MPs to debate Withdrawal Agreement Bill

The first reading will take place tonight

Monday, October 21, 2019

John Bercow has rejected a government bid to hold a “meaningful vote” on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal today.

Keep this page refreshed for the latest updates from the House of Commons.


19.00 - MPs to debate Withdrawal Agreement Bill tonight

MPs are preparing to debate the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill tonight in its first reading.

Its purpose is to turn Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement - a draft international treaty agreed with the EU - into UK law.

It must be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it can become law, and amendments can be suggested.

Similar Bills have taken between 10 to 40 sitting days to pass through Parliament, but more controversial Bills have taken longer.


17.30 - Jacob Rees-Mogg sets out agenda for week

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has set out the House agenda for the rest of the week regarding the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

The North East Somerset MP said that on Tuesday the Bill will have its second reading, with the first reading scheduled for tonight.

On Wednesday, there will be a continuation of proceedings on the Bill, with the conclusion of proceedings set for Thursday.

On Friday, the House will not be sitting.


16.15 - Brexit Secretary slams 'genius' Corbyn for delaying Bill being published

Stephen Barclay has called Jeremy Corbyn a "genius", after he asked an urgent question about the publication of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, therefore delaying the publication of the Bill.

"It will be introduced for first reading at the start of main business today," Mr Barclay told the opposition leader.

"The publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is therefore now being delayed by the leader of the opposition because he has tabled an urgent question requesting the publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Genius."

Responding to the cabinet minister's comments, Mr Corbyn replied: "I do admire the Secretary of State for keeping a straight face while he gave that answer."


15.45 - Sir Bernard Jenkin hits out at Bercow

Brexiteer Sir Bernard Jenkin has accused the Speaker of pleasing "one lot and not the other" by ruling against a vote today on the Brexit agreement.

"I note the dilemmas you face mean that on occasion you will sometimes please some and not others, but it is becoming remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other," the Tory MP said.

"I would say it is most unusual for a Speaker so often to prevent the government having debated the matters the government wishes to put before the House."

He said he will be holding a “hearing on the role of the Speaker”.

However, defending his decision, Mr Bercow reflected on times he had granted Sir Bernard the chance to speak up in Commons debates.

"When I was granting the honourable gentleman the opportunity to challenge, to question, to probe and to scrutinise, I don't recall the honourable gentleman complaining that I was giving him too many opportunities to make his point," he replied.


15:30 - Speaker rejects vote on Brexit deal

WATCH: The Speaker rules that no 'meaningful vote' will go ahead

A vote on Boris Johnson's Brexit agreement will not go ahead today, the Commons Speaker John Bercow has ruled.

In a statement, he said it would be "repetitive and disorderly" to discuss the deal again after having already done so on Saturday.

He continued: "Today's circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday's cirucmstances.

"My ruling is that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.

"It is a necessary rule to ensure the sensisble use of the House’s time and proper respect for the decisions that it takes."

Instead, the government's EU Withdrawal and Implementation Bill will be presented for its first reading today.


15:00 - Bercow to decide whether vote will go ahead

Commons Speaker John Bercow will decide whether a vote on the Brexit deal will go ahead this afternoon.

The Prime Minister needs 320 votes to gain a majority and get the deal through.

A planned vote on the deal was postponed on Saturday after an amendment passed which required the Prime Minister to request an extension to the Brexit deadline.

The move angered some, with Conservative MP Bob Stewart calling Sir Oliver Letwin - who tabled the amendment - "really very unpopular".