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.
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.
Officials said that Sedwell would be replying to Corbyn.
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