New IFG report: Voting on Brexit - Parliament’s role before 31 October

When MPs return to Parliament after the summer recess there will be less than two months until the UK is set to leave the EU.

The options facing the UK haven’t changed: leaving with a deal, leaving without a deal, seeking an extension or unilaterally revoking Article 50. But the prime minister has changed, and Boris Johnson says that if the UK is unable to leave with a renegotiated deal on 31 October then the UK will leave without a deal.

A new paper by the Institute for Government says MPs looking to make their voices heard will have far fewer opportunities to do so this time around than they had in the run-up to the end of March this year, when the former prime minister was trying to pass her withdrawal agreement.

Given the limited time available, this paper reaches the following conclusions about what is likely to happen over the next few months:

  • It is very unlikely the UK will be able to leave the EU with a deal on 31 October
  • MPs can express opposition to no deal but that alone will not prevent it
  • Backbenchers have very few opportunities to legislate to stop no deal
  • A vote of no confidence would not necessarily stop no deal
  • There is little time to hold a general election before 31 October
  • A second referendum can only happen with government support.

Joe Owen, Brexit Programme Director, said:

“MPs looking to force the Government into a change of approach face a huge challenge when Parliament returns. Even if they can assemble a majority for something, they may find few opportunities to make their move – and time is running out.”

ENDS 

Notes to editors

  1. The full paper is can be found on our website (from 00.01)
  2. The Institute for Government is an independent think tank that works to make government more effective.
  3. For more information, please contact press@instituteforgovernment.org.uk / 07850313791.