Boris Johnson faces perilous Brexit ratification after Brexit deal vote blocked

Marco Green
October 22, 2019

Bercow - whose rulings in favour of backbench lawmakers have stymied government plans a couple of times before - said the motion proposed by the government was "in substance the same" as the one Parliament dealt with on Saturday (Sunday, NZT). But Brexit opponents say they will try to derail Johnson's plan with amendments that Brexit supporters would find unacceptable.

"The motion will not be debated today because it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so", Bercow said.

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.

Bercow cited a parliamentary rule dating back to 1604 under which the government can not repeatedly ask Parliament to vote on the exact same motion.

But Mr Bercow's decision does not kill the deal, which could appear before the house again later in the week, holding out the possibility that Britain could still leave the European Union in an orderly fashion on 31 October.

Justine Greening, a former Conservative minister, said she'd back an amendment for a second referendum because things have changed since the 2016 vote when Britons opted by 52-48 percent to leave the European Union.

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

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay urged lawmakers to back the bill and - more than three years after British voters narrowly voted to leave the European Union - "enable us to move onto the people's priorities like health, education and crime".

The WAB is the legally-binding treaty that must be passed for the United Kingdom to leave the bloc, while the Government must also win a meaningful vote. Johnson still hopes to get the bill approved by Parliament before October 31, the date he promised Britain would leave the EU.

But, with no Commons majority, Mr Johnson faces a major battle to achieve his cast-iron pledge.

If Bercow rules against it, the spotlight will turn to the so called withdrawal agreement bill, the legislation to be published on Monday that's needed to implement the Brexit deal into domestic law.

But that is a path that exposes Johnson to attempts by opponents to wreck the agreement.

From the EU's point of view, extension options range from just an additional month until the end of November to half a year or longer. It was asked earlier this month to sign a letter fulfiling the terms of the Benn Act on the prime minister's behalf if he failed to do so, but judges abstained from ruling on the issue to allow the political debate to unfold. A cover letter from Johnson's top diplomat in Brussels explained that the PM was complying with the law.

"For people like me, vast areas of that Withdrawal Agreement are unchanged and we are going to have to choke down our pride and vote in the national interest to get Brexit done", he said.

The letters were sent after former Tory minister Sir Oliver Letwin handed Mr Johnson an embarrassing defeat in the Commons.

"Stock markets are in positive territory as traders are less fearful about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit", said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

As Parliament demanded in the Benn Act, Mr Johnson wrote to European Council president Donald Tusk requesting an extension to the end of January.

But he did not sign it and he sent a second letter saying he did not really want the extension.

Labour accused Mr Johnson of behaving like a "spoiled brat".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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