MPs fail in bid to block no-deal Brexit by next Prime Minister

MPs have failed in a bid to prevent any new prime minister from shutting Parliament in a bid to allow the UK to leave the European Union without a deal.

Labour had tabled the motion to give Parliament the power to block a no-deal Brexit and introduce a "safety valve" into the process.

But MPs rejected the cross-party motion by 309 votes to 298 - a majority of 11.

A number of Tory leadership candidates are refusing to rule out proroguing Parliament - a term for shutting Parliament down without dissolving it in order to push through legislation - to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Opposition's actions were to "make sure Parliament cannot be locked out".

Responding to the defeat of Labour's motion to block no deal Sir Keir said: "This is a disappointing, narrow defeat.

“But this is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block no deal. Labour stands ready to use whatever mechanism it can to protect jobs, the economy and communities from the disastrous consequences of a no deal Brexit."

He also criticised Tory leadership candidates for making "all sorts of ludicrous claims".

He said: "Some of these candidates seem to think that all they've got to do is get a train to Brussels and the EU's going to change its mind on that."

Eight Labour MPs voted against the motion tabled by their party - had they voted in favour the motion would have passed with a majority of five.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw criticised his party colleagues who abstained from voting on the motion.

Mr Bradshaw tweeted: "So disappointing that a small handful of Labour colleagues failed to support our motion aimed at preventing a new Tory PM closing down Parliament & crashing us out of the EU with no deal.

"We would have won otherwise. But we'll be back. #brexitshambles #FinalSay #PeoplesVote."

The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats accused the Conservatives of "putting party loyalty ahead of national interest" after a motion was rejected.

"Plan to ensure Parliament can stop No Deal defeated by 309 to 298," Jo Swinson tweeted.

"Tory MPs who voted against this despite knowing the catastrophe No Deal presents are putting party loyalty ahead of national interest."

Prior to the vote Sir Keir told the chamber: "The motion before the House is a simple proposition, namely that on the 25th of June Parliament and not the executive shall have control of the business of the House.

"That would ensure that there's an opportunity for this House to bring forward a further business motion to set out at that later date a schedule for the stages of a parliamentary bill related to our departure from the EU."

Sir Keir said today's motion does not introduce legislation and does not prevent the Government from trying to pass a Brexit deal, adding: "Instead it is a first and limited step to make sure Parliament cannot be locked out of the Brexit process over the coming weeks and months."

Tory Sir Oliver Letwin (West Dorset) said: "It would be wrong for the UK to leave the EU without a deal without Parliament having a chance of a decisive vote."

He added: "We clearly need to leave the option for Parliament to make its mind up in such a decisive vote. Now it's been pointed out repeatedly that one possible means of preventing that is a prorogation, I am indeed concerned about that."

Tory leadership hopeful Dominic Raab had refused to rule out proroguing Parliament to push through no deal, saying if he became prime minister it would remain an option.

Dominic Raab was one Tory leadership hopeful who refused to rule out proroguing Parliament. Credit: PA

The Tory leadership contender said it was “very unlikely” it would be necessary to prorogue Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit, but taking the option off the table would be a mistake.

Mr Raab said it was a “test of nerve” and his rivals would weaken the UK’s position in negotiations with Brussels by ruling out options to guarantee Brexit.

Jacob Rees-Mogg called it an "important" victory and said the incoming prime minister will have his or her hand strengthened as a result of today's vote.

Critics of the approach have warned that prorogation would involve the Queen in a constitutional crisis, because formally it is the monarch who ends a session of Parliament.

Bur Mr Raab said it was unlikely to come to that because MPs’ powers to block a no-deal Brexit were limited.