Commons Speaker rejects Government bid for Brexit 'meaningful vote'

Tom Watson

Tom Watson

His Brexit deal dream was scuppered - for now - by the much-talked-about Letwin amendment.

"Boris Johnson must secure a meaningful extension to the Brexit deadline from the European Union so that full scrutiny of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill can take place". However, if all the amendments fail then MPs will be worked flat-out to try and pass the necessary legislation for Johnson's deal before 31 October. That takes him to 320 - but in any vote, two MPs from this bloc would be nominated as tellers (counters of the votes), so that means he has 318 actual votes behind him. The government says such an amendment would wreck its legislation and it will withdraw the bill if it succeeds.

Johnson's letters came after another tumultuous day in the House of Commons, which worked in a Saturday session for only the first time since the Falklands War in 1982.

But there is no guarantee of majority support for the bill in Britain's fractious Parliament. Another seven independent MPs would be likely to vote against the deal.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to lead Britain out of the European Union at the end of this month hit another roadblock Monday when the speaker of the House of Commons rejected his attempt to hold a new vote of lawmakers on his Brexit divorce deal.

If Mr Bercow does prevent Mr Johnson from having a meaningful vote in the Commons, the focus will switch to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which the government has confirmed it will introduce later.

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Timing could also be an issue.

He did that, grudgingly, to comply with a law passed by Parliament ordering the government to postpone Brexit rather than risk the economic damage that could come from a no-deal exit.

It states: 'Regrettably, Parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement'.

"This argument is for future relationship discussions, not a tool to be used to try and derail the deal being agreed", Mr Masterton posted on twitter.

If the legislation passes at second reading, MPs are set to debate until midnight tonight and tomorrow to consider amendments.

An unsigned letter sent by Johnson to the European Council president Donald Tusk (Downing Street/PA)What about the letters sent to the EU by Johnson? The government convened the Saturday sitting in the hope of winning a straight yes/no vote on Johnson's deal.

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Urging MPs to back the legislation, the Prime Minister will tell MPs today: "The public doesn't want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I".

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain's impending departure from the bloc, as required by law.

He appears to have an ally in President Emmanuel Macron, with a French government spokeswoman saying on Monday a delay was "in nobody's interest".

He said it was unsafe to assume that the 27 other European Union leaders would grant an extension.

The document said the contingencies secretariat was "coordinating cross-government contingency preparations for the United Kingdom leaving the EU if we leave without a deal", assisting the Department for Exiting the European Union.

The Bill "repeals" specific approval rules to allow the government to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement as soon as the Bill is passed by parliament. "Only after the House of Commons has decided, and once we have scrutinised the agreement, will the European Parliament vote on its consent".

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If the deal needs more time at that stage to get through parliament, leaders could agree to a short extension.

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