Super Choose-Day

Today will be the new crunch moment in the Brexit saga, with the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) starting its journey through Parliament. The Government thinks it has the votes to pass the WAB at second reading, meaning we can expect a quasi-meaningful vote at 7pm tonight with the bill’s second reading. Number 10 are also feeling bullish about their ability to stave off Customs Union and Second Referendum wrecking amendments, with previously Customs Union-flirtatious Tory MPs making clear they will not seek to amend the bill.

Guido understands that some in Number 10 wanted to set the timetable for passing the WAB through the Commons over the course of just one day, as happened with the Surrender (Benn) Act, the timetable eventually settled on 3 days, which will stretch proceedings through to Thursday. A Government source tells Guido that this is so MPs don’t have much of a leg to stand on when complaining about timing. Telling Guido that “anyone trying to complain about how much time they have to pass the WAB is clearly trying to wreck it.” The programme motion vote to set the timetabling for the passage of the bill is expected to be the closest vote of today, with Remainers viewing it as their best chance to delay the process and make the UK miss its Brexit deadline…

It’s hard to imagine how any MP could change their minds about the WAB over the course of the next week just through more time. They have all already made up their minds. Nevertheless, expect a lot of time wasted on theatrical complaining in the chamber today…

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Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”


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