Category Archives: United Kingdom

(SkyNews) Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘We can have a deal’ and ‘Brexit will happen’

(SkyNews) The European Commission President said a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” and he was doing “everything to get a deal”.

Jean-Claude Juncker thinks a Brexit deal is possible
‘I don’t have erotic relation to backstop’

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has told Sky News that “we can have a deal” on Brexit.

Mr Juncker said a no-deal Brexit would have “catastrophic consequences” and said he was doing “everything to get a deal”.Sponsored link

And he said he did not have “an erotic relation” to the so-called backstop, which he said he was prepared to remove from a withdrawal agreement, so long as “alternative arrangements [are put in place] allowing us and Britain to achieve the main objectives of the backstop. All of them”.

Sophy Ridge and Jean-Claude Juncker
Image:Sky’s Sophy Ridge meeting Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels

Sky News@SkyNews

EC President @JunckerEU said he thinks a #Brexit deal can be reached by 31 October.

Speaking exclusively to @RidgeOnSunday, he also warned that a no-deal #Brexit would be “catastrophic” for Britain and for the EU.

Check out the full interview on #Ridge from 8.30am this Sunday.2116:08 PM – Sep 19, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy363 people are talking about this

In a UK exclusive interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge, Mr Juncker confirmed that he had been sent documents by Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlining draft ideas for a new Brexit deal.

Mr Juncker, however, said they had arrived late on Wednesday night, and he had yet to read them.


The 64-year-old, who spent nearly two decades as the prime minister of Luxembourg, became president of the commission five years ago. His term finishes on 31 October, the same day that the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union.

Earlier this week, he met the PM in Luxembourg – the first time the two men had met since Mr Johnson took over in Number 10. They spoke for two hours over a working lunch before Mr Johnson went off for his ill-fated meeting with Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

Jean-Claude Juncker tells Sky News a deal can be done on Brexit
Backstop could be scrapped, says EU’s Juncker

“I had a meeting with Boris Johnson that was rather positive,” Mr Juncker said.

“I think we can have a deal. I am doing everything to have a deal because I don’t like the idea of a no-deal because I think this would have catastrophic consequences for at least one year.

“We are prepared for no-deal, and I hope Britain is prepared as well – but I’m not so sure.”

Asked if he had received the proposals from the British government, he said they had arrived “yesterday night” but he’d had no opportunity to read them yet. But he added that he had spoken to Mr Johnson on the phone “without knowing the content of the British proposals”.

But Mr Juncker did confirm to Sky News that he was now prepared to get rid of the controversial backstop plan, designed to prevent the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but only on condition that “alternative arrangements [are put in place] allowing us and Britain to achieve the main objectives of the backstop.”

The backstop has been widely criticised as having the potential to tie Britain to European Union rules for an indefinite amount of time.

Jean-Claude Juncker speaks exclusively to Sky News
Jean-Claude Juncker:’Brexit will happen’

Mr Juncker agreed that a deal would revolve around the idea that Northern Ireland would follow EU rules on food and agriculture, with other checks being done away from the border.

“It is the basis of a deal. It is the starting and the arrival point,” he said. “The internal market has to be preserved in its entirety.”

Britain’s new proposals are believed to revolve around a collection of ideas, known as the alternative arrangements, designed to offer a suite of separate guarantees that would satisfy politicians in Brussels and London, while avoiding the need for infrastructure on the border.

Mr Juncker said: “I was asking the prime minister the other day to make concrete proposals as far as so-called alternative arrangements are concerned, allowing us and Britain to achieve the main objectives of the backstop. I don’t have an erotic relation to the backstop. If the results are there, I don’t care about it.”Brexit: Has Britain left the EU yet?Follow the updates including key stories, video and quotes from each day in the countdown to Brexit

Asked if that meant that the backstop could go, he answered: “If the objectives are met – all of them – then we don’t need the backstop. It was a guarantee, not an aim by itself.”

He remains hopeful that a deal can be done before he leaves office.

“Brexit will happen,” said Mr Juncker.

(EUobserver) Juncker: No-deal Brexit ‘palpable’


  • Brexit MEPs during EU negotiator Michel Barnier’s speech: isolated (Photo: European Parliament)

EU top officials on Wednesday (18 September) warned that the UK is heading for a no-deal break with the EU, unless the London government provides written proposals on the controversial Irish border issue.

“There is very little time left. […] The risk of a no-deal is very real,” EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs in Strasbourg.

(DML) Boris Johnson ‘has Brexit blueprint’… but he can’t reveal it to EU chiefs as he is terrified it will be leaked to public


  • Sources say EU negotiators being ‘shown pieces of paper’ outlining PM’s plan
  • The move came as No 10 revealed Brexit talks would step up from next week
  • It has also emerged that the PM will soon discuss his plans with Angela Merkel 

Boris Johnson has started to share details of his Brexit blueprint with the EU as talks on a possible deal intensify, Government sources said last night.

Downing Street yesterday hit back at claims by senior EU figures that the Prime Minister has yet to explain the changes he wants to see.

Government sources said EU negotiators were being ‘shown pieces of paper’ giving the outline of Mr Johnson’s plans, including the removal of the controversial Irish backstop.

The move came as No 10 revealed Brexit talks would step up from being twice a week to daily from next week as the UK searches for a deal. It also emerged that the PM will discuss his plans with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at next week’s UN general assembly in New York.

But sources acknowledged that Mr Johnson’s full blueprint may not be published until next month because of fears EU members would leak it and risk a row at the Conservative Party conference.

Boris Johnson (pictured in Luxembourg yesterday) has started to share details of his Brexit blueprint with the EU as talks on a possible deal intensify, according to Government sources

Boris Johnson (pictured in Luxembourg yesterday) has started to share details of his Brexit blueprint with the EU as talks on a possible deal intensify, according to Government sources

Downing Street sources confirmed that Mr Johnson’s Brexit envoy David Frost has so far only shown his EU counterparts the parts of Theresa May’s deal he wants removed, focusing on the backstop.

‘We showed them the text of the Northern Ireland protocol, without the backstop in it, to show them the precision of the removal that we’re looking for, so they could understand what would still be left,’ a source said.

‘We haven’t shown them a new legal text. Essentially we have shown them what we want removing.’ The source said that UK documents were being removed at the end of meetings with the EU to prevent them being leaked.

‘The minute you share anything, you’re literally firing it to 27 capitals,’ they added. ‘The institutions feel they have this duty to share. Once you share it with 27 countries, you’re not in control of the document. You’ve got to be sensible about it.’

Details of Mr Johnson’s plans will not be released until after the conference finishes on October 2 – just two weeks before a crunch EU summit seen as the last chance to strike a deal.

The blueprint involves creating an ‘all-Ireland’ agricultural zone, which would remove the need for checks on livestock and food at the Irish border. The DUP has indicated it could live with the idea, even though it would almost certainly mean enhanced checks on food products crossing to the mainland UK.

But it would also require Brussels to accept that technological customs checks on manufactured goods are kept to a minimum and carried out away from the border.

Mr Johnson is also pushing for the devolved assembly in Northern Ireland to have a ‘lock’ on the extent to which the province is required to follow EU rules.

The UK¿s failure to produce a ¿legally operative¿ alternative plan has angered EU leaders, with Jean-Claude Juncker warning Mr Johnson this week it was impossible to make progress without one (the pair are pictured together in Luxembourg yesterday)

The UK’s failure to produce a ‘legally operative’ alternative plan has angered EU leaders, with Jean-Claude Juncker warning Mr Johnson this week it was impossible to make progress without one (the pair are pictured together in Luxembourg yesterday)

Ministers argue the measure is essential to ensure the post-Brexit arrangements comply with the Good Friday Agreement.

But the Stormont assembly has not sat for more than two and a half years. And Brussels is loath to accept the idea of devolving power over issues that protect the integrity of the single market.

The UK’s failure to produce a ‘legally operative’ alternative plan has angered EU leaders, with Jean-Claude Juncker warning Mr Johnson this week it was impossible to make progress without one.

Sources said Mr Juncker told the PM that ‘the door (to a deal) is not closed’, but warned him the EU could not countenance dropping the Irish backstop until the UK could show it had an alternative plan for preventing a hard border.

But ministers were encouraged by a backlash against Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel, who tried to embarrass Mr Johnson on Monday by staging a joint press conference in front of a noisy crowd of anti-Brexit protesters.

Mr Johnson pulled out of the event after Mr Bettel refused to move it indoors –leaving the Luxembourger to deliver an angry anti-Brexit rant while gesturing at the British PM’s empty lectern.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland described Mr Bettel’s behaviour as ‘an unfortunate media stunt’.

And it also drew criticism from EU diplomats. The senior German MP Norbert Rottgen, a close ally of Mrs Merkel, said Mr Bettel’s speech ‘did not serve the European cause’.

(GUA) EU given Brexit draft with backstop scrubbed out, UK sources admit

(GUA) PM’s negotiators intent on waiting until last minute before sharing plan with Brussels

The UK’s Brexit adviser David Frost (centre) and the British ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow (left), at EU headquarters  in Brussels
 The UK’s Brexit adviser, David Frost (centre), and the British ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow (left), at EU headquarters in Brussels last week. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiators have so far only presented the EU with a draft of the withdrawal agreement with the backstop scrubbed out, UK government sources have confirmed.

In a move that has caused tensions with EU leaders, Johnson’s team are refusing to put forward a written proposal to Brussels at this stage for fear it will be rejected out of hand or publicly rubbished.

Instead, they want to wait until almost the last minute before the October summit before presenting a plan to the EU, with just two weeks before the UK is due to leave the bloc.

The UK government source said the two sides had debated alternatives to the backstop in written discussion documents – such as an all-Ireland regulatory zone and customs checks away from the border – but they would not be putting forward a legal text to the EU at this stage.

There have been reports that David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, is keeping a plan locked safe in his briefcase but the wording has not been shared with Brussels.

Frustration with the UK’s approach broke into the open on Monday as Xavier Bettel, the prime minister of Luxembourg, gave a press conference next to an empty podium following a meeting with Johnson, who refused to take part because of loud protests nearby. Bettel said the UK government needed to put on paper an alternative to the Irish backstop, and appeared to suggest that party political considerations might be standing in the way.

“I told him: ‘I hear a lot but I don’t read a lot.’ If they want to discuss anything we need to have it written [down] … Don’t put the blame on us because they don’t know how to get out of the situation they put themselves in,” Bettel said.Advertisement

As the chaotic scenes were played out, the European commission issued a statement disclosing that its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, had told the prime minister it was his responsibility to come forward with legally operational solutions and that “such proposals have not yet been made”.

Johnson has brushed off the Luxembourg incident with a claim that he is still working towards a deal and believes EU leaders will want to strike an agreement because they have had a “bellyful” of Brexit.

He spoke to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Tuesday morning, agreeing to have further discussions with her in New York at the UN general assembly next week. There are only three days left until the end of the 30-day deadline Merkel gave Johnson last month to come up with alternative solutions to remove the need for a backstop, which Eurosceptics in parliament refuse to vote for because it could keep the UK indefinitely in a customs union.

Johnson is also likely to meet Donald Tusk, the European council president, at the UN conference and No 10 hopes that some progress towards a deal could be made at that summit.

However, many in Brussels are sceptical there is enough time left to do a deal. It is just one month before the crucial EU summit on 17 October, where Johnson hopes to secure a deal, and six weeks before the UK is due to leave on 31 October unless it requests an extension.

Johnson is mandated by the UK parliament to seek a three-month extension if he does not strike a Brexit deal by then. He has insisted he will not do this but has not set out how he would avoid such an outcome.

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, refused on Tuesday to rule out a second prorogation as part of No 10’s tactics to achieve a no-deal Brexit.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the current suspension of parliament could happen again, Buckland said: “Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics. It seems like an hour is a long time in politics at the moment.

“For me to sit here and imagine what might happen at the end of October, I think, is idle. What I do know, if we are able to, we will have a Queen’s speech in mid-October, there will be debate during that time and a vote as well, and perhaps a series of votes.

“Parliament has already shown its power. It had a week in September where it made pretty significant legislation. I think the idea that somehow parliament has been prevented from having its voice doesn’t seem to be borne out by events, frankly.”

(Yahoo) London Stock Exchange rejects £32bn Hong Kong takeover bid


Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
London Stock Exchange said there were ‘fundamental flaws’ in HKEX bid. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) has unanimously rejected a takeover bid from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) (0388.HK).

LSE said in a statement on Friday lunchtime that the board had “considered the unsolicited, preliminary, and highly conditional proposal” and concluded it has “fundamental flaws.”

“The Board has fundamental concerns about the key aspects of the Conditional Proposal: strategy, deliverability, form of consideration, and value,” the company said in a statement.

LSE said it would not engage further with HKEX and would instead focus on its acquisition of data business Refinitiv.

HKEX surprised the market on Wednesday with a £32bn bid for LSE. It said a merger of the two businesses would “connect East and West” and “offer customers greater innovation, risk management, and trading opportunities.”

READ MORE: Twitter’s UK profit jumps — but tax bill falls

Analysts said the deal looked unlikely from the start.

“There are only few instances of cross-continental exchange mergers that have been completed successfully, as nationalistic concerns often arise,” UBS analysts Michael Werner and Federico Braga said in a note to clients on Friday.

“Given the recent business disruptions in Hong Kong, we would argue that this adds to the potential perceived risk of a proposed LSE/HKEX merger.”

Analyst Benjamin Goy at Deutsche Bank said the deal would be “strategically and politically challenging.”

Shares in HKEX fell sharply on Thursday in Hong Kong as investors guessed the deal would be rejected. The stock price fall wiped about $1bn off the company’s value.

READ MORE: More pain for Neil Woodford investors with £42m write-down

LSE shares jumped by 10% on Wednesday when the deal was first announced but the rally quickly faded.

Shortly after the rejection of the takeover proposal on Friday, LSE shares were trading up 1.1% on the day. The stock had been trading as much as 1.8% higher prior to the announcement.

LSE has been the target of several takeover bids over the years, most recently a proposed merger with Deutsche Borse in 2016. That deal was blocked by EU regulators on competition grounds.


(BBC) London Stock Exchange gets £32bn Hong Kong bid


London Stock Exchange

The company that owns Hong Kong’s main stock exchange has made a £32bn bid to buy its rival in London.

Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group jumped by more than 15% on news of the offer, but fell back later.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing said in a statement that combining the two exchanges would bring together “the largest and most significant financial centres in Asia and Europe”.

But it wants the LSE to scrap its plans to buy data firm, Refinitiv.

The deal would “redefine global capital markets for decades to come”, said Charles Li, chief executive of the Hong Kong company.

“Together, we will connect East and West, be more diversified and we will be able to offer customers greater innovation, risk management and trading opportunities,” he added.

The LSE confirmed it had received an “unsolicited, preliminary and highly conditional” offer from its Hong Kong rival and said it would make an announcement in “due course”.

‘Strategic asset’

But analyst Neil Wilson, from, described the proposed deal as a “non-starter”. He pointed to the LSE’s share price after the announcement – just more than £71 and well below the £83.61 offer price – a sign that investors don’t expect the deal to get over the line.

He said political considerations would be “front and centre”.

“The UK government may not wish to see such a vital symbol of UK financial services strength, and indeed a strategic asset, to be owned by foreigners,” he said. “Effectively it would hand it over to the Chinese through the Hong Kong back door.”

One of the conditions of the offer from Hong Kong is that the LSE scraps its proposed £22bn deal to buy data firm Refinitiv from its current owners, which include Thomson Reuters and private equity house Blackstone.

But in its statement, the LSE said it “remains committed to and continues to make good progress” with the deal.

In 2017, EU regulators blocked a proposed £21bn merger between the LSE and Germany’s Deutsche Boerse.

The European Commission said the deal would have created a “de facto monopoly” for certain financial services.

(Reuters) PM Johnson tells parliament – You can tie my hands, but I will not delay Brexit


LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he would not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a law came into force demanding that he delay Britain’s departure from the European Union until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal.

For the second time in a week, lawmakers then rejected Johnson’s request to try to break the deadlock through an early national election.

With the future of Brexit mired in uncertainty, parliament was suspended until Oct. 14, sparking tense scenes in the House of Commons where opposition lawmakers held signs reading “silenced” and yelled “shame on you” at Johnson’s ruling Conservatives.

Johnson appeared to have lost control of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union with the approval of the law, which obliges him to seek a delay unless he can strike a new deal at an EU summit next month.

EU leaders have repeatedly said they have not received specific proposals ahead of an EU summit on Oct. 17 and 18, at which Johnson says he hopes he can secure a deal.

“This government will press on with negotiating a deal, while preparing to leave without one,” Johnson told parliament after the result of the vote on an early election.

“I will go to that crucial summit on October the 17th and no matter how many devices this parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest … This government will not delay Brexit any further.”

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party was eager for an election, but would not support Johnson’s move to hold one until it was certain a delay to Brexit had been secured.

“As keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities,” Corbyn said.

Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant geopolitical move in decades, remains in question more than three years since the 2016 referendum, with possible outcomes ranging from an exit on Oct. 31 without a withdrawal agreement to smooth the transition, to abandoning the whole endeavour.

The bill seeking to block a no-deal exit, passed into law on Monday when it received assent from Queen Elizabeth, will force Johnson to seek a three-month extension to the Oct. 31 deadline unless parliament has either approved a deal or consented by Oct. 19 to leave without one.

Responding to concerns the government could ignore the legislation, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab earlier told parliament that the government would respect the rule of law but added, “Sometimes it can be more complex because there are conflicting laws or competing legal advice.”

Johnson took over as prime minister in July after his predecessor, Theresa May, failed to push the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament.Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen after BritainÕs parliament voted on whether to hold an early general election, in Parliament in London, Britain, September 10, 2019, in this still image taken from Parliament TV footage. Parliament TV via REUTERS

Parliament returned from its summer break last week, and Johnson has lost all six votes held in the House of Commons since. The suspension of parliament, or prorogation, will last for five weeks.

Under Johnson’s premiership, Britain’s three-year Brexit crisis has stepped up a gear, leaving financial markets and businesses bewildered by an array of political decisions that diplomats compare to the style of U.S. President Donald Trump.

BlackRock, a U.S. investment firm that manages $6.8 trillion of assets, said a no-deal Brexit or a referendum had become more plausible.

The pound trimmed gains against the dollar, to stand slightly higher on Monday at $1.234. It jumped to a six-week high of $1.2385 in London trading after economic data beat forecasts.


House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, champion of parliament in its move to rein in the prime minister over Brexit, took a veiled swipe at Johnson as he announced on Monday he would stand down from the role, issuing a warning to the government not to “degrade” parliament.

As Bercow tried to suspend parliament on Monday night, well after midnight, a brief scuffle broke out near his chair as opposition lawmakers held up signs and booed.

“This is not a normal prorogation,” Bercow said. “It is not typical, it is not standard. It is one of the longest for decades and it represents not just in the minds of some colleagues but huge numbers of people outside, an act of executive fiat,” he told a raucous chamber.

Johnson, a former journalist who derided the EU and later became the face of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, has repeatedly promised to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31.

Ireland told Johnson on Monday that he must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border if there was to be any hope of averting a no-deal departure, saying Dublin could not rely on simple promises.Slideshow (15 Images)

“In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, standing beside Johnson, told reporters.

“We are open to alternatives, but they must be realistic ones, legally binding and workable, and we haven’t received such proposals to date.”

Varadkar’s blunt remarks indicate the difficulty of Johnson’s gamble of using the threat of a no-deal exit to convince Germany and France that they must rewrite an exit pact struck last November.

“I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal,” Johnson said in Dublin, adding that there was plenty of time to find one before the October EU summit.

The law that took effect on Monday does allow for one scenario in which a no-deal Brexit could take place on Oct. 31 – if parliament approved a no-deal exit by Oct. 19.

However the current parliament would be unlikely to switch stance and approve a no-deal exit by then.

Lawmakers voted 311 to 302 on Monday to demand the government publish documents over its planning for a no-deal Brexit and private communications from government officials involved in a decision to suspend parliament.

Those calling for the documents to be published say they will show the decision to suspend parliament was politically motivated, as a way to limit discussion on Brexit. The government said the suspension was to give Johnson the chance to set out a new legislative agenda.

(Reuters) Deal or no-deal, Brexit’s puppet master has more strings to pull


LONDON (Reuters) – Boxed in by parliament, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s next move on the Brexit chessboard will most likely be played with the ruthless bravura that his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, built his reputation on.

Since Johnson won the top job in July, Britain’s Brexit crisis has spun more furiously, leaving investors and allies bewildered by an array of decisions that diplomats compare to the disorientating style of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Johnson said on Tuesday he would not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a law came into force demanding that he delay until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal. Before its suspension, parliament refused his demand for a snap election.

Cummings, the puppet master of Brexit who is cast by enemies variously as an anarchist, Britain’s Rasputin or a political vandal, was serene on Tuesday at the center of the Brexit maelstrom.

When asked what his next move would be on Brexit, Cummings told Reuters: “You guys should get outside London and go to talk to people who are not rich ‘remainers’.”

Asked if the United Kingdom would leave on Oct. 31, the 47-year-old Oxford graduate said: “Sure.”

If there is a grand strategy, Johnson’s next move will shape the future of the world’s fifth-largest economy for generations; at stake is the fate of the Brexit endeavor, which both sides cast as the United Kingdom’s most significant decision since World War Two.

But the chessboard has several dimensions: Johnson must factor the absence of any majority in parliament and the electoral threat from the Brexit Party of Nigel Farage, which increases if Brexit is delayed beyond Oct. 31.

Ultimately, Johnson has five choices: strike and ratify a deal with the EU in 50 days; renege on his promises to leave the EU on Oct. 31; somehow get around the law; resign to let another leader request a delay; or an election is triggered.


As sterling markets see-saw on the different Brexit outcomes, Johnson says he can get a deal on the last day of the Oct. 17-18 EU summit.

“There is a way of getting a deal but it will take a lot of hard work. We must be prepared to come out without one,” he said on Tuesday.

Given there is so little time left, any deal would in effect be a modified version of the Withdrawal Agreement that his predecessor Theresa May struck in November.Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain September 6, 2019 REUTERS/Toby Melville

“Boris will try to ram through a modified Withdrawal Agreement,” said one Brexit-supporting source. “He’ll pivot to trying to get a deal.”

Cummings, though cast as a Brexit extremist by enemies, was a supporter of a smooth exit from the EU as was his political patron, Michael Gove.

Goldman Sachs said its base case was a deal, giving it 55% probability, but cut its no-deal probability from 25% to 20% and lowered its probability of no Brexit from 30% to 25%.

“We think the prime minister will re-engage in Brexit negotiations with the EU, aiming to confront MPs in late October with a binary choice between a Brexit deal and a pre-Brexit general election,” Goldman Sachs said.

But the lack of any majority in parliament has reduced the inclination of the EU to negotiate and even if Johnson did get a deal means he would have trouble ratifying it.

“There is no majority in the House of Commons for anything that Johnson wants,” said one EU official.

“We have no other choice but to see if we can get a deal with them. But so far the UK side has not put anything on the table that would make us think this is really what they are aiming at,” the official said.

There are, though, much more radical options.


Cummings, who alongside fellow campaigner Matthew Elliott, drove Vote Leave to victory in the 2016 referendum is cast by allies as a ruthless strategist who cares little for the conventions of traditional British politics.Slideshow (2 Images)

He provoked a row inside Westminster when he sacked a 27-year-old adviser to finance minister Sajid Javid. The adviser, Sonia Khan, was escorted by armed police from Downing Street without Javid’s knowledge.

Former Prime Minister John Major cast Cummings as an overmighty “political anarchist” who should be sacked as Johnson’s de-facto chief of staff before he poisoned British politics beyond repair.

Cummings’s response? “Trust the people” – a slogan used by government advisers to cast Johnson’s Brexit-supporting team as the true servants of the people fighting a London political and financial elite that wants to thwart their will.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday that the United Kingdom was in dangerous territory as voters were concluding that parliament was hindering Brexit. He said the government would respect the law but that interpretations of the law can sometimes be complex.

“At this point, our view is that resignation is the most likely,” U.S. investment bank JPMorgan said. “In our view, neither seeking to defy the law, nor encouraging the EU not to grant an extension, are likely to succeed.”

The Cabinet Manual, which sets out the laws, rules and conventions on the operation of government, says if the prime minister resigns on behalf of the government then Queen Elizabeth will invite the person who appears most likely to be able to command the confidence of lawmakers to serve as prime minister and form a government.

A Conservative Party lawmaker said he thought Johnson would resign soon after the EU summit, ensuring that he is not blamed for any delay to Brexit.

“The question is: what has Cummings got up his sleeve?” said a former Conservative adviser.

“He is one of the smartest people I have ever worked with. He thinks several steps ahead, thrives on chaos and has sat in a bunker for three years thinking about this: so what is he going to do?”

(CityAM) Most likely Brexit outcome? PM Boris’s resignation, says JP Morgan


Most Britons expect a recession within a year

Of the three main options facing Boris Johnson, the most likely outcome is that he will resign, leaving a new prime minister to go to the EU and request a Brexit extension, JP Morgan said today.

In a research note sent to clients, JP Morgan’s head of UK economics Malcolm Barr outlined the “only options” for Brexit that the investment bank now regards as realistic.

“The only options we regard as ultimately viable are for the PM to present a deal to the (House of) Commons and secure approval for it, resign and let someone else make the extension request as PM, or back away from his stated position,” Barr said.

“At this point, our view is that resignation is the most likely of these three,” he added.

Last night Johnson prorogued Parliament for five weeks until 14 October, meaning MPs will return to the Commons just two weeks before the current Brexit deadline of 31 October.

During yet another dramatic night in the Westminster, Johnson was once again defeated in his bid to call an early general election as he failed to win the backing of two thirds of MPs.

A bill demanding the prime minister return to Brussels to seek a delay if he cannot get a Brexit deal through Parliament by 19 October also became law yesterday.

(EN) UK PM once again fails in attempt to trigger snap election after anti no-deal bill passes


Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. -CopyrightUK Parliament/Roger Harris/Handout

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to the pulpit in the House of Commons late on Monday evening once again calling for lawmakers to back a snap election, having his bid rejected just days after his first attempt failed.

In total 293 MPs of 650 voted for prime minister’s motion for an early poll — far short of the number needed. The motion needs to be backed by two-thirds of the MPs to be passed.

Parliament was then prorogued (suspended) just before 2 am BST (3 am CEST) on Tuesday and is set to reopen on October 14.

A group of Labour backbench MPs protested the move, holding up signs that said “silenced” in front of Speaker John Bercow.

Johnson, fresh from a trip to Dublin where he met with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, arrived in the House of Commons at around 11.30 pm CEST, and said that an “election is the only way to break the deadlock in the House.”

“I don’t want an election,” he reiterated, taunting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by describing him as “the first leader of the opposition in the history of our country to show his confidence in Her Majesty’s government by declining the opportunity to have an election.”

Lawmakers rejected Johnson’s call for anticipated elections last Wednesday with 298 votes in favour and 56 against.

Grieve motion passes

It came after MPs clashed in a dramatic night in the House of Commons that saw the resignation of the speaker and allegations of a plot inside No 10 Downing Street to suspend parliament and force a no-deal Brexit.

Independent MP Dominic Grieve named nine civil servants – among them Boris Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings – that he wanted to hand over text messages, emails and memos relating to the decision to prorogue parliament until October 14.

Read more: Who is Johnson’s advisor Dominic Cummings, the man ‘running the country’?

In the first of two scheduled emergency debates of the night, Grieve said that civil servants had “got together within government to try to ensure that this house could be prevented from taking action to prevent a no-deal Brexit.”

Grieve argued that “some of the motives for the prorogation of parliament had now emerged” and that although Downing Street claimed on August 23 that it had not considered the move, “the matter had been under deliberation 10 days previous.”

Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said that the move was “a fishing expedition” that would see civil servants forced to hand over private communications and would be in breach of data protection legislation.

But MPs disagreed, voting by 311 votes to 302 to force the government to reveal the information.

The government said that it is “disappointed that this Humble Address has passed.”

“The Government is committed to sharing appropriate information with Parliament, but we must balance this obligation with the broader public interest, our legal duties and the assurance that Ministers can receive full and frank advice that will remain confidential.

“The scope of the information requested in the Humble Address is disproportionate and unprecedented. We will consider the implications of this vote and respond in due course,” it added.

Rule of law motion passes

Earlier, Speaker John Bercow announced that he would stand down either at the next election or on October 31, whichever comes sooner.

After oral questions to Gavin Williamson, education minister, on education funding earlier Monday, MPs were due to move to Brexit until the surprise statement by Bercow.

Following a slew of tributes to the speaker, the motion under Standing Order 24 (SO24) was brought by Grieve and allowed by Bercow after an angry exchange with a Conservative MP who yelled: “No” repeatedly. The speaker shouted: “You can like it or lump it!”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn then made an application for a debate under SO24 to discuss whether Johnson would be legally required to obey the bill requiring him to request a Brexit extension.

It came after Johnson said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask the EU for more time.

“I hope the prime minister will live up to the office he holds [and] carry out the wishes of that bill,” he said.

Corbyn criticised the fact that Johnson was not in the house, and other MPs then questioned why the government had no-one on the front bench to respond to Corbyn’s motion.

The motion was passed without a vote.

Will Johnson seek an extension?

MPs will likely refuse to allow an election until Johnson commits to honouring the bill that will prevent a no-deal, which he has refused to do.

Speaking on Sunday, Finance Minister Sajid Javid said Johnson would not seek an extension.

“The bill talks about the 19th (of October) being an important date and at that point, we will consider our options but our policy is clear, it is unchanged, we will be leaving on October 31,” he said.

“We will obey all laws because all governments should obey laws absolutely, but you will have to wait and see what happens then.”

Whether or not Johnson is willing to go as far as to break the law in refusing to seek an extension from the EU remains to be seen, but the government could instead choose to try to sabotage the process.

On Sunday, foreign minister Dominic Raab said the government would “adhere to the law”, but went on to say: “We will also want to test to the limit what it does actually lawfully require.”

“We will look very carefully at the implications and our interpretation of it … At what it requires and what it doesn’t require,” Raab told the BBC.

As well as leading to street protests, Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament led to a rebellion from within his own party, with 21 MPs defying the party whip and voting against the government. The rebels were then effectively kicked out of the Conservative party last week.

(Metro) Jeremy Corbyn in talks with opposition leaders for general election after Brexit

(Metro) Boris Johnson is likely to be granted his general election request but he may have to wait until after the Brexit deadline to hold a vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will call other opposition leaders on Monday to discuss a no-deal and a general election strategy. Mr Corbyn will speak with the SNP’s Ian Blackford, the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts about holding an election after the October 31 Brexit deadline, according to reports.

Opposition parties are concerned a general election should be delayed until after an extension has been secured to prevent a no-deal Brexit. It would mean the Prime Minister would be forced to abandon his plan to take the UK out of the European Union at the end of next month with or without a deal.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told Today: ‘The possibility of having a general election obviously is extremely attractive, but we have an immediate crisis in front of us and that has to be sorted before we do anything else.’ She added: ‘Unfortunately, given the behaviour of the Prime Minister and his advisers, we need to be absolutely sure that we are not going to end up in a situation where the general election is used as a distraction while they, by some cunning wheeze, bounce us out of the European Union without a deal.’ SNP Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins also said his first priority was ‘making sure no-deal is off the table’, the Times reported. He added: ‘We can’t trust Boris Johnson one bit.’

Mr Corbyn is thought to have already agreed with the SNP an election will not be held before October 20.

The Prime Minister will make a fresh attempt to call an early election on Monday for October 15. He will need the backing of two-thirds of MPs to succeed in his bid. Mr Johnson will continue campaigning for the election today in Scotland. He will visit a farm in Aberdeenshire to drum up support among voters.

A cross-party bid to require the PM to ask for a Brexit extension if there is not a deal in place cleared the Commons on Wednesday, and is due to complete its progress through the Lords today.

(Reuters) UK government gives up trying to stop Brexit delay bill in parliament


LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government abandoned attempts in the upper house of parliament to block a law aimed at stopping the country from leaving the European Union without a deal.

The move paved the way for Johnson being required to ask the EU for a three-month extension to the Brexit deadline, if he fails to reach a renegotiated transition deal with the bloc by the middle of October.

Johnson has said he is opposed to an extension and that he is prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal if necessary.

Conservative Party members of the upper house of parliament had tabled a series of amendments in an attempt to run down the clock on the delay bill and prevent it being passed before parliament is suspended on Monday.

But in the early hours of Thursday, the government in the upper house, known as the House of Lords, announced it was dropping its opposition to the legislation.

Richard Newby, an opposition member of the Lords, who had taken his duvet to parliament in preparation to spend the night discussing the law, said the government dropped its opposition after suffering heavy defeats on some of the proposed amendments.

“There was a realization by those on the other side that this was more than usually stupid, and they were looking stupid, and we needed to find a way forward,” he told BBC Radio.

(Reuters) The British Conservatives who rebelled and will be expelled from party


LONDON (Reuters) – Twenty-one lawmakers in the ruling Conservative Party rebelled against Prime Minster Boris Johnson on Tuesday by backing the first step towards legislating to block a no-deal Brexit. They will be expelled from the Conservative Party.

The 21 lawmakers are as follows:

Guto Bebb

Alistair Burt

David Gauke

Sam Gyimah

Richard Harrington

Anne Milton

Nicholas Soames

Richard Benyon

Greg Clark

Justine Greening

Philip Hammond

Margot James

Caroline Nokes

Rory Stewart

Steve Brine

Kenneth Clarke

Dominic GrieveFILE PHOTO: Alistair Burt arrives at 10 Downing Street as Britain’s re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron names his new cabinet, in central London, Britain May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Stephen Hammond

Oliver Letwin

Antoinette Sandbach

Edward Vaizey