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4 September 2019updated 23 Jun 2021 9:56am

Five things you need to know today: Labour will back election if no-deal Brexit is blocked

By New Statesman

Labour will vote for election if no-deal Brexit is “off the table”

Jeremy Corbyn has warned Boris Johnson that Labour will only vote for an early general election once parliament has prevented a no-deal Brexit. After the government was defeated by 328 to 301 votes on whether MPs should take control of the legislative agenda, Boris Johnson announced that he would table a motion seeking a snap contest. In the House of Commons, Corbyn told Johnson: “He wants to table a motion for a general election, fine. Get the bill through first in order to take no-deal off the table.” The move is designed to ensure that Johnson cannot schedule an election for after 31 October, the date the UK is due to leave the EU. Johnson removed the Conservative whip from 21 MPs, including Ken Clarke, Philip Hammond and Rory Stewart, who voted against the government, ensuring that they will be unable to stand as Tory candidates.

Javid to announce £2bn more for no deal preparations

Sajid Javid will today announce an additional £2bn to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, bringing the total spent on preparation since the EU referendum to £8.3bn. The Chancellor is due to unveil the funding as part of his 12-month spending round, which will cover departmental budgets for 2020-21. The Treasury said the extra £2bn would include funding for the Border Force, the Department for Transport and a possible UK replacement for the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system. After MPs voted to take control of the legislative agenda, Javid’s spending round may be downgraded to a written parliamentary statement owing to lack of time. 

Hong Kong economy in danger of recession 

Hong Kong’s economy is on the brink of recession after the US-China trade war and the city’s political crisis harmed activity. A business survey released on Wednesday warned of “the steepest deterioration in the health of the private sector since February 2009”, adding that business confidence had fallen to its lowest level on record. For the last three months, Hong Kong has witnessed mass pro-democracy protests originally sparked by an extradition bill which would have allowed individuals to be sent to mainland China for trial. 

Hurricane Dorian death toll rises to seven in “historic tragedy” 

At least seven people are confirmed to have died in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian devastated the island nation, Thousands of residents are without shelter, stranded by flooding and are likely to suffer shortages of food, water and medicine, the UN warned. “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy,” said the Bahamian prime minister, Hubert Minnis. “The devastation is unprecedented and extensive.” The storm hit Abaco island on Sunday as a category 5 hurricane with wind gusts of up to 220mph – making it the strongest Atlantic storm ever to make landfall. 

Heroin worth £120m seized in largest-ever UK haul

Heroin with a street value of £120m has been found concealed in towels and bathrobes on a container ship after it docked in Suffolk. The National Crime Agency said the haul, weighing nearly 1.3 tonnes, represented the largest ever seizure of the class A drug in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. After the drugs were removed, officers returned the container to the ship, which continued to Antwerp and docked in the Belgian port city. Dutch and Belgian police arrested four people as it was unloaded. 

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