Brexit: Doubts cast over Irish Customs plan

Irish customs sign Image copyright AFP

Boris Johnson had barely settled into Downing Street, when a minister dismissed his approach to Brexit out of hand.

The EU would refuse to negotiate on the terms outlined by the prime minister which had been pitched at a level guaranteed to fail, according to the minister.

"We are heading to no deal and an election," the minister told me in late July. "The EU won't negotiate on those terms."

Perhaps a grumpy pro-European minister might have been tempted to take a swipe at Johnson within days of his appointment as prime minister.

But this was a veteran Brexiteer. The minister's assessment was clear: replacing the Northern Ireland backstop with less formal arrangements would never fly in Brussels.

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Brexit: Johnson's plan for a deal? Amend the backstop

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar Image copyright Getty Images

As the greatest showman in Downing Street since his hero Winston Churchill, Boris Johnson knows how to create a drama.

A prison cell is being lined up for the prime minister - if some of the wildest speculation about his Brexit strategy is true.

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Brexit: Scheme to block no deal 'could involve Queen'

Queen Elizabeth II Image copyright Getty Images

Senior Tories seeking to block a no-deal Brexit are examining a radical plan involving the Queen, Newsnight has learned.

Highly placed figures in the rebel group are so concerned that the next prime minister could ignore the will of parliament that they have discussed a scheme to ask the Queen to intervene.

Read full article Brexit: Scheme to block no deal 'could involve Queen'

Tory leadership contest: Next PM should 'turn on the spending taps'

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Media captionConservative MP Neil O'Brien talks to Newsnight ahead of his new report on future spending

The next Tory leader should "turn on the taps" to release an extra £190bn for spending increases and tax cuts, a former adviser to George Osborne has said.

In a break with a decade of austerity, Neil O'Brien calls for a "new era" in tax and spending to help less affluent households.

Read full article Tory leadership contest: Next PM should 'turn on the spending taps'

Liam Fox: Cabinet ‘argument’ over customs union

Liam Fox
Image caption Liam Fox has said he's facing an "argument" in cabinet to prevent Theresa May conceding a customs union to the Labour party

Liam Fox is to raise concerns in cabinet at the failure of his party to highlight the "totemic" issue of an independent trade policy in a nationwide leaflet for the European elections.

The international trade secretary confirmed that he is facing an "argument" in cabinet to prevent Theresa May conceding a customs union to the Labour party.

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Rudd: A no-deal PM would not command majority

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Media captionAmber Rudd tells Newsnight's Nick Watt the leadership contest "shouldn't be some Game of Thrones push for the Iron Throne".

The candidate who wins the Conservative leadership contest could fail to become prime minister if they back a no-deal Brexit, Amber Rudd has said.

The work and pensions secretary told BBC Newsnight "a no deal prime minister would not be able to command a majority in the House".

Read full article Rudd: A no-deal PM would not command majority

Jeremy Hunt: Tories may have to embrace no deal

Jeremy Hunt on Downing st Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has embarked upon a five-day five-nation tour of Africa

Jeremy Hunt's picture rich tour of Africa shows he will be a formidable candidate in the Conservative leadership contest.

Snapped taking the wheel of a Royal Marines rigid inflatable boat, he strikes the pose of a clear frontrunner among the cabinet contenders.

Read full article Jeremy Hunt: Tories may have to embrace no deal

Theresa May 'unlikely' to hold another Queen's speech

Queen Elizabeth queen's speech Image copyright Reuters

Theresa May has no plans to preside over another substantive Queen's speech, BBC Newsnight has learnt.

In a sign of how the prime minister believes her days in No 10 are numbered, Mrs May believes the next major Queen's speech should be left to her successor.

Read full article Theresa May 'unlikely' to hold another Queen's speech

Huawei leak row: PM advised to call in MI5 to investigate

Andrew Mitchell MP
Image caption Andrew Mitchell tells Newsnight security services may have to interview cabinet ministers sitting on the National Security Council

Theresa May has "no option" but to call in the security service MI5 to identify the source of a leak from the National Security Council, a founding member has said.

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell told Newsnight MI5 and the cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill may have to interview cabinet ministers who sit on the council.

Read full article Huawei leak row: PM advised to call in MI5 to investigate

EU moving against long Brexit delay

Michel Barnier Image copyright AFP
Image caption EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at a news conference after today's meeting on Article 50 in Brussels.

Opinion is hardening in the EU against a lengthy extension to Article 50, Newsnight has learned.

The EU is looking at making 22 May the definitive UK exit day with no further extension at that point, according to sources in Whitehall close to the talks.

Read full article EU moving against long Brexit delay