Commons ‘coup’ is dismissed as a plot to scare MPs
BREXITEERS yesterday accused No10 of trying to terrify MPs into backing Theresa May’s deal after claims that Remainers were behind a “coup” to change Commons rules.
Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith reportedly overheard a plot to overturn parliamentary procedures that would give backbench motions priority over government business.
Mrs May was said to have been told the move would mean the Government would lose its ability to govern.
But Tory Leavers opposed to the Prime Minister’s EU divorce deal dismissed the Sunday newspaper story as an attempt by Downing Street to force them into supporting the plan.
Former minister Mark Francois said it “beggars belief” that Julian Smith had just happened to be passing through a Commons cloakroom as plotters were discussing the plans.
He claimed it was a “complete putup” because the Government was “terrified” of losing the vote.
“This story has been deliberately manufactured by No10 to try to frighten MPs to vote for the Prime Minister’s awful deal against their better instincts,” he said.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Lilley said: “It smelt to me a little of a Downing Street leak, of which we are going to have quite a few to terrify colleagues into voting for this appalling deal.” Brexiteer Peter Bone said it was a “nonsense” and a general election was now “more likely”, adding: “If I was a cynic I might say the Government was behind some of this.”
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said there was a “growing risk” that Parliament could frustrate Brexit if changes to procedures were made. He pointed to the row last week over how Speaker John Bercow had manipulated rules in favour of Remainers.
Mr Barclay said: “Those on the Brexiteer side seeking ideological purity with a deal are risking Brexit.”
Remainers have published plans to secure a second referendum. Their draft Bill would give voters the option between remaining in the EU or leaving under Mrs May’s deal.
Dominic Grieve, the MP who secured the changes to procedures that Mr Bercow agreed to and which led to a government defeat, is one of the organisers. Legislation could be introduced through the House of Lords.
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke said it was “entirely unacceptable” for MPs to try to “defy the will of the people”, adding: “It’s right that we leave on March 29, deal or no deal.”
CORBYN PLANS TO TOPPLE GOVERNMENT ‘SOON’
JEREMY Corbyn will call a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government within days but refused to say whether he would back Leave or Remain if there was a general election.
The Labour leader said he would launch a bid to bring down the Prime Minister and force an election “soon” if the Brexit deal is rejected on Tuesday.
“We’re campaigning for a country that is brought together by investment,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show. “We’re campaigning for a customs union.”
He suggested the Article 50 process taking the UK out of the EU on March 29 should be extended if there is a snap election. “There would have to be time for those negotiations,” he said.
Corbyn on The Andrew Marr Show Speaker Bercow... ‘manipulated rules’ Dominic Grieve...organising plan for second referendum