SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford will this week tell a summit of UK opposition party leaders that they must t act immediately to stop a No-Deal Brexit.

Blackford will urge them to seize control of Parliament as soon as it resumes rather than wait to see if Boris Johnson can forge a new agreement with the EU before October 31.

It is understood that rebel Tory MPs who want to prevent a No Deal are now thinking of delaying any action after Johnson’s talks with Angela Merkel last week seemed to suggest there may be some room for manoeuvre a deal.

“I think some people, some Tory MPs who don’t want No Deal, are thinking of giving Boris Johnson a bit of time on the basis of what happened with Merkel – my message is that we don’t have time to delay remmoving the threat of No Deal,” said Blackford.

“The call I will be making is that we have to recognise that as soon as we go back next week we have to take back control of Parliament to stop this.”

Blackford said that while he supported Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to push for a no-confidence vote in the Tory Government, the priority was to first drive through legislation that removes the possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

“What we are asking Jeremy to do is get behind us to support the legislation,” said Blackford. “We join him in wanting a vote of no confidence but we first must make sure that we drive the legislation forward that removes No Deal.

“If we succeed in a no-confidence motion and an election is called there is a real risk we would still have a No Deal.”

“By all means bring forward a motion of no confidence but we first need to legislate to stop No Deal.”

“If Parliament recesses and in the meantime we crash out of Europe that would not make sense.”

Blackford said that whoever became interim Prime Minister in a temporary Government was “not the issue”.

“I want Boris Johnson out the road and I want an election – that is the most important thing. Who is Prime Minister in that period is not the issue. What is important for Scotland is independence.”

He said he was confident that his plan of seizing control of the Parliamentary agenda to block a No Deal Brexit could work.

“Anything else is a distraction,” Blackford said. “The most important thing is to stop Boris Johnson inflicting No-Deal Brexit on all of us.”

LibDem leader Jo Swinson has already said she would not back Corbyn as head of a caretaker government if a no confidence vote succeeded, while rebel Tories are also unlikely to support the Labour leader.

However Blackford said it was clear to him that there was a majority in Parliament to stop a No-Deal Brexit and this could be achieved through legislation.

“It is critical we recognise we have the power to stop Boris – that is the first thing to do,” said Blackford.

“I would say to Jeremy Corbyn is that where there is a majority in the House of Commons, and what unites us, is the desire to stop a No-Deal Brexit. That is what we should be doing.”

Blackford said he would be asking other parties to work with the SNP to make sure they could take control of the order paper in Parliament to bring forward legislation to stop a No Deal taking place.

Asked how that would work he said: “There are a number of things that we could do but the simplest is extending Article 50. ‘‘Boris Johnson has to go in October to Europe and we need legislation to compel the Government to seek an extension to the process.

“We can do that provided we take control of the order paper. What we need to do is apply for a standing order 24 debate and that votable motion would allow Parliament to seize control of the agenda from the Government and that will allow us to bring forward a bill to postpone Brexit.

“I firmly believe that will happen. I have spent some time working on this and believe we can do it.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who played a prominent role in the successful battle to get the Supreme Court to confirm Westminster’s power to unilaterally scrap Article 50, has been working with Blackford on the strategy and told the National it had a better chance of working than Corbyn’s plan for a caretaker government.

“The best route to stop a No-Deal Brexit is to seize hold of the order paper and pass a bill that stipulates that if an agreement cannot be reached with the EU then the Government must seek a further extension,” she said.

“The problem with a vote of no confidence is that you have to have a sufficient number of Tories who will vote against their own government.

‘‘I have spoken to people from the Conservative, Labour, LibDems and Plaid Cymru parties and at this stage the consensus is that the best route to stop No Deal is by control of the order paper, passing a Bill to prevent a No Deal and holding a second referendum.

“Consensus is not guaranteed but a large number of Tories are more persuadable to that course of action than backing Corbyn.

Cherry added: “If we got to the stage of a temporary Government then MPs might coalesce round a figure like Hilary Benn as Prime Minister but Corbyn is unlikely to get a majority.

‘‘But he is the leader of the official opposition and I believe it is right to give him first dibs.

She added: “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes so who is to say what will happen – there’s a lot of frenetic activity.”

Liz Saville Roberts MP, Westminster leader of Plaid Cymru, said the party was willing “to work with anyone to stop a No Deal, and Brexit altogether for that matter”.

“Parliament has already demonstrated that it can seize control of the legislative agenda to stop a No Deal and we will do so again,” she said.

“For this to work however, we will need the Labour frontbench to put principle before party and be ready to work across the Commons.

At this time, Jeremy Corbyn must realise we are facing a crisis not seen for generations. This is not time to be playing politics.”

Countdown to Brexit

  • August 30: National deadline for Westminster’s anti-Brexit opposition, including Tory rebels, to sign up to a plan that would block a No-Deal outcome, oust the current Government and trigger a General Election with Jeremy Corbyn as head of a caretaker Government.
  • September 3: MPs return to Westminster Parliament.
  • September 6: Scotland’s Court of Session begins hearing evidence on a petition brought by 75 MPs and peers to prevent the proroguing of Westminster to force through a No-Deal Brexit.
  • September 14-17: LibDems kick off the party conference season at Bournemouth with new leader Jo Swinson urging Article 50 to be revoked.
  • September 20: date set by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for UK Government to come up with workable alternatives to the Irish backstop so that the Withdrawal Agreement can be re-opened.
  • September 21-25: Labour Party conference in Brighton. Jeremy Corbyn will (maybe) reveal action plan.
  • September 29-October 2: Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
  • October 13-15: SNP annual conference in Aberdeen will see First Minister Nicola Sturgeon fly the indyref2 flag, rally pro-EU sentiment and fire up the troops.
  • October 31: Brexit Day. At 11pm, UK membership of EU is due to end. Freedom of movement due to end.