John Bercow vows to block Johnson from closing parliament to force no-deal Brexit: 'With every breath in my body'
'If there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or – God forbid – to close down parliament, that is anathema to me,’ speaker says
The speaker of the House of Commons told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe festival on Tuesday that he “strongly” believes the chamber ”must have its way”, in remarks reported by the Herald newspaper.
“And if there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or – God forbid – to close down parliament, that is anathema to me,” he said.
“I will fight with every breath in my body to stop that happening.”
His comments come as former chancellor Philip Hammond said the prime minister would commit a betrayal of the referendum if he enacted a no-deal Brexit by listening to the “unelected” saboteurs “who pull the strings” of his government.
“The unelected people who pull the strings of this government know that this is a demand the EU cannot and will not accede to,” Mr Hammond said, writing in The Times.
“Most people in this country want to see us leave in a smooth and orderly fashion that will not disrupt lives, cost jobs or diminish living standards, whether they voted Leave or Remain in 2016,” he wrote.
“Parliament faithfully reflects the view of that majority and it will make its voice heard. No-deal would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum result. It must not happen.”
Mr Hammond also accused “some key figures in the government” of “absurdly” suggesting no-deal would boost the UK’s economy.
The Sun has also reported that a separate letter with a similar sentiment was sent to the PM with the signatures of Mr Hammond and 20 other senior Tory MPs, including former cabinet ministers David Lidington, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and Greg Clark.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
His cabinet have largely been unified over the process of exiting the EU.
But on Tuesday Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, sounded a note of caution.
Ms Rudd said she would urge the prime minister not to suspend parliament as part of his “do or die” commitment for Brexit by 31 October.
A court in Scotland has agreed to fast-track a hearing on whether the prime minister can legally close parliament.
The hearing on the legality of the process will be held next month.
Additional reporting by agencies.