Boris Johnson Meets Rebels Before Parliament Showdown: Brexit Update

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Boris Johnson Meets Rebels Before Parliament Showdown: Brexit Update

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It will be another day of political drama, as members of Parliament try to grab control of the agenda to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask for a Brexit extension if he can’t get a better deal with the European Union. Johnson has threatened a snap election, saying he needs to be able to keep no-deal Brexit on the table to negotiate.

Key Developments:

Pound fell below $1.20 for first time since 2017 before paring lossesJohnson’s ultimatum: back down or snap election on Oct. 14Vote in House of Commons expected after 7 p.m. in London on proposal for MPs to take control of parliamentary business; lawmakers have submitted formal request to SpeakerJohnson met Tory rebels in Downing Street

Javid May Be Denied His Moment in the Sun (12:15 p.m.)

Sajid Javid may once again be denied his first big speech as chancellor of the exchequer on Wednesday as a result of Brexit maneuvers in Parliament.

The announcement of a spending round, due to take place Wednesday afternoon, could be reduced to a Written Ministerial Statement, depending on how events play out in the House of Commons, a U.K. Official said.

If MPs succeed in taking control of the order paper, there’s a chance they could not make time for government businesses. However, in previous cases, they have done so, according to the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

Last week, Javid canceled his first big speech, due to take place in Birmingham, and instead said he would be announcing the spending round this week.

Johnson Had ‘Cordial’ Meeting With Rebels: Official (12 p.m.)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told rebel Tories their efforts to force the government to delay Brexit would damage the U.K.’s negotiating position with the European Union, according to a U.K. official, who described the meeting as “cordial.”

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the proposed legislation to delay Brexit is referred to on private Downing Street documents as the “surrender bill.” The official acknowledged that some Tory rebels would not change their position despite Johnson’s attempts to persuade them.

In the meeting, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond disputed the government’s position that a new Brexit deal could be legislated in Parliament in 17 days after it was agreed with the EU, arguing the process would take eight weeks, the official said.

Johnson’s Office Denies Election Could Move (11:45 a.m.)

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman, James Slack, said any general election called by the government couldn’t be put off until after Oct. 14, and that once Parliament has been dissolved, it’ll be 25 days until the vote — denying Labour claims that once he won Parliamentary approval for an election he could delay it until after Brexit on Oct. 31.

Johnson’s officials have privately briefed any election would be on Oct. 14. But publicly the prime minister has only said he doesn’t want an election.

“The prime minister does not want to have an election. If MPs take that decision to destroy his negotiation position then — if any election did take place — it would be before the European Council, which takes place on Oct. 17 and 18,” Slack told reporters.

He also said talks with the EU are serious after the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that the U.K. premier’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, referred to them as a “sham,” citing two unidentified sources. Comments from EU leaders show they are serious, Slack said.

Application Made for Emergency Debate (11:40 a.m.)

The application for an emergency debate on preventing a no-deal Brexit has been formally submitted, the House of Commons said in a posting on Twitter. “The Speaker will consider it later today,” it said.

The signatures on the application include former Tory ministers Oliver Letwin, Philip Hammond and David Gauke, senior Labour politicians including Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn, the SNP’s Stephen Gethins and Liberal Democrat Tom Brake.

EU Stays Quiet on State of Talks (11:30 a.m.)

The European Commission’s spokeswoman, Mina Andreeva, refused to say whether there has been any progress on substance in the Brexit negotiations. She reiterated the EU is waiting for “concrete proposals compatible with the withdrawal agreement” from the U.K, declining to say whether anything resembling such a proposal has come from the U.K side.

Andreeva told reporters the fact the two sides are talking, which wasn’t the case before the Group of Seven meetings, signaled progress “on process,” while refusing to answer questions about substance. The EU’s executive arm is due to unveil an updated set of contingency instructions to companies on Wednesday, with a no-deal Brexit “a concrete possibility” she said.

Officials representing the EU’s 27 member states are being briefed by the European Commission on Tuesday morning in Brussels about the state of play in talks and preparations for the U.K. leaving the bloc without a deal. The meeting is behind closed doors and diplomats aren’t even allowed to take laptops or mobile phones in the room.

Johnson Meets Rebel Tories (10:30 a.m.)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is holding a meeting with rebel Tories in Downing Street ahead of Tuesday evening’s expected debate and vote on a proposal for members of Parliament to take control of the agenda, enabling them to pass legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The meeting comes as a second Conservative MP, after former Cabinet minister Justine Greening, announced their decision to step down ahead of any election. Keith Simpson, who represents the district of Broadland said on Twitter: “Decided that months ago but now feel like the first officer to man the lifeboats on the Titanic!”

Attendees at the meeting with Johnson include former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and other ex-ministers including David Gauke, Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes and Margot James, who all signed an August 12 letter asking Johnson to commit to reaching an agreement with the EU.

Hammond: ‘We Will Have the Numbers’ (Earlier)

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond confirmed he will vote with other Conservative Party rebels to try to seize control of parliamentary business with the aim of passing legislation to force a Brexit Delay.

“I think we will have the numbers,” Hammond told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday. “Many colleagues have been incensed by some of the actions over the last week or so,” he said, referring to the government’s threat to withdraw the party whip from any MPs who rebelled.

Hammond also said he wouldn’t vote for a general election until legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit had passed. “My view has been that Prime Minister Johnson has always intended there will be an election, despite what he says.”

Raab: Government Will Not Delay Brexit (Earlier)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made clear the government will not delay Brexit again because it “would send the EU all the wrong signals.” He told BBC Radio on Tuesday there was a “lot of positivity” from the bloc’s negotiators.

“We want to get out of this rut,” Raab said. Asked whether the government would accept legislation to block a no-deal Brexit if it passed, he replied: “We will always behave lawfully, but we have been very clear that we will not extend beyond the October deadline.”

“Our intention is to get Brexit delivered before any election,” he said, but added the government “will have to think again” if it is blocked.

Earlier:

U.K. Election Looms as Johnson Raises Stakes of Brexit FightCarney Has Last Chance to Send No-Deal Brexit Message to PublicPound Drops to 2017 Level on Johnson Election Threat: Chart

–With assistance from Nikos Chrysoloras and Alex Morales.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Thomas Penny

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