Keir Starmer: MPs face ‘last chance’ to stop no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
1st September 2019

MPs are facing their "last chance" to try and stop a no-deal Brexit in Parliament, Labour's Keir Starmer has said.

Keir Starmer has warned MPs that they face their "last chance" to block no-deal in parliament.
Credit: 
PA

The Shadow Brexit Secretary issued the warning ahead of a Commons showdown which will see MPs attempt to pass a new law to block Boris Johnson pursuing a no-deal exit on October 31.

It comes after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was "not optimistic" about avoiding a no-deal because EU leaders were not willing to accept the Prime Minister's demands to remove the controversial Irish backstop from any future deal.

Michael Gove suggests government could ignore fresh anti-Brexit legislation from MPs

David Gauke suggests he is ready to lose Tory whip in order to block no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson urged to launch investigation into Dominic Cummings after Sajid Javid aide sacking

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Sir Keir said: : "The legislation is intended to ensure we don't leave without a deal, that will require an extension.

"The length of the extension is secondary, frankly. We have simply got to stop us leaving without a deal."

He added: "The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that we don't leave without a deal. There is no mandate for that.

"That wasn't what people voted for in 2016. And the claim of those that said leave was that we wouldn't leave without a deal, there is no mandate for it in Parliament."

Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that the cross-party bid would be put forward when MPs return to the Commons on Tuesday.

"The technique of that will be published on Tuesday, and I'm hoping that we'll have a debate in which we can bring the House together," he said.

"The ultimate goal very straightforwardly this week is to ensure that Parliament can have a final say... the ultimate goal this week is to secure parliamentary sovereignty."

But Mr McDonnell said his party were keeping the option of triggering a vote of no-confidence in Mr Johnson's government "on the table" after his decision to suspend Parliament left MPs with less time to find a new legislative method of blocking no-deal.

"It has to be, it has to be," the shadow chancellor said.

"Our view is we have to use every mechanism we possibly can to prevent a no deal and that is cleary still on the table."

He added: "It's very difficult to get legislation through in a matter of a few days and the plan is to know that and that's why they are using this tactic. I think it is a very grubby measure."

But responding to the comments, cabinet minister Michael Gove hinted the government could ignore any new laws passed by MPs next week aimed at blocking a no deal exit, saying ministers would "wait and see" what was included in the bill.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said plans for a vote of no confidence were "pointless" unless Jeremy Corbyn could secure the support of Remainer Conservative MPs, such as David Guake and Dominic Grieve.

“[Jeremy Corbyn] is going to get nowhere unless he can get Remainer Conservatives, Conservatives who are examining their conscience having said they didn’t want to support Boris Johnson, they received assurances he wouldn’t prorogue Parliament and now he has done for five weeks," she told the Sky programme.

“If he can’t convince those Conservative MPs to back him then it really almost doesn’t matter what we think does it?

“We’ve already put down our own motion and signed up to a motion of no confidence but the convention is that unless Jeremy Corbyn does it, it doesn’t go anywhere and he has to prove that he can get those Conservative votes otherwise it’s kind of pointless."