Jacob Rees-Mogg moves vote on deal to Monday

The last time Commons sat on a Saturday was in 1982

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The latest from Westminster on the historic “Super Saturday” sitting in Parliament where MPs will take a vote on the new deal to take Britain out of the European Union.

Keep this page refreshed for updates.


15.30 - Brexit vote moved to Monday

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the government is now planning to hold a meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal on Monday, rather than today as planned.

It comes after Boris Johnson suffered another setback in Parliament when MPs voted in favour of an amendment that requires the Commons to debate legislation related to the deal – effectively delaying its approval.

MPs are required by law to have a “meaningful vote” in order for any deal to be ratified.

Upon th result, Mr Johnson said today's meaningful vote had "been voided of meaning".


15.00 - Opposition says PM ‘must comply with the law’

Opposition leaders Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson have said Boris Johnson ‘must comply with the law’ after he said he would not negotiate a Brexit delay – despite the passing of an amendment requiring him to do so.

Mr Corbyn hailed the result on the Letwin amendment as an “historic day for Parliament”, showing it “would not be blackmailed”.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat chief Ms Swinson said the public “deserve to have the final say” and said the “most urgent thing is that the Prime Minister complies with the law”.

She then suggested the Speaker suspend the sitting to allow Mr Johnson to send a letter to the EU seeking an extension.

The Prime Minister said he was not "daunted or dismayed" by the setback.


14.50 - Letwin amendment passes but PM 'will not negotiate delay'

MPs have voted in favour of an amendment intended to ensure an extension to the Brexit deadline.

The motion tabled by MP for West Dorset Sir Oliver Letwin was passed with 322 votes for and 306 votes against - majority 16

The amendment means that the House will not approve a deal until Parliament passes related legislation and so requires Boris Johnson to seek an extension.

Boris Johnson said "alas the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning.

He continued that he was "not daunted or dismayed by this particular result" and added: "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so".


13.50 - Theresa May urges Labour to vote for deal

Former Prime Minister Theresa May told Labour MPs that if they cared about protecting jobs, they “would have voted for the deal earlier”.

She said: “If you don't want no-deal, you have to vote for a deal.

“Businesses are crying out for certainty, people want certainty in their lives, our investors to be able to able to invest and want the uncertainty got rid of. They want to know that this country is moving forward.

“If you want to deliver Brexit, if you want to keep faith with British people, if you want this country to move forward then vote for the deal today.”


13.25 - Ian Blackford: ‘Scotland will not be ignored anymore’ 

The SNP’s leader in the House of Commons has said Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal marks the “beginning of the end” of the union as he urged fellow parliamentarians to reject it.

Ian Blackford accused the Prime Minister of showing Scotland “contempt”, saying it had been “totally and utterly shafted by this Prime Minister and this Tory Government.”

Mr Blackford continued: “The Prime Minister's deal isn't a deal at all, it's the gateway to a no-deal Brexit”.

He also pledged that Scotland “will become an independent nation and an independent nation in short order.”

Mr Balckford criticised Jeremy Corbyn for not having guaranteed that all Labour MPs will join the Scottish Nationalist Party in voting down the deal.


13.00 - MPs debate Letwin amendment

Sir Oliver Letwin has tabled his amendment which aims to ensure a Brexit delay in order to vote on legislation related to Boris Johnson’s deal and prevent a no deal withdrawal.

The independent MP for West Dorset said Parliament cannot be sure that Boris Johnson’s “my deal or no deal” strategy would work.

He told colleagues: “Despite my support for the prime minister’s deal, do not believe that it’s responsible to put the country at risk by making that threat.”


12.00 - Thousands gather for People’s Vote march

Thousands of people have gathered in central London to call for a vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

As MPs debate the exit plan within the walls of Westminster, the protesters prepare to participate in the People’s Vote march for a Final Say on Brexit.

The march began at midday and will make its way from Park Lane to Parliament Square where there will be speeches from politicians an celebrities who support a confirmatory vote.

One group of protesters were seen pulling a float depicting top aide Dominic Cummings using Mr Johnson as a puppet.

The figure on the float, dubbed "Demonic Cummings" appears to be wearing a Nazi uniform, including an armband which reads Get Brexit Done, and has a Union Jack moustache.

As of this morning, more than £500,000 had been donated to support the demonstration, and cross-party politicians are calling on people to get involved.


11.00 - What is the Letwin amendment and what happens if it passes?

Government sources have suggested that today’s crucial vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal could be postponed if MPs pass an amendment tabled by independent MP Sir Oliver Letwin.

The motion seeks to ensure the Benn Act, which requires Boris Johnson to request a delay, remains intact.

It would work by withholding full approval of the deal until each piece of legislation to implement the withdrawal has been passed by Parliament.

Sir Oliver explained: "In short, my aim is to ensure that Boris's deal succeeds, but that we have an insurance policy which prevents the UK from crashing out on 31 October by mistake if something goes wrong during the passage of the implementing legislation."

Sources have said if the Letwin amendment was passed it would make the so-called meaningful vote a ‘meaningless vote’.

Reportedly, Conservative MPs may abstain on the final vote so the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will instead be introduced next week.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "A vote for Letwin is a vote for delay.

"The public would be appalled if MPs just vote for another pointless delay again."

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay urged Sir Oliver to withdraw the amendment.


10.30 - Philip Hammond asks to clarify destination of 'Prime Minister's bus'

Former Chancellor Philip Hammond asked the Prime Minister to clarify the "destination" of his "bus" and promise to involve Parliament in future negotiations.

He said to the Commons: "Mr Speaker, before I decide whether to jump on the Prime Minister's bus, I'd like to be just a little clearer about the destination.

"I'd like to be reassured that it remains the deep hand special partnership with the European Union that we promised the people in our 2017 election manifesto.

"And in the absence of the UK wide backstop which has now gone from the package, the best way to give us that reassurance is to ensure a proper role for Parliament in the process in the future negotiations."

Boris Johnson he could "certainly give that commitment".


10.00 - Jeremy Corbyn: Labour will not back 'sell out deal'

The leader of the opposition countered the Prime Minister's address saying "this government can't be trusted and these benches will not be duped".

Jeremy Corbyn told the House that Mr Johnson had renegotiated Theresa May's rejected Withdrawal Agreement and "made it even worse".

He also criticised the government its "empty promises" on workers' rights and the environment. 

He added "Labour is not prepared to sell out the communities that we represent, we are not prepared to sell out their future and we will not back this sell-out deal.

"This is about our communities now and about our future generations."


09.50 - Boris Johnson: 'Let's go for a deal that can heal this country' 

Boris Johnson has taken to the dispatch box to address MPs in a bid to convince them of his deal.

He told MPs: "The House will need no reminding that this is the second deal and the fourth vote, three-and-a-half years after the nation voted for Brexit.

The Prime Minister added "with this new deal the scope for future negotiation, for future negotiation has run its course."

Mr Johnson said the agreement "provides for a real Brexit", adding: "Taking back control of our borders, laws, money, farming, fisheries and trade - amounting to the greatest single restoration of national sovereignty in parliamentary history."

Closing his address, he called on colleagues to "go for a deal that can heal this country and allow us all to express our legitimate desires for the deepest possible friendship and partnership with our neighbours."


09.35 - Speaker selects Letwin amendment to be heard

Speaker John Bercow has selected two amendments for consideration in connection with the motion seeking approval for the Government's Brexit deal.

They are Independent Sir Oliver Letwin's proposal to withhold approval for the deal unless and until legislation implementing it is passed, and a cross-party amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit and seeking a second referendum.

Addressing the House he reminded Parliamentarians to be "mindful of the impact" of the words they use during debate.


09.30 – PM braces for knife-edge Brexit vote

MPs have arrived in the House of Commons for the first Saturday sitting in 37 years as Boris Johnson attempts to convince them to pass his Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister needs 320 votes to gain a majority and get the deal through but currently only has 287 Conservative MPs who are officially whipped to back him.

That does not mean it will be impossible to pass – but it will likely be tight.

It is understood that the government spent Friday working to convince others to vote in favour, including the 21 Conservative rebels who has the whip removed last month.

Northern Ireland's DUP has said it will not back the deal and Jeremy Corbyn has also urged Labour MPs to reject it.

The Commons has only sat on four Saturdays since 1939, including on September 2 that year, due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The last time there was a Saturday sitting was April 3 1982 following the invasion of the Falkland Islands.

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