Parliament has repeatedly voted against the possibility of a no deal Brexit but the British Government has maintained leaving the European Union without a formal arrangement remains the default position. But despite claims suggesting Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings has warned the time to stop a no deal has ended, former Labour adviser Ayesha Hazarika argued MPs could still prevent Britain leaving the bloc without a divorce deal. While admitting the UK is “approaching that point” of no return, Ms Hazarika told Sky News: “Parliament only really sits for a week between now and then going into the conference season – October 31 is not very far away.
“The only thing I can see stopping this, and the numbers would be very tight, is either a vote of no confidence or there’s sort of a repeat of the Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve and Yvette Cooper where they sort of tried to take control of Parliament and force the Prime Minister to extend.”
Tory MP Oliver Letwin and some of his colleagues in March attempted to take over the Parliamentary schedule to test the support of Parliament for several Brexit scenarios through a series of indicative votes.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper succeded in having a proposed bill forcing the British Government into seeking an extension of the withdrawal period past April 12 after Theresa May failed to strike a deal with Brussels by March 29.
And former Attorney General Dominic Grieve in June got the backing of colleagued to make it harder for Boris Johnson to deliver a no deal Brexit with an amendment to a bill on Northern Ireland – effectively blocking potential attempts to suspend Parliament and ensure MPs are recalled to Westminster for debates.
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It wouldn’t surprise me if Dominic Cummings thought, ‘right, I’m going for a proper shock and all strategy
But Ms Hazarika also suggested the Government had “boxed itself in” with a hard Brexit rhetoric and may ultimately seek the support of voters with a new general election.
She continued: “With this do or die language they have really boxed themselves in.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Dominic Cummings thought, ‘right, I’m going for a proper shock and all strategy, I may well call a general election and make it a no deal general election.”
Boris Johnson has ruled out calling a general election before October 31 but several political commentators have suggested a new vote may help the Prime Minister deliver Brexit.
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The Labour Party may also cause Britons to head back to the polls should they decided to demand a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson when Parliament resumes in September.
If the Prime Minister were to lose such a vote, Parliament has 14 days to hold a new vote of confidence in the same Government or on an alternative executive before a general election is called.
But Dominic Cummings has warned officials and ministers Mr Johnson would be able to hold the election until after October 31, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The reports also claim Mr Cummings voiced his confidence in the Conservative Party securing a majority.
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A ComRes survey of 2,004 British adults conducted between July 26 and July 28 suggested the Prime Minister could snatch a seven-point lead over Labour and wipe out the Brexit Party – but only if Brexit is delivered.
Ben Walker, founder of Britain Elects, which commissioned ComRes, said: “The polling does show how in the event of a no deal Brexit Leave voters would coalesce around one party, uniting the Leave brand whereas the Remain side would stay split, gifting the Conservatives a majority.”
Mr Cummings is also believed to have warned staff to prepare for a no-deal Brexit as EU leaders “won’t realise the Prime Minister is not bluffing until October” when it would be “too late”.
The top aide’s comments reveal that while Mr Johnson is confident that Parliament cannot prevent him from fulfilling his promise to deliver Brexit by October 31, leaving the EU with a deal is still his preferred option.
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