MPs back bid to stop Boris Johnson suspending Parliament to deliver Brexit

Commons voted 315 to 274 in favour of an amendment to stop the prorogation of Parliament

MPs have backed a fresh attempt to stop Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament to deliver Brexit if he becomes Prime Minister.

The clear frontrunner to succeed Theresa May in 10 Downing Street is contemplating so-called 'prorogation' to make sure the UK leaves the European Union on 31 October.

But following a major rebellion by Tory MPs, the Commons voted 315 to 274 in favour of an amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill which all-but rules that out as a possibility.

A total of 17 Conservative MPs voted in favour of the amendment, while at least four Cabinet ministers who are opposed to a no-deal Brexit were among those who broke the whip by abstaining.

But confirming they will not be sacked, a Downing Street spokesman said: 'The Prime Minister is obviously disappointed that a number of Ministers failed to vote in this afternoon’s division. No doubt her successor will take this into account when forming their government.'

Meanwhile, culture minister Margot James has resigned after voting in favour of the amendment.

The result means ministers will be forced to return to Parliament throughout October to give regular updates on the progress being made in talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont, which has not sat for more than two years.

It came after peers passed a similar amendment in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson - the runaway favourite to be named the new Conservative leader next Tuesday - has repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament in order to guarantee Brexit by Hallowe'en.

Earlier this week, it emerged that his campaign team are considering tabling a Queen's Speech for the start of November.

That would allow him to prorogue Parliament in the middle of October, thereby ensuring the UK leaves at the end of the month - even if a majority of MPs are opposed to it.

Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session. It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session. The parliamentary session may also be prorogued before Parliament is dissolved.

Prorogation usually takes the form of an announcement, on behalf of the Queen, read in the House of Lords. As with the State Opening, it is made to both Houses and the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs attend the Lords chamber to listen to the speech.

The same announcement is then read out by the Speaker in the Commons. Following this both the House of Commons and House of Lords are officially prorogued and will not meet again until the State Opening of Parliament.

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