MPs may have 'run out of chances' to block no-deal Brexit, claims leading Tory MP

PUBLISHED: 09:39 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:57 13 June 2019

MPs in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

MPs in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

MPs may have run out of chances to stop the next prime minister forcing a no-deal Brexit on the country, a leading Tory MP has claimed.

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Sir Oliver Letwin, a former government minister who has been behind a series of cross-party moves to block a no-deal Brexit, said he could not think of any further opportunity for parliament to intervene before Britain is due to leave on October 31.

His warning came after the House of Commons narrowly voted to reject a Labour motion - which was backed by opposition parties - to take control of the business of the House on June 25.

If it had passed, it would have given MPs the opportunity to table legislation with a view to stopping no-deal.

Following the vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Labour would continue to look for other mechanisms for parliament to prevent a no deal.

However, Sir Oliver said he could not think how, under Commons rules, that could be achieved unless the next prime minister chose to give MPs the opportunity to have a say.

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"Under the Article 50 process, on October 31 the UK leaves the EU regardless of whether we do or don't have a deal in place unless somebody does something to alter that," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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"If the government doesn't bring something before parliament, parliament won't have a chance to take a view on that as things currently stand because we have run out of all the possibilities any of us can, at the moment anyway, think of for Parliament to be able to insist on having a view.

"I have really struggled very hard to think of every available opportunity and I can't currently think of any more."

Labour sources have indicated that they could consider calling a vote of confidence in the government in the hope of attracting the support of rebel Tories determined to prevent no deal.

However Sir Oliver - who was one of 10 Conservative MPs to vote for the motion - suggested that was unlikely to happen.

"Evidently that is not something which any of us want to do. I have to say I am not confident as things stand the current Labour leadership would know how to solve this crisis either," he said.

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