Johnson Sets Tone for Election in Queen’s Speech: Brexit Update

Johnson Sets Tone for Election in Queen’s Speech: Brexit UpdateJohnson Sets Tone for Election in Queen’s Speech: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) — Queen Elizabeth II delivered a speech outlining the U.K. government’s program in Parliament as Boris Johnson laid the ground for a general election in which he aims to win public support for his Brexit strategy. The prime minister later repeatedly pledged to “get Brexit done” as he underlined the campaigning nature of the plans in his own speech to The House of Commons.

In Brussels, Brexit talks continued after European Union Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier said on Sunday that Johnson’s proposals to break the deadlock lack detail and risk leaving the single market vulnerable to fraud. Time is running short before Thursday’s crunch summit of EU leaders and the prime minister’s Oct. 31 deadline to deliver Brexit. The pound fell.

Key developments:

Queen Elizabeth II delivered a speech outlining Boris Johnson’s program for government ahead of a general election expected within weeksJohnson sets out campaign themes for next electionJohnson Stumbles in Bid for Brexit Deal as EU Demands AnswersPound Shaken Up by Positioning in Fear of Swift and Brutal Move

Opposition Parties Will Push For Second Referendum (7:35 p.m)

Opposition parties who met this afternoon decided to wait and see if Boris Johnson strikes a deal with the EU in the next 48 hours before making their next move, according to two people who were at the meeting.

The group, which consists of some Labour MPs, the Liberal Democrats, Wales’ Plaid Cyrmu, the Scottish National Party and Greens — alongside some former Conservatives — will then decide whether to seek a confirmatory public vote on a deal that the prime minister brings back as a price for allowing it to pass Parliament, the people said.

They expect Johnson would still need to seek a delay to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline even if he gets a deal, because it’s likely to be incomplete. The Benn Act passed last month by Parliament requires him to ask for a delay if he hasn’t got a deal approved by MPs by Oct. 19.

Finnish PM Says No Brexit Deal Before Summit (6:25 p.m.)

The prime minister of Finland — which currently has the rotating presidency of the EU — said he doesn’t think it’s possible for the bloc and the U.K. to agree on the terms of a Brexit deal in time for the summit of leaders that starts Thursday. The EU plans to decide on Wednesday whether there will be a deal for leaders to sign during the summit and has ruled out negotiating during the actual meeting of leaders.

“I think there is no time in a practical way and in a legal base to reach an agreement before the Council meeting, I think we need to have more time,”Antti Rinne told reporters in Helskini. “If there is a possibility to negotiate after the Council meeting, it would be so.”

SNP Westminster Leader Appeals For Calm (4:30 p.m.)

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader in the House of Commons, appealed for MPs to remain calm and use measured language as political tensions rise ahead of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Recalling the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox during the 2016 referendum campaign, Blackford called on leaders “to cool the temperature in this place” in what will be a series of “challenging” days. “Let’s show some responsibility, let’s show leadership in what is a time of crisis,” he said.

Blackford, who called for a general election, said Johnson’s plan to end freedom of movement and leave the EU single market and customs union after Brexit would lead to “economic catastrophe.”

PM Rules Out ‘Toxic’ Repeat Referendum (4 p.m.)

Johnson said delivering Brexit will give certainty to business and talked up the benefits for the U.K. that a split from the EU could bring.

“Brexit will bring all sorts of commercial, economic and humanitarian objectives,” Johnson told the House of Commons. “Let’s not wait, we can’t wait,” he added, ruling out any “pointless procrastination” proposed by opposition parties.

“If there could be one thing more divisive more toxic than the first referendum, it would be a second referendum,” he said. “Let’s get Brexit done.”

Johnson Sets Out Election Themes (3:30 p.m.)

Mindful that a general election could be called within weeks, and the broadcast clips the Conservatives will want to use on social media, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons “we aim to create a new age of opportunity for the whole country” and “let’s get Brexit done.”

He also promised a “high wage, low tax economy, with the highest environmental standards” and drew attention to the Tories’ spending pledges for the state-run National Health Service.

Corbyn Promises Public ‘Final Say’ on Brexit (3:10 p.m.)

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said he doesn’t trust the prime minister and will only facilitate a general election once a no-deal split from the EU is off the table. The Queen’s speech was a pointless exercise, he said.

“There’s never been such a farce as a government with a majority of minus 45 and a 100% record of defeat in the House of Commons setting out a legislative agenda they know can’t be delivered in this Parliament,” Corbyn said. For Labour to support an election, Johnson must “get an extension, take us away from the dangers of a no-deal,” he added.

Corbyn told MPs a Labour government would concentrate on tackling poverty, investing in public services and tackling inequality. It would also offer a vote for the U.K. public on Brexit, he said. “The only legitimate way to sort Brexit now is to let the people decide with the final say,” he said.

“We may only be weeks away from the first Queen’s speech of a Labour government,” he said. “Labour will put forward the most radical and people focused program of modern times.”

Johnson Makes Election Pitch in Queen’s Speech (11:30 a.m.)

Boris Johnson set out his ambitions for governing the U.K. with an outline plan for what he will do if he wins the general election that’s expected to be triggered within weeks.

The prime minister promised a focus on domestic issues if he can “get Brexit done,” as he used the pomp and ceremony of a speech to Parliament by Queen Elizabeth II to announce 26 draft government bills.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, has already dismissed Johnson’s use of the speech, in which the monarch outlines the government’s program, as a “cynical stunt.”

‘Sterling Euphoria Wearing Off’ (Earlier)

The pound pulled back from a three-month high and U.K. government bonds rallied as traders reassessed the prospect of the U.K. securing a Brexit deal this week.

Sterling dropped as much as 1.2% against the dollar after surging 3.8% during the previous two days amid optimism the two sides would reach an agreement to avoid a no-deal.

“After the best two-day rally in 10 years, sterling euphoria as regards the prospects of an imminent deal is wearing off,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of Group-of-10 currency strategy at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. “The prospects of a deal have dimmed from the extremes seen on Friday.”

Sinn Fein Say PM Said There’ll Be No Veto (Earlier)

Boris Johnson told Sinn Fein, the main nationalist party in Northern Ireland, that no single party would be allowed a veto on border arrangements under the proposals he has made to the EU, according to Mary Lou McDonald, the party’s president.

“I spoke with the Prime Minister yesterday lunchtime and I raised this issue with him in respect of a veto that might be afforded to Irish unionism, to the DUP in particular,” she told BBC radio. “He assured me, or sought to assure me, that there would be no vetoes afforded to anybody in this process. So I can only take him on his word on that matter.”

The Irish government and Sinn Fein are opposed to the Democratic Unionist Party being given a veto over future arrangements for the border in a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly.


Johnson Stumbles in Bid for Brexit Deal as EU Demands AnswersBrexit Cloud Hangs Over Energy Supplies From Dublin to Belfast

–With assistance from Charlotte Ryan, Ruth Carson and Jessica Shankleman.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at;Kitty Donaldson in London at;Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Thomas Penny, Caroline Alexander

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