Rory Stewart Mocks Boris Johnson With Little Britain Tweet And Confirms He Will Rebel Over No-Deal Brexit

Former leadership rival said he will do "whatever it takes" to stop the UK crashing out at Halloween.

Rory Stewart has ridiculed Boris Johnson’s pro-Brexit online adverts by comparing them to the TV show Little Britain, as he confirmed he will join no-deal Brexit rebels.

The former cabinet minister, who stood against Johnson in the leadership race, confirmed he will “do whatever it takes” to stop Britain from crashing out the European Union on October 31.

But the ex-international development secretary suggested he may not follow the so-called Remain alliance in backing legislation that would pave the way for a second referendum.

Stewart also said that in the “extremely unlikely” event that Johnson would attempt to prorogue – or suspend – parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit, he would set up an alternative parliament.

Conservative MP Rory Stewart before his discussion event 'Lessons from Literature for Today's Politics' at the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh.
Conservative MP Rory Stewart before his discussion event 'Lessons from Literature for Today's Politics' at the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh.
PA Wire/PA Images

He told the BBC on Wednesday: “I would definitely vote against a no-deal Brexit and I think it is important to understand there has never been a majority in parliament for a no-deal Brexit.

“This is one of the fundamental facts that has been true for months.

“The second question then is then what, and that’s where I think I probably disagree with some of these opposition MPs.”

He added: “I am prepared to do all that it takes through votes to stop no-deal. I’m in favour of Brexit but I’m not in favour of what I see as a damaging, unnecessary and uncertain no-deal Brexit.”

Labour, Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party agreed on Tuesday that they would work together on legislation that would block a no-deal.

When pressed over whether he would vote for it, Stewart said: “The reason I am hesitating on that is that some of these people are very clearly in favour of second referendum and remain.

“That isn’t where I come from. I believe in a compromise. I believe in a Brexit deal. So, absolutely when it comes to stopping no-deal I will work with other people but where I differ from them is that I am not getting involved in a second referendum or remain.”

Stewart said he believed Johnson’s attempts at removing the Northern Ireland customs backstop - which has proved so controversial with backbench Eurosceptics and the DUP - would fail and eventually MPs would be left with Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

“I think, in the end, I’m not a prophet, but I believe in the end, we are going to come back to the Withdrawal Agreement because it the only sensible way of finding a compromise between Britain and the European Union,” he said.

Removing the backstop “would give more confidence to more MPs”, he added, but said because of the tight parliamentary arithmetic, Labour MPs would have to be brought onside.

When asked how he would oppose a government-led attempt to suspend parliament, Stewart said Johnson would fail.

He said: “Legally, you could try to lock the doors. All that would happen then is what happened in 2002 when Tony Blair threatened to do the same: members of parliament would meet across the road and quite quickly the government would have to accept that.”

He added: “I’ve been very clear that I don’t think parliament isn’t a building, I think it’s a collection of elected representatives, and it isn’t appropriate to suspend parliament.

“I think the prime minister will agree with that and in the end we will have to get a Brexit deal through with the consent of parliament.”


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