Labour Could Block a General Election

Keir Starmer dropped strong hints on Marr this morning that after three years of asking for a General Election, Labour would refuse to allow one until legislation to block No Deal is in place. They’d rather keep this unstable Parliament in place than face the electorate. What was that about a coup..?

Labour will lose a Brexit election, they know it. Boris would crush Corbyn. A November Fifth Guy Fawkes election would clear out parliament of Brexit blockers better than gunpowder…

Keir Starmer Spotted Plotting With Paul Mason

A co-conspirator spotted Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, meeting with Paul Mason last night – hot off his hysterical protest rant. Embarrassing for Starmer…

 

Grieve and Starmer Spotted Plotting

Dominic Grieve was this morning spotted plotting with Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, who last week declared the EU anthem to be amongst his desert island discs. Guido wonders if they were deciding Cabinet positions in the future “Government of National Unity” that Ed Davey wants Starmer to lead…

UPDATE: Guido understands the discussion was over whether Labour will back Grieve’s nefarious attempt to hold pensioners to ransom to scare the Government away from delivering a clean WTO break from the EU. The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar is reporting Labour are now more likely to back the move than not. Deliberately starving pensioners and the disabled of vital funding to prevent the implementation of a democratic decision is unlikely to go down well on the doorsteps

UPDATE II: In sad news for Dominic Grieve, the Speaker has not selected any amendments to the Estimates debates. This is probably a dodged bullet for arch-Remainers from a PR perspective…

Keir Starmer Picks EU Anthem at Desert Island Discs Event

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary has picked the EU’s ‘national’ anthem as one of his favourite bops during a Desert Island Disks style event at a Labour Party fundraiser in Camden last week. Guido hopes he was just playing to the pro-EU crowd, he can’t genuinely be that sad?

He reportedly told the audience that it was fanatical Remainer and leader of Labour MEPs Richard Corbett’s ringtone, and if people wanted the EU anthem to blast shadow cabinet meetings they should call his phone. How’s that ‘constructive ambiguity’ coming along eh?

Labour Launch Fresh Parliamentary Coup Attempt to Frustrate Brexit

As expected, Labour are using their opposition day debate tomorrow to try to lay the groundwork to tie Theresa May’s successor’s hands before May has even left Downing Street. Keir Starmer will use exactly the same technique as the Benn-Cooper-Letwin coup by tabling a cross-party motion for tomorrow which will hand Labour control of the Parliamentary timetable on Tuesday 25th of June. They can then use this day to try to ram through a Bill to frustrate the new Prime Minister’s attempts to force through Brexit before they take office…

The UK’s parliamentary democracy rests on the principle that the Government can command a stable majority in the House of Commons. Labour cobbling together an ad-hoc coalition to temporarily take on the powers of Government with none of the accountability undermines the UK’s constitution as much as a Prime Minister proroguing Parliament would. It is increasingly looking like the new Tory leader will need to fight a general election just to get Brexit through, whoever they are…

Labour’s motion is signed by Jeremy Corbyn, Ian Blackford, Sir Vince Cable, Liz Saville-Roberts, Oliver Letwin, Caroline Lucas, and Nick Brown.

UPDATE: Guido asked Michael Gove’s team if he would continue to accept Letwin’s support, but a campaign source said “All leadership candidates will need to win support of colleagues across the party. Michael has always been clear that no deal must remain on the table.”

Read the full motion below:

Continue reading

Starmer Abandons Labour’s Manifesto Pledge to End Free Movement

Keir Starmer has softened Labour’s Brexit position again, telling Newsnight last night that Labour now backed both a customs union and “single market alignment”. He initially says he “doesn’t see it” as taking Corbyn “on a journey” towards ‘Norway Plus’, before going on to say that the UK would “have to consider” allowing the free movement of workers under a Norway Plus plan. A big departure from Labour’s manifesto which explicitly states “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union”…

Whether Starmer can really get the Labour party to “move together” on this latest evolution of their position is another matter. As far back as last June when Labour rebel numbers were normally limited to a handful of three or four, 15 Labour MPs defied the Labour whip (to abstain) in order to vote directly against single market membership. That number would be far higher today with many Northern Labour MPs terrified of losing their seats. As usual it looks like Starmer taking Labour on a journey to nowhere…

Starmer: Any Deal Requires A Backstop

Keir Starmer: Labour Brexit Policy in ‘New Phase’

Labour Voters Unenthusiastic About Leadership Contenders

Labour’s leadership hopefuls have some work to do if they want to establish themselves as successors to Corbyn among the Labour faithful. Polling by the ESRC Party Members Project somewhat surprisingly found Keir Starmer to be the slight favourite among Labour members with 18% support, ahead of John McDonnell on 15% and Emily Thornberry on 12%.

Starmer is hardly the obvious Corbynista choice but with Brexit in the spotlight Starmer’s Remain tendencies are more in tune with the Labour membership than the euroscepticism of the old left. Still a far cry from Boris’s regular double-digit leads among Tory members…

Among Labour voters as a whole, not a single contender breaks into double digits, with “don’t know” polling at a hefty 56%. Starmer is again the best of the bunch on 9% with McDonnell trailing on 5%. Thornberry and Chuka are tied on 3%. Self-promoting Sadiq doesn’t even get a look in – only 1% of Labour members back him and less than 1% of Labour voters at large…

Labour All At Sea Over Brexit

Labour are all at sea over Brexit again, with Keir Starmer directly contracting his party leader’s comments on whether Brexit can be stopped. Starmer told Sky News this morning “Brexit can be stopped” just days after Corbyn categorically told Der Spiegel on Friday that Labour “can’t stop” Brexit:

DS: “If you could stop Brexit, would you?”

JC: “We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave.”

Emily Thornberry and Dianne Abbott have also given conflicting signals in recent days, with Thornberry telling Marr yesterday a second referendum was still an option, while Abbott warned against the idea on Question Time last week. Civil war in North London luvvie land…

Labour’s position on the deal itself is no less unclear, with shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman making distinctly positive noises about the possibility of Labour supporting a deal on All Out Politics despite Thornberry coming down strongly against the prospect yesterday. Labour’s “constructive ambiguity” is increasingly looking less like astute party management and more a symptom of serious internal shadow Cabinet splits…

The Government’s fundamental problem with getting a deal through Parliament – if it even gets through Cabinet – is that voting down the deal is all things to all people. The Labour frontbench sees it as the best route to a general election. Brexiteers see it as the way to force ‘no deal’. Remainers see it as their best chance of securing a second referendum. The Johnson-Johnson pincer movement looks particularly dangerous for the Government. But ultimately only one of these groups can actually get what they want…

Starmer Won’t Rule Out Remain

Keir Starmer makes the point of again not ruling out Remain if there’s a second referendum. Labour continuing their Brexit policy of being all things to all people…

Starmer’s Off-Script Remain Pitch Thrills Labour Conference

Sir Keir Starmer achieved the biggest cheers of Labour Conference so far for his endorsement of a second referendum on EU membership. The speech could have come straight from the 2016 referendum campaign – Starmer waxed lyrical about the benefits of EU membership while saying he was “devastated” by the outcome of the referendum. Dennis Skinner was not impressed…

Starmer’s “nobody is ruling out remain as an option” line was not in the pre-briefed version of his speech. This appears to be a deliberate move to ramp up the pressure on McDonnell and Corbyn ahead of the vote today. So much for the Labour “unity” he was talking about this morning…

Comical Keir: Labour ‘United on Brexit’

Sir Keir Starmer was doing his best impression of Comical Ali on Today this morning as he tried to deny the gaping chasms within the Labour Party over Brexit.

First he suggested that John McDonnell had only ruled out Remain being an option in a second referendum yesterday because he hadn’t had enough sleep:

KS: We finished our meeting about one in the morning and then John was up early doing the media round. I think John, to be fair…

NR: He was struggling with not enough sleep?

KS: No, no, to be fair, John did a number of interviews yesterday…

Starmer tried to move things on to Labour’s upcoming vote on a Brexit motion today, claiming that there was going to be “unity” behind it. In reality the Labour Party rank and file are confused, Guido suspects this confusion is a deliberate continuation of the strategic ambiguity on Brexit that is the party’s only consistent policy…

UPDATE: Starmer has refused to confirm that the UK would leave the EU on March 29th next year under Labour, telling TalkRadio’s Ross Kempsell that Labour could extend Article 50 depending on the circumstances. How is this piece of constructive ambiguity going to go down with Labour’s Brexit voters?

 

UPDATE II: The Tories are keen to point out that Keir Starmer previously said the official position was ‘There’s no dispute that Britain will leave the European Union in March 2019. Labour voted to trigger Article 50 and we did so knowing that we would leave the EU within two years’

McDonnell and Starmer at War Over Second Referendum

John McDonnell seemingly offered a rare shred of clarity on Labour’s Brexit position this morning when he appeared to rule out the possibility of Labour supporting a second referendum with Remain as an option. He told Today and Good Morning Britain that Labour accepted the result of the first referendum and a “People’s Vote” would be on whether to accept the deal or not.

This clarity was short-lived as Keir Starmer publicly slapped down McDonnell this afternoon, insisting that “we weren’t ruling out options, and nobody was ruling out Remain”The two positions are not fudged. They are irreconcilable…

Starmer Challenged By His CLP on Anti-Semitism Definition

Keir Starmer has been challenged by his local Constituency Labour Party after he called on the NEC to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism. On Marr two weeks back, Starmer broke from the rest of the Labour leadership and criticised the Labour Party’s failure to adopt the full definition with examples. He said:

“Councils, institutions across the country have accepted the full definition. I think that’s the right position to be in. I would urge everybody within the Labour party to listen to the voices that have come out in recent days and get to a position where we are supporting the full definition – I think it’s really important – including the examples.”

His local party do not agree. They have tabled a motion at a meeting today welcoming the NEC definition opposed by their own MP:

A direct test of Starmer’s authority in his own constituency…

Starmer Condemns Labour’s New Anti-Semitism Policy

Starmer: DD Has Threatened to Resign More Times Than He’s Met Barnier

Banter at Dexeu questions. Those five times Davis has threatened to resign here

Hypocrisy of Chuka and Labour’s EEA Rebels

Remoaner Labour MPs led by Chuka Umunna are rebelling against the leadership with a doomed amendment this afternoon attempting to keep us in the EEA. This is what Chuka used to say about the EEA model during the referendum: it “pays into the EU budget, accepts free movement, must obey EU laws with no say” and “would hurt the UK”.

Even by his standards, it is the height of hypocrisy for Chuka and co to now be backing EEA membership.

Bercow Worked With Labour on Humble Address

Labour’s latest Brexit hypocrisy comes in the form of their attempt to force the government to reveal its negotiating hand in the Commons tonight. Back in 2016, Keir Starmer promised he would never seek to compel the government to disclose confidential Brexit papers:

“I fully accept that the Government will enter into confidential negotiations for a number of months and that producing a plan should not undermine that process. This is not the first time that I have said that; I have said it repeatedly…. I do… accept that there is a level of detail and of confidential issues and tactics that should not be disclosed, and I have never said otherwise”

Seems he has changed his mind.

Tory MPs and ministers are livid with John Bercow’s role in Labour’s Brexit games. A senior Whitehall source says it was Bercow who first told Starmer about the possibility of using a humble address motion (an arcane parliamentary procedure explained here) to force the government to reveal the papers: “It wouldn’t be happening without him“. Tory MPs are asking why the impartial Commons Speaker, who had a “Bollocks to Brexit” sticker in his car and publicly backed Remain, has been actively coming up with ideas to help Labour’s attempts to undermine Brexit. Bercow’s behaviour on this is riling Tory MPs as much as any of the other revelations about the Speaker over the last few weeks…

Starmer Joins Orchestrated Remainer Attempt to Keep Us in Single Market

Back in March, Guido revealed the existence of a draft press release that showed Keir Starmer was working with Brussels to change Labour’s policy to staying in a customs union.[…] Read the rest

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Boris as Hulk…

‘Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them. Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.’

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