Brexit: Ministers plot their revenge on John Bercow amid growing outrage

Cesar Mills
January 10, 2019

The House of Commons voted to reduce the time the government has to outline a "plan B" from 21 days to three if, as expected, lawmakers reject the Brexit agreement in a vote on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's government suffered a defeat in parliament on Tuesday when lawmakers who oppose leaving the European Union without an accord won a vote that created a new obstacle to a no-deal Brexit.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, responding for the Labour Party, dismissed Barclay's list of so-called concessions, saying MPs were resuming the debate without the government having secured any meaningful changes.

However, pro-European MPs insist they will be able to table amendments to such a motion which would make clear where Parliament stands on issues such as a no-deal Brexit if they are voted on.

Government sources, cited by the Guardian, said that potential financial issues posed by the amendment would be "low down the list" in terms of difficulties Britain would face in case of a no-deal Brexit, suggesting that more emergency legislation would probably be needed in such a scenario, where the government could attempt to restore these powers.

Mrs Leadsom said she had "no idea" why Mr Bercow had made the decision he did.

However a former cabinet minister has said the prime minister is still not prepared to rule out crashing out of the European Union without a deal, despite around 220 MPs signing a letter urging her to rule it out.

A week ahead of a crucial vote in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday (6 January) that "the danger there is actually we end up with no Brexit at all".

With less than three months until Britain leaves the EU, May is struggling to win approval for her Brexit deal.

It is likely to prompt an angry response in Brussels, which has repeatedly rejected efforts to put a time limit on the backstop, meant to avoid a hard border in Ireland if no wider trade deal has been agreed.

Bercow said that he did not think it was unreasonable to amend the motion and hinted he might routinely allow business motions to be amended by backbenchers.

The government has now offered guarantees to devolved politicians in the province over the operation of the backstop, and on the free flow of trade between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

The development came after 17 Tory rebels helped pass Mr Grieve's amendment by 308 votes to 297.

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Other MPs who signed the amendment include the former Tory ministers Sir Oliver Letwin, Jo Johnson, Guto Bebb and Sam Gyimah.

A series of MPs rose to complain that the Government motion should not have been amendable.

"That is what I have tried to do and what I will go on doing".

Today in a keynote speech to Labour members in Yorkshire, Jeremy Corbyn will say the most practical and democratic way to "break the deadlock" at Westminster over Brexit is to hold another general election.

But with opposition among MPs still strong, there is growing speculation London could seek to delay the EU's two-year Article 50 exit process to allow more time to get the deal through parliament.

On Jan. 4, 1642, King Charles I entered the House of Commons to arrest five members of Parliament for high treason (luckily they had already fled the building).

Tory Brexiteers raised several concerns while Conservative former minister Crispin Blunt, raising a further point of order, called on Mr Bercow to "reflect" on his position.

"I think it probably would have been against the advice of most people on parliamentary procedure".

Labour MPs, and even some Tories, defended the Speaker.

"I just invite you to reflect on the conclusion that many of us will have inevitably have come to".

Mr Bercow rejected calls to publish the advice he had received from his clerks.

Mrs May retorted: "The only way to avoid no-deal is to vote for the deal".

Other reports by GizPress

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