Labour Introduce Latest Attempt to Block Full, ‘No Deal’ Brexit

Pro-European Union, (EU), anti-Brexit demonstrators wear masks featuring the EU flag outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on December 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

Labour is attempting to thwart a no-deal Brexit by tabling another cross-party motion to take control of proceedings in the House of Commons. They intend to use that power to block any chance of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

In normal circumstances, the government controls business in the House of Commons. However, Labour is proposing to table a cross-party motion on Wednesday which would give them control of parliamentary business for a day on June 25th, which would be used to pass votes effectively blocking plans for a no-deal scenario.

The cross-party motion has been signed by the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Change UK, the SNP and the co-leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas. One Conservative MP, Sir Oliver Letwin, who was behind the last attempt of this type, has also signed it.

It was thought that even some Conservative leadership contenders such as Rory Stewart may add their weight to the motion. Stewart initially indicated his support for the motion but later said that he would not be voting for it.

As it stands, the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31st with or without a deal. Several of the current Conservative leadership contenders have said that they would be willing to leave without a deal if necessary.

One such contender is frontrunner Boris Johnson who launched his leadership campaign today. He said that he would not delay the process whether there was a deal in place or not, adding that to “kick the can down the road” would mean disaster for the Conservatives at the next election. “Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket,” he added.

Another contender favouring leaving with or without a deal is environment secretary Michael Gove who said that “while I would prefer to leave the EU with a better deal, we must not rule out no deal. If ultimately it came to a choice between no deal and no Brexit, I would choose no deal.” Adding: “Labour’s plans to seize control of the business of the Commons must be resisted.”

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer said MPs “cannot be bystanders” while the next prime minister “tries to crash the UK out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people”.

“That’s why we are taking this latest measure to end the uncertainty and protect communities across the country,” he said.

Some Tory leadership contenders have even argued that parliament should be shut down — or prorogued — before October 31st in order to ensure there was not a delay to Brexit. Both former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and former Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey favour this approach; however, the move by Labour is a direct attempt to block such action.

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