Opposition Parties Agree to Block No-Deal Brexit
Following a two-hour meeting on Tuesday convened by Jeremy Corbyn, the conspirators agreed on a joint approach and instead of seeking to immediately bring down the government with a no-confidence vote decided to to request an emergency debate under the Commons’ Standing Order No. 24.
Standing Order 24 allows the Speaker, on application from an MP, to allow an emergency debate.
Assuming that the Speaker grants their application, they will go on to mark out several days in the Commons to introduce a bill to force Mr Johnson into asking the EU for another extension to the Article 50 divorce process.
This process mirrors one successfully used by MPs Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin to pass legislation which required the government to delay Brexit in the spring.
The agreement reached by opposition parties means that the Labour have, for now, in effect dropped their plan of trying to topple Mr Johnson and then succeed him as a caretaker prime minister to secure an Article 50 extension and then call a general election.
This “nuclear option” of trying to bring down Mr Johnson’s government through a confidence vote is only likely to be attempted as a last resort by MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit.
Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP, said a confidence vote would be “risky”. “It could enable Boris Johnson himself to seize the moment and try to hold an election that would happen after October 31 so we could be crashing out of the EU during an election campaign,” she added.
Senior officials in Mr Johnson’s government strongly criticised Mr Corbyn’s decision to work with other opposition parties to stop a no-deal Brexit.
A Downing Street aide, noting the government’s stance that the UK will leave the EU on October 31, said: “It’s utterly perverse that Corbyn and his allies are actively seeking to sabotage the UK’s position. This coalition of anti-democrats should be honest with the British public: they are against us leaving the EU no matter what.”