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October 23, 2019
Latest Politics Top Stories UK

‘Rebels’ side with opposition, crush Johnson in key ‘no-deal’ Brexit vote

LONDON, UK: As many as 21 ‘rebel’ parliamentarians allied with six opposition parties succeeded in taking control of the Commons order paper to push through a bill seeking an extension to Brexit to at least January 31, blocking a no-deal departure by the government on October 31.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow allowed the motion moved by Oliver Letwin, which was later passed by 328 to 301 votes.

The bill is now up for debate while the opposition plans to push it through Common within a day. Once passed, it would move to the Lords and then require royal assent – making the bill a law – before parliament is suspended next week.

Johnson had previously sought and received permission from Queen Elizabeth II to “prorogue” the parliament for five weeks, limiting the timetable available for any legislative bid to block a no-deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the “only way to resolve this” would be for the government to table a motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which allows five-year parliaments to be broken if two-thirds of MPs back an election.

“If there’s a vote of no confidence we’ve obviously got to win it and we’ll have to gauge whether we can or not. And that’s a difficult judgement call Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the opposition, will make,” Shadow Brexit Minister Keir Starmer responded.

He suggested that it may be preferable to try and form a new government rather than going to the people during an election, “And if there’s a vote of no confidence that is what happens.”

The defying unity between the opposition and rebels collapsed as 17 Labour MPs demanded the re-tabling of former Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union withdrawal deal.

They proposed addition of the three-times-rejected agreement as an amendment to Wednesday’s proposed legislation hoping it would garner enough support from MPs concerned by either a no-deal Brexit or no Brexit at all.

“Parliament is paralyzed by its extremes,” they said in a statement. “We do not agree with either camp. We need a deal.”

Minister for Business and Energy Andrea Leadsom suggested that the Tory rebels might escape their punishment if they sided with the government on Wednesday.

Former Conservative leadership candidate Rory Stewart – who was among 21 rebel MPs who had the whip removed last night after voting against the government – revealed he was dumped from the party by text.