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Brexit day of reckoning: parliament to vote on Johnson's deal

ForexOct 19, 2019 04:15AM ET
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By William James, Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson puts his last-minute Brexit deal to a vote in an extraordinary sitting of the British parliament on Saturday, a day of reckoning that could decide the course of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.

More than three years since the United Kingdom voted 52-48 to be the first country to leave the European project, Johnson will try to win parliament's approval for the divorce treaty he struck in Brussels on Thursday.

In a day of Brexit high drama, lawmakers convene for the first Saturday sitting since the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falklands, while hundreds of thousands of people are due to march to parliament demanding another referendum.

Johnson depicted the vote as the last chance to secure an orderly Brexit. Though he is obliged by law to seek a Brexit delay if his deal falls, Johnson said the United Kingdom would still leave on Oct. 31. He didn't explain how.

"There have been any number of false dawns. Deadlines for our departure have come and gone," Johnson, the face of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU, wrote in Britain's best-selling newspaper, The Sun. "Today can be the day we get Brexit done."

The so-called Brexit "Super Saturday" tops a frenetic week which saw Johnson confound his opponents by clinching a new Brexit deal although his Northern Irish allies opposed it.

In a divided parliament where he has no majority and opponents are plotting maximum political damage ahead of an imminent election, Johnson must now win the support of 320 lawmakers to pass his deal.

If he wins the vote, Johnson will go down in history as the leader who delivered a Brexit - for good or bad - that pulls the United Kingdom far out of the EU's orbit.

Should he fail, Johnson will face the humiliation of Brexit unraveling after repeatedly promising that he would get it done - "do or die" - by Oct. 31.

Johnson will make a statement to lawmakers on Saturday morning, after which there will be a debate and then votes on amendments and finally - if all goes according to the government's plan - his deal.

'GET BREXIT DONE'

Johnson won the top job by staking his career on getting Brexit done by the latest deadline of Oct. 31 after his predecessor, Theresa May, was forced to delay the departure date. Parliament rejected her deal three times, by margins of between 58 and 230 votes earlier this year.

He said Saturday's vote was the last chance to get Brexit done with lawmakers facing the option of either approving the deal or propelling the United Kingdom to a disorderly no-deal exit that could divide the West, hurt global growth and trigger violence in Northern Ireland.

"Today we MPs (Members of Parliament) have the chance to free you from the never-ending Brexit saga and move this country forward," Johnson wrote. "In less than two weeks, on October 31, we would be out of the EU."

To win the vote, though, Johnson must persuade enough Brexit-supporting rebels in both his own Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party to back his deal. His Northern Irish allies and the three main opposition parties oppose it.

In a boost for Johnson, some influential hardline Brexit supporters such as Mark Francois and Iain Duncan Smith said they would support the deal.

Steve Baker, the head of a hardline Brexit faction in the Conservative Party, has told his European Research Group allies that they should vote for Johnson's deal.

Yet Johnson's opponents have put forward amendments that could wreck his path to Brexit.

BREXIT UP IN THE AIR

One expelled Conservative lawmaker, Oliver Letwin, has proposed that the decision on whether to back a deal be deferred until all the legislation needed to implement it has been passed through parliament.

This proposal, which has cross-party support, will be put to a vote at the end of Saturday's debate if selected by Speaker John Bercow. If the amendment is approved by parliament, Johnson's deal would not then be put to a vote on Saturday.

That would be a major setback that would leave Brexit, yet again, up in the air as hundreds of thousands of protesters rally outside parliament to demand another referendum.

The Letwin move, aimed at preventing the United Kingdom from somehow dropping out of the EU without a deal, would in effect force Johnson to delay Brexit until all the laws needed to leave have passed through parliament's multi-stage approval process.

Even though Johnson believes this can be achieved by Oct. 31, others think it would need a short 'technical' delay.

A law passed by Johnson's opponents obliges him to ask the EU for a Brexit delay until Jan. 31 2020 unless he has secured approval for his deal by the end of Saturday.

"My aim is to ensure that Boris’s deal succeeds," Letwin said. "But that we have an insurance policy which prevents the UK from crashing out on 31 October by mistake if something goes wrong during the passage of the implementing legislation."

If Johnson's deal is rejected, there may also be a vote on whether to leave without a deal and also whether to hold another referendum.

Brexit day of reckoning: parliament to vote on Johnson's deal
 

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Comments
Tyler Phillils
Tyler Phillils Oct 20, 2019 2:04PM ET
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Brexit: the gift that keeps on giving.
Joseph Dan AMBI
Joseph Dan AMBI Oct 19, 2019 11:16PM ET
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Looking forward to the unending Brexit scenario with passion.
Andrew Paeth
Andrew Paeth Oct 19, 2019 12:54PM ET
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Kicking the can never works...
natwar darak
natwar darak Oct 19, 2019 9:56AM ET
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positive for gold,zinc,copper
natwar darak
natwar darak Oct 19, 2019 9:55AM ET
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Voting started
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 19, 2019 9:43AM ET
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A country who voted for something whose major electrd leaders want something else... this is what failing democracy looks like
Gen Xgen
Gen Xgen Oct 19, 2019 7:00AM ET
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no extension.hard brexit
MWAN WAN
MWAN WAN Oct 19, 2019 6:14AM ET
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when the result will be in? already 2 hours
Al Vlaj
alvlaj Oct 19, 2019 6:14AM ET
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A vote is expected to be called around 2:30GMT. Could be earlier or later but that is the expectation.
Aravind Tallam
LiveKingSize Oct 19, 2019 5:59AM ET
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I don’t think it will go for no deal...... today’s deal might get rejected and the PM will be forced to request for an extension
Al Vlaj
alvlaj Oct 19, 2019 5:59AM ET
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And then the EU says no to the request because they are tired of all of this ...
hugo glez
hugo glez Oct 19, 2019 4:56AM ET
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Ive had short position on cable and euro. If it will spike, i pray that respect my stop loss xF
Gjergji Benxhaj
Gjergji Benxhaj Oct 19, 2019 4:42AM ET
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what time is the voting?
Stephen Wong
Stephen Wong Oct 19, 2019 4:40AM ET
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Come on! No deal and messy divorce. Holding too many EUR short contracts
Fx alien
Fx alien Oct 19, 2019 4:40AM ET
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Im with you
Stephen Wong
Stephen Wong Oct 19, 2019 4:40AM ET
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Actually 65% of hedge funds are net short Eurd. If it doesnt collasp next week the economy in general will be ruined. Alot of state pensions are invested in hedge funds.
Tawny Beaver
Tawny Beaver Oct 19, 2019 4:21AM ET
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look for a major pullback in gbp usd on Monday, probably testing 3 year lows
Fx alien
Fx alien Oct 19, 2019 4:21AM ET
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You think?
Ahmad Abu Samha
Ahmad Abu Samha Oct 19, 2019 4:05AM ET
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another referendum...
PK AG
PK AG Oct 19, 2019 3:52AM ET
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Pound will rally on moday
Vijay Bhoutika
Vijay Bhoutika Oct 19, 2019 3:31AM ET
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no deal for brexit hundred pe4cent
Attapol Suwanyoosiri
Attapol Suwanyoosiri Oct 19, 2019 3:09AM ET
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hope for Brexit no deal.
Stephen Wong
Stephen Wong Oct 19, 2019 3:09AM ET
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Most of the market is shorting eurozone so no deal brexit is the best for everyone.
TA XVCI
TA XVCI Oct 19, 2019 2:49AM ET
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Boris Johnsons deal is as same as Therese May's. Sounds not good.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 19, 2019 2:05AM ET
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Theresa May failed 3 times and threw in the towel. How many times has Boris failed now?
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 18, 2019 8:35PM ET
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What we have here is a british people who voted for a brexit but a parliament that wants something different... this is what failing the democracy looks like...
Pa Ga
Pa Ga Oct 18, 2019 8:35PM ET
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Same happening in Switzerland for last few years
Jan Buyle
Jan Buyle Oct 18, 2019 8:35PM ET
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The vote was 51 to 49 and the pro brexit camp used a pile of lies to get this result... now that people know about the lies I am far from sure there still is a majority pro Brexit. Just saying.
Zoltan Pap
IceIceBaby Oct 18, 2019 8:35PM ET
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As I know the referendum was not mandatory. So parliament has the right to not act on that. If they do people will decide at the next general elections about punishing or rewarding the MPs. By the way even if 52% voted for Brexit I don't think all of them voted for a crash out no-deal Brexit.
Al Vlaj
alvlaj Oct 18, 2019 8:35PM ET
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IceIceBabythe had the right, but once they invoked Article 50 about 9 months later, they are legally bound to leave. Parliament could have 100 referendums for the people now, but it would be up to the EU.
 
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