Sunday, May 29, 2022

Brexit: MPs to try to block no deal through Northern Ireland Bill

MPs will try to block a no-deal Brexit by attempting to amend the Northern Ireland Bill on Tuesday. The amendment requires the government to update MPs on the situation in Northern Ireland in the autumn, meaning, in theory, Parliament could not be suspended during this period. There have been suggestions that a new PM could shut down Parliament to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit. Tory MP Dominic Grieve said such a move would be “an end to democracy”. Speaker John Bercow will announce later if he has selected the amendment tabled by Mr Grieve, giving MPs the chance to vote on it.

  • Why there’s more to the Northern Ireland bill
  • Can the new prime minister force a no-deal Brexit?

The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May’s deal. Currently, the date for exit is 31 October. If that date is reached without the UK and EU securing an agreement about the separation process, then the UK will leave the EU without a deal. MPs have consistently voted against this option. The prime minister could try to get round this problem by closing Parliament in the run-up to Brexit day. This would deny MPs an opportunity to block no deal. Tory leadership: Compare the candidates

No-deal Brexit: What you need to know

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Grieve, the former attorney general, said: “The idea that it is constitutionally proper to prorogue Parliament as a device for bringing about a no-deal Brexit is outrageous – I have never come across a more extraordinary suggestion.” Unlike his rival Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson – the frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race – has not ruled out suspending Parliament. He has said he could not “envisage the circumstances” in which he would do so. He has vowed to leave the EU on 31 October “come what may”. Lord Hague, a supporter of Jeremy Hunt, has opposed proroguing Parliament arguing: “It ought to be unthinkable that we could leave the EU by procedure, a procedural ruse.” Conservative Maria Caulfield attacked Dominic Grieve’s tabling of the amendment as “shameful behaviour” and accused him of treating the people of Northern Ireland as a “political football”.

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