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No parliamentary way to stop Brexit happening, minister tells MPs

A leave supporter demonstrates outside Parliament in London, as police in the area have been "briefed to intervene appropriately" if the law is broken after Tory MP Anna Soubry accused them of ignoring abuse hurled at politicians and journalists. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 9, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

By David Wilcock, Press Association Political Correspondent

There is no "parliamentary route" that would allow pro-EU MPs to stop the UK leaving the EU, a Brexit minister has said.

Chris Heaton-Harris told the Exiting the EU Committee on Wednesday he expected Brexit to happen on March 29 and that the Government was not planning to either revoke or extend Article 50 to delay departure.

The Daventry MP, one of Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay's deputies at the Department for Exiting the EU, was asked by the SNP's Peter Grant whether he "agreed with the Prime Minister that if the deal is voted down it's possible that Brexit might not happen?".

Mr Hearton-Harris replied: "The legislation is set out now, and the fact that we have activated Article 50, I actually still believe we will be leaving the EU on March 29 at 11pm.

"Is there a parliamentary route with which Brexit can be stopped? I do not believe so."

Mr Grant pressed him again, saying: "The Government has it within its power, should it decide to do so, to ask Parliament for agreement to either unilaterally revoke Article 50 or to ask for an extension in order to avoid the damage of a no-deal.

"I'm not asking you whether the Government intends to do that or whether it's a good idea, but it is the case, isn't it, that the Government could ask Parliament for that approval?"

Mr Heaton-Harris replied: "It's not Government policy to do that."

Theresa May has repeatedly warned Brexiteer MPs that a failure by the Commons to back her Brexit deal would risk the UK staying in the EU.

At the weekend she told the Mail on Sunday the country would be in "uncharted waters" if the deal is rejected, saying: "It would mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit or leaving the European Union with no deal."

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