The rule of law is “under attack” from Boris Johnson’s internal markets plan for Brexit, according to the Law Society. The solicitors’ body said “we have a choice about what sort of country we want to be and what we want to be known for around the world”.
The controversial proposal to tear up part of the Brexit treaty with the European Union passed its second reading in the Commons on Monday by a majority of 77 despite a rebellion among Tory MPs.
Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to implement a targeted extension of its furlough scheme, as millions of job losses loom.
Senior Tories accuse government of blocking vote on new coronavirus restrictions
Former ministers Sir Christopher Chope and Sir Desmond Swayne shouted “no” at the top of their voices in a bid to force a vote in the division lobbies on regulations linked to the wearing of face coverings in shops and supermarkets in England.
But the Tory whips were out in force in the Commons to shout their support for the statutory instrument.
Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing decided the two shouts of no from Sir Christopher and Sir Desmond had been drowned out by the ayes and the motion was formally approved.
Raising a point of order, Sir Christopher said: “There are thousands, in fact tens of thousands of people who will be observing these proceedings and will have noticed the Government has contrived to prevent this House of Commons being able to have a substantive vote on some of the most repressive legislation we’ve ever seen in our democracy.
“(Sir Desmond) and myself we are but two among many, many members who object to what is going on and all I can say is revenge is best served cold.”
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 19:59
Tom Peck: Boris Johnson’s humiliation by Ed Miliband was the culmination of a lifetime of lies about the EU
Fat-tongued, slack-jawed, wide-eyed and wobbling, Boris Johnson sat on the front bench of the House of Commons and faced down his inevitable humiliation with the kind of dignity only he can, writes our political sketch writer Tom Peck.
As Ed Miliband calmly filleted and laid out before him one by one, each of the many lies that had led him here, he could do nothing but shake his head and force short, breathy, performative grunts from his nose. As he did so his jowls became tremulous like the wattle on a magnificent frigatebird.
Maybe he knew that it was his life’s work that had led him here. Lying about the European Union was how a young Boris Johnson made his name, 35 years ago, as Brussels Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. And lying about the European Union will shortly be how he loses it.
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 19:53
Boris Johnson expected to face Angela Rayner at PMQs
With Sir Keir Starmer self-isolating after a family member developed coronavirus-like symptoms, his deputy Angela Rayner will take his place at PMQs tomorrow.
Despite convention ruling that the other party nominates someone else to stand if the prime minister or leader of the opposition is absent, Mr Johnson’s de facto deputy Dominic Raab is currently on a visit to the US.
During Monday’s debate on the UK Internal Markets bill, Sir Keir was replaced by former leader Ed Miliband, who castigated the prime minister over his failure to state which part of the bill – voted through by MPs – would prevent a blockade in the Irish Sea – the pretext by which Mr Johnson sought to persuade rebellious Tories to vote for a bill breaching his own Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 19:28
Government’s ‘hostility to devolution’ has left ‘no trust in relationship’ between Holyrood and Westminster, MPs told
Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said the quality of dialogue has been poor and has “got significantly worse since Boris Johnson became prime minister”.
His comments came as he again raised concerns about the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, which passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons on Monday.
“There is in my view a hostility to devolution in the current government,” Mr Russell told the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.
He added: “We have been in such a difficult set of circumstances for so long that it would be difficult to find a way in which we could work constructively together, there is no trust in the relationship, absolutely none now.”
The Internal Market Bill as it stands could allow a US company to take legal action to “force its way” into Scotland’s NHS and would also permit the UK government to spend money directly in devolved areas, the SNP MP said.
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 18:50
Angela Rayner to step in for Keir Starmer at PMQs as he self-isolates
“Keir Starmer is still awaiting the test result for a member of his family,” the Labour leader’s spokesperson has said.
“He is therefore remaining in self-isolation and will not participate in Prime Minister’s Questions tomorrow.
“Angela Rayner, deputy leader and shadow first secretary of state, will be taking his place. We have informed Number 10.”
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 18:14
Twickenham MP says residents could only get local Covid-19 test if they searched with Aberdeen postcode
People in Twickenham have reportedly found they can access coronavirus tests in their local area despite being told none were available by pretending their postcode is in Aberdeen, Conrad Duncan reports.
Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham, told the Commons she had been “inundated” with emails from doctors, teachers and parents who had been unable to access the tests they “desperately” needed.
“However, a number of them have also been advised that if they put an Aberdeen postcode into the system, they can get a test in Twickenham and they have succeeded,” Ms Wilson said.
“So could the secretary of state please tell me how on earth a world-beating test and trace system is functioning in this way, and what is he doing to fix it? And in the meantime, does he recommend that I tell those constituents who desperately need a test to game the system in this way?”
Matt Hancock responded that MPs should tell their constituents that tests are “available in large numbers” – despite the system having been described as a “bloody mess” – and added: “People should take this seriously and not game the system.”
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 17:48
David Cameron drowned Brexit sorrows with ‘endless bottles of wine, whisky and brandy’ and a Cuban cigar, book claims
David Cameron reportedly drowned his sorrows after losing the Brexit referendum with a “lethal” negroni cocktail followed by wine, whisky and a “fat” Cuban cigar during a dinner with friends, Jon Sharman writes.
The chastened prime minister bolted from Downing Street to his home in Dean, Oxfordshire, on the day of his defeat, and asked the then Conservative MP Sir Hugo Swire and his wife, Sasha, to come along with “plenty of booze”.
The claims are published in The Times, which is serialising Lady Swire’s tell-all new book, Diary of an MP’s Wife: Inside and Outside Power.
A previous extract claimed that during a long coastal walk Mr Cameron asked Lady Swire to walk behind him, because “that scent you are wearing … makes me want to grab you and push you into the bushes and give you one”.
According to the book, Sir Hugo and Lady Swire arrived at the Cameron home days after the Brexit result, laden down with alcohol and top-end Cohiba cigars, to discover Samantha Cameron “devastated” by the result.
Lady Swire writes: “When Dave arrives, he makes a lethal negroni before we progress to endless bottles of wine, whisky and brandy. Over dinner, he is incandescent with anger, which is almost wholly directed against Michael [Gove].
“As for Boris [Johnson], he says that this whole episode was to do with his leadership ambitions and that he despised his lack of ideology, which is a tad ironic.”
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 17:22
Alex Salmond accuses Scottish Government of leaking information about him in ‘selective and deliberately misleading’ way
After the Daily Record reported that Alex Salmond blocked the release of government papers to the Holyrood inquiry into how complaints against him were handled, the former first minister’s lawyer has said the claim is untrue and that the information “can only have come from the Scottish Government”, based on a confidential letter.
Deputy first minister John Swinney has refused to provide some legal and court papers related to the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation into harassment claims against Mr Salmond, telling a committee that an unnamed individual – reported by the Record to be Mr Salmond – has objected to the documents’ release.
Lawyer David McKie said the claim is untrue and that the “highly defamatory and misleading article” must have been based on information sent to Holyrood “in a letter marked ‘private and confidential’” and then leaked by the Scottish Government in a “clear data breach”.
Writing to the Scottish Government, Mr McKie said: “We are appalled that correspondence with the Scottish Government on matters as sensitive as those involved in this case cannot be sent with any confidence that they will be treated appropriately and in good faith.
“Furthermore, the breach appears to have been selective and deliberately misleading. It has resulted in a highly defamatory and misleading article being published about our client.
“That, doubtless, was the intention.”
The Scottish Government has not yet commented on the accusations.
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 16:54
Liberal Democrats plan to woo ‘soft conservatives’ repulsed by ‘thuggish’ Johnson Tories
The Liberal Democrats new campaigning chief has revealed the party is planning a four-year drive to woo “soft conservatives” repulsed by the “thuggish” values of the Tories under Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
Speaking to The Independent in an interview to announce her election as deputy to leader Sir Ed Davey, Daisy Cooper said that the route out of the Lib Dems’ current electoral trough could be found through appealing to voters who had always thought of themselves as conservatives but found the current government at odds with their values of competent governance, respect for the law, international alliances, civil liberties and protection of the environment.
Mr Johnson’s current threat to breach Britain’s obligations under international treaty law in his row with the EU was the latest in a chain of shocking acts which showed his party no longer represented the values of moderate voters, she said.
In a sharp change of tactics from former leader Jo Swinson’s approach in last December’s election – when she flopped after declaring herself a potential prime minister looking to win seats across the country – Ms Cooper made clear she will be tightly focusing on winnable Tory-held seats where she can deploy an army of activists in a long-term war of attrition.
Andy Gregory15 September 2020 16:24
Covid test centre shut down to make way for Brexit lorry park
A coronavirus testing centre in Kent has been shut down in order to allow preparations for a lorry park to deal with queues expected after the Brexit transition period ends.
The land by Ebbsfleet international railway station is understood to be earmarked as one of a number of inland facilities being prepared to handle delays for hauliers caused by Brexit.
Planning permission was granted to the site in September 2019 but works were put on hold when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the car park was employed as a testing site.
Here’s our political editor Andrew Woodcock with more:
Liam James15 September 2020 15:43