Tuesday 8 January 2019 8:38 am

Labour and Conservative MPs join forces to attempt to block a no-deal Brexit by stripping government of powers

Follow Joe Curtis
Labour and Tory MPs have teamed up to table an amendment that seeks to force the government to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Conservative backbencher Nicky Morgan and Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s proposed amendment to the Finance Bill would limit the government’s spending powers if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement.

It reportedly has the support of senior Conservative figures Sir Oliver Letwin, Sarah Wollaston and Nick Boles, as well as Brexit select committee chair, Labour MP Hilary Benn.

Another amendment to the bill, which enacts the Budget, would give the government less room to make Brexit-related tax changes without parliament’s say-so.

The bill returns to the Commons today, and currently allows for the Treasury to allocate cash for a no-deal Brexit scenario.

“The risks to our economy and security from no deal are far too high and it would be irresponsible to allow it to happen,” Cooper said.

“I do not believe parliament would support no deal and ministers should rule it out now. Time is running out and this is too serious for brinkmanship.

“Parliament needs to make sure there are opportunities to stop the country reaching the cliff edge by accident. This amendment helps to do just that.”

A second amendment to the bill was tabled by Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable, which would prevent the Treasury from raising income tax or corporation tax unless parliament passes a Brexit deal.

“The government is attempting to force parliament to panic by refusing to take no deal off the table,” he told Sky News.

“The time has now come for MPs to assert their authority by making it impossible for the government to collect crucial taxes if they do pursue a damaging no-deal.”

Lorries rehearsed a no-deal Brexit journey from a disused Kent airport to the port of Dover yesterday, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares for MPs to vote on her withdrawal agreement on 15 January.