‘Public backs Johnson to shut down Parliament for Brexit’
Poll suggests voters want Oct 31 exit by any means and that MPS are out of touch
BORIS JOHNSON has the support of more than half of the public to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament, a poll has suggested.
The Comres survey for The Daily
Telegraph found that 54 per cent of British adults think Parliament may have to be prorogued to prevent MPS stopping a no-deal Brexit.
The poll suggested the Prime Minister was more in tune with the public’s views on Brexit than MPS, following his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct 31 “do or die”.
Brussels has so far refused to give any ground to Mr Johnson on Brexit, but Government sources said last night that the European Union had not reopened negotiations because it was waiting to see if Remainer rebels would act to try to prevent no deal.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I would hope that the EU now fully understands the UK’S determination to leave the EU on Oct 31, no ifs or buts. We stand ready to negotiate.”
Last night, John Bolton, the US national security adviser, appeared to put pressure on Brussels by insisting Washington would “enthusiastically” support no deal and was prepared to “fast track” a free trade deal with Britain within a year of it leaving the EU.
Government sources think formal talks with Brussels are unlikely to resume before an EU summit on Oct 17.
Mr Johnson is considering whether to head to France or Germany next week to hold talks with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron before the G7 summit at the end of the month which will be dominated by environmental issues.
Last night Mr Johnson, 55, and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 31, attended their first public joint engagement in No10 when Downing Street hosted a reception for hospice staff.
Officials believe Sept 9 will be the moment that Labour and Tory Remainers will try a parliamentary manoeuvre to stop no deal.
The Government is due to publish an update on Northern Ireland’s attempts to form a devolved administration on Sept 4, and MPS will then be given five days to debate the report.
A Government source said: “If they are going to pull a parliamentary stunt, that is when they will do it. They [the EU] are going to wait until then to see how this plays out in those two weeks.” The new poll revealed that should MPS act, they may not have the support of voters. Asked whether they thought Parliament was more in tune with the public than Mr Johnson, 62 per cent disagreed.
Nine in 10 of those asked said Parliament was out of touch with the public (88 per cent), while 89 per cent believed most MPS were ignoring the wishes of voters to pursue their own agenda on Brexit. The public also overwhelmingly rejected the idea of the Queen being dragged into Brexit after John Mcdonnell, the shadow chancellor, threatened to send Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, to Buckingham Palace “in a cab” to tell the 93-year-old monarch the Opposition was “taking over” if Mr Johnson were to lose a vote of no confidence but refused to resign. Asked if the Queen should remain above politics and refuse to get involved in Brexit, 77 per cent said yes and 23 per cent said no.
While Remainer MPS may not have the support of the public to block a nodeal exit, they may also struggle to get enough support in the Commons.
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, MPS have 14 days to try and form an alternative government in the event of Mr Johnson losing a vote of no confidence, otherwise a general election will be triggered.
Yesterday Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, admitted that Labour would only table a vote “with confidence we can win it”. Insisting the timing of the vote was “above my pay
grade”, Ms Abbott confirmed talks with other parties were taking place, but refused to give a precise date.
It came amid reports that a number of Tory rebels have privately admitted that their attempts to overturn the referendum result have failed. One said: “I have to admit it. It’s over. I don’t want to be part of it all.”
A group of independent and Labour MPS have also told The Telegraph they are unlikely to back a confidence vote owing to concerns it could put Mr Corbyn in Downing Street. A senior Labour MP also claimed that “at least 10” of their colleagues who now intend to vote for a Brexit deal would also vote with the Government.
The Institute for Government has claimed “time is running out” for MPS trying to block no deal, concluding that “simply voting against” no deal could not stop Mr Johnson. In its new paper, the think tank concludes that some of the previous legislative avenues were no longer available and that Downing Street could simply “ignore” their opposition in Parliament.
Lord Lisvane, the former Clerk of the House of Commons, said Mr Johnson could suspend the Commons through a “Sitting of the House Motion” to prevent MPS trying to coalesce around a viable alternative to his administration.
However, the peer, who served as the most senior constitutional adviser to the House, said: “To do so would be an open subversion of the (admittedly unsatisfactory) FTPA process, and would be open to fierce (and justified) criticism.”
Comres interviewed 2,011 British adults from August 9 to 11, 2019.
Boris Johnson with his partner Carrie Symonds at a reception for hospice staff last night, their first joint public engagement at Downing Street