- John Bercow says he will “fight with every bone in my body” to stop Boris Johnson ignoring Parliament on Brexit.
- The prime minister has refused to rule out suspending Parliament in order to take the UK out of the EU without a Brexit deal on October 31.
- However, House of Commons Speaker Bercow warned on Tuesday that he will do everything in his power to stop Johnson taking this course of action.
- “Parliament will be heard and nobody is going to get away as far as I am concerned with stopping that happening,” he told an audience in Edinburgh, Scotland.
- His comments came as former Chancellor Philip Hammond launched a new attack on Johnson’s plans.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
The House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has warned Boris Johnson that he will “fight with every bone in my body” to stop the prime minister bypassing Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
In comments that set up a showdown with the government this autumn, Bercow told the Edinburgh Festival on Tuesday that “nobody is going to get away” with trying to stop Members of Parliament being heard on Brexit.
Johnson has promised to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union on October 31, the scheduled exit date, with or without a deal. The prime minister has refused to rule out suspending – or proroguing – Parliament to do so.
He is also prepared to go ahead with a no-deal Brexit, even if MPs pass a vote of no-confidence in him beforehand, and hold a general election once the UK has left the UK, according to recent reports.
However Bercow – whose interventions helped MPs who oppose no deal have their say on Brexit during the premiership of Theresa May – warned Johnson on Tuesday that he will fight any attempt to ignore Parliament.
“The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way,” Bercow said in comments reported by The Telegraph newspaper.
When asked at the end of the event by an audience member whether Parliament could stop a no-deal Brexit, Bercow reportedly replied: “Yes.”
During the Conservative leadership contest to replace May, Bercow warned the then-candidates – Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – it was “blindingly obvious” that MPs would not be “evacuated from the centre stage” on Brexit.
MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit across the House of Commons are currently working out how they can prevent Johnson delivering the hardest possible EU exit once they return from summer recess next month.
The Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson on Tuesday urged his party to work with the Liberal Democrats and other parties in their efforts to a no-deal Brexit.
“Whether you’re Liberal Democrats, social democrats or democratic socialists, we are all democrats. And democrats have got to realise in this crisis that we’re stronger together if we work together,” he told an event hosted by two pro-EU youth movements, For our Future’s Sake and Our Future Our Choice.
Last week Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Mark Sedwill, the UK’s most senior civil servant, to intervene to stop Johnson’s reported plan to force through a no-deal Brexit in the middle of a general election campaign.
Corbyn said it would be an “unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power.”
No-deal Brexit would be a ‘betrayal’
The comments came as the former chancellor, Philip Hammond launched an attack on those around Johnson pushing for the UK to leave the EU without a deal.
In a comment piece for the Times newspaper, Hammond wrote that a no-deal Brexit would be a “betrayal.”
“No-deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen,” Hammond wrote, insisting that “to pretend now that 2016 Leave voters voted for a hard no-deal Brexit is a total travesty of the truth.”
He accused “the unelected people who pull the strings of this government,” of deliberately seeking to wreck negotiations with the EU in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.
Hammond on Tuesday joined six other former Cabinet ministers in writing an open letter to Johnson warning against a no-deal exit.
Hammond, and his fellow former ministers including Greg Clark, Rory Stewart, David Lidington, and David Gauke, wrote that they were “alarmed by the ‘Red Lines’ you have drawn which, on the face of it appear to eliminate the chance of reaching agreement with the EU.
They added: “Any deal has to be a compromise, and many commentators feel that you have set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done.”
“We would therefore greatly appreciate your confirmation that you remain committed to doing a deal, that you accept that any such deal will most likely require compromise, and that it remains your view that the chance of No Deal is ‘less than a million to one’.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.