The Prime Minister has maintained Britain will finally depart the European Union “do or die” on October 31 – and now a legal loophole could ensure the UK’s passage out of the bloc in 80 days time. Lord Lisvane, who held the position of the most senior constitutional adviser to the Commons, insists Mr Johnson can suspend parliament and delay a possible general election until after the Brexit deadline. Ahead of parliament reconvening in September, Remainer MPs are understood to be plotting a vote of confidence in Mr Johnson’s Government – which could trigger a third general election in four years.
Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, if the Government loses there would be 14 days for Mr Johnson to win another confidence vote or for an alternative Government to be formed.
However Lord Lisvane stated if such vote is passed, the Prime Minister could still table a “Sitting of the House Motion” which could prevent MPs from sitting in parliament and passing vital Brexit legislation.
But Lord Lisvane warned taking control away from parliament would be “open subversion” and may spark a constitutional crisis.
He told Politico: “To do so would be an open subversion of the FTPA process, and would be open to fierce criticism on the grounds that it would prevent the House of Commons coming to a view which might be supportive of an alternative PM.”
Meanwhile the comments made by Lord Lisvane have been echoed by the findings of a leading political think tank.
The Institute for Government (IFG) said MPs may have limited opportunities to stop a no deal Brexit on Halloween.
The report found it will be difficult for MPs to repeat the process which led to the passing of the “Cooper Act” earlier this year.
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The motion put forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper forced Theresa May to extend the March 29 deadline.
The bill also required further votes if the Government pursued leaving the EU without an agreement.
The IFG report said: “It is now of no use to MPs who want to express their view on no deal; if Mr Johnson is set on no-deal he will not need to schedule any further meaningful votes.”
When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if Labour is planning to move the motion, Ms Abbott said: “It’s above my pay grade to say when we’ll move the vote of no confidence
“But who has confidence in Boris Johnson apart from the people around him?
“The more he announces these bogus unfunded announcements, I think the less confidence there will be in him in the general public.”
When asked if the motion has to be moved soon to stop Brexit, Ms Abbott said: “Yes it does.
“But one of the things we have to do is consult with other parties – it’s no good moving a vote of no confidence if the Lib Dems, for instance, are not going to vote for it.”
She added: “We are talking to all of the other parties in Parliament and if we move for a vote of no confidence we’ll want to do it with confidence that we can win it.”