The “rebel alliance” of MPs who want to block a no-deal Brexit plan to take control of the Commons on Wednesday to pass a law, which could compel Boris Johnson to delay Britain’s exit from the EU until 2020.
The plan is to first use Tuesday to pass a motion which will give the alliance control of Commons business from 3pm on Wednesday.
This will then be used to pass laws which are designed to ensure the UK does not leave the EU on October 31 with no deal – unless MPs agree to do so.
It came as the prime minister hinted that he could call an election if the plan becomes law, vowing never to personally request a Brexit delay beyond October 31.
“I don’t want an election, you don’t want an election,” he said in a statement outside No. 10 Downing St.
The rebel plan requires the government, by October 19, to either reach a deal with the EU which is then approved by MPs, or get their explicit approval to leave with no deal.
If neither condition is met Johnson will be forced to write to the EU seeking an Article 50 extension to delay Brexit until January 31 2020.
In a highly controversial move, the form of the letter is even specified in notes accompanying the bill.
Alliance sources said the plan would give the government sufficient time to carry out a genuine and sincere negotiation, give time to ratify any deal that is secured, and to give parliament the space to build a consensus on the way forward.
It came as Amber Rudd criticised Johnson’s apparent plan to expel Tory MPs from the party if they rebel to back the plan.
In the first sign of strains at the top of the prime minister’s government, Rudd urged Johnson to “think very carefully” about “taking such a dramatic step”.
Rudd, a former Remainer who raised eyebrows when she accepted a job in the PM’s cabinet, said the idea should either be ditched or equally applied to hardline Leavers who rebel to oppose any Brexit deal voted on before October 31.
Speaking to the Spectator’s Women With Balls podcast, the work and pensions secretary said: “I don’t think it’s fair either to consider removing the whip from a group of people who oppose no deal, which is not the government position, but as a legitimate Conservative position, and not to remove the whip from people who have consistently voted against the withdrawal agreement and may yet vote against the agreement that Boris Johnson brings back before October 31.
“So I’m really urging the government to think very carefully about taking such a dramatic step.
“That’s exactly what I think. I think there has to be fairness in this. If this government is now going to be very tough about following the whip, I don’t think it should apply it discriminatorily. It should be it should be one case for all.”