Bipartisan initiatives to avoid the UK leaving the EU without a deal are picking up pace, as the country is due to leave on October 31.
The initiative is now in the hands of Conservative Party backbenchers, concerned with the prospect of Boris Johnson coming to office as a successor to Theresa May. The former foreign secretary is threatening to lead the UK out of the EU with or without a Withdrawal Agreement.
Former Conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Conservative MP Ken Clarke, and former Labour Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett are bracing to starve certain government departments of funds unless there is a Withdrawal Agreement, The Sun reported on Thursday.
“We have a majority of about 100 in the (650-seat) House of Commons against leaving with no deal,” Ken Clarke suggested on Thursday. One of the contenders to succeed Theresa May, Dominik Raab, argues that the parliament should be dissolved before the date of withdrawal, ensuring there is no legislative initiative to prevent the UK leaving the EU.
Johnson’s opponent, the current foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, has also pledged to leave by October 31st, unless the two parties are close to making an agreement.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said that blocking government funding would be “grossly irresponsible,” as it would ultimately penalize citizens that would not have access to social services. Challenged to pledge support for her successor on Thursday, Theresa May refused, making clear that she expects him – Johnson or Hunt – “to find and to deliver” a parliamentary majority.