Brexit LIVE: Lib Dem leader's plot to tear apart Johnson's Tory Party by luring Remainers

Posted on Jul 23 2019 - 6:08pm by admin

Ms Swinson said she had already been involved in talks with Conservative MPs about defecting and joining the anti-Brexit Lib Dems. She said: “Our door is absolutely open to people who share our values. I am talking to people in different parties, including Conservatives. There is a reason why thousands of people are joining the Liberal Democrats. When the Conservatives have gone off to the right and Labour have gone off to the left and people who want to see a better politics, a better alternative than the – frankly depressing – choice of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, they can join us because there is a better way.”

Brexit Live

Brexit Live – Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson (Image: PA)

She acknowledged there might not yet be a majority in Parliament for a so-called People’s Vote on Brexit but the numbers in favour of another referendum would be bolstered by disaffected Tories under Mr Johnson.

But she said: “With the gridlock, with the threat of no deal, I think there is the chance that there will now be more Conservative MPs, including some people who are – currently or soon-to-be – not in government who can back a People’s Vote as a way out.”

She suggested that opposition parties and Tory rebels could call for a referendum by taking control of Commons business in a similar way to the move in March to delay Brexit.

But she played down the prospect of a formal pact with Labour if Jeremy Corbyn’s party backed another referendum.

She said: “There are plenty of people in the Labour Party that I can work with, that I do work with, that I am working with.

“But Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteer, he cannot be trusted on Brexit, that has become abundantly clear.”

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11.02am update: Education minister resigns over Brexit

Education minister Anne Milton has become the latest Conservative MP to resign from government ahead of the announcement of the party’s new leader.

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, Milton says she has “grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal”.

The Guildford MP said: “I believe strongly that parliament should continue to play a central role in approving a deal, and that we must leave the EU in a responsible manner.”

10.20am update: Redwood slams Cameron/May negotiating style

Conservative former minister John Redwood tweeted: “The media is running the view that Boris Johnson will not be getting on planes to go to see EU leaders asking for a renegotiation.

“The Cameron/May style of European negotiation travelling as a supplicant to the capitals of Europe did not work for them or the UK.”

9.57pm update: Swinson offers Lib Dem welcome to defectors

New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has said her door is open to members of rival parties who want to join her.

Ms Swinson also said the prospect of a Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party pushing for a no deal Brexit could increase the chances of a second referendum.

She said: “Our door is absolutely open to people who share our values.

“I am talking to people in different parties, including Conservatives.

“There is a reason why thousands of people are joining the Liberal Democrats, when the Conservatives have gone off to the right and Labour have gone off to the left and people who want to see a better politics, a better alternative than the – frankly depressing – choice of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, they can join us because there is a better way.”

Jo Swinson

Ne Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson (Image: REUTERS)

9.19am update: MEP urges Johnson to call general election

Green MEP Philippe Lamberts, a member of the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group, said Boris Johnson – if he wins the Tory leadership race – “will be confronting the exact same situation as Theresa May”.

The Belgian MEP said: “Boris Johnson is known to want many things and often contradictory things like having your cake and eating it, he is on record saying that.

“So indeed he wants good relations with the European Union and he wants to be able to cut off all ties and not have the Irish backstop and all the rest of it.”

He suggested that Mr Johnson should seek to pass a Brexit deal with a Northern Ireland-only backstop, something which would lose the support of the DUP but could pick up support from elsewhere in the Commons.

Mr Lamberts said: “If I were Boris Johnson I would do just that and then call for a general election which I think he could then win having delivered a form of Brexit.”

READ MORE: Tory leader LIVE – ‘Don’t rule out huge upset!’ BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg hints at Hunt shock

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson (Image: PA)

8.58am update: Fallon urges optimism – ‘Let sunshine win the day’

Former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon claimed Boris Johnson’s optimism and fresh mandate will help shift Brussels towards a new deal.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Nobody is aiming for no deal, that is not the strategy.

“We want a better deal, Parliament wants a better deal, and Boris Johnson has made clear throughout that he wants a better deal.

“But the way to get a better deal is to be very firm that that date is there in law.

“There are three months now before the end of October and it is perfectly possible, with plenty of goodwill on both sides, to improve the agreement so that Parliament does, in the end, support it.

“Let sunshine win the day. Boris is optimistic about this, he is ambitious about this. We have three months to get wording that Parliament will approve.”

8.31am update: Brussels offers aid to EU members hit by no deal Brexit

The European Commission has said it is ready to “engage with the member states most affected” by a no deal Brexit.

Spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said Brussels was looking at what programmes could be used for such emergency support.

The bloc has said Ireland could count on its generous help, from financial support for the fishing industry to assistance from the EU’s pool of experts on customs and borders.

Ms Bertaud said contingency planning covers a scenario in which “the UK also fails to pay what is envisaged” under the current EU budget.

With Boris Johnson, who led the “Leave” campaign in Britain’s 2016 EU referendum, expected to become the next British leader, the bloc is bracing for a no deal Brexit but also considering another possible delay to Britain’s departure.

Boris Johnson Simon Coveney

Boris Johnson and Simon Coveney (Image: GETTY)

7.52am update: Irish warn of  no deal Brexit “disaster”

Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney has warned a no deal Brexit will be a “disaster for all of us”.

Mr Coveney said Ireland accepted Britain had made a sovereign decision to leave the European Union but also regretted it. He insisted Ireland had a “fundamental interest in a successful, prosperous UK”. He vowed to work closely with the new prime minister to safeguard peace in Ireland. But, writing in The Times, he warned: “While the personality in Downing Street will change this week, the facts and complexity relating to Brexit remain the same.”

Mr Coveney said avoiding physical infrastructure, checks and controls at the Irish border and protecting north-south co-operation and an all-island economy must take top priority.

He said: “The backstop exists to protect the Good Friday agreement. This was understood by all parties, including the British government and the EU when they jointly agreed

“Nevertheless, if Britain decides to leave without a deal it would cause huge damage to us all.

“The Irish people understand this and we have spent many months and hundreds of millions of euros in preparing mitigation measures.”

David Gauke

David Gauke (Image: PA)

7.30am update: Gauke backs “parliamentary mechanisms” to block no deal

Justice Secretary David Gauke said he believed there were “parliamentary mechanisms” which could prevent a no deal Brexit without bringing down the new government.

Mr Gauke stressed he would not vote against a Tory government in a motion of no confidence if it was heading towards a no deal Brexit, but told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “I don’t think it will come to that. I think that there will be parliamentary mechanisms, if you like.

“There is a clear majority in the House of Commons that doesn’t want to leave the EU without a deal, I think that will become very clear in the autumn.”

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