Cabinet Brexiteer: ‘Taking No Deal Off Table a Thinly Veiled Attempt to Stop Brexit’


Cabinet Brexiteer and former Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom has denounced efforts to take a clean, No Deal Brexit “off the table” as a poorly disguised bid to stop Britain from leaving the EU at all.

“Taking No Deal off the table has been used as a thinly veiled attempt to stop Brexit — which conveniently overlooks the simple fact that no deal is the legal default,” argued Leadsom, who serves as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council in Theresa May’s Cabinet, in an article for the Sunday Times.

Leadsom warned against the ongoing plots by EU loyalists such as former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve, assisted by Remain-supporting Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow to allow MPs to wrest control of the parliamentary timetable from the executive in order to legislate against a No Deal exit, currently the legal default if a deal is not reached. The Cabinet minister said it was “a huge and concerning leap to allow MPs to supplant the Government’s elected right to govern.”

“I can understand the temptation to find procedural shortcuts that might lead to one preferred outcome or another… But using parliament in this way is as illusory as it is short-sighted, and an approach all responsible parliamentarians should avoid,” Leadsom insisted.

“When Government sets a policy and legislative agenda, Parliament scrutinises and holds it to account. In a world where Parliament itself is setting that agenda, who scrutinises and holds Parliament to account?” she asked.

It has been official Conservative Party policy that “no deal is better than a bad deal” since at least the 2017 snap election, and all of Theresa May’s ministers voted both to activate Article 50, the EU treaty mechanism beginning a member-states two-year countdown to departure, with a deal or without one. And while they also approved the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018 — which enshrined March 29th as exit day, again whether a deal is negotiated or not — not all of Mrs May’s Cabinet are sticking to the official line like Ms Leadsom.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip “Remainer Phil” Hammond has openly disparaged No Deal and told corporate bosses he believes MPs will block it, and Amber Rudd, sister of second referendum campaign chief Roland Rudd, has threatened as many as 40 ministers could resign if they are not given a free vote on blocking No Deal, and has not ruled out resigning herself.

How the British government could negotiate an advantageous deal with an EU if the only options on the table were accepting whatever deal the bloc offers or staying in it is yet to be explained.

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