When Dawn Pulled Jez

Corbyn’s no confidence motion didn’t go to plan for him in more ways than one yesterday, while taking beatings from Tory Remainers and even one of his own former MPs, Dawn Butler felt the need to tug him off the dispatch box, and back to his seat when he forgot to sit down. Weird…

Leadsom Outwits Bercow and Grieve on Brexit ‘Plan B’

Dominic Grieve and John Bercow’s attempts to force the Government into a corner have fallen flat thanks to a loophole which allows the Government to avoid another humiliating defeat just three (working) days after the last one. Andrea Leadsom confirmed that the Government would lay its motion on its Brexit ‘next steps’ on Monday as required by Grieve’s rogue amendment, but that the debate and vote on it would not be held until the following Tuesday 29th. Backbenchers who have worked with Grieve on amendments before privately whisper that his drafting skills are not as tight as they are made out to be…

Leadsom also announced that the Government would not be bringing any more Brexit legislation back to the Commons for the foreseeable future, including the Trade Bill and the Immigration Bill. No legislation, nothing for Remainers to attach hostile amendments to…

Michael Gove’s Barnstorming Speech

Michael Gove closed the case for the Government last night with an absolute cracker of a speech. It is well worth a watch…

Government Wins Confidence Vote

In not so shocking news, Her Majesty’s Government remains in place (for now) after winning Jeremy Corbyn’s confidence vote by 306-325. Nothing has changed…

Woodcock Won’t Back No Confidence Motion, Says Corbyn “Unfit to Lead the Country”

Ex-Labour MP John Woodcock has told MPs that he won’t be backing the no confidence motion in Theresa May tonight, instead dropping a truth bomb about Corbyn’s total unfitness to be Prime Minister:

With a heavy heart I have to tell the House that I cannot support the no confidence motion tonight. Some of my friends mutter disgrace, I hear some of them tutting, I have to say that many of them have privately said “Thank God that you have got the freedom to actually not support this”. Because they are wrestling with their consciences of wanting definitely a Labour Government, knowing that the leader of their party is as unfit to lead the country as he was when they voted against him in the no confidence motion of the party those years ago.

More than a few of his former Labour Party colleagues know he’s right…

McDonnell Distances Himself From Corbyn

Guido hears rumours that Corbyn and McDonnell’s teams may have had a little falling out over the timing of the no confidence motion. McDonnell’s body language certainly suggests something is up – he is nowhere to be seen on the frontbench, instead he’s lurking down by the Speaker’s chair with a worried look on his face. Trouble in socialist paradise?

Soubry Scorches Corbyn

Any suspicions that Tory Remainers could unexpectedly side with Corbyn to inflict a shock confidence vote defeat on May have firmly been put to bed with Anna Soubry nailing her colours to the Tory mast and tearing into Corbyn as he presented his motion of no confidence in Parliament. Hard to see how she could justify siding with the “most hopeless opposition leader we’ve ever had” in any subsequent confidence votes, even if no deal is approaching…

The ERG are also firmly on board. May will be fine this time round…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Con)
Q2 Peter Kyle (Hove) (Lab)
Q3 Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston) (Lab)
Q4 Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham) (Lab)
Q5 Grahame Morris (Easington) (Lab)
Q6 Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) (Lab)
Q7 Mr Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) (Con)
Q8 Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South) (SNP)
Q9 Mr Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley) (Lab)
Q10 Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con)
Q11 Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East) (Lab)
Q12 Trudy Harrison (Copeland) (Con)
Q13 Mrs Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald) (Con)
Q14 Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West) (SNP)
Q15 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab)

Comments in the comments…

May Loses Meaningful Vote

Theresa May has lost the meaningful vote. No surprise there then…

The loss is huge. 202-432.

In three Parliamentary days time the Government will have to come back to parliament with their Plan B. Will this deliver more EU concessions to get Tories on board, or more UK concessions to get more Labour MPs on board? We won’t have to wait long to find out…

Watch: Julian Lewis’ 21 Word Speech

“Because Brexit should mean Brexit and no deal is better than this bad deal, I shall vote no, no, and no.”

Now who does that remind Guido of…

Cox’s Case for the Defence

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has succeeded in significantly livening up the incredibly lengthy meaningful vote debate, giving a typically eloquent and impassioned case for why MPs should support the Prime Minister’s deal while taking aim at those trying to reverse the referendum. May must wish she had a whole Cabinet of Coxes. Whether it actually changes any MPs’ minds at this stage is another matter…

Bercow Ends May’s Last Hope In Amendment Selection

John Bercow has slapped down May’s hopes of winning over sceptical backbenchers with Andrew Murrison’s amendment, by not sdelecting it to be voted on. The four he has selected instead are:

  • Jeremy Corbyn Rejects the deal because it does not meet Labour’s criteria, including a customs union and strong single market relationship. Says government should “pursue every option” for avoiding no-deal or leaving on the terms of May’s deal.
  • Sir Edward Leigh States that a permanent backstop would constitute a change in circumstances compared to those in the Withdrawal Agreement and that this would give the UK the right to withdraw from it. Asks the government to confirm it would do so if this was the case.
  • John Baron Also says the deal should only be approved if the UK has the right to exit the backstop without the agreement of the EU.
  • Ian Blackford Rejects the deal, citing opposition from the devolved assemblies, and calls for an extension of Article 50.

These amendments will be voted on from 7pm. If, as expected, none of them pass, then the we can expect the meaningful vote to take place at 8pm, with the result at around 8:15. Get your popcorn ready…

Amendments Latest: Benn Backs Off, Murrison Moves Ahead

While most attention has understandably been focused on this evening’s main vote, a crucial sub-drama is playing out in the amendments which MPs will vote on first, assuming Bercow doesn’t go entirely rogue again. The two key amendments were Hilary Benn’s, which rejected both May’s deal and No Deal, and Tory MP Andrew Murrison’s, which insists on the Withdrawal Agreement being amended to specify that the backstop expires on 31 December 2021.

But Hilary Benn announced this morning that he was withdrawing his amendment, citing Bercow’s decision to alter Parliamentary procedure as one of the reasons his amendment was no longer necessary. The more immediate issue is that if his amendment narrowly passed, it would invalidate the subsequent meaningful vote, thus sparing the Government from a heavy defeat…

This leaves the Murrison amendment as the key one to watch. It has a weighty list of co-signatories, including Graham Brady, Damian Green and Rob Halfon, which strongly suggests Government support for the amendment. The Government may well accept the amendment in the hope that it limits the scale of their defeat on the meaningful vote tonight, then deal with the legal ramifications of it later…

UPDATE: Reportedly Business minister Claire Perry has been ringing round backbench colleagues pushing the Murrison amendment, suggesting at least an element of Number 10 co-ordination…

Boris: Let Us Not Continue to Flog this Dead Horse

When this deal is voted down, let us not continue to flog this dead horse. Instead we must get Brexit right and seize the opportunities before us…

Gove Tickles Labour’s “Testicular Nature”

Michael Gove tore into both the Speaker and the Labour Party from the dispatch box this afternoon during the Withdrawal Agreement debate. It’s well worth a watch…

“I know, Mr. Speaker, that there are some distinguished citizens in this country who have put on their cars a poster or sticker saying “bollocks to Brexit”, but we now know from Labour’s front bench, that their official Brexit position is bollocks.”

Leadsom Slaps Down ‘Mansplaining’ Smarmy Leslie

Chris Leslie launched into an incredibly patronising attack on Andrea Leadsom during Business Questions to the Leader of the House this morning. He might be regretting it now after her comeback…

Boothroyd: Bercow’s Behaviour “Disgusting”, “Absolute and Utter Disgrace”

Bercow’s brazen behaviour has not just been infuriating Tory MPs, earlier today the highly respected former Speaker Baroness Boothroyd was overheard in the corridors of Parliament reportedly telling a senior Tory MP that Bercow’s actions were “disgusting” and an “absolute and utter disgrace”. Guido’s well-placed source says the esteemed Baroness looked visibly shocked at the events unfolding…

One Tory MP is adamant that several pages of what looked to be Parliamentary guidance were removed from the desk in the Commons and taken away during the lengthy Points of Order session where Bercow was repeatedly challenged. Whatever they were, we will never know now…

Leadsom Challenges Furious Bercow To Publish Clerk’s Advice

Andrea Leadsom left Bercow squirming over his decision to overrule expert clerk advice in his constitutionally vandalising decision today. He twice refused to publish the advice he received…

He also was unable to confirm that he acted in the way the clerks advised him to. Because he didn’t…

UPDATE: Grieve’s amendment has passed by 308-297 votes.

Bercow Jeered by MPs

The row over Bercow’s decision to overrule his clerks and Parliamentary precedent to select Dominic Grieve’s amendment has triggered a barrage of points of order from furious MPs which is still ongoing half an hour after the end of PMQs. And is far more entertaining…

ERG Deputy Chair Mark Francois asked a particularly pointed question resulting in cheers from MPs and jeers for Bercow. Bercow knows he can continue to act with impunity as long as Remainers are happy to keep turning a blind eye to his behaviour…

PMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions?

Q1 Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) (SNP)
Q2 Martyn Day (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (SNP)
Q3 Tom Pursglove (Corby) (Con)
Q4 Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con)
Q5 John Spellar (Warley) (Lab)
Q6 Sir Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD)
Q7 Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon) (LD)
Q8 Gill Furniss (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) (Lab)
Q9 Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab)
Q10 Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab)
Q11 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con) What discussions she has had with the Mayor of the West Midlands on the creation of employment in that region; and if she will make a statement.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Andrea Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today

“He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential. … He’s made his views known on Brexit… it’s a matter for him but nevertheless it’s a challenge and all colleagues need to form their own view of that.”

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