WATCH: Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey admits she could suspend parliament to push through no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
9th June 2019

Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey has admitted that she could move to suspend Parliament in order to ensure Brexit is delivered by 31 October.

Esther McVey
Credit: 
BBC

The former Cabinet minister joined colleague Dominic Raab in refusing to rule out using the process, known as prorogation, if it looked likely that MPs would vote to block a no-deal withdrawal from the EU on 31 October.

She said that her hard Brexit position was now a “possible” option given Theresa May's deal was rejected by the Commons three times and that “no bits of tweaking” could improve it by the deadline.

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When asked whether she would ask the Queen to suspend parliament in a bid to force the process through, the ex-frontbencher said it would not be her “priority” but accepted it was an option.

"I’ve said I would use every tool at my disposal, so that would include that," she told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. 

She added: "What we have seen by MPs going against the democratic vote of the country, they have torn up 400 years of history, they have ripped up the rule book.

"So it seems somewhat wrong to me that people who want to frustrate the vote can rip up the rulebook yet should I want to use any the tools at my disposal I would be seen as incorrect when I'm helping to ensure the democratic will of the people...

"I am a democrat and I believe in democracy of the country and I do want that to be clear because I am standing up for the people who won the democratic vote."

 

 

The claims put her at odds with fellow leadership runner Michael Gove, who told the programme that proroguing parliament would not be "the right thing to do".

"We live in a parliamentary democracy," he said. "Parliament must vote in order to ensure we leave the EU.

"Proroguing parliament in order to try to get no-deal through, I think, would be wrong for many reasons. 

"It would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy."

The Environment Secretary added that the Government would risk losing a vote of no confidence if it tried to press for a no-deal exit, which was voted down by MPs.

"If we faced no deal in those circumstances, there is a real risk that we would lose that vote of no confidence and whoever is leading the Conservative party in a general election before we deliver Brexit would lose.

"It is not enough to simply believe in Brexit, you have got to be able to deliver it."

Meanwhile fellow contender Jeremy Hunt told Sky's Sophy Ridge that securing a deal with the EU was "the only way we can avoid a general election".

He added that the Tories would face the "catastrophe" of losing out to Labour if Brexit was not yet over the line, as frustrated Tory voters turned to Nigel Farage's Brexit party.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, who is also running for the top job, said: "Can every candidate - starting with Boris Johnson - please now clarify that they completely rule out proroguin parliament?

"Locking the door on parliament would be offensive, undemocratic and ultimately futile. Please confirm you would not do it. Clearly and precisely."