Morning Briefing: Former PM John Major threatens legal action against Boris Johnson
There is still almost a fortnight to go in the interminable Conservative Party leadership election. Last night's ITV debate was open to the general viewing public, but only 160,000 members - a risible 0.25% of the population - are able to vote for our next prime minister. People's Vote campaigners were protesting outside the studio last night calling for everyone to be given a final say on any Brexit resolution.
Former Prime Minister John Major this morning vowed to immediately seek a judicial review if Boris Johnson tried to suspend Parliament in order to protect the Queen from a constitutional crisis, calling for Mr Johnson to immediately say he wouldn't bypass MPs. He accused him of not putting the interests of the country ahead of himself or the Conservative Party - and that October 31 is an artificial date, which will bring a bogus conclusion.
On Sunday, you have the opportunity to protest in Boris Johnson's constituency Uxbridge against a hard Brexit or destructive No Deal. Sign up here and Let Us Be Heard.
Welcome to the People's Vote campaign for the Labour Party
And so, at last, the Labour Party slide off the fence and come out for a People’s Vote. It is a step forward with a statement made by leader Jeremy Corbyn, but, but, but… it’s hard not to feel like the party is still holding back.
The proof will be in the pudding: will Labour campaign with everything they have to support a People’s Vote against a malicious No Deal or Johnson/Hunt hardline Brexit?
Will they become the party that is as pro a People’s Vote than the Lib Dems or Greens or SNP? Will their front bench and leader get out and do everything to scuttle a destructive No Deal and a reckless hard Brexit that no-one voted for over this summer, into Autumn and beyond?
There is a nagging doubt that yesterday’s announcement, which followed the one-pager from 12 Labour-affiliated unions, still leaves the door ajar for a different position if there is an election, something acknowledged by Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer on the BBC's Today programme this morning.
The proof of how meaningful the announcement is will be in whether Corbyn throws the weight of the Labour Party behind campaigning for a People’s Vote and how firmly the party whips in favour of it in the key votes that lie ahead in Parliament.
It’s taken a drop in the polls to 18% and fourth place for them to get there, but welcome to the campaign.
MPs knife-edge vote to block Parliament suspension
In last night's ITV debate, the key difference between the two candidates on Brexit was that, while Hunt has ruled out proroguing Parliament to force No Deal through, Johnson confirmed he wouldn't take it off the table.
But as the debate was taking place, MPs delivered a dramatic single-vote pushback which makes it more difficult for him to suspend Parliament.
MPs voted 294-293 in favour of a bid to require ministers to give fortnightly updates on the situation in Northern Ireland.
The plan was drawn up by former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve, while Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer described it as a “tight but important victory”.
During the televised debate, most observers gave Mr Hunt a points win, but it is unlikely to make a difference to the votes from 160,000 Conservative members – just 0.25% of the population. It is believed that the majority may have already cast their votes, with almost a fortnight of the contest still to run. People's Vote campaigners were outside the studio calling for a vote for the other 99.75% of the population.
The FT writes that Mrs May’s deputy David Lidington has warned the Cabinet that the union could collapse in the event of No Deal, with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales preferring to go their own way.
Irish government gives Conservative candidates a reality check
The reality versus the rhetoric. It’s what has messed up the Conservative leadership contest from the start. Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and most of the others glossed over what they would do about the Irish border with wild promises of fantasy technology solutions.
The Irish government yesterday released a 117-page report detailing the nightmare of Brexit, demonstrating a depth of analysis and detail that seems to be lost in the UK: the BBC revealed that attempts to find a technology solution have hit the buffers with business leaders on a set of committees refusing to allow their recommendations be hijacked by the No Deal brigade.
No-one has yet found an answer to the Irish border issue outside of the backstop in the current Withdrawal Agreement. It is time to Let Us Be Heard and bring on a People’s Vote.
Join us in Uxbridge to Let Us Be Heard
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has stood across the dispatch box from both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt and is now preparing to go into Mr Johnson's constituency backyard of Uxbridge on Sunday to address our Let Us Be Heard rally.
She will be among the speakers at the event at Brunel University to give democratic voice against Brexit being forced on us. Join us to let the favourite for the Conservative leadership election know that we need to be heard.
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
“The repeated claim that the Irish would not impose tariffs and customs checks in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU has been definitively dismissed in official documents published in Dublin this afternoon.
“Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have made it clear they are intent on inflicting a destructive Brexit on the whole of the UK without any democratic consent, least of all in Northern Ireland where the damage would be felt first and worst. This assault on our democracy must be opposed and be given back to the people in a final say referendum.”
Lord Hain, former Northern Ireland secretary and People's Vote supporter, comments on Irish government documents which kill the myths of a destructive No Deal.
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