Published On: Tue, Sep 3rd, 2019

Oliver Letwin accuses Boris of being too ‘threatening’ to EU in astonishing attack on PM | Politics | News

Rebel Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin has condemned Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy while speaking in the House of Commons this evening. Mr Letwin, who has proposed the motion to block a no deal and extend the Brexit deadline to January 1, detailed four reasons for tabling today’s motion. The fourth and final reason saw a damning attack on the Prime Minister’s strategy, something Mr Letwin branded “not credible” and “not responsible”.

The rebel Tory MP heavily criticised the Government’s Brexit strategy, including Mr Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament and repeatedly threaten to leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

He detailed four reasons for proposing the motion, and the most damning came in the final point, where he used an analogy to outline his point.

He said: “So far from constituting a threat to the EU that will force them to capitulate and remove the backstop, the Government’s intention or willingness to lead the country into a no deal exit is a threat to our country.

“The Prime Minister is much in the position of someone standing on one side of a canyon yelling to people on the other side of the canyon that if they do not do as he wishes he will throw himself into the abyss.

“That is not a credible negotiating strategy and it is also not a responsible strategy given that the rest of us will be dragged over the edge with the Prime Minister.”

His other three points discussed Mr Johnson’s ambigious alternative to the Irish backstop, the limited time to debate a Brexit deal and the threat of a no deal exit. 

Mr Letwin said: “This motion rises because of four facts.

“The first is that in the last six weeks the Government has not produced one single indication of any viable proposal to replace the backstop by any alternative likely to prove acceptable to the EU.

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“The likelihood of the Government reaching a deal at the council meeting on the 17th and 18th october on the terms that the Government itself has set is accordingly slight.

“The second fact is that this is the last week in which Parliament will have the ability to block a no deal exit on the 31st October because the Government is proroguing until the 14th october and the Government has made clear that it will fight in the courts any legislation that seeks to extend Article 50.

“There will not be time after the 14th October for Parliament both to legislate and for that legislation to be enforced through the courts.

He went on to say the third point was that: “In the absence of a deal with the EU on the terms the Government itself has set and in the absence of an order of the Supreme Court that the Government should extend the Article 50 period the Government will lead our country into a no deal exit on the 31st October this has been made clear by the Prime Minister on repeated occasions.”

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Sir Letwin also went on to explain what the purpose of the requestion extension is for, he said: “The purpose of the extension… is very clear it is to provide Government with the time to try to speak to solve this problem and to enable Parliament to help resolve an issue which has proved very difficult

“I don’t say it is easy to do by the 1st of January but I am sure that it won’t be possible by the 31st October.

“We are between a rock and a hard place and by this instance the hard place is better than the rock.

“It is as simple as that, it’s decision time if MPs want to prevent a no deal Brexit on the 31st October they will have the opportunity to do so if but only if they vote for this motion this evening.”

The Prime Minister has threatened a “do or die” Brexit strategy, pledging to take Britain out of the EU “come what may”.

But this plan has been heavily criticised, as many MPs and experts have warned of the consequences of leaving without a deal.

Yesterday, Mr Johnson spoke outside 10 Downing Street and reasserted his commitment to pull the UK from the EU on October 31.

He dismissed the idea of seeking an extension from Brussels.

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