Brexit: MPs to launch fresh bid to stop Boris Johnson forcing through no-deal exit

Dominic Grieve leads attempt to stop next government proroguing parliament so MPs cannot block no deal

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 08 July 2019 08:35
Dominic Grieve warns Boris Johnson will not 'survive very long' if he pursues a 'crash-out' Brexit, because fellow Tories will bring him down

MPs will launch a fresh bid later on Monday to stop the next prime minister forcing through a no-deal Brexit without parliament's consent.

The move, orchestrated by Tory rebel Dominic Grieve, is designed to stop the government suspending parliament as a way of preventing MPs from blocking attempts to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

It would make it a legal requirement for a government minister to make a statement in the House of Commons in October on the issue of Northern Ireland.

If passed, it would become unlawful for parliament to be suspended at that time, meaning there would be at least one day in October when MPs would be able to try to block no deal.

The amendment will be tabled to a government bill that seeks to delay elections to the Stormont devolved assembly until 21 October to allow more time for talks aimed at restoring power-sharing.

Mr Grieve told the BBC: "We're going to have, in the course of the next 24 hours, an important bill on Northern Ireland.

"Northern Ireland and Brexit go rather closely together.

"The chances are, if Brexit goes through - a no-deal Brexit - it is going to be the end of Northern Ireland's union with the United Kingdom, with serious political consequences flowing from it.

"That's a bill that is a perfectly legitimate place to start looking at how one might make sure no-deal Brexits are fully debated before they take place."

Some pro-Brexit MPs have suggested that parliament could be prorogued in order to stop the House of Commons blocking a no-deal exit.

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to become prime minister, has repeatedly refused to rule this out as an option, although he has said it would not be his preferred course of action. His rival, Jeremy Hunt, has ruled out prorogation.

The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on 31 October. Mr Johnson has said he would stick to this deadline whatever the circumstances, while Mr Hunt has said he would be willing to seek a short extension if it would allow time for a new Brexit deal to be agreed.

Some MPs are using the Northern Ireland Bill to advance other causes. Labour MP Conor McGinn has tabled an amendment that would lead to the ban on abortion in the province being lifted if power-sharing at Stormont has not been restored by 21 October.

It will be for John Bercow, the Commons speaker, to decide which amendments are debated and voted on.

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