EXCL Dominic Grieve: My plan to seize Commons agenda on Brexit is not a coup d'état

Posted On: 
20th January 2019

Dominic Grieve has insisted his plan for MPs to seize control of parliamentary business does not amount to a “coup d'état”.

Former minister Dominic Grieve
Credit: 
PA Images

The top Tory backbencher told PoliticsHome his proposals - which could see the Commons tell the Government to delay Brexit - did not amount to a “seismic” constitutional change.

He made the comments as Cabinet minister Liam Fox said some MPs were “trying to hijack Brexit and in effect steal the result from the people”.

EXPLAINED: How the Dominic Grieve plan to control parliamentary business on Brexit actually works

Downing Street 'extremely concerned' over hopes to delay Brexit with minority power plan

Downing Street has said it is “extremely concerned” about plots to try to seize the agenda on Brexit away from Government control.

Theresa May is set to table a motion on her Brexit plan B tomorrow after the Commons overwhelmingly rejected the deal she clinched with Brussels this week.

Tory MP Mr Grieve is preparing to table an amendment to her motion that, if passed, would allow a minority of MPs to take control of Commons business for at a least day.

It would mean 300 MPs from five separate parties - including 10 Tory MPs - would be able to table a vote on delaying Article 50, among other things.

Any such vote passed by a majority in the Commons would have no legislative power, but would pile pressure on the Government to bow to the demands of MPs.

Mr Grieve told PoliticsHome: “Lots of people seem to have got it into their heads that either this is a coup d'état - which it isn’t - or alternatively they may disagree with it, or alternatively that they are getting the wrong end of the stick.”

Meanwhile, a separate bill to be tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory MP Nick Boles would give the Prime Minister until 26 February to get Commons approval for a deal, or trigger a vote to extend Article 50.

'STEAL THE BREXIT RESULT'

Appearing on the BBC Andrew Marr show this morning, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox fumed: “Parliament has not got the right to hijack the Brexit process because parliament said to the people of this country: we make a contract with you - you will make the decision and we will honour it.

“What we are now getting is some of those who were always absolutely opposed to the result of the referendum trying to hijack Brexit and in effect steal the result from the people.”

A Number 10 spokesman told PoliticsHome: “The British public voted to leave the European Union and it is vital that elected politicians deliver upon that verdict.

“Any attempt to remove the Government’s power to meet the legal conditions of an orderly exit at this moment of historic significance is extremely concerning.

“The Prime Minister has been clear on the principles guiding negotiations on Brexit.  We want a smooth and orderly Brexit with a deal that protects our union, gives us control of our borders, laws and money and means we have an independent trade policy.

“This news should serve as a reminder to those MPs who want to deliver Brexit that they need to vote for it - otherwise there is a danger that Parliament could stop Brexit.”