If MPs want to stop a no deal Brexit they must act now

Chris White says "if MPs want to hold a vote of no confidence, they are running out of time"

Chris White has said that any MPs who want to avoid a no-deal Brexit need to act now.

In a piece written for The Times, the former specialist adviser to William Hague has pointed out that there’s only about four weeks in which parliament will sit between now and Halloween, when Britain will officially leave the EU.

Now that Boris Johnson is our prime minister, he has promised that we will be leaving at the end of October, with or without a deal. Johnson will make a statement to the Commons this Thursday (25 July) setting out his Brexit plans.

This means any MPs who want to prevent a no-deal from happening must act fast.

There have been some attempts to stop a no deal from happening, Chris wrote, but these have involved ensuring parliament cannot be suspended. This resulted in the recent defeat on Northern Ireland’s Executive Bill.

In response, Chris said:

“This would only ensure that parliament would be recalled on incredibly specific terms, to debate unamendable motions on the status of the Northern Ireland executive that, without some curious interpretation of standing orders by the Speaker, could not be used to debate or change Brexit.”

Despite this, Britain will, by default, leave the EU with no deal if needs be on 31 October. This can only be changed if MPs can get Commons debating time to pass an act where government would have to seek an extension, or, as Chris said, it will “require a change of government”.

Chris describes how the leader of the opposition has been “curiously chary” on this latter point. A lot has changed since the vote of no confidence back in January, with MPs’ opposition, defection and by-elections meaning the majority has plummeted from 19 to just two.

The former adviser has worked out that a vote of no confidence would have to be held today according to the current timetable.

It is widely accepted that an election will take place on 24 October, just before Brexit. This means a vote of no confidence would need to happen on 3 September, the first day back after summer recess. It would therefore need to be tabled this Thursday 25 July.

“If MPs want to hold a vote of no confidence, they are running out of time and working to the wrong timetable,” Chris concluded. “The last date for tabling to guarantee a change of government is today, with the debate by convention held tomorrow.”

Sharing his opinion, he added:

“It would be extraordinary for a vote of no confidence to be held on the first full day of a new PM’s term of office, and I cannot see it happening.

“Instead, the leader of the opposition’s dithering will ensure that MPs seeking to block no deal are relying on the Speaker, and uncertain and untested procedural devices, to try and change the legal default.

“As we’ve seen from the past few weeks, that has not exactly been productive.”

You can read the full article here.

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6 Responses to “If MPs want to stop a no deal Brexit they must act now”

  1. nshgp

    Too late.

    1. Boris can plead no contest to the Tilbrook case. Then we are out.
    2. Boris can put a spending bill to parliament, demanding MPs take back control. 80-100 bn of annual spending cuts to pay for May’s deal. MPs will not vote for austerity, so its game over
    3. Boris can prorogue Parliament, it’s then game over.
    4. Boris has control over the party. He can kick out the remainers deselecting them for a GE.
    5. That leaves Boris and perhaps Farage doing a deal not to compete. 52% up for grabs with TBP/Tories. Then there’s a three way split for 48%. 16% each, when the opposition gets 52%
    FPTP means its a landslide.

  2. Patrick Newman

    Other than an explicit approval for a no-deal exit through a referendum any attempt to achieve this by stealth/default/trick will result in the biggest demonstration and civil disorder since the 2011 riots. Parliament will not allow prorogation. Anything that brushes aside the sovereignty of Parliament is nothing short of a coup which may force the involvement of the Queen. On the other hand, if I were Corbyn I would secretly wish that there is a hard Brexit which can be blamed on the Johnson and the Tories because in those circumstances the government will fall and Labour will cruise the election!

  3. steve

    Labour Remainers have said it’s all about ‘remain and reform’ but by backing the Right Wind Von Der Leyen for EU president the Labour MEP group have shown that reform isn’t as much as a pipe dream. Even the Greens had the good sense to vote against Von Der Leyen.

    With Von Der Leyen and La Garde (ECB) EU neoliberal policies are set to continue and, given their record, we should assume that’s exactly what the Blairites want.

  4. Ultraviolet

    The comments about Corbyn are utter bull.

    First, the Lib Dems and Change MPs all said they would not support another vote of no confidence.

    Secondly, where are the Tories who said they would resign the whip if Boris won? Once again, they are all talk and no action. And the talk today has been that not one of them would do anything other than give Boris time to prove himself.

    So what the hell would be the point in Corbyn tabling a VONC this week, which is guaranteed to lose?

    The other issue you ignore is that we don’t need a general election to have a change of Government. If Boris loses a VONC, Corbyn could become PM immediately, so long as he can win a confidence vote in the House; and if the proposition was that he would stop a no deal Brexit and then call a general election, that should succeed. If it failed, it would only be because a bunch of hard remainers had decided that a hard Brexit was something they were happy to accept in order to stop Corbyn.

  5. Tom Sacold

    The pro-EU Blairites and LibDems know that Corbyn has always been a Leaver. It is part of his socialist DNA.

    Leaving the EU is the prerequisite for socialist reform of the British economy.

  6. Jon Davies

    Tend to feel nshgp above has it about right. It is too late. Assuming Dominic Cummings earns hIs money, they will have a response prepared for every strategy, especially one as blatant as vote of confidence. By the time we get to September (or will it be October) they will have backed every remain conservative mp into a corner with self destruct as the only option i.e. it will be a clear career ending choice.

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