Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Deal left "in limbo" as MPs refuse fast-track through Commons

The House of Commons during the debate for the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Second Reading.
The House of Commons during the debate for the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Second Reading.
MPs announce the result of the second reading

Boris Johnson has been forced to put his plans to leave the EU on October 31 on ice after suffering another Commons defeat.

It's after he won the support of MPs for his Brexit deal "in principle" in the first of a series of crucial Commons votes on Tuesday - shortly followed by a defeat as MPs voted against a plan to fast-track the bill.

The House voted by 329 to 299 to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) at second reading - a majority of 30.

However, MPs then voted against the short timetable of three days to fast-track the bill through the Commons by 322 votes to 308, with a majority of 14.

Mr Johnson told MPs he was "disappointed" they had "voted for delay", and said the UK "now faced further uncertainty".

He said his policy remained that Brexit would go ahead at the end of the month, saying: "One way or another, we will leave the EU with this deal to which this House has just given its assent."

10 DUP MPs voted against the Government's timetable.

Speaking in the Commons, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: "The House has made a very wise decision to allow further time for detailed examination of the most important legislation that we will ever have to consider, particularly given the impact of Northern Ireland.

Nigel Dodds.PNG
Nigel Dodds speaking in the Commons

"I would say to the prime minister as he reflects on the votes that he would sit down with us and even at this late stage about what can be done as we join in this quest to get Brexit done as one United Kingdom."

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran tweeted: "DUP in the lobbies voting No with us. And some LabLeaves. We HOPE we have defeated the Gov. let's see."

Earlier, Mr Johnson warned MPs he would pull the whole Bill and go for a general election if they rejected his timetable and decided to "delay everything until January or even longer".

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: "So disappointed 2nd Reading passed - esp with help of Labour MPs who am sure genuinely believe they must do 'will of people' in their constituencies, without checking if will has changed via #PeoplesVote.

"But this isn't end -as Bill gets more scrutiny, more flaws will be shown."

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