NEWS

Brexit: Boris Johnson faces showdown in Parliament

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed Britain will leave the EU with or without a Brexit deal [Neil Hall/EPA]

 

The bill would force the prime minister to ask for Brexit to be delayed until 31 January, unless MPs had approved a new deal, or voted in favour of a no-deal exit, by 19 October.

Mr Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today that he believed “there will be enough people for us to get this over the line today” and called it “rank hypocrisy” for Downing Street to have threatened rebel MPs with expulsion from the party and deselection.

He said the PM was making “no progress” on getting a Brexit deal.

But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the bill “would create paralysing uncertainty”.

“It’s craftily designed to allow serial extensions, it would immediately require the UK to accept any EU conditions, however punitive, however harsh, and regardless of those conditions the price tag for the taxpayer would be £1bn each month,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“That is clearly designed to delay if not to cancel Brexit, and I think it scuppers the very positive progress we’ve had with the EU to get a deal.”

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How events will unfold in Parliament (timings approximate after 17.00 BST)

14.30 BST: MPs return from their summer recess. New Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will be the first cabinet minister of the term to face questions from MPs.

15.30: Boris Johnson is expected to make a statement about the recent G7 summit in Biarritz. This could last for two hours or so.

17.30: There could be another ministerial statement, potentially on reported delays to the opening of the HS2 rail line.

After 17.00: If there is no further statement, an MP is expected to make a three-minute application to the Speaker John Bercow for an emergency debate on Brexit.

MPs will then be asked for their consent. If some MPs shout “no”, 40 MPs in favour of the debate will need to stand up to ensure the debate goes ahead.

18.00-21.00: If approved, the emergency debate can last up to three hours.

21.00-22.00: MPs will vote on whether to take control of Parliament on Tuesday to extend the Brexit deadline to, at least, the end of January 2020. The vote could be as late as 22.00 BST.

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In a televised announcement on Monday, Mr Johnson insisted he could achieve changes to the UK’s current Brexit deal at an EU summit on 17 October.

But he said that if MPs voted to block the option of a no-deal Brexit they would “plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position” when he is negotiating.

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What does the no-deal bill say?

Analysis box by Chris Morris, Reality Check correspondent

The legislation to be put forward on Tuesday seeks to tie Boris Johnson’s hands, and instructs him to ask the EU for an extension of the Brexit process until 31 January 2020.

A lot of attention will be on the clause which says that if the European Council proposes an extension to a different date, then the prime minister must accept it within two days, unless that extension has been rejected by the House of Commons.

In other words, the power to decide will lie with members of Parliament not with the government.

For a PM who has promised to leave on 31 October come what may, it would seem to be impossible to accept.

Hence all the talk of an early election. We will know for sure before the end of this week.

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‘Crucial crossroads’

Mr Hammond, who was reselected by his local Conservative Party Association on Monday to stand as its candidate in the next election, said he did not believe Number 10 had the power to deselect him.

“There will be the fight of a lifetime if they do,” the former chancellor said.

“This is my party. I have been a member of my party for 45 years, I am going to defend my party against incomers, entryists who are trying to turn it from a broad church into a narrow faction.”

Mr Hammond said he will not support a motion to dissolve Parliament for a general election until the bill to stop no deal has been passed.

Conservative MP Justine Greening, who is also planning to vote in favour of the cross-party legislation, has said she will not stand as a Conservative candidate at the next election.

The MP for Putney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she wanted to “focus on making a difference on the ground on social mobility” and could do that “better” from outside Parliament.

Ms Greening, whose constituency voted to Remain, accused Mr Johnson of offering voters a “messy” general election that forces them to choose between “no deal or Jeremy Corbyn”.

But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Today that he did not want Tory rebels to feel pushed out of the party, adding: “We do need to focus our minds on the reality of this crucial crossroads week for the country – we want to get out of this Brexit rut we’ve been in for three years.”

He urged MPs to vote against the bill and said: “We want a deal, we don’t want an election.”

Labour ‘ready’

Mr Corbyn vowed to “take the fight to the Tories” in a general election and insisted the Labour Party was ready.

Media captionJeremy Corbyn calls for general election

The Labour leader told a rally in Salford: “I will be delighted when the election comes. I’m ready for it, you’re ready for it, we’re ready for it.”

But his shadow cabinet colleague Tony Lloyd told Newsnight that Labour would not “fall for Boris Johnson’s trick” by agreeing to a general election before 31 October.

“We are not daft enough to see a tactic dictated by PM Johnson which is designed to land us with a no-deal Brexit and to fall for that,” he said.

He said the focus at the moment was on “building all-party consensus to stop a no-deal Brexit”.

Also speaking on Newsnight, Labour backbencher Mary Creagh said her understanding from speaking to senior members of the Labour Party was that the party would not support a vote for a general election that takes place before 31 October.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Mr Johnson would require the backing of two-thirds of the UK’s 650 MPs to trigger a poll in the autumn.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, a judge is due to hear arguments over the prime minister’s plan to shut down the UK parliament.

The prime minister wants to suspend Parliament for five weeks ahead of a Queen’s Speech on 14 October.

A cross-party group of parliamentarians wants a ruling at the Court of Session that Mr Johnson is acting illegally

Source : BBC NEWS

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