On Tuesday evening, MPs approved the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill on its first hurdle through the Commons, voting in favour by 329 votes to 299. The vote was a monumental success for Boris Johnson and a significant milestone in the House of Commons – which had not passed a single point on a deal before then. But just minutes later Mr Johnson was defeated by a majority of 14 on a fast-tracked timetable for the bill.
Speaking at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Johnson warned MPs not to delay the progression of the Brexit deal.
He said: “I will in no way allow months more of this.
“If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen, and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the government continue with this.
“And with great regret, I must say that the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”
Brexit bombshell: Will MPs back the deal or will a general election be called?
Brexit bombshell: Boris Johnson arriving at Parliament tonight
EU leaders will now consider whether to grant a delay to the October 31 deadline and what length it should be.
Following the vote last night, EU Council President Donald Tusk said he would recommend European leaders backed an extension – but failed to say for how long.
He added he would “propose a written procedure” to avoid another summit having to be called.
But Boris Johnson is unhappy with proceedings and could suggest calling an election rather than being forced to take an extension.
Brexit bombshell: A Brexit protester dressed as Charlie Chaplin standing outside Parliament
Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that leaving the European Union “come what may”, meaning with or without a deal, is what is best for the country.
He claims that by doing so, the process will help to “move our country” on and begin the UK’s “healing” in the wake of Brexit.
Mr Johnson said: “If we pass this bill tonight, we will have the opportunity to address the priorities not just of our relations with the EU, but the people’s priorities at home.
“If we do this deal, if we pass this deal and the legislation that enables it, we can turn the page and allow this country and this parliament to begin to heal and unite.”
However, despite Mr Johnson’s assurances that quick action and delivering a Brexit deal by October 31 is the best course of action for the UK, he has faced backlash from MPs.
Many MPs are particularly unhappy with the short period of time they have been given to scrutinise and deliberate on the consequential bill which is 110 pages long, alongside another 124 pages of explanatory notes.
Mr Corbyn claims the bill was “page after page of what amounts to nothing less than a charter for deregulation and a race to the bottom”.
He added: “A deal and a bill that fails to protect our rights and our natural world, fails to protect jobs and the economy, fails to protect every region and nation in the United Kingdom.”
Brexit bombshell: Will MPs back Mr Johnson’s timetable vote today?
Is it more likely that Parliament will pass the Brexit deal or a general election will be called?
Boris Johnson “paused” his Brexit bill on Tuesday after MPs rejected his plan to get it signed off in three days.
And now the PM says he will push for a general election if the EU proposes to delay Brexit until January, No 10 has indicated.
While the next election is not technically due to 2022, the PM wants to restore his party’s majority in the House of Commons and therefore wants to call an early election.
Currently, Mr Johnson is short 45 votes if every opposition MP voted against the government.
According to the Betfair Exchange, it is more likely a general election will be called than Parliament passing the Brexit deal.
Betfair Spokesperson Katie Baylis said: “At the moment the likelihood is that we will get a General Election before the UK leaves the EU, according to our odds.
“While Boris Johnson looks likely to get House of Commons approval for his deal in principle tonight that will not be the end of the Brexit drama.
“The opposition will look to frustrate its passage through the House by attaching amendments onto the deal that Johnson may not be able to stomach.
“In that situation he will look to go the country for a mandate on his deal, which is why it’s odds-on at 8/11 on Betfair that we will see a general election before a Brexit.”
The odds of a general election happening first is at 8/11, while the odds of the UK leaving the EU is at evens.