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British opposition parties unite, will try to prevent a 'no-deal' Brexit

Agree on passing a law to force the government to seek a delay

Cross-party MPs after signing the Church House Declaration after an event about opposing the suspension of Parliament to prevent no-deal Brexit, in London on Tuesday	Photo: Reuters
Cross-party MPs after signing the Church House Declaration after an event about opposing the suspension of Parliament to prevent no-deal Brexit, in London on Tuesday Photo: Reuters

Opposition parties said they would try to pass a law which would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union and prevent a potentially chaotic no-deal exit at the end of October.

The United Kingdom is heading towards a constitutional crisis at home and a showdown with the EU as Johnson has pledged to leave the bloc in 66 days without a deal unless Brussels agrees to renegotiate the Brexit divorce.

Parliament returns from its summer break next week and is preparing for a battle with Johnson, who has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union at the end of October with or without an exit agreement.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn hosted talks with opposition parties on Tuesday where they agreed that passing a law to force the government to seek a delay to Britain’s EU departure would probably have the most support.

“We are going to come together and do the right thing by our country,” said Anna Soubry, leader of The Independent Group for Change party. “We are up against a prime minister who has no mandate for this and I think he has no regard for parliament.” 
The opposition parties are seeking to repeat what they did earlier this year when lawmakers seized control of the parliamentary agenda to pass a law forcing Johnson's predecessor Theresa May to seek an extension to Britain's EU membership.

They also managed to change legislation to require parliament to be sitting for several days in September and October, making it harder for Johnson to shut down parliament to pursue a no-deal, something he has not ruled out doing.

The pound hit its strongest since July 29 against the dollar and euro after the parties presented a united front on Tuesday.

Britain is on course for a no-deal exit on October 31 unless parliament can stop it or a new deal is reached with the EU. Johnson held talks last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Donald Tusk about his demand that the Brexit deal on offer is changed to remove the so-called backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border in Ireland.