Alistair Burt: No-deal Brexit cannot be ‘smuggled through’

Mr Burt said Parliament should remain open

Friday, July 19, 2019

Tory MP Alistair Burt has defended his decision to vote against the government to prevent the next Prime Minister from suspending Parliament.

The MP for North East Bedfordshire insisted that his vote was not an "attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit", but rather a way of ensuring Parliament could "scrutinise" any decisions made.

"Parliament is there in order to scrutinise and do its job and not to be avoided," Mr Burt told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer.

“I do not know if there’s going to be a no-deal Brexit or not, neither contender for the leadership wants to see a no-deal Brexit which is great, but if there is to be one, it can’t be smuggled through in some way."

Yesterday the Commons passed a backbench amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which requires Parliament to remain open for the rest of the year in order to discuss Northern Irish devolution.

It means whoever next enters Number 10 will not be able to send MPs home in order to force through no deal - something that Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson has hinted at doing.

Mr Burt was one of 17 rebel Conservative MPs to vote in favour of the amendment.

Chancellor Philip Hammond was accused of “total betrayal” as he also defied the three-line whip in abstaining from the vote.

But when asked if Mr Hammond should still be in a job, Mr Burt defended him.

“He’s been an excellent chancellor...there’s going to be a new government next week and it would appear clear that Philip Hammond will leave or be asked to leave.

"Removing the chancellor at this stage seems to me to be fairly pointless.”

Mr Burt, who is backing Jeremy Hunt in the conservative leadership contest, also said a general election was possible, but not in the country’s interests.

He added: "All evidence suggests a general election would be hugely inconclusive."

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