MPs Back Plan To Stop Boris Johnson Suspending Parliament To Force No-Deal Brexit

Arj Singh

MPs have passed a plan to block Boris Johnson from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. 

In a show of strength by anti-no deal forces, the Commons passed an amendment promoted by Labour’s Hilary Benn and Tory Alistair Burt by 315 votes to 274 - a majority of 41 - aimed at ensuring parliament sits during the run up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.

It toughens up proposals passed by the House of Lords on Wednesday, also aimed at stopping Johnson proroguing - essentially dissolving - parliament in the weeks before Halloween so MPs cannot pass laws to stop no-deal.

The Tory leadership frontrunner has promised to deliver Brexit “do or die” by October 31.

He has failed to rule out using prorogation to do so - a tactic which has been branded a “constitutional outrage”.

But the cross-party group of MPs and peers have now succeeded in getting their complicated plan to stop him doing that into British law.

Their amendments to the Northern Ireland (executive formation) bill will make the government publish progress reports on the almost unrelated matter of power-sharing talks to restore the government at Stormont.

Crucially they include the proviso that the reports would be accompanied by debates in Westminster in the weeks leading up to the Brexit deadline, meaning parliament must sit.

And the Benn/Burt plan strengthens it further by making the government recall the Commons for five days if it has already been suspended.

Those five days would give MPs and peers the opportunity to use parliamentary tactics to stop no deal or even bring down the government if necessary if Johnson is heading towards no deal on October 31.

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