Boris Johnson is considering using next month’s Queen’s Speech vote to ram through a Brexit deal – in an ambitious attempt to face down Tory rebels and Labour MPs at the same time.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal Downing Street is studying plans to tie together a ‘huge domestic package’ with any new agreement that can be forged with Brussels – lining up the prospect of a major Commons showdown.
The move would be a high-stakes gamble for the Prime Minister, who as we reported last week has compared himself to the Incredible Hulk. Losing a Queen’s Speech vote has traditionally been a resignation issue and could lead to a General Election.
Mr Johnson flies to New York today to meet his European counterparts on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly currently under way. He is pictured in 10 Downing Street
The speech itself, during which the Government will set out its legislative agenda, is scheduled for October 14. Traditionally, it is followed by five days of Commons debate before a vote from MPs to back the measures.
That vote is pencilled in for October 21 – just days after a crunch meeting of EU leaders at which the Government will be pinning its hopes on securing a Brexit breakthrough.
If such a breakthrough is achieved, spending measures to try to convince MPs to support it would then be included before a vote ‘in the round’.
A Downing Street source said combining the measures was their ‘best hope’ of winning over hardline Brexiteers as well as Labour MPs who want to leave the EU with a deal.
In his two-day visit to America, Mr Johnson will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Johnson is pictured with Angela Merkel last month
‘If they vote this down, they are voting down Brexit,’ one powerful Downing Street figure said. ‘And they can explain why they did that to their constituents at an Election soon enough.’
The domestic policy blitz to be included in the Queen’s Speech will be previewed at the forthcoming Conservative Party conference.
Under the theme of the ‘people’s priorities’, a new Cabinet sub-committee chaired by Chancellor Sajid Javid will be set up to focus on domestic matters.
Ministers will be invited to present to the ‘star chamber’-style set-up for extra money from the Treasury for eye-catching domestic plans ahead of any Election.
The next few weeks are crucial to the prospects of the UK securing a deal. Mr Johnson flies to New York today to meet his European counterparts on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly currently under way.
The Mail on Sunday can also reveal that the PM’s chief of staff, Sir Eddie Lister, was sent on a secret negotiating mission to Dublin last week, and Mr Javid also used a visit to Ireland to ‘chip in’ on selling a compromise on the hated Irish border backstop.
In his two-day visit to America, Mr Johnson will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Senior EU officials including EC President Donald Tusk will also be involved.
The speech itself, during which the Government will set out its legislative agenda, is scheduled for October 14. Traditionally, it is followed by five days of Commons debate before a vote from MPs to back the measures
Mr Johnson is expected to seek help from his fellow leaders, asking them to rule out a Brexit extension if a deal is within ‘touching distance’ when they next meet at the EU Council on October 17.
The EU ruling out a further delay would allow Mr Johnson to sidestep legislation passed by MPs demanding that he beg Brussels for a another extension – a law he could also challenge in court.
In the run-up to the summit, the Government is preparing to make a major presentation to EU negotiators after the Tory conference which starts a week today.
Despite last week’s war of words in Luxembourg, and Brussels pouring cold water on Mr Johnson’s compromise plans in a damaging leak on Friday, Downing Street insists a deal can be done.
Last night a source said: ‘Merkel, Macron and others are telling the Commission that our ideas must be explored. We have made more progress in the last 55 days than the previous government made in two years.
‘We have won agreement to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement, which everyone said was impossible. We are now discussing serious alternatives to the backstop, which everyone said was impossible. There are no guarantees there will be an agreement but everyone said just a few months ago it would be impossible to discuss these ideas yet here we are.’
The move would be a high-stakes gamble for the Prime Minister, who as we reported last week has compared himself to the Incredible Hulk. Mr Johnson is pictured at the G7 summit last month [File photo]