A showdown over moves to prevent a no-deal Brexit will provoke a Commons clash today. 

MPs will have the chance to vote on legislation that could potentially thwart efforts by the next prime minister to try to suspend Parliament to force through EU withdrawal without an agreement on October 31.

The clash is looming because the Lords strongly backed a bid to block Parliament being suspended in order to facilitate a no-deal exit by a margin of 103 votes on Wednesday.

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Labour joined Liberal Democrats and leading independent crossbenchers in the upper house to try to scupper what opposition peers branded a "constitutional outrage" by amending Northern Ireland legislation.

The change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill will require progress reports on restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland to be debated regularly in Parliament, effectively preventing it being prorogued.

The return of the Bill to the Commons on Thursday could see further amendments by anti-no-deal MPs selected by the Speaker, John Bercow.

The move comes amid reports that some ministers could resign in order to back efforts to block no-deal if a free vote on the issue is not offered by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said proroguing Parliament would be "outrageous" but did not confirm whether he would back the measures to block it.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I will have to see what the precise amendments are and we're hearing what the whipping will be and the arguments for that so I'm not in a position to necessarily say.

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"But what I would say is the idea that Parliament should be suspended in October - a period where it always sits, Parliament has always in recent years sat at that time of year.

"And at a crucial point in this country's history, if you like - that Parliament should not be able to sit, should not be able to express its opinion and its will, I think would be outrageous.

"I very much doubt that any prime minister would in fact suspend Parliament in these circumstances, but I can understand the concerns that a lot of my colleagues have."

Front runner for the Tory leadership Boris Johnson again refused at the final campaign hustings on Wednesday to rule out proroguing - suspending - Parliament in order to meet his red line of getting the UK out of the EU by October 31.


Rival for Number 10 Jeremy Hunt has insisted he would not use such a constitutional manoeuvre to force EU withdrawal.

The amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill builds on an amendment passed in the Commons last week, when MPs backed a proposal from the pro-European Tory Dominic Grieve calling for fortnightly reports from the Government on the efforts to restore the power-sharing executive.

The new Lords amendment would ensure these have to be debated in the weeks before the Brexit deadline.

The Bill could theoretically make it illegal for the Government to prorogue parliament in the autumn if the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland has not been restored.