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Parliament is sitting again – what happens now?

MPs returned to Westminster amid tumultuous scenes in the Commons chamber

Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)
Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor

MPs are back at Westminster after the Supreme Court’s bombshell ruling Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.

– How has it gone so far?

The Commons chamber experienced some of its most turbulent scenes of recent times when MPs sat on Wednesday as a defiant Prime Minister said the court had been “wrong” to pronounce on political matters.

He accused MPs of “sabotaging” Brexit and threw down the gauntlet to the opposition parties, challenging them to table a vote of no-confidence or agree to a general election and face “a day of reckoning with the voters”.

– How did that go down?

There was anger when one Labour MP urged the Prime Minister to tone down his “violent” language, reminding him what had happened to the murdered MP Jo Cox, only to have her comments dismissed as “humbug”.

Commons Speaker John Bercow (Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/PA)

Mr Johnson then caused further outrage when he suggested the best way for MPs to honour Ms Cox – an ardent Remainer who was killed just days before the 2016 referendum – was to “get Brexit done”.

– What is the Government saying?

Downing Street has said that if the opposition parties do not table a no-confidence motion it will show the Prime Minister does have the confidence of the House which will give him a mandate to press on with Brexit on October 31.

The opposition, however, are sticking to their position they will not agree to an election until it is clear that no-deal is off the table.

Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons after the Supreme Court ruled that prorogation was unlawful (House of Commons/PA)

– Does that mean that the UK will leave the EU at Halloween even if Mr Johnson cannot get a deal with Brussels?

Under the so-called Benn Act, the Prime Minister is required to go back to the EU and seek a further extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process if he cannot get a deal in time.

Mr Johnson has said while he will abide by the law, he will also be taking Britain out of the EU on October 31.

What exactly will occur if there is not a deal at that point, he refuses to say.

– What happens next?

MPs will be asked by the Government on Thursday to back a motion agreeing to a three-day Commons break next week while the Conservative Party conference takes place in Manchester.

However, amid the current sulphurous mood at Westminster, it was far from clear whether the motion would pass.

There is also due to be a “general debate on the principles of democracy and the rights of the electorate”.

However, ministers will be wary over another Commons ambush with the possibility of opposition MPs again seeking to taking charge of the business of the House.



From Belfast Telegraph