Wales politics

MPs 'have time' to block no-deal Brexit, says Guto Bebb

Guto Bebb
Image caption Guto Bebb has been a vocal opponent of a no-deal Brexit

A Conservative MP has said there is time to pass legislation against a no-deal Brexit, despite Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament.

Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb, who has been a vocal opponent of no deal, said the prime minister had shown "signs of weakness" by proroguing Parliament.

He added a no-deal Brexit would be "anti-democratic".

Mr Johnson has defended his decision, previously saying it was not to force through a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to BBC Radio Cymru, Mr Bebb said it would be wrong to "put figures on a potential rebellion" but said it was likely enough MPs would vote against the UK government to pass legislation preventing leaving the EU without a deal.

He said: "One thing that I can say with some confidence is that there is a general view across the political spectrum... who do recognise that a no-deal Brexit was not what was voted for in 2016 [and] has no democratic mandate.

"A move to rule out a no-deal Brexit is more likely to gain cross-party consensus and support than any more difficult alternatives."

But speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, refused to confirm the government would abide by legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Boris Johnson has denied the prorogation of parliament is to force through a no-deal Brexit

Reports also emerged on Saturday suggesting Downing Street would stop any Conservative MP who votes to block a no-deal Brexit from standing for the party in a general election.

But Antoinette Sandbach, Conservative MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire, told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme she would oppose a no-deal Brexit, even if it meant she lost her job.

Ms Sandbach, who was an AM for North Wales from 2011 to 2015, said: "I am very clear that I have to put the interests of my constituents above my political career.

"I am well aware that that means I may lose my job. I cannot allow a 'no deal' to go ahead without trying to stop it."

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Antoinette Sandbach has been the Conservative MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire since 2015

Mr Johnson said on Friday that the more MPs try to block a no-deal Brexit, "the more likely it is that we'll end up in that situation".

But he denied suspending parliament was intended to leave the EU without a deal, saying it was to allow the government to hold a Queen's Speech and outline its "very exciting agenda" for the future.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said remain-supporting MPs must be prepared to campaign to revoke Article 50 if another referendum on EU membership is not held.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Price said remain "must have a nuclear option" in a scenario where it becomes clear that "a public voice by means of a referendum is to be denied".

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