‘A Leave Population And A Remain Parliament!’

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TORY International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has accused pro-Remain MPs of trying to ‘in effect steal Brexit’. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning: ‘You’ve got a Leave population and a Remain Parliament.

‘Parliament has not got the right to hijack the Brexit process because Parliament has said to the people of this country: “We make a contract with you, you will make the decision and we will honour it.”

‘What we are now getting are some of those who were always absolutely opposed to the result of the referendum, trying to hijack Brexit and, in effect, steal the result from the people.’

There are various backbench moves to prevent the UK leaving the European Union without a deal on 29th March, he said. He warned that, if the referendum result was not honoured: ‘The consequences politically would be astronomical.’

Fox also said that he believed the way to break the deadlock was to win over more Conservative MPs to the PM’s deal by finding a ‘different mechanism’ to the ‘backstop’ proposal, to prevent a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Earlier, Marr interviewed Labour’s anti-Brexit Chair of the House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee, Hilary Benn, and Labour’s anti-Brexit Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer. Marr opened his interview with Benn by saying: ‘Hilary Benn, it’s in your office tomorrow that these alleged backbench plotters are gathering in order to seize back control of the Commons agenda from the executive. Can you explain in clear terms what you’re about and why?’

Benn replied: ‘There are many MPs in the House of Commons whose first priority is to ensure that we do not leave without a deal and therefore are finding ways when we come to table amendments this week and debate on 29th January, how we stop that if the prime minister won’t listen to the calls she’s having from all quarters in all parties to stop a no-deal Brexit.’

Interviewing Starmer, Marr said: ‘Is it conceivable that Labour at the next election won’t be pro-Brexit?’ Starmer replied: ‘Well, we need to, as I say, build on our manifesto, take on board what we said at our conference. Of course it’s then our members that have to be brought into the process through what we call a clause 5 meeting, and we will go through that process.’

Marr persisted: ‘But as things stand you’re going to go into that election as a pro-Brexit party?’ Starmer replied: ‘Andrew you’re putting that to me and I’m not agreeing with you, I am describing the process that we will go through.’

PM May will make a statement to MPs today, setting out how she intends to proceed with Brexit. She will also table a ‘neutral’ motion – which various groups of MPs are expected to try to amend – to be debated and voted on, on 29th January.

Some MPs will present a bill that could allow Brexit to be delayed if Parliament does not approve a withdrawal deal.