Opposition parties settle on legislation to block no-deal Brexit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer
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Opposition parties working to stop a no-deal Brexit have agreed tactics ahead of the return of parliament next week, committing to pursue a 'legislative route' as a priority before any attempt to collapse Boris Johnson's government.

Labour leader Jeremy Corby hosted fellow opposition chiefs including the SNP's Ian Blackford and Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson for an hour of talks in his Westminster office, which Mr Blackford described as “positive and productive”.

The decision to pursue legislation that will seize control of the parliamentary agenda - allowing MPs to rule out a no-deal and potentially delay the UK's 31 October Brexit deadline - represents an admission by Labour that there isn't sufficient support to force a no-confidence vote and install Mr Corbyn as a caretaker Prime Minister.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn insists Labour will 'do everything necessary' to halt no-deal Brexit

It also means concrete action to stop a no-deal could take place as soon as MPs return from the summer recess, on 3 September.

In a joint statement, the leaders of Labour the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Independent Group for Change said they had "detailed" discussions, including hearing legal advice from Labour's shadow Attorney General Shami Charkabarti that calls a threat to suspend parliament in order to force through a no-deal "the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK Constitutional principle in living memory".

The leaders agreed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has "shown himself open to using anti-democratic means to force through no deal". Further meetings between opposition parties will be held this week.

Following the statement, Mr Johnson tweeted: "The referendum result must be respected. We will leave the EU on 31st October."

And a Downing Street official was quoted saying: “It’s utterly perverse that Corbyn and his allies are actively seeking to sabotage the UK’s position. This coalition of anti-democrats should be honest with the British public, they are against us leaving the EU no matter what.“

READ MORE: MPs send warning as Boris Johnson fails to rule out suspending parliament

Commenting after the meeting, Mr Blackford said: "With no mandate or majority, the numbers are stacking up against Boris Johnson and his extreme Brexit. The possibility of stopping Brexit is real and must be realised.

“Parliament must grasp this opportunity, unite to stop Boris Johnson shutting down democracy - and be ready to use all mechanisms to block a no-deal disaster, including deploying legislation as a priority."

Later on Tuesday, Mr Blackford and Ms Swinson are set to lead a symbolic gathering of MPs at Church House, the proposed venue for a 'rebel' parliament in the event that Mr Johnson suspends the Commons to force through a no-deal Brexit. Labour will be represented by shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.