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In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the Conservative leadership contender, Boris Johnson, has said he will said there would be “no point” in pursuing an electoral pact with the Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage in a General Election, adding, “I think we’ve got to believe in our own party… we’ll deliver Brexit.” Johnson said it is “vital” that UK is prepared to leave without a Withdrawal Agreement, claiming that he would devote “maximum energy” to delivering Brexit by 31 October.
This comes as Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, endorsed Johnson’s candidacy for the party leadership yesterday. Writing in the Sunday Times, Javid said, “Trust in our democracy will be at stake if we don’t make October 31 a ‘deal or No Deal’ deadline and, to prepare for that, we are agreed on the need for ramped up No Deal preparations, including a budget.”
Separately, the other candidate for the Conservative leadership, Jeremy Hunt, told the Sunday Telegraph that Brexit would be judged a success “if our economic growth out-performs other European countries.” He added that Brexit represented a “big, big opportunity” for the UK. Hunt appealed to MPs not to attempt to take a No Deal Brexit off the table, “Because in the end, that is more likely to provoke than prevent a disorderly Brexit.” Both leadership contenders attended a party hustings in Wales on Saturday.
Elsewhere, the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday that he would resign from the Government rather than serve under a Prime Minister who was prepared to leave the EU without a deal in October.
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The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has said that the Labour Party needs “to decide early” about its policy on a second referendum in case a General Election takes place in the Autumn. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, McDonnell said that wants to “campaign for Remain” but that the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was seeking to “talk to people” and “build consensus” before deciding to change policy.
The Sunday Times reports that the Conservative MP Dominic Grieve is planning to put forward an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to require the Government to make a statement on the progress on political talks in Northern Ireland in October. The effect of this would be to make it difficult for a Government to prorogue Parliament in October in order to facilitate a No Deal Brexit.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Grieve said, “Northern Ireland and Brexit go rather closely together. The chances are, if Brexit goes through, a No Deal Brexit, it is going to be the end of Northern Ireland’s union with the United Kingdom, with serious political consequences flowing from it.”
Meanwhile, the former Universities Minister and Conservative MP, Sam Gyimah, told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that “30 plus” Conservative MPs were prepared to vote to stop a No Deal Brexit.
Also speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, Barry Gardiner, said that Labour would table a vote of No Confidence against an incoming Prime Minister’s Government “when we believe that those Conservative members of Parliament who have said that they would support a no confidence motion in the government in order to stop a no-deal are likely to support it.”
The former Permanent Secretary of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), Philip Rycroft, has told the BBC that a No Deal Brexit is “fraught with risk.” In an interview with Panorama, to be broadcast tonight, Rycroft said that planning for No Deal was “the biggest exercise across government over the last few decades.” He added that the Civil Service was “responding brilliantly well” but that a No Deal Brexit would mean “a very abrupt change to our major trading relationship.” He also described such an outcome as a “step into the unknown.”
The centre-right New Democracy party, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, came first in Greece’s general election yesterday, receiving approximately 39.8% of the vote. The party, which was leading the opposition, gained 158 seats in the parliament, allowing it to form a single-party government. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party came in second with 31.5% of the vote, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party did not receive enough votes to meet the threshold necessary to gain seats in the new parliament. The far-right populist Greek Solution party has made it into parliament, receiving 3.7% of the vote.