Brexit: Boris Johnson denies his language incites violence – live news29 Settembre 2019 0 Di Luna Rossa
Rolling coverage of Tory conference in Manchester, as PM defends use of the term ‘surrender act’ and says ‘nothing to declare’ over Jennifer Arcuri
- PM ‘whipping up riot fears to avoid Brexit extension’
- Johnson makes £13bn hospital pledge
- Jennifer Arcuri: mystery £700,000 loan adds to pressure on PM
guarda il video: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/29/brexit-latest-news-tory-conference-boris-johnson-conservative-suggests-his-critics-had-eu-help-drafting-benn-act-to-stop-no-deal-live-new
Boris Johnson’s interview with Andrew Marr – Summary and analysis
Here are the main points from Boris Johnson’s interview.
- Boris Johnson rejected claims that the language he was using against his Brexit opponents would incite violence. (See 10.19am.)
- He said he was “sorry” if the Labour MP Paula Sherriff took his reply “humbug” in the Commons last week to refer to the concerns she was raising about the safety of MPs. That was not what he intended, he said. He explained:
My use of the word humbug was in the context of people trying to prevent me – us – from using the word ‘surrender’.
When Andrew Marr pointed out that Sherriff’s question was very specific, Johnson replied:
In that case, that was a total misunderstanding and that was wrong.
I can certainly say sorry for the misunderstanding, but my intention was to refuse to be crowded out from using the word ‘surrender’ to describe the Surrender Act.
You can read Sherriff’s question to Johnson in full here. It is easy to see why MPs did reasonably conclude the “humbug” comment was seen as a response to what she was saying about threats.
- Johnson said “of course” it would be possible for the UK to leave the EU without a Brexit deal on 31 October. Asked if this would be possible, despite the passing of the Benn Act, which says the PM has to request an extension if there has been no deal passed by 19 October and and no Commons vote for no deal, Johnson said “of course”. Marr asked:
Can we still leave the EU on October 31 without a deal?
Of course we can.
- Johnson dismissed suggestions that he might resign rather than request on article 50 extension. This would be one way of honouring his promise not to request an extension in the event of no deal being agreed. But, asked if he would do this, he replied:
I have undertaken to lead the party and my country at a difficult time, and I’m going to continue to do that. I believe it’s my responsibility to do that and I think that it’s our job to get Brexit done on October 31 and to move the country on.
- He refused to say whether he had asked another EU country to veto an article 50 extension as a means of ensuring the UK has to leave on 31 October. When asked if he had done this, he replied:
I’m not going to get into my discussions with any other EU head of state about the negotiations, because they are extremely interesting but they are also delicate.
Johnson also refused to comment on whether the government was planning various other strategies to get around the Benn Act: using EU law, using the Civil Contingencies Act or getting someone to submit the extension request on his behalf.
- Johnson claimed that other EU states did not want the UK to stay in. He said:
It is certainly true that other EU countries also don’t want this thing to keep dragging on. They don’t want the UK to remain in the EU, truculent and mutinous and in a limbo, and not wishing to co-operate in the way that they would like.
- He claimed there was a “good chance” of getting a Brexit deal. But he did not explain what it might entail.
- He described the supreme court ruling as “peculiar”, hinting it might lead to pressure for the court to change. He said:
I think that the judgment by the 11 justices was certainly novel and peculiar in the sense that they went against the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice in extending the remit of the court into what was, I think, obviously a political question.
The consequences of that decision are going to be working their way through for quite some time.
You are now already starting to see a backlash of people questioning the implications of that decision.
In the Sunday Telegraph this morning Johnson goes slightly further, hinting that there could be a case for having justices approved by parliament. See 9am. We are still a long way off from ministers saying the supreme court should contain an equal number of remain-voting and leave-voting judges, but Johnson’s comments, and the comments of Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general on this on Wednesday, suggest that in time the argument might gain traction.
- Johnson did not deny a Sunday Times report saying he has apologised to the Queen. Asked about this, he replied:“I’m not going to go into my conversations with Her Majesty.”
- He ruled out an electoral pact with the Brexit party. Asked about this, he said:
The Conservative party is the oldest, greatest political party in the world, it’s a big, broad church and we don’t do deals with other parties.
Presumably he was referring to electoral pacts, not deals. Only this decade the Conservative party has formed a coalition with one other party, and a confidence and supply agreement with another. (In the past it has formed electoral pacts too – for example, in 1918.)
- He rejected the suggestion that the claim he has announced plans to build 40 new hospitals is misleading. Asked about this, he replied:
There is a long-term infrastructure plan for 40 hospitals. There is going to be seed funding for all 40. Six are going to start immediately … that is all going ahead and I’m incredibly proud of that – but there are then 34 more that are coming down the track.
- He claimed that Labour’s plan to cut working hours announced last week would harm the poor. He said:
They’ve decided that they want a four-day [working] week which would hit the poorest.
Labour said last week it would try to bring the average number of hours worked per week down to 32 over a decade, without workers losing pay. Interestingly, there is some evidence that the public do not accept this claim and will believe what Johnson is saying about the plan. This is from a report in the Times (paywall) on Saturday which wrote up the findings of a focus group in Stoke featuring people who all voted Labour in 2015. It said:
Tony, who works at B&Q, was concerned the plan to cut the working week could put jobs at risk because it would increase costs to business. Sarah said that if she worked fewer hours she would get less pay, which she couldn’t afford.
No one thought the plan was a good idea but most thought it had been proposed simply to win their votes. “It’s unworkable,” said one. “It’s just idealistic nonsense, isn’t it? What Labour are trying to do is hit on the things that bother people. If you work in a school, Ofsted bothers you so they say they’ll get rid of it.”
Boris Johnson claims he had ‘no interest to declare’ in relation to dealings with Jennifer Arcuri
And this is what Boris Johnson said about the allegations about his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.
- Johnson claimed that he had no interest to declare in this case. The main allegations is that Arcuri’s company received a total of £11,500 in sponsorship from a mayoral organisation when she was a close friend of Johnson’s. She was also allowed to join two mayoral trade missions despite initially being told her firm did not qualify. Andrew Marr put it to Johnson that he was bound at mayor by a code of conduct saying he was not meant to take decisions to gain benefits for family or friends. Asked if he had declared his friendship with Arcuri, Johnson at first just said he was “very proud” of everything that he did as mayor and that “everything was done in accordance with the code … and everything was done with full propriety”. Asked why he did not declare this interest, he replied:
There was no interest to declare.
This could be significant because it puts pressure on Johnson to explain the full nature of his full relationship with Arcuri.
- Johnson claimed that the Arcuri allegations about him were politically motivated and driven by critics opposed to Brexit. Marr asked if Johnson was embarrassed by the story, saying Johnson did not look embarrassed. Johnson replied:
I tell you what I really think is going on. I really think that people can feel this country is approaching an important moment of choice, and we have to get on and we have to deliver Brexit, and I think that there is a large constituency, in parliament and elsewhere, who do want to frustrate that objective. And, rightly or wrongly, they see me as the person most likely to deliver that objective. And I’m going to get on and do it.
When Marr asked Johnson if he was saying this attack was politically motivated, Johnson replied:
I think you’ve got to be realistic if you’re in my position. You’ve got to expect a lot of shot and shell.
Johnson made this claim even though the original Arcuri story was broken by the Sunday Times, which backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum and which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose flagship tabloid paper, the Sun, is now one of the most fervent newspaper supporters of Johnson and his Brexit strategy.
Boris Johnson rejects claim his language incites violence, saying he has been ‘model of restraint’
Here is a summary of what Boris Johnson said about his use of language in the interview.
- Boris Johnson rejected claims that the language he was using against his Brexit opponents would incite violence. He was asked if he accepted what Amber Rudd, the former work and pensions secretary, said in an interview with the Evening Standard last week. Andrew Marr quoted Rudd as saying:
The sort of language I’m afraid we’ve seen more and more of coming out from Number 10 does incite violence … The casual approach to safety of MPs and their staff is immoral.
Johnson replied: “Well, obviously I don’t agree with Amber.” He repeatedly tried to justify the use of the term “surrender act” by referring to what the Benn Act does (see 9am for an explanation as to why his claims are misleading) and he defended politicians’ right to use military metaphors. He said:
I think you will find that the speeches of most politicians for centuries have been studded with the use of military metaphor.
When Marr put it to him that there was something dark and “very 1930s” about the Mail on Sunday splash (see 9am), which accuses Johnson’s critics of “collusion”, using a word used by a Number 10 source in a statement to the paper, Johnson said he did not agree with Marr’s description. But he accepted there was a need for people to calm down. He said:
I certainly think everybody should calm down.
Asked if that included him, he replied:
I think I’ve been a model of restraint.
Johnson says he will not bring back Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.
And that’s it. The interview is over.
I will post a summary soon.
Q: The headlines say you are promising 40 new hospitals. But it is only six, isn’t it?
Johnson said not accept that.
He criticises Labour, saying their plans for a four-day week would hit the poorest most.
- Johnson claims Labour’s plans to cut average working hours to 32 hours a week over a decade would hit the poorest most.
Johnson: there was ‘nothing to declare’ regarding links with Jennifer Arcuri
Q: As mayor of London you signed a declaration saying you would not take decisions to benefit family or friends. Did you declare your interest with Jennifer Arcuri?
Johnson says he did everything properly.
Q: Did you declare an interest?
Johnson says there was nothing to declare.
He criticises the current major, Sadiq Khan, saying he spends too much money on press officers.
He says there are people who want to frustrate Brexit. He says these people are attacking him because he is the person who wants to deliver Brexit.
You have got to expect “shock and shell”, he says.
- Johnson implies the criticism of him over his relationship with Jennifer Acruri is motivated by opposition to his stance on Brexit.
Johnson says the supreme court decision was extraordinary.
He says he thinks it will have long-lasting implications.
Johnson dismisses suggestions he might resign as alternative to seeking article 50 extension
Q: Would you resign and get someone else to request an extension?
Johnson implies he would not. He was elected to take this party forward, he says.
- Johnson dismisses suggestions he might resign as alternative to seeking article 50 extension.
Johnson refuses to say if he’s asked another EU leader to veto Brexit extension
Q: How would you get round the Benn Act. By using EU law?
Johnson says he will not discuss hypotheticals.
Q: What about using civil contingency powers? Or getting someone else to request the extension?
Johnson will not say.
Q: Have you asked another EU leader to veto an extension?
Johnson says he will not discuss his conversations with other EU leader.
- Johnson refuses to say if he has asked another EU leader to veto a Brexit extension.
Johnson claims there is ‘good chance’ of getting Brexit deal
Q: What are the chances of a no-deal Brexit?
Johnson says this has not been helped by the surrender act.
He says, if Brussels thinks Brexit will be delayed, they have less incentive to negotiate.
But he thinks there is a “good chance” of getting a deal, he says.
Johnson rules out electoral pact with Brexit party
Q: Would you ever do a deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party?
No, says Johnson. He says the Conservative party is the oldest and most successful party in the world. “It’s a big, broad church,” he says.
We don’t do deals with other parties.