Can MPs still block no deal after Boris Johnson suspends Parliament?

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Protests have sparked around Britain, while a petition to block the suspension of Parliament has gained more than 1 million signatures. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

After Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament, can MPs still attempt to block a no deal Brexit?

As cross party Mps created strategy for blocking a no-deal Brexit, the Prime Minister announced he would be suspending Parliament.

Ex-minister David Gauke has said the next seven days could be opposition MPs' "only opportunity" to challenge a no-deal exit from the EU.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson making a statement in which he said that it is "completely untrue" he will be holding a Queen's Speech on October 14 because of Brexit (BBC/PA)

He said the public did not want a no-deal Brexit but the options of those opposed to such to it have "now narrowed".

How can MPs block no deal?

Those opposed to a no-deal Brexit are vowing to go ahead with their plans to halt any attempt to leave without a deal by bringing forward their own legislation, before Mr Johnson’s suspension comes into effect.

Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, said opposition MPs would be seeking an emergency debate, known as Standing Order Section 24 debate, on Parliament’s return next week.

Mr Johnson was granted an extended suspension of Parliament by the Queen ahead of her speech on October 14 (GETTY)

He admitted that, after the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend sittings next month, it would be “extremely difficult” to get the legislation through in time.

Bills usually take a year to pass onto the statute books.

Mr Gardiner said: “We will seek to try and put through the appropriate legislation in this constrained timetable that the Government has now put before us.”

Amending legislation

Gina Miller, the activist who famously defeated Theresa May’s government in the courts in 2016 over the then-prime minister’s decision to trigger Article 50 without MPs’ consent, is spearheading a push to amend the law.

MPs could try to take control of the parliamentary timetable in order to pass legislation, which would force the Mr Johnson to request an extension to the Brexit deadline.

Another option would be to attempt to remove the current government through a vote of no confidence.

How many MPs are ready to rebel?

Ms Miller has asked judges to hear her lawyers’ case before September 9 to stop what she called an “anti-democratic” move.

The pro-EU campaigner said: “This is a brazen attempt, of truly historical magnitude, to prevent the executive being held accountable for its conduct before Parliament.”

Around 70 MPs have also joined anti-Brexit lawyer Jo Maugham QC in a bid to have a similar case heard in the Court of Session in Scotland to encourage judges to overturn Mr Johnson’s request.

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If judges agreed they would have the power to step in.

What does Boris Johnson think?

In a letter to Conservative MPs, Mr Johnson saidhe requested a suspension because he wanted to present a new legislative agenda to the country in a queen’s speech.

He reassured MPs that parliament will still have “ample time” to debate Brexit.

A cross-party group of MPs at Church House, Westminster, signed a declaration saying they will continue to meet as an alternative House of Commons if Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily shuts down Parliament (GETTY)

However, critics argued the move is an attempt to hinder MPs trying to block a no-deal Brexit.

In the letter he said the current parliamentary, that has lasted two years, session has “at times seemed more about filling time.”

He said: “I therefore intend to bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

“There will be a significant Brexit legislative programme to get through but that should be no excuse for a lack of ambition!”

He said it is right that MPs get to express their view about his plans before and after the European Council summit starting on October 17 — with votes on the queen’s speech penciled in for October 21 and 22.