Will Boris Johnson suspend Parliament again to force No Deal?

Will Boris Johnson suspend Parliament again to force No Deal? ‘Nuclear option’ could see the UK plunged into a legal quagmire just days before planned Brexit on October 31

  • Dominic Cummings told advisers the government could re-prorogue Commons 
  • Downing Street’s decision to suspend Parliament is being challenged in court 
  • David Frost has drawn up legal texts of proposed tweaks to Theresa May’s treaty 

By Harry Cole Deputy Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 22:01 BST, 14 September 2019 | Updated: 16:20 BST, 15 September 2019

Whitehall and Buckingham Palace are on red alert after being warned that Boris Johnson could attempt to prorogue Parliament for a second time if he is defeated in the courts or tied down further by MPs over Brexit, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

The ‘nuclear option’ is understood to have been discussed by the Prime Minister’s closest advisers in a move that could see the Government, Parliament and the courts plunged into a legal quagmire just days before Britain’s planned exit from the European Union on October 31. 

Concerned officials believe nothing is off-limits for Downing Street’s current ‘chaos strategy’ to avoid letting MPs pass fresh legislation halting Britain’s exit from the EU, even crippling political institutions to let the UK slip out on No Deal terms.

Dominic Cummings, used a meeting of special advisers on Friday night to quip that executive power could be used to re-suspend the Commons

Mr Johnson has repeatedly said he will not obey a demand from MPs to delay Brexit and nor would he quit his post.

Fears of a fresh suspension were heightened after the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, used a meeting of special advisers on Friday night to quip that executive power could be used to re-suspend the Commons were the Government to be defeated in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

Downing Street’s decision to suspend Parliament is being challenged after a Scottish court declared the move unlawful.

However a No 10 source insists Mr Cummings was joking about proroguing Parliament for a second time and repeated that the Prime Minister had been clear that MPs would have time to discuss Brexit when the Commons returns on October 14. 

Last night there was unease within the Civil Service and among Tories at the idea of another possible suspension.

A Whitehall source said such a scenario meant ‘it would immediately go to the Supreme Court but that’s the easiest way to tie everyone up in legal knots and let the clock run down even further and there will only be two weeks left by then.’

Despite the bullish stance of his enforcers on No Deal, Boris Johnson insists he is still seeking a deal with Brussels

And a Tory source said the idea was ‘f****** mad’ and would see attempts to topple Mr Johnson by his own party.

Despite the bullish stance of his enforcers on No Deal, Mr Johnson insists he is still seeking a deal with Brussels.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, has drawn up legal texts of proposed tweaks to Theresa May’s treaty with Brussels but has not shared them yet amid fears they will leak.

While some in Downing Street are pushing for Mr Frost to present this new text to the EU now, others are urging he wait amid concerns the UK only has one clear shot at a deal, and therefore it would be better to wait until closer to the crunch meeting of European leaders next month before showing our hand.

A No 10 source insists Mr Cummings was joking about proroguing Parliament for a second time

In a letter to the Prime Minister, which has been seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Frost wrote: ‘We have preliminary worked-up legal texts needed to replace checks otherwise required at the Irish border, and will feed these in at the right moment.’

He went on: ‘Obviously the EU will not welcome any of this.

‘Until that point, they will listen to anything we put on the table, avoid committing, and meanwhile say, ‘We haven’t heard anything serious from the Brits.’

‘We must avoid getting sucked into this game.’

Mr Frost’s letter to Mr Johnson also confirms that it is currently the Government’s intention to use a transition period negotiated by Mrs May to thrash out technical details of their plan – a suggestion which is likely to be rejected by both Brussels and Dublin. 

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