Morning Briefing: Withering criticism of Boris Johnson shows growing lack of trust
Boris Johnson has been Prime Minister for 50 days and seemingly the only thing he has united people on is that he is not to be trusted. Yesterday, one of the Scottish judges who ruled prorogation of Parliament was unlawful said Johnson had acted in a “clandestine manner”.
Speaker John Bercow compared Johnson ignoring the law blocking No Deal to “robbing a bank”. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier briefed MEPs that there had been no credible proposals made by the UK government to resolve the Brexit deadlock, despite Johnson saying he is trying to get a deal. And DUP leader Arlene Foster instantly rejected a government briefing to The Times that her party were preparing to make concessions over the Irish backstop.
It’s a long list of accusations of egregious behaviour against the prime minister and hard to see where it is going next. Boris Johnson can't be trusted and it is only the people who can be trusted to make the right decision through a People’s Vote.
Tonight, politicians from across the party divide will join the people of Newport in south Wales for a Let Us Be Heard rally. For your tickets, click here. Tomorrow evening, the people of Belfast will give their full-throated support for a People's Vote at the Ulster Hall: for your free tickets, go here.
Local groups have now organised an incredible 121 coaches from their local areas to bring people to the People’s Vote march in London on 19th October. Find tickets for your local coach and join us at what promises to be one of the largest political demonstration in British history.
This weekend local volunteers will be out campaigning on street stalls in Stamford, Plymouth, Liskeard, Wakefield and Woking, they’ll be knocking on doors in Strumpshaw, Norfolk, holding a public meeting in Aughton in Lancashire, campaigning at the Bellevue Summer Festival, and holding rallies in Leeds and Salisbury. Join them and others in your area here.
Speaker warns Johnson not to break Brexit law "like a bank robber"
Outgoing Speaker John Bercow has threatened to rip up the parliamentary rulebook to stop any illegal attempt by the prime minister to go through with an undemocratic No Deal.
He said he is prepared to allow “additional procedural creativity” if necessary: “If I have been remotely ambiguous so far, let me make myself crystal clear. The only form of Brexit that we have, whenever that might be, will be a Brexit that the House of Commons has explicitly endorsed.”
In a controversial speech last night, he continued: "One should no more refuse to request an extension to Article 50 because of what one might regard as the noble end of departing from the EU as soon as possible, than one could possibly excuse robbing a bank on the basis that the cash stolen would be donated to a charitable cause immediately afterwards. We should not be in this linguistic territory."
His comments came as senior Scottish judge Lord Carloway said the prorogation was sought in a “clandestine” manner which had been done with “the purpose of stymying parliament”.
The full rulings of the three judges were published yesterday and Lord Carloway said: “The circumstances demonstrate that the true reason for the prorogation is to reduce the time available for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit at a time when such scrutiny would appear to be a matter of considerable importance, given the issues at stake.
“[Put] shortly, prorogation was being mooted specifically as a means to stymie any further legislation regulating Brexit.”
The prime minister denied yesterday that he had misled the Queen, but it is clear that – at a time when the dire effects of a catastrophic No Deal are being revealed through the government’s own Operation Yellowhammer papers – he is avoiding proper scrutiny from Parliament.
Store-owners warn that fresh fruit, vegetables and wine could be scarcer as Operation Yellowhammer fears deepen
If the Operation Yellowhammer contingency plan for No Deal is now out of date, why don’t the government release a more up-to-date version? Are they deliberately trying to scare the nation with predictions of food, fuel and medicine delays and public disorder?
Boris Johnson’s government is not being honest with the British people.
Yesterday the retail and drinks industry warned that fresh fruit, vegetables and wine are among the products likely to become scarcer and more expensive after No Deal. Never forget that this is a scenario being inflicted on the people by its own government.
John Lewis and the Co-op said customers’ weekly shop could be disrupted with fears that retailers will have to fly in supplies. And this morning Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said on the BBC's Today programme there would "inevitably be disruption" as "we've never done this before", saying "you couldn't pick a worst time" and that short-life products were most at risk.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association criticised the government for “reneging” on plans for a nine-month suspension of paperwork on imports on wine.
John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, a former government adviser, said the effect of leaving without a deal would be “significant and it will not be possible to mitigate that impact”.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has refused to disclose details about their discussion with local authorities and the food industry over possible disruption to food supplies.
People’s Vote supporter and Green MP Caroline Lucas, who unsuccessfully sought the information in parliament and then via a freedom of information request, said it was “reckless and irresponsible” for ministers to use this argument to withhold potentially vital facts from the public.
Government could easily water down food regulations in event of No Deal
Boris Johnson keeps cosying up to his buddy Donald Trump to get a face-saving trade deal after the UK has left the EU. One of the great fears, of course, is that food regulations – most famously banned chlorine-washed chicken – will be trashed.
Now the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UK TPO) is warning that food regulations can be watered-down with parliament having little say. New analysis by legal experts at the University of Sussex-based UK TPO warns that stringent regulation, which currently restricts some of the more controversial US food produce from UK supermarket shelves, could be stripped away with minimal Parliamentary scrutiny through Statutory Instruments.
Some of these provide extensive scope for ministers to make future changes to food safety legislation, notably potentially significant concessions to the US over GM crops and pesticides, in the pursuit of a headline-grabbing trade deal, without the level of scrutiny that primary legislation would provide.
Dr Emily Lydgate, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Sussex and Fellow of the UK TPO, said: “The concern is that ministers have extensive scope to make significant food safety concessions in order to reach an agreement with the US potentially in the face of opposition from consumers or food producers who would worry about losing access to the EU market.”
It's clear that Brexit must be put to the people. Now is a crucial time to get involved with the People's Vote campaign. Sign up to volunteer today.
Quote of the Day
"My commitment to Britain being part of Europe and maintaining our influence in the world goes to the heart of my politics. And I fear that any traces of liberal conservatism that still exist within the prime minister have long since been captured by the rightwing, foreigner-bashing, inward-looking view of the world that has come to characterise his fellow Brexiters inside the Downing Street bunker.
"It is simply not possible to be a “one nation” Conservative and also pursue a “Little Englander” strategy obviously crafted to appeal to the likes of Nigel Farage and his followers."
People's Vote campaigner Lord Heseltine responds to claims that Boris Johnson called himself "basically a Brexity Hezza" and a strong one-nation Conservative.
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