The Prime Minister and his team believe that they have identified the key period during which a move will be made by Remainers to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on the 31st of October.

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Number Ten believes that a Remainer MP move against a no deal Brexit would be made in the second week of September, or more specifically on the 9th of September.

And the thinking is that MPs are fearful that a bodged vote of no confidence right at the start, where they either can't shift Boris Johnson or cobble together an alternative government, could result in the worst possible outcome for them – a General Election after we've left the EU.

So the Remainer MPs are homing in on the legislative avenue to try and get a no deal Brexit taken off the table so forcing another Article 50 extension – or at least forcing the government to request one from the EU27 Council.

The government will of course do all it can to keep any debates and votes on legislative matters out of the House until after Brexit Day.

And the Institute for Government has said that the few remaining Brexit bills going through Parliament could wait until after Brexit itself.

But the legislative battle that the government cannot avoid is the debates surrounding Northern Ireland power sharing that have to take place in accordance with the recently passed Northern Ireland Executive Formation Act.

If you remember, the Remainers managed to put some changes into that Act, that forces the government to publish reports and then table motions in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

And the first of those reports has to be published by Wednesday the 4th of September, the day after MPs return to Westminster and the date of the first Boris PMQs.

And that report has to be followed within five calendar days by a motion in neutral terms being moved by a minister of the crown in both Houses of Parliament.

That means therefore that the legislative battle would commence on Monday the 9th of September.

With the aim of the Remainers being, to either get a binding vote, probably via legislation, that forces the government to request an Article 50 extension for a referendum or general election, or to make the revocation of the Article 50 letter and therefore the cancellation of Brexit, as the default legal position, if a deal has not been agreed with the EU by the day prior to Brexit Day.

Or maybe some sort of combination of the two.

But it does not end there. If the Remainers are unsuccessful in that slot, they have another opportunity after the 9th of October and yet another on the 23rd of October.

So you do have to wonder if they will favour this route, over a vote of no confidence.

And remember, this is the Act that says parliament must be recalled to debate these matters, if Boris has prorogued it.

One point to note is that the act requires a motion in 'neutral terms' to be tabled by the government. On this the Institute for Government says:

"How motions are expressed can be important. Motions expressed in neutral terms simply ask Parliament to consider a topic and allow MPs or Peers to talk about a specific issue. Motions expressed in non-neutral terms, or 'substantive' motions, ask Parliament to take a view on an issue or take a decision."

So, a motion in neutral terms should not be amendable by MPs. But the decision as to whether the motion is actually drafted in neutral terms, is for, surprise surprise, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow to decide.

If Bercow decides it is not a neutral motion then it's amendable and Remainer MPs will pile in.

Let's see how that one develops.

Now, another reason that the Remainer MPs and Corbyn will be wary of following the vote of no confidence route that could end with a general election, is that polling news out today shows that the Tories have lifted themselves by another five points.

According to the Telegraph:

"With pledges of an extra £1.8bn for the NHS and an extra 20,000 police officers, as well as his "do or die" promise that Brexit will be completed by October, Mr Johnson has targeted these three issues head on – and the polls show this strategy is paying off."

And it goes on to say that this has resulted in the biggest poll bounce for a sitting PM in over twenty years.

That means that all that is left for the Remainers is grubby little legislative tricks. So thank the Lord that all their votes are public, so we can see exactly who amongst them wants to defy the will of the people.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/12/rebel-tories-will-try-to-stop-no-deal-brexit-next-month-says-downing-street

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-latest-boris-johnson-no-deal-negotiate-eu-second-referendum-a9054376.html

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/22/section/3/enacted

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/12/boris-strategy-targeting-publics-three-key-domestic-priorities/

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