REMAINER Speaker John Bercow has today blocked Boris Johnsons bid to hold a Brexit vote in a last-ditch attempt to ruin our EU exit.
With just 10 days left to go before he steps down from his role, Mr Bercow ruled that the PM cant hold another vote on his Brexit deal this afternoon – arguing they already had their chance on Saturday.
Boris Johnson wanted to hold a meaningful vote on Brexit today after Sir Oliver Letwin’s wrecking amendment ruined his plans on Saturday, and forced him to seek a Brexit extension from the EU.
He pulled the vote on his deal on Saturday afternoon after a rebel plot to force him into asking for an extension succeeded.
Today the Speaker told MPs in a blow to the PM: “The motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.”
He added: “Todays motion is in substance the same as Saturdays motion and the House has decided the matter.
“Todays circumstances are the same as Saturdays circumstances.”
Fuming MPs blasted him for throwing another spanner in the works of our EU exit.
It comes as:
- Ministers confirmed that they will push through Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill this week – and wanted to do it in just THREE days
- Labour MPs in Leave areas spoke out about the abuse they are getting for saying they will vote for a Brexit deal
- Labour confirmed plans to bog the bill down with amendments – such as a second referendum or forcing Britain to stay in a customs union with the bloc
- Germany’s Foreign Minister refused to rule out a “short, technical extension” if the Commons doesn’t pass the deal
- Follow all the action with our live blog here
What does Bercow's blocking move mean?
- There will not be a vote today on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal after Speaker Bercow plunged his plans into chaos
- Boris will be unable to show the EU that he has the numbers to push it through, meaning they may be more likely to give us an extension
- Instead all eyes will turn to No10’s plan B, when the PM brings back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to the House of Commons tomorrow
- Passing a bill usually takes weeks, but the Government wants to fast-track it before October 31
- Tomorrow will be another titanic battle in Parliament with votes on the second reading of the bill and the programme motion – which says how much time MPs will get debating it
- And now Boris is gearing up for Parliamentary warfare – as MPs are already set to try and wreck it with amendments on a second referendum and on a customs union
- It sets the PM up for a mammoth battle now to ensure his bill goes through the Commons before the end of the month, when he promised to leave
- If the Bill looks on track to go through, the EU may the PM him a few days or weeks to get it finished off
- If it looks like Boris doesn’t have the numbers then they are likely to grant a longer one to give time for the country to go to the polls for an election or referendum to break the deadlock
- And if any wrecking amendments do get through Boris would be tempted to pull the bill altogether, plunging Britain into Brexit limbo, a No Deal Brexit, or pushing for an election again
And the Speaker refused to listen to MPs who argued that the situation was fundamentally different because Boris had now asked for a Brexit extension.
The news caused uproar in the House of Commons, after MPs begged him to let them finally vote on the deal and get on with leaving the EU.
Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin blasted him for siding with Remainers more than Brexiteers – even though he is supposed to be unbiased.
He raged: “It is becoming remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other.”
And he said it was unbelievable how often he had prevented the Government from debating what it wanted to.
“This matter was never voted on on Saturday,” he insisted.
He reminded him that his committee would be holding a probe into the role of the Speaker in light of his recent actions to meddle in Brexit.
But the Speaker stood firm and insisted he was trying to “uphold the convention of this House”.
“I make no apology for it whatsoever,” he insisted.
It means that now any official vote signing off Brexit wont happen for a few more days or weeks – likely until Boris deal gets signed off in law.
Boris has said he is “disappointed” by today’s news that the Speaker is trying to deny a chance to get Brexit sorted.
The PM’s spokesperson said this afternoon: We are disappointed that the Speaker has yet again denied us a chance to deliver on the will of British people.
“We will go ahead with introducing of the Withdrawal Act Bill today. The public want Brexit done.
MP Steve Baker tweeted: “Overheard in the public gallery – ‘It’s the John Bercow show, isn’t it?’”
A vote on the Letwin amendment took place on Saturday, but a vote on Boris’ deal itself didn’t ever happen after Tory MPs stormed out of the chamber.
No10 warned they would pull the vote if he allows more wrecking amendments like at the weekend.
They said: “There is no point in having a meaningless vote.”
Mr Bercow is due to stand down as Speaker at the end of the month and has come under fire for a series of controversial decisions about Brexit.
He has admitted to voting Remain in the referendum and Brexiteers think he’s been biased against them.
NUMBERS TO WIN
The PM’s team are confident he does have the numbers to win a Brexit vote when it does finally come back to MPs.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC on Sunday: “We seem to have the numbers in the House of Commons.”
Up to 15 Labour MPs were reported to be on side and ready to get behind the deal – which would push it over the line. Eight have confirmed so far they will vote for it.
No10 wants to show the EU that the deal can pass so it doesn’t allow the PM another extension to Brexit.
The PM faces a parliamentary war to deliver his Brexit plan to the people this week.
But No10 believes he can keep his promise to lead Britain out of the EU by October 31, despite being forced by rebel MPs on Saturday to send a letter requesting yet another delay.
Brussels is staying tight-lipped on whether they will grant another extension until after Boris attempts further votes this week.
Ministers confirmed today the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be published and MPs would vote on it tomorrow.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said: “This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on October 31. If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”
Germany’s Foreign Minister today said he couldn’t rule out a short extension if the Commons did not pass the deal in time.
Heiko Maas said today: “Should there be problems in Britain with the ratification, I would not rule out that there could be a short, technical extension.”
He went on to say that if was not a majority for the PM’s deal then they would have to look at “a full extension” of Brexit to break the deadlock.
“At the moment, I don’t think it is sensible or appropriate to speculate about that,” he said.
Even if Boris Johnson manages to push his deal through tomorrow instead, he faces a mammoth battle to push it through by the end of the week.
MPs are expected to vote on a programme motion in the coming days which will try to fast-track it through the Commons in a few days rather than weeks or months.
But once it comes to Parliament MPs are set to table dozens of amendments to it to try and water Brexit down and slow the process.
Motions on a second referendum and on a customs union are now likely, Labour figures revealed yesterday.