Brexit: Labour launches cross-party motion to block no deal

John Bercow

John Bercow

Keir Starmer, Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary, said: "This is a disappointing, narrow defeat".

If the motion passes, MPs will be able to take control of the Commons timetable on June 25 and introduce legislation that day to stop a no deal from occurring at the end of October.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it would have acted as a "safety valve" enabling Parliament to pass legislation preventing the next prime minister from taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal.

The Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, said it was a "blind motion" that gave no indication what path MPs would try to pursue to block no deal, saying it would have "virtually unlimited scope".

If passed the motion would have would allowed MPs to take control of the House of Commons agenda - which is normally in the hands of the Government - on Tuesday, June 25.

"I think maturity and a sense of duty will prevail. I think it will be very hard for friends in Parliament to obstruct the will of the people and simply to block Brexit", Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson insisted that he was not aiming for no-deal, but said the Government had to show it was serious about leaving if it was to stand any chance of securing concessions for the EU.

"It is only responsible to prepare vigorously and seriously for no-deal", he said.

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He warned that failure to deliver on the referendum result would create an "existential threat" for both Labour and the Conservatives.

Mr Johnson said: "We can not ignore the morass at Westminster where parties have entered a yellow box junction, unable to move forward or back, while around the country there is a mood of disillusion, even despair, at our ability to get things done".

Supporters of the move include Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, plus the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

"Any Tory leadership candidate should know that Parliament will continue to fight against no deal".

"I will now vote for a deal if a deal is brought forward", the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central said.

Those Labour MPs who rebelled to oppose the motion included Sir Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), John Mann (Bassetlaw) and Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton).

Esther McVey has also backed a no-deal Brexit, suggesting that she is prepared to suspend Parliament to make it happen.

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