Conservative leadership candidates including Boris Johnson hoping to force a “deal or no deal” Brexit in October have been handed a boost after MPs defeated a Labour-led attempt to tie the next prime minister’s hands.
Labour vowed it would not end efforts to stop no deal but the defeat bolstered Johnson’s claim at his leadership launch that MPs would not be prepared to “reap the whirlwind” of halting Brexit entirely as Tory MPs prepared for the first round on voting to choose the next prime minister on Thursday.
Tory MPs cheered as the motion was defeated by a majority of 11 on Wednesday night, after which Jeremy Corbyn was heard to say: “You won’t be cheering in September.”
The former Conservative MP Nick Boles warned opponents of a no-deal departure were fast running out of options – apart from a confidence vote to bring down the government. “No-deal Brexit on 31 October is back to being a racing certainty,” he said.
“It is very hard to see where any further legislative opportunities will come from. So it’s now a question of politics – specifically whether a PM pursuing a no-deal Brexit can command and sustain the confidence of the House of Commons.”
Johnson officially launched his campaign on Wednesday saying he believed a new government “with a new mandate, a new optimism, a new determination” could leave the EU with an amended deal by 31 October.
However, the leadership frontrunner warned that he was determined to leave the EU by that date, whether he had achieved a new deal or not.
“I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome, I don’t think we can end up with any such thing. But it is only responsible to prepare vigorously and seriously,” he said. Read more