Labour launches cross-party effort to block no deal

Sienna Rodgers
© UK Parliament

Labour has launched a cross-party bid to block the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a divorce deal – an outcome that has been endorsed by Tory leadership contenders including frontrunner Boris Johnson.

Jeremy Corbyn, along with other Westminster party leaders Ian Blackford and Vince Cable, has tabled a cross-party motion that aims to hand over control of the parliamentary agenda on Tuesday 25th June to MPs.

If the motion is approved by the Commons on Wednesday, an Opposition Day granted by the government, MPs will be able to introduce legislation that would help avoid no deal on October 31st.

A number of Tory leadership candidates have said they would consider proroguing (i.e. suspending) parliament in order to force through a no-deal exit that may otherwise be blocked by MPs.

It is likely that if the initial motion is passed tomorrow, MPs will try to legislate next week to frustrate the plans of Boris Johnson and other candidates, and exclude the possibility of a future Prime Minister proroguing parliament.

Corbyn has repeatedly vowed to work on a cross-party basis against a no deal Brexit that Labour believes would be deeply damaging to the economy.

The motion signatories include Tory MP Oliver Letwin, which suggests the move is supported by other soft Brexiteers in the Conservative Party. Ex-Tory Nick Boles, who told HuffPostUK last week that senior MPs from across the House were working on how to prevent no deal, has said he will be voting for the motion.

Commenting on the motion, Labour’s Brexit spokesperson Keir Starmer MP said: “The debate on Brexit in the Tory leadership contest has descended into the disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless.

“None of the likely candidates for the top job has a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October. Instead, we have witnessed candidates openly advocating a damaging no deal Brexit and even proposing dragging the Queen into politics by asking her to shut down parliament to achieve this.

“MPs cannot be bystanders while the next Tory 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.

“My challenge to MPs who disagree either with a no deal Brexit or proroguing parliament is to back this motion and act in the national interest.”

Below is the full text of Labour’s opposition day motion, to be passed or rejected by MPs on Wednesday 12 June 2019.

Jeremy Corbyn
Ian Blackford
Sir Vince Cable
Liz Saville-Roberts
Oliver Letwin
Caroline Lucas
Nicolas Brown

Business of the House Motion (United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union)

(1) That, on Tuesday 25 June –

(a) Standing Order No. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting save as provided in that order) shall not apply;

(b) precedence shall be given to a motion relating to the Business of the House in connection with matters relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union;

(c) if more than one motion relating to the Business of the House is tabled, the Speaker shall decide which motion shall have precedence;

(d) the Speaker shall interrupt proceedings on any business having precedence before the Business of the House motion at 1.00 pm and call a Member to move that motion;

(e) debate on that motion may continue until 2.00 pm at which time the Speaker shall put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on that motion including the questions on amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved;

(f) any proceedings interrupted or superseded by this order may be resumed or (as the case may be) entered upon and proceeded with after the moment of interruption.

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