Leaders Attend European Council Meeting
Leaders Attend European Council Meeting

Boris to push for new Brexit vote

Boris Johnson will push for a new Brexit vote on Monday (local time), as Labour plots to tie a second referendum to any new deal.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said the UK Government would forge ahead with its plans for Brexit.

Mr Gove said that an extension request, which the Prime Minister was forced to send to the EU on Sunday, could be withdrawn.

"If we vote to leave, we get the legislation through, then there is no extension - October 31 is within sight," he said on Sky News UK.

"The risk of leaving without a deal has actually increased because we cannot guarantee that the European Council will grant an extension."

 

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit spokesman, said he would press for a second referendum.

"We need an amendment to say that whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum where the deal is put to the public," he said on the BBC.

Mr Johnson was close to getting the votes he needs to get his deal across the line, despite being forced to ask the European Union for an extension until January 31.

 

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC Picture Publicity via Getty Images
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC Picture Publicity via Getty Images

He lost a vote on the weekend, 322 to 306, on the extension, but 22 MPs abstained, giving Mr Johnson hope that with their support he might get his deal.

The UK sent three letters to the EU on Sunday.

Mr Johnson sent an unsigned photocopy of a letter seeking an extension to Brexit as required by law.

He also sent a second letter saying he personally did not want an extension as he maintained he wanted Britain out of the European Union by October 31.

A third letter was sent by Sir Tim Barrow asking the EU to acknowledge the request.

Mr Johnson's extra letter said that a delay would be "corrosive".

"The government will press ahead with the ratification and introduce the necessary legislation early next week," he wrote.

"I remain confident that we will complete that process by October 31.

"We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundation of our long history as neighbours and friends."

 

 

Mr Johnson then protested against any more delays.

"I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister, and made clear again to Parliament today, my view and the Government's position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and EU partners," he wrote.

European Council president Donald Tusk confirmed he had received the extension request letter.

"The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react," he said on Twitter.

But the EU will not consider any request until Monday, with French president Emmanuel Macron urging Britain to sort out a deal now and Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warning an extension was not guaranteed.

Mr Johnson has said he would refuse to negotiate a delay, pushing ahead with his "do or die" Halloween deadline.

House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg flagged the new vote today, as pressure mounts to get the deal done.

Speaker John Bercow, who has been criticised for his anti-Brexit stance, may block the vote.

Earlier, MPs voted to postpone a vote on Johnson's Brexit deal in an extraordinary Saturday sitting of parliament.

Parliament voted 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment put forward by Oliver Letwin, a former Conservative cabinet minister.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded the government delay Britain's departure. "The prime minister must now comply with the law," Corbyn told the House of Commons.

 

There were claims Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn would vote against the deal. Picture: AP
There were claims Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn would vote against the deal. Picture: AP

 

 

Mr Johnson said: "It's been a very important debate and an exceptional moment for our country. Alas the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has been passed up.

"I'm not daunted or dismayed by this particular result. I continue in the very strong belief that the best thing for the UK is for us to leave with this deal on October 31.

"I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to.

"Further delay will be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy."

Mr Johnson had made an impassioned defence of his deal, which he called good but not perfect, to get the UK out of the European Union.

George Brandis, Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, was in the gallery watching the events unfold.

Mr Johnson faced hours of questions from MPs, ranging from the impact of the deal on Northern Ireland's Good Friday Agreement, European workers' rights, and how goods would be checked at ports in Northern Ireland.

He was also grilled about why he had not done an economic business case on the deal, which was signed off by the EU on Thursday.

He said he could get a new free trade agreement with the EU by December 2020 if the deal was done, saying he did not see "any reason or excuse for delaying beyond October 31st."

The debate was dragged on by MPs intent on stopping Brexit even included several references to England's win in the Rugby World Cup over Australia.

Theresa May, the former Prime Minister, said last night that she had a "sense of deja vu" after she herself three times lost a vote on a Brexit day.

There was a conga line of MPs getting up in the House of Commons to have their moment in the Brexit sun.

Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford said: "Scotland has been totally and utterly shafted by this Prime Minister and this Tory Government."

Anti-Brexit remain in the European Union supporters take part in a
Anti-Brexit remain in the European Union supporters take part in a "People's Vote" protest march calling for another referendum on Britain's EU membership. Picture: AP Photo

Meanwhile, the battle over Brexit has spilt onto the streets as tens of thousands of people gathered to demand a new referendum.

Protesters waving EU flags and carrying signs calling for Brexit to be stopped and gathered in London before a march through the centre of the UK capital.

 

Boris Johnson's new deal with the EU is being debated and voted on but protesters have flooded the streets of London. Picture: AP Photo
Boris Johnson's new deal with the EU is being debated and voted on but protesters have flooded the streets of London. Picture: AP Photo

Mr Johnson needed 320 votes to get the deal across the line. He needed up to 20 Labour MPs to cross the floor to vote for his deal, defying their leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had ordered them to vote against the plan.

Mr Johnson demanded politicians pass his deal: "Today this House has an historic opportunity to show the same breadth of vision as our European neighbours, the same ability and resolve to reach beyond past agreements by getting Brexit done and moving this country forwards as we all yearn to do."

 

"Today this House has a historic opportunity to show the same breadth of vision as our European neighbours, the same ability and resolve to reach beyond past agreements by getting Brexit done and moving this country forwards as we all yearn to do," Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson added that his deal, which was signed off this week, was a much better deal than Theresa May's which was knocked back in parliament three times.

He said his deal would allow the UK to take back "control of our borders, laws, money, farming, fisheries and trade - amounting to the greatest single restoration of national sovereignty in parliamentary history".

"It removes the backstop, which would have held us against our will in the customs union and much of the single market," he said.

"For the first time in almost five decades the UK will be able to strike free trade deals with our friends across the world."

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The Times of London reported there were 53 MPs undecided, leaving Mr Johnson without a majority.

The Democratic Unionist Party, the Scottish National Party and the Labour Party have declared they will vote against the deal.

There were claims Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would vote against the deal even before his party received details of it this week.

Protesters gathered outside the UK’s parliament. Picture: AP
Protesters gathered outside the UK’s parliament. Picture: AP

 

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to rally in London demanding a second referendum. Picture: Getty Images
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to rally in London demanding a second referendum. Picture: Getty Images

Mr Corbyn rejected the deal, saying it would hurt business and lead to weaker environmental laws.

He also claimed it would lead to a free trade deal with the United States, which he claimed would be in their favour.

But Mr Johnson had scoffed at Mr Corbyn's claims, saying his policies, which include taking 10 per cent of all major UK companies, were what was frightening business groups.

Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn should trust voters and agree to a general election.

It’s the first time the British Parliament has sat on a weekend in 37 years. Picture: AP
It’s the first time the British Parliament has sat on a weekend in 37 years. Picture: AP

 

HOW AUSSIES COULD BENEFIT FROM BREXIT DEAL

Australia would be major winners if Britain's parliament signs off on a Brexit deal, opening the door to a blockbuster new free trade agreement.

The deal, if it was signed off in a vote expected early this morning Australian time, would lead to an explosion of the $30 billion annual trade between Australia and the UK.

It would allow Australia to sign a new free trade deal, which has already been discussed, that would lead to better access to the UK market for struggling Australian farmers.

Wine makers would get cheaper access to British markets, while Australian farmers would benefit as British farmers would lose generous EU subsidies that artificially make their goods cheaper.

Working rights would also be improved, under a deal that could be signed within months.

 

Former Australian High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer, said Brexit would bring benefits for Australia. Picture: Chris Floyd
Former Australian High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer, said Brexit would bring benefits for Australia. Picture: Chris Floyd

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Alexander Downer, a former Australian High Commissioner in London, said Brexit would open up a world of new opportunities.

"With a deal (going) ahead Australia could negotiate a high quality free trade agreement," he said.

"There would be improved access for businesses, professionals moving between Australia and the UK."

Mr Downer, also a former Liberal leader, said that Australia would push for a deal similar to the E3 visa for America, which has opened up that country to Australians looking to work and do business.

Australians looking to work in the US currently have exclusive access to 10,500 E3 visas each year, which no other country can claim.

Australian wine makes up one in five bottles sold in the UK but it attracts taxes which could be scrapped under any free trade deal.

Mr Downer, who was speaking to British Labour MPs yesterday, said there was a feeling that "enough was enough" and they may cross the floor to get the deal done.

Any free trade agreement depends on the outcome of the Brexit deal vote.

 

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Picture: Getty Images
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Picture: Getty Images

A YouGov Poll found 41 per cent of voters wanted the government to pass the deal, 24 per cent wanted to knock it back while 35 per cent did not know, according to the survey taken after the deal was announced.

UK international trade secretary Liz Truss has already visited Australia to discuss plans, with Trade Minister Simon Birmingham tight lipped on his wish list.

However, Mr Birmingham has welcomed a deal, saying it would help increase the $30 billion trade between the two countries in the year to March 2019.

Boris Johnson speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels. Picture: AP
Boris Johnson speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, right, during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels. Picture: AP

Whisky prices would drop under any trade deal, which would be one of the first that the UK signs up to after Brexit.

Luxury cars such as Jaguar and Landrover would also be cheaper to buy in Australia under proposed deals.

George Brandis, Australia's current High Commissioner to the UK, said in a speech this week Australian and UK trade had fallen since it joined the EU more than 40 years ago.

"The moment Britain is ready, Australia stands ready to shift into formal negotiations towards an Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement," he said.

"It should be an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement, covering goods, services and investment."

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Brexit remain in the European Union supporters take part in a
Anti-Brexit remain in the European Union supporters take part in a "People's Vote" protest march calling for another referendum on Britain's EU membership. Picture: AP Photo

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