Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt held their only live TV debate on Tuesday—two weeks before the Conservative party chooses one of them as Britain’s next prime minister. Johnson, the clear frontrunner, remains adamant about leaving the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline and questioned Hunt’s ability to do so. Johnson refuses to rule out suspending Parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, the former Conservative prime minister, John Major, threatened to take Boris Johnson to court if he becomes prime minister and then seeks to prorogue Parliament, calling such a plan “utterly and totally unacceptable from any British parliamentarian or democrat.”
What will Parliament do? Ahead of the debates, British lawmakers voted narrowly to approve a measure—spearheaded by the Conservative former attorney general, Dominic Grieve—that would make such a suspension more difficult. The amendment passed in the House of Commons will complicate the next prime minister’s ability to suspend Parliament later this year. And in a major shift, the opposition Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, endorsed the idea of a second referendum on any Brexit deal (or no-deal exit) backed by the new prime minister. But he did not say what Labour’s Brexit position would be in the event of an early general election campaign—prompting critics to accuse him of further fence-sitting.
An Irish warning. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, called a no-deal Brexit “an ugly prospect” with extreme consequences. His comments came after the Irish government released a contingency plan identifying no deal as a “significant risk.” “It will put political relationships on this island under a great deal of strain,” Coveney said.
Diplomatic row. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has continued to lash out at the British Ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, on Twitter in response to the cables leaked earlier this week calling his administration “dysfunctional.” The snub could make other diplomats think twice before honestly assessing the administration, Robbie Gramer reports.