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Former UK parliament adviser warns legal loophole could lead to no-deal Brexit

Lord Lisvane said a tactical delay “would be extraordinarily contentious, and would be open to the strongest criticism” | U.K. Parliament

Former UK parliament adviser warns legal loophole could lead to no-deal Brexit

Former Commons Clerk Lord Lisvane issued a note of caution to Boris Johnson.

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8/11/19, 10:00 AM CET

Updated 8/11/19, 6:05 PM CET

LONDON — Boris Johnson could shut down parliament after a vote of no confidence to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit, a former House of Commons clerk has warned.

Lord Lisvane, who served as the most senior constitutional advisor to the House between 2011 and 2014, was scathing about the reported plans by Johnson to ignore a vote of no-confidence and delay an election until after the Brexit date. He said that while it would be possible to suspend the Commons through a “Sittings of the House Motion” to force a no-deal departure from the EU, the tactic would be an “open subversion” of the laws governing parliamentary terms, and “constitutionally destructive.”

Downing Street has refused to rule out the prospect of Johnson ignoring a no-confidence vote aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit.

Under the Fixed-term Parliament Act (FTPA), MPs would have 14 days after a no-confidence vote to pass a vote of confidence either in the existing government or a newly formed one, otherwise a general election would be triggered.

It means a prospective successor to the prime minister would need to have formed a government at the request of the Queen before a second confidence vote is held.

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