- Boris Johnson is considering a plan to suspend Parliament in October to force through a no-deal Brexit without Parliament’s consent, according to a Sky News report.
- Johnson, the former foreign secretary, is widely expected to beat his colleague Jeremy Hunt when the results of the leadership contest to replace Theresa May are announced next week.
- Parliament has failed three times to approve May’s Brexit deal, forcing Johnson to consider options to push through a no-deal Brexit despite the opposition of most MPs.
- “A number of ideas are under consideration, including this one,” a Johnson campaign source told Sky News.
LONDON – Boris Johnson’s campaign team is reportedly considering a plan to shut down Parliament in October in order to force through a no-deal Brexit without Parliament’s consent.
Members of Parliament are planning to block any attempt by Johnson to leave the EU on Britain’s planned exit date of October 31 without having first agreed a deal.
However, Johnson, the front-runner to replace Theresa May as prime minister next week, is considering a plan to prevent MPs from doing this by scheduling a Queen’s Speech at the start of November.
Under parliamentary convention, the House of Commons is shut down for one to two weeks before a Queen’s Speech, meaning the move would effectively prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal exit.
Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit but has insisted that he is “not attracted” to the idea.
However, his campaign confirmed to Sky News on Tuesday that this was now one option being actively considered.
“A number of ideas are under consideration, including this one,” the source said.
Business Insider reported last week that dozens more Conservative MPs were set to join the ranks of those determined to prevent Britain’s next prime minister from forcing through a no-deal Brexit later this year.
Pro-European Conservative rebels anticipate a significant boost to their numbers when the next Conservative leader – likely to be Johnson, the former foreign secretary – enters Downing Street.
Johnson has said that any member of his cabinet “must be reconciled” to the possibility of leaving without a deal on October 31 in order to remain in government.
This means there is likely to be an exodus of remain-voting ministers, meaning that large numbers of potential rebels, including heavyweights such as Chancellor Philip Hammond and even May herself, could soon join the ranks of no-deal Brexit rebels.
“Are we deflated? No,” one former Conservative minister, turned rebel, told Business Insider.
“Fifty people are about to be sacked. Our numbers are going to increase,” the MP said.
A handful of Conservative MPs are also considering following the example of Guto Bebb, an anti-Brexit Tory MP who announced last week he was standing down at the next election, freeing him to vote against the Conservative whip.
Bebb, who supports a second EU referendum, told Sky News that colleagues had been complacent about attempts to stop a no-deal departure.
“At some point they are going to need to make a stand, and even then it could be too late,” he told Sky News.
Johnson is widely expected to beat his colleague Jeremy Hunt when the results of the leadership contest to replace May are announced next week.
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