Boris Johnson has told allies he is ready to use every available tactic to prevent Parliament forcing through another Brexit delay next week.
Remainer MPs, assisted by Commons Speaker John Bercow, are expected to make a bid for an emergency law that would require him to seek an extension of Britain’s leaving date beyond October 31.
A string of Tory MPs yesterday indicated they were ready to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn to force through the move – including David Gauke, Guto Bebb, Richard Harrington and Kenneth Clarke.
But senior party sources said the Prime Minister had made it clear he would never request another Brexit delay, believing it would undermine hopes of a deal and betray his campaign pledges.
Boris Johnson (pictured) has told allies he is ready to use every available tactic to prevent Parliament forcing through another Brexit delay next week
Ken Clarke is seen at Milbank Studio in Westminster on Thursday, August 29
One government source said: ‘One of Theresa May’s big mistakes was to continue playing by Queensberry Rules while Bercow and the Remainers spent months tearing up the rulebook. We are not going to make the same mistake.’
Battle plans drawn up in Downing Street include a number of extraordinary tactics, including asking Eurosceptic peers to talk out the legislation in the Lords and delaying a request for Royal Assent, preventing it becoming law before Parliament is suspended next month. Mr Johnson has also requested legal advice on whether his constitutional right to conduct international negotiations on behalf of the Queen would overrule any law passed by MPs.
‘We are not seeking an extension under any circumstances,’ one source said. All Tory MPs have been placed on a three-line whip for next week in order to respond to any parliamentary tricks by opponents. Peers have also been warned they could face a number of gruelling all-night sittings.
And ministers are braced for pro-Remain MPs to try to seize more time by extending sitting hours through next weekend.
Guto Bebb (pictured), another former minister, indicated he could even back a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s government, saying: ‘As Conservatives we prize loyalty. But it has become increasingly clear that our loyalty must be to our party’s long-term values and not to the man who leads the party at this time.’
Former justice secretary David Gauke (pictured) yesterday told the BBC Mr Johnson did not have a mandate for leaving the EU without a deal
Former Tory minister Nick Boles last night said he would support such a move in both Houses next week in order to force the legislation through before Mr Johnson prorogues Parliament. The warning came as Remainer MPs stepped up preparations for a last-ditch bid to rule out a No Deal Brexit next week.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg also mocked pro-EU MPs for their ‘confected’ outrage over Mr Johnson’s controversial decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks ahead of a Queen’s Speech in mid-October.
‘All these people who are wailing and gnashing teeth know that there are two ways of doing what they want to do,’ he said.
‘One, is to change the Government and the other is to change the law. If they do either of those that will then have an effect.
‘If they don’t have either the courage or the gumption to do either of those, then we will leave on the October 31 in accordance with the referendum result.’
Mr Corbyn responded by confirming the so-called Remain Alliance of MPs would try to start the process of legislating against No Deal on Tuesday, when MPs return from their summer break. Attacking Mr Johnson’s ‘smash-and-grab raid against our democracy’, the Labour leader said: ‘What we’re going to do is try to politically stop him on Tuesday with a parliamentary process in order to legislate and prevent a No Deal Brexit and also to try and prevent him shutting down Parliament during this utterly crucial period.’ Remainer MPs are looking to pass a law ordering Mr Johnson to seek another Brexit delay of at least six months, allowing time for a potential second referendum.
Former justice secretary Mr Gauke yesterday told the BBC Mr Johnson did not have a mandate for leaving the EU without a deal, adding: ‘It does look like next week is essentially the only opportunity that Parliament will have to maintain some control over this process and ensure that it has a say before we leave without a deal.’
A string of Tory MPs yesterday indicated they were ready to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn to force through the move – including David Gauke, Guto Bebb, Richard Harrington (pictured) and Kenneth Clarke
Guto Bebb, another former minister, indicated he could even back a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s government, saying: ‘As Conservatives we prize loyalty. But it has become increasingly clear that our loyalty must be to our party’s long-term values and not to the man who leads the party at this time.’ Labour frontbencher Barry Gardiner said the truncated parliamentary timetable meant it would now be ‘very difficult’ to pass the emergency legislation in time.
And a senior Lords source acknowledged it would be hard to pass laws in the time available if Mr Johnson encourages Brexiteer peers to filibuster the debate.
‘When the last legislation of this kind was passed the then prime minister was willing to play ball on the timetabling, provided her backbenchers had their say,’ the source said. ‘We are in very different territory this time and it is going to be more difficult.’ The source also said it was ‘perfectly possible’ that Mr Johnson could spark a fresh constitutional row by refusing to seek Royal Assent for the legislation even if it cleared Parliament.