Boris Johnson has told MPs to back his Brexit deal to avoid a no-deal departure and “move our country on” as he kicked-off a Commons showdown.
Two crucial votes on Tuesday evening will determine whether the Prime Minister will be able to live up to his “do or die” commitment to take the UK out of the European Union by the October 31 deadline.
MPs will cast their initial vote on the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) before being asked to back his accelerated timetable to hurry the legislation through Parliament.
Accelerate our preparations
Opening the debate, Mr Johnson told the Commons that the parliamentary defeat he suffered on Saturday meant he has been forced to “accelerate our preparations” for a no-deal Brexit.
“Today, Mr Speaker, we have the opportunity to put all that right because if this House backs this legislation, if we ratify this new deal – which I believe is profoundly in the interest of our whole United Kingdom and our European friends – we can get Brexit done and move our country on,” the PM continued.
“And we can de-escalate those no-deal preparations immediately and turn them off next week and instead concentrate on the great enterprise of building a new relationship of the closest co-operation and friendship, as I said on Saturday, with our European neighbours.”
Confident they have the numbers
Ministers have insisted they are confident they have the numbers to get the Bill through the Commons, despite their defeat in Saturday’s special sitting.
But a major hurdle follows over their plans to fast-track it through the lower House in three days, potentially paving the way for the Lords to consider it over the weekend.
The PM’s deadline could be derailed if the “programme motion” setting out the timetable for the Bill’s passage through the Commons is rejected.
Many MPs are deeply unhappy that there is so little time for detailed scrutiny of a such an important Bill, which runs to 110 pages with another 124 pages of explanatory notes.