Government 1, parliament 1, as Brexit bill passes through Commons. . .then stalls
Today was another historic one in the House of Commons. Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Bill finally was finally passed by 329 to 299, succeeding in a way that had consistently evaded Theresa May.
It should have been a cause for immense celebration, coupled with a large dose of relief, however the story did not end there. After rubber-stamping the prime minister’s deal, the House then voted on whether it should be rushed through in three days , or if it they should be given more time to scrutinise this immense and complicated document before passing it onto the House of Lords.
This motion was also passed, by 322 to 308. The effect of this particular vote means that Johnson will need the extension that he had to request as a result of The Benn Act on October 19, which means his mantra that the UK would leave the EU by Halloween, would be impossible to fulfil.
Strangely, the historic success, was not met with the expected jubilation by the PM, who appeared to be furious that he would have to shift his deadline to sometime in January 2020.
As yet the new deadline, has neither been granted by the EU, or indeed defined, but it seems from Donald Tusk’s tweets on the matter, that there is every reason to believe that it will be.
Interestingly, the knee-jerk reaction from Downing Street was that, by being forced to get an extension, the most obvious course of action was to have a general election.
Why, you might well ask?
Well if the PM, can not force MPs to meet his October deadline, and they are empowered to scrutinise his deal in a forensic manner, the nature of that deal could well change substantially before it passes through to the Lords.
However, if Johnson can win a general election, and return more like-minded Tories to his side of the House, the nature of his Withdrawal Agreement is likely to stay in tact.
So, will we all be marching back to the ballot box before Christmas? It certainly looks likely
Most Seats At Next General Election