MPs vote to put Brexit de­lay into our law

Daily Mail - - Brexit In Crisis - By John Stevens Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Editor

MPS voted last night to change the law so the Prime Min­is­ter is forced to seek an­other de­lay to Brexit.

In an un­usual step, Speaker John Ber­cow al­lowed Sir oliver Letwin and Yvette Cooper to fast­track leg­is­la­tion through the Com­mons in only one day.

Their Bill, which is ex­pected to be de­bated in the Lords to­day, com­pels Theresa May to ask Brus­sels for an ex­ten­sion to ne­go­ti­a­tions, in ef­fect block­ing No deal.

The rebels in­sisted on chang­ing the law even though the Prime Min­is­ter had al­ready pledged to de­lay the coun­try’s de­par­ture from the EU be­yond next Fri­day – the day Bri­tain is cur­rently due to leave.

op­po­nents warned last night that a dan­ger­ous prece­dent would be set by rush­ing the Bill through all its Com­mons stages in one day. The back­benchers tabled the leg­is­la­tion after wrest­ing con­trol of the par­lia­men­tary timetable from min­is­ters.

Sir Bill Cash, Tory chair­man of the Euro­pean scru­tiny com­mit­tee, said the move to pass the Bill in a day was ‘rep­re­hen­si­ble’.

‘It is a con­sti­tu­tional rev­o­lu­tion and I also be­lieve that it is a very, very un­de­sir­able prece­dent,’ he added. ‘It is al­most an un­be­liev­able sham­bles this Bill and the re­al­ity is there is no ex­cuse for it.’

Charles Walker, Tory chair­man of the pro­ce­dure com­mit­tee, said: ‘I think we will re­gret what we are do­ing to­day – it does worry me. I fear that one day soon – I hope it will not be the case – we will be de­bat­ing an ex­pro­pri­a­tion of as­sets Bill in six hours. We would re­gret that bit­terly.’

For­mer Tory leader Iain dun­can Smith said: ‘If we leg­is­late in haste, we will re­pent at leisure, and we do noth­ing in this place but re­pent at leisure again and again.

‘We talk about sweep­ing away prece­dents be­cause they are ar­chaic and were around for 200 years or what­ever, and that ev­ery­thing mod­ern must be bril­liant. I do not agree with that.

‘Sometimes history teaches end­less lessons. This place is at its best when it is ar­gu­ing and de­bat­ing, and tak­ing its time to do so.’ Con­ser­va­tive MP Na­dine dor­ries said Par­lia­ment would ‘rue the day’ if it backed the leg­is­la­tion.

MPs passed the Bill at its se­cond read­ing yes­ter­day by 315 votes to 310. They were ex­pected to give their fi­nal back­ing in a fur­ther set of votes late last night.

Ear­lier, there were ex­tra­or­di­nary scenes as one of the Brexit votes re­sulted in a tie – the first time that has hap­pened in al­most 40 years. MPs voted 310 in favour and 310 against a plan put for­ward by Labour MP Hi­lary Benn to hold a third round of in­dica­tive votes next week on al­ter­na­tives to the Prime Min­is­ter’s deal, mean­ing Mr Ber­cow was given the de­cid­ing vote.

The Speaker said his cast­ing vote, in line with prece­dent, was with the Noes, so the amend­ment was de­feated by 311 to 310. This means MPs will no longer have con­trol of the Com­mons or­der pa­per.

The last time there was thought to have been a tied vote was in July 1993 when MPs voted 317 for and 317 against an amend­ment re­lat­ing to the Maas­tricht Treaty. The Speaker at the time, Betty Boothroyd, was given a cast­ing vote, but the next day it was found there had been a count­ing er­ror and the re­sult had not ac­tu­ally been a tie.

Be­fore that, in Jan­uary 1980, MPs were split 201 in favour and 201 against a mo­tion on bring­ing TV cam­eras into the Com­mons.

n MPs, cam­paign­ers and ac­tivists must tone down their rhetoric on Brexit or they could in­cite dis­or­der, the leader of the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs Coun­cil sug­gested yes­ter­day.

Martin He­witt spoke out as it was re­vealed that po­lice are pre­par­ing to mo­bilise more than 10,000 of­fi­cers in the event of ri­ots and loot­ing after Brexit.

Mr He­witt, a Metropoli­tan Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner, said: ‘We are in an in­cred­i­bly febrile at­mos­phere. There is a lot of an­gry talk… across so­cial me­dia.’

He used his first speech as chair­man of the NPCC to cau­tion all groups, in­clud­ing MPs and pub­lic fig­ures, to ‘use mod­er­a­tion’.

‘If you are in a po­si­tion where you know you are go­ing to be lis­tened to, you need to think very care­fully about the lan­guage you are us­ing so that it does not end up with con­se­quences that were not in­tended.’

‘An un­be­liev­able sham­bles’

Rebel: Yvette Cooper ad­dresses MPs in the Com­mons yes­ter­day

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