Boris Johnson accuses MPs of 'collaborating' with Brussels to block No Deal Brexit

Legal and political experts, campaigners and MPs have been accused of "collaborating" with Brussels to undermine the UK government's negotiating position by attempting to block a no-deal Brexit.
credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

15 Aug 2019

The claims by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were described on Thursday by Labour MP Mary Creagh as “a wicked lie.”

Speaking during a Facebook event hosted at Downing Street, Johnson said, "There's a terrible kind of collaboration as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.”

“The more they think there's a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position."


But experts are split as to whether Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.

According to Brendan Donnelly, Director of The Federal Trust and a former Conservative MEP, the only way this could be done would be by bringing down the Johnson government through a vote of no confidence in early September and installing a government of national unity in its place.

In his blog, posting on the Federal Trust website, Donnelly said, "The British political system confers wide-ranging powers upon a dominant central executive to manipulate and dictate parliamentary business. MPs will need to act swiftly and decisively to avoid a no-deal Brexit."

Donnelly goes on to argue that MPs should seize the initiative as soon as they return to the House of Commons in September and vote down the Conservative government in favour of a government of national unity (GNU).

"There's a terrible kind of collaboration as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends” Boris Johnson

"There is a substantial majority within the Commons rightly horrified at the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.”

“It would be a calamitous failure, not merely of current British politicians, but of the British political system more broadly, if that majority found itself unable to prevent a foreseeable and avoidable national catastrophe," said Donnelly.

In a dramatic further development, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party announced on Wednesday that he would put his name forward as an interim Prime Minister should there be a successful no confidence vote in Boris Johnson's administration in early September.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens responded positively to the offer of talks with the Labour Party.

However, UK MP Jo Swinson, the newly-elected leader of the Liberal Democrats, ruled out participation in a Jeremy Corbyn-led coalition, even if it was established for the sole purpose of holding a general election before the UK is due to leave the EU.

She said, “Jeremy Corbyn is not the person who is going to be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task – I would expect there are people in his own party and indeed the necessary Conservative backbenchers who would be unwilling to support him. It is a nonsense.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson and his Vote Leave colleagues continue to run down the clock in the expectation that Brexit will happen by default.

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