Labour Rules Out Election Until No-Deal Off Table: Brexit Update

Labour Rules Out Election Until No-Deal Off Table: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) — Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. 

The U.K. Supreme Court dealt an unprecedented legal rebuke to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, branding his controversial decision to suspend Parliament unlawful and giving lawmakers another chance to frustrate his plans for Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his party’s annual convention he wants a general election, but only after the threat of a no-deal exit from the EU on Oct. 31 is off the table.

Key Developments:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calls on Johnson to resignSupreme Court found Johnson unlawfully suspended Parliament to frustrate its ability to “carry out its constitutional functions”Johnson promises to push on with Brexit and says U.K. needs an electionSpokesman for Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s office said the government “acted in good faith”House of Commons Speaker John Bercow says Parliament to resume 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday Pound rises

Varadkar: Gap With U.K. on Brexit Still ‘Very Wide’ (7 p.m.)

Following his meeting with Boris Johnson in New York, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told broadcaster RTE that while the talks were “more detailed” than before, the gap with the U.K. on Brexit “remains very wide.”

The two leaders plan to meet again in the near future, Varadkar said.

Cox: Government Acted ‘In Good Faith’ (6:30 p.m.)

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, himself a distinguished lawyer, has come in for criticism over the suspension of Parliament. His office insisted he believed the move was lawful.

“The Government acted in good faith and in the belief that its approach was both lawful and constitutional,” the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement. “These are complex matters on which senior and distinguished lawyers have disagreed.”

The government was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court ruling but will “respect” its decision, it said.

Conservative Calls for Rees-Mogg to Resign (6:25 p.m.)

George Young, the former Conservative chief whip in the House of Lords, said Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg “needs to go’’ for the government to regain trust of Parliament because it would be “less than credible” if no one resigned.

Young, who entered Parliament in 1974, told the BBC that Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who provided the government’s legal advice, should also “consider his position.” Young resigned his position in Johnson’s government over the decision to suspend Parliament.

Earlier Tuesday, Sky News reported Cox’s advice to the government that suspending Parliament was lawful, citing a leaked document. Rees-Mogg, alongside Chief Whip Mark Spencer, traveled to Scotland this month to advise the Queen she should dissolve Parliament.

Varadkar Says ‘Good’ Meeting With Johnson (6:20 p.m.)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said his meeting with Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York was “good.”

“No agreements by any means, but we got into some more details,” he told Bloomberg.

Labour to Refuse to Back Conference Recess (6:15 p.m.)

The opposition Labour Party will refuse to back a recess next week for the Conservative Party’s annual conference unless the premier requests a delay to Brexit from Brussels.

Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn held talks on Tuesday with opposition leaders to discuss the next steps, his office said, adding that Labour doesn’t plan to trigger a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s government in the next two days. Labour also said that for now, the priority is to ensure steps are taken to lock in a delay to Brexit. It would then seek to secure an early general election.

Labour said it will use whatever mechanisms available to hold Johnson to account, and reiterated Corbyn’s call for the prime minster to resign.

Johnson ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Brexit Deal (6 p.m.)

Before their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar expressed their desire for a Brexit deal.

“We remain cautiously optimistic, but still cautious,” Johnson said.

Varadkar told reporters the Irish government is “very keen that there be a deal, that the U.K. should be able to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion.” But he warned there were “certain guarantees” Ireland expects the U.K. government to honor. That comment likely refers to commitments by then Prime Minister Theresa May that Brexit would not lead to a hard border on the island of Ireland or damage the peace process in Northern Ireland.

“It certainly will,” Johnson interjected.

BCC Warns of ‘Chilling Effect’ of Labour Policies (5:55 p.m.)

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said Corbyn’s “recipe for deep intervention and unprecedented overreach into the way that businesses are run would have a chilling effect on both confidence and investment.”

He warned that if Labour “pushes too far” they could undermine employment and investment at a time when the uncertainty of Brexit is already hitting companies.

“At a moment of critical national importance, Jeremy Corbyn should be extending the hand of friendship to businesses – not insisting that its us versus them,” he said.

Trump Praises Johnson’s ‘Progress’ (5:45 p.m.)

President Donald Trump said the U.S. and U.K. can “quadruple” trade after Brexit at the start of a meeting with Boris Johnson in New York.

“It’s not easy and he’s doing a really good job. He’s going to make really great progress,’’ Trump said. “The results are going to start to show in November. But it looks to be like he’s making good progress.’’

“We’re going to be discussing trade,’’ Trump said. “We can quadruple out trade with the U.K. and I think we can really do a big job.”

U.K. Sends Fourth Proposals Text to Brussels (5:25 p.m.)

The U.K has sent a fourth set of informal proposals to the European Commission, laying out alternative arrangements to the infamous backstop, two EU diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

The document will be discussed between EU and British negotiators on Wednesday, and the Commission will then debrief member states on any progress achieved.

Last week, three similar “non-papers” sent by the U.K were summarily rejected. The Commission said they were neither legally operational solutions for keeping the Irish border open, nor did they meet the objectives of the backstop.

Labour Plans State-Owned Drugs Maker (5:15 p.m.)

Corbyn pledged to start a state-owned drugs manufacturer if elected, to drive down costs for the National Health Service.

He said private drugs companies will have to make their products more affordable in order to access public research funding. “We will create a new publicly owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our NHS saving our health service money and saving lives,” Corbyn said.

Corbyn Greeted by Standing Ovations (5.10 p.m.)

Delegates in the hall, who have been cheering every time Corbyn’s name was mentioned in the run-up to the speech, were pumped up by the time he appeared.

To chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” and “Johnson out,” the packed conference hall gave him multiple standing ovations. They particularly approved of his plans to re-nationalize utilities and bring down medicine prices.

Johnson to Push on With Brexit (4:50 p.m.)

At his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, reporters asked Johnson whether he plans to resign for misleading the Queen, the prime minister replied: “Let’s be absolutely clear. We respect the judiciary in our country, we respect the court.”

“We need to get on with Brexit,” Johnson said, adding that he disagrees “profoundly” with the Supreme Court’s judgment. He said the government has a “dynamic domestic agenda” to get on with and intends to do so.

Separately, Johnson also reiterated that the state-run National Health Service is “not for sale” in any free-trade deal with the U.S.

Labour wants election, but Not Yet, Corbyn Says (4:45 p.m.)

labour leader Jeremy Corbyn held his line that an election should only take place once the risk of a no-deal Brexit has gone.

“This crisis can only be settled with a general election. That election needs to take place as soon as this government’s threat of a disastrous No Deal is taken off the table,” Corbyn said in a speech to Labour’s annual conference.

“After what has taken place no one can trust this government and this Prime Minister not to use this crisis of their own making and drive our country over a No Deal cliff edge in five weeks’ time,” Corbyn said.

Johnson Says U.K. Needs General Election (2:30 p.m.)

Johnson told reporters in New York the U.K. needs a general election. He criticized opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has resisted demands for a snap poll — because he doesn’t trust Johnson not to use it to force through a no-deal Brexit.

“Jeremy Corbyn is talking out of the back of his head and we must have an election,” Johnson said. The prime minister will hold a conference call with Cabinet ministers at 6 p.m. before his speech to the United Nations. He will then fly back to the U.K.

Delivering a speech earlier to business leaders, Johnson reiterated that he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s judgment.

“We in the U.K. will not be deterred from getting on and delivering on the will of the people to come out of the EU on Oct. 31,” he said. “Because that it was we were mandated to do.”

Johnson’s Office Says He Won’t Resign (1:30 p.m.)

Johnson’s office, briefing reporters in New York City, insisted the prime minister will not resign, despite calls from opposition parties (see 11:10 a.m.).

Johnson will return to the U.K. after delivering his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, scheduled for 8 p.m. local time, they said.

Johnson Pledges to ‘Get On’ With Brexit (1:15 p.m.)

Speaking in New York City, where he is due to address the United Nations General Assembly, Johnson stood by his commitment to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31, blaming the claimants who brought the case to the Supreme Court for seeking to “frustrate” Brexit.

“Obviously this is a verdict that we will respect and we respect the judicial process,” Johnson said in a pooled TV interview. “I have to say that I strongly disagree with what the justices have found. I don’t think that it’s right but we will go ahead and of course Parliament will come back.”

“The most important thing is we get on and deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 and clearly the claimants in this case are determined to frustrate that and to stop that,” Johnson said. “I think it would be very unfortunate if Parliament made that objective which the people want more difficult, but we will get on.”

Corbyn to Give Speech This Afternoon (12:45 p.m.)

Jeremy Corbyn’s office confirmed to journalists in Brighton that the opposition leader will make his conference speech at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, a day earlier than scheduled. Deputy Leader Tom Watson — who had been due to speak on Tuesday afternoon — would now speak place on Wednesday, they said.

But Watson — who was subject to an attempt by Corbyn supporters to abolish his position at the start of the party’s conference — tweeted that he wouldn’t make the speech.

“I will be with all Labour colleagues in Parliament tomorrow,” Watson wrote. “I’ll have to save the speech until the next conference.”

Parliament to Resume Wednesday: Bercow (12:20 p.m.)

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said the House of Commons will meet at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday. He emphasized it would not be a recall, but a “resumption” because the Supreme Court ruled suspension unlawful.

There will be no Prime Minister’s Questions, a usual fixture on the agenda on Wednesdays, but Bercow said “for the avoidance of doubt, there will be full scope for urgent questions, ministerial statements and applications for emergency debates.”

Emergency debates are what Members of Parliament used to seize control of the agenda earlier this month to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

Corbyn Moves Speech Forward to Tuesday (12:15 p.m.)

After Parliament was recalled to sit on Wednesday, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn will make his speech to the party’s annual conference on Tuesday, his office said in Brighton. Corbyn had been due to speak on Wednesday. No time was given for the rescheduled speech.

‘Perfectly Obvious’ Johnson Was Lying: Grieve (11:50 a.m.)

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who was kicked out of the parliamentary Conservative Party for voting against Boris Johnson on Brexit, said it was “perfectly obvious” that the prime minister’s stated reason for suspending Parliament was “bogus and untrue.”

“I’m not surprised by the judgment because of the gross misbehavior by the prime minister,” Grieve told the BBC. “He should be pausing and reflecting on the untold damage he is doing to our institutions.”

Farage Turns Fire on Johnson’s Key Adviser (11:40 a.m.)

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, after the Supreme Court ruled the suspension of Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

“The calling of a Queen’s Speech and prorogation is the worst political decision ever. Dominic Cummings must go,” Farage said on Twitter.

Cummings has been a lightning rod for criticism of Johnson and has been criticized by opposition lawmakers, as well as some from the prime minister’s Conservative Party, for overseeing an uncompromising hard-Brexit operation in Johnson’s office.

Rudd: PM Withheld Legal Advice from Cabinet (11:35 a.m.)

Amber Rudd, who quit Boris Johnson’s government this month after accusing him of not working toward a deal with the European Union, said the prime minister had not shown the legal advice on suspending Parliament to the rest of the Cabinet.

“This is an astonishing moment and I regret that the PM, who entered office with such goodwill, went down this route,” Rudd said on Twitter, urging Johnson to “work with Parliament” to pass a Brexit deal.

EU Not Commenting on U.K. Court Ruling (11:15 a.m.)

The European Commission won’t comment on the U.K.’s “internal constitutional matters,” its spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud told reporters in Brussels. “Our interlocutor remains the government of the U.K.,” she said.

Calls Mounting for Johnson to Resign (11:10 a.m.)

Other party leaders backed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s call for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.

“Boris Johnson isn’t fit to be prime minister,” Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said on Twitter. “He’s misled Queen and country, and unlawfully silenced the people’s representatives. I’m on my way to resume my duties in the Commons and stop Brexit altogether.”

Liz Saville Roberts, leader of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, said: “There is no question, the prime minister must resign immediately and a crash out Brexit stopped once and for all.” The Scottish Nationalist Party’s Joanna Cherry said if Johnson “had a shred of integrity, he would jump before he is pushed.”

Corbyn Says Johnson Should Quit (11:05 a.m.)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded Parliament be recalled and called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after announcing the Supreme Court’s verdict to a standing ovation from delegates at his party’s annual conference in Brighton.

“It demonstrates a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power by him,” Corbyn said. He said he’d be in touch immediately with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow “to demand that Parliament is recalled so that we can question that prime minister and demand that he obeys the law that’s been passed by Parliament.”

Corbyn then invited Johnson “to consider his position” to a further standing ovation and chants of “Johnson Out!” from the delegates.

Bercow: Parliament Must Reconvene Without Delay (11 a.m.)

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow called for Parliament to reconvene.

“As the embodiment of our Parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay,” Bercow said in a statement. “ To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.”

Court Says Parliament Suspension ‘Unlawful’ (10:45 a.m.)

The U.K.’s top judges dealt an unprecedented legal rebuke to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, branding his controversial decision to suspend Parliament unlawful. Parliament must decide what happens next and should meet as soon as possible, judge Brenda Hale said in unanimous ruling.

The landmark decision Tuesday is a boost for MPs seeking to prevent Johnson pulling the country out of the European Union by Oct. 31 without a deal. By limiting the prime minister’s power to suspend Parliament in the future, the judges also deprived Johnson of one of his last weapons to force through Brexit before his self-imposed deadline.

The decision to prorogue parliament was “unlawful, void and no effect” Judge Brenda Hale, president of the Supreme Court, said in the decision.

“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification,” she said.

No Evidence of Criminality by Brexit Campaign Group (10 a.m.)

The U.K.’s National Crime Agency said it found no evidence of criminality after investigating possible offenses around foreign involvement in funding for the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

Brexit campaign group Leave.EU and the businessman Arron Banks will face no further action, the agency said. Even so, election watchdog the Electoral Commission said in a statement: “We are concerned about the apparent weakness in the law, highlighted by this investigation outcome, which allows overseas funds into U.K. politics.”

Labour’s Long-Bailey Keeps ‘Leave’ Option Open (9:30 a.m.)

Labour’s Business spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey suggested the party could campaign for ‘Leave’ in a second referendum if it secures the right deal with the European Union after winning a general election. In a Bloomberg TV interview, she denied the party has a “wait-and-see” approach, saying Labour wants a “credible” Brexit deal.

“The decision that was made yesterday at conference, that was about assessing that final deal and determining as a party how we would campaign in such a people’s vote,” Long-Bailey said. The assessment of the deal is needed because “it could be 70% of what we’ve asked for; it could be 50% of what we’ve asked for, it could be 100%.”

In a speech to the party’s conference Tuesday, Long-Bailey will announce a ramp up in spending on electric vehicles and offshore wind if Labour comes to power. Labour will spend 3.6 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) to expand the electric vehicle charging network, as well as offering 2.5 million people interest free loans to help buy electric cars. She’ll also announce plans to build 37 offshore wind farms, with the government holding a 51% stake, according to Labour.

Leadsom: We’ll Obey Law But Seek to Leave on Time (Earlier)

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom insisted the government will abide by the law blocking a no-deal Brexit, but will still seek to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 even if Boris Johnson can’t reach a new Brexit deal.

“There’s a huge amount of work to negotiate a deal,” Leadsom said in an interview with BBC Radio. “Should we not get a deal, then we will be seeking to leave the European Union without a deal on the Oct. 31, but we will of course, always, abide by the law. The government always abides by the law.”

She didn’t say how it would be possible to both abide by the law — which says the prime minister must seek an extension from the EU by Oct. 19 if he can’t reach a deal — while also leaving without a deal on Oct. 31.

“We had a referendum over three years ago now, we’ve got to get on and deliver on it and Boris Johnson is the only person who is going to do that,” she said.


As Johnson Fights for Brexit Deal, Leaders Ask If He’s for RealBoris Johnson Urges EU to Recognize He Has Compromised on BrexitCorbyn Wins Labour Backing for His Wait-and-See Brexit Approach

–With assistance from Jonathan Browning, Jeremy Hodges, Franz Wild, Jessica Shankleman, Tim Ross, Josh Wingrove and Nikos Chrysoloras.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in New York at;Kitty Donaldson in Brighton at;Alex Morales in Brighton, England at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Stuart Biggs, Thomas Penny” data-reactid=”145″>For more articles like this, please visit us at

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.