Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have failed to brand Donald Trump's tweets - telling American congresswoman to "go home" - as racist. 

In the final head-to-head debate between the two men vying to replace Theresa May in Downing Street, did, however, offer some of their strongest condemnation of the US president so far as transatlantic relations continue to sour.

Ex-foreign secretary Mr Johnson, the frontrunner in the contest, also faced anger after his essay on Islam was unearthed, arguing it had caused the Muslim world to be "literally centuries behind" the West.

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It comes as a new cross-party study of Brexit options warns Mr Johnson will be embarking on “a kamikaze act” that will force him out of No 10 if he tries to deliver Brexit without a fresh referendum.

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Boris Johnson will be embarking on “a kamikaze act” that will force him out of No 10 if he tries to deliver Brexit without a fresh referendum, a new cross-party study of his options warns.

All other possible routes out of the crisis – demanding a fresh deal from the EU, tweaking Theresa May’s failed deal, pursuing a no-deal Brexit, or a general election – are doomed to fail, it concludes.

The man poised to become prime minister next week would then be forced to suspend parliament, to force through a no-deal – but would be toppled immediately afterwards even if he succeeded, it argues.

 

Conservative leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have condemned Donald Trump's attack on a group of congresswomen - but neither would go as far as to call the comments racist.

It comes after Mr Trump prompted widespread fury and accusations of racism at the weekend for suggesting certain politicians should "go back" to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came".

In their strongest criticism of the US president to date, the leadership contenders agreed with Theresa May that Mr Trump's remarks were "completely unacceptable".

 

Boris Johnson has been accused of “promoting hatred” after penning an essay arguing Islam caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the West, writes deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

The frontrunner for No 10 claimed there was something about Islam that held back development in parts of the world, creating a “Muslim grievance” fuelling virtually every conflict.

“The more bitterness and confusion there has been, to the point where virtually every global flashpoint you can think of – from Bosnia to Palestine to Iraq to Kashmir – involves some sense of Muslim grievance,” Mr Johnson wrote, in 2006.

 

Former Conservative leader and foreign secretary, William Hague, has warned a general election will be needed if the frontrunner in the Tory contest, Boris Johnson, heads towards a no-deal Brexit. 
 
In his column for the Daily Telegraph, he writes the trouble with such an exit from the EU, "which any occupant of No 10 needs to think about very quickly, is that there is no majority, in parliament or the country, to do what would need doing".
 
He continued: "Such a majority would have to be mobilised and elected in a general election."
 
..."Many Conservatives believe that a failure to deliver Brexit is their biggest threat, and certainly that is a serious one. But delivering it without the power and authority to make the most of it would be the greatest calamity of all".
 
 
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This is from my colleague Lizzy Buchan, who is currently at People's Vote rally in central London. Ex-attorney general and senior Conservative MP Dominic Grieve has been asked about his future in the party under a Boris Johnson administration. 
 
 
 

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called the remarks from Donald Trump on four American congresswomen as racist - and also criticised both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt for failing to do so.

 

Over in the Labour Party, the senior peer Lord Harris has said Jeremy Corbyn was "not cut out" to be party leader.

The Labour Peers Group, which he chairs, has offered to investigate antisemitism in the party and recommend changes to the way the party deals with it.

On BBC Radio 4's Today Lord Harris said: "There's no question that in any organisation the moral tone that it sets, the style that it operates in is set from the top - that's what leadership is all about."

He said Mr Corbyn could have "reined back" some of his "more idiotic supporters" who were involved in intimidating members and making discriminatory comments and suggested the party leader should have also controlled members of his inner circle accused of interfering in disciplinary cases.

Far-right group Britain First has been fined £44,200 by the Electoral Commission for a series of breaches of electoral law, the organisation has just announced.
 
This is from the Electoral Commission, detailing the total fines - and reasons behind them:
 
  • Britain First failed to keep accurate financial records of its transactions in 2016. For breaking these rules, it received a fine of £11,000.
  • It also failed to provide quarterly donations reports for all quarters of 2016 and has been fined £7,700 for these offences. The Commission’s investigation found that around £200,000 worth of undeclared donations had been made to Britain First during 2016. These donations are yet to be reported to the Commission.
  • Britain First failed to have its 2016 statement of accounts audited by a qualified auditor, a legal requirement when parties have an annual income or expenditure over £250,000. It received a fine of £5,500 for this offence.
  • It failed to comply with a notice issued by the Commission that required it to provide information to us.  It received the maximum fine that the Commission can impose, £20,000, for this offence.
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Ursula von der Leyen, Strasbourg leaders’ next pick to be European Commission president, has said she would be open to a Brexit extension beyond 31 October, the current deadline, writes Europe Correspondent Jon Stone.

What does this mean? For a start, it’s not up to her – the 27 remaining EU leaders get to decide at a summit earlier that month. Her view does count for something, though she won’t be in her post until 1 November. If she was against an extension, it would make life quite difficult were leaders to approve one.

 

Dominic Grieve also told journalists that Mr Johnson's previous suggestion he could suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit would be a "disgraceful" move that would spell the end of democracy as we know it.

Mr Grieve said: "I would like to think it is an incredible suggestion, that it is astonishing that Boris Johnson hasn't just ruled it out.

"It is unconstitutional, it is anti-democratic, it would in fact be the end of our parliamentary democracy and it's something which hasn't been done in this fashion for such a purpose since the 17th century.

"It's a disgraceful suggestion and I hope very quickly that we will get an assurance that it's not going to happen if he becomes prime minister.

"But if he doesn't, as far as I'm concerned, that's one of the defining issues for me of my ability to give him any support at all."

Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan writes for the Indy on Donald Trump's remarks, 
 
"The essence of this is about the colour of one’s skin or where our parents were born. This should be irrelevant in politics today, but instead we are seeing it more and more, and accompanied by growing instances of hate crime.

"Trump’s comments on Twitter do nothing but help to encourage this appalling dog-whistle politics." she says.

 

Food and medicine shortages after a no-deal Brexit could trigger riots in prisons, ministers fear, writes deputy political editor Rob Merrick.

A leaked document warns of “severe consequences” and sets out the need for “a clear understanding of the ‘real’ operational impact” of crashing out of the EU.

The memo was withdrawn from the database of government contracts after the ministry of justice was alerted to its contents, which were not properly redacted by officials.

Phillip Lee, a Conservative MP and former justice minister, seized on the warning, saying: “It’s clear that no deal would be disastrous for our country.”

The supporter of the People’s Vote campaign added: “No one voted for unrest in prisons, shortages of food supplies or any of the other indignities that could result from a disastrous no deal."

 

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A senior Tory MP has compared Conservative grassroots members to the Taliban and warned that MPs are afraid to speak out over Brexit due to fears of being deselected, writes political correspondent Lizzy Buchan,

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, argued that there was Conservative support for a second referendum but some MPs were reluctant to act following confidence motions against several pro-EU Tories.

Speaking at an event in London, Mr Grieve said Boris Johnson had been "radicalised" over Brexit, leaving a Final Say referendum as the only credible option to thwart a disorderly exit from the EU in the autumn.

 

In other news, the culture secretary Jeremy Wright has refused to commit to adding cricket to the “crown jewel” list of live sport on free-to-air television.

It follows calls by MPs for the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes to be made available to a wider audience following England’s triumph against New Zealand at Lord’s.

 

"At one point, Johnson claimed the US farming industry would agree to regulate itself to keep Britain happy. he man is a joke." writes political sketch writer Tom Peck.
 
Michael Gove has today made an intervention in the Tory leadership race, saying of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt: "We can trust them both to the right thing on every critical issue."
 
"I know that both would be great prime ministers," Mr Gove said.
 
Here is the London Evening Standard's front page this afternoon.
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Sarah Champion has become the second Labour MP to say she could accept a no-deal Brexit instead of no Brexit at all.
 
"I want us to leave, the country wants us to leave and for our democracy I think we have to leave... so therefore if it came to it I would take no deal, because we have to leave."
 
Asked why she didn't vote for Theresa May's deal, the former frontbencher said there had been "many opportunities for Theresa May to guarantee workers' rights, environmental rights and equality rights" but, added: "It's poker isn't it, if I'm being completely honest. I hoped she would listen to what the Labour frontbench was saying and move, but she didn't."
 

Tory leadership hopefuls have come under fire over hard-line promises scrap the Irish backstop, which sent the pound plummeting amid growing concern about a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both stated they would axe the key part of Theresa May's Brexit plan, in a move that raises the risk of a disorderly exit from the EU on Halloween.

In the wake of the remarks, sterling plunged to a six-month low against the euro and approached two-year lows against the dollar on Tuesday.

 

EU leaders' pick to be the next European Commission president has said she wants to end countries' veto on foreign policy, writes Europe Correspondent Jon Stone.

The move, proposed by Ursula von der Leyen in a speech on Tuesday, would see EU positions on external affairs decided by a qualified majority vote instead of unanimously.

She argued that the change was needed so the EU could act fast on the world stage instead of taking time to find a consensus. 

 
Outside the world of Brexit, the government has announced that 16 and 17-year-olds could be banned from buying lottery tickets.
 
 
 
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