John Bercow vows to fight to halt any bid to suspend Parliament

John Bercow has insisted he will fight with ‘every breath’ to halt any attempts to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

The Speaker of the House of Commons yesterday insisted that not even the Prime Minister would ‘get away’ with attempting to prorogue parliament.

And he vowed to personally challenge Boris Johnson if he made any attempt to push through a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson has so far refused to rule out proroguing parliament in a bid to force through a no-deal Brexit – meaning MPs would be prevented from blocking a chaotic exit from the EU.

The Tory leader has insisted the UK will leave the EU on October 31 ‘come what may’.

But, speaking at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival yesterday, Mr Bercow said he would fight against any move to cut parliament out.

He said: ‘The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way.

‘And if there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or God forbid – to close down parliament, that is anathema to me.

‘I will fight with every breath in my body to stop that happening. We cannot have a situation in which parliament is shut down.

‘We are a democratic society and parliament will be heard. Nobody is going to get away, as far as I’m concerned, with stopping that happening.

‘Nobody should be afraid to say what he or she thinks.’

The Commons Speaker, John Bercow (pictured), insisted that not even the Prime Minister would ‘get away’ with attempting to prorogue Parliament

The comment set the scene for a constitutional battle if Mr Johnson tries to prorogue Parliament to pass No Deal in October, although it is not clear how the Speaker could stop him. 

Mr Bercow previously said during the Tory leadership contest in June that it was ‘blindingly obvious’ Parliament was not going to be ‘evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process’. 

However, that was before Mr Johnson had entered Parliament, making the concept of the assembly being prorogued a real possibility.   

Asked by an audience member if parliament can stop a no-deal Brexit, Mr Bercow said: ‘Yes.’

His comments come as a court battle to stop Mr Johnson suspending parliament also got underway in Edinburgh.

More than 70 MPs and peers have urged the Court of Session to rule that proroguing parliament to ensure the UK leaves the EU without a deal is ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.

A hearing has been scheduled for September 6 at the Edinburgh court.

The legal petition was filed at the Edinburgh court which sits through the summer and had already said the case could proceed. Campaigners pursued the case in Scotland because the equivalent English court does not sit in August.

An initial hearing took place this morning before Lord Doherty to determine the timescale of when the legal challenge will be heard in full.

Mr Bercow also vowed to personally challenge Boris Johnson (who he is seen with on July 25) if he made any attempt to push through a No Deal Brexit

Mr Johnson has promised to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal by October 31 ‘do or die’.

The Prime Minister has not ruled out suspending parliament to make sure the UK can leave the EU without a deal if his attempts to renegotiate the existing terms of divorce fail.

Pro-Remain MPs are using their summer break, with Parliament on recess until the start of September, to come up with potential ways of stopping No Deal.

Fierce clashes with the Johnson administration over Brexit are guaranteed when MPs return to Westminster with many expecting the PM to face a vote of no confidence in the coming weeks.

Mr Bercow also denied suggestions at yesterday’s event that he could stand down in the short term as speaker, in his first public comments since Mr Johnson arrived at Number 10 last month.           

Philip Hammond says Boris Johnson risks betraying the Brexit referendum result if he allows ‘unelected’ saboteurs to force through a No Deal

By Claire Ellicott, Political Correspondent for the Daily Mail 

Philip Hammond has said Boris Johnson of risks betraying the EU referendum result by allowing ‘unelected people’ intent on a no-deal Brexit to ‘pull the strings’ of his government.

The former chancellor made an outspoken attack on the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, accusing him of attempting to force through a no-deal Brexit by making demands that Brussels ‘cannot, and will not, accede to’.

In his first intervention since quitting his role, he said that the suggestion from Brexiteers such as Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, that Leave voters were told of the risks of a no-deal exit is ‘a total travesty of the truth’.

Writing in the Times, he said that there is neither a public nor parliamentary mandate for leaving without a deal

In an overt threat, he also warns the Prime Minister that Parliament will ‘make its voice heard’ to stop it happening.

Boris Johnson (pictured on the left during a visit to HMP Leeds yesterday) was accused of risking ‘betraying’ Brexit by former Chancellor Philip Hammond (seen recently on the Tube)

A no-deal will cost jobs, lead to a decline in living standards and risk breaking up the Union, reducing the UK to an ‘inward-looking little England’, he warns.

He says that it could trigger the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and ultimately lead to a referendum for a united Ireland, as well as a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Mr Hammond and other former cabinet ministers have formed a ‘rebel alliance’ to block no-deal when Parliament returns next month.

The former chancellor has previously refused to rule out voting down the Government to stop that outcome.

In his article Mr Hammond highlights Mr Johnson’s ‘pivot’ in his negotiating stance with the EU from demanding changes to the Irish backstop to calling for it to be abolished outright.

In a clear swipe at Mr Cummings, who has said repeatedly that it is too late to stop a no-deal, he writes: ‘The unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot, and will not, accede to.

‘Not just because they will be stubborn in their defence of the single market (although they will), but because the fragility of their own coalition of 27 means any attempt on their side to reopen the package would see their unity collapse.

‘They will not take that chance and the smart people in Whitehall know it.’

The former chancellor made an outspoken attack on the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, (pictured outside his London home on August 9) accusing him of attempting to force through a no-deal Brexit by making demands that Brussels ‘cannot, and will not, accede to’

Mr Cummings led the Vote Leave campaign and was brought into Downing Street by Mr Johnson to ensure a withdrawal on October 31.

He has suggested that Mr Johnson would sooner hold an election to force through no-deal than resign in the event of losing a no confidence vote.

Mr Hammond argues that people on both sides of the referendum debate wanted a deal. 

‘The hardliners may make the most noise but they are not the most numerous. Most people in this country want to see us leave in a smooth and orderly fashion that will not disrupt lives, cost jobs or diminish living standards, whether they voted Leave or Remain in 2016,’ he says.

‘No-deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen.’

A senior Downing Street source said: ‘Philip Hammond actively undermined the government’s negotiating position by frustrating and obstructing preparation to leave the EU. 

Everyone knows that the ex-chancellor’s real objective was to cancel the referendum result.’ 

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