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The former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, yesterday launched his official campaign to become leader of the Conservative party with a video, pledging to leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal. Another 11 Conservative MPs announced their support for Johnson yesterday.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he would be prepared to take the UK out of the EU without a deal, stating, “I have always said that in the end if the only way to leave the EU, to deliver on the result of the referendum, was to leave without a deal then I would do that,” adding, “But I would do so very much as a last resort, with a heavy heart because of the risks to businesses and the risks to the union.” International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, endorsed Hunt for leader this morning.
Elsewhere, a senior source at Downing Street told the Evening Standard yesterday, “We’re working to make sure the leadership contest finishes while Parliament is still sitting,” adding, “Before someone is handed all the powers that come with being Prime Minister, we have to make sure that the Commons has a chance to hold a vote of confidence. Whether it chooses to hold that vote is up to them.”
Separately, the shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, told BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme this morning that wholehearted Labour support for a second referendum is “likely to be a long way off.”
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The Director of the Francis Crick Institute and Nobel Prize-winner, Sir Paul Nurse, has said that UK science would “undoubtedly suffer” if the country is excluded from Horizon Europe, the funding programme which will succeed Horizon 2020. A survey for the Crick Institute found that 72 of 74 research group leaders wanted the UK to have access to Horizon Europe. Nurse said, “The UK has a lead role in Europe and will lose that world leadership in science unless we remain part of the European system.” He also said that a No Deal Brexit was “absolutely not a realistic option” and that UK science was not getting the “attention it needs” as a result of Brexit. This comes as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has commissioned a review into the design of future UK funding schemes.
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During his state visit to the UK, US President Donald Trump said yesterday, “As we honor our shared victory and heritage, we affirm the common values that will unite us [UK-US] long into the future; freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, the rule of law and reverence for the rights given to us by almighty God.” Meanwhile, in a tweet yesterday, Trump said a “big trade deal” between the US and the UK would be possible “once [the] UK gets rid of the shackles,” and added that the two sides were “already starting to talk.”
Meanwhile, Trump will meet the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and other ministers today for “substantial” talks. The leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, will address those protesting against Trump’s visit at a rally in London.
The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster, said yesterday that she was looking forward to “actually dealing with the new Prime Minister and hearing what their strategy is to get the Withdrawal Agreement through.” This comes as the political parties in Northern Ireland held further talks yesterday about the restoration of the power-sharing Executive. Forster said the DUP was “constructively engaging” in the talks while Sinn Fein’s Vice President, Michelle O’Neill said, “It is now time to move beyond that constructive engagement to actually delivering to bring about an Assembly and Executive again.”
Elsewhere, the Chairman of the Irish Senate’s Brexit Committee, Neale Richmond, has warned Conservative party leadership candidates against pursuing a No Deal Brexit. Writing for the Telegraph, Richmond argues that the idea that the EU will “simply agree… a free trade deal with the UK” is “extremely misplaced.” He added, “The three key withdrawal issues of citizens’ rights, the bill and the situation on the island of Ireland… require legal guarantees within a withdrawal treaty that simply cannot be ignored… If a No Deal British Government thinks that any [future] trade deal can be negotiated without adhering to the terms of Withdrawal Agreement then they are grossly mistaken.”
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The Chief executive of manufacturing organisation Make UK, Stephen Phipson, yesterday said that the decline in orders was “directly linked to talk of No Deal Brexit,” adding that “EU customers are in the period when they start to look at the next 12 month contracts, and they are starting to ask why they should take the risk in the UK. There is a link between people standing up and saying that No Deal is acceptable and people losing their jobs as a direct result. It’s not theoretical, hypothetical scaremongering.”
The Romanian Prime Minister, Viorica Dăncilă, has vowed to abandon a series of planned judicial changes that have caused street protests. Dăncilă said, “This topic did a lot of harm to the party and polarized our society,” adding, “I want the PSD [governing party] to become a party of balance, and from now on, the justice subject does not exist on the government’s agenda, but we will focus on areas of interest that are a priority for people, such as health, education and infrastructure.” The previously proposed changes were also criticised by the European Commission who said the laws would be counterproductive in the fight against corruption in the country.