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U.K. Opposition to Propose Law to Stop No-Deal Brexit on Tuesday

Brian Swint

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The U.K. opposition Labour Party will present legislation this week aimed at stopping the country from leaving the European Union without a deal.

Lawmakers “are now looking to see how on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week we can introduce a legislative measure which will enable us to prevent a no deal without parliamentary approval,” opposition Treasury spokesman John McDonnell said on the Sky News program Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “The ultimate goal this week is to secure parliamentary sovereignty.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson caused outrage by suspending Parliament for most of September and almost half of October as he continues negotiations with the EU for a new withdrawal agreement. He also unveiled billions of pounds of new spending on education, social care and transportation, adding to speculation that he’s preparing for an election.

Thousands of people on Saturday joined protests across the U.K. against the decision to suspend Parliament. The demonstrators used the slogan “Stop the Coup” to send their message that the move is undermining centuries of democracy by limiting debate.

Johnson and his senior aides are discussing whether to deny party affiliation to Tory members who join with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to block a no-deal Brexit, according to the Sunday Times. Former Justice Minister David Gauke, who will meet the prime minster on Monday with others who oppose crashing out without new arrangements, said it might be a price worth paying.

“Sometimes there is a point where you have to judge between your own personal interests and the national interest, and the national interest has to come first,” he told Sky. “But I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Some Conservative Party members being threatened with expulsion took exception to Johnson’s threat, pointing out that they voted with the government on the Withdrawal Agreement while many current ministers did not.

Labour’s Keir Starmer said that the proposed legislation would force an extension of the Brexit deadline, though didn’t say exactly how. With less than a week before Parliament is adjourned, “this is almost certainly the last chance,” he told the BBC.

Michael Gove, the government minister responsible for no-deal Brexit planning, refused to rule out simply ignoring Parliament’s instructions. When asked in a BBC interview if there would be food shortages or if food prices would go up, he said, “people will have the food they need.”

Johnson is promising that the U.K. will leave the EU on Oct. 31 “do or die.” The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he’s “not optimistic” about avoiding no deal in an opinion piece for theTelegraph newspaper.

While Gove said he hopes there isn’t an election on the horizon, his and Johnson’s Conservative Party extended its lead over Labour in the latest Daily Mail poll. When McDonnell was asked if he were ready for an election, he said, “Bring it on.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Swint in London at bswint@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at pgordon6@bloomberg.net, James Amott, Amy Teibel

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