It is becoming increasingly clear that, should they not secure a Brexit deal with the EU by October 19, the Tories will have to comply with the provisions of the so-called Benn Act, swallow whatever pride they can muster, and apply for an Article 50 extension. That much has, despite the bravado and bluster, dawned on many of the press pack. But not all.
F'tanged it up again, eh Tom?
So it was that Tom Newton Dunn, the Sun’s non-bullying political editor, fetched up on BBC Politics Live this lunchtime to not only give his minority verdict, but also make a prize idiot of himself - as in, a bigger and more obvious prize idiot than at any other time that he has opened his North and South and inserted both Plates of Meat.
Stand-in host Vicki Young had put it to Newton Dunn that documents put before the Court of Session in Edinburgh, as part of a case brought by businessman Dale Vince, Jolyon Maugham QC, and Joanna Cherry MP, showed that alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson would act in accordance with the Act’s provisions.
But instead of addressing the question, The Great Man decided instead to shoot the messenger: the Tweet put before BBC viewers was from experienced court reporter James Doleman, who covered the Supreme Court hearings recently. He was one of those covering the Hacking Trial. He also covered the Contempt trial at the Old Bailey of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson.
Doleman had Tweeted “in submissions to a Scottish court, Boris Johnson says he will send a [Brexit] extension letter to Brussels if there is no deal by 19 October”. He knows his stuff. He is well familiar with both English and Scottish Law. But for Newton Dunn, most likely because Doleman has contributed to Byline Times, none of this mattered. His imperative was to put the boot in. This he proceeded to do.
Ms Young put it to him “This is quite significant, isn’t it? If Boris Johnson is saying he will send that letter … I got the impression this week at Tory Party conference that they are thinking they are going to have to do it … and wear the consequences”.
What say Newton Dunn to that? “Slightly help [?] falling on that Tweet. I know the chap who Tweeted it, he’s not a complete bona fide recognised journalist working for a national newspaper organisation, I would take that with a pinch of salt. I would be amazed, quite frankly, if [the PM] has committed, in a legal submission, that ‘I will send this letter’”.
Well, the submission made by the Government has been Tweeted out by Jolyon Maugham, and it says what Doleman said it said (you can see the wording in this post). The Tweeter known as Brexitshambles observed “Life comes at you fast when you work for a newspaper (?) that lies on an industrial scale for a living - Tom Newton Dunn of The S*N goes down in flames on live TV... ‘bona fide journalist’”.
As Julian and Sandy might have observed, not much bona in that. All that was left was for Mark Salad to give his apologies to the memory of John Betjeman as he concluded “Mr T. Newton Dunn, Mr T. Newton Dunn, Furnish'd and burnish'd by the lie-peddling Sun”.
The ghost of Cloughie has a message for Newton Dunn: “You’re a clown, young man”.
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