Downing Street has launched a major investigation into alleged links between foreign governments and MPs behind the & # 39; Surrender Act & # 39; that could force Boris Johnson to postpone Brexit, The Mail can reveal on Sunday.
Sources said that No. 10 took the unprecedented action after officials received the information that MPs, including former cabinet minister Oliver Letwin, had received help drafting the bill from members of the French government and the European Union.
This newspaper also learned that rebel MPs have prepared plans for a second Act that would allow Commons Speaker John Bercow to bypass the prime minister if he cannot close a deal on October 31 to leave the EU.
The new law would allow Mr. Bercow to personally ask Brussels for a further delay on behalf of the Commons.
This newspaper has also learned that the rebel MPs have prepared plans for a second Act that would allow Commons Speaker John Bercow (photo) to bypass the prime minister if he cannot make a deal to leave the EU on October 31.
But last night no. 10 fell back, amid claims from older sources that Mr. Letwin (photo) had agreed the date of January 31 in the first Benn Act with figures at the French embassy in London
The rebels have even spoken of the use of legislation to give Bercow the power to appoint a new British Commissioner to the EU, with pro-Remain former Foreign Minister Amber Rudd being named as a candidate.
The Benn Act, adopted earlier this month and controversially the & # 39; Surrender Act & # 39; mentioned by No. 10, states that if Johnson fails to make a deal by the end of the next EU summit on October 18, he must write a letter to Brussels to postpone the UK's departure until January 31 – something that he says he will refuse.
Under the rebel plan, the Commons would sit on October 19 – the first Saturday session since the Falklands war in 1982 – to approve a new bill that gave Mr. Bercow the power to write the letter. A source from Commons said: & # 39; The rebels say that if Boris wants to play with nuclear weapons, they will do so & # 39 ;.
But last night no. 10 fell back in the midst of claims from higher sources that Mr. Letwin had agreed the date of January 31 in the first Benn law with figures at the French embassy in London.
Other members of the pro-Remain group – including former Chancellor Philip Hammond and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve – are suspected by Downing Street of assistance in drafting work by members of the European Commission.
Last night, a senior source No. 10 said: "The government is working on extensive research on Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Hilary Benn (who submitted the bill) and their involvement with foreign powers and the financing of their activities." Governments have good rules for drafting legislation, but nobody knows which organizations pull these strings.
& # 39; We will require all details of their personal communication with other states to be made public. The drafting of primary legislation in conjunction with foreign powers must be fully investigated. & # 39;
Other members of the pro-Remain group – including former Chancellor Philip Hammond and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve (photo) – are suspected by Downing Street of assistance in drafting work by members of the European Commission
However, No. 10 refused to discuss what evidence they had against the MPs or the exact scope of the probe.
A spokesperson for Mr Hammond said last night that & # 39; categorically not true & # 39; was that he had drafted legislation with the help of EU law. And Mr. Grieve rejected the allegations as & # 39; ridiculous & # 39; and added: & # 39; The tone of these statements comes across as the propaganda of a totalitarian state. & # 39;
The inflammatory developments came as:
- In an interview with this newspaper, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab promised the & # 39; sloppy & # 39; and & # 39; rickety & # 39; Surrender to thwart Bill;
- Boris Johnson arrived at the conservative party conference in Manchester with girlfriend Carrie Symonds, while his political opponents back in Westminster extended their conspiracy, with the Scottish nationalists calling for a vote of no confidence;
- The police investigated complaints about Brexit party leader Nigel Farage with the announcement that we are & # 39; taking the knife to the officials & # 39; after Brexit, but concluded that he had not committed a violation;
- No 10 strategists imagined whether Johnson could stay in power if he were forced by the courts to postpone Brexit – but MPs from Tory warned that he would be overthrown if he did;
- Jacob Rees-Mogg used an article in today's Mail on Sunday to collect the Tory troops, promising that a & # 39; golden age is waiting & # 39; after Brexit – if the party stops with & # 39; Bolshevik & # 39; Jeremy Corbyn to & # 39; Mess & # 39 ;;
- Downing Street enforcer Dominic Cummings said that Mr. Johnson would mimic US President Bill Clinton by flourishing in the face of scandal and political unrest;
- An exclusive MoS survey revealed that voters prefer a No Deal Brexit over a Corbyn government – including pro-Brexit Labor supporters;
- A pro-Corbyn activist tipped to win a selection for a safe Labor seat turned out to have made a despicable reproach on Mr. Johnson's mother;
- Details emerged about how Mr. Johnson's friend Jennifer Arcuri had arranged to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace;
- A leak of the top secret National Security Council reveals that Johnson is studying plans to get British children of Islamic State Hunters out of Syria, despite a gap in the cabinet.
Sources say the rebels' plans for & # 39; Surrender Act 2 & # 39; – as it was mentioned by Mr Cummings – contain a provision to thwart one of Mr Johnson's possible Brexit strategies.
The prime minister could have sabotaged the EU & # 39; & # 39; by failing to appoint a British Commissioner in the hope that Brussels would then throw the UK out of the union.
But the planned new law would give the Commons, in the form of Mr Bercow, the power to appoint a Commissioner directly. The names mentioned are among others Mrs. Rudd and former business secretary Greg Clark, another remnant.
A source said: & # 39; The Speaker is not part of the plot, but would do what the law of the country imposed on him.
He will obey Parliament's instructions. He does not expect what Parliament will do, but will do what Parliament wants him to do & # 39 ;.
Another source added that there was disagreement among the other MPs, with Mr Benn and Mr Grieve de Brexit wishing to postpone buying time to adopt legislation for a second referendum, while Mr Letwin wanted time to Deal.
Another source added that there was division among the other MPs, with Hilary Benn (pictured with Yvette Cooper) and Mr. Grieve Brexit wanting to postpone buying time to arrange a second referendum, while Mr. Letwin wanted time to reach a deal
When The Mail on Sunday Mr. Letwin approached last night about contact with foreign powers, he said: "I'm very sorry, I don't want to have a conversation about any of these things & # 39; – before the call ended.
In his interview with this newspaper, Raab hinted that EU legislation – ironically – can be used to veto the Benn law
He said: & # 39; The surrender law – which basically obliges us to move us to the most punitive conditions that Brussels could impose on us – is a sloppy piece of legislation. The way it was put together was pretty rickety. It didn't have the control you have with a bill. & # 39;
Mr Raab confirmed that Ministers examined whether they could apply EU legislation under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – which sets out the delayed departure date of Theresa May of 31 October – to circumvent the Benn law.
He said: & # 39; EU legislation has direct effect, which is one of the reasons why we are leaving.
& # 39; There are several pieces of legislation that come out. & # 39;
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