FORMER Tory Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind spoke out in support of bringing down the Johnson government to prevent a no-deal Brexit yesterday.
Appearing on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme on Sky TV, Rifkind first of all commented on the crisis in Hong Kong, saying: ‘The position of the United Kingdom is quite different to all other countries, including the United States. The whole basis of two systems in one country was a treaty signed by the British government and the Chinese government.
‘That treaty has been deposited at the United Nations. We have a perfect right if that treaty is being breached, to make our concerns known in the most robust way possible.
‘Now, I’m not being unrealistic, of course we cannot control events either in China or in Hong Kong, we don’t have that kind of control any longer.’
He then spoke in favour of bringing down Johnson, saying: ‘It only needs a small number and the government are defeated and it seems likely the numbers are there.’
Meanwhile, more than 100 MPs have written to Johnson urging him to recall Parliament because the country is facing ‘a national emergency’ over Brexit.
The group have thrown down the gauntlet to the Prime Minister by saying a ‘true democrat should not fear such scrutiny’, adding: ‘The question is whether you are one.’
Signed by members of every political party in the House of Commons excluding the DUP, the letter criticises Johnson for spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money ‘to back up your reckless no-deal plans’.
The MPs said: ‘You claim to speak for the people, and yet the people’s parliament is in recess at this most crucial of times.’
The MPs wrote: ‘Parliament must be recalled now in August and sit permanently until October 31, so that the voices of the people can be heard and there is proper scrutiny of your government.
‘At times of grave economic emergency and threats to our national security, parliament has been recalled to allow MPs to make representations on behalf of their constituents and to hold ministers to account.
‘Our country is on the brink of an economic crisis, as we career towards a “no-deal Brexit”, which will have an immediate effect on food and medical supplies, damage our economy, jobs, the public finances, public services, universities and long-term economic security.’
The letter is signed by several Labour MPs, the Westminster leaders of the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Change UK, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and senior Tories Dominic Grieve and Guto Bebb.
Condemning Johnson for failing to respect the EU, the letter said: ‘You have failed to conduct any substantive negotiations with EU partners. And you have shown utter disregard for the crucial relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
‘These are grounds in themselves for a recall of parliament.
‘But in addition there is a creeping and disturbing populism taking over your discourse on the EU, bringing the discredited rhetoric of the “leave” campaign into the heart of the UK government.
‘You have used the language of fascism and authoritarianism in terms such as “collaboration” to describe parliamentary colleagues who have the temerity to disagree with you.’
• Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay announced yesterday: ‘I have signed the legislation setting in stone the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our law. It underlines that we are leaving the EU on October 31.’