Jeremy Corbyn urges civil servants to block no-deal Brexit if poll is called

The Canary

Jeremy Corbyn has called on the cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to rule that Boris Johnson cannot go ahead with a no-deal Brexit if there is a general election, saying it would be an “unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power”.

There are reports Johnson could seek to hang on long enough to ensure Britain is out of the EU before going to the polls if he is defeated in a vote of confidence when MPs return in September.

As it stands, under the latest extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process by the EU, Britain is due to leave on October 31.

If Johnson is defeated in a no-confidence motion he would have 14 days, under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, to win another vote of confidence or, if no other government could be formed, face a general election.

In his letter to Sedwell, Corbyn said such a course of action would be “unprecedented” and “unconstitutional”.

He asked Sedwell to confirm that if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal while an election is underway, the Government should seek another time-limited extension to Article 50 to allow the voters to decide.

Corbyn wrote:

Forcing through no-deal against a decision of Parliament, and denying the choice to the voters in a general election already under way, would be an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power by a Prime Minister elected not by the public but by a small number of unrepresentative Conservative Party members.

A Labour government will never support a no-deal exit, so would of course want the opportunity to take a different view.

But Brexiteers argue parliament has already voted to leave the EU, voting to trigger the Article 50 process and passing legislation setting Britain’s withdrawal date for October 31.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill
Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has been asked by Jeremy Corbyn to intervene (PA)

Officials said that Sedwell would be replying to Corbyn.

 

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Are you deliberately trying to make Corbyn look an idiot?
      He isn’t asking Sedwill to ‘block’ anything, because he knows full well that civil servants can’t block things. Nor is he asking him to ‘rule’, because he knows full well that civil servants do not have judicial powers,and hence cannot rule on anything. He is asking for the only thing civil servants can give, that is ‘advice’.
      I am fully aware that the British Constitution is a complex thing but it is important to understand it before writing an article that so misinterprets Corbyn’s letter that it could have appeared in the Guardian.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.