Remainer MPs are plotting to force Boris Johnson to request a Brexit extension

  • Remainer MPs are reportedly drawing up plans to force Boris Johnson to avoid no-deal and seek another Brexit delay in the autumn.
  • Johnson is committed to taking the UK out of the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.
  • MPs opposed to no deal believe they can topple Johnson’s government, then use a 14-day window before an election to change the law, forcing Johnson to request an Article 50 extension to the Brexit deadline.
  • However, an Institute For Government report published on Monday warned MPs that they have few options and little time to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Members of Parliament are plotting to force Boris Johnson to break his pledge to leave the European Union on October 31 and seek a last-minute Brexit extension, according to a report.

A strategy document leaked to the Times shows that Johnson’s opponents in parliament believe they can torpedo his contentious plan to push through a no-deal Brexit and compel him to hold a general election before the United Kingdom has left the EU.

The document was reportedly drawn up after a strategy meeting involving a cross-party group of MPs last week, and is believed to have been discussed with the Labour Party leadership.

Read more: The Lib Dems are set to punish the Conservatives in the next election – but it could be a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Boris Johnson

Johnson has pledged to take the UK out of the EU at the end of October, despite myriad warnings that a no-deal Brexit would unleash chaos like queues at Britain’s borders, food shortages, and eventually job losses.

Under the reported plan, MPs plan to:

• Block any move by Johnson to call a general election before October 31 unless he agrees to a Brexit extension for the process to take place.

• Use a vote of no-confidence in the days before Brexit to seize control of the House of Commons timetable and change the law, forcing Johnson to request an Article 50 extension.

Sir Keir StarmerLeon Neal/Getty ImagesLabour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer.

MPs have a ‘huge challenge’ trying to stop a no-deal Brexit

MPs are said to believe the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, which dictates what happens if a prime minister loses the confidence of MPs, gives them an opportunity to mobilise against no deal. It allows MPs 14 days in which they can try to form an alternative government which has support from a majority of the House.

Rather than forming a cross-party “national unity government” – which is seen as unworkable – the document instead suggests that MPs could use the 14-day period to try and change the law, forcing Johnson to seek an Article 50 extension from the EU.

The document is said to be signed off by Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, and Margaret Beckett, the senior Labour MP, and circulated to 300 colleagues who support a second referendum.

However, a report by the Institute For Government think tank published on Monday warned that MPs have few options left to stop a no-deal outcome, compared to when they successfully prevented no deal earlier this year.

“MPs looking to force the government into a change of approach face a huge challenge when parliament returns,” said the IFG’s Joe Owen.

“Even if they can assemble a majority for something, they may find few opportunities to make their move – and time is running out.”

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