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Challenges mount for Boris Johnson amid minister's signal on no-confidence vote

19 July 2019

MPs have easily passed a backbench amendment which seeks to block any attempt by a future government to prorogue parliament to ensure a no-deal Brexit, in what is likely to be seen as a pre-emptive strike against Boris Johnson's authority.

The due to leave the bloc on October 31, and both men vying to take over as prime minister next week, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, say it's imperative that Brexit happens, with or without a deal.

Members of parliament convening for the announcement of voting in the British House of Commons at Westminster.

But Jeremy Hunt, the other candidate in the one-horse race to be next Conservative leader, managed to add an extra touch of the surreal when he accidentally failed to vote - while stressing he would have voted with the Government because it would be wrong, he claimed, for Parliament to "restrict the hand of an incoming Government in this way". Whilst the bill will not absolutely prevent a "no deal" exit against the wishes of parliament through the suspension of parliament, it makes it a much more hard endeavour.

The Lords added a requirement that the government's report on its progress in Northern Ireland would need to be approved by lawmakers, giving them a possible route to try to stop a no-deal such as attaching a vote to request a delay to Brexit.

Those hoping to stop a no deal Brexit believe that if parliament is sitting in the run-up to October 31, they will have the chance to prevent Britain leaving without a deal, the current legal default position.

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve was one of those who backed the proposal.

One of those to support the measure was culture, media and sport minister Margot James, who resigned from her post to do so.

He said: "I'm going to be working with colleagues who share my view that no deal would be very bad for the country to try to make sure that the government can not push us into no deal without Parliament having consented to it".

Some ministers, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, are likely to resign or be fired if Johnson takes over as leader.

Boris Johnson has not even entered Number 10 Downing Street as Britain's prime minister and already he is facing a battle to keep the government he hopes to lead alive.

Brexit risks feel more prominent than they did two years ago, with the no-deal option being countenanced at the highest levels, as both remaining candidates for British prime minister explicitly countenancing the possibility of United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31, said Robert Chote, chairman of Office for Budget Responsibility.

The OBR said that in this scenario there would be "heightened uncertainty and declining confidence" which would affect investment, while tariffs and trade restrictions with the European Union would "weigh on exports". "Together, these push the economy into recession, with asset prices and the pound falling sharply", the OBR said.

Challenges mount for Boris Johnson amid minister's signal on no-confidence vote