Order! Order!The Government Defeat on the Benn Bill- 3rd September 2019
So what does the Government’s defeat tonight mean? Well, it means that the order of business in the House tomorrow is no longer the Governments to dictate, instead, Hilary Benn and his cross-bench colleagues will bring forward his Bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The 21 Tory rebels who voted for the motion today will lose the whip and have to sit as independents, although the Government has said this will not happen until tomorrow’s vote, to give them a chance to think again. I do not expect any of them to do so. This is unprecedented as many of them are senior party MPs, including two past Chancellors (including Phillip Hammond, the immediate past chancellor). Whatever your politics, they are deserving of the highest respect, they have truly put country before their own personal and political concerns, and have almost all likely thrown their jobs as MPs away.The Government was defeated by 328–301, and I would expect to see the same figures voting for the Benn bill tomorrow, so it seems on the face of it certain to pass.
As you will have noted, Boris Johnson responded immediately to the statement on a point of order, stating that tonight he intends to lay a Fixed-Term Parliament Act motion to call a general election. For this to pass and an election to be called, he must secure the support of ⅔ of MPs. I do not believe he will do so, until no-deal has been ruled out by the Benn bill. When that happens, he will no doubt bring the motion again and as we have long expected, we will have an election by the end of the year.
Tonight does not guarantee that no deal is ruled out. But it does increase the chances of it vastly. If anyone has any questions about todays shenanigans, I’ll be about for a bit longer and available tomorrow. I know this is chronically boring for any who aren’t parliamentary geeks like myself. But it is important, and if I can help explain it at all, I remain at your service.
3rd September 2019