Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen
Here are two stories about splits in the Conservative party around today that are worth flagging up.
Scores of Tory MPs oppose the idea and some are considering running on a softer individual Brexit platform or even standing aside as a Conservative candidate.
One minister predicted that “at least 50 colleagues could not back no-deal, including several in the cabinet”. Another said: “So much depends on the language but for me there has to be at least a nod to getting a deal.”
The key dividing line is between the Vote Leave grouping which sees leaving the EU as the end goal and is willing to achieve it by any means necessary, and a group of advisers led by Lister who see Johnson’s administration as a long-term project beyond Brexit, multiple government sources told BuzzFeed News.
The Cummings faction — which crucially retains the support of the prime minister and forms his inner circle — is determined to secure an election and produce a hardline pitch to Leave voters which seeks to nullify Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and blame the EU for the breakdown in negotiations, if it cannot agree a deal with Brussels or keep the PM’s promise to deliver Brexit by October 31.
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Jeremy Corbyn has said the opposition might try to legislate again to ensure that Boris Johnson complies with the Benn act requiring him to request a Brexit extension in the event of no deal. Responding to the news that Johnson intends to hold a sitting of parliament on Saturday 19 October, Corbyn said:
The prime minister has an opportunity on the 19th to announce that he has obeyed the law, signed the letter, and sent it off to Brussels to ask for the extension which will give us time to work out a sensible relationship with Europe.
The idea that the prime minister will break the law yet again is something that needs to be borne in mind here.
A caretaker government would be one appointed on the basis that the government has collapsed and the leader of the opposition is invited to form an administration.
When this government collapses I will accept that invitation and form an administration solely for the purposes of preventing a crash-out.