John Bercow slaps down would-be PM Dominic Raab over Commons shut down plan for no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
6th June 2019

John Bercow today issued a blunt slapdown to Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab as he insisted Parliament will not be shut down to force through a no-deal Brexit.

Commons Speaker John Bercow
Credit: 
Parliament TV

The Commons Speaker said it was “blindingly obvious” that any new Prime Minister would be unable to suspend parliament to prevent MPs blocking a disorderly departure from the EU.

Mr Raab last night told a behind-closed-doors leadership hustings for Tory MPs that he would be willing to “prorogue” the Commons to guarantee the UK quits the bloc by 31 October.

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It would mean ending the parliamentary session early and sending MPs home while the Government pulls the country out of the European Union unhindered.

A source close to the former Brexit Secretary told PoliticsHome: “His point is that if Parliament won’t rule out what options they will use then why would the executive rule out options?”

But in a withering response, Mr Bercow told MPs today: “Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process on this important matter.

“That’s simply not gonna happen. It seems so blindingly obvious that it almost doesn’t need to be stated.”

He made the comments after International Development Secretary Rory Stewart - who is also fighting for the Tory crown - said proroguing parliament would be “illegal”.

"If they did it for the express purpose of getting it through. It would be unconstitutional. It would be undemocratic. And it wouldn’t work," he told the Peston show on ITV.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock later called on other colleagues in the race to join him in ruling out using the procedure.

Cabinet minister Amber Rudd told reporters outside the hustings last night that it was “outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament”.

"We are not Stuart kings," the Work and Pensions Secretary said.