Thursday 6 June 2019 10:04 am

Rory Stewart: Dominic Raab's no-deal Brexit plan 'illegal'

Tory leadership contender Rory Stewart has labelled rival Dominic Raab’s bid to force a no-deal Brexit through parliament as “illegal”.

Raab yesterday said he would be ready as Prime Minister to suspend parliament so he could force a no-deal departure from the EU.

Read more: Tory leadership rivals caught in Westminster row

The former Brexit secretary is one of the frontrunners to replace Theresa May as Conservative party leader after she steps down tomorrow.

Raab would ask the Queen’s permission to suspend the current parliament, thereby preventing MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.

The hardline Brexiter has refused to rule out the UK leaving the bloc without a deal when  the current Brexit deadline of 31 October arrives.

Instead he said taking no deal off the table would be “weakening our hand with the EU”.

“If I become PM we are leaving at the end of October,” he added.

But rival Stewart told ITV’s Robert Peston that such a move would not be able to happen.

“It would be illegal,” Stewart said. “It would be unconstitutional and it would be undemocratic.”

Stewart was caught having a verbal spat with rival Tory contender Sam Gyimah yesterday.

The row in Westminster occurred just after lunchtime yesterday.

Stewart told Gyimah: “Treat me like a friend, be straight with me.”

Gyimah later replied: “I’ve staked my entire career on this.”

Meanwhile environment secretary Michael Gove has said he would delay Brexit beyond Halloween in a bid to win over moderate Tories and Remainers.

Calling a no-deal Brexit “not the best option”, he added: “Are we seriously saying we wouldn’t take a bit more time to get the deal done?”

The Tory leadership race is set to begin on 10 June once May has stepped down as party chief.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson yesterday said the Conservatives must deliver Brexit or risk “extinction”.

He added: “We are looking at a very difficult situation and we must get ready, eventually but not immediately, to beat Jeremy Corbyn and put [Nigel] Farage back in his box.”

Read more: Where every Tory leadership contender stands on no-deal Brexit

Rival Esther McVey added that were she to win the contest, she would only choose Brexiters to serve in her cabinet.

High profile members of May’s cabinet, such as Jeremy Hunt and Philip Hammond, were advocates of remaining in the EU in the run up to the 2016 Brexit referendum.