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Backbencher Brexit moves ‘extremely concerning’



Downing Street has described as “extremely concerning” reports that Conservative backbenchers will propose legislation to stop a hard Brexit or suspend the Brexit process altogether.

One group led by Tory former minister Nick Boles and the Labour MP Yvette Cooper is said to be attempting to block a “no-deal” Brexit – where the UK would leave the EU without an agreement about its future relationship with Europe.

A second group led by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve wants to go further and suspend the Article 50 withdrawal process, The Sunday Times reports.

In response, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Any attempt to remove the government’s power to meet the legal conditions of an orderly exit at this moment of historic significance is extremely concerning.

“This news should serve as a reminder to those MPs who want to deliver Brexit that they need to vote for it – otherwise there is a danger that parliament could stop Brexit.”

An anti-Brexit protestor waves a European Union flag in Westminster


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In a statement a House of Commons spokesman said: “It is common practice for clerks to provide advice to Members on the drafting of many items of parliamentary business, such as bills, motions and amendments.

“This advice is provided on a rigorously impartial basis. We do not comment on individual cases.”

Mrs May is due to make a statement to MPs on Monday setting out how she intends to proceed with Brexit after the tumultuous events of last week.


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She will also table a “neutral” motion – which is expected to attract a flurry of amendments from MPs – which will be debated and voted on 29 January.

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has warned of a “political tsunami” if the government fails to deliver Brexit.

He also hit out at ministers calling for Mrs May to rule out a no-deal Brexit, saying the “most stupid thing possible” in a negotiation is to “give away your strongest card”.


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Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Dr Fox said: “Failure to deliver Brexit would produce a yawning gap between Parliament and the people, a schism in our political system with unknowable consequences.

“The reaction of the Question Time audience could become a political tsunami. It is time for MPs to deliver on the promises they made. It is a matter of honour and a matter of duty.”

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