Brexit LIVE: 'It's been hijacked' Brexit Party fury at EU and May sparking pound slump

Posted on Jul 31 2019 - 10:28pm by admin

Boris Johnson met with DUP leader Arlene Foster last night and will meet with the five main Stormont parties later today. Brexit, specifically the Irish backstop is set to be a hot topic for today’s discussions as the issue over what will happen at the land border of Ireland has caused deep divisions in Northern Ireland. Mr Johnson has vowed to scrap the backstop, but EU leaders appear reluctant to agree to do this. 

Ahead of the visit, the Tory Prime Minister said he was going to try and get the Northern Irish assembly back up and running.

He said: “The people of Northern Ireland have now been without an executive and assembly for two years and six months – put simply this is much, much too long.

“I am going to do everything in my power to make the ongoing talks to restore devolution a success.”

The trip to Northern Ireland is the last of his three-day tour around the UK’s devolved nations, having already visited Scotland and Wales.

A Brexit Party MEP has lashed out at Remainers for driving down the pound

A Brexit Party MEP has lashed out at Remainers for driving down the pound (Image: Getty)

Boris Johnson and the Northern Ireland Secretary have arrived at Stormont

Boris Johnson and the Northern Ireland Secretary have arrived in Stormont (Image: Getty)

Ben Habib, MEP for London, has criticised Remainers for “hijacking” the no deal Brexit scenario and convincing “everyone” that no deal is a disaster.

He also directly accused them of driving down the pound.

The Brexit Party MEP said: “The pound is down because Remainers, including former PM Theresa May and the EU machinery, have convinced everyone – including the markets – that no deal is a disaster.

“They have successfully hijacked that scenario. They are wrong.”

The pound slumped to a 28-month low this week as currency markets react to Mr Johnson’s ramped up no deal rhetoric.

Sterling dropped to $ 1.2122 against the US dollar and fell sharply against the euro to below €1.10.

Neil Wilson, an analyst at said: “The message is clear that the Boris regime is prepared to take this to the wire.

“In may ways it’s his only choice.”

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Brexit protests are taking place in Northern Ireland today (Image: Getty)

4pm update: DUP’s Foster takes swipe at ‘anti-democratic’ Scottish Remainers

DUP leader Arlene Foster has slammed those who obstruct Brexit on the basis that Scotland voted to remain, stressing that the vote to leave the EU was a “British vote.”

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the unionist explained the UK must leave the EU by October 31.

Ms Foster also criticised those who want to Remain in the Brussels bloc in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly over the arguments they use.

She said: “I hope that with the new Prime Minister the EU recognise that here is someone that wants to find a solution and wants to do a deal but has to, of course, respect the democratic will of the British people in leaving the EU. It’s going to be three-and-a-half-years in October since the British people voted to leave the EU.

“And I hear a lot of people saying ‘Scotland voted this way, Northern Ireland voted this way.’ This was a British vote! A vote of the whole of the UK and therefore it has to be respected.”

3.35pm update: David Cameron unwittingly pushed people to vote to Leave the bloc, claims expert

David Cameron was accidentally instrumental in pushing people to vote to leave the EU despite his best intentions, a political expert has claimed, as he failed to deliver on pledges he made.

The former Prime Minister and architect of the Brexit referendum that ultimately removed him from office, himself contributed to the outcome that he had hoped to avoid, the director of think-tank UK in a Changing Europe Anand Menon has suggested.

He told Sky News that Mr Cameron had enhanced a narrative of “frustration” among voters after failing to deliver on pledges that he made – which contributed to the Leave vote.

He told Sky: “This sense of frustration with politics predates Brexit and in some ways actually led some of the people to vote Leave in the first place.

“I remember way back when David Cameron said about the need to eradicate poverty. But, actually, poverty went up under his watch. Theresa May, when she entered Downing Street in July 2016 and made that speech about burning injustices… again, very little was actually delivered.

“So I think there’s that sense that politicians talk a good game but don’t deliver.”

3.05pm update: ‘Worried’ Barnier urges EU27 to ‘remain calm’ as Boris’ no deal looks ‘likely’

The EU is beginning to quake at Boris Johnson’s threats of no deal as a “worried” Michel Barnier sent a letter to the EU27 warning them to “remain calm”, a Sky News correspondent has claimed.

The revelation was made by Sky correspondent Michelle Clifford and is a sign that Mr Johnson’s Brexit tactics are working.

Theresa May has been criticised for never threatening the EU with a no deal Brexit – something her successor has sought to rectify.

Just a week after coming to office, the EU is reportedly concerned that no deal is “more and more likely.”


Anand Menon said people were disillusioned with politics long before Brexit (Image: SKYNEWS)

2.20pm update: EU needs to show willingness to strike a ‘sensible’ deal

Arlene Foster has said the EU needs to show willingness to strike a “sensible” Brexit deal.

She said: “What we are focused on is supporting the Prime Minister in trying to get a deal.

“It is very clear it is the backstop that has caused all of the difficulties with the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore that needs to be the subject of focused negotiations to deal with it and therefore we will support the Prime Minister in doing that.”

1.35pm update: David Frost to visit Brussels today

A UK spokesman said of his visit: “In his role as the Prime Minister’s Europe Adviser, David Frost is visiting Brussels to have introductory meetings with key officials and to pass on the Prime Minister’s message in person.

“The UK is leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances.

“We will work energetically for a deal but the Backstop must be abolished. “If we are not able to reach an agreement then we will of course have to leave the EU without a deal. ”

12.40pm update: Boris is hurtling Britain into a ‘catastrophic’ no deal Brexit

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has said the Prime Minister only delivered bluff, bluster and stock responses at today’s meeting.

She said Mr Johnson was “hurtling” the region toward a “catastrophic” no deal Brexit.

She said: “We went into this meeting concerned that he would have a limited understanding of the complexities and the fragility of this place and those concerns have been confirmed.

“It is very clear he views and understands the situation through the eyes of the DUP.”

Ms Mallon added: “He just retorted with Brexit nearly every question you asked him, nearly every point you made he gave us bluff and bluster around Brexit.”

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald speaks to the media after meeting with Boris Johnson (Image: Getty)

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald joins a Brexit protest outside Stormont (Image: Getty)

12.14pm update: Nigel Farage warns the Tories will be annihilated in the next general election 

The Brexit Party leader said: “If the UK does not leave on October 31, the Conservatives will be annihilated in any subsequent general election.”

11.55am update: Failure to hold Irish reunification vote ‘unthinkable’

Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein’s party President, has told Boris Johnson that a failure to hold a vote on Irish reunification in the event of a no deal Brexit is “unthinkable”.

Under the terms of the Good Friday peace accord of 1998, the incumbent Northern Ireland Secretary must call a referendum on ending partition if there is evidence of a shift of public opinion in the region in favour of Irish unity.

11.20am update: Boris branded ‘complacent’ about Brexit damage

Sinn Fein’s leader has accused the Prime Minister of being “complacent” about the damage Brexit could inflict on Ireland.

Mrs McDonald warned any move to reintroduce direct rule at Storming ahead of Brexit would be a “very dangerous escapade in turning the clock back”.

11.02am update: Irish minister says backstop cannot have time limit

Michael Creed, Irish Minister for Agriculture has said there can be no time limit on the Irish backstop in Britain’s Withdrawal Agreement.

He said: “It cannot be time limited. It was negotiated in good faith on the basis of red lines insisted upon by the UK government, informed by DUP concerns.”

10.33am update: Disorderly Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’

Sinn Fein’s leader has said a disorderly Brexit would be disastrous for the Irish economy.

Mary Lou McDonald told reporters after meeting with Boris Johnson: “We’ve challenged him very strongly on that (Brexit) policy.

“We have set out very clearly that this would be catastrophic for the Irish economy, for Irish livelihoods, for our society, our politics and for our peace accord.”

9.50am update: Boris says his prime focus is getting Northern Ireland ‘back up and running again’

Speaking outside Stormont this morning, Mr Johnson said: “It’s great to be here in Northern Ireland and clearly the people of Northern Ireland have been without a Government, without Stormont, for two years and six months so my prime focus this morning is to do everything I can to help that get up and running again because I think that’s profoundly in the interests of the people here, all the citizens here in Northern Ireland.

“I will be helping the parties in any way I can to get that going and over the line.”

9.20am update: ‘Toxic’ relationship between Government and DUP

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill has said the relationship between the DUP and the UK Government is “toxic” and she said that Brexit is being “foisted upon us”.

She told ITV: “The British Government are playing fast and loose with our peace process.”

Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster has stressed the referendum was a “British vote” (Image: ITV)

Northern Ireland

Mrs McDonald has accused the PM of being ‘complacent’ about the damage Brexit could inflict (Image: Getty )

8.45am update: DUP’s Foster takes swipe at ‘anti democratic’ Scottish Remainers

Arlene Foster has slammed those who obstruct Brexit on the basis that Scotland voted to Remain, stressing that the vote to leave the EU was a “British vote”.

She said the vote was “of the whole UK and therefore has to be respected”.

The DUP leader added those who argue that Scotland, or Northern Ireland voted differently “are being anti-democratic”.

8.36am update: Northern Ireland demand referendum if hard Brexit is pursued 

The head of Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland’s largest nationalist party, has said Britain would have to offer a referendum on Northern Ireland splitting from the UK if the Government pursues a hard Brexit. 

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, told the BBC it would be “quite scandalous” for the Government to not grant a border poll if it pursued a no deal Brexit.

Ben Habib

Ben Habib has criticised Remainers for ‘hijacking’ the no deal scenario (Image: Getty)

8.30am update: DUP leader says Irish backstop must go 

Arlene Foster, whose party props up the Tories minority Government, has said the Irish backstop must go. 

She said: “The backstop has been the continuing and fundamental flaw in the Withdrawal Agreement.

“It is very important that the backstop goes.”

The DUP leader said she had “hope” that Mr Johnson would “deal with the issue”.

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson had his first meeting with the First Minister of Wales yesterday (Image: Getty)

8.24am update: Dominic Raab heads to Asia to faciliate a post-Brexit trade boost 

The new foreign secretary is heading to the Far East in a bid to strengthen ties with countries around the world in prepartion for the UK’s departure from the EU.

He said Britain needs to “raise our game” after Brexit, aiming to improve trade links. 

Mr Raab said: “For too long, our trade focus has been on Europe.

“”We need to expand our horizons, and raise our game.

That means grasping the enormous global opportunities for the UK – and my first trip as foreign secretary will look to strengthen our friendships across Asia.

“This region is already worth £36bn per year in trade with the UK – and there are opportunities for us to boost that trade to benefit UK businesses and consumers.

“I’ll also be looking at how we can strengthen our regional security cooperation, and work together on global challenges like climate change.”

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson met with Welsh farmers on his visit yesterday (Image: Getty)

8.13am update: UK car firms have ‘spent £330m on no deal measures’

UK car manufacturers have ramped up their warnings of a no deal Brexit, saying they have spent £330million collectively to mitigate the effects of a swift EU exit.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry body, said the money was spent on stockpiling materials, securing warehouse capacity, additional insurance and training in new customs procedures.

8am update: Two year transition period with EU claim is ‘way off’

Sources close to the Prime Minister have played down the prospect of a two year transition period if a deal is reached with the EU by October 31, according to the BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith. 

It is reported that “two years is ‘way off'”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson hints UK may extend EU exit transition for two more years

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