Jess Phillips says man arrested after trying to smash windows at her constituency office
Jess Phillips denies shouting at Boris Johnson as they passed during Commons vote
What will happen to Tory conference now Commons is sitting next week?
The Conservative party is expected to clarify later what impact the decision not to have a mini-recess next week will have on its party conference.
James Cleverly, the chairman, has already said it is not going to be cancelled. Political parties make a huge amount of money from their party conferences, because members and lobbyists have to pay to attend (you can see the Tory charges here - pdf) and so it was always going to go ahead, regardless of what the supreme court decided on prorogation.
But the timetable may have to be rearranged. Boris Johnson was due to speak around lunchtime on Wednesday. Now he will be due in the Commons at that point, for PMQs, and so his speech is likely to be moved. For him to boycott the Commons and send, say, Dominic Raab in his place as a PMQs stand-in would be grossly disrespectful to parliament - although, on those grounds, the idea might appeal to Dominic Cummings. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, has told MPs he expects Boris Johnson to be in the house on Wednesday (see 2.45pm), but in the current circumstances, that could easily change.
What is also not clear is whether or not the opposition, aka the “rebel alliance”, will try to seize control of the Commons timetable next week to pass more anti-no-deal Brexit legislation.
Yesterday Labour whips offered the government a non-aggression pact, saying that as long as the Commons sat on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they would be happy to debate non-contentious business (meaning there would be not need for a three-line whip, and most MPs would be able to go to Manchester). The conference is said to be worth £30m to the Manchester economy, and Labour did not want to take the blame for the city losing out. The government whips did not take up the offer, pushed for a recess instead, and lost the vote.
The business now tabled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (see 2.13pm) is non-contentious and in normal circumstances there would be no need for a three-line whip. But does the non-aggression offer still hold? Probably not. That offer was made before Boris Johnson spent three hours in the Commons disrespecting the memory of Jo Cox and using language seen as “inciting hatred towards MPs”. (See 10.50am.) As my colleague Rowena Mason reports, opposition parties are meeting now to discuss what they will do next week. There is no reason to think they won’t want to do all they can disrupt next week for the government.
If the opposition does try to use next week to pass emergency legislation to firm up the Benn Act, then the government will want its MPs in London on a three-line whip. If that is the case, the Tory conference can still go ahead, but a lot of fringe events might look a bit empty.
Valerie Vaz, the shadow leader of the Commons, asks whether Rees-Mogg can arrange for Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, to apologise to the Commons for calling it “dead”.
She says Rees-Mogg himself should also apologise to the doctor he criticised, David Nicholl.
She asks Rees-Mogg to explain why he reportedly called the supreme court judgment at cabinet a “constitutional coup”.
And she asks how long a prorogation would need to be before a Queen’s speech.
Rees-Mogg says he would not describe parliament as dead himself. He would describe it as addled, like the 1614 parliament.
He says he is happy to repeat the apology to Nicholl he has already given.
On the “constitutional coup” comment, Rees-Mogg says cabinet minutes are revealed after 30 years. He tells Vaz: “Just because newspapers print gossip from cabinet meetings does not make it fact.”
(Actually, the 30-year rule is becoming a 20-year rule.)
On prorogation, he says it does not take much time at all to get the Commons ready for the state opening of parliament. But quite a lot of changes have to be made in the Lords, he says. And he says before the ceremony the “unsightly barriers” outside the Houses of Parliament which are there for security purposes have to be removed.
Jacob Rees-Mogg's business statement to MPs
MPs vote down government motion for mini-recess next week during Tory conference
Rachel Johnson condemns her brother's language as 'very tasteless' and 'highly reprehensible'
Dismissing concerns that incendiary language can contribute to the culture leading to MPs getting death threats and Jo Cox being murdered as “humbug” (see 1.15pm) was probably the most provocative thing that Boris Johnson said last night. But another jaw-dropping moment came when he said: “The best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox, and indeed to bring this country together, would be, I think, to get Brexit done.”
Cox, of course, was passionately anti-Brexit. She was killed by a far-right terrorist motivated by hatred for people he referred to as “collaborators” and “traitors”.
Rachel Johnson, the prime minister’s sister, has joined those condemning the PM for his language, and on Sky she singled out this comment for particular criticism. She said:
I do think it was particularly tasteless for those grieving a mother, MP and friend to say the best way to honour her memory is to deliver the thing she and her family campaigned against. I think it was a very tasteless way of referring to the memory of a murdered MP, murdered by someone who said “Britain first”, of the far right tendency, which you could argue is being whipped up by this sort of language.
In an interview with Sky, Rachel Johnson also criticised her brother’s language generally.
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 17.4m votes in 2016 should be hung, drawn, quartered, tarred and feathered. I think that is highly reprehensible language to use.
Although close to her brother, Rachel Johnson has never agreed with him on Brexit. She voted remain, joined the Lib Dems after the referendum, and then switched to Change UK, who adopted her as a candidate during the European elections. Like all the Change UK candidates, she failed to get elected.