After a slightly disappointing Super Saturday, the UK Speaker John Bercow blocked a vote to hold a “yes” or “no” vote on the Brexit deal on the basis that the process will be repetitive and disorderly. Tory MP Bernard Jenkin was one of many Brexiteers to criticise the Speaker’s decision, saying: “It is remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other. It is most unusual for a Speaker so often to prevent the government having a debate on the matters which the government put before the House.” I think it is fair to say that Bercow will not be missed by Brexiteers, when he decides to stand down.
Deal? No wait, no deal…
On Tuesday, there was some good news (albeit short lived) for the Prime Minister, as he claimed a victory in “principle” when he got the votes for the first time on a Brexit blueprint. However, the Prime Minister failed to secure the votes to get MPs to agree to his aggressive Brexit timetable. Following the events which unfolded in parliament on Tuesday, which saw MPs back Johnson’s Brexit deal in principle, 329 votes to 299, at the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement bill, only to reject the shortened timetable for scrutiny by 322 votes to 308, Downing Street is now firmly back in election mode.
Keep your extension, let’s sort this once and for all…
In anticipation of the European leader Donald Tusk granting a three-month delay to the Brexit deadline, Boris Johnson has demanded Parliament approve a pre-Christmas election, on 12 December, in a vote due next Monday. It is still to be confirmed whether the EU will simply agree to the terms of the Benn Act, which pushes the Brexit deadline back to January 31, 2020, factor in a “flextension” whereby the U.K. could leave before this date if the deal is eventually ratified by parliament, or choose a different date altogether.
Abstain, the election will be on our terms, says Jeremy Corbyn
The prospects of getting that December election were not looking good for the PM on Thursday as opposition MPs, especially those in the Labour party, lined up to explain why they don’t want to back one right now. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said last night that his party would back an election, but only once no deal was taken off the table. This has been his party line since September. The PM requires a two-thirds majority of the 650 MPs in the Commons to trigger the election. With 434 votes needed and only 288 Conservatives in the Commons, he will need around 150 opposition MPs and independents to join him. Boris Johnson has said will give MPs until 6 November for further scrutiny of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill if Labour votes in favour of an early general election. It’s now for Labour to respond.
President Macron adds fuel to the fire
France’s President Macron seems to have had enough of the Brexit debate, having blocked the European Union’s attempt to delay Brexit for three months, raising the prospect the U.K. might not know whether it will get an extension until just hours before it is scheduled to leave on 31 October, even without a deal. At a meeting in Brussels on Friday morning, diplomats from the European Union’s 27 remaining countries deferred a decision on the postponement. No EU government will refuse a delay of some sort — the question is when they will decide to grant it.
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