Johnson `Not Attracted' to Suspending Parliament: Brexit Update

Johnson ‘Not Attracted’ to Suspending Parliament: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) — Former Prime Minister John Major threatened to seek a judicial review if the next premier suspends Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit — something Boris Johnson, the front-runner to succeed Theresa May, has refused to rule out.

Key Developments:

MPs narrowly passed a measure — by 294 votes to 293 — proposed by pro-EU Tory Dominic Grieve, showing they are willing to act to stop a no-deal split from the blocJohnson’s rival for the top job, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, rejected the idea of suspending ParliamentTheresa May’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, and Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer give evidence to MPs from 3 p.m.Pound little changed after gaining in earlier trading

EU’s Next Chief Hopes U.K. Doesn’t Leave (12:50 p.m.)

Ursula von der Leyen, nominee for next European Commission president, told European Union lawmakers she hopes the U.K. changes its mind and stays in the bloc, but that if it does leave, it should be on the best possible terms.

“We want you to remain,” she said, addressing a British member of the European Parliament in Brussels. But whatever happens, “it is in our interests to have you sort things out,” she said — a clear indication that she will try to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Von der Leyen was chosen to lead the EU’s executive by national leaders but she still needs the support of parliament. She will start in post the day after Britain leaves the bloc — if it sticks to its latest deadline of Oct. 31.

Johnson ‘Not Attracted’ to Suspending Parliament (12:40 p.m.)

In a letter to the One Nation caucus of centrist Conservatives published on Wednesday, leadership front-runner Boris Johnson repeated his line that he is “not attracted to arcane procedures such as the prorogation of Parliament,” and would rather find consensus on Brexit across the House of Commons.

Johnson also wrote that he believes a no-deal Brexit is “extremely unlikely to happen.” The One Nation group had asked Johnson to clarify his policy positions following a meeting with its members several weeks ago.

The publication of the letter comes after former Prime Minister John Major criticized Johnson’s failure to rule out prorogation (see 9 a.m.). Parliament also made clear on Tuesday it would fight against a no-deal Brexit if the government pursued it.

Johnson Supporters Hit Back at Major (11:25 a.m.)

Supporters of Boris Johnson have ridiculed former Prime Minister John Major’s threat (see 9 a.m.) to seek a judicial review if the next premier tries to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

“It’s a stunt,” Conservative MP Chris Philp told BBC Radio. “I don’t think it’s a serious proposition.” Philp said suspending Parliament “is not the plan A or even plan B or plan C. The main plan is to get a deal agreed with the European Union, and that’s what Boris, and I think the vast majority of Conservatives, and I suspect the vast majority of the public want.”

Prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker said in a text message that Major’s political career was “intertwined in our country’s journey to this debacle,” citing issues including the failure to seek a public mandate to sign the Maastricht Treaty, which formally created the European Union and deepened political integration among member states.

“My generation owe Sir John a debt of gratitude on other issues, but on Europe, his premiership has proven a disaster,” Baker said.

Major Threatens Legal Action Over Parlt Suspension (9 a.m.)

Former Prime Minister John Major said he would be ready to take the government to court if the new premier tried to suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. He called on the front-runner for the position, Boris Johnson, to rule out doing so.

“There would be a queue of people who would seek judicial review,” Major said on BBC Radio. “I have huge admiration for our parliamentary traditions and I’m not going to stand by and see them disregarded in this fashion. It is utterly, utterly and completely the wrong way to proceed.”

Major is backing Jeremy Hunt to be the new prime minister, who has said he won’t suspend Parliament to get the U.K. out of the European Union by Oct. 31. But Major warned both candidates that sticking to that deadline could be “disastrous” if companies and the country wasn’t ready.

“National leaders look first at the interests of the country, not first at the interests of themselves and appealing to a particular part of a small electorate for a particular post, however politically important that post may be,” he said.

Earlier:

U.K. Parliament Flexes Muscle as Johnson Doubles Down on No-DealU.K. Seeks Brexit Concessions Saying Dublin Has Most to LoseBrexit Bulletin: Parliament Strikes Again

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma Ross-Thomas at erossthomas@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Thomas Penny

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