Proroguing of Parliament - 38 Degrees Campaign 7/19

Thank you for your email about announcements by Conservative Party leadership contenders on leaving the EU without a deal and the 38 degrees campaign.

I have always been clear that I would prefer to leave the EU with a Withdrawal Agreement but I believe that leaving without a deal would be preferable to not leaving at all. The British people must be able to trust their politicians to deliver on their promises. While I have no doubt that the UK could thrive in the long-term, I believe that leaving without a deal in the short-term would damage the prospects of those in this country who could least afford it.

I understand your concern about statements made during the Conservative Party leadership contest about the UK leaving on the 31 October whatever the circumstances. The Article 50 process has already been extended on two occasions and I believe that any further extension would, of course, be deeply regrettable.

My colleague, Dominic Grieve MP, tabled a series of amendments to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill in an attempt to prevent the prorogation of Parliament. One amendment was passed following a vote, but I understand it is unlikely to prevent prorogation on its own. This is because the different amendments had been designed to work in concert with each other. Prorogation is a matter for the Crown, more broadly, on the advice of Ministers. As a prerogative power, there is no clear legal mechanism by which Parliament could prevent prorogation. Prorogation formally ends a Parliamentary session and most business in the House of Commons and the House of Lords is suspended.

A number of statements have been made during the Conservative Party leadership contest about leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances. I am confident that the next Prime Minister will secure an exit deal that Conservative MPs can support and so avoid such a situation.