Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

Eurosceptics are up in arms today following the High Court’s ruling that Theresa May would have to seek Parliamentary approval before she can trigger Brexit by invoking Article 50. “A great betrayal is underway”, Nigel Farage wrote in this morning’s Telegraph. “It was a mistake for the courts to intervene on such a huge political issue,” Philip Johnson said.  Iain Duncan Smith accused the judges – Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Terence Etherton, the Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Sales – of risking a “constitutional crisis” by “pitting Parliament against the will of the people”.

The Attorney General is already under pressure to resign after losing the High Court case, with Tory MPs saying that Jeremy Wright should be replaced by a more experienced lawyer. The Government has already pledged to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, although an insider told this newspaper that ministers are resigned to losing the case. If this happens, ministers are preparing an Act of Parliament on the triggering of Article 50, which would mean that both the Commons and Lords would be able to debate, amend and vote on it before it is invoked. This process could end up delaying Brexit by a year, as Europhile MPs are already planning how to exploit it. George Osborne and Nicky Morgan have already indicated that they would seek to use it to force Mrs May to reveal in the Commons her plans for Brexit, despite her prior refusal to “show her cards” before starting formal negotiations.

There are 17.4 million reasons why they won’t try to throw out the bill in the hopes of stopping Brexit, and they’re called voters. But that won’t stop them trying to table amendments to water down the type of Brexit Parliament goes on to approve. Hillary Benn has already admitted that he would approve Article 50 in a vote, but hinted that his fellow Europhiles could target “what we should be seeking in negotiations”. If they succeed, Mrs May could be forced to trigger an early general election in order to increase her majority in the Commons. “If we get to the stage where [MPs] are not willing to allow this negotiation to even begin,” Dominic Raab warned, “I think there must be an increased chance that we will need to go to the country again.” One minister said that Mrs May and her closest advisers are “completely against” calling an early general election, but could this change?

The Government seems quietly optimistic about its chances in a vote on Article 50, as Sajid Javid told BBC’s Question Time last night that it could win such a vote next week if necessary. But how would it fare in the Lords? Europhile peers could try and obstruct the bill without having to worry about voters, but Eurosceptic MPs are already onto them. Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests in today’s paper that the 1911 Parliament Act may be needed to ram the bill through the Lords, or the Government could create “a thousand new peers to overcome the Remain majority in the Upper House”.

In the meantime Theresa May is talking to Jean Claude-Juncker today to make clear to him that the High Court ruling won’t stop her from taking Britain out of the European Union. You can follow what happens today on our liveblog here. “In Brussels, the court verdict has been widely interpreted as the first step in the undoing of Britain’s plebiscite,” Dan Hannan warns. The Prime Minister won’t let judges take her off course.

We should hope democracy-hating Owen Smith wins

I do not of course get a vote in the Labour leadership election and do not think they wish to follow my thoughts on their two candidates. However, I felt I should let it be known that as a Conservative who does not want to see a Labour government in 2020 I would love it if Owen Smith won the leadership and tried to lead Labour into the 2020 election.

It is his hatred of democracy which, I think, shines through so admirably, and would curse any party led by him. Just a short few months after Mr Corbyn won the labour leadership by a landslide he thinks he has the right to overthrow the elected and popular leader who did not himself want or see the need for a leadership election.

That is an internal matter for Labour, but given Mr Corbyn’s unique ability to enroll new members of his party on a huge scale, it might be a matter of some concern to Labour supporters.

More crucial is Mr Smith’s obvious distaste for national democracy. He seriously suggests an Opposition led by him should dedicate itself this Parliament to thwarting the wishes of the people as expressed in a referendum, despite the Remain campaign saying throughout the referendum period that a vote to Leave would have to mean we left the EU with all the dire consequences they wrongly forecast,

Apparently, Mr Smith thinks they should block any efforts to leave in Parliament and should demand a second referendum, in the vain hope that that might produce a different result.

MORE…

Could Italy Bring Down the Euro?

The eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) has overtaken Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) in several opinion polls and is now the most popular political party in Italy.

The poll results represent a significant shift in Italy’s political landscape and have potentially far-reaching implications for the future of the European Union.

M5S, which would win national elections if they were held today, has called for a referendum on whether Italy, which is facing the collapse of its banking system, should keep the euro, the single currency of the European Union, or bring back the Italian lira.

A move by Italy — the third-largest economy in the eurozone — to abandon the euro could strike a potentially fatal blow to the currency and to the bloc itself.

An Ipsos poll, published by the newspaper Corriere della Sera on July 5, gave M5S 30.6% of the vote, up from 28.9% in April, while Renzi’s center-left PD fell to 29.8% from 31.1%.

MORE…

Morning Briefing – The Telegragh

Good morning.

The abrupt end to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign after Michael Gove withdrew his support has caused rancour among both sides, we report this morning. The former Mayor’s allies have been talking venomously about Gove’s “calculated plot” and “midnight treachery”, with one MP saying that there was a “very deep pit reserved in hell” for the “Judas” Justice Secretary. Some Johnson allies have accused George Osborne of being involved in this “political assassination”, and Gordon Rayner has all the details about how the “cuckoo nest plot” unfolded. Johnson’s father Stanley provided a Shakespearean response to this. “Et tu Brute,” he quipped to the BBC, “and I don’t think he’s called Brutus…”

Johnson’s withdrawal from the race, and the demise of the “BoGo” ticket, will have relieved Theresa May, as the former Mayor had been indicated by polls to be the only one who could beat her. The Home Secretary has the support of more than 60 Tory MPs, while Michael Fallon and Patrick McLoughlin – who explains why in the Sun – coming out today in her favour. Many of Johnson’s supporters have chosen to join her too rather than Gove, with Nadhim Zahawi explaining his reasons on HuffPostUKMatthew Hancock, a close ally of George Osborne, has also thrown his weight behind May, which will encourage speculation that the Chancellor could soon follow. The Daily Mail has also thrown its weight behind her, declaring in an editorial that the next leader “must be Theresa“, which may well disappoint Gove’s wife Sarah Vine, a columnist for the paper.

The Tory leadership contenders have until Tuesday to build support among MPs before the first round of voting, so Gove and his fellow contenders – Stephen Crabb, Andrea Leadsom and Liam Fox – will have to work hard to catch up with May. Fraser Nelson offers a dose of optimism for the Tories as they fight for the leadership, writing in today’s paper: “When it comes to ideas for the future, the Conservatives have seldom been more united. But they may, now, be too busy fighting each other to notice.”

As Conservatives prepare to consider who could be their next leader, the next Prime Minister will know they have to go ahead and negotiate the terms of Brexit. Vladimir Putin appeared to throw down the gauntlet to British politicians to quit the European Union yesterday, questioning whether they would dare to deliver on the democratic mandate for Brexit that flows from last week’s EU referendum. “We will see how their principles of democracy get realised in practice,” he mused.

Tory contenders will want to read Tony Blair’s piece in today’s paper, in which he warns that “serious statesmanship” is needed to negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union. The lead negotiator must have “high level sense… of the things that might be compromised” and doesn’t have to be a Brexiteer, according to the Remain-backing former premier. He rounds off: “To allow us to come safely through this we need to be adult in our politics, to proceed with calm, maturity and without bitterness; because our future as a nation in the world and as the UK itself is at stake.”

 

How Nazi slurs and Tory euroscepticism turned Jean-Claude Juncker against Britain

Jean-Claude Juncker is a wily and formidable operator with a strong motive to resent Britain that is rooted in David Cameron’s campaign to stop him taking the European Union’s most powerful job.

As European Commission president he will be prepared to cut a deal with Britain, even to hand powers back from Brussels to Westminster but the abrasive, hard-drinking and heavy-smoking Luxembourger is not inclined to make life easy for the British government.

To begin with, Mr Juncker is this week expected to block Britain from taking the post as the EU commissioner responsible for the single market, the policy portfolio most desired by Downing Street.

MORE…

Frexit: 61% of French Have Unfavorable View of EU

The Pew survey shows a split in EU favorability, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. EU approval is still fairly high in parts of Eastern Europe where it’s seen as a bulwark against Russia. On the other hand its popularity is underwater in Spain, Greece and the UK (no surprise considering Brexit) and it hits disapproval highs in France of 61 percent. Frexit would be a terrible portmanteau but it is on the radar.

And without the UK or France, the EU would consist of Germany bossing a bunch of smaller countries around. Not that Germans are all that high on the EU either. It’s got a 50 to 48 favorable.

What’s interesting about the numbers coming out of France is just how unpopular, across the board, the EU is with the left, the right and the center. And even among the youth, where approval tends to be highest, support taps out at 56 percent.

MORE…

Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

Leadership manoeuvring is afoot in both the Labour and Conservative parties, although the prize is greater for whoever wins the Tory crown as they get to be Prime Minister as well. So ambitious Conservatives are having to get their bids together before nominations close at midday on Thursday, with the party’s ruling 1922 committee announcing an accelerated timetable which will see the new leader announced by September 2, a month earlier than expected. A faster election will inevitably favour the front-runners, Boris Johnson and Theresa May, as it gives less time for challengers to build up their profiles . A YouGov poll for the Times confirmed they are way out in front among Conservative voters, with the Home Secretary ahead of the former Mayor by 6 points. But that doesn’t mean the pair have locked the race down, as the last frontrunner who went on to win the Tory leadership was Ted Heath in 1965.

Johnson’s allies, we report, are doing what they can to get out in front, with efforts being made to court Cabinet ministers like Amber Rudd. If they can convince the Energy Secretary, who repeatedly insulted Johnson during the ITV referendum debate, then that would show how much of a unifier he could be. They are also increasingly confident that George Osborne, who ruled himself out of the running in an interview with the Times, will swing behind them in exchange for staying on as Chancellor or agreeing to be Foreign Secretary. Nick Boles has given Johnson the Cameroon blessing by formally endorsing his bid, while Jo Johnson has declared his support, thus avoiding any echoes of Labour’s fratricidal Miliband antics. The fiercest critic to have emerged so far is Jamie Oliver, who said if Johnson became Prime Minister: “I’m done. I’m out“.

May is shaping up to be a formidable challenger, with one senior source saying she has an “unbelievably good chance” and  MPs describing her as the “stop Boris candidate”.Gavin Williams, David Cameron’s parliamentary aide, is also understood to have joined her camp. Meanwhile, Work and Pensions secretary Stephen Crabb is discussing running on a joint ticket separately with both Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, in a bid to represent the 2010 intake. “The next Tory leader has to be able to keep the Labour Party pushed to the fringes of politics, with a style of Conservatism that combines economic credibility with a modern social liberalism to dominate the centre ground of political debate,” says William Hague in today’s paper.

The faster timetable will mean the Government cannot delay too long before triggering formal Brexit talks, and will give the leader time to call a general election for November in order to win a mandate from the British people. So in that light today’s Telegraph piece by Jeremy Hunt, who could be tempted to chuck his hat in the ring, is well worth reading. The Health Secretary touches on the hot Tory issue of Europe, suggesting that there should be a second vote on the terms of Britain’s exit “either in a referendum or through the Conservative manifesto at a fresh General Election.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s breakdown under Jeremy Corbyn continues apace, with the Labour leader forced to find replacements for two thirds of his shadow-cabinet. Angela Eagle, one of the “Jexiteers”, refused to rule out running against him, and – we report – is discussing  launching a formal bid to win the Labour leadership with aides over the coming days. After a tempestuous PLP meeting last night, up to 150 MPs are expected to join together in an effort to oust their embattled party leader. But Corbyn has vowed to fight on, tweeting a message that basically amounted to “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”, or in his words:  “Those wanting to change the Labour Party leadership will have to take part in a democratic election”. Labour-leaning papers have weighed in, with the Daily Mirror telling him on their front page to “go now”, while the Morning Star sticks with him, lauding Dennis Skinner for sticking two fingers up at anti-Corbyn “traitors”. As Labour MPs fight  to get Corbyn out, and top Tories vie for position, make sure to follow today’s events on our liveblog.