With less than four weeks to the Halloween Brexit deadline, Boris Johnson says there should be “no doubt” the only alternative to the Brexit proposals he will put to Brussels later is no-deal. Wrapping up his party’s UK conference this week in Manchester, the PM said his plan would be a “compromise by the UK”, but he hoped the EU would “understand that and compromise in their turn”. The European Commission said they will examine the proposals objectively. Taoiseach Leo Varadker told the Irish Parliament: “What we are hearing is not encouraging and would not be the basis for agreement.”
Also on the final day of the Tory party conference, Boris Johnson claimed that the SNP want to “bundle” Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street to secure a new independence referendum in 2020. The Prime Minister told the conference that the SNP may try to put the Labour leader in power to deliver fresh votes on independence and Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “open-minded” about replacing Mr Johnson with a caretaker Prime Minister. Mr Johnson said more referendums would cause “total national discord”.
The Lib Dems continue to maintain their hostility to any, even temporary, tenure at Downing Street for Jeremy Corbyn – and call for an immediate halt to Brexit in any form.
Yesterday in Westminster, the Prime Minister said he has made a “genuine attempt to bridge the chasm” in order to get a fresh Brexit deal with the EU. He told MPs his plan – which would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union – “represents a compromise”. Jeremy Corbyn criticised the “unrealistic and damaging proposals”.
Another week, another prorogation as the UK government confirms it plans to prorogue Parliament on Tuesday and hold a Queen’s Speech on 14 October. Boris Johnson’s last attempt to suspend Parliament in this way was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court. But the government needs to bring the current parliamentary session to an end, before it can hold a Queen’s Speech setting out its agenda for the next session.
The Scottish Government is considering proposals that would end planning permission requirements for developments that “radically help address climate change”. Developments such as electric vehicle charging stations or centres for generating local renewable energy could be automatically approved. The proposals also include measures to empower communities and local organisations to get involved in planning, as well as proposals to deliver more affordable homes in rural areas. Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Planning has a key role to play in addressing climate change and radically reducing our emissions. Removing red tape from some of the highest priority projects can be a big step towards our goal of a net-zero carbon future. These proposals mark a new way forward for planning in Scotland. Our health, wellbeing and prosperity can be affected by where we live so it is important we get it right”.
A former SNP MP who quit the party following an investigation into alleged mortgage fraud has been nominated as a candidate for the East Lothian seat. Michelle Thomson was reported to prosecutors regarding the alleged fraud after being elected as an MP in 2015. But in August 2017 the Crown Office confirmed there was insufficient evidence to launch criminal proceedings. Ms Thomson always denied any wrongdoing and re-joined the SNP last October.
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