BORIS: BREXIT REBELS PLAYING INTO EU HANDS
● PM blasts Remainers for ‘sabotaging’ deal ●...As he pledges £14bn in education revolution
BORIS Johnson yesterday accused MPs of plotting to sabotage his Brexit plans.
In a curt rebuff to Remainer rebels, the Prime Minister warned that Brussels chiefs would be less likely to compromise if they thought
there was still a chance Britain’s departure from the EU could be cancelled.
His intervention came as Tory rebels and opposition MPs finalised their bid to use Commons procedures to wreck Mr Johnson’s plans for a five-week parliamentary break.
Mr Johnson said yesterday: “I’m afraid that the more our friends and partners think, at the back of their minds, that Brexit could be stopped – that the UK could be kept in by Parliament – the less likely they are to give us the deal we need.”
As the Prime Minister pledged an extra £14billion for schools as part of a classroom revolution ahead of next week’s Treasury spending review, Mr Johnson also predicted that failure to deliver Brexit on October 31 “will do lasting damage to people’s trust in politics” and “catastrophic damage” to both Tories and Labour.
“This political generation won’t be forgiven for failing to honour that promise,” he said.
“We told the people we would get it done. We’re in the last stages now of negotiating with our friends about a way to get it done.
“If we can’t succeed in that negotiation, we must come out anyway. But the best way to succeed in that negotiation is for everybody to be united in the objective, for the UK’s negotiations to have the strongest possible hand.”
Mr Johnson also insisted that MPs would still have plenty of opportunities to debate Brexit before his EU departure deadline at the end of October.
He said: “We’re coming up to the last period before we leave on 31 October and, in that period, Parliament is going to have a lot of time – they’ve spent three years debating Brexit without actually getting it over the line – for further consideration.”
The Prime Minister said that as it currently stands, Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement would leave the UK being “bossed around by Brussels with no comeback”.
He also insisted that it needed to be rewritten.
“Everybody can see the rough shape of what needs to be done,
everybody has now got a fix in their heads about the kind of landing place we need to get to,” Mr Johnson said.
“It’s going to take work, it’s going to take a lot of energy for us to get there.”
The Prime Minister spoke out after anti-Brexit Tory rebel Sir Oliver Letwin confirmed he had been in contact with Commons Speaker John Bercow to discuss scuppering the move to suspend parliament using the ancient “prorogation” ceremony.
On Wednesday, the Queen accepted Mr Johnson’s request to
end the current parliamentary session within the next fortnight, just days after MPs are due back at work after the summer break.
This means the annual parliamentary break for the party conference season will be lengthened by four to six days, with MPs and peers returning to Westminster on October
14 for the Queen’s Speech, which Mr Johnson said would outline his “very exciting agenda”. Pro-Brussels MPs have accused the Prime Minister of trying to silence debate about Brexit while Mr Bercow has also condemned the proposed prorogation as a “constitutional outrage”. Yesterday, Sir Oliver told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m concerned about how we can ensure that Britain doesn’t make a sudden, disorderly, undemocratic, no-deal exit on 31 October.
“I believe that there probably is time. Whether we can get the required majorities in the House of Commons is altogether another matter.
“I know there are a number of my colleagues who feel that a disorderly, no-deal exit is a very bad idea and they have, in the past, been willing to support efforts to prevent that happening.
“I hope that Parliament will take a series of actions that by the end of the week mean that Boris Johnson knows that, as Prime
Minister, if he doesn’t get a deal he is going to have seek an extension.”
The move threatened by Sir Oliver could force Mr Johnson to delay Brexit beyond the October 31 deadline unless a new Withdrawal Agreement is signed off by Brussels.
Labour’s shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti yesterday said “since the constitutional outrage” she had “greater comfort that minds are now focused, especially on the Conservative side”.
She told the Today programme
that there were ways of preventing filibusters and “any sort of public school dirty tricks” aimed at blocking legislation when it reaches the Lords.
But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab dismissed the suggestion that prorogation was a constitutional outrage as “nonsense”.
He said: “It’s actually lawful, it’s perfectly proper, there is precedent for it and actually, fundamentally, for the people watching this, they want to see that we are leaving the EU but also talking about all the other things they expect us to be addressing.”
Tory rebel... Sir Oliver Letwin