Rory Stewart vows to ‘bring down’ Boris Johnson if he suspends Parliament over no-deal Brexit
Rory Stewart has vowed to “bring down” Boris Johnson if he moved to shutdown Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.
The Tory leadership hopeful made the extraordinary threat to hold his own session of Parliament outside Westminster to destroy any Tory government which blocked MPs from the Brexit process.
The International Development Secretary, who advanced to the second round of the Conservative leadership contest after securing 19 Tory MPs, said Mr Johnson needed to be "straight" with voters about whether he was considering the plan.
Mr Johnson, who stormed the first round of voting with almost a third of Tory MPs' support, has committed to exiting the EU deal or no-deal on 31 October but refused to rule out the option, saying instead that he was “instinctively averse to such arcane procedures”.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Stewart said MPs would gather outside of the Commons to “bring down” the former foreign secretary if he attempted the move.
“I guarantee you, if he were to try, I and every other member of Parliament will sit across the road in Methodist Central Hall and we will hold our own session of Parliament and we will bring him down,” he said.
“Because you do not, ever, lock the doors of Parliament in this country or indeed in any other country with any respect in the world.”
He added: “Somebody who attempted to subvert our constitution, our liberties, our parliament, this place, who dared to stand as Prime Minister and claim they could lock the doors on Parliament would not deserve to be Prime Minister.
“And this Parliament would meet whether he locked the doors or not and we would bring him down.”
The Remain-backing Tory hopeful said any attempt to suspend Parliament would prove MPs were “entirely and completely opposed to the central plank of his policy” but said he believed Mr Johnson “just hasn’t thought it through”.
He added: “Every Conservative MP with a very few exceptions would agree with me that an attempt to prorogue parliament would be unconstitutional and undermine the entire nature of our representative democracy.
“I would expect every one of them to be sitting with me in Methodist Central Hall holding a session of Parliament outside of this building if that man locked the door.”
Meanwhile, former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke suggested he could quit the party if any future Prime Minister blocked MPs from the Brexit process.
“I wouldn’t remotely support a prime minister staying in office who’s happy to contemplate doing that," he told the BBC.
Mr Clarke, who has thrown his support behind Mr Stewart, added: “The party would leave me, I think. For 60 years I’ve been a mainstream Conservative, it’s been a broad party but my own views have coincided with the broad body of what I thought were extremely good Conservative policies…
“If you suddenly had some way out right-wing nationalist posturing going on with parliament being sent away because parliament was being so rude as to threaten to vote against the government on a particular policy, well that’s not a world that I’m familiar with.
“I will always regard myself as a conservative but there’s a limit to the factions of the Conservative Party that I’m prepared to be associated with.”