Cancelled Javid speech heightens election speculation – live updates

Last modified: 05: 10 PM GMT+0

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments, including meeting of opposition party leaders called by Jeremy Corbyn

Afternoon summary

  • A confidential government briefing paper leaked to the Guardian has revealed a raft of dramatic and controversial education measures including billions of pounds in new funding, a crackdown on student behaviour and a further wave of free schools. The proposals were designed to be rolled out over the coming weeks in a bid to seize the initiative on education ahead of a possible autumn election.
  • The Westminster leaders of the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Independent Group for Change attended a meeting along with the shadow chancellor John McDonnell on Tuesday, at which they agreed to form an alternative parliament in the event of the prime minister shutting down the existing one to make a no-deal Brexit happen.
  • The first major speech by the chancellor Sajid Javid has been mysteriously cancelled by the Treasury less than 24 hours before it was due to take place. A Treasury spokesman said that the one-year spending review, called a spending round, which had been due to take place later this year, was now being fast-tracked to take place in early September, adding fuel to speculation the government could be planning an early general election.
  • Nigel Farage has said the Brexit party may be prepared to work with the Conservatives through a “non-aggression pact” if the only way of achieving a “clean-break” Brexit was a general election.
  • The archbishop of Canterbury has agreed in principle to chair a citizens’ assembly on Brexit despite provoking outrage from Eurosceptics for considering the idea. Acknowledging the controversy of such a role, Justin Welby said he would only take part if the exercise were not aimed at thwarting Brexit. He also suggested it could be conducted after the UK had left the European Union as a way of overcoming divisions.

That’s it from us today. Thanks very much for reading.

Leaked documents reveal Tory school plans

My colleagues Aditya Chakrabortty, Richard Adams and Sally Weale have just published an exclusive detailing a raft of dramatic and controversial education policy proposals set out in a confidential briefing paper.

The measures include billions of pounds in new funding, a crackdown on student behaviour and a further wave of free schools, which are set to be announced by the government within days.

The briefing document, dated 22 August and marked “Official-Sensitive”, details a blizzard of policy proposals designed to be rolled out over the coming weeks in a bid to seize the initiative on education ahead of a possible autumn election.

While proposals including a £3.5bn funding announcement and plans to increase teachers’ basic pay may be broadly welcomed, there will be concern in some quarters over a package of disciplinary measures that include a renewed emphasis on exclusions and allowing teachers to use “reasonable force” to improve behaviour.

Read the full story here -

Jonathan Lis, deputy director of the thinktank British Influence, has written for our opinion pages welcoming today’s opposition talks.

Today’s meeting is highly significant for two reasons. First, it demonstrates that, when push comes to shove, politicians who may personally dislike or distrust each other can sit around a table and work seriously, cordially and productively. Second, and more importantly, it highlights that MPs have the means at their disposal to stop no deal. They already had the numbers. Now they are showing the willing.

The Conservative party has tweeted accusing opposition politicians of “plotting to cancel the votes of 17.4 million people”. Change UK leader, Anna Soubry, who was a Tory MP until February this year, said the message was yet more proof that “right wing ideologues” had taken over her old party.

These 6 politicians are plotting to cancel the votes of 17.4 million people.

🔵 We respect the result of the EU Referendum.
🔵 We will get Brexit done by October 31st and take this country forward.

✍️ Show them they can't ignore it.
➡️ https://t.co/sosWZSPztl pic.twitter.com/5yLJEiyfYP

— Conservatives (@Conservatives) August 27, 2019

Today these MPs put aside their differences to ensure Parliament isn’t suspended to enable a disastrous #NoDeal #Brexit for which there’s no mandate.@Conservatives should be throughly ashamed of this disingenuous tweet- further proof the right wing ideologues have taken it over. https://t.co/m5S0yAq8kC

— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) August 27, 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury willing to chair Brexit citizens forum 'in principle'

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has responded to an invitation from MPs to chair a “citizens’ forum on Brexit” in which alternatives to a no deal would be discussed.

It’s an unexpected privilege to be asked to chair the proposed Citizens’ Forum on Brexit. In the past such gatherings have opened the way for careful deliberation. I’m open in principle – provided the Forum doesn’t aim to stop or delay Brexit, and has cross-party support. https://t.co/pYLYUDFzwJ

— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) August 27, 2019

He has issued a statement on his website:

It is an unexpected privilege to be asked to chair this proposed citizens’ forum on Brexit. In the past this kind of gathering has, in many places and in difficult situations, opened the way for careful deliberation if at the right time and genuinely representative.

I am honoured to be approached and would be willing to accept in principle, subject to some conditions which have not yet been met. The main three are first, and indispensably, that the forum should not be a Trojan horse intended to delay or prevent Brexit in any particular form. That power can only be exercised by the government and MPs in parliament. A forum must be open to all possibilities. Second, that it has cross-party support (although its members will not be politicians). Third, the process must have time to be properly organised.

Jesus Christ is the source of reconciliation and healing for individuals and society. It is obviously right that among many others the churches should contribute to the emergence of a dynamic and united country post-Brexit, however it may be achieved. Every one of us must play the part they can in this task.

The need for national healing and eventually for a move towards reconciliation is essential, and will take much time, a deep commitment to the common good, and contributions from every source. This forum is only one of many different efforts being made inside the political world and across the country before and after Brexit. Every effort counts.

Let us pray for all those in government, parliament and political leadership. Let us pray for the people of this country whose lives will be affected in many ways by the momentous decisions that are made.

Responding to earlier reports that Welby had met with MPs to discuss hosting a possible citizens’ assembly, the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said:

I generally don’t criticise the archbishop but he shouldn’t allow himself to be tempted into what is essentially a very political issue right now. This assembly is designed to destabilise Boris Johnson’s position. As such I hope he will recognise the deeply political nature of this.

Updated

Jeremy Corbyn was not at today’s meeting of opposition leaders at Church House – the shadow chancellor said he was busy in meetings – but the Labour leader has spoken to broadcast media this afternoon.

"The priority is to prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union" - Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outlines strategy to block no-deal #Brexit https://t.co/6nPyoPsXrS pic.twitter.com/dzCtD0Ao4o

— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) August 27, 2019

Labour’s John McDonnell has responded to the announcement that the first major speech by the new chancellor, Sajid Javid, has been cancelled less than 24 hours before it was due to take place.

Sajid Javid is getting a record of announcing events and initiatives, and then within hours cancelling or reversing them.

This doesn’t inspire confidence. Panic seems to be setting in inside government.

Updated

Dear readers, it’s been fun but it’s time to hand over the live blogging reins to my colleague Frances Perraudin (Twitter @fperraudin). She’ll bring you the latest Brexit developments until close of play.

Have a peaceful evening and thank you for your questions and comments.

Church House meeting in focus

Our reporter Ben Quinn attended a symbolic meeting of MPs in Church House where they discussed their opposition to no-deal Brexit. He filed this report.

Boris Johnson was described as a threat to the very nature of British democracy at a cross party meeting of MPs who signed a pledge to an alternative parliament in the event of the prime minister shutting down parliament to make a no deal Brexit happen.

In a highly symbolic gathering in Church House, where MPs met during the second world war, Labour’s John McDonnell took to the stage alongside the former Conservative MP, Anna Soubry, as well as the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and Caroline Lucas of the Green Party.

Each one signed the ‘Church House Declaration,’ which declared that shutting down parliament would be “an undemocratic outrage at such a crucial moment for our country, and a historic constitutional crisis.”

It added: “Any attempt to prevent Parliament sitting, to force through a no deal Brexit, will be met by strong and widespread democratic resistance.”

The shadow chancellor, who said that Jeremy Corbyn had been trapped in meetings, told those assembled: “Prime Ministers come and Prime Ministers go but I don’t think we have seen a Prime Minister like this who has had the potential to threaten the vary nature of our democracy.”

I want to warn him that we will not and let that happen, said McDonnell, who added that MPs will use “whatever mechanism necessary” to thwart Johnson.

More than 160 MPs from a range of parties were said by organisers to have signed the declaration.

Ian Blackford, the leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, said that the government posed a threat to the security of citizens, while the Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “We will block what is nothing less than a coup.”

Swinson said that members of parliament had come together to make the point that they would not stand by while the government sent the country into a “catastrophic no deal Brexit.”

While Conservative MPs were conspicuous by their absence from the event, there was a highly symbolic moment when the former Tory MP and minister addressed the event, standing on stage while McDonnell sat beside her.

She said that she hoped that when the history books were written they would record their determination and courage and show that there were those who acted while others stood by and did nothing.

“You all know who the people of courage are and those who have failed to exercise it. They will stop you in the corridors and say: ‘of course this is absolute madness’ but they will not go and do the right thing, which is to be true to their principles.”

Updated

Corbyn asks 116 Tory MPs for support to stop no-deal Brexit

The Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to 116 Tory MPs, including former prime minister Theresa May, Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Greg Clark, urging them to support cross-party efforts to stop no-deal Brexit.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear colleague,

I am writing to you after convening a meeting earlier today with the leaders of other opposition parties on how we can work together, across Parliament to prevent a damaging No Deal exit from the European Union. At that meeting, we agreed to make efforts to put party politics aside to find a way through the present crisis.

We know there is a majority in parliament against No Deal. As MPs we’ve voted against No Deal on a number of occasions and we did so in the largest number on 27 March of this year.

As you were one of 116 Conservative or independent MPs who voted against No Deal that day and are not on the government frontbench, I am writing to you to offer to work together, in a collegiate, cross party spirit, to find a practical way to prevent No Deal.

This is an urgent task. The Prime Minister is reportedly planning to suspend parliament to force through a No Deal crash out. This action would be, according to legal advice I’ve received from Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti, “the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK constitutional principle in living memory”.

My view is that holding a general election after an extension is achieved is the simplest and most democratic way to prevent No Deal and to let the people of this country decide our future. Indeed, it is the best route to a referendum or leaving the EU with a deal.

I understand not all colleagues may agree.

So I would like to invite you to join a dialogue with myself, as leader of the Labour Party, and other opposition parties, to find a way for the clear will of parliament against No Deal to express itself. Please respond by email.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Corbyn

Updated

Cancelled Javid speech heightens election speculation

This from our chief political correspondent Jessica Elgot on Sajid Javid’s cancelled speech. The chancellor has been meeting Trump’s treasury secretary on Tuesday.

The first major speech by the chancellor Sajid Javid has been mysteriously cancelled by the Treasury less than 24 hours before it was due to take place.

A Treasury spokesman said that the one-year spending review, called a spending round, which had been due to take place later this year, was now being fast-tracked to take place in early September, adding fuel to speculation the government could be planning an early general election.

The speech, which was due to take place in Birmingham, was billed as Javid “outlining his vision for the UK economy.” In an email to attendees, the Treasury press office said the speech was being rescheduled but gave no other reasoning.

“The forthcoming Spending Round will instead be brought forward in early September and will cover the themes and priorities he was due to outline,” the email said.

Updated

McDonnell: PM a threat to the UK's democracy

John McDonnell is here in place of Jeremy Corbyn on the stage at Church house..
’Alternative parliament’ pledge
Symbolic stuff alongside Jo Swindon, Luciana Berger and co pic.twitter.com/U0BNYf4wkH

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

John McDonnell: "Prime Ministers come and Prime Ministers go but I don't think we have seen a Prime Minister like this who has had the potential to threaten the vary nature of our democracy

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

McDonnell: "And I just want him that we will not and let that happen. We will use whatever mechanism necessary."

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

Just in case you were wondering what the former prime minister is up to today...

Great to open wonderful 13 acre park at Shurlock Row today with ⁦@Theresa_may⁩ and lots of local children. The park has a fantastic children’s play area, #biodiversity with over 50 species of grasses and a pond pic.twitter.com/0UQ8Ghol1l

— Cllr Samantha Rayner (@samanthajrayner) August 27, 2019

The chancellor cancels major speech on the economy on Wednesday

Treasury have just cancelled a planned Sajid Javid speech for tomorrow - and announcing the 1-year spending review ("spending round") brought forward till early Sept....

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 27, 2019

Updated

Our Ben Quinn has escaped the Brexit party rally and is at Church House to watch MPs pledge to form an alternative parliament if Boris Johnson shuts down the Commons to make a no-deal Brexit happen.

At Church House, where MPs sat during WWII...
A cross party grouping of MPs are today pledging to form an alternative parliament if Boris Johnson shuts the House of Commons down for a no deal Brexit pic.twitter.com/TJHSlKmobJ

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

MPs opposing no-deal Brexit to issue joint statement

MPs who are working together to oppose no-deal Brexit are about to issue a joint statement to the media. We’ve set up a live stream of the event but you might want to give it a couple of minutes. It’s currently a video of John McDonnell telling Keir Starmer about pruning his hedge. I’ll let you know when they get started.

Updated

Here’s how the lawyer and writer David Allen Green reads today’s developments:

If (A) opposite parties and Tory backbenchers can work together and (B) they can pass tight apt legislation and (C) they are not thwarted by knavish No 10 tricks and (D) EU27 accept an extension, then...

...perhaps No Deal can be averted on 31 October

"Do you feel lucky, punk?"

— David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) August 27, 2019

"This is the mother of parliaments, the most powerful legislature in the world, and it can blow the executive's residual discretionary power clean off."

— David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) August 27, 2019

Caroline Lucas: We need to find common ground

Caroline Lucas is the latest anti-Brexit MP to say the meeting at Jeremy Corbyn’s office was a success.

A positive cross-party meeting on stopping a No Deal Brexit

Moving forward, we need to find common ground to stand on, not small hills to die on pic.twitter.com/Bw9JT22kMd

— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) August 27, 2019

But No 10 are not happy, according to the BBC’s Nick Eardley.

No 10 source: “It’s utterly perverse that Corbyn and his allies are actively seeking to sabotage the UK’s position. This coalition of anti-democrats should be honest with the British public, they are against us leaving the EU no matter what.”

— Nick Eardley (@nickeardleybbc) August 27, 2019

Updated

PM Johnson: We will leave the EU on 31 October

The prime minister’s press team are probably sick to the back teeth of finding new ways to say it, but Boris Johnson’s Twitter account has sent out a useful lunchtime reminder about his government’s Brexit policy.

The referendum result must be respected.

We will leave the EU on 31st October. #LeaveOct31

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 27, 2019

Updated

Lib Dem leader: 'very positive meeting' on stopping no-deal Brexit

The Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, has told the BBC’s World at One programme that the meeting in Jeremy Corbyn’s office with other leaders trying to stop no-deal Brexit was “very positive”. Swinson confirmed that the leaders did not discuss who would lead a caretaker government if the prime minister lost a vote of no confidence

She told the show:

What is clear is there is a real sense of urgency. We don’t have time to lose. We are very much looking to act as soon as possible.

Updated

Afternoon summary

So it looks a September battle for Brexit in parliament has been confirmed, with the nuclear option of a no confidence vote reserved for early October. Sir Oliver Letwin and other policy mavericks will need to rev up their legislative Spitfires for one last go at seeing off a no-deal Brexit.

Here’s a summary of today’s developments:

  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to work with oppositions leaders to prioritise opposing a no-deal Brexit using legislation, with a no-confidence vote in the government reserved as a last resort.
  • The leaders of the Labour Party, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Independent Group for Change have all agreed to meet again to discuss how to stop the UK crashing out of the European Union on October 31.
  • Boris Johnson and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will speak on the phone on Tuesday afternoon to touch base after the G7. The call follows a conversation between the Dutch leader Mark Rutte and the prime minister in which he said the EU27 remained open to new proposals from the UK government.
  • Nigel Farage has said the Brexit party may be prepared to work with the Conservatives through a “non-aggression pact” if the only way of achieving a “clean-break” Brexit was a general election at a pre-election rally.
  • The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been criticised by Brexiters for reportedly meeting MPs with a view to chairing citizens’ assemblies to stop a no-deal departure from the EU.

Updated

Leaders opposing no-deal Brexit issue joint statement

A joint statement has been issued by the Labour party, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green party and the Independent Group for Change following this morning’s meeting. They have all agreed to meet again.

The leaders of the opposition parties held a productive and detailed meeting on stopping a disastrous no-deal exit from the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn outlined the legal advice he has received from shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti, which calls Boris Johnson’s plans to suspend parliament to force through a no deal “the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK constitutional principle in living memory”.

The attendees agreed that Boris Johnson has shown himself open to using anti-democratic means to force through no deal.

The attendees agreed on the urgency to act together to find practical ways to prevent no deal, including the possibility of passing legislation and a vote of no confidence.

The party leaders agreed to further meetings.

Updated

A quick reminder: please refresh the page from time to time. I’m backfilling and updating posts as I go.

Brexit party rally in focus

Our reporter Ben Quinn attended the Brexit party election rally this morning and he’s filed this report.

The Brexit party may be prepared to work with the Conservatives through a “non-aggression pact” if the only way of achieving a “clean-break” Brexit was a general election, Nigel Farage has said.

Seeking to put clear blue water between his party and the new Brexiter-dominated government, Farage reminded a rally near Westminster that Boris Johnson had voted for Theresa May’s deal with Brussels on the the third occasion it came before MPs.

“That raises a very big question. Can you trust Boris Johnson on this question,” he told more than 500 of the Brexit party’s prospective parliamentary candidates. He also railed against the “globalists” in the Labour party and evoked loud boos at the mention of Jeremy Corbyn and the the Scottish National party.

Farage said the backstop – the device intended to ensure there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – was “the worst deal in history”

“Mr Johnson, if you insisted on leaving with the withdrawal agreement we will fight you in every single seat the length and breadth of Britain,” he added, to roars of approval.

However, Farage also sketched out another scenario, one in which he said the prime minister “was to summon up the courage” to proceed with a no-deal Brexit on 31 October but where the only means of achieving it was to call a general election.

“In those circumstances, if Boris Johnson is prepared to do the right thing to win out independence then we are prepared to do the right thing,” he added, before his words were drowned out.

Farage said the Brexit party might then be prepared to work with him, “perhaps in the form of a non-aggression pact”.

Updated

Corbyn agrees to prioritise legislation to stop no-deal Brexit

This from our chief political correspondent Jessica Elgot.

NEW - I understand Corbyn opened meeting with party leaders and MPs saying he would prioritise legislation to stop no deal. Efforts will focus on passing bills, forcing publication of documents and stopping prorogation. Also agreement that parliament must oppose conference recess

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 27, 2019

One source said Corbyn was absolutely on board with the idea that VONC had to be last resort. Several leaders, including Anna Soubry, pressed home that Tory MPs would never vote for one apart from in absolute extremis. Looks like it will be held back as nuclear option.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 27, 2019

SNP's Ian Blackford calls it a "positive and productive meeting - with opposition leaders committing to work together effectively to prevent a catastrophic no-deal."

Says MPs are "ready to use all mechanisms to block no-deal, including legislation as a priority."

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 27, 2019

Updated

Opposition leaders meet for over an hour

ITV’s Daniel Hewitt reports the meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and opposition leaders went on for an hour and a quarter.

Meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and opposition leaders has just finished. Lasted around 1 hour and 15 mins.

— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) August 27, 2019

Our Jessica Elgot points out that Corbyn’s apparent agreement to prioritise legislation over a vote of no confidence is a crucial commitment for Tories reluctant to back the government on crashing out of the EU. I’m afraid this signals the end of talk about who would make the best temporary prime minister. For now, at least.

Crucial commitment that Tories and other independents wanted to get from Labour is that Corbyn will allow legislative efforts to take priority over VONC https://t.co/LUuilPZtzx

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 27, 2019

Soubry: 'excellent' opposition party leader meeting

Right, they’re out of Corbyn’s office and it sounds like the meeting went well. All parties have agreed to make stopping no-deal Brexit with legislation the priority. We’ll bring you more when we have it.

Excellent meeting between all the opposition party leaders this morning. We agree we will work together to stop a no deal #Brexit by legislation

— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) August 27, 2019

Updated

We’re getting some more details on that planned phone call between Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker later today.

A European Commission confirmed that the pair would touch base after G7 discussions while the prime minister’ sherpa and EU adviser David Frost would also hold meetings in the commission on Wednesday.

She said:

More generally, I think we have been saying that we stand ready to, of course, engage constructively with the UK on any concrete proposals that are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement, so this is exactly in the spirit of constructiveness and engagement that the two will speak later in the afternoon.

Indeed I can confirm that he will have meetings in the commission tomorrow, for now we are finalising the schedule. There will clearly be a meeting with the task force 50 at technical level, but there are probably also other meetings following so, as the agenda is developing, more meetings could be added.

Farage: Brexit party open to election pact with Tories

A crucial development from Farage’s rally: the Brexit party would form a “non-aggression pact” with the Conservatives if the prime minister pursues a no-deal Brexit.

Farage told the audience:

If Boris Johnson is prepared to do the right thing for the independence of this country, then we would put country before party and do the right thing.

We would be prepared to work with him, perhaps in the form of a non-aggression pact at the general election.

The Conservative party has lost so much trust that the only way they could win a general election is with our support.

Updated

No-deal Brexit meeting: what do the key players want?

I imagine the cups of tea have been poured and the digestives have been passed round at the meeting in Jeremy Corbyn’s office with party leaders opposed to a no-deal Brexit. While we wait, take a read of my colleague Jessica Elgot’s explainer on what the key players want.

Here’s an extract on the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens:

The Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, sparked a row with Labour earlier this month when she argued that if he won a vote of no confidence, Corbyn should be willing to cede the leadership of any caretaker government to another senior politician. On Sunday, the shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, accused Swinson of being petulant.

There may be a background question of self-interest however – Lib Dems would stand to gain significantly from a snap election, while the Brexit question still hangs in the balance or while remainers feel betrayed by no deal, and the wind may have gone out of their sails if an election is held later rather than sooner.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens

The Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, has said she would back Corbyn as an interim prime minister and said other MPs and parties must be realistic when it comes to the trade-offs needed to stop no deal.

The SNP has also confirmed it would back Corbyn in a no-confidence vote against the prime minister, though the party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, was non-committal as to whether his party would back a caretaker Corbyn government. Like the Lib Dems, polling indicates, the party could fare well in a snap election.

Plaid Cymru’s leader, Adam Price, has said his party is “prepared to consider supporting Jeremy Corbyn as a potential leader of a caretaker government if that is the means by which we can avoid the disaster of a no-deal Brexit”.

But Price said support could be conditional on Labour committing to campaigning for a remain vote in a second referendum.

Updated

Dutch PM: EU27 'open to concrete proposals' from UK

It turns out Boris Johnson’s conversation with the Dutch leader, Mark Rutte, has taken place much earlier than expected. Rutte said the EU27 remained open to new proposals from the UK government that were compatible with the withdrawal agreement, but they must respect the single market and not necessitate a hard border in Ireland.

Just spoke with @BorisJohnson on the phone about #Brexit. The #EU27 remain open to concrete proposals compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement: respect for the integrity of the single market and no hard border on the Irish isle.

— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) August 27, 2019

Updated

Ireland’s deputy prime minister starts Brexit tour

Ireland’s deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, has started a five-city Brexit tour of EU capitals to reinforce the importance of backstop and Good Friday agreement for economic and social stability in Ireland.

His message flies in the face of claims that the EU has been showing the first signs of bending on the backstop after Boris Johnson’s first appearance at a G7 summit in Biarritz at the weekend.

Commenting in Dublin before the trip and before a meeting with his Norwegian counterpart on Monday night, Coveney spoke of a diplomatic outreach programme to help other nations understand the “unique” impact of Brexit on the island of Ireland.

He also said “the complex constitutional arrangements in Northern Ireland, the experiences of border communities in the past, and the interwoven nature of relationships on the island can be best understood by a visit to the area”.

Coveney is expected to repeat this message in Prague today, in Paris on Wednesday, in Helsinki on Thursday and Friday and in Warsaw on Sunday.

Last week in Dublin, Coveney said it was not the case that the Irish government was refusing to talk to the UK, but said he would not be facilitating the UK in walking away from commitments in the withdrawal agreement.

Updated

Farage: 'We are ready'

The Brexit party leader’s abrasive speech ends with a simple message for the government and opposition parties: “We are ready.”

Farage: there is one simple message I want to come out of this hall - we are ready.

— Tom Barton (@tombarton) August 27, 2019

Updated

Farage: Labour is the 'remain, second referendum party'

In another Trumpian flourish, Farage criticises Labour as a “remain, second referendum party”, calling on Brexit-supporting Labour voters in south Wales, the Midlands and the north to join the Brexit party. Labour has become the reserve of “upper middle class globalists” who have “lost touch with their patriotic roots”, according to Farage.

Updated

Farage to Johnson: 'deliver or politically die'

Farage is still going on the withdrawal agreement, warning the prime minister that the Brexit party will fight the Conservatives in “every single seat up and down the country” if he tries to revive Theresa May’s deal. The former Ukip leader tells Johnson to deliver a “clean break Brexit” or “politically die”.

Updated

Farage: PM Johnson 'going off the rails' on Brexit

The Brexit party leader, Nigel Farage, starts by criticising the prime minister for “going off the rails”, questioning whether the public should trust Boris Johnson on Brexit. Farage then spends a long time attacking the withdrawal agreement with the EU, calling it the “worst deal in history” even without the backstop.

Nigel Farage trying to set out clear blue water between his Brexit Party and a Vote Leave dominated govt:
“Even without the backstop this is the worst deal in history ..” pic.twitter.com/zyJxzlaM4k

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

Updated

A quick “Brexit means breakfast” update: the Brexit party chairman, Richard Tice, stumbles as he introduces Nigel Farage, asking parliamentary candidates to welcome “the person who has fought for breakfast … for Brexit”. It happens to even the most ardent Brexiteers …

Farage is addressing the audience now. I’ll bring you the most important clips. Again, you can follow along here:

Nigel Farage addresses Brexit Party general election candidates.

Updated

Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker to speak this afternoon

The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is feeling well enough after emergency gallbladder surgery to speak to Boris Johnson on the phone this afternoon. The prime minister will also speak with the Dutch leader, Mark Rutte, this evening, according to our Jennifer Rankin.

Jean-Claude Juncker now back at work following recent operation, has a phone call scheduled with Boris Johnson later this afternoon, announces European commission.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) August 27, 2019

Boris Johnson is also due to speak to Mark Rutte this evening, per diplomatic sources.

— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) August 27, 2019

Updated

Brexit party unveils general election candidates

The Brexit party is currently unveiling hundreds of parliamentary candidates in Westminster, with its leader, Nigel Farage, expected to give a speech shortly. You can follow the event using the link below – the chairman, Richard Tice, is telling candidates they are “more ready” than any other party.

Brexit Party unveils parliamentary candidates.

Richard Tice is the warmup at a Brexit Party event with 500+PPCs
‘There is going to be a general election ...
‘We’re ready for whatever Westminster and those politicians will throw at us’ pic.twitter.com/Cfy5POB8co

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) August 27, 2019

Updated

Corbyn could support pre-Brexit election to stop no-deal

Supporting the prime minister in calling a general election, even if the vote took place just days before the Brexit deadline, is one option the Labour leadership would support to avoid a no deal, reports our political editor Heather Stewart.

The Labour leader’s team are convinced a no-deal Brexit could be thwarted by securing an extension from Britain’s EU partners, even after the European council meets on 17 October.

Johnson is widely believed to be plotting a snap poll if MPs try to thwart his Brexit plans – by passing legislation forcing him to ask for an extension to article 50, for example.

However, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the prime minister would need a two-thirds majority to call a general election before the next one is due in 2022.

But the Brexit position of the Labour party if a general election were to take place is still unclear. During the media rounds this morning, Keir Starmer said Labour was the party of remain, would put any Brexit deal to a referendum and in that referendum would campaign for remain.

Updated

Sir Norman Lamb to stand down at next election

Away from the Westminster spotlight, the North Norfolk MP, Sir Norman Lamb, has told the Eastern Daily Press he will not stand at the next election so he can focus on improving mental health care in the country. The former health minister told the newspaper parliament had become paralysed by Brexit and he felt he could do more good outside Westminster.

Updated

Starmer: we must unite around one plan to oppose no-deal Brexit

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, is finishing up a morning of TV and radio interviews with a clear message for party leaders preparing to meet in Jeremy Corbyn’s office in a couple of hours: unite around one plan.

Let’s try and put our tribal differences on one side because what we’ve got to do, very effectively, is have one plan that is going to work to prevent no-deal Brexit and we’ve got to implement it next week.

‘Let’s put tribal politics to one side – we need one plan’ @Keir_Starmer

Jeremy Corbyn will meet other opposition party leaders later to discuss ways of averting a potential no-deal Brexit.https://t.co/cTii1K0RkX pic.twitter.com/dV30hnC0C9

— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) August 27, 2019

Updated

Swinson: Corbyn 'doesn't have the numbers' to be caretaker PM

The Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, has reiterated her belief that Jeremy Corbyn is not the right choice as temporary prime minister to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Swinson told BBC Radio Scotland that she would consider supporting a senior Labour politician who did not hold the long-term ambition of being prime minister.

Here are the full quotes:

If there are others, I am open to hearing others … Anybody that could command a majority in the House of Commons to avoid us crashing out without a deal if the legislative approach, which I think is the strongest and best way forward, if that doesn’t work.

[Jeremy Corbyn] knows he doesn’t have the numbers. He says he’s serious about wanting to stop no deal, and, taking him at his word, I presume that means that he would be prepared to put forward that vote of no confidence and then, if we are in that scenario of having an emergency government, unite behind somebody who can command support right across the house.

He might have suggestions for who that person could be and it could be a senior Labour politician at the end of their career who doesn’t have that long-term ambition of being prime minister, because I think the house is more likely to support someone in that emergency scenario than somebody who actually wants to be prime minister and is currently leading a political party.

Updated

Corbyn: no-deal Brexit is a Trump-deal Brexit

Opposition leaders are flexing their political muscles ahead of the meeting in Jeremy Corbyn’s office. The Labour leader says crashing out of the bloc after Halloween would put the UK at the mercy of US corporations looking for NHS contracts.

A no-deal Brexit is really a Trump-deal Brexit.

It will put us at the mercy of the big US corporations desperate to get their teeth into our NHS, sound the death knell for our steel industry and strip back our food standards and animal welfare protections.https://t.co/QvuS6c2NGj

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 27, 2019

Meanwhile, the SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, has repeated his call to use an emergency debate to block no deal.

Blackford also says MPs need to pass emergency legislation before the crunch European Council meeting mid-October.... which is when No 10 think a new deal will happen if it’s going to (usual caveats that there’s a high chance it won’t). https://t.co/eRwrgxbGkK

— Nick Eardley (@nickeardleybbc) August 27, 2019

How could opposition leaders pursue this line of attack?

Here’s what the UK parliament website has to say:

An MP may apply to the Speaker for an emergency debate on Mondays to Thursdays during sitting time under the rules of standing order No 24.

If the Speaker has given the MP leave they will have three minutes to make a speech after question time and any urgent questions or ministerial statements. The Speaker then decides whether to submit the application to the house.

The house will have to agree that the debate takes place. If the house agrees to the application the emergency debate will take place on a future day, usually the next sitting day. The motion to be debated will be “That the house has considered the matter of [topic]”.

Updated

Corbyn to host leaders opposed to no-deal Brexit

Good morning and welcome to the Guardian politics live blog. I am deputising for Andrew today – hoping to be the Rebecca Long-Bailey of the live blogging scene while he takes some well-earned time off.

Boris Johnson is back in Downing Street after a weekend in the south of France at the G7, but the big story in Westminster on Tuesday will be a meeting between opposition leaders hoping to stop a no-deal Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn is expected to host Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, Jo Swinson, Ian Blackford and Liz Saville Roberts in his office around noon to discuss how parliament might stop the UK crashing out of the European Union after the 31 October deadline. Conservative MPs who oppose a no-deal Brexit are not expected to attend.

  • Corbyn promised to do everything in his power to stop a “no-deal bankers’ Brexit” in an opinion piece for the Independent ahead of the meeting. The Labour leader left all options on the table.

We want an injection of democracy so the people can decide our country’s future. That could come either by Johnson having the courage of his convictions to test his no-deal plans in a final say referendum or through a general election. In that election, Labour would offer a referendum, with a credible leave option as well as the option to remain. Labour believes the decision on how to resolve the Brexit crisis must now go back to the people to have legitimacy.

But we won’t rule out other options, such as passing legislation, that could stop this no-deal disaster in its tracks. I’ll discuss all these options with the leaders of other opposition parties on Tuesday. I hope we can come to a good working arrangement and bring on board others across parliament who see the danger of a no-deal crash out.

  • Forcing a no-deal Brexit by shutting down parliament would be the “gravest abuse of power and attack on UK constitutional principle in living memory”, according to new legal advice obtained by Labour. Our Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason have the full story.

I will be covering breaking political news as it happens while curating the best comment and analysis from the web. If you want to get in contact, tweet me at @pgreenfielduk.

Updated

Contributors

Frances Perraudin (now) and Patrick Greenfield (earlier)

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