Dominic Raab says he could CLOSE Parliament to make sure the UK leaves the EU by October 31 as Tory leadership battle turns nasty
- Tory leader hopeful Dominic Raab threatens to close Parliament to force No Deal
- Refused to rule out proroguing in the Autumn to stop MPs from blocking Brexit
- Rivals accused him of behaving like Charles I warning move would be ‘illegal’
- Michael Gove has attacked Boris Johnson and said he could delay Brexit date
The war between Tory Brexit and Remainer factions caught fire today after Dominic Raab said he could close Parliament to make sure the UK leaves the EU by the end of October.
Mr Raab refused to rule out proroguing the Commons in the Autumn to prevent MPs from blocking No Deal.
But the stark threat, delivered at hustings last night, sparked fury with other Conservatives accusing him of acting like a 17th Century king and warning the move would be ‘illegal’.
The row erupted as Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched an attack on front runner Boris Johnson, who has also made clear Brexit must happen by the end of October at all costs.
At Tory hustings last night, Dominic Raab (pictured at BBC studios last month) refused to rule out proroguing the Commons in the Autumn to prevent MPs from blocking No Deal
Boris Johnson has said the UK must leave the EU by October 31. But Michael Gove said he would be prepared to delay the UK’s departure by days or weeks if he thought a deal was within reach
Mr Gove said he would be prepared to delay the UK’s departure by days or weeks if he thought a deal was within reach.
Ramping up his campaign, Mr Gove wrote in the Mail: ‘If we make the progress I know we can and we are on the cusp of a better deal which works for us, would it really be in the best interests of our country to opt for a No Deal exit when just a little more time and effort could make all the difference?
‘Also, saying that we would leave come what may when there is still progress to be made, runs the risk of Parliament forcing us into a general election before Brexit is secured. That would hand Downing Street to a Jeremy Corbyn government propped up by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.
‘That would mean we lost Brexit altogether, risked the future of our Union, and handed the levers of power to a Marxist.’
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart seized on Mr Raab’s claim he could close down Parliament force through a no-deal Brexit, branding the move potentially ‘illegal’.
The idea would mean using the PM’s executive powers to bring the Commons session to a close in the run-up to Brexit, so there is no opportunity for MPs to take control of the process.
Mr Stewart, another leadership contender, said: ‘All this talk about no-deal Brexit is a recipe for delay. It can’t be done.
‘And the the reason why Dom Raab is saying he is going to prorogue Parliament, in other words try to shut the doors on Parliament, is because the only way that they could try to get it through is by doing that.
‘That would be illegal, if they did it for the express purpose of getting it through.
‘It would be unconstitutional. It would be undemocratic. And it wouldn’t work.’
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd referred to Charles I’s efforts to bypass Parliament – which ended with his execution in the 17th Century.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (pictured on ITV’s Peston show last night) seized on Mr Raab’s claim he could close down Parliament force through a no-deal Brexit, branding the move potentially ‘illegal’
Former Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom (pictured on ITV’s GMB yesterday) told a hustings event she had taken advice from the Commons clerks and been told that proroguing to avoid Brexit being blocked was not possible
‘I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings,’ she said.
Former Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom told a hustings event on Tuesday night that she had taken advice from the Commons clerks and been told that proroguing to avoid Brexit being blocked was not possible.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Tory hustings that Parliament would block a no-deal Brexit so the Tories needed a leader who could negotiate a better agreement.
Labour reacted with anger at remarks by Mr Hancock at the Tory hustings on Mr Corbyn.
According to a supporter of Mr Hancock, the Cabinet minister told colleagues at the gathering: ‘The Conservative Party has to get this right. If we don’t, we could end up with the first anti-Semitic leader of a Western nation since the Second World War.’
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell branded the comments ‘a disgrace’.
And a Labour source said: ‘This baseless political attack rings hollow from a minister in a party that has supported governments that actively promote anti-Semitic policies in Hungary and Poland and has spent the week wooing Trump – the man who refused to condemn neo-fascists in Charlottesville who chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’.
‘Numerous candidates in the Conservative leadership contest have been accused of racism, Islamophobia, homophobia and misogyny, one of whom may be the next prime minister.’
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