Brexit: UK Parliament to vote on PM Johnson's Brexit deal and timetable

Wednesday, 23 Oct, 2019

Instead, on Saturday, lawmakers voted to withhold their crucial support for Johnson's deal until after it had become law.

The government must now try to implement its Plan B - attempt to pass a Brexit-implementing bill through Britain's fractious Parliament before the country's scheduled October 31 departure date.

But kicking off the debate on the WAB, the Prime Minister insisted MPs were being given ample opportunity to scrutinise the deal he struck last week with Brussels.

It's possible that MPs (members of parliament) will attempt to derail the government's tight timetable for getting the bill through Parliament by October 31 - the date by which Johnson famously said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than avoid.

The House of Commons passed Mr Johnson's deal but refused to agree to his fast tracked timeline, 322 to 308, to get it done by next week's deadline.

Also likely to emerge is another longshot push for a second referendum, which Labour would be expected to back.

But will there be another vote on the deal, and if so when?
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John Bercow (C), speaker of the British House of Commons, speaks at the House of Commons in London, Britain, on October 21, 2019.

He could say that such a vote effectively happened on Saturday and cannot be repeated so soon.

As the clock ticks down to the latest Oct 31 deadline for Britain's departure, Brexit is hanging in the balance as a divided parliament debates when, how and even whether it should happen.

And victory in both of Tuesday's votes would by no means guarantee that Johnson will manage to get Britain out in the remaining eight days.

Though Johnson has attracted support from a number of prominent Brexiteer Tories, including the European Research Group (ERG), the DUP is strongly opposed to the deal.

'If the government have got the numbers the government can have their way'.

Britain has been struggling to agree on how to leave the European Union ever since narrowly backing Brexit in a 2016 referendum that did little to end old arguments about the country's place in the world.

"The public doesn't want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I", Johnson said Monday.

The British government sent three letters to Brussels on Saturday night - including an unsigned one - to reluctantly seek another delay.

He told the commons: "I will not negotiate a delay with the European Union, and neither does the law compel me to do so".

The PM did not sign the letter, and sent a second communication insisting that a delay would be "deeply corrosive" for the United Kingdom and the EU.

He and European Council President Donald Tusk, addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said developments in the British parliament in Westminster would be decisive on how Brexit proceeds.

On 19 October, Tusk said he would now start "consulting European Union leaders on how to react".

"So it depends on it coming back and ensuring the Prime Minister carried out the duties imposed upon him within the Benn Act".

The Conservative government has published its 110-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) which it hopes to pass in the next three days, to keep the Brexit process on schedule.

Some lawmakers may also look at ways later in the process to introduce changes to the legislation that could fundamentally alter the nature of Johnson's deal - including possibly adding the need for a second referendum on the agreement.

Mr O'Neill said the Prime Minister was "sailing very close to the wind" and "not entirely in accord with spirit" of the Act by sending the second letter, in which he said an extension would "damage" the UK's interests.