Remainer Tories move to block future PM forcing through hard Brexit
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major has tried to stop the prorogation of parliament ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
The pro-EU 1990s prime minister said he would launch a judicial review to stop the leadership frontrunner, Boris Johnson, from shutting down parliament to push through a “totally unacceptable” no-deal Brexit.
Major condemned Johnson for failing to rule out prorogation, which he likened to the actions of King Charles I in the 1640s, leading to the English civil war.
Brexiteers championed parliamentary sovereignty “except when it is inconvenient for Mr Johnson”, Major, who retired from public life in 1997, added.
“I, for one, would be prepared to seek a judicial review to avoid parliament being bypassed,” the 76-year-old said, although a “queue of people” would take similar action.
During a live TV leadership debate yesterday (Tuesday), Johnson threatened to shut down parliament if necessary, saying he was “not going to take anything off the table”.
“I think it is absolutely bizarre at this stage in the negotiations for the UK yet again to be weakening its position,” the Brexit campaigner said, vowing to meet the October 31 deadline.
Johnson apparently told a BBC reporter that Major had “gone completely bonkers”.
Major stood by Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to Washington, under fire from Donald Trump for his leaked criticism, suggesting Johnson was ready to “throw him to the wolves”.
Trump responded to Darroch’s description of him as over-sensitive by calling the ambassador “wacky”, a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool”.
During the debate, Johnson refused to say whether he would keep Darroch in his job if he became prime minister.
MPs have backed by a single vote an amendment by pro-remain Conservative Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, designed to make it harder to prorogue parliament by requiring ministers to give fortnightly statements on moves to reopen power-sharing in Northern Ireland.
The outgoing government of Prime Minister Theresa May was defeated by 294 to 293 after Conservatives MPs were ordered to oppose the amendment.
Grieve said he was “absolutely delighted”. “It is essential that parliament expresses its outright opposition to prorogation, which would be unconstitutional. I’m so pleased it has the chance to do that,” he added.
More than 30 Tory MPs are thought to be considering ways of using legislation going through parliament to prevent no deal and stop the next prime minister suspending parliament.
A large section of the Conservative Party is pro-remain. Picture credit: Eurasia Times