Belfast Telegraph

Legislation designed to prevent no-deal Brexit clears the Commons after third reading

Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a fresh Brexit showdown in parliament on Wednesday after a stinging defeat over his promise to get Britain out of the European Union at any cost next month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a fresh Brexit showdown in parliament on Wednesday after a stinging defeat over his promise to get Britain out of the European Union at any cost next month.

Legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit has cleared the Commons and is expected to appear before the Lords after MPs gave it a third reading by 327 votes to 299 with a majority of 28.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill, moved by Labour MP Hilary Benn, seeks to extend the Brexit process by three months beyond October 31 unless a deal is approved by Parliament or Parliament agrees to a no-deal exit by October 19.

MPs are now expected to vote on triggering an early general election – which without Labour support is unlikely to reach the required two-thirds majority in the Commons.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA has welcomed the vote.

The Foyle MLA said: “Once again, as the interests of people, communities and businesses on this island hang in the balance, our MPs, with the exception of Sylvia Hermon, are either standing on the sidelines or supporting the opposition team. It isn’t good enough.

“It’s a strange state of affairs when we’re relying on arch Tories to stand against their leader instead of the MPs elected to represent our communities.

“Boris Johnson’s successive defeats as Prime Minister are welcome. MPs from all parties should unite to oppose a no-deal Brexit. When that threat has been fought off, an election is necessary to finish off this Tory/DUP government."

Earlier, at his first Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson called the legislation a “surrender Bill” which would “wreck any chance of the talks” to achieve a new deal with Brussels.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not ask for a delay beyond October 31, and challenged Mr Corbyn: “Can he confirm now that he will allow the people of this country to decide on what he is giving up in their name with a general election on October 15 – or is he frit?”

Mr Corbyn questioned the Prime Minister over reports that his strategy in Brexit talks is to “run down the clock” ahead of the deadline.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister faced a backlash over his decision to throw Tory rebels out of the parliamentary party after their disloyalty in Tuesday night’s vote.

Mr Johnson removed the whip from 21 Conservative MPs after they voted against the Government in order to allow time for the backbench Bill to be debated on Wednesday.

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