Corbyn rules out immediate Johnson no confidence vote

Prime minister flies back to face UK parliament as Brexit chaos deepens

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Boris Johnson to consider his position and call a new election after the supreme court ruled that the UK prime minister's move to suspend parliament was unlawful. Video: Reuters


Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said it would be appropriate to trigger a vote of no confidence in British prime minister Boris Johnson only when a no-deal Brexit has clearly been averted.

Mr Corbyn said his priority was averting a no-deal Brexit with legislation and only when that was clear would he be ready to trigger a vote of no confidence. He said he would be happy to have an election once no-deal Brexit had been averted.

“Quite simply our first priority is to prevent a no-deal exit from the EU,” Mr Corbyn told BBC Radio 4. “At that point it would be appropriate to move a vote of no confidence to force the prime minister to resign.”

He said Mr Johnson should apologise to Queen Elizabeth and to the British people after the Supreme Court ruled he had acted unlawfully by suspending parliament for five weeks in the run-up to Brexit.

Mr Corbyn said he thought Mr Johnson would have received advice from Government lawyers that proroguing Parliament for five weeks was “questionable”.

“I would have thought it would have been pretty obvious that the course the PM was set on was very risky and an affront to our democracy,” he told the BBC.

However, Michael Gove has refused to apologise for the unlawful suspension. The senior Cabinet minister acknowledged there had been “heated responses” to the ruling although he said he did not recognise reports that Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the court’s actions a “constitutional coup”.

Mr Johnson is determined to lead Britain out of the European Union on October 31st, with or without a deal, but most members of parliament are equally determined to prevent a no-deal Brexit scenario.

The House of Commons, where Mr Johnson has no majority, will reconvene at 11.30am . It is unclear exactly what will happen next.

‘Constitutional coup’

Mr Johnson has rejected calls from some political opponents to resign.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly said his preferred Brexit outcome would be to agree an exit deal with the EU’s 27 other members before the October 31st deadline, and that he was hopeful he would achieve that.

However, EU negotiators say he has made no new proposals capable of breaking the deadlock over the issue of how to manage the Irish Border after Brexit.

Mr Johnson was combative after the ruling, telling reporters in New York on Tuesday that he strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court justices, and complaining that there were many people trying to thwart Brexit against the will of the people.

On the other side of the divide, one of Mr Johnson’s own former cabinet members, Amber Rudd, said it would be irresponsible for the government to cast the ruling as an anti-Brexit move when the prime minister’s defence all along was that his decision to suspend parliament in the first place had nothing to do with Brexit.

Former minister Dominic Grieve, an influential member of parliament and an anti-Johnson rebel within the ruling Conservative Party, accused the prime minister of behaving “like a bull in a china shop”.

Round in circles

Mr Grieve told Sky News early on Wednesday that Mr Johnson should abandon his attempts to force through a no-deal Brexit which had no support in parliament, and instead engage in sensible dialogue with legislators to find a way out of the quagmire.

“My judgment is that there’s only one way out and that is to have a second referendum, because otherwise we’re going to carry on going round in circles. But he’s entitled to put other ideas forward if he thinks he’s got them,” Mr Grieve said.

“He says he wants to get a deal but there’s no evidence he’s even started negotiating a deal with the EU and it’s quite clear that the House of Commons and parliament will not accept leaving without an agreement because it’s so damaging for the future of our country.”

Before the suspension, parliament had passed a law requiring Mr Johnson to ask the EU to push back the October 31st deadline if no exit deal was agreed by October 19th.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday how he planned to overcome that obstacle, Mr Johnson ignored the question and insisted Brexit would take place on October 31st, come what may. – PA/Reuters

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