Can Boris Johnson avoid the consequences of a no-confidence vote?
Politics Explained: A general election would follow a government defeat but the prime minister would not legally be obliged to quit No 10
Is it true, as the prime minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings suggests, that it is too late to stop a no-deal Brexit, even through a vote of no confidence in HM government and a general election?
Not necessarily. If, as the Commons managed before, MPs seize control of the parliamentary agenda, ambushing Jacob Rees-Mogg, they could pass a law – not mere motions or the like – effectively outlawing no-deal Brexit. No general election would be necessary in such a case.
It would be a difficult task, with a narrow window available from parliament’s return on 5 September, through to the putative Brexit day on 31 October, but it is at least possible. Variations on this theme include revoking Article 50, asking for another extension (to which the EU may or may not concede, and with or without conditions), organising another referendum or, conceivably, putting Theresa May’s deal back to the Commons for a belated fourth attempt.