An appeal for the immediate recall of the UK parliament to debate preparations for a no deal Brexit has been rejected by the British government.
More than 100 MPs from all political parties had demanded the recall in a letter which cited the UK government’s alleged failure to engage in substantive negotiations with the EU or address the issue of the “crucial relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.”
In a highly charged letter, the MPs told the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that “there is a creeping and disturbing populism taking over your discourse on the EU, bringing the discredited rhetoric of the ‘leave’ campaign into the heart of the UK government.”
They went on to say that the Prime Minister had “used the language of fascism and authoritarianism in terms such as ‘collaboration’ to describe parliamentary colleagues who have the temerity to disagree with (him).”
The British Parliament is due to sit again for two weeks from 3 September.
“Despite being unsuccessful, the recall petition is significant. A clear majority of MPs are determined to avoid the “no deal” Brexit on 31 October” former Conservative MEP Brendan Donnelly
However, MPs fear that there is now insufficient time before 31 October, when the UK is due to leave the EU, to properly scrutinise the Government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit and, if necessary, to request a further delay to the Brexit deadline.
Renewed pressure for a recall of parliament has followed the leak of a document at the weekend outlining the UK government’s no deal preparations – the so-called Yellowhammer plan.
In a statement on Twitter, former Labour Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis said: “Parliament should obviously be recalled to debate ‘Yellowhammer’ and what Johnson is doing to avoid these devastating impacts on the NHS, jobs and trade. Scandalous that MPs on holiday at this time of national crisis.”
In a blog for the citizens’ group New Europeans, Brendan Donnelly, a former Conservative MEP and director of the Federal Trust, said, “Despite being unsuccessful, the recall petition is significant. A clear majority of MPs are determined to avoid the “no deal” Brexit on 31 October.”
“There is however considerable debate among this majority on tactics and strategy. Johnson clearly hopes to profit from these divisions among his opponents.”
“However, Boris Johnson has pinned his political career to leaving the EU on 31 October and, faced with pressure from the Brexit Party, is unlikely to waver from this commitment” Brendan Donnelly
“It is clear that not all Conservative MPs who oppose a no deal Brexit are in favour of bringing the government, favouring instead a combination of parliamentary and legal procedures to force the government to seek a further extension.”
“However, Boris Johnson has pinned his political career to leaving the EU on 31 October and, faced with pressure from the Brexit Party, is unlikely to waver from this commitment.”
If MPs do seek to remove the Johnson government through a vote of no confidence, the question is who would replace him as Prime Minister?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insists that he should lead a government of national unity in order to seek an extension of Article 50 and prepare for a general election.
Those who will not countenance a Corbyn led government advocate a government led by Ken Clarke, a Tory grandee and/or Harriet Harman, former Labour deputy leader, and a second referendum with remain as an option as the way out of the impasse.
Commenting further, Donnelly said, “Again and again over the past three years, the House of Commons has shown itself happy to reject proposals from government or Opposition but incapable of agreeing on any specific alternative to these proposals.”
“If this continues to be the case over the coming months, Brexit will take place, probably with ‘no deal,’ on 31 October by automatic operation of the extended Article 50 process.”