The Dominion Post
MPs told: it’s too late to stop no deal
MPs are too late to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson’s most senior aide has said.
Dominic Cummings told ministers and officials that the prime minister will honour his October 31 pledge even if Jeremy Corbyn and pro-Remain -Conservatives succeed in forcing a general election.
In a series of explosive briefings, Cummings suggested that the Labour leader had missed his opportunity to secure an election before the UK’s intended departure date from the EU.
If Johnson loses a noconfidence vote when the Commons returns in September, potentially leading to a general election, the prime minister would have the power to schedule the poll for after Hallowe’en, Cummings disclosed.
He also claimed that an election would lead to a Conservative majority.
The Sunday has pieced together Johnson’s Brexit strategy based on numerous accounts of Cummings’s briefings and interventions, as he set out to government staff and ministers how Johnson would deliver Brexit on Oct 31 even if the EU refuses to drop the Irish border backstop agreed by Theresa May.
In one meeting, Cummings warned that EU leaders such as Emmanuel Macron, the French president, ‘‘think we’re bluffing’’ or believe that ‘‘MPs will cancel the referendum’’, according to two sources familiar with the discussion.
‘‘They don’t realise that if there is a no-confidence vote in September or October, we’ll call an election for after the 31st and leave anyway,’’ he said.
Cummings instructed staff to prepare for a no-deal exit on the basis that EU leaders ‘‘won’t realise the prime minister is not bluffing until October’’ when it could be ‘‘too late’’.
He is understood to have said that meetings of the new ‘‘XO’’ daily operations committee had made him ‘‘less worried’’ about a no-deal outcome than before his arrival in Downing Street 11 days ago.
The remarks indicate that while leaving the EU with a deal is still Johnson’s preferred option, he is confident that Parliament cannot prevent him from fulfilling his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31 ‘‘by any means necessary’’.
As Cummings made his remarks last week, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, announced an immediate £1.1billion (NZ$2b) funding increase for the Government’s no-deal preparations revealed in last week’s Sunday Telegraph.