ABCC Brexit Update – House of Commons Votes to Take Control of Parliamentary Agenda - 4 September 2019
- In a crucial vote on 3 September, MPs voted 328 to 301 (a majority of 27) in favour of taking control of the parliamentary agenda and the Brexit process.
- 21 Conservative MPs, including nine former cabinet ministers, rebelled against the Government. By withdrawing the Conservative whip, Downing Street has confirmed that the 21 would cease to serve as Conservative Members of Parliament. A full list of the ‘Tory Rebels’ can be found below.
- In a further blow to PM Johnson, Conservative MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats shortly before yesterday’s vote.
- Yesterday’s vote paves the way for MPs to hold another vote today (4 September) to block the prospect of a “No Deal” Brexit on 31 October. In the absence of an EU withdrawal deal, the Government would be required to request a further extension from the EU to the UK’s departure date. Any extension would require a formal request from the UK to the EU to extend Article 50, the EU’s secession clause. All EU member states would have to agree to an extension.
- If today’s vote passes, PM Johnson said that if forced to request an extension to the 31 October departure date, a second vote will be held to hold a snap General Election (in mid-October, ahead of the 17/18 October meeting of EU leaders).
- Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the Prime Minister is required to obtain the agreement of two-thirds of the House of Commons to call a General Election.
- Last night, Opposition Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would not support holding a General Election until a bill is passed to take a “No Deal” Brexit “off the table.” Liberal Democrat Partly leader Jo Swinson made a similar statement. Without the agreement of opposition parties and now faced with the loss of his party’s majority in the House, commentators note that it is unlikely that Johnson will be able to call a snap General Election.
- Yesterday’s vote follows last week’s announcement by PM Boris Johnson to hold the Queen’s Speech in mid-October and prorogue (suspend) Parliament from 9 September until 14 October.
- Meanwhile, legal challenges to the prorogation of Parliament are ongoing.
- Separately, in his ‘Spending Review’, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid is expected to outline the Government’s spending plans for 2020-21 later today. The review is expected to commit another £2bn to Brexit preparations along with increases in public services funding.
Full List of Conservative MPs voting against the Government:
Guto Bebb Aberconwy
Richard Benyon Newbury
Steve Brine Winchester
Alistair Burt NE Bedfordshire
Greg Clark Tunbridge Wells
Kenneth Clarke Rushcliffe
David Gauke SW Hertfordshire
Justine Greening Putney
Dominic Grieve Beaconsfield
Sam Gyimah East Surrey
Philip Hammond Runnymede and Weybridge
Stephen Hammond Wimbledon
Richard Harrington Watford
Margot James Stourbridge
Sir Oliver Letwin West Dorset
Anne Milton Guildford
Caroline Nokes Romsey & Southampton North
Antoinette Sandbach Eddisbury
Sir Nicholas Soames Mid Sussex
Rory Stewart Penrith & The Border
Ed Vaizey Wantage
The ABCC and Brexit
The ABCC will continue to follow these developments closely. We look forward to keeping members up to date with the very latest from London and what it possibly means for the Australian-British business community. Earlier ABCC Brexit updates can be found on the ABCC Blog.
If you would like to receive more frequent Brexit updates or have any questions, please feel free to contact our office on firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Paul O'Hagan, General Manager, Victoria, South Australia & Western Australia