Labour former prime minister Gordon Brown has called for Parliament to order an independent inquiry into the consequences of a no-deal withdrawal from the EU.
Mr Brown said MPs should seize control of the House of Commons agenda to ensure the full impact of leaving the EU without an agreement is made clear.
The former prime minister likened threatening no deal to holding a pistol to your own head.
With time running out until 31 October, Gordon Brown called leaving the EU with no deal an act of “self-inflicted self-harm” on the country.
EU leaders see a no-deal eventuality increasingly likely after meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the first time over the past few days and asking him what his alternative for a backstop would be.
Instead Boris Johnson appears to be playing a blame game about whose fault a no-deal Brexit would be.
As Johnson used the G7 summit to meet EU leaders, it became clear that from an EU perspective a no-deal Brexit appears to be losing control rather than taking it back as they are aware the UK would have to renegotiate its trade relationships with the EU from a position of extreme weakness if it leaves the EU with no deal. Also other trade deals with the US and other countries are likely to only be finalized after its relationship with the EU becomes clear again.
Referring to MPs, Mr Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think what they should do is agree that they take over the business of the House of Commons for a day, as they did before, pass a law that says that the Government must instruct and produce an independent report on the consequences of a no-deal.
“And that should be before the House of Commons before we ever go ahead.
“That would be a sensible way forward.”
“Whether you are for or against Brexit, during the EU Referendum nobody who was promoting Brexit said the eventual outcome would be no deal,” added Brown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted Britain will quit the EU by October 31 with or without a deal with Brussels.
Putting lives at risk
Mr Brown said that if a no-deal scenario impacted on the importation of medical supplies it could put lives at risk.
“Half the medical supplies come through the EU one way or another” explained the former PM, quoting the Commercial Director of the NHS who had confirmed a no-deal Brexit would involved “serious shortages” of NHS medication.
Mr Brown called on MPs to examine their consciences and hold an inquiry into a no-deal Brexit, adding, “we are putting lives at risk.”
He said: “If we are denied epipens or other important medical devices because of a slow down at the ports – even if we can try to fly them in and are unable to do so – then, we are putting lives at risk.”
Gordon Brown also noted today that Boris Johnson has started rolling back on how long he estimated a trade deal with the US may take.
He cautioned that achieving a deal within a year is unlikely and would involve making all kinds of compromises.
He told the BBC news channel that he had as PM been involved in trade negotiations with the USA and that US food producers “want chlorinated chickens to come into Britain, GM pellets, battery farms and everything else so we must be cautious.”