September 06, 2019
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Opposition Call Bull On Boris Johnsons Election Gambit
Hello, Arj Singh here, deputy political editor at HuffPost UK, filling in for Paul who is away. Boris Johnson’s torrid week showed no signs of easing up after opposition parties made clear they would not back his second attempt to call a snap general election on Monday.
Labour, the SNP, the LiberalDemocrats and the smaller parties have displayed a remarkable level of strategic coordination, honed through years of parliamentary Brexit battles, to corner the prime minister.
There will now be a debate on opposition benches about when exactly would be best for an election – November or even December – but they are clear, to differing degrees, that they want to ensure the UK does not crash out of the EU without a deal on Halloween before agreeing to a poll.
As the SNP’s Westminster leader IanBlackford said: “We have to be careful that we don’t walk into a trap. I want the removal of Boris Johnson. I want an election. But we’ll do it in a way that there are not unintended consequences.”
With peers ensuring legislation to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31 finished its passage through parliament today, it’s now difficult to see just how Johnson wrangles the bucking Brexit bull.
To sum up: he surely cannot be the PM to ask for a Brexit extension having said he would rather be “dead in a ditch”, he cannot break the anti-no deal law, and he now cannot get an election.
There is now growing speculation is growing in Westminster that Johnson may have to quit as prime minister towards the end of October, possibly to send Corbyn to Brussels as PM to ask for a Brexit delay and then hope to win the election that surely follows.
Johnson refused to entertain the possibility during a visit to Scotland: “That is not a hypothesis I’m willing to contemplate,” he said.
“I want us to get this thing done.”
And as one former government insider tells me of this most ambitious of PMs: “do you honestly think he’ll give it up?”
In any case, there are some in Labour who still think an October election is possible.
Perhaps Johnson could delay prorogation from Monday until next Thursday and try and find a fix that satisfies Corbyn that no deal is off the table?
In any case, the Tories have reacted to the opposition election block by putting out a frankly weird social media ad of Corbyn in a chicken suit, which seemed to suggest fast food chain KFC is in fact a massive bird.
The zinger didn’t gone down well with former cabinet minister SayeedaWarsi, or Brexit rebel AlistairBurt.
But CCHQ decided to double down, sending a flunky in a chicken suit to the parliamentary press gallery to hand out some highly questionable pieces of meat.
The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush managed one bite before calling time on on the “JFC”.Quote Of The Day“The whole September (Commons) session is a rigmarole introduced by girly swot Cameron and show the public that MPs are earning their crust”
- A leaked Boris Johnson memo on his plans to prorogue parliament.Friday Cheat SheetPeers approved the bill designed to stop Boris Johnson forcing through a no-deal Brexit on October 31. The House of Lords approved the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill at third reading without a formal vote after a marathon week of debate in parliament.
Johnson suggested he may allow Tory rebels back into the party, insisting he wants to “reach out” to his “friends” and “try and find ways of building bridges”. Number 10 did not respond to requests for more detail.
The PM’s bizarre press conference in Wakefield on Thursday in which he stood in front of a wall of 35 police officers, one of whom fell ill towards the end, came back to haunt him as the Lib Dems asked Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill to investigate whether he breached the ministerial code. West Yorkshire Police constable John Robins also said he was disappointed to see officers “used as a backdrop” for a political speech. It comes after Leeds residents gave Johnson a torrid time during a walkabout in Morley – the Mirror has a nice video.
Tory RoryStewart, Lib Dem NormanLamb and Labour MPs StephenKinnock and CarolineFlint formed the MPs For A Deal group, to try and revive much of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement in an effort to stop no deal and deliver Brexit.
Tory MP ClairePerry, who once accused hard Brexiteers in her own party of being “like jihadis”, said she would quit parliament at the next election. But she voiced support for Johnson “and his brave Brexit strategy”. Meanwhile, Lib Dem ChukaUmunna announced he would leave his Streatham constituency to fight to take the Cities of London and Westminster from Mark Field at the next election.What I’m ReadingJohn McDonnell: ‘Change is coming. It’s as simple as that’ | Financial Times
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