Brexit: MPs reject Labour plan to block no-deal Brexit

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John Bercow

MPs have rejected a motion to give them control of the Commons agenda later this month as part of efforts to block a no-deal Brexit.

THE COMMONS OPPOSED THE MOVE BY 309 VOTES TO 298
– A MAJORITY OF 11.

The effort had been lodged by Labour and Tory rebels in a bid to take control of Parliament’s timetable.

The result of the vote was greeted with cheers from the Tory benches.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded by shouting “you won’t be cheering in September”.

If passed, it would have given opponents of a no-deal Brexit the chance to table legislation to thwart the UK leaving without any agreement on the 31 October deadline.

The cross-party motion would have given MPs time to begin to pass legislation that may have significantly constrained a future prime minister, but Labour sources said they feared would-be Tory rebels had preferred to hold their fire until they see which candidate was installed.

The vote followed a debate in the House of Commons led by the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, who urged MPs to back the cross-party effort, calling it a “safety valve”, so MPs can begin legislation to stop a new prime minister suspending parliament.

Speaking before the crunch vote on giving MPs control of the parliamentary agenda on 25 June, Starmer said MPs had to seize the opportunity to grant themselves time to stop a no-deal Brexit.

The motion proposed giving MPs control of the parliamentary agenda in a fortnight’s time. That day could then potentially be used to begin legislation to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal – though it is still uncertain what form that would take.

Starmer said MPs were forced to act because of suggestions from leadership candidates including Johnson and Dominic Raab that the UK will leave – come what may – on 31 October, with Raab even suggesting he would be prepared to prorogue parliament to stop MPs efforts to thwart no deal.

 

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