In Brief

Is the UK government facing a US-style shutdown?

MPs launch bid to avoid no-deal Brexit by rewriting crucial financial legislation

A cross-party group of senior MPs are attempting to avoid a no-deal Brexit by potentially triggering a government shutdown similar to that taking place in the US, according to reports.

The Sunday Times says MPs will today vote on two amendments to the Finance Bill that would “lead to a gridlock in Whitehall unless Theresa May wins approval from Parliament for a deal with Brussels”.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper and the Conservative’s Nicky Morgan are leading a group of select committee leaders who have tabled a motion that would make Government spending on no-deal measures illegal without Parliament’s consent. 

“Our amendment would block some of the Treasury’s no-deal powers unless Parliament has explicitly voted for no deal or unless the Government has requested an extension of Article 50,” Cooper said. “We’ll be looking to table similar safeguards to all government legislation.”

The move comes after 209 MPs signed a cross-party letter delivered to May this weekend that urged her to “agree a mechanism that would ensure a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could not take place”.

The second amendment to the Finance Bill, which enacts the Budget, was tabled by Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and would prevent the Treasury from collecting key taxes unless Parliament approves a plan before the UK quits the bloc, Sky News reports.

Supporters of the amendments include Conservative MPs Oliver Letwin, Nick Boles and Sarah Wollaston, as well as Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit Select Committee.

The motions “could starve the Government of cash and create a Donald Trump-style shutdown”, says Sky’s chief political correspondent, Jon Craig.

Two unnamed members of the PM’s team have admitted that the rebellion could lead to “total paralysis” of the top level of government, according to The Sunday Times.

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