Parliament poised for feverish Brexit week: Five things to know

Marco Green
October 21, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try again to get his Brexit deal passed by parliament on Monday after lawmakers made a decision to delay their agreement, a humiliating blow for a leader who has staked his reputation on leaving on October 31.

Although the prime minister believes he has enough support to pass his deal, opposition MPs plan radical amendments - potentially dragging the debate out.

But Johnson's government is sticking to its script.

"In a second, personal letter Johnson sent to European Union leaders Saturday evening, he wrote, 'I remain confident that we will complete the [Brexit] process by 31 October'".

In a twist that illustrates the extent to which Brexit has strained the norms of British statecraft, Johnson sent the note to the European Union unsigned - and added another signed letter arguing against what he cast as a deeply corrosive delay.

A Number 10 source told PoliticsHome: "We can not allow Parliament's letter to lead to Parliament's delay - we must leave on 31 October and finally get Brexit done".

"'We are going to leave by October 31, ' the official in charge of planning for a "no-deal" Brexit, Michael Gove said Sunday".

His colleague, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, told the BBC's Andrew Marr the prime minister had "proved the doubters wrong" by securing a new Brexit deal with Brussels and he was confident the United Kingdom would still leave on Halloween.

"It now looks unlikely that we will" leave by Halloween, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told "FOX & Friends" Sunday.

'The Government's response was to cancel Saturday's vote on the deal, with it expected to be brought back before MPs during the week.

The DUP broke ranks and voted against Johnson's agreement Saturday because it created new trade regulations for goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow might tell Johnson on Monday that he can not bring what is effectively the same legislation back for a second vote.

"If we get the legislation through then there is no extension".

"I will now start consulting European Union leaders on how to react", he said on Twitter.

Mr Johnson's number two added that he was "confident" of leaving on 31 October.

Labour also said that it would table an amendment to force a second referendum.

An anti-Brexit demonstrator waves a Union flag alongside a European Union flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

"An election is inevitable because of the numbers in parliament, because we have got to break the impasse, the timing will be a matter for Jeremy Corbyn. but it is inevitable that sooner or later this breaks into a general election", said Starmer.

If the three judges find Mr Johnson has failed to uphold the law, they could find him in contempt, with potential punishments including a fine or even a jail sentence.

Johnson is now under scrutiny from the law as judges are set to decide whether the unsigned letter sent by Johnson complied with the Benn Act or if the prime minister is in contempt of court.

He said yesterday that a Brexit extension is preferable to a crash-out Brexit "if it comes to it". "We'll keep talking to the DUP and see if there's any further reassurances that can be provided", Raab said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed his commitment to deliver a Brexit deal by the October 31, 2019 deadline.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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