SAJID JAVID claims the government has a secret plan to deliver Brexit — but he has refused to reveal what it is.
The chancellor insisted the strategy would allow Britain to leave the EU on October 31 as planned.
But he said it would be ‘madness’ to discuss what the plan involves while negotiations are ongoing.
There were claims yesterday that Boris Johnson had presented no new Brexit ideas to Brussels and was intent on defying MPs by leaving without a deal in place. But Mr Javid said that ‘couldn’t be further from the truth’.
He told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘There actually are new ideas, there are many new ideas. Anyone who understands how negotiation works knows you would not discuss those in public and put those in the public domain.
‘I am absolutely clear that we are working whole-heartedly, straining every sinew, to get a deal and the prime minister is personally putting in all the significant effort you would expect.
‘I do know there is a proposal and it would be madness to start talking about that in public.’
Mr Johnson suffered another blow when work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd quit at the weekend, after he had suffered a string of Commons defeats during a baptism of fire as PM.
He lost his majority, expelled 21 rebel Tory MPs and saw his own brother Jo quit the government.
Mr Javid vowed the prime minister would ‘obey the law’ after parliament backed a bill intended to force him to seek a Brexit delay if he failed to get a new deal approved by October 19.
But he also insisted ministers would be ‘sticking to our policy’ of leaving before November, adding: ‘You will have to wait and see what happens.’
The bill ruling out a no-deal Brexit on Halloween is expected to gain royal assent from the Queen today and pass into law. But reports have suggested the PM may try to find a loophole in it or ignore it altogether, in order to keep his ‘do or die’ promise of delivering Brexit with no further delay.
There are rumours that a string of Tory MPs, including attorney general Geoffrey Cox and the justice secretary Robert Buckland, could resign if Mr Johnson tries to break the law.
Mr Buckland tweeted: ‘Speculation about my future is wide of the mark. I fully support the prime minister and will continue to serve in his Cabinet. We have spoken over the past 24 hours regarding the importance of the Rule of Law, which I, as Lord Chancellor, have taken an oath to uphold.’
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the government would behave ‘lawfully’ but added on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘What we are going to do with that legislation is test very carefully what it does and doesn’t require, and that’s not only the lawful thing to do, I think it’s the responsible thing to do.’ Asked if the government had ‘actually put forward anything’, he replied: ‘We’ve been engaged in discussions.
‘What we’re slightly reticent about doing, given past experience, is putting pieces of paper which get leaked and rubbished by the other side.’ Meanwhile, Mr Javid refused to rule out an electoral alliance with the Brexit Party after Mr Marr asked him about it five times — saying only that the Tories ‘don’t need’ to form such a pact.
France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian suggested Brussels may take matters out of the UK’s hands by refusing another extension unless there is evidence of progress to resolve the Brexit impasse. The PM will meet Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Dublin today.
Here’s the deal if the PM defies MPs
THE prime minister could be sent to prison — in theory for the rest of his life — if he tries to defy the law over Brexit, it has been claimed.
Lawyers say there is a range of actions Boris Johnson could face if he ignored legislation requiring him to ask the EU to delay Brexit.
Advice from a team of leading QCs at Matrix Chambers states that the most straightforward way would be to take Mr Johnson to court to get an injunction demanding he obeys the law. If he doesn’t, then he will be found in contempt of court and could be sent to jail.
However, one of the QCs who provided the advice, Philippe Sands, told The Observer: ‘If the prime minister chooses not to comply… he will be subject to an action for contempt which could, as a matter of last resort, lead to imprisonment. But that has never happened and will not happen — he will comply or leave office. All other talk is bluster.’
Lord MacDonald, director of public prosecutions between 2003 and 2008, told Sky News that contempt of court would be the most likely legal action against the PM which could ‘find that person in prison’.
Ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption has also suggested that a judge could force another member of the government to ask the EU for an extension if the PM refuses.
David Allen Green, a legal commentator for the Financial Times, said Mr Johnson could be charged with misconduct in public office, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
But he said that Mr Johnson’s threat to break the law was ‘surely just bravado’, adding: ‘But if it [is] not bombast and bluster then all those involved had better get some jolly good lawyers.’