John Bercow rejects government's bid to hold vote on new withdrawal agreement



Britain has been struggling to agree on how to leave the European Union ever since narrowly backing Brexit in a 2016 referendum that did little to end old arguments about the country's place in the world.

Two crucial votes on Tuesday evening will determine whether the Prime Minister will be able to live up to his "do or die" commitment to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union by the October 31 deadline.

Benches on both sides of the House appeared almost empty as MPs traded blows in a heated debate on the proposed Brexit deal Boris Johnson is trying to see through Parliament by October 31.

"If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen, and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the Government continue with this", he said.

It is now up to Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow to grant a vote on Johnson's Brexit deal in parliament.

The government must now try to implement its Plan B - attempt to pass a Brexit-implementing bill through Britain's fractious Parliament before the country's scheduled October 31 departure date.

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His demands include no citizens being deported from Britain if they miss the deadline for settled status in order to prevent "another 'Windrush scandal". "The critical thing is the future relationship will be subject to a negotiating mandate that will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons", he said.

"My recommendation would be to vote against this bill", he added, saying the party would also oppose the so-called program motion, which sets the timetable for passage of the legislation through the House.

Many MPs immediately complained that three days was far too little time to scrutinize it. But the extremely close voting numbers show that MPs are willing to be bulldozed into this vote-the government calculated that it potentially had some 15 rebel Labour MPs on its side.

He said the bloc would await decisions by Westminster but noted the European Union had done a lot of work in the three years since the referendum.

Ed Vaizey, now a Liberal Democrat but a Conservative MP as recently as September, responded critically to senior Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg's claim that, "A vote against the program motion is a vote against Brexit".

Tusk said Tuesday that the decision on prolonging Brexit for three months after October 31 "will very much depend on what the British parliament decides or doesn't decide".

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The party estimates at least 20 Labour MPs may vote "no", and the DUP, while opposing Johnson's deal, still supports Brexit and has no interest in supporting another referendum.

The first big vote on this legislation comes on Tuesday, on what's confusingly known as the "second reading".

If they are successful it could pave the way for House of Lords to sit over the weekend in time for the Bill to receive its royal assent at the start of next week.

Subsequently, Johnson was obliged to go to the European Union and ask for an extension beyond the 31 October deadline - the second extension in under a year.

The government has ruled out both of those options.

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