Anti-Brexit MPs staged a series of last-ditch efforts to prevent Boris Johnson from taking the UK out of the EU as they desperate dig their heels in following the Prime Minister’s victorious election win. Mr Johnson opened today’s special sitting debate at 9.30am before lawmakers vote on the deal at around 2.30pm. It is expected to pass thanks to the Prime Minister victory in the election, which saw him come away with a 80-strong majority, and the fact that all Tory election candidates backed the agreement. But opposition parties have tabled four amendments in a bid to stall the Brexit momentum.
Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP sought to ensure that the government could not take the UK out of the EU without the consent of the Scottish parliament.
The group wanted the second reading of the Brexit deal to the scrapped “because 62 percent of voters in Scotland supported remaining in the European Union”.
The DUP also asked for a second reading to be refused, arguing that the deal has wrapped up Northern Ireland’s future ever before the UK and Brussels have agreed a way forward after Brexit.
They said it “substantially concludes arrangement for Northern Ireland prior to agreement on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom”.
The Lib Dems put forward a bid to stop the deal in its tracks, arguing it does not give British voters a final say with the option to remain in the bloc.
But the days of knife-edge votes on amendments look to be over for now following the Tories’ large gains in the pre-festive poll.
And in a bid to win over hardline Brexiteers, Mr Johnson will insert a new clause into his bill which would give “lower court” the power to overturn EU case law after the UK has left the bloc.
He is also seeking to legally rule out an extension to the Brexit transition period, which expires in December 2020.
Liberal Democrat interim leader Sir Ed Davey has accused Mr Johnson of engaging in a “reckless” gamble with the UK’s future.
He said the rule means the threat of a no-deal is firmly back on the table.
The clause relating to workers’ rights has been removed from the Brexit bill.
After he has taken the UK out of the bloc on January 31, Mr Johnson will close down the Brexit department and tell his team to no longer use the word Brexit.
SEE BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:
9.45am update: Amendments slapped down and second reading of Brexit bill to begin
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has not selected any of the amendments put foward for debate.
9.15am update: Javid announces Andrew Bailey as new Bank of England Governor
Chancellor Sajid Javid has unveiled Mark Carney's sucessor at the Bank as Andrew Bailey.
Mr Carney delayed his departure because Brexit was not delivered on Halloween.
Mr Bailey will take over the reins on March 16.
8.40am update: Brexit deal will ‘improve standards of living’ for
Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg posted a video on Twitter, saying the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal will mean a better future for Britons.
Hours before lawmakers are expected to pass the deal in a Commons vote, the arch-Brexiteer said: “The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be the first of many initiatives coming through to help make people’s lives better, improve people’s standards of living and ensure that the legislative agenda voted for in the general election is what happens in Parliament without it being obstructed.”
8.17am update: Government committed to ‘high standards’ on workers’ rights after clause removed from bill
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has addressed concerns over the removal of the workers’ rights clause from the withdrawal agreement.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Barclay said the Brexit deal was more focused on trade with the EU after Brexit and not the rights of British workers.
He said: “We’re doing it through the Queen’s speech. We’ve got a specific employment bill within the Queen’s speech. If you look at page five of our manifesto, we’re absolutely committed to high standards in workers’ rights and the environment.
“This bill is focused on the trade discussions moving forwards, so it’s our divorce to get Brexit done but also in terms of the future will be in terms of the trade.
“So what we’re doing on the employment, on the workers’ rights, is actually doing that through other areas of government.
“We’ve got a very clear commitment in our manifesto to high standards on that and we’re bringing forward specific measures through the Queen’s speech to do that.”