Boris Johnson fires Brexit warning to MPs plotting with Jeremy Corbyn
16th August 2019

Boris Johnson slaps down Tory Remainer rebels: PM fires warning to MPs plotting with Jeremy Corbyn that Brexit vote ‘must be respected’ as he pledges to trigger legislation within DAYS that will end the EU’s legal supremacy over the UK

  • Boris Johnson blasts Tory Remainers and insists ‘we will leave EU on October 31’
  • PM laying groundwork to ensure EU legal supremacy over UK ends after Brexit
  • Constitutional expert says No Deal now the ‘most likely outcome’ on Halloween  
  • Sajid Javid in Berlin and will tell German ministers UK ‘serious’ about No Deal 
  • Harriet Harman tells friends she is willing to serve as caretaker prime minister
  • Comes after Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to form a temporary government rebuffed 
  • Three Tory ex-ministers have agreed to meet Mr Corbyn to plot to stop No Deal
  • Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Caroline Spelman will meet Labour leader
  • But they’ve been warned they will never be forgiven if they side with Mr Corbyn

Boris Johnson has warned Tory Remainer rebels plotting with Jeremy Corbyn to stop a No Deal Brexit that the 2016 EU referendum result ‘must be respected’ as he recommitted to his ‘do or die’ pledge. 

A trio of Tory MPs sparked Brexiteer fury after they agreed to meet with the Labour leader to try to figure out a way of stopping the UK crashing out of the EU at the Halloween deadline without an agreement. 

The Prime Minister responded directly to Dominic Grieve, Sir Oliver Letwin and Dame Caroline Spelman on Twitter as he told them: ‘We will leave the EU on 31st October.’ 

It came as it emerged that Mr Johnson is laying the groundwork to make sure the EU’s legal supremacy over UK law ends immediately when Britain leaves the bloc.

The House of Commons voted to repeal the European Communities Act (ECA) of 1972 last year but an order to actually implement that vote was never made when Theresa May was in office as Brexit was delayed. 

The Times reported this morning that Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, will sign the so-called ‘commencement order’ in the coming days which means the ECA will be scrapped in the immediate aftermath of October 31. 

The move has delighted Tory Brexiteers who said implementing the decision to repeal the legislation was ‘well overdue’. 

Boris Johnson issued a barely disguised warning to a trio of Tory MPs who have said they will meet Jeremy Corbyn to discuss anti-No Deal plans

The fallout from Mr Corbyn’s letter to opposition leaders and senior Europhile MPs asking them to help him topple Mr Johnson and take power as a caretaker prime minister continued today. 

Mr Corbyn said he would take power for a time limited period in order to secure a further Brexit delay and then call a general election to break the Brexit deadlock. 

But his plan fell flat after many opposition MPs said they could not support a government led by Mr Corbyn. 

Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, suggested a temporary unity government should be led by a less divisive figure like Labour veteran Harriet Harman or Tory grandee Ken Clarke. 

Ms Harman has reportedly told friends she would be willing to step up and lead the nation if MPs asked her to. 

Meanwhile, it emerged this morning that Sajid Javid will travel to Berlin today for talks with his German opposite number when he is expected to deliver Mr Johnson’s tough Brexit stance in person. 

Aides told The Sun that Mr Javid would stress ‘how serious we are about walking away’ from the bloc unless it agrees to Mr Johnson’s demand to renegotiate the existing divorce deal and delete the Irish border backstop.   

Elsewhere, a top UK constitutional expert today claimed that of all the options which could come to fruition in October, the one with the highest probability was No Deal. 

Vernon Bogdanor, a research professor at the Centre for British Politics and Government, told Politico: ‘The default position is that we leave the EU without a deal and so I suppose that is the most likely outcome.’

The European Communities Act was passed by the UK parliament in 1972 and in simple terms it brought the UK into the EU. 

Crucially it gives EU law supremacy over British domestic legislation. 

This is the main reason Brexiteers hate the Act – they believe it represents the exact moment when Britain lost much of its sovereignty. 

Much of the EU law which is currently in effect in the UK is reliant on the ECA to function. 

And while MPs have agreed to repeal the Act the process will see existing decisions and judgments adopted into British law to make sure the domestic legal system does not fall off a cliff when the UK does finally leave the EU. 

However, once the Act has been repealed it will be UK law which is supreme, rather than EU law.  

Mr Corbyn’s letter sparked a political firestorm yesterday as opposition leaders weighed up whether they could agree to putting him in Downing Street. 

Some said they could in order to stop No Deal but others, most notably Ms Swinson, were reluctant. 

The decision by the three Tories to meet with Mr Corbyn to discuss his plans provoked a swift backlash as Conservative Eurosceptics suggested they should be kicked out of the party.

And in a sign of the seriousness of the moment Mr Johnson himself appeared to address the rebels directly as he tweeted last night: ‘The referendum result must be respected. 

‘We will leave the EU on 31st October.’

Mr Johnson inherited a wafer thin Commons majority from Mrs May which means he will need the support of every single one of his MPs to have any chance of winning crunch divisions in the weeks and months ahead.

The rebel Tories were warned they would never be forgiven if they helped topple Mr Johnson and install Mr Corbyn in Number 10. 

In their reply to Mr Corbyn’s letter, the trio and ex-Tory MP Nick Boles, who now sits as an independent, wrote that they believed stopping the country leaving the EU without an agreement should be their ‘common priority’ as they agreed to meet in the coming weeks ‘to discuss the different ways that this might be achieved’. 

Dominic Grieve (pictured in July) is one of three sitting Tory MPs along with Dame Caroline Spelman and Sir Oliver Letwin to have agreed to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss his anti-No Deal plans

The situation is likely to come to a head next month as MPs opposed to No Deal try to stop Mr Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU on October 31 without an agreement. 

Dame Caroline last night said that while she was happy to work with Mr Corbyn on options such as changing the law to block No Deal but she would not vote to bring down the government in a confidence vote.

Mr Grieve said he believed it was ‘unlikely’ Mr Corbyn would succeed in becoming a caretaker prime minister.

He added: ‘But he has written a letter in which he sets out his desire to prevent a No Deal Brexit and on that I am in agreement with him because it is something that is going to have such a catastrophic impact.’

Tory figures last night urged caution about working with Mr Corbyn. 

Backbencher Michael Fabricant said: ‘It is remarkable that given that the Lib Dems think this offer from Jeremy Corbyn is a big joke, some of my colleagues are taking it seriously. As a former government whip, I hope that their action will not be forgotten.’

Former minister Greg Hands added: ‘Corbyn only became Labour leader because his MPs didn’t think it could actually happen. Now he could become Prime Minister because a Conservative MP makes the same mistake.’ 

Jon Conway, a member of Mr Grieve’s local Tory association in Beaconsfield who has been leading efforts to remove him, said that it was wrong for him to be fighting Mr Johnson’s Brexit pledge just weeks after the Prime Minister won the overwhelming support of the party membership.

He said: ‘People in the constituency are appalled that he still claims to represent us.’

Separately, Tory backbencher Guto Bebb yesterday declared he would rather back the Labour leader as a caretaker prime minister than allow Boris Johnson to take the country out of the EU without an agreement.

‘A short-term Jeremy Corbyn government is less damaging than the generational damage that would be caused by a No Deal Brexit,’ the Tory MP told the BBC. 

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps last night urged his Tory colleagues to ‘think very, very carefully’ about the dangers of helping Mr Corbyn into power.

The Transport Secretary said: ‘It’s absolutely extraordinary that any Conservative MP considered even for one minute installing Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

‘Jeremy Corbyn would wreck our economy, he would destroy jobs and the livelihoods, savings, I think he also can’t be trusted with security or crime.’

In an appeal to Tory MPs thinking about working with Mr Corbyn, Mr Shapps added: ‘I just say to them you know you really need to think very very carefully about installing Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street. It absolutely cannot happen for the sake of this country.’      

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