MPs trying to delay Brexit to avoid no deal have been granted an emergency debate and vote tonight on seizing control of parliament.
Under their plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be forced to ask the EU to delay Brexit if no new deal has been struck by 19 October or MPs have not endorsed a no-deal divorce themselves.
The cross-party group now has up to three hours to make their case on being able to control the agenda of the Commons tomorrow before all MPs cast their vote, which could have huge repercussions.
Former Tory minister Sir Oliver Letwin led the bid, accusing the government of not presenting any “viable” changes to the Brexit deal that Brussels could accept and warning the chances of getting a new deal are “slight”.
He added action needed to be taken this week because of the prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament next week for around a month.
A government official has warned if it loses the vote tonight it will call for an election on Monday 14 October, and any Tory MPs who rebel will be banned from standing as candidates.
But Mr Johnson would need the backing of two-thirds of the Commons to dissolve parliament and hold a snap poll.
He has already had his majority wiped out with the defection of former minister Philip Lee to the Liberal Democrats in the opening minutes of a major Brexit speech on the G7 summit.
Around 20 Tory MPs are thought to be planning to vote to suspend the parliamentary rule that says only the government can table new laws.
They will hope that if successful, they can then pass legislation tomorrow that will delay Brexit until 31 January 2020 to avert the threat of no deal in fewer than 60 days’ time.
Mr Johnson has already implored rebels not to “slacken” the UK’s chances of renegotiating a new withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future relationship with Brussels.
He promised more detail on the UK’s proposals would be published “long before” 21 September.
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