The text of the bill which MPs want to use to prevent a No-deal Brexit has been published. It calls on the government to go to parliament for consent before leaving the EU without a deal on October 31. If this is not granted, and a new agreement with the EU is not agreed by October 19, the Bill aims to ensure that the UK doesn’t leave for three months. The prime minister would have to request an extension of Article 50 until January 31 2020. In a series of tweets, Mr Benn said: ‘The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the UK does not leave the European Union on the 31 October without an agreement, unless Parliaments consents. ‘The Bill gives the Government time either to reach a new agreement with the European Union at the European Council meeting next month or to seek Parliament’s specific consent to leave the EU without a deal.
‘If neither of these two conditions have been met, however, by 19th October – ie the day after the European Council meeting concludes – then the Prime Minister must send a letter to the President of the European Council requesting an Article 50 extension until 31 January 2020. ‘The form of the letter is set out in a schedule to the Bill. If the European Council agrees to an extension to the 31 January 2020, then the Prime Minister must immediately accept that extension. ‘If the European Council proposes an extension to a different date then the Prime Minister must accept that extension within two days, unless the House of Commons rejects it. ‘The Bill has cross-party support from MPs who believe that the consequences of No Deal for the economy and the country would be highly damaging. No Deal is not in the national interest.’ Former chancellor Philip Hammond and ex-justice secretary David Gauke are among the senior Tories who have put their name to cross-party legislation which the group hopes to push through the Commons this week. If MPs agree on Tuesday to allow the cross-party group to seize control of Commons business, the legislation will be considered the following day. It comes as Boris Johnson made an unexpected statement outside 10 Downing Street this evening, warning rebels there were no circumstances in which he would delay Brexit. He said: ‘There are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on October 31, no ifs, no buts.’ He said potential rebels want to ‘cut the legs’ off the government’s negotiating position, adding: ‘I don’t want an election; you don’t want an election.’
He said he did not believe MPs would ‘vote with Jeremy Corbyn for yet another pointless delay,’ but said that if they did they would ‘make any further negotiations impossible. ‘I say, to show our friends in Brussels that we are united, MPs should vote with the government against Corbyn’s pointless delay.’