Boris Johnson defeated again as Commons backs bill blocking no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
4th September 2019

Boris Johnson has been dealt a fresh blow after MPs passed a bill blocking a no-deal Brexit.

The bill would force Boris Johnson to seek a Brexit extension.
Credit: 
PA Images

The rebel European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was approved by 327 votes to 299 after being rushed through the Commons.

Under the legislation, the Prime Minister would be given until 19 October to pass a new Brexit deal, or be forced to go to Brussels and request a delay until 31 January.

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Controversially, the bill also stipulates that the PM would have to accept any alternative date suggested by the EU.

But in a bizarre twist, an amendment to the bill calling for the Commons to have another vote on Theresa May's final Brexit deal was passed automatically after the Government failed to put up any MPs to help count the votes.

The move was seen as a tactic aimed at scuppering the purpose of the legislation.

During the debate, Tory rebel Sir Nicholas Soames - who was one of 21 MPs kicked out of the party for backing the anti-no deal campaign - said: "This bill before the House today is modest, it's ambitious, and it's powerful in its mandate.

"It merely seeks to avert the risk of the disaster of a no-deal Brexit exit on 31 October and it thereby seeks to give the Government and this House to achieve a resolution on this profoundly difficult issue."

But condemning the bill, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said: "It goes against the democratic wish of the British people - of the vote of 17.4 million of our citizens - and it goes against the strong desire of many up and down this land who want certainty, who want clarity, who want Brexit done so we can get onto the wider agenda."

The bill will now be scrutinised in the House or Lords, where Tory peers are trying a filibuster so that it runs out of time to receive Royal Assent.

Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who put his name to the bill alongside Tory rebel Alistair Burt, said: "This House expects (the Prime Minister) to uphold the law and to fulfil the obligations that will be placed upon him."