BORIS Johnson has refused to stop calling the Brexit delay bill a “surrender” in a rallying cry to Tory MPs today.
The PM told Tories this morning he would carry on using the phrase – but stressed that MPs must be careful about what language they use to avoid inciting violence.
He’s repeatedly referred to the new law as the “Surrender Bill”, arguing it means the EU won’t give us a good deal as they think we’ll be forced to delay.
A No10 source said today: “If the question is ‘is he going to stop talking about the Surrender Bill’ the answer is ‘absolutely no he’s not’.”
It comes after the PM was attacked yesterday by MPs for suggesting that the best way to honour the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox was to get Brexit done.
He infuriated MPs by brushing off their concerns about his use of language in the Commons in more astonishing scenes.
This morning the PM’s spokesperson refused to apologise for his comments last night and the hurt it caused to the Cox family.
But they added: “The PM is very clear that whatever their views no MPs or anyone else in public life should face threats or intimidation.
“It’s completely unacceptable.”
They said Boris had “serious concerns” about the Brexit delay act and what it may force him to do.
“It would absolutely undermine our ability to negotiate properly in Brussels,” the PM’s spokesperson said.
This morning ex-Defence Secretary Penny came rushing to Boris’ defence, saying she was with him on the day Mrs Cox died – and no one can doubt how moved he was by it.
However, Boris’ strong words could come back to hurt him – as Labour MPs warned today it had put them off backing a future Brexit deal.
Labour’s Lisa Nandy said: “For those of us who do want to work cross-party to achieve a deal, this is making it much, much, more difficult.”
She accused him of “horrendous, divisive” language.
Even Boris’ sister Rachel Johnson said today his language was “tasteless”.
She told Sky News: “My brother is using words like ‘surrender’ and ‘capitulation’ as if the people standing in the way of the blessed will of the people, as defined by the 17.4 million votes in 2016, should be hung, drawn, quartered, tarred, and feathered.
“I think that is highly reprehensible.”
It comes after a Brexit minister suggested earlier that the bill which would force Boris to ask for another delay might not be completely watertight.
James Duddridge said this morning that the bill passed by MPs earlier this month to force him to go cap in hand to the EU if he doesn’t get a deal, was “not perfect”.
Boris has repeatedly insisted he won’t ask the EU for a third delay to our exit, and has vowed to leave the EU on October 31 no matter what.
“The bill is not perfect,” he said Parliament today – referring to a part of the bill known as the Stephen Kinnock amendment, which would bring back a version of Theresa May’s deal.
“The government believes (it) does have deficiencies and its effect is unclear,” he added.
“I thought the Government position was very, very clear.
“We don’t want to extend, we want a deal. That is our focus.
“The outcome this Government has always wanted is a deal with the European Union.”
He said the Government would “obey the law at every stage”.
Ministers admitting the bill is unclear and isn’t watertight could give the PM room to avoid asking for another delay – and allow him to fulfil his promise not to delay Brexit.
Last night the PM insisted that he would be able to obey the law but still leave as planned.
“We will respect the law and we will come out on October the 31st,” he told ITV’s Robert Peston.
But Boris refused to say exactly how he planned to do this.
No10 refused to reveal any details of their plan going forward, saying: “We’re not prepared to discuss this – the Government will obey the law but we’re not going into that at this point in time.”
MPs are openly speculating about how Boris can comply with the anti No Deal Brexit law but dodge an extension.
One told The Sun: “Boris could formally request an extension but then stress he won’t accept one – and essentially make life very difficult for the EU so they don’t even offer one.
“Or he could get Hungary or another EU member state to veto it.”
Later today the Government will put forward a motion to try and secure their conference recess, which starts on Sunday.
But they could be gearing up for a defeat as Labour have vowed to block Boris closing the Commons again after the damning Supreme Court ruling earlier this week.
What is the law that could force Boris to get a third delay?
THE Benn Bill – dubbed that because it was put forward by Labour MP Hillary Benn – requires the Government to either reach a deal – or gain Parliament’s approval for a no-deal Brexit by October 19.
If the Government does not do either by the October deadline, the legislation would then require the Prime Minister to write to the EU to request another extension.
The date for this extension, as suggested in the bill, would be 31 January 2020.
If the EU suggests another date then the legislation requires the Prime Minister to accept this – unless the Commons votes against the proposed date.
The bill includes the wording of the letter that the prime minister would have to write to the president of the European Council in his request for an extension.
If the EU proposes a different date, the PM will have two days to accept that offer.
But during this two-day period, MPs – not the government – will have the opportunity to reject the EU’s date.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
The PM will chair a political meeting of his cabinet later today, No10 said.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.