Quantcast
Connect with us

UK’s Johnson rallies party with vow to ‘get Brexit done’

Published

on

Embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gathered his Conservative party Sunday for what could be its final conference before an election, promising to “get Brexit done”.

Despite a string of parliamentary setbacks and a defeat in the Supreme Court, Johnson insists he will take Britain out of the European Union next month, with or without a deal with Brussels.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What we need to do is to move on. And the way to do that is to get Brexit done on October 31,” he told BBC television in Manchester, northwest England, where the conference is taking place.

His tough stance has put him at odds with the House of Commons, which has passed a law blocking a “no deal” exit, and lost him a number of his own MPs.

But it resonates with the overwhelmingly pro-Brexit Conservative party members who elected him in July — and are expected to give him a hero’s welcome.

The conference “will be a rally for Boris Johnson and a rally for Brexit”, predicted Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London.

Even as it started, however, Johnson faced new questions about his relationship with a US businesswoman who won public grants.

ADVERTISEMENT

The four-day conference also risks being disrupted by parliamentary business in London.

Opposition MPs were furious at Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks in early September — a move the Supreme Court quashed on Tuesday — and refused to agree to the normal conference recess.

Opposition parties are threatening manoeuvres, perhaps even a confidence vote, that could force ministers to race back to parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

But in what will be seen as a snub to MPs, Johnson will deliver his closing speech as planned on Wednesday, when he should be answering questions in the Commons.

– ‘Model of restraint’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

The PM has had a turbulent two months in office, having suffered seven successive defeats in the Commons — in the process losing his majority.

He expelled 21 Conservative MPs when they backed a law requiring him to ask EU leaders to delay Brexit if he cannot get a divorce deal by a Brussels summit on October 17-18.

After the Supreme Court ruled his suspension of parliament unlawful, Johnson challenged opposition parties to bring down his government.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the Labour party said it will do nothing to bring about an election until a “no deal” Brexit is no longer possible.

Johnson has responded with defiance and focused his ire on MPs, accusing them of “surrendering” to the EU and trying to undermine the 2016 referendum vote to leave.

His rhetoric drew accusations of stoking division, but he insisted Sunday he had been a “model of restraint”.

While condemning rising numbers of attacks on MPs, he accused his rivals of trying to obscure their motives in a “great cloud of indignation”.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Maximise ‘leave’ support –

The tough talk pitching him against parliament appears to be winning over pro-Brexit voters.

Two surveys this week, by YouGov and Opinium, put the Conservatives 11 and 12 points ahead of the Labour main opposition.

“What he’s trying to do is maximise support among Leave voters,” Chris Curtis, a political research manager at YouGov, told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Poll numbers matter because, with parliament deadlocked, most commentators expect an election in the next few months.

But Johnson must overcome a key hurdle before then.

The law passed by MPs means he can only deliver Brexit on October 31 if he gets a divorce deal.

But few in Brussels are optimistic and the latest round of talks ended on Friday without a breakthrough.

Constantine Fraser, an analyst on European politics at investment service TS Lombard, said Johnson’s team were running out of options.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Their response is going to be to come out fighting,” he told AFP.

– ‘Full propriety’ –

In a further headache for Johnson, a police watchdog is looking into whether he should face investigation over his links to a US tech entrepreneur.

The Sunday Times newspaper alleged he was having an affair with former model Jennifer Arcuri while he was London mayor.

ADVERTISEMENT

It claims he failed to declare a series of potential conflicts of interest over benefits provided to her business.

The premier insisted on Sunday: “Everything was done with full propriety.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Lindsey Graham gives shameful — and revealing — answer when pressed on Trump’s wrongdoing

Published

on

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) drew sharp criticism at the Doha Forum on Saturday when he made clear that — despite the oath he's expected to take at a forthcoming impeachment trial in the Senate — he doesn't have any plans to keep an open mind or act as an "impartial" juror regarding the conduct of President Donald Trump.

But another section of his comments that didn't gain as much attention is in some ways even more damning. The interviewer pressed him on the nature of Trump's conduct in the Ukraine scandal, saying: "Is it OK... ever OK for an American president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival?"

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

READ IT: The full House Judiciary Committee impeachment report

Published

on

The full 658-page report from the House Judiciary Committee was released in the wee hours on Monday right before the full House considers the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump later this week.

The report is House Democrats' justification to charge the president with two articles of impeachment -- obstruction of justice and abuse of power. A previous reporte issued by Adam Schiff's House Intelligence Committee is also included.

You can download and read the report here [pdf document].

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Rep Ocasio-Cortez blasts complexity of health care marketplace: ‘No one should go through this’

Published

on

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted the complexity of the health care marketplace on the day of the deadline to sign up for 2020 coverage.

Health care has been a major topic in the 2020 Democratic primary, with some moderate candidates defending the Affordable Care Act passed under President Barack Obama, while progressive candidates push for Medicare for All.

"Members of Congress also have to buy their plans off the exchange," she explained. "That means I get to 'choose' [between] 66 complex financial products."

"This is absurd. No person should go without healthcare, and no one should go through this, either," she argued.

Continue Reading