Brexit Live: Boris Johnson says election must be held after he loses Brexit vote
The PM named Tuesday October 15 as his preferred polling day.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “there must now be an election on Tuesday October 15” after legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit cleared the Commons.
The legislation to delay Brexit until a deal can be agreed is next expected to appear before the Lords after MPs gave it a third reading by 327 votes to 299, majority 28.
Here’s the latest:
Former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke was critical of the PM who saw the Tory whip stripped from him after he rebelled in Tuesday night’s vote: “I do think the Prime Minister, with the greatest respect, has a tremendous skill in keeping a straight face while he’s being so disingenuous.”
The independent MP added: “He’s now desperate to have an election in order to bring this House’s proceedings to an end and have the general election clearly before October 31.
“He’s obviously going to campaign before that on the basis that he’s been thwarted in getting an amazing beneficial deal for this country, which is actually being blocked by wicked continental politicians and by MPs in the House of Commons who have no sense of the true national interest – which is to keep him in power.”
Mr Clarke said it is wrong to say opponents of the PM are trying to reverse Brexit, adding they have voted for it more often than Mr Johnson.
He added: “He is now Prime Minister, he is now a responsible politician with huge responsibility. I urge him one last time to stop treating all this as a game and to use the time to actually get a serious resolution of these impossible problems to look after the future goodwill of this country.”
Mr Corbyn told the Commons: “The hypocrisy of this process is phenomenal, from a Prime Minister who twice voted against the last prime minister’s Brexit plans.
“A general election isn’t a play thing for a prime minister to avoid his obligations, to dodge scrutiny or renege on commitments. He has committed to renegotiate Brexit, but where is it? Where is the plan, where are the proposals?”
Meanwhile in the Lords... pic.twitter.com/59XoK1nbM7— George Ryan (@GeorgeMRyan) September 4, 2019
Peers have now adjourned so that talks between the Government and Opposition benches can take place to try to solve the impasse in the Lords.
Labour Lords leader Baroness Smith of Basildon updated the House to say that Hilary Benn’s Bill to stop a no-deal Brexit had been approved by the Commons.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill must be passed through the Lords and have received Royal Assent before he will entertain the thought of a general election.
He said: “Let the Bill pass and have Royal Assent and then we can have a general election.”
Mr Corbyn likened Mr Johnson’s offer of a general election on Tuesday October 15 to “the offer of a poisoned apple to Snow White by a wicked queen”.
He added: “The Prime Minister says he has a strategy but he can’t say what it is and can’t tell the EU either – the truth is that there really is nothing there.”
The Labour leader said: “The referendum carried no mandate for no-deal and no-deal is opposed by the public and this House.”
Mr Corbyn continued: “We want an election as we look forward to turfing this Government out.”
The PM put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to get Labour to back a vote for an early general election.
Mr Johnson said: “He has demanded an election for two years while blocking Brexit.
“He said only two days ago that he would support an election and now Parliament, having passed a Bill that destroys the ability of Government to negotiate, is he now going to say that the public can’t be allowed an election to decide which of us sorts out this mess?
The PM continued: “I don’t want an election, the public don’t want an election, the country doesn’t want an election, but this House has left no other option than letting the public decide who they want as Prime Minister.”
Mr Johnson told the Commons: “The country must now decide whether the Leader of the Opposition, or I, go to those negotiations in Brussels on the 17th October to sort this out.
“Because everybody will know that if (Mr Corbyn) were to be the prime minister he would beg for an extension, he would accept whatever Brussels demands and we would then have years more dither and delay, yet more arguments over Brexit and no resolution to the uncertainty that currently bedevils this country and our economy.”
He told MPs: “I think it’s very sad that MPs have voted like this, I do, I think it’s a great dereliction of their democratic duty.
“But if I’m still Prime Minister after Tuesday October 15 then we will leave on October 31 with, I hope, a much better deal.”
The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill has just passed all its stages in the House of Commons. A major defeat for the Prime Minister’s damaging plan to take us out of the EU on 31 October without a deal.— Hilary Benn (@hilarybennmp) September 4, 2019
Boris Johnson said: “It’s a Bill that effectively ends the negotiations, a Bill that demands an extension at least until next year, and perhaps many more years to come, and a Bill that insists Britain acquiesce to the demands of Brussels and hands control to our partners.
“It is a Bill designed to overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history, the 2016 referendum.
“And it is therefore a Bill without precedent in the history of this House seeking as it does to force the Prime Minister with a pre-drafted letter to surrender in international negotiations.
“And I refuse to do this. It is clear there is only one way forward for the country. The House has voted repeatedly to leave the EU and yet it has also voted repeatedly to delay actually leaving.”
Mr Johnson said the House had voted to “scupper” serious negotiations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “there must now be an election on Tuesday October 15” after legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit cleared the Commons.
Labour former minister Hilary Benn who introduced the Bill applauded the “bravery and the courage” of MPs on the Government benches who had supported the Bill.
He said they “stood by their convictions in the national interest”.
Tonight we passed the @SKinnock amendment so the purpose of an extension is now to seek a deal based on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill that emerged from cross party talks but wasn’t put to a vote. It is a chance to compromise and move forwards. I’m glad to have played a part in it— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) September 4, 2019
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) said: “Given the House has now approved the Bill as amended, could I press the Government to as rapidly as possible, publish the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which really does require the proper and robust discussion in this place?”
Commons Speaker John Bercow said Mr Kinnock had made his point “in his own way” and said it would be put on the record.
Legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31 has cleared the Commons and is expected to appear before the Lords after MPs gave it a third reading by 327 votes to 299, majority 28.
Legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31 has cleared its first Commons hurdle after MPs gave it a second reading by 329 votes to 300, majority 29.
Mr McDonnell added: “The Tories have checked what are the top three or four issues in the polls and cynically judged just how little money they have to throw around to try and neutralise the concerns people.
“So to come here and then try to fool us with references to people’s priorities is beyond irony.
“When did this extremist right-wing Tory party ever put the people first?
“Were they putting the people first when they froze child benefit, year after year?”
Cutting remarks from the shadow chancellor as he makes reference to police being called to the flat of Mr Johnson’s partner Carrie Symonds after reports they were involved in a heated row.
Mr McDonnell said in the Commons: “Could I ask him to take a message back to the person who obviously drafted this statement. So if he could tell Mr (Dominic) Cummings, the man who cancels the Chancellor’s own speeches, sacks his staff without telling him he has….
“Mr Speaker I believe the honourable member for Uxbridge (Mr Johnson) is shouting at me. Last time he was shouting at someone they had to call the police.”
Responding to the Chancellor Sajid Javid’s Commons speech, shadow chancellor John McDonnell noted they both had bus driver fathers.
He joked: “You wait ages for one son of a bus driver to become Chancellor of the Exchequer only to be followed soon after by another.”
Mr McDonnell branded Mr Javid’s speech “a compendium of meaningless platitudes”.
The remark caused Prime Minister Boris Johnson to shout from the frontbench about spending on education.
The Chancellor also announced more money for the Ministry of Defence, improving spending by 2.6%.
He told MPs: “Today we will go further with an additional £2.2 billion of funding for the MoD, a real-term increase of 2.6% for the budget next year, increasing again the share of our national income spent on defence and national security.”
He also announced £7 million to the Normandy Memorial Trust to allow the group to complete their memorial overlooking beaches where the “sacrifice of the extraordinary generation of soldiers who fought and died” was made.
Mr Javid confirmed that Britain will continue to honour its 0.7% foreign aid target under Boris Johnson’s premiership.
Mr Javid said Scottish farmers lost out in 2013 when the UK Government allocated the Common Agricultural Policy funding within the UK, adding: “Today we correct that decision – making available an extra £160 million for Scottish farmers.”
On Wales, the Chancellor said: “Today’s spending round means an extra £600 million of funding for the Welsh Government.
“And in Northern Ireland we’re providing an extra £400 million from today’s announcements.”
Mr Javid went on: “Taken together, today’s announcements will give the devolved administrations the biggest spending settlement for a decade.”
On the environment, Mr Javid announced more cash for tackling climate change and air pollution.
The Cabinet minister said: “A healthy environment is a precondition for a healthy population.”
He committed £422 million to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to push ahead with creating “world leading environmental standards” once Britain has left the European Union.
Another £30 million of “new money” was set aside for tackling “the crisis in our air quality” and £30 million for biodiversity, including widening the Blue Belt Programme. The scheme currently protects marine creatures such as turtles, whales and seabirds.
He also confirmed new funding to help the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to meet the Government’s commitment to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 but did not announce the exact amount involved.
“Leaving the EU provides an opportunity to set world leading environmental standards, and we’re giving @DefraGovUK £432m of funding to do so. We’re providing £30m of new money to tackle the crisis in our air quality and another £30m for biodiversity.” #SpendingRound pic.twitter.com/mJrcWsaf07— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) September 4, 2019
Mr Javid said there is “no higher priority” than the NHS, and also announced an additional £1.5 billion for social care next year.
He said: “Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to the NHS with a £6.2 billion increase in NHS funding next year.
“We are investing more in training and professional development for doctors and nurses and over £2 billion of new capital funding, starting with an upgrade of 20 hospitals this year and £250 million for groundbreaking new artificial intelligence technology to help solve some of health care’s biggest challenges today like easier cancer detection.”
He added: “We can’t have an effective health system without an effective social care system too.”
He said: “I can announce today that councils will have access to new funding of £1.5 billion for social care next year.”
New figures, meanwhile, have shown more than 100,000 people have registered to vote in the last 48 hours.
Mr Javid said an “infrastructure revolution” would prioritise “value for money with credible delivery plans”, starting with a “rapid review of HS2”.
He said: “We will target that investment at national priorities like regional growth and decarbonisation.”
He added: “We’ll use the Government’s resources to kick-start the infrastructural revolution, but we’ll also do more to give private investors the confidence to back these projects too.
“Our infrastructural revolution will be strategic and carefully planned. And, speaking of revolutionaries, let’s contrast that with Labour’s approach.
“I’ll invest in new infrastructure that will grow the economy and Labour will borrow hundreds of millions to re-nationalise unproductive assets and then run them into the ground.”
The Chancellor said he was set to “turn the page on austerity” and that Britain could look forward to a “decade of recovery”.
“Thanks to the hard work of the British people we can now afford to turn the page on austerity and move forwards from a decade of recovery to a decade of renewal,” he said.
“Our careful management of the public finances means that we can now afford to spend more on public services.”
He said he was confirming a “real increase” in public spending set at £13.8 billion for next year.
Mr Javid added: “I have always believed in living within our means and unlike the party opposite I won’t squander the hard work of the last nine years.
“We are still meeting fiscal rules. While our biggest challenge a decade ago was getting the deficit down, our biggest challenge today is getting our long-term economic growth back to where it was before Labour’s great recession.
“If we can do that, we can make sure there are future spending increases that are sustainable.”
There surely cannot be a precedent in living memory for a Chancellor struggling on their first major statement as badly as this one. #SpendingRound— Wes Streeting (@wesstreeting) September 4, 2019
Mr Javid said he would add £13.4 billion to the plans for total public spending. He also confirmed a a 6.3% real terms increase in Home Office spending – which he said was the “biggest increase” in 15 years.
In an attack on Labour, Mr Javid said: “When I first took my seat as a Member of Parliament in Bromsgrove, the economy was in a very difficult, different position and since then we have had to work hard to restore the nation’s finances.
“And it is precisely because we have restored the nation’s finances that we can have the spending commitments I am about to make today.”
He added: “Back then our budget deficit was 10% of GDP. We borrowed £150 billion in Labour’s last year in office. It was the highest deficit in our peacetime history. We were borrowing one in every four pounds that was spent.
“The party opposite lost control of the nation’s finances as they always do, and it fell to Conservatives to pick up the mess.
“My two immediate predecessors took the difficult decisions that we need to bring the deficit under control that allows us to have the spending that I’m setting out today.
“They didn’t do that for ideological reasons, but because running an enormous deficit meant that our debt was rising at an unsustainable rate making our economy vulnerable to shocks and passing on a huge burden to the next generation.”
The Chancellor was slapped down by the Speaker for a second time when he interrupted Mr Javid’s attack on Labour and told him to focus on the spending announcement.
Mr Bercow said: “It really is very, very unseemly and I’m sorry to have to say that to the Chancellor of the Exchequer who’s always been unfailingly courteous in his dealings with me and probably with everybody else.
“I say what I say with a heavy heart and not without reflection. There is a procedure to statements of this kind, a very long established procedure, and it bothers me greatly that the right honourable gentleman in the course of a statement seems to be veering into matters outwith, not even tangential, but unrelated to the spending round upon which he is focused.”
Mr Javid had described Labour as being “biggest threat to the UK economy” in a diatribe against the opposition before he was interrupted.
Mr Javid confirmed a further £2 billion would be provided for “Brexit delivery” next year, meaning more Border Force staff, “better transport infrastructure” at ports and “more support for business readiness”.
He said: “I’ve tasked the Treasury with preparing a comprehensive economic response to support the economy if needed. We will work closely with the independent Bank of England to co-ordinate fiscal and monetary policy.
“Sensible economic policy means we should plan for both outcomes and we’re doing so.”
Mr Javid said Brexit will allow the Government to “reshape the British economy and reaffirm our place as a world-leading economic power”.
He said he is “confident we will be able to secure a deep, best in class free trade agreement” with the EU in the event of no-deal, adding: “Deal or no deal, I’m confident that our best days lie ahead.”
Speaker John Bercow told Chancellor Sajid Javid that his opening remarks in the one-year spending review were “out of order”.
After a point of order was made by Ken Clarke, MP for Rushcliffe, Mr Bercow told the Cabinet member to move his comments onto the spending review.
Mr Javid had been detailing how the Government still believed it could secure a deal with the European Union but would continue to prepare for no-deal as a precaution.
Mr Bercow said: “The opening remarks from the Chancellor were out of order. I exercised a degree of latitude. The right honourable member for Rushcliffe is right, that the statement should be focused on and exclusively on the spending round.
“The right honourable gentleman [the Chancellor] consulted me yesterday because he was concerned about the length of the statement.
“It shouldn’t be longer as a result of remarks that don’t relate to that topic.”
Mr Javid warned his colleagues against voting to prevent a no-deal Brexit ahead of setting out public spending plans for the UK’s first year outside of the EU.
He told the House of Commons: “We are in uncharted waters. I understand the strong feelings around the House on these important questions. But it cannot be right for a proud sovereign democracy to ignore the will of the people.
“If the House votes for this Bill this afternoon then all that we are doing is delaying what the people have entrusted us to do and creating even more uncertainty for our democracy and our economy through a general election that nobody wants.
“But, Mr Speaker, we cannot allow that uncertainty to distract us from delivering on the people’s priorities so today we give certainty where we can.”
Mr Javid said if the UK leaves the EU without a deal “we will be ready” as he confirmed an additional £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year.
Chancellor Sajid Javid has said the “uncertainty” over Brexit cannot “distract” the Government from delivering on the “people’s priorities” as he set out public spending plans to the Commons.
Ian Blackford chided Boris Johnson as a “new boy”, adding the SNP had a majority. He said: “The people of Scotland voted to remain in the EU, we’re not going to be dragged out against our will by the Prime Minister.”
Mr Blackford said the polls showed the SNP “is polling to win a majority in Scotland once again, with the Tories in retreat, so if he wants an election enable the Bill and bring it on”.
He added: “It’s clear for all of us to see that the Prime Minister is playing a game of bluff and bluster, he doesn’t care about stopping a no-deal Brexit. His strategy, as his lead adviser put it, is a sham.”
Parliament, he said, was standing up for the people, adding: “This Prime Minister is robbing the people of power, handing control to the Leave campaign, a cult now running Number 10.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I’m a democrat because I not only want to respect the will of the people in respect of the referendum, but I also want to have an election, or I’m also willing to have an election if (his) terrible bill goes through.
“I tell you there’s a reason why these separates … in Scotland drone on and on about breaking up, about smashing the oldest and most successful political union … that is to detract from their appalling domestic record.”
Here’s how the Commons looks by party:
Independent MP David Gauke (South West Hertfordshire) asked the Prime Minister to confirm his reason for suspending Parliament.
The former justice secretary lost the Conservative whip on Monday after voting against the Government to try to stop a no-deal Brexit.
He said: “The Prime Minister has said that the prorogation of Parliament was nothing to do with Brexit. Is that still his position?”
Mr Johnson said: “This Parliament has lasted longer than any in the last 400 years and, on Brexit, there will be ample opportunity to debate the Brexit deal after October 17 in this House if this Government is allowed to get on an deliver a deal.”
Another ex-Tory rebel who lost the whip on Monday, Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield), asked: “Could the Prime Minister please explain why it has proved impossible to find any official or minister who is prepared to state that the reasons for prorogation were to pave the way for a Queen’s Speech in the course of the current legal proceedings in which the Government involved?”
Mr Johnson replied: “If he looks at what happens in Scotland this morning, he will discover that case was thrown out.”
Commons Speaker John Bercow interrupted the Prime Minister, telling him he must “observe the rules” in the House of Commons.
The intervention came as Mr Johnson referred to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by name.
Mr Johnson said the choice for the country is whether they want a deal done by “this Government, or that Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.”
Mr Bercow said: “We don’t name people in the chamber – people must observe the rules.”
He added: “I am simply and politely informing the Prime Minister of the very long-established procedure with which everybody, including the Prime Minister, must comply.
“That is the position. No doubts, no argument, no contradiction. End of the matter.”
Labour MP Geraint Davies (Swansea West) said: “People in Swansea voted to leave the EU, but Leave voters are saying to me they didn’t vote for a no-deal.
“They didn’t vote for do-or-die on October 31, they want to live. They voted for good things, for more money for more jobs, more control, and now they see they’re going to get less money, less jobs, less control. So, they want the final say.
“So will you undertake, when you go to extend Article 50 after the passage of this Bill we’re seeing this afternoon, will you ensure there is a proper referendum so there is a choice between a managed deal, and remain, and not kamikaze no-deal?”
Mr Johnson replied: “If you want to put that matter to the people, the best thing you can do is to pursue your right honourable friend in the front row to summon up his courage and stop being so frit.
“If he’s going to pass this wretched surrender bill, then he needs to submit it to the judgment of the people in the form of a general election.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed Mr Johnson was”behaving like a dictator more than a democrat” as he called on the Prime Minister to “finally act to remove the threat of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.”
Mr Blackford said: “Last night, Parliament once again defeated this shambolic Tory government. Today we have seized back control from a Prime Minister who is behaving like a dictator more than a democrat.
“The Prime Minister must be stopped. MPs must unite across this House to take no-deal off the table tonight. We will defeat the Government again.
“So, can the Prime Minister tell us, when we succeed, will he respect the democratic vote of this House, the democratic will of the people we represent and finally act to remove the threat of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I might ask (him) if he will respect the democratic will of the people of the UK, as this House voted to do time and time and time again, and that is implement the result of the referendum.”
Adviser Dominic Cummings was portrayed as the villain by some demostrators:
2/ ...it’s starting to feel like Labour doesn’t want an election at all...and leaving this PM in place knowing he’ll try every trick in book to get what he wants would be irresponsible. Opposition must get Bill through and then seek to force election BEFORE Parliament prorogued.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 4, 2019
Here’s a rundown of the rebel Tory MPs who voted against the government:
Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn would not submit the “surrender Bill” to the verdict of the people in an election, adding: “We think the friends of this country can be found in Paris, Berlin and in the White House, and he thinks they’re in the Kremlin, Tehran and in Caracas – and I think he is Caracas, Mr Speaker.”
The PM listed his plans for police, the NHS and the economy before highlighting comments by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.
Mr Johnson said: “The shadow education secretary says that their economic policy is, I quote Mr Speaker by your leave, ‘shit-or-bust’.
“I say it’s both, Mr Speaker.”
The protests continued outside the Commons:
Mr Corbyn repeatedly asked the PM to reveal the prospect of food and medicine shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, before telling MPs that Mr Johnson was “absolutely desperate to avoid scrutiny”.
He went on: “I can see why he’s desperate to avoid scrutiny – he has no plan to get a new deal, no authority and no majority.
“If the Prime Minister does to the country what he has done to his party in the last 24 hours, I think a lot of people have a great deal to fear from his incompetence, his vacillation and his refusal to publish known facts that are known to him about the effects of a no-deal Brexit.”
Mr Johnson said his strategy was to get a deal by the summit on October 17 and “to get Brexit done”.
He added: “What his surrender bill would do is wreck any chance of the talks and we don’t know his strategy at all.
“He’s asking for mobs and Momentum activists to paralyse the traffic in his name.
“What are they supposed to chant? What is the slogan? ‘What do we want? Dither and delay. When do want it? We don’t know’.
“That’s his policy. Can he confirm now that he will allow the people of this country to decide on what he is giving up in their name with a general election on October 15 – or is he frit?”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked Boris Johnson for evidence of details that he is negotiating for a deal and not trying to “run down the clock”.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corbyn added: “Yesterday it was revealed that the Prime Minister’s negotiating strategy is to run down the clock.
“And that the Attorney General told the Prime Minister that his belief that the European Union would drop the backstop was a complete fantasy.
“Are these reports accurate or can the Prime Minister provide the detail of the proposals he’s put forward to the EU?”
At least one Lib Dem politician was ready for a long session in the House of Lords:
Anyway, our Chief Whip Ben Stoneham is prepared - he's brought in his pillow. If you find him asleep in a corner of Parliament in the wee hours please do not disturb. Unless the division bell is ringing... 🔔 pic.twitter.com/7nOQsdtmj1— Lib Dem Lords (@LibDemLords) September 4, 2019
Here’s a reminder of Tuesday night’s events:
Boris Johnson said he could seek a snap general election:
Mr Johnson held a Cabinet meeting at 8am on Wednesday, with ministers giving nothing away to reporters as they arrived and departed from Downing Street.