Johnson Prepares For Power, Rules Out Snap Poll: Brexit Update

Johnson Rules Out Election After Leadership Win: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) — Boris Johnson addressed Conservative members of Parliament after he was elected their leader and ruled out an early general election. He is preparing to take over as U.K. prime minister on Wednesday and is facing a new civil war inside the party over Brexit.

Must read: How Boris Johnson Plans to Deliver Brexit in 100 Days

Key Developments:

Trump tweets his congratulations, EU leaders reactRory Stewart joins Hammond and Gauke in indicating he will resignJohnson has just over 3 months to deliver Brexit, deal or no-dealJohnson is selecting his Cabinet; current deputy leader of the House of Commons Mark Spencer will be his chief whipGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel says she’s looking forward to working well with JohnsonThe pound fell for a third day as Johnson’s landslide victory revived Brexit anxiety

Johnson’s EU Adviser Is Former Diplomat: BBC (5:30 p.m.)

Johnson has appointed David Frost, a former ambassador and Europe Director at the Foreign Office, as his EU adviser, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reports.

The role, known also as EU sherpa, is a key one for Brexit talks.

Frost also worked for Johnson when he was foreign secretary, and is CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Johnson Appoints Sky Exec as Business Adviser (5:15 p.m.)

Boris Johnson has appointed Sky’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Griffith as his senior business adviser, according to an internal Sky memo seen by Bloomberg.

Griffith worked at Sky for over 20 years and most recently helped handle its acquisition by Comcast. Johnson has been using Griffith’s London townhouse in recent weeks as he prepares to enter No. 10.

Johnson Enthusiasm May Sway MPs: Villiers (5 p.m.)

Theresa Villiers, a former Cabinet minister and an early backer of Johnson, said he’s injected enthusiasm back into the parliamentary Conservative Party, which may help shift the math in the House of Commons.

“It was such a relief to have some energy and enthusiasm in the room,’’ Villiers said, contrasting it with the “rather painful exchanges” between Theresa May and Tory backbenchers in recent years.

“I’m not naive, I know that the divisions are still there, there’s still going to be difficult parliamentary maths, but I really think there is a lot of support for him and I think opinion has shifted decisively within the Conservative Parliamentary Party,” Villiers said. “There is an acceptance that we promised to leave on March 29 and we didn’t. We got punished in the European elections. We have to stick to this Oct. 31 deadline.”

Labour to Call Vote at ‘Appropriate Time’ (4:45 p.m.)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC the main opposition party will call for a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government at the “appropriate time,” without giving details.

“It will be an interesting surprise for all of you,” Corbyn said. “We will do a motion of no confidence at the time of our choosing.”

Earlier, Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer (see 2:45 p.m.) indicated the party won’t propose a confidence motion before Parliament begins its summer recess on Thursday, saying the current focus is on building a coalition of lawmakers to block Johnson from pursuing a no-deal Brexit.

MPs Say Johnson’s Bringing Party Together (4:35 p.m.)

Matt Hancock, who was knocked out of the leadership contest in voting among Parliamentarians said Johnson’s speech “left everyone feeling good and positive and cheerful.” The cheering was “the sound of the party coming back together,” he told reporters.

Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said Johnson will face trouble from rank-and-file lawmakers but he will “deal with it by leading.” Johnson “lifted the room, made everyone feel part of the team,” Duncan Smith told the BBC.

Johnson Rules Out Early Election (4:30 p.m.)

Boris Johnson ruled out an early general election, according to three MPs who were in the room for an address to the Parliamentary Conservative Party on Tuesday afternoon.

During the leadership campaign, Johnson’s rival Jeremy Hunt warned that if Johnson stuck to his deadline of delivering the divorce from the EU by Oct. 31 it risked triggering an election.

“He said he didn’t want an early election,” Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee told reporters outside the meeting. She said the speech had been “vintage Boris” and that he makes the party feel better about itself.

Not all Tories were impressed (4:25 p.m.)

While there were cheers for Johnson in the room, one unimpressed Tory MP walked out before he finished. Keith Simpson, who rebelled against the party whip for the first time in his career last week in order to stop a no-deal Brexit, told reporters outside: “I couldn’t stand any more.”

Simpson said Johnson’s speech was “very funny. There was a supermarket trolley, into which he chucked every policy. The circus has come to town.”

Tory Cheers Greet Johnson at 1922 Committee (4 p.m.)

Boris Johnson is addressing the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of rank-and-file members of Parliament. As expected, he also got a lively reception with loud cheers and banging of desks — just as his vanquished rival Jeremy Hunt did moments before.

Hunt Gets Raucous Reception From Tories (3:55 p.m.)

The Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of rank-and-file members of Parliament is meeting in Westminster, and Boris Johnson is due to speak shortly. His vanquished opponent Jeremy Hunt just got a raucous reception as he went in, with MPs cheering and banging desks.

Merkel Looking Forward to Working With Johnson (3:50 p.m.)

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Boris Johnson on his victory and is looking forward to working well with him, Ulrike Demmer, a deputy German government spokeswoman, said in a Tweet.

“Our nations should continue to be linked by a close friendship in the future,” Demmer cited Merkel as saying.

Johnson Chooses Mark Spencer as Chief Whip (3:45 p.m.)

Boris Johnson has chosen Mark Spencer — currently deputy leader of the House of Commons — to be his chief whip, according to a person familiar with the matter. It was earlier reported by Sky News.

The role will be hugely important (see 2:10 p.m.) in Johnson’s administration, given the wafer-thin majority with which he will have to govern.

DUP’s Foster Calls Johnson, Will Review Support (3:15 p.m.)

Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster said she’s spoken with Johnson to congratulate him and discuss their shared objectives to implement Brexit and restore devolution to Northern Ireland.

In a statement, she said the confidence-and-supply agreement between her party and the Tories remains in place, but will be reviewed “over the coming weeks.” That review “will explore the policy priorities of both parties for the next Parliamentary session,” she said.

Foster’s support is crucial for Johnson, because the ruling Conservative Party relies on the DUP’s 10 members of Parliament for its majority in the House of Commons. The DUP’s opposition to the Brexit deal struck by Theresa May was influential in persuading Tory rebels to vote against the agreement three times, ultimately bringing about her downfall.

Varadkar Anticipates Johnson ‘Engagement’ (2:55 p.m.)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar congratulated Johnson on his election win but, in a hint of the issues ahead, added he is looking forward to “an early engagement” on Brexit and other matters.

Finding a solution to avoiding a hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is seen as key to whether the U.K. Leaves the EU with a deal or not. So far, the Irish government has maintained the EU position that the withdrawal agreement will not be changed.

Starmer Hints Labour Will Wait for Confidence Vote (2:45 p.m.)

Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the main opposition Labour Party, said the question of whether to call for a vote of no confidence in the government is an issue for leader Jeremy Corbyn. He stressed that the party’s focus is on building the coalition of lawmakers in Parliament to block Johnson from pursuing a no-deal divorce from the EU.

The best timing for a confidence vote is when there’s a chance to win it, Starmer told Sky News. That’s a fairly strong indication that Labour won’t propose a no-confidence motion before Parliament’s recess begins on Thursday.

Earlier, Corbyn repeated his call for a general election and said in a series of tweets that a no-deal split “would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.”

French President, New EU Chief Weigh In (2:40 p.m.)

“I am happy to get to work with him as quickly as possible, not just on European issues such as Brexit, but on the daily international issues on which we closely coordinate with the British and the Germans, such as the situation in Iran,” Emmanuel Macron says. He salutes the work of outgoing premier Theresa May, saying she was “loyal.”

Incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says: “There are many issues to tackle together, we have challenging times ahead of us. We have the duty to deliver something good for the people in Europe and the United Kingdom.”

Johnson’s Chief Whip is Mystery Man (2:10 p.m.)

The incoming premier is planning to speak to Tory MPs in Parliament in a private meeting at around 4 p.m. and is working on who he’ll appoint to his first Cabinet, a person familiar with the matter said.

Only one MP has been told he’ll have a Cabinet job so far — Johnson’s chief whip, who is helping him choose ministers. It will be a man, but beyond that, the identity of Johnson’s party enforcer remains a secret.

It also isn’t yet clear whether Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, will move in to the premier’s official Downing Street apartment with him.

Iran Doesn’t Seek Confrontation: Foreign Minister (1:40 p.m.)

“Iran does not seek confrontation. But we have 1500 miles of Persian Gulf coastline. These are our waters & we will protect them,” Javad Zarif says in a tweet in which he also congratulated Johnson.

Tensions have escalated between the two countries after the Royal Navy seized an Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar earlier this month, saying it carried contraband cargo. Iran retaliated by holding a British tanker on Friday near the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40% of the world’s seaborne oil travels.

Hammond’s Message to Johnson: Get a Brexit Deal (1:35 p.m.)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has delivered a message to Johnson: get a deal on Brexit.

The in-between-the lines message is that Hammond won’t support Johnson if he pursues a no-deal Brexit. Hammond said on Sunday that he’d quit Wednesday if Johnson wins, and he’s an implacable opponent of no-deal departure, having rebelled against party orders last week in a vote on a provision that makes one less likely.

Stewart Signals He’ll Quit Cabinet (1:20 p.m.)

International development Secretary Rory Stewart on Tuesday reiterated his long-stated intention to resign in the event of Boris Johnson winning the leadership contest. The cabinet minister posted a tweet that congratulated the victorious candidate before saying it’s been an honor to serve in various ministerial roles and concluding with the comment: “Backbench tomorrow serving Cumbria.”

It’s not his actual formal resignation, but rather an indication that he, like Justice Secretary David Gauke and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, intends to resign before Johnson takes the reins from Theresa May on Wednesday afternoon.

Trump Wastes No Time Congratulating Johnson (12:29 p.m.)

Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Johnson. The U.S. president has been highly critical of Theresa May, calling her Brexit strategy “ a disaster.”

Tory MP Morgan Says Confidence Vote Unlikely (9 a.m.)

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan said there’s unlikely to be a confidence motion against the government this week in Parliament, adding that MPs should give the new prime minister time to establish a Cabinet and lay out policies. The situation will become more unpredictable in September, she said.

She told Bloomberg TV that while a no-deal Brexit would be a “highly undesirable outcome,” the Oct. 31 deadline should not be pushed again because businesses want the issue resolved.

Morgan also called for the next prime minister to include members of the so-called One Nation caucus of moderate Tories in his Cabinet, citing Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“Boris talks about unifying the party and that’s absolutely right,” Morgan said. “We have got to heal the divisions in the country, too, so he’s got to make sure there’s a spread of people around his table.”

Unhappy Tories Could Back New Brexit Vote: Swinson (Earlier)

Support in Parliament for a second Brexit referendum could get a boost from Tories unhappy with Boris Johnson and his apparent willingness to take the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal if he becomes prime minister, according to Jo Swinson, the new leader of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.

“There’s a chance there’ll now be more Conservative MPs, including some people who are currently or soon to be not in government, who can back a People’s Vote as a way out of this absolute Brexit mess,” Swinson told BBC radio. Parliament rejected a second Brexit referendum in a vote in March.

Confidence Vote ‘Such a Risk’ for Tories, Gauke Says (Earlier)

Justice Secretary David Gauke, who has said he’ll resign if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, said his Conservative Party colleagues would be wary of bringing down the administration in a confidence vote because it risks bringing the Labour Party to power.

“It may well end up with a Jeremy Corbyn government,” Gauke said on BBC radio on Tuesday. “The idea that there will be some sort of national government that gets formed, I don’t think anyone can say that whatsoever.”

Gauke’s comments reflect the debate in Westminster about far Tory rebels would go to block a government attempt to pursue a no-deal Brexit. While Gauke, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and former Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan have said they’ll do everything they can to prevent it, the justice secretary’s remarks indicate there may be a line they won’t cross.


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–With assistance from Stuart Biggs, Robert Hutton, Thomas Penny, Peter Flanagan, Caroline Alexander and Emma Ross-Thomas.

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