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Brexit latest news: Boris Johnson's plans could be knocked off course as judge fast-tracks Remainer legal bid

 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) listens to a prison officer as Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland (2-L) and Prison Governor Steve Robson (L) look on during a visit to HMP Leeds, Britain, 13 August 2019. Johnson made the first official visit by a prime minister to a prison since 2012. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits HMP Leeds, United Kingdom
Boris Johnson today touring HMP Leeds alongside his justice secretary Robert Buckland  Credit: NIGEL RODDIS/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX 

Boris Johnson's Brexit plans could be knocked off course early next month after a judge agreed to fast-track a hearing demanded by Remain campaigners on whether the Prime Minister can legally suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal exit.

The action, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, including the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the SNP MP Joanna Cherry, wants the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that shutting down Parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is "unlawful and unconstitutional".

The politicians had hoped to have the case fast tracked by having it referred straight to the most senior judges in the “Inner House” of the Court of Session, after voicing fears that they may run out of time before the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31.

However Lord Doherty rejected the request, ordering instead that the case should be heard by one judge in the Outer House of the court - the normal procedure at the Court of Session - on September 6.

The hearing will take place during what is shaping up to be a tumultuous week in Westminster. MPs will return from their summer break on Tuesday September 3, and Labour could call a confidence vote in the Government any day that week. The following day, the Government will provide a progress report on power-sharing in Northern Ireland, which will be debated within five days.

Downing Street reiterated on Monday that Mr Johnson remains "very clear in his determination to want to get a deal" and said he will hold talks with EU leaders over the phone in the coming days.

This came as Next's chief executive Lord Wolfson said that the worst outcome of a no-deal Brexit will be "mild disruption" because Boris Johnson's Government have stepped up preparations.

The peer, who backed Brexit in 2016, has previously claimed that leaving the European Union without an agreement would bring about "chaos and disorder". 

Meanwhile, John Bolton, Donald Trump's national security advisor,  said on Monday that the United States would "enthusiastically" support a no deal Brexit. 

Speaking after talks with Boris Johnson at Downing Street, John Bolton laid out the White House's vision for a closer trans-Atlantic relationship after Brexit. 

He said that the President had ordered officials to “fast track” a comprehensive free trade agreement with the UK and predicted  a healing of rifts between London and Washington on security issues, including on Huawei's access to the UK's 5G market.  

"The main purpose of the visit is to convey President Trump’s desire to see a successful exit from the European Union for the UK on October 31," Mr Bolton said.  

Asked if that meant the US would support a no-deal Brexit, he said: "If that is the decision of the British government, we will support it enthusiastically. That is the message I am bringing: we are with you.”

"Britain’s success in successfully exiting the EU is a statement about democratic rule and constitutional government that is important for Britain but for the US too,” he added. 

Boris predicts 'tough old haggle' with US in trade talks

Boris Johnson has said that he expects negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with the US to be a "tough old haggle", but that he is confident Britain "will get there".

The Prime Minister's remarks come after Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said the UK would be "first in line" for a deal with the US, possibly on a gradual "sector-by-sector" basis.

Speaking during a visit to Leeds, Mr Johnson said:

"We have fantastic opportunities to open that up. Actually the US market is growing very fast for the UK, but they still ban haggis, for Heaven's sake.

"In the US there are all sorts of opportunities we have to open up trade, but that also goes for companies around the world, but the single biggest deal we need to do is a free trade deal agreement with our friends and partners over the Channel."

"In my experience the Americans are very tough negotiators indeed, and we will do a great deal with them and it will open up opportunities for UK business, particularly service companies in the US, but it will be a tough old haggle - but we will get there."

Number of EU nationals working in UK on the up...despite Brexit

The number of European Union (EU) nationals working in the UK has increased over the past 12 months, official figures show.

Some 2.37 million EU nationals were estimated to be in paid employment in the UK between April and June 2019, up 4% on the same period in 2018.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suggest the number of EU nationals within the UK workforce has returned to levels last seen just after the EU referendum in 2016, and before a dip in late 2017 and early 2018

Javid hails "win-win" US deal post-Bolton meeting

Sajid Javid has been delighted to catch up with the US' national security adviser John Bolton.

 

Damian Hinds lets slip general election hint

Former education secretary Damian Hinds is gearing up for an election this year, judging by this image he seems to have slipped out on his Instagram accidentally showing him in email conversation about "GE2019".

https://publish.twitter.com/?query=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FTaliFraser%2Fstatus%2F1161244772662697985&widget=Tweet

 

Interesting polling on the divide between MPs and voters

Following our polling, as conducted by ComRes, on how voters feel about Parliament, there is further interesting polling by YouGov.

When they asked MPs if they're elected to act on their own judgement, or to deliver the wishes of their constituents, 80 per cent said their own judgement.

But 63 per cent of the public think MPs are elected to act on the wishes of their constituents.

James Crisp: USA's trade offer to Britain will make no deal Brexit more likely 

Britain has badly miscalculated if it believes it can leverage a US offer of a fast-tracked trade agreement after Brexit to force Brussels to cave over the Irish border backstop, our man in Brussels James Crisp says.

He explains why here.

Amber Rudd refuses to rule out job losses in a no-deal Brexit

Amber Rudd has been doing the media round as Work and Pensions Secretary due to today's jobs figures, but she has not been able to avoid questions about Brexit fro mITV.

Will no-deal lead to rising unemployment? 

It’s very difficult to tell. I mean a no-deal Brexit is definitely going to be a challenge for the economy, which is why the Government is putting together so much preparation should it come to that. 

We’re very clearly focussed as a government that we want to get a deal. 

You said before it would cause generational damage? 

I can tell that a no-deal Brexit would be far worse than a deal Brexit, which is why the Government is so focussed to get that. But we are also putting in place a lot of preparation to make sure, should it come to that, we will have done all we can to mitigate against any difficulties. 

Do you think it would cause generational damage? 

I still think it will be a challenge but we are doing all we can. 

Can you guarantee that no one will lose their job as a result of no-deal? 

There are no guarantees about jobs in or out under any circumstances. What Government has to do is make it as straightforward and as conducive to a good employment arena as possible. That’s what the statistics show today, is what we’ve been able to do. 

Legal bid to stop prorogation will be heard 

Remain campaigners have been buoyed by the news that their legal challenge seeking to prevent Boris Johnson from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit will be heard before the 31 October deadline.

The bid - backed by more than 70 MPs and peers - is urging the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that it would be "unlawful and unconstitutional" for the prime minister to prorogue parliament so that the UK can leave the EU without a deal.

The initial session today decided to hold a full hearing of the case on 6 September. A judgement is expected in advance of the Brexit deadline.

 Wages grew at their fastest rate in 11 years... despite Brexit

Wages are growing at their fastest rate in 11 years - you can read more on our business liveblog.

 

New Ukip leader considers name change

Richard Braine is getting tired of all the people rushing to call him 'Dick'.

 Mr Braine's reference to George Osborne - who was born with the first name Gideon - may have been inspired by the former Chancellor joining in with the mockery.

 

Remainer MPs begin legal challenge over threat of prorogation 

A judge will decide on Tuesday whether a legal challenge attempting to prevent Boris Johnson forcing through a no-deal Brexit by suspending Parliament will be heard before October 31.

The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending Parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is "unlawful and unconstitutional".

The petition has been filed at the Edinburgh court, which sits through the summer, and was granted permission to be heard by a judge.

An initial hearing is due to take place before Lord Doherty at the Court of Session on Tuesday morning to determine the timescale of when the legal challenge will proceed.

The Prime Minister has promised to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by October 31 - the final day of the extended Article 50 period agreed by European leaders - claiming it will "restore trust in our democracy".

The legal bid was granted permission to proceed by the Scottish courts, with anti-Brexit campaigners stressing the urgency of the case due to the Halloween deadline.

A cross-party group of politicians is backing the legal petition, supported by the Good Law Project, which won a victory at the European Court of Justice last year over whether the UK could unilaterally cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50.

Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said: "A man with no mandate seeks to cancel Parliament for fear it will stop him inflicting on an unwilling public an outcome they did not vote for and do not want.

"That's certainly not democracy and I expect our courts to say it's not the law."

Boris Johnson must stand up for Hong Kong, says Lord Patten

Boris Johnson needs to be "outspoken" in defending Hong Kong's freedoms, according to the final governor of the territory.

Lord Patten of Barnes said the Prime Minister must follow the lead of Canada and Australia while also pressing the United States to agree with Britain about the dangers of Chinese intervention in the city.

He also agreed with Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam that the area is "close to the abyss", with near-daily and increasingly violent confrontations between protesters and police occurring in recent weeks.

The Conservative peer added a commission of inquiry is needed to assess the reasons for the demonstrations and the way they have been policed.

Lord Patten told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What's clearly needed is a process of reconciliation.

"It's the only way I think you'll put a cap on this and get back to peace and stability in Hong Kong but it does need the government to move."

On what Britain could do, Lord Patten added: "I very much hope that our own Prime Minister will be as outspoken as the prime ministers of Canada and Australia have been in defence of Hong Kong's freedoms."