MPs who want to block no-deal Brexit 'running out of options' says leading think tank

Posted On: 
12th August 2019

MPs who want to block a no-deal Brexit are running out of options and now stand little chance of stopping Boris Johnson from going through with it, according to a leading think tank.

The Institute for Government say time is running out for MPs who want to block a no-deal.
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The Institute for Government (IfG) said time is running out to come up with a mechanism to prevent the UK from being taken put of the EU on October 31 against Parliament’s wishes.

In a new report, the group said MPs would “need new tactics” than the ones used against Theresa May earlier this year, because her successor Boris Johnson does not need to pass legislation for a no-deal.

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This means the method of adding new amendments or passing motions is unlikely to work, and the Prime Minister has indicated he will ignore them.

The IfG said altering primary legislation could work, but there is no guarantee the Government will bring any forward in the limited time the Commons is sitting before October 31.

The think tank's Brexit programme director Joe Owen said: “MPs looking to force the government into a change of approach face a huge challenge when Parliament returns.

“Even if they can assemble a majority for something, they may find few opportunities to make their move – and time is running out.”

MPs would still be left with the "nuclear option" of passing a motion of no confidence in Mr Johnson, but the report said that might not work either.

The think tank appeared to agree with Mr Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings’ assessment that any subsequent election could be scheduled for after Hallowe’en, when the UK has already left.

But it acknowledged such a tactic “would raise big questions for the civil service”, and could be open to legal challenge.

The IfG said: ”Any attempt by a Prime Minister who has just lost a no confidence vote and so, by convention, is acting only in a caretaker capacity to use their powers in this way would be hugely controversial, both politically and constitutionally.”