British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced another hurdle in his sprint to leave the EU by the end of the month, after the government’s bid for another vote on a Brexit deal was rejected.
With just 10 days left until Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31, the divorce is again in disarray as politicians argue over whether to leave with a deal, exit without a deal or hold another referendum.
The decision means that the government will have to try to push ahead with the legislation needed for ratification that opponents are plotting to wreck with amendments that would destroy Mr Johnson’s deal.
Speaker John Bercow said the bid to force a vote on the deal on Monday (British time) was the same as that presented to parliament on Saturday.
“Today’s motion is in substance the same as Saturday’s motion and the House [of Commons] has decided the matter. Today’s circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday’s circumstances,” Mr Bercow told parliament on Monday.
SNP’s @KirstySNP asks Jacob Rees-Mogg if an impact assessment of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has been done.
A crucially important question.
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) October 21, 2019
The ruling provoked the ire of Brexit-supporting MPs, and personal attacks on Mr Bercow.
He said the government could still secure ratification for the Brexit deal by October 31 if it had the numbers in parliament.
Mr Johnson was ambushed in parliament on Saturday by opponents who demanded a change to the sequencing of the ratification of the deal, exposing the PM to a law that forced him to request a delay until January 31.
Mr Johnson sent the note to the EU unsigned – and added another signed letter arguing against what he said was a deeply corrosive delay.
Parliament will vote in the second reading on legislation – known as the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – on Tuesday, after which amendments can be proposed to it.
Mr Johnson’s ministers said they were confident they had the numbers to push a deal through parliament, though there was concern that amendments could wreck his deal.
- Related: Crunch time for Brexit
The opposition Labour Party is planning changes to the legislation needed for Brexit that would make the deal unacceptable to swathes of Mr Johnson’s party – including a proposal for another referendum.
A spokesman for Mr Johnson said that if the legislation strayed too far from the deal then its ratification would be placed in question.