Stephen Barclay Confirms MPs Could Be Asked To Vote For Boris Johnson's Brexit Deal Before October EU Summit

Brexit secretary says government is holding talks with Labour MPs.

Stephen Barclay has confirmed MPs could be asked to vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal before the EU summit on October 17.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, the Brexit secretary said the government was “considering” the move.

The prime minister revealed he was open to the plan when asked in parliament last week.

Presenting Brussels with a deal already passed by the Commons could in theory strengthen Johnson’s negotiating hand.

Barclay also confirmed this morning the was government attempting to persuade opposition MPs to back the deal.

“We are talking to members of parliament across the House because I think many members of parliament want to avoid no-deal,” he said.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy told Sky News there were “about 40” MPs in her party who wanted to secure a deal.

But she said Johnson’s plan would not work because it had “virtually no chance” of being accepted by the EU.

“I would vote for a deal, but this is not a deal,” the Wigan MP said.

Nandy added the “only way” the UK could now avoid a no-deal Brexit would be for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement agreed with Brussels to be put back to the Commons for a vote.

Stephen Barclay
Stephen Barclay

The European Commission said on Friday Johnson’s proposals “do not provide a basis for concluding an agreement”.

If the government can not secure a deal by October 19 then it is required by law to ask for an extension to Article 50.

But Johnson has insisted the UK will be leaving the EU on the current exit date of October 31.

His pledge has led to speculation he could try and find a way to bypass the so-called Benn Act which is designed to block a no-deal exit.

Pressed repeatedly this morning on whether Johnson would send the letter to Brussels requesting an extension, Barclay said only: “I can absolutely confirm that the government will abide by the law.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News this morning the government had “no intention” of delaying Brexit, but added there was “no plan as to what might happen” if parliament blocked no-deal.