US News: Voting forecast points to MPs approving Johnson’s deal - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Voting forecast points to MPs approving Johnson’s deal

07:40  22 october  2019
07:40  22 october  2019 Source:   ft.com

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Jeremy Corbyn, Keir Starmer are posing for a picture: A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Keir Starmer listening in the House of Commons in London on October 21, 2019, during an Urgent Question on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) and extension letter. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt another blow Monday when the speaker of parliament denied him a second shot at winning MPs' approval for his EU divorce deal, with Brexit looming in just 10 days' time. House of Commons speaker John Bercow -- a colourful figure who has played a starring role in the Brexit drama -- said Johnson was not allowed to push for the same measures twice in the same parliamentary sitting. (Photo by HO / PRU / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT © Provided by Financial Times Limited A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and Britain's main opposition Labour Party shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Keir Starmer listening in the House of Commons in London on October 21, 2019, during an Urgent Question on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) and extension letter. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt another blow Monday when the speaker of parliament denied him a second shot at winning MPs' approval for his EU divorce deal, with Brexit looming in just 10 days' time. House of Commons speaker John Bercow -- a colourful figure who has played a starring role in the Brexit drama -- said Johnson was not allowed to push for the same measures twice in the same parliamentary sitting. (Photo by HO / PRU / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / PRU " - NO USE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, SATIRICAL, MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS (Photo by HO/PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has a fighting chance of passing his Brexit deal through the House of Commons without MPs forcing him into a customs union with the EU or holding a second referendum, according to analysis by the Financial Times.

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Boris Johnson says he is "very confident" MPs will back the Brexit deal he has struck with the EU - despite the DUP' s opposition to it. The prime minister claimed he would win what is expected to be a knife-edge Commons vote on Saturday. "This is our chance in the UK as democrats to get Brexit

Based on a forecast of MPs’ voting intentions, the prime minister has a slender majority of five to see through his Brexit deal, with 320 expected to vote for Mr Johnson’s deal while 315 may oppose it. 

After being refused the chance to hold another so-called meaningful vote on the deal by House of Commons speaker John Bercow on Monday, the Johnson government will instead introduce the withdrawal agreement bill to the House of Commons on Tuesday. This complex but important piece of legislation is required to deliver Brexit, but will be challenged and changed by MPs opposed to his approach.

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A vote in principle, the “second reading” of the legislation, is expected to pass, thanks to the cross-party coalition that has indicated its support for Mr Johnson’s deal. But the government will then have to pass a “programme” motion, which defines the timetable for the bill. This may prove the most difficult challenge to passing a deal by October 31. 

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Boris Johnson will urge MPs to back his Brexit deal later, as he launches a final bid to If they back his deal , they will then be asked to approve an intensive three-day timetable in which to consider the legislation. KEY POINTS : What' s new in the deal ? PEOPLE' S VIEW: Do voters support the deal ?

Boris Johnson had to ask the EU for an extension to the UK' s 31 October exit date after MPs backed a move to delay approval of the deal on Saturday. The government has vowed to press ahead with the legislation - the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) - to implement the Brexit deal next week.

What next for Brexit? Follow key developments, expert analysis and multiple perspectives as the UK edges closer to leaving the EU

If the government is able to win this motion and control the procedures for passing the withdrawal agreement bill (WAB), it will face amendments during the committee stage, where it is scrutinised by MPs. This could possibly happen on Wednesday. 

The government is bracing itself for amendments that could derail its plans but the FT’s analysis suggests Mr Johnson could see them off.

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The greatest threat is an amendment forcing the UK to enter a customs union with the EU after Brexit. Last time the issue was voted on by MPs, during a series of indicative votes attempting to break the Brexit impasse back in April, it failed to pass by a slim margin of three. 

Since then, however, a significant number of Conservative MPs have changed their minds and are rallying behind Mr Johnson’s deal. This is particularly notable in the one nation group of moderate Tories, whose members do not wish to stop Brexit even if in private they might prefer a customs union.

Paul Masterton, a one-nation Tory MP, explained the circumstances for voting had changed. “We now have a new deal and MPs need a clean vote on whether or not to approve it. These amendments are designed to wreck the progress that has been made,” he said. 

Speaker of Britain's  House of Commons John Bercow makes a statement in the House of Commons in London whether Government can hold a debate and vote on the Brexit deal with Europe, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. The government request for a meaningful vote inside the House of Commons is rejected by Speaker Burcow. (House of Commons via AP) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Speaker of Britain's House of Commons John Bercow makes a statement in the House of Commons in London whether Government can hold a debate and vote on the Brexit deal with Europe, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. The government request for a meaningful vote inside the House of Commons is rejected by Speaker Burcow. (House of Commons via AP)

All parties opposed to Brexit are likely to vote for the customs union amendment to wreck Mr Johnson’s deal, except the Scottish National party whose 35 MPs are expected to abstain or vote against in order to state their fundamental opposition to Brexit.

Northern Ireland’s Democractic Unionist party has not yet decided how to vote. If the SNP and the DUP’s 10 Westminster MPs vote against, the customs union amendment would fail by 89 votes. If both abstain it would fail by 44.

The other amendment that will challenge the government is to put the deal to a confirmatory referendum, presumably against the option of remaining in the EU. Last time a second plebiscite was voted on by MPs, it lost by a majority of nine.

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The FT’s analysis suggests a repeat vote could fail to pass by as many as 41, as the politics in parliament has shifted significantly. 

Although 20 or so Labour MPs appear willing to support another referendum, there are at least 19 Labour MPs who are still expected to vote against it.

The number of Conservative MPs supporting a second referendum has also dropped significantly (to zero) since the April indicative votes. Were any Tories to back this amendment, they would be kicked out of the party.

Some independent Conservatives — the majority of whom lost the Tory whip for voting against the government to avert a no-deal Brexit in September — are eager to rejoin their old party and are therefore likely to vote against another referendum. One prominent member of this group predicted “most but not all” would vote with the government. Three are likely to back a referendum: Guto Bebb, Justine Greening and Dominic Grieve.

The DUP has said its MPs also expect to say no to a second referendum amendment. It is therefore difficult to see how this amendment could find a majority, even if more independent Conservatives changed their minds.

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