The government has confirmed it will bring forward its “landmark Brexit bill”, as it continues to press ahead with its aim of leaving the EU by 31 October.
The bill, which will enshrine Boris Johnson’s 11th-hour deal in law and pave the way for a Hallowe’en departure from the EU, is being introduced today ahead of a vote tomorrow.
Read more: How Boris Johnson’s big day fell flat
The government urged MPs to back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, noting that it has removed the “anti-democratic” backstop and instead offers a “reasonable compromise, based on the key principles of consent for the people of Northern Ireland, and the UK leaving the EU Customs Union whole and entire, which was agreed at European Council last week”.
The much-hyped Super Saturday descended into farce after Oliver Letwin’s amendment meant the Prime Minister could not satisfy the Benn Act, forcing him to seek an extension to Article 50.
Although sources told City AM they were confident the government had sufficient numbers to back the WAB this week, critics of the deal are said to be readying two amendments which could yet thwart Number 10 – one for a second referendum, and one to remain in the customs union.
That means government will be working overtime to win wavering Conservative MPs, potential Labour rebels and even the Democratic Unionist Party, which backed the Letwin amendment on Saturday, effectively ending the confidence and supply arrangement that has been in place since the 2017 election.
Urging MPs to back the bill, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, said: “The Prime Minister has successfully negotiated a great new deal without the anti-democratic backstop which many said would be impossible.
“MPs and Peers will today have in front of them a bill that will get Brexit done by October 31, protect jobs and the integrity of the UK, and enable us to move onto the people’s priorities like health, education and crime.
“This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on October 31. If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill.”
Main image: Getty