Juncker Slams Tory Pledges to Renegotiate Deal: Brexit Update

Alex Morales, Kitty Donaldson and Robert Hutton
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Juncker Slams Tory Pledges to Renegotiate Deal: Brexit Update

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A record field of 10 British Conservatives are fighting to replace Theresa May as prime minister, with Brexit the dominant issue. Many are pledging to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, though the European Union again ruled that out on Tuesday. May warned ministers her successor will face the same parliamentary block on leaving the EU without a deal as she did.

How the Tory Rivals for PM Reckon They Can Fix Brexit

Key Developments:

Pro-Brexit caucus backed Johnson in an informal vote late MondayHancock urges Johnson to face public scrutinyJavid releases video presenting himself as the unity candidateLeadsom says she’d work with Labour on phase two of BrexitCiti says Brexit won’t happen by Oct. 31, whoever is prime ministerThe pound rose

Hunt Warns Tory MPs of Election Disaster (6 p.m.)

Jeremy Hunt’s pitch to his colleagues was to warn them that they are in “grave peril” and will risk losing their jobs if the next prime minister fails to get a better deal out of the European Union before the Oct. 31 deadline.

“If we get to October 31st with the EU blocking a better deal and Parliament blocking no deal, we’ll be close to an election from which many colleagues in this room would not come back,” Hunt said, according to details released by his campaign.

He emphasized his record in business as an entrepreneur and as a reformer of the health service in government.

“I have spent my whole life negotiating -- and the Brexit negotiations are tough,” he said. But “having talked to European leaders, I know there is a better deal,” he said.

Javid Pitches Himself as ‘The Outsider’ to MPs (6 p.m.)

Home Secretary Sajid Javid told his fellow Tories that he was the “outsider’’ candidate, according to supporter Robert Halfon. He talked about the importance of education policy, and insisted he would stick to the Brexit date of Oct. 31. His main point was that the party needed to refresh its public image and that, as the son of Pakistani immigrants, he was well-placed to do that.

“It’s not just the message, but the messenger,’’ Javid said, according to his office.

Stewart: Rivals Telling ‘Fairy Stories’ on Brexit (5:30 p.m.)

True to the esoteric nature of his leadership bid, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart has chosen a circus tent on the south bank of the River Thames as the venue for his official campaign launch. He’s spent the past couple of weeks speaking to voters in the streets, putting videos of his interactions on Twitter under the hashtag #RoryWalks.

Stewart said the country stands at a “crossroads,” facing a choice over Brexit. “The choice on the one hand of fairy story and on the other hand of the energy of prudence, of seriousness, of realism.”

He then went on to address the “great prancing elephant in the room of this big circus tent” -- a reference, he said, not to leadership favorite Boris Johnson, but to a no-deal Brexit. That idea, he said, represents “no to Europe, it’s no to trade, it’s no to Parliament, it’s no to reality.”

Tories ‘Realistic’ About Delaying Brexit: Harper (5.15 p.m.)

Mark Harper has finished addressing Conservative members of Parliament, and said he found them in “a realistic frame of mind’’ and receptive to his argument that leaving the European Union by Oct. 31 was close to impossible.

“Promising it and failing to deliver will put rocket boosters under the Brexit Party,’’ Harper told reporters outside the room. He said he was confident of making it through the next round of voting, and hinted some of his colleagues might be lying about where their support was: “It’s a secret ballot.’’

Ireland Warns U.K. Not to Miscalculate Again (5 p.m.)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned U.K. lawmakers not to assume that because they have blocked Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Britain will automatically win a better accord. “That is a terrible political miscalculation, and I hope that’s not the one that is being made across the water,” Varadkar said in parliament in Dublin. “That really misunderstands how the EU works.”

Juncker Says Brexit Deal Can’t Be Reopened (4:55 p.m.)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the next U.K. leader should drop any idea of reopening the Brexit deal the European Union struck with Theresa May’s government. “It has to be respected by whomsoever will be the next British prime minister,” Juncker told a Politico event in Brussels.

Hunt Tells Tories to ‘Come Together’ on Brexit (4:30 p.m.)

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Tories the only way to deliver Brexit is by “coming together,” according to key backer Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt. Another supporter, Conservative lawmaker Philip Dunne, said Hunt wants to reduce business taxes to boost the economy, and pledged to stay in the race to the end to ensure grassroots members get a vote.

Raab: Brexit Requires ‘Steely Determination’ (4:25 p.m.)

Leadership contender Dominic Raab also appeared at the hustings, telling Tory MPs he was the right leader to take Britain out of the EU. “This isn’t the moment for foghorn diplomacy, this is the moment for calm, steely determination,” he said. He also said the Conservative Party needs to appeal to aspirant voters keen to get on the housing ladder, and repeated his pledge to cut income tax.

Gove Promises MPs Will Draft Policy (4 p.m.)

At the candidates’ hustings, Environment Secretary Michael Gove told Tory MPs they would be his new “policy unit,” according to a campaign spokesman. “Everyone here will be involved in shaping policy,” Gove said.

He emphasized his credentials as an experienced campaigner with a record as an assured media performer. Gove said he would never dodge TV debates in a general election the way Theresa May did during the ill-fated 2017 campaign that lost the party its majority in Parliament.

Gove Backer Says Campaign Is ‘All Systems Go’ (3:45 pm)

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, a key backer of Environment Secretary Michael Gove for the leadership, said it’s now “all systems go” after he was forced to spend the weekend tackling revelations he’d taken cocaine at several parties two decades ago.

Gove was the first candidate to address the key 1922 committee of rank-and Tory lawmakers in a series of leadership hustings. According to Morgan, Gove promised not to drop out before the end of the contest, after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond asked him to commit to staying the course. In 2016, Andrea Leadsom’s decision to stand aside allowed Theresa May to become leader without it going to a ballot of grassroots Tory members.

Gove also pledged to appeal to Liberal Democrats, to women and to younger voters with a strong message on the environment, Morgan said, in an effort to broaden support for the Conservative Party.

Labour Leads Attempt to Head Off No-Deal (3:30 p.m.)

The main opposition Labour Party will join forces with the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats and rebel Tories in Parliament on Wednesday to try to take control of the agenda in the House of Commons on June 25, so they can pass legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

A proposed motion, backed by Conservative lawmaker Oliver Letwin alongside the three main opposition parties, would allow them to bring legislation to stop a no-deal Brexit and block plans by some of the Tory leadership contenders to suspend Parliament to prevent lawmakers from getting in their way.

“The debate on Brexit in the Tory leadership contest has descended into the disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless,’’ Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said in a statement. “MPs cannot be bystanders while the next Tory prime minister tries to crash the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people.’’

Leadsom Would Dare MPs to Block Her Brexit Plan (3 p.m.)

Andrea Leadsom set out how she’d stop Parliament from trying to block her Brexit plan: She’d dare lawmakers not to. Her strategy for what she calls a “managed Brexit” -- no deal, but with some unilateral measures to mitigate the impact -- requires some legislation to be passed by Parliament.

Asked by journalists on Tuesday how she’d stop members of Parliament from amending bills to stop the U.K. leaving without a deal on Oct. 31, Leadsom said she’d drop any bill that was so amended.

May Says Next PM to Face Same Brexit Impasse (1:20 p.m.)

Prime Minister Theresa May warned ministers that her successor will face the same parliamentary block on a no-deal Brexit as she did, according to an official familiar with her comments at the so-called political Cabinet on Tuesday, which excludes civil servants.

Harper Takes Aim at Johnson Tax Cuts (11:30 a.m.)

Mark Harper, the self-declared underdog in the race to succeed May, criticized Boris Johnson’s plan to reduce taxes for high earners. “I want to cut taxes, but I want to focus our tax cuts on people at the bottom of the scale. I don’t think we should be promising more money to higher-rate tax payers.”

Harper, a former chief whip, also said it would not be possible to get a deal through the House of Commons with Labour support -- beyond a handful of MPs -- as the main opposition party’s lawmakers cannot be relied on to give their backing.

“A deal with the Labour Party is never going to happen,” he said. “We have to get this done on our benches, with our DUP colleagues,” he said, referring to the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party which props up the government.

Harper Says He’s Prepared to Leave With No Deal (10:45 a.m.)

Tory leadership outsider Mark Harper laid out his Brexit stance at a campaign event in London. A no-deal Brexit “is only credible if the government has strained every sinew to get a deal,” he said, adding that made it “not credible” to leave the European Union on Oct. 31.

“I’m prepared and comfortable about leaving without a deal,” he said. “My preference is to leave with a deal because I think that’s better for the country.” Harper also said he regards direct talks with the Irish government as crucial to finding an agreement that can work with both the EU and Parliament.

“We need to show our European counterparts a bit of stick and a bit of carrot,” he said, adding that Tory candidates who have been in the Cabinet must accept responsibility for the failure to deliver Brexit.

“If they have a magic plan, why didn’t they think of speaking up in the last three years?” he asked.

No-Deal Brexit Will Have Losers, Leadsom Says (10:15 a.m.)

Andrea Leadsom said that a no-deal Brexit would create winners and losers, but emphasized it’s not the outcome she’s proposing -- she uses the term “managed exit.”

“It is absolutely clear that in a no-deal Brexit, there would be winners and losers in our economy, there would be an element of short-term disruption,” Leadsom said. “It’s also absolutely clear that ramping up preparations for no-deal by the end of October, combined with putting in place sensible measures, we can absolutely minimize the disruption.”

Leadsom: Leaving in October a ‘Hard Red Line’ (10 a.m.)

Andrea Leadsom, the last member of Theresa May’s Cabinet to quit before the prime minister announced her own resignation, made her pitch for the job on Tuesday, promising “decisive and compassionate leadership.”

Leadsom’s Brexit strategy is for a so-called managed no-deal on Oct. 31, essentially taking the least controversial parts of May’s withdrawal deal -- including the guaranteed rights for EU citizens in the U.K. -- and strike a series of mini-deals to ease the impact. It’s an idea the bloc has repeatedly rejected. She said leaving the EU by the end of October was a “hard red line,” notably adding that she doesn’t think Parliament has the ability to block it.

Leadsom also promised to “recognize the climate emergency” and committed to low taxes -- which outside of Brexit is becoming the dominant theme of this leadership contest. She proposed a cross-party commission to find a solution to the growing cost of providing social care to Britain’s aging population.

Javid: Tories Must ‘Look Like Change’ (9:30 a.m.)

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, whose campaign has gone under the radar relative to his rivals, released a slick video on social media. Heavily featuring his family, Javid visits his childhood home in Bristol, describes his Pakistani parents as “workaholics” and argues he is the face of the future.

“These are incredibly challenging times. The country feels very divided,” Javid says in the video. “We need leadership, we need someone who can help heal the country and bring people together.”

With only one mention of Brexit -- that he’ll deliver it -- Javid portrays himself as the Tory face of the future: “If we’re going to win the next general election, we need to look like change.”

Davidson Backs Javid as Next Tory Leader (8:40 a.m.)

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson confirmed she’s backing Sajid Javid to be the next Tory leader and prime minister, telling ITV the home secretary “tells a story about modern Britain that I want to see.”

The U.K. is “nearing a political crisis” and Javid will help restore competency to government, Davidson said, pointing to his championing of public services including education and the police. She made no comment when asked about Javid’s rivals, Boris Johnson in particular.

Hancock Would Put Brexit Plan to Quick Vote (8:30 a.m.)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, a candidate to replace Theresa May, said he’s proposing a time limit to the contentious Irish backstop and would put his Brexit plan to a vote in Parliament immediately to show the European Union it has lawmakers’ support, he told BBC radio on Tuesday. The bloc nearly proposed a time limit previously, he said, adding that making the change in the Brexit deal wouldn’t amount to reopening the agreement.

Hancock also called on his leadership rivals to face media scrutiny, after front-runner Boris Johnson faced criticism for his lack of public appearances.

“We have got to ask the question, why not?” Hancock said. “I’ve got nothing to hide and that’s why I’m here.”

Earlier:

Record Field of Tories Bid to Succeed May as U.K. LeaderHow the Tory Rivals for PM Reckon They Can Fix Brexit Boris Johnson Is Underpriced by Pound Traders: Marcus Ashworth

--With assistance from Andrew Atkinson, Thomas Penny, Jonathan Stearns, Peter Flanagan and Tim Ross.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma Ross-Thomas at erossthomas@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs

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