Morning Briefing: Rebel Alliance prepares to block snap election with Johnson in trouble
You have to say that “I’d rather die in a ditch”, is rather less-Churchillian than “do or die”. And the odds of Boris Johnson leaving office in 2019 are only 6-4, when in June he blustered that the chances of No Deal were a “million to one against.”
But’s that’s the way this week has gone for the Prime Minister, with the abrupt resignation of his own brother Jo coming on top of a series of highly-damaging Parliamentary defeats and the emergence of the new “Rebel Alliance”.
While most of the speculation is about when a General Election will take place, the only real solution to the problem that is crippling the UK’s political (and much normal) life is a People’s Vote. More and more MPs are again calling out that it’s what we need.
We have been saying all summer that it’s Time To Be Heard. There will be protests around the country this weekend and our massive march will take place on Saturday October 19 in London and the People’s Vote message continues to be the only one that makes sense amidst the madness.
Next Friday September 13th, the people of Newport in Wales get the opportunity to give a full-throated backing to a People’s Vote. For your free tickets, click here.
Johnson told to ditch "overmighty advisers" as brother's resignation piles on the pressure
Former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major launched a blistering attack on Boris Johnson last night for kicking out of the party the men and women of “character and courage” who sacrificed their careers to do the right thing for their country and constituents in blocking No Deal.
And in a direct attack on Johnson’s right hand man Dominic Cummings he urged him to ditch his “overmighty advisers” before politics is “poisoned beyond repair”.
Mr John told the CBI in Glasgow last night that “we need Government of the highest quality, not Government by bluster and threat in a climate of aggressive bullying.” He warned against the rise of English nationalism and his fears for the Union.
His comments came as Johnson’s own brother Jo quit the front bench after the sacking of 21 rebels this week, saying he had been torn between “family loyalty and the national interest.”
More Conservative MPs continued to resign due to divisions in the party, with former party chair Dame Caroline Spelman saying “I can’t be pro-No Deal when I’ve seen the predictions about what will happen to jobs. And Northern Ireland minister Nick Hurd said he would not stand again."
Veteran MP Sir Michael Fallon - a Johnson supporter - announced he will stand down at the next election this morning on the BBC's Today programme, but called for an amnesty for rebels. He warned that the Conservative Party could lose many Remain supporters in future.
The shifting sands of allegiances in the Commons are making it more and more difficult for Boris Johnson to govern – and add to the uncertainty if and when there is a General Election.
But a destructive No Deal is not yet off the table – and that remains the highest priority.
Labour and Opposition parties set to push back on early election
It is looking more and more likely that Labour and other Opposition parties will work together to once again reject Boris Johnson’s attempt to call a snap General Election on Monday.
Jeremy Corbyn will host a conference call with other leaders today to discuss strategy as the Government prepares to hold a second vote for an election on Monday.
The current view seems to be that opponents to No Deal will hold back from a poll until Boris Johnson has been forced to humiliatingly go back to Europe asking for an extension to Article 50. The SNP have indicated that they would support Labour in this position.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told BBC’s Question Time: “No, we’re not going to support Boris Johnson because - what we want to do more than anything else, in our hearts, in our bones we want a general election of course we do - but at the moment the emergency is we have a dishonest Prime Minister who will use every means possible to get us out of the European Union without a deal."
She told the BBC's Today programme this morning: "We need to get this immediate crisis dealt with first." She promised a People's Vote after an election to settle the Brexit issue "once and for all".
During the PM’s controversial visit to a Yorkshire police training academy, he said he would rather “be dead in a ditch” than go back to the EU to ask for an extension, which Labour believes could force him to break his promise – or break the law.
One Wakefield passer-by told the Prime Minister he “should be in Brussels, negotiating.” Another told him bluntly: “Get out of my town.” It is an indicator of how divisive a General Election could be while Brexit remains unresolved.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned last night that the UK may not get a "clean break" Brexit and deep division over the EU will dominate UK politics for "many years to come".
"The story of Brexit does not end if the United Kingdom leaves on 31st October or even January 31st — there is no such thing as a clean break," Varadkar told the British Irish Chamber of Commerce. "Rather, we just enter a new phase."
Rees-Mogg forced to apologise to top doctor
Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise last night after comparing the consultant who helped draw up No Deal medical plans to the disgraced ant-vaccine campaigner Andrew Wakefield.
The chief medical officer for England Dame Sally Davies called his comments “disgraceful” and the BMA joined the chorus of criticism of top neurologist David Nicholl who threatened to sue Rees-Mogg if he repeated the comments outside Parliament.
The two clashed earlier in the week on LBC Radio when Dr Nicholl challenged Rees-Mogg over how many fatalities were acceptable in the event of a destructive No Deal.
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 feeling about a General Election is that it solves nothing at all. And although I have huge concerns about another referendum, that is the only way out of this, I have to be honest.”
De-selected Guildford MP Anne Milton backs a People's Vote after joining the Rebel Alliance.
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Volunteer team leader Heather Glass spoke on stage in Parliament Square this week to talk about the important work that local grassroots groups do in the campaign. Watch here and get involved in your local campaign group and make a difference in your local community.
This weekend local groups and volunteers will be out across the country making the case for a People’s Vote. Join them at events including on a street stall in St Andrews or Redruth, at a rally in Ely, door to door in Welwyn Garden City, or on a protest in Hebden Bridge, Peterborough or Chester. Find these and more events here and get involved.
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