Brexit Vote Delayed: What Clear? What's Not?

-edited

There was not vote today. Instead, Parliament demanded Johnson ask for an extension.

Boris Johnson stated he will not comply with the Benn Bill requiring him to seek an extension.

One possible way out would be to get France or some other nation to reject the extension request. But that would still presumes Johnson would ask.

The Guardian Live Blog has more details.

A spokeswoman for the European commission said it was up to the UK government to make the next move after the developments in the Commons. She said: "The European commission takes note of the vote in the House of Commons today on the so-called Letwin amendment meaning that the withdrawal agreement itself was not put to vote today. It will be for the UK government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible."

A spokesman for the European council president, Donald Tusk, declined to comment. Ambassadors for the EU27 will meet on Sunday morning to discuss the latest developments.

Theresa May Comments

"I intend to rebel against all of those who don’t want to vote to deliver Brexit. If you don’t want no deal you have to vote for a deal. Businesses are crying out for certainty. People want certainty in their lives."

She concludes by saying if you want the country to move forward, vote for the deal today.

Iain Duncan Smith rises and says he will back the deal. He calls on Oliver Letwin to remove his amendment, in order to give the people “a meaningful vote”.

The PM responds by saying it would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote “were to be taken away from us”. He stresses that he thinks Letwin is motivated by the best of intentions.

ERG Entirely On Board As Expected

What Clear? What's Not?

What's clear is Johnson has the votes.

What's not clear is what happens next.

Johnson possibly has a legal trick up his sleeve, one discussed before on this blog. Perhaps he tries that and succeeds or fails. Perhaps France says they will allow an extension but only for the purpose of a meaningful vote.

The problem with the extension is that it gives parliament ample time to all all kinds of amendments counter to the deal Johnson negotiated. Of course, the EU has a say and they are not prone to making any changes.

Expect a legal challenge on Monday, perhaps with Johnson's own legal challenge to Benn.

Johnson's Ace in the Hole

I discussed one legal way out for Johnson six days ago in Boris Johnson's Brexit Ace in the Hole Revealed.

Without a doubt Johnson has been coerced.

How the courts rule is uncertain.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (80)
No. 1-20
Harry-Ireland
Harry-Ireland

What's clear is the utter contempt for democracy. And that politicians are deliberately tearing apart the last shred of confidence in their capability to serve the people who they're supposed to serve. Hear me now, whenever this is over, however this ends, we will never forget how you betrayed the people and showed us your contempt.

Yancey_Ward
Yancey_Ward

This appears to be Remain's last gasp. They will approve the deal later this week, but they want to try to damage Johnson on the way to doing so. I think Johnson just defies the Benn Bill by not signing the letter and publicly disavowing it.

Again, if Remainers want to stop Brexit, they need to do a VoNC as an absolutely minumum requirement, and if one believes the statements by France and Poland, an extension isn't going to be granted anyway. So, the actual method of stopping Brexit on the 31st is to revoke Article 50. So, if you are Remainer, revoke Article 50 or shut the fuck up.

Quatloo
Quatloo

Another possibility is that Remainers try to amend the Withdrawal Act in numerous ways, in an attempt to further delay the process under the guise of needing to negotiate the agreement amendment with the EU, with the end goal being a new referendum in Britain.

In fact, I see that as the most likely scenario, even though it could blow up in their faces if Macron follows through on his threat to veto any extension request.

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

Opinions differ but no doubt many believe that extensions increase, not decrease, the likelihood of No Deal exit on Oct 31st, but that assumes Europe refuses to grant an extension.

However, if there is one, it will be forced upon HMG which will further boost Tory returns in any subsequent general election, which (from Euro pt of view), means that he will return with a working majority and might be able to push a more favorable deal on them or, even worse and which they clearly DON'T want, just go for a No Deal exit. The best thing for Europe is for this current deal to go through now.

Fun thought: Bercow declines HMG the opportunity to go for the meaningful vote again (like he did with May). Europe declines and extension. Parliament, suddenly waking up and realising that Oct 31st is losing, begs Boris to have a vote on it and finally passes the deal!

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

Viz Benn Bill Court challenge: whether or not he sends in a letter as mandated, I believe they should challenge the lawfulness of that Bill on constitutional separation of powers basis, also perhaps the viability of Laws ordering specific individual to do things without clear penalties or somesuch. It's just too weird. But by NOT challenging it, he allows a precedent to be set because he has de facto consented. Hopefully AG Cox will mount a vigorous challenge. And whilst that challenge goes through, all amendments attempting to boss the PM around in similar fashion can be added to the case. By the time they sort it all out - and the more amendments they offer the longer it will take - Oct 31st will have come and gone. I read somewhere today that BJ said after the vote that the latest Let-Down Amendment had greatly increased the chances of a No Deal Brexit. I suspect that's their preferred outcome now. It is going to be up to all those people in Europe whom Grieve and Hammond and Letwin et alia have been plotting with to bring them around to stop all this nonsense, otherwise UK is going to have a far stronger hand at the bargaining table come Nov 1st.

pretax
pretax

Boris will not negotiate an extension and UK will leave with No Deal despite there being a good deal on the table.

Remainer MPs and especially Oliver Letwin will have caused Hard Brexit.

Nice one son

Oh the irony

Fulgurite
Fulgurite

"Perhaps France says they will allow an extension but only for the purpose of a meaningful vote."

Forget it Mish, of course France will allow for an extension but (as usual) they speak with a forked tongue.

The bigger the chaos, the bigger the deterrent for other countries to even TRY to leave the E/USSR prison. The longer the extension, the longer the "Remainders" can sabotage the result of the Brexit referendum and keep the UK in the fangs of the E/USSR.

It's a win-win for the E/USSR.

The problem Mish, is that you see everything through the one-dimensional eyes of an American. It's NOT just about 'the UK versus the EU' or BoJo having some fancy "3-D chess" trick up his sleeve. For the EU it's about a complicated web of financial interests (the London/City banking/money laundering business, Germany's export market) and about nipping all potential NEXIT (Netherlands), GEXIT (Germany), FEXIT (France), GREXIT Greece) etcetera movements in the bud.

I am a Dutch citizen living and working in Germany. Do you think that many Dutch and Germans will vote for an exit from the E/USSR after having witnessed this bullshit for >3 years? Only the most hardcore anti-central-planners like myself, but the majority (even of my Dutch and German friends who are quite conservative) are saying: "....well...errr, I don't think leaving is such a good idea..."

avidremainer
avidremainer

Time to wake up and smell the coffee. You take a bunch of snake oil salesmen ne'er do wells and charlatans, they tell you that all the ills in the world are the fault of the EU and that if you vote to overthrow the oppression of this evil empire then you will, at one stroke, dropped into a land of milk and honey where everyone will have caviar and champagne for tea. And what have you got? Ashes in your mouths. No having your cake and eating it, no easiest deal in history, no more they need us more than we need them, no more bestriding the world like a colossus just being the laughingstock of the world. Well done when do you realise that the true traitor is your adorable Eton boy who couldn't organise a bunk up in a brothel. You should be proud of yourselves.

ksdude69
ksdude69

Good Lord.

Jackula
Jackula

Looks like to me the risk of a hard Brexit just went up dramatically. Crazed politics, screw doing things for the good of the country and people in it. Win at all costs or take em down with you if you lose. Damn

Downtoearth
Downtoearth

Just announced Boris will be sending a letter to eu

Webej
Webej

Don't you think Johnson has already discussed this possibility and the Benn bill with the representatives of the EU council? They have probably already agreed informally to a script for various contingencies. The EU will do everything to force a vote instead of more futile dysfunctional political posturing and wrangling in Parliament.

What could be more ludicrous than to refuse to vote on a motion?

Herkie
Herkie

CNBC reported hours ago that the EU had received a request from the UK government for a delay/extension. It also said that Johnson had not signed it, the article did not say who sent it, but, I doubt it matters. The remainers will find a way to drag things out, Tusk and the Commission need to have it in the Sunday morning papers when Brits wake tomorrow that there will be no extension other than a very brief one to implement the deal as it was negotiated WITHOUT amendments. That is the only stick they have left with which to threaten the parliament to vote and deliver Brexit on the 31st. If there is ANY hint at all they are willing to give an extension for any reason aside from implementation technicalities then the remainers will milk it and pass an act saying that Johnson has to stand on his head in Stormont till hell freezes over.

Really, I do not know why I fell for the enthusiasm over a deal, the remainers are not going to allow it and even if one is done and the UK leaves the EU they will still be trying to make things in Britain as bad as they can in order to blame the conservatives for it all, when any thinking person will see that it is their bad faith that has dragged this out for years and made negative consequences INEVITABLE!

Time for the Tories to start passing a few laws of their own dealing with treachery.

krage
krage

So far it moves towards legal disagreement and interpretation of laws by different parties, close to what I was predicting... EU will likely accept the extention, but Boris can ignore it, which will end up in legal dispute in UK tough... It is also subject to EU interpretaions... it going to be a mess on Oct 31...

krage
krage

So it all seems to be going down like this:

  • Boris sent unsigned letter - expect a court challenge on Monday
  • EU says it would not reply until all voting is done in UK
  • UK voting will inlcude full debate and ability to attache amendments which will likely be used and the deal would have a good chance to be modified. The remainers assumption would be that EU will extend in such a case. -If this happens, EU will consider Boris letter as a request for the extention and will grant one
  • Boris would be in agony then - accept the extention (loss of any reputaion/integrity left ) or not (no deal)
Quatloo
Quatloo

EU won’t act on the extension request until the UK votes on the Withdrawal Agreement. Why would they?

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

I think the PM was not surprised at all today but some of his supporters certainly were. It is always a bad idea to underestimate the opponent. Especially if you see it as an oppressive power or its minions. If you want to win in a situation like this, you cannot go into the wall with your head.

The British are used to the role of the oppressive power and it is played against them.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

Johnson has one great strategic achievement: he has conquered the right wing of the Tory party. I cannot see them breaking away from him anymore. He also persuaded several Remainer rebels to follow his line but this is not complete (as the Letwin amendment shows). On the other side, Corbyn let loose several leftist Leavers without direct damage. Meanwhile, he holds firm control over his own Remainers. LibDems are pushed into the background.

It seems symmetric to me which means the gridlock is still in place. The strategic situation suggests an extension with general election.

As for the tactical outcome, I have little idea. It is amazing to see the intellectual efforts of these politicians on all sides. Anyway, my opinion is that if neither side makes serious errors, an extension is still likely.

ReadyKilowatt
ReadyKilowatt

Someone from the Times got to him and convinced him to stretch it out another month. They need something to talk about to boost readership going into the Christmas gift giving season. Brexit happens the pundits won't have anything to discuss.

KernowMor
KernowMor

I'll avoid falling into the trap of playing the ball, rather than the issues. Of the 5 issues I offered as opportunities for discussion, only 1 secured - banks - secured a response.

I am no fan of banks, quite the reverse. The way that they - and their central bank supporters - have operated has resulted in an horrendus wealth transfer toward that rich that is societally wholly devisive. But it remains the inarguable case that EU banks are in critically worse state, based on their inadequate capital ratios and numbers of non-performing loans than those of the US and the UK. The ominous macro-economic problem is that the interconnectedness of the banks means that a systemic banking crisis in Europe, which is by far the most likely place for it to begin, may well bring down the whole financial system.

Turning to the political points, I fully accept that the EU is one of the institutions that has helped avoid both war in Europe and rise of the far left. The avoidance of which is welcome given that both war and the far left have been the cause, separately, of millions of deaths in Europe and further afield.

But the EU is not the sole peace-securing institution. When it comes to peace, NATO has been in the eyes of many strategic commentators equally important. I served with NATO forces, I would argue it has been much more important. It has been a much more effective institution, not least because like it or not there is clear leadership, when compared to the EU.

Turning to the financial points, I am also no fan of the financial systems, including the Central Banks, the large banks and institutions such as the IMF. They are all relying on neo-Keynsian economic theory that is clearly fatally flawed. What's happening in the REPO markets, which is evidence of the consequences of these flaws, is most likely the consequence of a breakdown of the Eurodollar system, which has been in deep trouble since the GFC.

But if things are bad in the US and the UK, they are even worse in the EU where, for the flaws that I highlighted in my first reply are exacerbating the situation. Greece is falling apart, and as Yanis Varofoucis so elegantly explains in Adults in the Room, the central reasons are its membership of the Euro and the intransigence of the EU, its institutions and Germany to countenance an recovery programme that would have given it a fighting chance of economic recovery. Now we have the ECB, which has printed significantly more Euro proportionately than the US, and way more than the UK, and yet has achieved almost nothing economically.

When you stand back and look at the EU, how do things look? Yellowshirts in France. Catalans fighting for indepdence in Spain. The ominous rise of the right in Germany and Austria. And perhaps Sweden. The destruction of the Greek economy. The increasingly precarious state of the other PIIGS. Migration crises in many European countries, with Angela Merkel recently indicating that the assimilartion of migrants in Germany had been a failure.

The point about all these developments is that they are either an inevitable consequence of, or exacerbated by, the underlying design of the EU project.

In my experience of the British people, they get there intuitively more quickly than our politicians. When I was serving in Afghanistan in 2007, the British people were incredibly supportive of those of us in uniform, but had also come to recognise the strategic futility of the mission. It took British politicians another 5 or so years to catch up.

I judge its the same with the EU. The British people - well, at least 17.4M of them - have come to recognise a similar futility.