Parliament Rejects Motion to Stop Future PM From Pursuing No-Deal Brexit

Dover and Deal MP Charile Elphicke

Dover and Deal MP Charile Elphicke

Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to be Britain's next prime minister, laid out his pitch to win the leadership race in the ruling Conservative Party on Wednesday.

He gave no specifics, but has previously said he would support the no-deal option over seeing no Brexit at all.

Brexiteers such as Dominic Raab and Esther McVey have said the priority must be honouring the 2016 referendum result and the United Kingdom should be prepared to accept no deal.

Mr Johnson said: "I think what most people in this country want us to really focus on in this campaign, if I may say so, is what we can do for them and what our plans are for this great country of ours". "I will hit the ground running and engage in friendliest possible way with friends across channel".

Sajid Javid, the last of the 10 candidates to launch his campaign ahead of Thursday's first round of voting, dismissed Mr Johnson as "yesterday's news", saying the party needed to show it had changed.

"If we now block it (Brexit) we will reap the whirlwind, we will face mortal retribution from the electorate".

"Now is the time to unite this country and unite this society", he said, stressing that this task can be only achieved after leaving the EU.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, has urged MPs to back cross-party efforts to give parliament time to block no deal, calling it a "safety valve" so MPs can begin legislation to stop a new prime minister suspending parliament.

Referring to his record as mayor of London, he said: "I do what I promise to do as a politician".

Starmer said Wednesday's defeated motion would have ensured that "If the next prime minister is foolish enough to try to pursue a no deal Brexit. then Parliament would have the means to prevent that".

Labour said if the motion passes: "MPs will have the chance to introduce measures, including legislation, that could help avoid a no-deal Brexit at the end of October".

As the result was announced, Tory MPs cheered on the benches.

"With every week and month that goes by in which we fail to deliver on our promise, I'm afraid we will further alienate not just our natural supporters, driving them into the arms of insurgent parties, but anyone who believes that politicians should deliver on their promises".

Some of the 10 contenders, including front-runner Boris Johnson, say if they become prime minister, they would take Britain out of the European Union on the twice-extended withdrawal date, now set for October 31, with or without an agreement.

At his launch Mr Johnson was also pressed by journalists on his use of language - including when he wrote in his Daily Telegraph column that Muslim women wearing the burka looked like "letterboxes".

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