'Very few opportunities' to stop No Deal Brexit as deadline looms, report finds

Institute for Government think tank says Remain MPs are running out of options to stop a No Deal Brexit. A clean break with the European Union is on the cards if the government have the bottle to see it through.

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When MPs return to Parliament after their summer recess there will be less than two months before the UK is set to leave the EU. The options the UK faces are the same as they were in March: leave with a deal, leave without a deal, seek an extension to the leaving date or unilaterally revoke Article 50.

What has changed though is the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson has made clear that if the UK is unable to leave with a renegotiated deal on 31 October then the UK will leave without a deal, “do or die”.

Joe Owen, IFG Brexit programme director, said: “MPs looking to force the Government into a change of approach face a huge challenge when Parliament returns.

“Even if they can assemble a majority for something, they may find few opportunities to make their move – and time is running out.”

The Institute for Government paper concludes:

  • It is very unlikely the UK will be able to leave the EU with a deal on 31 October
  • MPs can express opposition to No Deal but that alone will not prevent it
  • Backbenchers have very few opportunities to legislate to stop No Deal.
  • A vote of no confidence would not necessarily stop No Deal.
  • There is little time to hold a General Election before 31 October
  • A second referendum can only happen with government support

With the leave date now just 80 days away and the EU unwilling to re-open negotiations, Johnson is unlikely to broker a new Withdrawal Agreement with Brussels and get it through Parliament by 31st October. Should Johnson keep his promise, that would mean the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage warned Johnson If the Tories don’t deliver Brexit by October 31, they will be annihilated.