Johnson ‘has numbers’ in Commons to pass Brexit deal

Published: Oct 20, 2019, 4:49 pm IST

The government says it will push ahead with efforts to pass its Brexit deal, despite a major setback to its plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to ask the EU for an extension to the UK’s 31 October exit date after MPs backed a move to delay approval of the deal on Saturday.
But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was confident enough MPs would back the deal next week, and Brexit would still happen by the deadline, said a BBC News report on Sunday.

Number 10 says the PM sent “Parliament’s letter” but sees no reason for a delay.
That letter to Brussels came from Mr Johnson but was unsigned, and was accompanied by a second letter – which was signed – saying he believed a delay would be a mistake.
The government has vowed to press ahead with the legislation to implement the Brexit deal next week, potentially calling a so-called “meaningful vote” on it as early as Monday.

Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that “notwithstanding the parliamentary shenanigans, we appear to have now the numbers to get this through”.
He said there were “many people in the EU” who were “deeply uncomfortable” about a further delay to Brexit and urged MPs to “get on, get it through the House of Commons, and move on.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk has acknowledged receipt of the UK’s extension request and said he would consult EU leaders “on how to react”.
Labour, meanwhile, is accusing the prime minister of “being childlike” by sending a second letter contradicting the first, and has vowed to seek to amend the Brexit deal – to add additional measures on issues like workers’ rights and environmental protections.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer also said his party would support an amendment requiring the deal to be put to another referendum which he believed would inevitably be tabled.
The prime minster had intended to bring his deal to Parliament on Saturday – the first such sitting in the Commons for 37 years – and ask MPs to approve it.

However, MPs instead voted in favour of an amendment withholding approval of the deal until all the necessary legislation to implement it had been passed.
Tabled by Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin, the amendment was intended to ensure that Mr Johnson would comply with the terms of the so-called Benn Act designed to eliminate any possibility of a no-deal exit on 31 October.

Under that act,  Johnson had until 23:00 BST on Saturday to send a letter requesting a delay to the UK’s departure – something he did, albeit without his signature.
Letwin told Andrew Marr his amendment was “an insurance policy” and now it had passed, he would give his full support to the prime minister’s deal.

However,  Gove, who as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is in charge of no-deal planning, accused those who backed it of voting “explicitly to try to frustrate this process and to drag it out”.

He said “the prime minister’s determination is absolute” and the government’s “determined policy” was to meet the 31 October deadline.”We know that the EU want us to leave, we know that we have a deal that allows us to leave,” he added.