June 11, 2019 / 2:59 PM / 7 days ago

UK's Labour aim to seize parliamentary time to try to stop no-deal Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday it would try to take control of the parliamentary agenda on June 25 to give lawmakers the chance to introduce legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer is seen outside the Cabinet Office in London, Britain, April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Several of the candidates vying to replace Prime Minister Theresa May have said they would not be willing to delay Britain’s European Union beyond the end of October, even if it meant leaving without a deal.

A majority of lawmakers oppose leaving without a deal and other leadership contenders have warned parliament will block any attempt to do so. One, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, has even raised the possibility of suspending parliament until after Oct. 31 to prevent it happening.

“The debate on Brexit in the Tory (Conservative) leadership contest has descended into the disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless,” said Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.

“None of the likely candidates for the top job has a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October.”

Labour said it would use an opposition day debate on Wednesday to vote on a motion, supported by lawmakers from several parties including the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and a member of May’s Conservatives, to seize parliamentary time on June 25.

If successful, Members of Parliament (MPs) could then use that time to introduce legislation to try and avoid Britain leaving on Oct. 31 without a deal, Labour said.

“MPs cannot be bystanders while the next Tory Prime Minister tries to crash the UK out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people. That’s why we are taking this latest measure to end the uncertainty and protect communities across the country,” Starmer added.

Earlier this year, MPs used a similar process to pass a law, despite government opposition, that mandated May to seek more time from the EU.

This alone would not have prevented a no-deal, as the EU has to agree to any extension. Only legislating to revoke the Article 50 exit notification would stop Brexit happening.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison

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