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Brexit latest news: Boris Johnson accuses MPs and EU of collaborating to block Brexit

Boris Johnson during his People's PMQs
Boris Johnson during his People's PMQs

Boris Johnson has accused MPs and the EU of collaborating to block Brexit, as he warned of the increasing risk of leaving without a deal.

The Prime Minister accused Brussels of "not moving in their willingness to compromise" as he warned that a no-deal Brexit, although something he said he did not want, would become more likely the longer the impasse goes on.

Speaking during a Facebook live People's PMQs session, Mr Johnson said: "There's a terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.

"And our European friends are not moving in their willingness to compromise, they're not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement even though it's been thrown out three times, they're sticking to every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement - including the backstop - because they still think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament."

He added that the "awful thing is the longer that goes on, the more likely it is of course that we will be forced to leave with a no-deal Brexit".

"That's not what I want, it's not what we're aiming for but we need our European friends to compromise," he said. 

"The more they think there's a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position."

It comes after Philip Hammond claimed a no-deal Brexit would be as “much a betrayal” of the referendum as remaining in the European Union. 

The former chancellor said Mr Johnson's negotiating stance with Brussels was a “wrecking tactic” that “will mean no-deal”. 

In his first public intervention since leaving Number 11, Mr Hammond claimed that attempting to remove the Irish backstop “in its entirety" would scupper any chance of a renegotiation. 

He added that to “set the bar for negotiations so high” so that no-deal “inevitably” happened would also be “a betrayal”. 

Speaking after Commons Speaker John Bercow claimed he would use “every bone in my body” to stop Mr Johnson proroguing Parliament, Mr Hammond said he was “very confident” MPs could pass legislation to block no-deal.

He also expressed doubts over Mr Johnson’s belief that he can secure a better deal and still leave by October 31, stating: “I’m not sure those two things are compatible”. 

His comments have provoked a furious response from Number 10, with Downing Street sources accusing the former chancellor of using his position in government to “sabotage” the UK’s preparations for leaving the EU. 

“Hammond actively undermined the Government's negotiating position by frustrating and obstructing preparation to leave EU,” one source told The Times. 

“Everyone knows the ex-chancellor's real objective was to cancel the referendum result.”

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Tom Harris: With Brexit looming, this year's silly season is the most serious one yet

It’s doubtful if the former chancellor and the current occupant of the Speaker’s chair in the Commons collaborated in their respective public pronouncements this week, but it’s clear that the simultaneous coverage of each has helped present an impressive display of defiance from different parts of parliament, Tom Harris writes

Read the full piece here

Len McCluskey says he still wants to leave the EU come Hallowe'en 

The leader of Unite, the Labour party's biggest union backer, has said leaving the European Union on October 31 would not be "the end of the world" as he urged the result of the 2016 referendum be respected.  

2It's an inconvenient truth to some people, but we lost," he told the World at One.

"We lost the referendum and therefore having lost that referendum, it's why Labour just a year later in 2017 adopted a manifesto that Tom Watson and other Remainers embraced and said yes, we will fight on this platform and the platform they fought on was that we would take Britain out of the European Union. Now they seem to have forgotten all of that. 

"I believe that if we haven't left by the 31st of October that we should respect the 2016 referendum, which means leaving Europe but on a deal.

"It's not the end of the world providing you can replace coming out with the type of deal that protects jobs and unites the nation."

Chicken boxes designed to fight knife crime 

Special chicken boxes warning young people about the dangers of carrying a knife are being introduced in chicken shops across England and Wales under a Government-backed scheme announced today, Charles Hymas, Home Affairs Editor, writes. 

The real-life stories of five different young people’s experience of knife crime and how they escaped it are written on the back of the boxes’ opening flaps.

More than 321,000 chicken boxes have been distributed to over 210 outlets including Morley’s, Chicken Cottage, Dixy Chicken and independents in an attempt to target 10 to 21 year olds with an anti-knife crime message.

Ladbrokes: The UK is 6/4 to leave the EU with no-deal

The bookies currently make it a 6/4 chance the UK has no deal. 

Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "Johnson says the country must do or die and leave by October 31st, and it's looking likely it'll be a no-deal Brexit."

Boris Johnson to make first appearance before Liaison Committee 

The Prime Minister will make his first appearance in front of the committee on Wednesday, September 11. 

During the Conservative leadership campaign Sarah Wollaston, the committee chair, wrote to Mr Johnson asking him to meet with the committee as soon as possible following the summer recess, if he were to become Prime Minister. 

In his response at the time, Mr Johnson said parliamentary accountability was "extremely important" and he would be willing to attend hearings as appropriate. 

'Scotland’s interests are being ignored during the Brexit process'

Fiona Hyslop, External Affairs Secretary, says the UK Government's intention to remove diplomats from working groups would surrender the UK's ability to influence EU business while still a member state. 

The removal of British diplomats from meetings on European law and policy is designed to show Brussels that Britain is serious about leaving the EU on October 31. 

In a letter to Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, Ms Hyslop says:

The UK Government’s pursuit of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and its determination to leave the EU on October 31 ‘come what may’ is deeply damaging for jobs, living standards and our wider economy and society.

Sadly, these latest reports appear to be yet another case of Scotland’s interests being ignored during the Brexit process.

The UK Government should not take any decision that would affect our ability to have Scotland’s legitimate interests fully represented while the UK is still a member state and I am seeking your assurance that no such decision has been made.”

European Commission has not relaxed its red lines over the WA 

Earlier today Brussels Correspondent James Crisp asked the European Commission why it was refusing to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement "given there is a new government and the alternative seems to be a no-deal Brexit".  

It's better than Ashurbanipal 

After the time Mr Johnson was questioned over his choice of socks, which contained the image of Ashurbanipal, an Assyrian King who forced his enemies to live like dogs in kennels, the Prime Minister has chosen an Athenian leader as his latest hero. 

He said he admired Pericles of Athens because he "believed in all sorts of wonderful things".

"He certainly believed in great infrastructure projects, he believed in the importance of the many not the few," he said. 

Boris Johnson took part in his first 'People's PMQs' from his Downing Street office 

Boris Johnson 

That's a wrap

In less than 15 minutes the Prime Minister took a handful of questions from the great Facebook public in which he:

  • Avoided saying if he would hold an election after October 31 
  • Reiterated the fact he does not want to leave the EU without a deal
  • Said he had plans to unite the country which spanned education, infrastructure and technology 

'It's the most loving and kindest thing you can do'

Speaking about increasing stop and search powers the Prime Minister says that "the most loving and kindest thing you can do to a young person carrying a knife ... is to take that knife off him".

How will you unite the country?

Boris Johnson says he wants to "do far more to unite our country and bring it together".

"I do think Brexit was at least partly about people in towns and regions in the UK feeling they weren't being heard," he says.

Mr Johnson says he wants to do more with devolution and "also levelling up across the UK".

He says he believes talent and genius is uniformly distributed across the UK.

As we've heard before, areas of focus for Mr Johnson will be to improve education, invest in schools, further education, transport, infrastructure and technology. 

He adds that for rural communities full fibre broadband "for everyone" is essential. 

'Get on and deliver Brexit'

Sam from Newport in Wales asks how the UK will see Brexit carried out.  

I think the British public have had a lot of elections and electoral events ... I think they want us to get on and deliver Brexit on October 31 and I never tire of telling you that's what we will do. 

'People are unwilling to compromise'

The Prime Minister has said 'people' are unwilling to compromise. 

"They are not willing to compromise on the Withdrawal Agreement even though it's been thrown out three times...because they still think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament," he said. 

Mr Johnson says he doesn't want to leave with a no-deal Brexit "and so we need our EU friends to compromise". 

"We will get there, we will come out of the European Union on October 31," he adds.

The People's PMQs have begun

Boris Johnson is addressing Facebook live from his "machine" at his Downing Street desk. 

First question is from Luke in Cheshire who asks about how the UK will leave at the end of October. 

The European Commission says it's available to talk if the UK wishes 'to clarify its position in more detail'

The European Commission said Britain needs to explain its ideas on the way forward for Brexit if talks are to progress.

Vanessa Mock, a European Commission spokeswoman, said Jean-Claude Juncker told Boris Johnson on July 25 that "we're available should the United Kingdom wish to hold talks and clarify its position in more detail".

"We're ready to analyse any concrete proposals that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement, and also ready to rework the future relationship as outlined in the Political Declaration," she told a regular media briefing in Brussels. 

"The UK knows well that our doors remain open to that effect.

"But for the talks to progress the UK Government needs to explain its ideas on how it sees the way forward, respecting the commitments it took earlier in these negotiations."

The 'first ever' Peoples PMQs 

I'm hearing Boris Johnson's live q&a will start at 12.15 on the UK Prime Minister's Facebook page. 

They will be selecting questions posted beneath the video and have asked for people to include their name, occupations and towns. 

Already some great questions coming in. 

Kyran from Gillingham wants to know what the PM plans to do "in terms of defence". 

He says: "Recent events in Iran have proven that our armed forces cannot fulfill our commitment on the world stage as they used to ... will you vow to increase defence spending like your rival promised to do?" 

'An outrage against democracy' 

Dominic Grieve, the Conservative former attorney general who supports the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, said:

Philip Hammond is absolutely right to say there's no mandate for a disastrous no deal, and that for a Government to try and force such an outcome on the country without the public's consent would be an outrage against democracy.

It is encouraging to see more and more Conservative MPs, including many former ministers, reaching this view.

We live in a representative democracy and Parliament will have its say - MPs elected by the people will not allow an out-of-control Government to impose no deal against the wishes of the majority of the public and of Parliament. Philip Hammond's intervention makes that perfectly clear."

'This isn't over' 

Marcus Ball's application was thrown out by Lady Justice Rafferty - one of the High Court judges who quashed the original decision.

In a brief announcement, she said: "This application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is rejected."

Mr Ball now has the option to apply directly to the Supreme Court for permission.

Speaking outside court after the ruling, he said: "This isn't over, we are not giving up.

"We are pursuing it, absolutely."

Marcus Ball loses bid to take fight against PM to Supreme Court

Campaigner Marcus Ball has lost a bid to take his legal fight against Boris Johnson over the £350 million EU referendum bus claim to the  Supreme Court. 

Here is a profile on Mr Ball which The Telegraph ran in May.

It details how, since launching his Brexit Justice campaign three years ago, Mr Ball spent a large sum of money on self defence classes and cupcakes. 

'The British people ... were told it would be the easiest deal ever done'

Philip Hammond has said there is no mandate for no deal and that the majority of people want a close relationship with the EU so as to protect jobs and the economy.

"The British people were offered a proposition that we could leave the European Union while having a close relationship, they were told it would be the easiest deal ever done," he said. 

"And all the evidence points to people wanting to maintain a close trading relationship with the EU to protect British jobs and British prosperity and minimise disruption in the future."

Hammond and Tory rebels tell Johnson to soften red lines

The former chancellor and 20 senior Tories have written to Boris Johnson to warn that his position on the Irish backstop has “set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done”.

Other signatories include former Cabinet ministers David Lidington, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Greg Clark. 

The rebels, led by Mr Hammond, have demanded that Mr Johnson declare he is committed to leaving the EU with a deal and is ready to compromise in order to reach terms with Brussels.

The letter, obtained by The Sun, states: "We place great importance on the commitments you made during your election campaign, both publicly and privately, to pursue vigorously a deal with the the European Union that will protect British jobs, businesses and prosperity and your stated view that the chances of no-deal are very small. 

"You have our complete and wholehearted support in seeking to agree such a deal. 

"However, we are alarmed by the 'red lines' that you have drawn which, on the face of it appear to eliminate the chance of reaching agreement with the EU. 

"Any deal necessarily has to be a compromise, and many commentators feel that you have set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done. 

"We would therefore greatly appreciate your confirmation that you remain committed to doing a deal; that you accept that any such deal will likely require compromise and that i remains your view that the chance of no-deal is 'less than a million to one.'

"This will reassure not only us, but also the currency markets."

Iain Duncan Smith: Hammond 'did nothing' to prepare for no-deal

The former Tory leader has accused Mr Hammond of doing "nothing to prepare us for leaving with no deal".

Hitting back at the former chancellor this morning, Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC: "By not preparing to leave with no deal, they made it certain that we'd have to swallow everything that the European Union gave us.

"So the crime that has been committed in political terms was committed by him and those who did not prepare us to leave."