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UPDATE 1-UK's Labour will try to amend Brexit deal legislation

Yahoo World News Feed - October 20, 2019 - 2:34am

Britain's opposition Labour Party will try to amend legislation to ratify Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, the party's finance spokesman John McDonnell said on Sunday. "We'll be moving amendments and see whether or not we can get some form of agreement through the House of Commons that's then acceptable," McDonnell told Sky News, citing issues Labour wants to see included such as protection of workers' rights. McDonnell said Johnson's decision to send an unsigned letter to the EU requesting a delay to Brexit as well as another note in which he explained that he did not want a "deeply corrosive" extension could put him in contempt of court.

Brexit delay and election better than PM Johnson's deal - Farage

Yahoo World News Feed - October 20, 2019 - 2:05am

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said on Sunday a short delay to Brexit in order to hold a national election would be better than accepting Prime Minister Boris Johnson's deal. "I want to leave on the 31 of October, but I'll warn everybody that if this treaty goes through nothing will have changed at all, and I think far better to have a short delay and a general election where we might solve this," Farage told Sky News, adding that Johnson's deal was "rotten" and "not Brexit".

Defense chief: US troops leaving Syria to go to western Iraq

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 9:29pm

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq and the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent its resurgence. Speaking to reporters traveling with him to the Middle East, Esper did not rule out the idea that U.S. forces would conduct counterterrorism missions from Iraq into Syria. Esper said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.

British PM sends unsigned letter seeking Brexit delay

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 7:31pm

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reluctantly wrote to Brussels late Saturday asking for a Brexit extension after MPs voted to force him into seeking a delay beyond October 31. The Conservative leader also sent a second signed letter insisting he was not seeking an extension to the Brexit deadline, which has already been postponed twice. In a day of high drama in the House of Commons, MPs declined to give their backing to the revised withdrawal agreement Johnson struck with the EU this week until the legislation needed to ratify it has passed.

UPDATE 5-Brexit will happen on Oct. 31 despite PM's unsigned delay request, UK says

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 5:21pm

The British government insisted on Sunday the country will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 despite a letter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced by parliament to send to the bloc requesting a Brexit delay. The Brexit maelstrom has spun wildly in the past week between the possibility of an orderly exit on Oct. 31 with a deal that Johnson struck on Thursday and a delay after he was forced to ask for an extension late on Saturday. Johnson's defeat in the British parliament over the sequencing of the ratification of his deal exposed the prime minister to a law passed by those opposed to a no deal departure, demanding he request a delay until Jan. 31.

Johnson Asks EU for Brexit Delay, But Hopes He Won’t Need It

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 4:29pm

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson sent the letter to Brussels he never wanted to send.Bound by a law passed by opposition Members of Parliament, he formally asked the European Union to delay Brexit until Jan. 31, but made it clear he’d rather there was no extension. European Council President Donald Tusk said he’ll start consulting EU leaders on how to react, which may take a few days. A unanimous vote is required to grant an extension.According to a Downing Street official, the government sent three letters in total to the EU -- the Benn Act extension, as stipulated in law, but which the PM didn’t personally sign; a cover note from Tim Barrow, Britain’s envoy to the EU; and a letter signed by the PM arguing that further delay is a mistake. Johnson also pledged to Parliament his desire to push on with plans to leave the bloc by his Oct. 31 deadline.“A further extension would damage the interests of the U.K. and our EU partners, and the relationship between us,” Johnson said in the signed letter to Tusk. “We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase.”After Saturday’s defeat in Parliament, the prime minister never got his chance to see if MPs would support the deal he brought back from Brussels. He now plans to push through the legislation in less than two weeks. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill could begin its journey as soon as Tuesday, after Johnson makes another attempt on Monday to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal, making the extension unnecessary.After 3 1/2 years of political turmoil triggered by the referendum, Britain’s departure from the bloc is still not completely baked in. Hundreds of thousands of pro-EU demonstrators gathered around Westminster while MPs were debating in the House of Commons.Possible outcomes range from delaying Brexit -- allowing time for a general election or a second referendum on leaving -- to a battle in court, or a chaotic and economically damaging departure from the bloc without a deal. But if Johnson succeeds with his latest gambit, he’ll be able to meet his month-end deadline and push for an election.Based on how MPs voted Saturday -- the government lost by 16 -- and their comments during the debate, Johnson might still have a chance. It could come down to a single vote.Johnson’s key problem could lie in wooing back his allies in the Democratic Unionist Party. Their 10 votes made the difference between defeat and victory.They had supported Johnson until this week, when he signed a Brexit deal that creates a customs border in the Irish Sea -- a concession designed to secure Ireland and the EU’s support for the agreement. The DUP angrily denounced that during the debate.The day saw Conservative MPs, both current and almost all those he expelled last month, saying they would vote with him, as well as a small number of Labour MPs. If he can hold that coalition together for two weeks, he might have a chance.Hours after the vote, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear the deal had been negotiated and that further delay in Britain’s departure was “in no one’s interest.”(Adds quote from Johnson’s letter in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Tim Ross in Brussels at;Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Harris at, James Ludden, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Boris Johnson Has His Campaign Slogan Ready

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 4:28pm

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- There was very nearly a bedtime Brexit tale that went something like this: And so, finally, the porridge was just right, Parliament ate up Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and then, satisfied, went to bed. The End.Of course, lawmakers didn’t eat up and this interminable story isn’t over. Saturday’s parliamentary session instead served up another helping of thin gruel to those British voters who just want the whole thing resolved. Rather than the prime minister getting a vote on his 11th-hour agreement with Brussels, one he may possibly have won, he could only watch as lawmakers passed an amendment giving them more time to scrutinize the deal before passing it. Johnson might yet win the day; he’s planning another push on Monday to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his EU agreement. Yet one can hardly begrudge the House of Commons for wanting a closer look at legislation that will inflict such profound and historic changes on the U.K.At the same time, the delay meant Johnson by law had to write to the EU on Saturday night to ask for a three-month extension to Britain’s Oct. 31 official departure date, a demand that was enforced by Parliament if he couldn’t get its backing by Oct. 19. He didn’t sign the letter and sent a separate one saying an extension would be a mistake. However, most indications are that the EU will almost certainly grant an extension rather than see the U.K. crash out.There was a danger that if Johnson’s deal had passed on Saturday but the followup legislation was rejected, a no-deal Brexit would have happened by default on Halloween. Taking that unhappy prospect off the table would be a noble and useful thing in itself.The amendment from the independent, formerly Conservative, lawmaker Oliver Letwin said the Johnson deal could be approved only if the implementing legislation — called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill — passes too. Letwin supports the Johnson deal and wasn’t trying to derail it (even if many of the amendment’s backers were); but given this government’s willingness to gamble with a no-deal exit, and the fact that a number of Conservative MPs would be happy with that outcome, he wasn’t taking any chances.While implementing legislation usually takes between 10 and 40 days, it might be done more quickly this time if there’s political support. It will also need agreement from the House of Lords, where the government doesn’t control the timetable. Johnson said he would press on with a potential “meaningful vote” on Monday and it’s possible the Withdrawal Agreement Bill could be introduced as early as Tuesday. But it will be up to the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, who has so often spoiled the government’s attempts to force through Brexit, to rule on what’s permissible.Saturday’s setback certainly doesn’t kill Johnson’s deal. It had much more support than his predecessor Theresa May’s attempt, and more than the alternative options of a no-deal Brexit, revoking Brexit altogether or a second referendum. It also, crucially, has momentum.Johnson’s gamble was that enough lawmakers could be shooed onto the bandwagon Saturday before the real forensics began. That this didn’t happen is in large part because his slash-and-burn strategy — where he first threatened a no-deal exit and then offered once unthinkable concessions to Brussels to get a deal over the line — has also undermined trust. The deal conjured success by pulling the rug out from under Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, a key Conservative ally.Whereas Johnson, May and many Tory Brexiters had sworn never to support an arrangement that put a customs border between the U.K. mainland and Northern Ireland, the new deal effectively does that. The DUP are furious about something that ties Northern Ireland closer to the EU and separates it from the rest of the U.K., an affront that was made worse by the party’s failure to secure a veto on the new arrangements.If Johnson had kept the support of the DUP, the Letwin amendment wouldn’t have passed on Saturday, and he will no doubt be seeking ways to bring Arlene Foster’s party back into the tent.Meanwhile, the government will surely try to use the legislative process to woo holdout MPs with concessions, although opponents will try to attach amendments, such as a confirmatory referendum to put any agreed deal back to the British public. Johnson’s last-minute breakthrough with Brussels blindsided both the opposition Labour Party, whose own Brexit policy is a shambles, and the centrist Liberal Democrats, which wants to cancel Brexit. They will relish any chance to make sweeping changes as the legislation goes through Parliament.The EU may decide to offer Johnson a conditional extension to the Oct. 31 date, which would come into force only if he fails to get the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament by then. If he can’t manage it, an extension looks inevitable, followed by either a general election or possibly another referendum to try to break the impasse, though the extra time needed to organize the latter would worry Brussels.Clearly a deal is Johnson’s preferred choice, but if Parliament won’t comply, his election campaign is ready. Anticipated slogan: Get Brexit Done, With My Deal.(Updates paragraph four to include news that Boris Johnson has sent the letter requesting a Brexit extension.)To contact the author of this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael writes editorials on European politics and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

UK PM sends unsigned letter to EU asking for Brexit delay

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 4:11pm

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday requesting a delay to Brexit but he also sent another message in which he stated he did not want the extension, a government source said. Johnson was compelled by a law, passed by opponents last month, to ask the bloc for an extension to the current Brexit deadline of Oct. 31 until Jan. 31 after lawmakers thwarted his attempt to pass his EU divorce deal earlier on Saturday.

UPDATE 1-EU's Tusk gets British request for third Brexit extension

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 3:34pm

The chairman of European Union leaders Donald Tusk said on Saturday he received a request from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for an extension of the Brexit deadline of Oct. 31, as required by the British parliament. "The extension request has just arrived. Johnson asked Tusk to delay the deadline for Britain's exit from the European Union until the end of January 2020, as envisaged by the Benn Act passed by the British parliament.

UK PM Johnson sends photocopied letter to EU asking for Brexit delay - S.Times

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 3:06pm

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday asking for a Brexit delay and sent another message in which he said he did not want an extension, the Sunday Times reported.

Russian Media Cheers Trump’s Moves in Syria: ‘Putin Won the Lottery!’

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 2:28pm

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyPresident Trump has boasted he’s “getting a lot of praise” for his abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds—America’s longstanding allies—to Turkey’s incursion. On the home front, the controversial move has been met with criticism on both sides of the political aisle, but the reaction in Moscow was far from mixed. As Trump uncorked chaos in the Middle East, champagne tops were likely popping at the Kremlin.“Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East,” raved Mikhail Rostovsky in his article for the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. “Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again...What Washington got out of this strange move is completely unclear. To the contrary, what Moscow gained from this is self-evident...Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.”  Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. “All of this benefits the Russian Federation,” Yusin marveled. “You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.”“This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. “Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!” Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: “Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.” Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: “This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!”The U.S. Spoiled a Deal That Might Have Saved the Kurds, Former Top Official Says“It’s been a long time since America has been humiliated this way,” gloated political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, “They ran away in shame! I can’t recall such a scenario since Vietnam.” He added: “For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.” Political scientist Andrey Nikulin concurred: “This is sad for America. A smaller-scale version of what happened in Vietnam.”Appearing on the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, political analyst Evgeny Satanovsky recounted many ways in which Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and abandon the Kurds has hurt the image and standing of the United States: “America betrayed everyone...Trump also strengthened the anti-American mood in Turkey, when he promised to destroy the Turkish economy.” Satanovsky opined that now any economic problems or currency fluctuations in Turkey can be blamed directly on the United States, prompting textile, tobacco, steel and other industries to turn away from America. “Anti-Americanism in Turkey is off the charts,” Satanovsky pointed out, “American politics are tangled in their own shoelaces... America is successfully self-eliminating from the region.”The timing also struck the Russians as incredibly fortuitous and inexplicable. “They lost their only chance to remove [Syrian President] Bashar Assad,” exclaimed Russian lawmaker Oleg Morozov, appearing on 60 Minutes, “They were only half a step away!”     President Trump’s primitive letter to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also delighted the Russians. Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s 60 Minutes, sarcastically pointed out that President Trump seems to be unfamiliar with even the most basic manners: “We should send a message to the American president: ‘Don’t call people names. Don’t fight. Don’t pick your nose. It’s nasty and unacceptable.’” Host Evgeny Popov said that the Turkish president threw Trump’s letter in the trash and remarked: “But who wouldn’t? The only thing missing was for Trump to call Erdoğan ‘dude.’” For his part, President Erdoğan said he “cannot forget” the letter in question and ominously promised that Turkey would “do what’s necessary” concerning the letter “when the time comes.”Discussing the exchanges between President Trump and President Erdoğan, Leonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States affairs, commented: “I don’t care that those two clowns write such letters to each other. You can only pity them. Is it better for us that the Americans left Syria? Of course it is! Will we make deals with Erdoğan? Of course we will.”   Pence Just Ratified All of Turkey’s War Aims in SyriaPundits all over the Russian state media pondered out loud about the merits of Trump’s self-proclaimed “infinite wisdom” of pulling the U.S. forces out of northern and eastern Syria, concluding that the decision was an enormous blow to America’s standing, undermining its current and potential alliances. On the other hand, Turkey is delighted with the outcome. Vice President Mike Pence gave Erdoğan everything the Turkish side has been attempting to achieve, in exchange for a promised five-day pause in the offensive. A Turkish official told Middle East Eye, “We got exactly what we wanted out of the meeting.” At the conclusion of the five-day pause, Erdoğan will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.Appearing on 60 Minutes, Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security, declared that Russia will take full advantage of America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, becoming a top player in the region. Klintsevich argued that America’s withdrawal from Syria represented Russia’s “global victory” and “demonstrated the absolute superiority of Russia’s arms, diplomacy and foreign policy.”During the same show, political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak was overcome with gratitude: “I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health—and another term. This is a great situation for Russia...We can practically sit back and reap the dividends from what others are doing...Meanwhile, Trump is yet to make a single good deal, which is why I wish him good health, may he flourish and get re-elected...Trump is a great candidate. I applaud him...For America, this isn’t a very good president.”To the contrary—for Russia, Trump’s presidency is a gift that keeps on giving. The Kremlin’s propagandists see no acceptable alternative to Trump amongst any viable presidential candidates in the United States. Complaining about prevailing anti-Russian attitudes, Vladimir Soloviev—host of the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev—sarcastically surmised: “So it looks like we’ll have to elect your president—again.”  Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Egypt: 4 killed when shells hit 2 houses in north Sinai

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 2:27pm

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian security officials and medics say shells hit two houses in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least four civilians, including a child. Last week, nine people of the same family were killed and six wounded when a shell hit a truck carrying civilians in the town of Bir al-Abd. Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an Islamist president in 2013.

UPDATE 1-EU sick of Brexit, but likely to grant an extension

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 1:52pm

European Union chiefs are so fed up of Brexit that when they clinched a new divorce deal with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week they did not want to entertain the need to delay Britain's departure beyond Oct. 31. After a call between Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk on Saturday evening, an EU official made clear, however, that the bloc would not rush. "Tusk will on that basis start consulting EU leaders on how to react.

Kenya, Somalia Say Aid Will Keep Flowing Despite Border Dispute

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 1:48pm

(Bloomberg) -- The finance ministers of Kenya and Somalia insist that a maritime-border dispute between the two nations won’t stop the cross-border flow of humanitarian aid and trade.The dispute about ownership of a 150,000 square-kilometer (58,000 square-mile) area off their Indian Ocean coastline has not caused any hostility between the two nations, Somalia Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh and Kenya’s acting Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani told reporters. They spoke on Saturday at a press conference during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington D.C. The maritime area in question is said to be rich in oil, gas and tuna fish. In 2014, Somalia went to court to challenge a 2009 agreement that set its maritime border along latitudinal lines extending 450 nautical miles into the sea. The United Nations International Court of Justice this week granted Kenya’s request for a postponement and the case is now scheduled for June.While Kenya has called for a negotiated settlement for the dispute, Beileh and Yatani both said their governments would abide by the ruling of court.As East Africa’s biggest economy Kenya has been a base for many organizations providing aid to Somalia, one of the world’s poorest countries, as it recovers from the aftermath of two decades of civil war. More than 250,000 Somali refugees and asylum-seekers are staying in Kenya, according to data from the UN Refugee Agency.Kenya has been giving support “in terms of managing the humanitarian crisis,” Yatani said. “We have a duty of care as a brother.”To contact the reporter on this story: Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Benjamin Harvey at, Sarah McGregorFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Dutch PM Rutte: spoke with UK's Johnson, wished him success in 'next steps'

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 1:41pm

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Saturday he had spoken with Boris Johnson after parliament forced the British prime minister to seek a further delay to Brexit before it votes on the new divorce deal. "We discussed the situation around Brexit," Rutte said in a statement. Rutte said the two leaders have agreed to keep in close contact.

Israelis rally in support of woman imprisoned in Russia

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 12:51pm

About 200 Israelis are demonstrating in Tel Aviv in solidarity with an Israeli woman imprisoned in Russia on drug charges. Naama Issachar, 26, was arrested in Moscow airport in April on her way to Israel from India. Israeli officials consider the sentence excessive and have indicated that Russia is using the case as leverage to press for the release of a suspected Russian hacker held by Israel.

EU's Tusk says spoke to PM Johnson, awaits Brexit delay request

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 12:47pm

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Saturday evening he spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and was now awaiting a letter with a request to delay Brexit again. "Waiting for the letter," Tusk said on Twitter after Johnson lost a crucial vote on Brexit in the British parliament earlier in the day.

Thousands in Germany, France protest Turkish push into Syria

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 12:27pm

Thousands of people in the German city of Cologne and in the French capital demonstrated Saturday against Turkey's offensive in northern Syria. Cologne city authorities said around 10,000 people took part in marches organized by left-wing groups. In Paris, more than 1,000 gathered at the Place de la Republique to denounce Turkey's actions.

Johnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the Votes

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 11:38am

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson was defeated in Parliament on Oct. 19. But analyzing that vote, and the comments that members of parliament made in the run-up, suggests that the prime minister still has a chance of getting his Brexit deal done.MPs voted by 322 to 306 to force Johnson to seek an extension -- an insurance policy against a no-deal Brexit if there’s still no agreement by Oct. 31. It deprived Johnson of the chance to test whether there’s support for his deal before pushing the full legislation through parliament.He needs to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. It looks like he has 62, based on what lawmakers said and did both in the debate before today’s vote and during it. Here’s our tally of how many look like they’ll support his deal.Now for the health warning. This analysis is necessarily imprecise: MPs can and do change their minds. Some are keeping their cards close to their chest.Here’s how the numbers break down:Johnson’s Target: 320Once non-voting MPs are accounted for, Johnson needs 320 MPs on his side to win any vote in the House of Commons.May’s Baseline: 259The last time Theresa May tried to get her deal through, in March, she had the support of 279 Conservatives. They are mostly likely to back a Johnson deal too, but there are some problems.Johnson expelled a group of MPs from the party in September after they backed legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. They were joined by Amber Rudd, who resigned in sympathy. Also out of the party is Nick Boles, who quit the Conservatives earlier this year in frustration at the Brexit deadlock.As a result there are question marks against 19 former Tories who previously backed May’s deal. On top of that number, one deal-backing Conservative, Chris Davies, lost his seat to a Liberal Democrat in a recall election.That leaves Johnson 61 votes short. Where can he go?‘Gaukeward Squad’: 19The expelled Tories, who take their name from former Justice Secretary David Gauke, are temperamentally loyalists -- some had never voted against their party before September. Many of them are looking for a way back in -- including Gauke.In Saturday’s vote, seven of the Gaukeward Squad went against Johnson, but almost all made it clear they were ready to back his deal. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond still seemed uncertain, but Johnson seems to have the vast bulk with him.Democratic Unionist Party: 10Johnson worked hard to try to keep Northern Ireland’s DUP engaged, but they have come out firmly against the new deal. They have deep reservations about anything that creates any kind of border between Britain and Northern Ireland, such as customs checks in the Irish Sea, and want a stronger consent mechanism that hands a greater say to the regional assembly.They seem to have failed in their efforts to persuade Tories to vote against the deal, but on Saturday, they inflicted defeat on Johnson by voting against him, and they look ready to do it again.The Spartans: 28The self-titled “Spartans” are Conservative MPs who refused to vote for May’s deal. They chose their name to recall the fearsome Ancient Greek warriors who held off a numerically superior Persian force at the Battle of Thermopylae.When Johnson became prime minister, the Spartans were adamant they opposed anything but the most minimal Brexit agreement. But in recent weeks they have begun to see the virtues of compromise. This is the result of the Benn Act, legislation that aims to prevent the U.K. leaving on Oct. 31 unless Johnson has reached a deal. It’s made the Spartans fear losing Brexit altogether.On Saturday, Johnson had the support of all of the Spartans, with their leader Steve Baker offering MPs assurances of their good intentions in an effort to boost support for Johnson. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all vote for his deal, but the prime minister should be reasonably confident he has their support as long as he doesn’t let his deal get rewritten.Labour: 31May pinned her hopes on winning the support of a significant minority of MPs from the opposition Labour Party who believe the 2016 referendum result must be honored. She struggled to get more than five to vote with her, but 15 who didn’t back her last time joined some who did in signing a letter this month urging the EU to do a deal. That might imply a commitment to actually vote for such an agreement.Against that is the fear of retribution from their party if they do so. Leader Jeremy Corbyn and his team sense that defeating Johnson’s deal is a key step on their route to beating him at an election. Others in the party see defeating a deal as essential to securing another referendum.A law unto herself is Kate Hoey, a fierce supporter of Brexit but also an MP with Northern Irish roots, who said she’ll oppose the deal. Since Johnson announced his deal, some Labour MPs who previously made pro-Brexit noises have started to come out of the woodwork, so we’ve increased the number of potential Labour votes by 10.Saturday saw six Labour MPs voting with Johnson, and three more abstaining. He needs more, but at least three more have promised to support his deal.Independents: 5Four independent MPs backed May’s deal in March. A fifth, John Woodcock, might also be tempted. He voted with Johnson on Saturday. But Sylvia Hermon, who backed May’s deal, represents a Northern Irish seat and is opposed to Johnson’s deal.Other MPs: 2Two possible supporters defy categorization. Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who is stepping down at the next election, represents a seat that voted to leave the EU and has been critical of his party’s anti-Brexit stance. On Saturday he said he was against Johnson’s deal. In better news for the prime minister, his brother Jo, an opponent of Brexit, voted with him on Saturday.The JokerIf it comes to a tie, Speaker John Bercow has a casting vote. It’s not clear how he would exercise it.(Updates throughout reflecting Oct. 19 vote.)\--With assistance from Kitty Donaldson and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, ;Heather Harris at, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Johnson’s Brexit Plan in Disarray as Lawmakers Force Delay

Yahoo World News Feed - October 19, 2019 - 10:29am

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans were again thrown into chaos after the U.K. parliament voted to take more time to scrutinize the deal the prime minister struck with the European Union this week, forcing him to seek the delay he vowed he never would.Without Parliament’s sign-off, Johnson is required by law to send a letter to Brussels on Saturday requesting that Brexit be delayed until Jan. 31 -- three months after his self-imposed deadline. At a rare Saturday sitting, lawmakers voted by 322 to 306 in favor of a rebel Tory’s proposal to withhold their approval for now.BrexitDeal. Boris Johnson will be forced to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 Afterwards, Johnson said that he will not negotiate a delay with the EU. His office refused to say what this meant, but, speaking earlier, the prime minister accepted that he would have to obey the law.“Whatever letters they may seek to force the government to write,” he told Parliament at the start of the day, “it cannot change my judgment that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.”The result prolongs the 3 1/2 years of political turmoil triggered by the referendum. The possible outcomes range from delaying Brexit -- allowing time for a general election or a second referendum on leaving -- to a battle in court, or a chaotic and economically damaging departure from the bloc without a deal in just 12 days.Johnson’s hopes of meeting his deadline of getting the U.K. out of the EU by the end of the month now rest on pushing the legislation that implements his deal through Parliament in less than two weeks. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill could begin its journey as soon as Tuesday. But, on Monday, Johnson will make another attempt to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal, making the extension unneccessary.BrexitDeal— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 The scale of Johnson’s defeat on Saturday, though, shows the problem he has created for himself by alienating his allies in the Democratic Unionist Party. Their 10 votes made the difference between defeat and victory.They had supported Johnson until this week, when he signed a Brexit deal that creates a customs border in the Irish Sea -- a concession designed to secure Ireland and the EU’s support for the agreement. The DUP angrily denounced that during the debate.Why Ireland’s Border Remains Brexit’s Sticking Point: QuickTakeWhen Johnson does try to push his deal through, the question will be, as it was on Saturday morning, whether he has the votes. The day saw Conservative MPs, both current and almost all those he expelled last month, saying they would vote with him, as well as a small number of Labour MPs. If he can hold that coalition together for two weeks, he might have a chance.Johnson could still try to circumvent the legislation forcing him to seek a delay, but he do so, he would be certain to face legal challenges that could end up in the U.K. Supreme Court.Assuming he concedes and sends the letter, an extension will require the unanimous agreement of EU leaders. The European Commission urged the British government to clarify its next steps.On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said one shouldn’t be granted. But Macron made similar noises before approving a Brexit delay in April. EU officials say it’s unlikely that he or any other leader would refuse another one, particularly if the U.K. was headed for a general election.On Saturday, the French presidency said in a statement: “Our message is clear: a deal has been negotiated. It is now up to the British parliament to say if it approves it or rejects it. An additional delay is in no one’s interest.”If attempts to avert a no-deal Brexit fail, the consequences for Britain are likely to be severe. According to the government’s own analysis, a no-deal Brexit would cause disruption to trade, financial services, and food supplies, and risk civil disorder.(Adds legislative path in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Greg Ritchie.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Edward Evans, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.