Cross-party MPs ready to unite to block no-deal Brexit
Amendment to be voted on next week could tie the hands of the next prime minister
MPs are preparing to set aside party differences and shut down the government if Theresa May’s replacement defies the Commons and tries to take Britain out of the European Union without a deal.
In a move backed by Dominic Grieve, the former Tory attorney-general, and Dame Margaret Beckett, the former Labour foreign secretary, the Commons will vote next week on a plan to prohibit government spending in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
MPs approve government expenditure twice a year. The amendment to be voted on next Tuesday, would force a future prime minister to secure approval from the Commons for a no-deal Brexit or face the shutdown of large sections of the public sector.
Therefore, points out The Times, if the plan was a success, “it would deny the government funds to pay for key elements of public spending including schools, welfare benefits and international aid” and would therefore “bind the hands” of whoever is elected as Tory party leader next month.
Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race, has claimed the chances of a no-deal Brexit are a “million-to-one against”, but has nevertheless pledged to take the UK out of the EU by 31 October whether or not he has managed to strike a new agreement, reports The Guardian.
He told a hustings: “It is absolutely vital that we prepare for a no-deal Brexit if we are going to get a deal. But I don’t think that is where we are going to end up – I think it is a million-to-one against – but it is vital that we prepare.”
His rival Jeremy Hunt has called the October date a “fake deadline” and warned that a general election could be triggered if Parliament rejects a no-deal Brexit. He said: “I will leave the European Union without a deal. But I’m not going to do that if there’s a prospect of a better deal, and if I did it it would be with a heavy heart because businesses up and down the country would face a lot of destruction.”
Up to 20 Tory MPs could be ready to block a no-deal, according to reports. Last moth, ten Conservatives, including former ministers Kenneth Clarke, Justine Greening, Sir Oliver Letwin and Dame Caroline Spelman, voted with the majority of Labour MPs to oppose no deal but the attempt was rejected.
A senior minister has told iNews that at least ten more Tories would now vote against a no-deal Brexit in the autumn. The new wave of rebels could include Cabinet ministers such as Philip Hammond, Greg Clark and David Gauke who are expected to lose their jobs in a Johnson government.