Johnson ‘pauses’ Bill as programme motion vote fails…
Last night, PM Johnson achieved something which Theresa May could simply never manage, he successfully held a majority on agreeing to his deal in principle. The vote passed with a chunky majority of 329 vs. 299, something which the government will be significantly reassured by.
However, the Prime Minister’s stumbling block arrived in the form of the programme motion timetable vote. This is a vote on whether MPs agree to the schedule and duration of debating proposed. In this particular case, the government had only allowed a very small amount of debating time for Parliament to scrutinise the Bill. As one Labour MP put it “My wife and I spent longer choosing a sofa than we have to debate this incredibly important bill.” A few days of debate was not agreeable to the House and as a result, PM Johnson endured a defeat. At this point, the Prime Minister confirmed he would not pull the Bill (as speculation earlier that day had indicated) but will pause it while he liaises with his European counterparts.
From here, there are 2 clear routes Johnson could adopt. Firstly, he could attempt to call a general election post the 31st October. He could campaign on the deal achieved, using the theme that he’s tried his best to fulfill the widely touted 31/10/19 deadline but has been obstructed by Parliament. Alternatively, he could seek an extension and revise the programme motion to allow more time for scrutiny in the hope he could have his deal eventually passed.
Written by Viv Savani. 9:09am, October 23rd 2019
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