McDonnell also said all possible steps needed to be taken to avert a no-deal Brexit and that he believed past assurances from EU authorities that they would grant Britain a further extension on its departure date.

The country’s political system is in deadlock, with Labour and other opposition parties saying they would either vote against Boris Johnson’s bid to call an early election, or abstain until a law to force the prime minister to seek a Brexit delay is implemented.

9.38am update: Javid declares Rudd ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’

Chancellor Sajid Javid told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show this morning that he does not agree with former Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd after she sai she quit the cabinet because she doesn’t believe enough work is going into securing a Brexit deal with the EU.

He said: “That view couldn’t be further from the truth. The central focus has been to make sure we leave the EU on 31 October – and that is we want to have a deal.

“Senior advisers have been meeting two to three times a week and there have been meetings in Brussels.

“There has been progress.

“We are straining every sinew to get a deal and the prime minister is putting in every effort you would expect from a leader to get a deal.

“I cam absolutely convinced that we can get a deal, but this [Hilary] Benn bill last week has not helped.

“We don’t want a no-deal, but if we have to leave the EU on 31 October without a deal, we will.”

9.21am update: McDonnell warns no deal Brexit would be ‘absolute disaster’

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told The Andrew Marr Show: “We need to do all we can to prevent a no-deal Brexit.  

“I can’t support a no-deal. I think it would be so damaging for the country, to the living standards of people, their jobs, the economy. It would be an absolute disaster.

“If we can get a no-deal Brexit off the agenda then I would support a general election.

“In every political party there is a difference of opinion. Let the people decide.”

He added if the government proposed a second referendum, he would back it.

9.19am update: Amber Rudd’s replacement is announced

Therese Coffey has been appointed as the new DWP secretary.

She was a former environment minister.

8.50am update: EU’s refusal to compromise on backstop is blamed for increasing chance of no deal

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has claimed the EU’s refusal to compromise on the Irish backstop is making a no-deal Brexit more likely.

He added he felt the EU was “blind” to the fact that a “cliff-edge Brexit” was on the cards as Brussels had set “a test that is impossible to meet”.

His words come after Michel Barnier reaffirmed the European Union’s commitment to the Irish backstop proposals in the Withdrawal Agreement that Mr Johnson has branded unacceptable.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Barnier insisted the measures, aimed at preventing a hard border across Ireland, represented the “maximum flexibility” that Brussels can offer.

But Mr Barclay, writing in the same paper, said he felt “nothing we suggest goes far enough and no matter how creative our solutions, the response is a statement of openness which masks a closed position”.

He wrote: “Brussels… is setting a test that is impossible to meet.

“It continues to say it is defending three key objectives – avoiding a hard border, protecting the Single Market and preserving the all-island of Ireland economy.

“But continuing to insist on the inclusion of the backstop means the EU is also insisting on a commitment for the UK to remain in the customs union and parts of the single market.”

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