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Commons Brexit battle looms as Johnson lays out stall for Number 10

Parliamentary showdown over blocking a no deal exit as Tory front-runner officially launches bid for Downing Street.

Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson (Brian Lawless/PA)
Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson (Brian Lawless/PA)

A bitter Commons battle over attempts to block a no-deal Brexit will erupt on Wednesday, while front runner for the Tory crown Boris Johnson unveils his leadership agenda.

The Labour-led bid to use opposition time to try and give control of the Commons agenda to MPs on June 25 in order to stop the UK exiting the EU without a deal in the autumn has caused fury among Tory Eurosceptics.

Prominent Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash strongly attacked supporters of the move who include Tory former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, plus the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

They are causing a breakdown of our democracy Sir Bill Cash

Sir Bill told the Press Association: “They are causing a breakdown of our democracy.”

With the Labour-led motion only needing a relatively small number of Tory MPs to support it for success, Sir Bill, who supports Mr Johnson, was scathing about the involvement of Sir Oliver, a Michael Gove backer in the leadership race.

Sir Bill said: “He has put his name to an opposition day motion with Marxist Jeremy Corbyn.”

But shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said the vote on blocking a no-deal Brexit is a “safety valve” aimed at Tory leadership contenders pledging to freeze MPs out of the decision.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is about that safety valve, that lock in the process, so that somebody who may find themselves elected a leader of the Tory Party on a promise of, in Dominic Raab’s case, proroguing Parliament, and locking Parliament out of this process – they can’t do that.

“They would have to come back to Parliament and get the consent of MPs.”

Meanwhile Mr Johnson is expected to use his leadership launch to again insist Britain must quit the EU by October 31.

The former foreign secretary will set out his agenda if he took over Downing Street after being criticised by some opponents for giving rare interviews and not committing to leadership hustings since Prime Minister Theresa May set a timetable for her departure.

Mr Johnson is expected to warn Tories: “We simply will not get a result if we give the slightest hint that we want to go on kicking the can down the road with yet more delay.

“Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.”

Leadership rival Rory Stewart, who appeared to question whether Mr Johnson was a suitable person to give instructions to the UK’s nuclear strike force commanders at his own campaign launch on Tuesday, said the ex-Cabinet minister would never get a no-deal exit through Parliament.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The International Development Secretary told BBC2’s Newsnight: “If I were prime minister it wouldn’t happen.

“And if we were to end up with Boris as prime minister, and we haven’t got a very clear idea from him yet whether he wants to lock the doors of Parliament, or how he’s trying to do this, but, if he tried to force no deal through he wouldn’t be able to.”

The looming Commons vote forced fellow leadership contender Sajid Javid to push back the time of his leadership launch for later on Wednesday.

The Home Secretary is expected to tell the gathering: “I believe now more than ever that this is a moment for a new kind of leadership and a new kind of leader.

“A leader is not just for Christmas, or just for Brexit.

“So we can’t risk going with someone who feels like the short-term, comfort zone choice.

“We need tomorrow’s leader, today.”

Meanwhile, a poll in the Daily Telegraph conducted by ComRes said Mr Johnson is the only leadership contender who could win the Tories a majority at the next election.

The survey indicated Mr Johnson could beat the combined opposition by up to 140 seats.

The poll showed Mr Johnson would boost Tory support from 23% to 37%, putting it 15 points ahead of Labour.



From Belfast Telegraph