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Mon, 10 August 2020

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Number 10 says Brexit will happen 'no ifs no buts' on 31 October even if MPs try to block it

Number 10 says Brexit will happen 'no ifs no buts' on 31 October even if MPs try to block it
2 min read

Boris Johnson has refused to rule out ignoring Parliament if it votes to reject a no-deal Brexit.


A spokesman for the Prime Minister warned MPs they cannot “choose which votes to respect” - but repeatedly sidestepped questions over whether Mr Johnson would be bound by anything the House of Commons agrees to ahead of the October 31 deadline.

It was reported at the weekend that aides inside Number 10 now think there is no route to stop Britain leaving the EU without a deal, whatever those opposed to it try and do.

That prompted an angry response from former Cabinet minister Dominic Grieve, who branded top Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings the "the master of disinformation" and said Downing Street was "hell-bent on delivering" Brexit.

Mr Johnson's spokesman was asked if the shared the view that it is now too late to stop a no-deal.

He said he would not comment on “hypotheticals” - but would not confirm Mr Johnson would change his course of action based on them what happens in Parliament.

The spokesperson said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on October 31 whatever the circumstances, there are no ifs or buts.”

And they added: "Politicians cannot choose which votes to respect. They promised to respect the referendum result and we must do so."

When it was pointed out MPs in the House of Commons had already voted against exiting the EU with no agreement, the spokesman said the “legal default” remained that the UK will leave on October 31, unless a deal is struck.

Asked if those votes in the Commons did not count, the spokesperson said the only way for MPs to “guarantee” Britain doesn't have a no-deal Brexit was to vote for a deal, something MPs had now not done three times.

The comments from Downing Street come after Cabinet minister Matt Hancock insisted that a no-deal Brexit "cannot be stopped" by MPs, just weeks after claiming that it was "not credible" for any Prime Minister to pursue the option.

The Health Secretary said he had “changed his mind” after the Commons voted down Labour's attempt to seize control of the order paper in June as part of a bid to stop any PM railing through the option without Parliament’s consent.

He added: “I now don’t think it can, and I thought that it could and the votes went differently to what I anticipated and when the facts change sometimes even as a politician you have to change your mind.”

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