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Opposition parties fail in bid to block no-deal Brexit after Labour rebellion

Opposition parties fail in bid to block no-deal Brexit after Labour rebellion
3 min read

A Labour rebellion has scuppered an attempt by opposition parties to block a no-deal Brexit by seizing control of the Commons agenda.

A motion calling for MPs to take control of the parliamentary timetable later this month was defeated by 309 votes to 298.

Eight Labour MPs voted against their own party whip - enough to hand the Government a crucial victory.

They were Kevin Barron, Ronnie Campbell, Jim Fitzpatrick, Caroline Flint, Stephen Hepburn, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer.

Ten Tory MPs - Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Philip Lee, Oliver Letwin, Antoinette Sandbach and Caroline Spelman - voted with the opposition.

Under the Labour-led plan, MPs would have taken over the parliamentary timetable on 25 June with the aim of introducing legislation outlawing a no-deal Brexit.

The opposition parties also wanted to make it impossible for the next Prime Minister to shut down Parliament until 1 November - known as proroguing - in order to prevent MPs from blocking no-deal.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw took aim at Labour MPs who failed to back the proposal.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the narrow defeat was “disappointing”.

But he added: "This is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block no deal. Labour stands ready to use whatever mechanism it can to protect jobs, the economy and communities from the disastrous consequences of a no deal Brexit.

“Any Tory leadership candidate should know that Parliament will continue to fight against no deal.”

Conservative MP and supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, Guto Bebb, said: “A no deal Brexit would be an unrivalled disaster for this country.

“It's shocking that candidates seeking to be the next Prime Minister are pushing such a damaging future by gagging elected politicians.

“This may not have worked, but it does highlight the urgent need for Parliamentarians from across the House to work together to prevent a deeply undemocratic attempt to force through Brexit.”

Liberal Democrat leadership contender Ed Davey said: “This isn't America - we don't do shutdowns just because one side hasn't got what they wanted.

“Internationalist MPs right across the House now need to work together to fight these deeply anti-democratic attempts to force through no deal Brexit against Parliament and the country's wishes."

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