, 284 tweets, 26 min read
Right well, the most historic day in parliament since the last one is about to kick off. You can follow along here parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/ff…
I'll be covering it, ageing in real time, pretty much throughout, apart from when I dash out for vaping, Gregg's sausage rolls, and eventually probably gin and tonics.
Loads of shit to get through before the crucial debate. It's basically a timetable from the depths of hell.
First up, Dominic Raab having his first outing as foreign secretary. Christ alive even writing that sends shudders up the spine.
Then Jane Dodds, the new Lib Dem Mp, is sworn in, then urgent questions if there are any. Then Boris Johnson statement on the G7 meeting, which'll take a couple hours.
Then Michael Gove on no-deal prep (I did warn you) and then finally, the Standing Order 24 (SO24) fireworks.
I'm guessing that'll be 6-7pm maybe? There's an interval for a private members bill, then the debate and a vote, probably about 10pm-ish.
There's two votes at the end, as I understand it (even the proper constitutional geeks are scrabbling around trying to figure this shit out it's all so unprecedented). First is closure and then the one on content, the substantive vote.
The closure vote is needed for the House to hold a division. In other words, it's a precondition for the final vote. A majority of the House, of at least 100 MPs, need to vote in favour for it to go ahead.
If it does, then the substantive vote goes ahead. But to be honest, the closure vote is therefore basically the vote on the content, because anyone who doesn't want the rebel legislation to go ahead will vote against it.
I can't see any reason for someone to vote for closure and against the substantive. So if that passes, it seems pretty certain we're good to go.
I think the same is true for the votes on the bill tomorrow if the emergency debate passes. If MPs vote to allow it, it'd be pretty unlikely that they would then vote against the bill.
So even though that closure motion is not that important on its own terms, it'll give us a really very solid indicator if the anti no-deal rebel legislation is going to pass.
Quick reminder: The SO24 emergency debate will be to let MPs take control of the order paper from tomorrow afternoon, during which time they will force through the anti-no-deal bill through the Commons.
Would then go through Lords, where there's a chance it could be talked out by Brexiters, albeit a small one. Should get royal assent by end of week, or start of next.
If the rebels are defeated on the SO24 debate the attempt to stop no-deal is smashed to pieces.
There are other opportunities. Corbyn is likely to call a no-confidence vote. There might, just about, be another shot at it in late October. But this is the best chance. Stakes are pretty bloody high.
Anyway, not-nice-and-yet-dim Dom Rabb is currently at the dispatch box discussing matters of great geo-strategic and moral importance, like all your worst political nightmares come at once
Raab saying "internationally respected human rights" should be respected. This is the man who plotted to dismantle British membership of European Convention of Human Rights and whose Brexit project would lose the UK the protection of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
People' don't give the Charter of Fundamental Rights enough love. The Convention is brilliant, but ultimately it ends with a statement of incompatibility and some haggling.
The Fundamental Charter goes ahead gets deep down in there on that shit. A loss changes the law to make it human right compliant. It's quite a beautiful moment in the development of liberal thought.
We've had our first human meat-puppet mention of "no-ifs-no-buts" - Boris Johnson's lines to take for his ministers. Came from Foreign Office minister Christopher Pincher, who looked about as as convincing as George Clooney did when he was in that Batman film.
They both have plastic nipples on their suit too.
Raab starting to get hounded on no-deal. He defends by saying they should listen to the pro-Brexit vews of former Bank of England governor Mervyn King, who is "not know to be in hock to the Tories or to Brexit".
Quick reminder: King undermined the Brown Labour government by adopting the Tory line on austerity in 2010 while governor of the BofE. He is now a standard-issue no-deal Brexiter pundit on the TV news.
Emily Thornberry up for Labour. She raises medicine shortages in no-deal revealed by the govt's Yellowhammer prep. Has govt asked for legal advice on how coroners will record deaths of those who lose their lives?
"UK has a long standing relationship with pharmaceutical companies through the NHS," Rabb says. This is a complete sidestep. The problem is that blockages at the border risk non-stockpilable medicines and radioactive isotopes, which have short half-lives.
Every second counts in the latter, If you use it for cancer treatment too late, you get all of the harmful impact on the patient but none of the medicinal advantages.
Like night follows day, Raab then accuses Thornberry of "scaremongering" and failing to engage in "fact driven risk analysis". She is talking about the projections made by his own govt.
Thornberry: "There are some essential medicines that cannot be stockpiled, those are the ones that I'm asking about."
If dependant individuals die as a result, it would justify a coroners finding that they had died on neglect. She is going to submit a request to see if govt has been given that legal advice.
Rabb responds by again accusing her of scaremongering in "an appalling way".
Alistair Burt, on the backbenches, asking Dominic Rabb, on the front bench, about the govt's approach to foreign policy. A complete inversion of anything that makes the remotest sense in the world.
Ooop. Lib Dem Jane Dodds swears the oath to the Queen and becomes an MP, following her recent by-election win. That's plus one vote for the rebel alliance.
And now it's Boris Johnson's statement on the G7. If they paid me million a year it wouldn't be enough for this horrible shit.
Johnson marks the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland to say Britain stands for democracy and the rule of law. Incredible.
Just incredible.
Fucking drama!
As Johnson talked Tory MP Philip Lee stood up and walked across the floor of the Commons and sat down with the Lib Dems (top right).
The Lib Dems just got two new MPs in the space of as many minutes.
(I mean maybe - he might not actually be joining, but it did look like it).
Ah, he is - just put out a statement.
Here it is
Johnson's last remaining scrap of a majority stripped away from him as he tries to address the House on his second day in the Commons as PM.
As he crossed the floor, you could see Johnson's eyes' trying to figure out what's going on, and then watching his majority slip away before him. Quite a remarkable moment.
Some fucking mercenary shit right there.
Johnson now just blabbering out a constant stream of lies. "Our European friends can see that we want an agreement and they are beginning to reflect that reality".
"Trusted trader schemes", god help us all. It never changes does it. Just the same godawful tepid bullshit over and over again. They've done fuck all.
State of the front bench: Javid, Gove, the lot of them. None of the usual boisterousness and confidence you see from a new government. They look nervous and wary.
Johnson: "I want to return from next month's European Council with a deal. But there is one step that would jeopardise all the progress that we've made." Sad voice. "If this House was to decide that it was simply impossible for us to leave without a deal."
"If that happens all the progress that we have been making will have been for nothing."
Honestly remarkable. If Johnson really wanted to use this line, he needed to try and demonstrate at least some progress. Instead, he spent weeks saying he'd refused to go.
Johnson goes for the line he'd prepped: "It's Jeremy Corbyn's surrender bill."
"I want to make clear to everybody in this House, there are no circumstances in which I will ever accept anything like it."
"We will leave after October 31st in all circumstances, there will be no further pointless delay." He's very fond of insisting on things, but not really clear on how he might accomplish them.
He also says no bill like this has ever been advanced before. And that's exactly what they said earlier in the year, when Cooper and Letwin passed one just like it.
I know we have short memories now but can we at least expect people to remember the things that happened this year?
Corbyn response much better than usual, but still not exactly great. Met largely with silence in the Chamber.
Strong moment suddenyl. Corbyn says Johnson's mention of "surrender" means he should "reflect on his language">
We're not "at war with Europe - they are surely our partners".
"Thus is a government with no mandate, no morals and as of today, no majority." Good strong summing up from Corbyn.
Dreadful rhetoric from Johnson. "He has been converted into the agent of those who would subvert democracy and overturn the will of the people."
Like the worst kind of trash-can demagogue. Sounds more like Mussolini than a British prime minister.
Ken Clarke up.
"The PM's extraordinary knock-about performance today merely confirms his obvious strategy: To set conditions which make no-deal inevitable. To make sure that as much blame as possible is attached to the EU and this House.
And then as quickly as he can, fight a flag waving election before the consequences of no-deal would be too obvious to the public."
Lads I think Ken might be a 'yes' on the rebel bill.
God it's odd watching Theresa May and Ken Clarke sit next to each other on the backbenches.
Ian Blackford (SNP): "This must be the shortest lived honeymoon in parliamentary history."
"When we hear the use of the word 'collaborators', when we hear the use of the word 'surrender' - the PM really should have some dignity and show some respect to the office he temporarily holds."
"One of the most remarkable things that took place during the statement was to see the member for Bracknell cross the floor. Prime minister: You've lost your majority."
Blackford not taking many prisoners here.
John Redwood said something, like a lazily animated vulture in a black-and-white Disney move. Couldn't make out a word of it.
Johnson really struggling here I think, considerably worse than I'd have expected - gibbering away, talking so fast he can't be understood, occasionally shouting.
Hammond, the Tory Che Guevara, is up: Mentions Germany hasn't sen any proposals in these talks he mentions. Will he show them to rebels? If so, they might not rebel.
Johnson: "Chancellor Merkel was making an elementary point that we could easily do a deal in 30 days." Fucking hell, useless.
Hilary Benn, one of the bill's authors up. Not just Merkel saying no substantive proposals put forward. Irish deputy PM also said "nothing credible" provided by British govt.
Is it true attorney general told him his current strategy meant he was heading for no-deal? Johnson: "Sad truth is, there are many members in this House who simply want to block Brexit."
You may have noticed, using your highly sophisticated political awareness, that Johnson did not answer the question.
Quite apart from my obvious prejudices for, you know, reason and liberalism and stuff, I honestly thought Johnson would be so much better at this stuff. Struck by how poor he is.
Eagle: If a deal passes against no-deal, will he and his govt abide by the rule of law. Johnson: "We will of course uphold the constitution, obey the law."
Interesting. Said it like someone was threatening him with torture, but interesting.
Joanna Cherry asks for his promise on abiding by decisions made by the House. "I refer the hon lady to the answer I gave a moment ago."
Cooper: "Can he tell us whether he has any detailed proposals and can he confirm he has not sent any detailed proposals to the EU?"
Johnson: "We have been in extensive talks. It doesn't make sense to negotiate in public but it's clear from what I said that the backstop is unacceptable as is the political declaration. And we have detailed proposals for how to address both issues."
Could anyone on earth not see through his bullshit? Forget the morality. On basic effectiveness - strategic, representational - this is astonishgingly inept.
On strategy: If you really want to pretend that MPs threaten to undermine talks - you actually have to hold some talks. You can't derail something which doesn't exist.
On presentation: This is disastrous. And importantly, it a disaster in exactly the area in which Tory members thought he would succeed: charisma, confidence, 'optimism'.
Is it the setting? He's ideal for the after-dinner circuit. He is elevated by the laughter and the admiration. But the Commons is a bear pit. You'll get fuck all of that here. It seems to be sucking the lifeblood from him.
Or it could simply be that the strategy - prorogation, threats, election gambit - is falling apart and it has just kicked the confidence out from under him. Either way, he's all over the place.
Barry Sheerman goes in on on Sajid Javid's special adviser's sacking.
"Is it right that a special adviser could be treated like the young woman was, to be sacked on the spot, to be marched out of No10 by an armed police officer. Is that the way to treat women in work or is it not?"
This era in British politics brought to you by the concept of unforced errors.
"On staffing matters, I won't comment as he would expect," Johnson replies.
About half the answers are Johnson not commenting, either because it's a leak, or now because it's a "staffing matter".
Tory MP Steve Brine. This is important. He might rebel but hasn't confirmed.
Wants to bust a myth. You can respect referendum result but want to leave with a deal. "What evidence could he put before the House before votes this week" on progress in talks?
Johnson says before he came in "every dot and comma" of backstop had to be in there, but that's "no longer the case. Dear lord. "Progress is being made" he insists.
Given Brine's statement that he would be influenced by Johnson's answer, it seems hard to imagine how he won't vote for the rebel motion today.
Owen Paterson, quite spectacularly mad, demands "complete sovereign control" over territorial waters, or some shit. Presumably imagines he's on some kind of gunboat.
Jess Phillips begs the prime minister to answer a question "and not say 'no comment' as if we're in a magazine interview".
Is it true senior civil servants have refused to sign witness statements for ongoing legal proceedings relating to the prorogation and was director of legislative affairs and Cabinet affairs asked to, and did they agree?
Johnson: "The proper processes were gone through."
Well at least he didn't say 'no comment' I guess.
I say this genuinely and with full knowledge of how absurd it sounds: He's worse at this than Theresa May.
Liz Kendall wants the record straight. If parliament passes legislation on extension. Will he abide by the law. "We will abide by the law, but I have to say I think it is a quite incredible thing to propose."
Encouraging. The veer into 'oh you know, maybe we'll have a kind of posh coup' chat from Gove over the weekend was alarming. No matter the nonsense it's framed by, this is much more reassuring.
Huw Merriman (potential Tory rebel) sounds scathing. "In order to get leverage to get this great deal through that the PM is working on" he has threatened to withdraw the whip. Will that treatment apply to MPs who don;t vote for his deal?
Johnson: "What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander". Blimey, that's interesting.
Smart move by Merriman there. The prime minister just committed to throwing out the Tory party any Leaver who voted against his deal.
I mean, it's irrelevant, because he;s never going to come back with a deal and if he did he wouldn't see through on this - but this kind of thing separates him from the hard-Leave group within his party.
Tone of Merriman's question - the sarcasm especially - suggests he is planning to rebel, but not clear just yet.
Kate Hoey gibbering something about the people and parliament god knows what. Asking her to understand what's happening here is like trying to use a calculator to launch a space mission.
Lady Hermon: "The PM owes the people of Northern Ireland some explanation as to why he and his govt have treated the Belfast agreement in such a careless and cavalier manner."
Her voice cracking, she demands he publish, in full, any legal advice he got on how no-deal would contravene the agreement. Johnson: "Actually it is the backstop which undermines the Belfast agreement."
Sir Desmond Swayne, visible drifting into outright lunacy, standings up and shouts: "I once took a train to Manchester to negotiate the price and purchase of a Morris Minor. Having only purchased a one way ticket it wasn't a sensible negotiating strategy was it?"
I'm sure that sounded very witty in his head. Perhaps the other people in there told him so.
Fucking God alive. Now that's over, it's Michael Gove up to update the House on no-deal prep.
I must have been such a twat in a previous life.
Starts with standard Brexiter nonsense, of the type which could have been made at any time in last three years. Biggest democratic mandate, trust in democracy, all the bangers. You know the drill. God I envy you if you don't.
Glimmer of realism. "Leaving without a deal does not mean that talks with our European partners end altogether." Oh my. Well look at that. Clean Brexit ain't so clean after all.
Of course, this is true: Britain will simply have to restart negotiations from a position of catastrophic weakness.
Weirdly humorous to hear Gove's mock-reasonable voice, like a narrator in a children's educational video, talk about Yellowhammer and no-deal prep.
"That will require action by businesses to adjust to new customs procedures". You don't say mate. Better get out some more of those posters.
"Many of the steps required to support the smooth flow of trade fall to business. It is important that businesses familiarise themselves with the new requirements that Brexit will involve."
This is incredible. It sounds like the safety announcement about seatbelts on an airplane.
"That's why we've launched a public information campaign - Get Ready for Brexit - to give everyone the clear directions they need to prepare."
Right, quick vape-vegan-coffee break.
Right, back on it. Yvette Cooper asks about no-deal tariffs. One exports expected 30% price increase for his exports. An importers expecting 50% rise. Can Gove confirm his work won;t mitigate impact? What is total cost to UK industry?
Gove admits agricultural tariffs are high, but says the UK's 'temporary tariff regime' would make sure in many cases they're lower.
What he doesn't mention is that the weakness of the trade remedy regime it'll introduce, due to govt's decision to keep back the trade bill, means the areas where it tries to protect British industry from foreign subsidy and dumping will be vulnerable to litigation.
Also doesn't mention, of course, that that only applies to imports. Exporters will simply have to suffer.
Chris Leslie: If a bill requires an extension of Article 50, will the govt comply with the law? Gove: "The govt always complies with the law."
Not quite the message he delivered on Sunday.
Phillipa Whitford (SNP) asks about radioactive isotopes. Was reassured it was all sorted and they'd been flown in. But on July 23rd a new contract was put out to tender, so it's not sorted. What's going on?
Gove says the tender is a Department of Transport for sea freight, but will come with air freight. These are for all medical supplies.
My understanding is that for many pertinent isotopes, sea freight is too slow. The existing system gets them through the Channel Tunnel at night, but that's expected to be blocked in no-deal.
Statement from Gavin Williamson on defence. I had managed to avoid the full godawful existential awfulness of this government over the summer, but it is hitting like a freight train now.
He's not like the villain in the 80s movie exactly, he's like the comedy subplot villain.
The one that gets punched by the hero's best friend, or partner. He's basically the TV reporter in Die Hard.
Reports suggest Jared Omara, who was going to hand in his resignation as an MP today, has postponed it. That's another vote for the rebel bill. Totting up now.
That's if he comes into parliament of course, which is in no way guaranteed.
There is now a large crowd outside parliament chanting: "Fuck the government. Fuck Boris."
God, Williamson's voice. It's like someone scrapping their fingernails down the inside of your skull.
Whatever you do don't switch this on. Don't do it to yourself. I'll let you know when the SO24 bit starts.
And never his name three times in front of a mirror.
It's now confirmed that Sir Nicholas Soames will vote with the rebels today. He was very likely to, but still gave Johnson a last chance earlier to convince him deal was possible.
Let that sink in. A few days after the anniversary of the start of the Second World War, the Conservative prime minister is going to withdraw the whip from Winston Churchill's grandson, because of the strategy of someone who we're not certain is even in the Conservative party.
Here we go.
Oliver Letwin makes the SO24 application
Speaker John Bercow stopping MPs on govt benches complaining - they can object afterwards.
Letwin up. Very calm. "It has become an urgent matter parliament to discuss when it can accept a no-deal exit and I'm therefore asking you to grant an urgent debate under standing order 24 about that matter."
Bercow says he is "satisfied the matter is proper to be discussed". We're on. "Does the hon gen have the leave of the House?" Chaos, applause, shouts, boos.
Bercow says debate will be held today. Will last for up to three hours if it starts before 7pm.
Peter Bone (Con) has a point of order. When a standing order is notified on a Tuesday (here we go) it has to be by 10 in the morning., He checked at 10:30. "So it seems to me sir that under those circumstances it shouldn't be heard today.
Bercow: "I'd have thought he would have known this, the responsibility of a member seeking to make such an application is to lodge that application with eh Speaker, and I can advise that that application was lodged with me yesterday evening."
Fucking hell Bone is useless. He really thought he had a slam dunk there.
Right, there's no going to be a debate on a clean air bill. I know, great timing. Consider it an interval. Debate kicks off in about ten minutes.
Letwin off. That was shorter than expected. He says the motion arises because of four reasons.
1) no govt has provided mo indication of viable alternative to backstop.
2) this is last chance for parliament to stop it because of prorogation.
3) In absence of deal with EU, govt intends to lead UK into no-deal. "This has been made clear by the PM o repeated occasions."
4) Far from threatening the EU, the willingness for no-deal "is a threat to our country".
Not the most important thing right now but worth mentioning that Oliver Letwin has excellent eyebrows.
Letwin now describing the motion - it;ll provide for a debate tomorrow, in which MPs take control of order paper and pass the bill.
The bill says that the PM has until late October to get the bill, then, unless House voted for no-deal, he must go and request extension.
Jeremy Corbyn now up. That's the wrong choice. Should have been Keir Starmer - someone Tories find less ghastly.
Honestly incomprehensible that it is him up there making the case right now. He'd offering a measured speech, and I think Tory rebels are in place, but that is a silly misjudgement.
I should add that I don't know what the rules on this are. But then, I don;t think there are any, as this hasn't happened before.
Tory John Baron shouting about the lack of economic damage after Brexit vote. Is this really the sum total of their counter-arguments? Warmed up sick from 2016?
God Corbyn is boring.
I think he's wrapping up but then he has the tone of wrapping up literally all the time.
Oh thank God.
Ah, and now Jacob Rees-Mogg. It's like a haunted house. A new horror behind every door.
The proposition "seeks to confound the referendum result". so pitiful.
"I want to be clear," he says. "What is proposed today...." Pause. Build up. He looks serious. "Is constitutionally irregular."
I think that's literally the most severe phrase he can think of.
"You particularly have a grave responsibility" Mogg says to the Speaker, "to uphold norms and conventions that underpin our constitution. It does considerable damage when some of us choose to subvert rather than reinforce our constitution."
Incredible. You would never know this was the got which just tried to cancel parliament. or the man who until just recently insisted British democracy is based on direct democracy, rather than parliamentary democracy.
Ken Clarke. "I'm astonished to hear him agree that we'd be perfectly alright " on WTO rules. It means tariffs on agriculture, fisheries and much else.
Mogg says he has made case for WTO rules for some time. Says it is a "sensible way to proceed". Of course doesn't answer any of Clarke's points.
Dominic Grieve: He agrees parliament is about scrutiny. How does that tally with attempt to cancel it. Much of the culture in parliament is about trust. But how can they trust when the govt is so consistently unreliable?
Mogg dodges onto Erskine May - the parliamentary rulebook. He tells Speaker he won't "question your impartiality". But he will question his "infallibility".
Mogg using his most serious terms. Says during a debate on Syria action a few years back, Bercow said SO24 could be used for substantive motions. He says no change has been made to SO24, but decision has changed.
I've usually a bit of time for Mogg's nonsense theatrics, but he's laying it on a bit thick right now. What happens to a parody of itself when it becomes a parody of itself?
Bone says govt can ignore tonight's result as it is a constitutional mistake to allow it. Bercow jumps up.
"I know the hon gen won;t presume to argue with the judgement of the chair, entitled as he is to the expression of his opinion."
Then he addresses the argument Mogg is making. Previous occasions used SO24 motions debates on "evaluative" motions. Notes two: one from 2013 and one from 2018.
Bercow has been laying open the door for SO24 to allow parliament a voice for some time, prepping for this. They couldn't possibly have thought they could lay a trap like that.
His job, he says, is to give the legislature a voice. "I have done it, I am doing it, and I will do it to the best of my ability, without fear or favour, come what may do or die."
Parliament going full Braveheart.
I mean, I know it's all quite tense, but seriously. If you're into British politics, this shit is the gold grade catnip.
Mogg facing repeated questions on the prorogation legal case, in which the court heard today the PM agreed to prorogue on Aug 16th. But on 25th Aug PM spokesperson said the claim of a prorogue was "entirely false".
These questions, and Bercow's well planned and firm responses, are neutralising Mogg's attempt to claim the use of SO24 is dangerously unconstitutional.
Sliught edge of desperation perhaps. "16th of August I was at Lords watching a game of cricket and actually it was one of the days when it rained," he says, when asked again what he knew when.
Letwin: "Will he accept we stand as a nation at present at a moment which will have a profound affect on the welfare of our people and the sovereign parliament of this country clearly deserves an opportunity to be able decide if it will accept a policy of no-deal...
and that overwhelmingly matters more than whether the standing order 24B clause, has a particular meaning or does not."
Mogg: "There is a stunning arrogance to that view." Uproar in the Commons.
Mogg now goes full populist. Insists it fails to understand where sovereignty comes from. "Sovereignty in this House comes from the British people and the idea we can overrule 17.4 million people is preposterous."
Incredible sleight of hand there. Trying to use the referendum result to say that anything which stands in the way of Brexit in parliament is therefore unconstitutional. Historically and constitutionally illiterate argument.
Mogg claims the rebel bill is an "arrogant powergrab".
The Mogg argument, in so far as it can be discerned, is that if the Commons gets sovereignty from the people's votes, then the referendum result provides a new vein of sovereignty, which overrules the actions parliament might take.
Mogg is basically suggesting that because of the referendum three years ago, parliament has no further role in Brexit. But think that argument through. The referendum did not state the type of Brexit pursued.
So now it is the government which decides - with no parliamentary voice, nor with a public voice, given that he does not support another referendum.
So his assessment of the functioning of the constitution is to give the government unlimited power.
Funny how predictable it is. Whenever someone spends a long time talking about the 'will of the people', they always want to give the govt all the power.
Mogg still talking about tyranny and God knows what else. It's like a GCSE essay. Worse.
"They are afraid," he says of Labour and the election, "they are white with fear." I think he thinks it sounds soaring. It sounds dreadful.
Christ on a stick man, he's still talking.
I've honestly never seen anyone who admires themselves more, and I went to public school.
"We are losing a similar number of days as we would have lost in a normal prorogation," Mogg says. This is wrong on its own terms, it is unusually long. And of course, to set it at a moment when parliamentary scrutiny most needed is an obvious attempt to silence it.
Again asked when he became aware of the decision to prorogue. "I don't know when I was told. I had to get a flight up to Aberdeen." Seriously?
Predictable mistake to put Mogg on the front bench. I think a lot of his charisma relied on his eccentricity. But when you inject that into government, it just looks mad.
"We should recognise that the people are our masters and show us to be their lieges and servants, not to place ourselves in the position of their overlords."
I'm not making this up.
"As we come to vote today I hope all members will contemplate the current constitutional confusion and consider the chaos this concatenation of circumstances could create."
God I bet he spent ages on that. Went down like a lead balloon. Spaffed off mock-Shakesperian juvenalia.
Quite apart from anything else, the main message from today is that the Govt's front bench - from the Johnson, to Gove, to Rabb, to Williamson, to Mogg - seem useless.
Particularly noticeable how badly Mogg misjudged the mood, how lacking in substance or resilience Johnson was.
If you have sat and watched this all day - and dear God I have done - the constant talk about them all being so terribly clever and outfoxing their opponents at every turn seems laughable.
I guess what I'm saying is I can see the emperor's nutsack, and its pretty saggy.
Backford (SNP): "I want to applaud members of parliament right across this House who have worked together over the last weeks, collectively, because we understand the risks to our economy."
Quite right. You do get the sense - and I mean this lightly, it's tentative, could easily fall apart - that MPs' spines are hardening.
Joan Ryan (ind): "Does he like me feel somewhat disrespected tonight by the contribution o the leader of the House, who disrespected our Speaker and his decision and everyone who supported this motion?"
I never fucked up harder than when I forgot to buy some of those little G&T cans when I came into work today.
Ken Clarke is up
"The reason for this motion is simply that the govt is insisting on pursuing a policy which it knows a majority in parliament is opposed to. There is no precedent for that,. certainly not in modern times."
"This PM has put himself in a position where he's got to have no-deal. And we all know, we have sen the most extraordinary attempts made to void this House having opportunities to vote on that, to debate it, to play a role in it."
Just think about what this moment means. Ken Clarke has been in the Conservative party my entire life. I think he was a Conservative minister literally when I was born. And he is tonight resigned to being thrown out the party as a result of this vote.
And he's still, as usual, witty, sensible, moderate, good-natured.
And his tie is still a fucking state.
"Apparently the reason for the extremely long break [cancelling parliament] is because it's extremely important we don't distract the public from paying proper attention to the party conferences. We cannot distract the TV sets of the nation from the Liberal assembly."
"The obvious compromise is a soft Brexit where you keep the present economic ties."
Outside, the drums from the protest are getting louder and louder. Sounds like a fucking battle march out there.
"If this parliament doesn't pass this motion, it will be looked back on with total derision...
"'What sort of a parliament was it in the middle of this crisis which said to the new government, this populist government, oh yes we quite agree with you, we should not be troubled with this, the executive, as we've just been told, has absolute powers...
"... Feel free to deliver what you wish by Oct 31st and then we go back to our constituents and say 'it;s very important you have us to represent you in parliament.'"
"I therefore you may gather am going to vote for this motion, with more actual passion than I go to the voting lobbies on most issues. It is an extremely important evening."
Brilliant speech by Clarke. I'm going to grab some food.
Quick cheeky vape.
A friend texts his assessment of Mogg's speech.
Outstanding speech from Dominic Grieve, most of it a visceral expression of rage - in calm, articulate Grievesian terms - towards Mogg, who is now almost draped over the front bench, like he wants to painted like one of Grieves' French girls
Example for the jury
"I regretted his rather cheap sarcasm at the expense of [Letwin] and I would gently point out he has more months of experience of high office than my rt hon friend has days in his job."
"I was struck by my rt hon friend who suddenly referred to a Man for All Seasons. He will recollect that Sir Thomas when told that opposition to the king would mean death replied that: "Well these are but devices to frighten children."
Grieve massages one hand with the other, like he's preparing for a fist fight.
"If he thinks the device of withdrawing the whip this evening is going to change my mind or that of my rt hon friends, he has got another thing coming. It will be treated with the contempt it deserves."
Antoinette Sandbach (Con): "I have voted three times for the withdrawal agreement. Three times I have seen members of my party vote that agreement down."
"The leader of the House has rebelled against the Conservative-led govt more than a hundred times and he has been rewarded with a place on the front bench."
"And yet [David Gauke] who has never voted against the govt, it going to be expelled from the party. What times we live in. I will be voting for this motion."
Caroline Lucas (Green) goes for Mogg. "The leader of the House, who with his body language this evening has been so contemptuous of this House... He's spread across three seats laying out as if it something very boring for him to listen to."
Shouts from other MPs: "Sit up man"
Mogg's response
Hard to stress just how bad a look Mogg's manner is at this moment. Once again, the idea of taking this crumbling eccentric from the backbenches and putting him on the front, in a kind of trolling exercise, is backfiring horribly.
John Baron making a predictably foolish and objectively misleading speech. Chamber is filling up though. Vote will come soon.
Bercow bring it to a close. The question is put. Ayes have it through shouting. I *think* that was the closure motion.
Which was dealt with by the standard parliamentary protocol of shouting.
Then division on the motion itself. The Commons clears. MPs go off to vote.
Yep, that's confirmed. No votes on closure motion. Just one vote - on the substantive. It all comes down to this one.
Result in about ten mins.
I would take any win, but a majority of ten would make me happy and let me rest relatively easily over the days to come, as the bill makes its way through the Commons.
Feeling pretty tense.
Chamber very full, result must be coming in soon. Suggestions out there up to 20 Tory MPs have rebelled.
Johnson likely to stand up and deliver election threat immediately afterwards, presumably by saying he'll bring forward a Fixed-Term-Parliament-Act ) FTPA motion for one.
That requires a two-third majority, which he isn't likely to get, though. So he may instead say he'll pass a one line bill calling an election, with would just need a normal one. The trouble there is it can be amended by MPs.
Of course, if the rebel motion fails, none of that will be required.
The fact it's taking a long time suggests the vote is close.
Bercow sends people off to investigate the delay.
Ayes: 328
Nos: 301
Government defeat. And defeated big.
Johnson up.
"We are going to have to make a choice. I don't want an election. The public don;t ant an election. But if the House votes for this bill tomorrow, the House will have to choose."
Huh. He didn't even go for it. He;s just threatening he'll do it tomorrow.
Ah no, there it is, he confirms he'll use table a FTPA motion.
Very good from Corbyn. "We live in a parliamentary democracy> We do not have a presidency but a prime minister. Prime minister's govern with the consent of the House of Commons, representing the people with whom the sovereignty rests.
Not right but whatever.
It is absolute uproar in the Commons right now.
Anna Soubrey gets up. Lots of jeers. "I'm not going to be shouted down," she says. "Especially by any man."
Oh my she's wonderful.
Right that's that. Good result - really good. And not just for what it means for Brexit. But for what it shows: Britain's constitutional arrangements holding firm against a sustained threat. Parliament standing up for itself. It's not that late, have a glass.
I'm going to write this up - piece online in a moment.
Full report on tonight's vote: This was not about Leave versus Remain. This was a battle between two visions of British governance politics.co.uk/blogs/2019/09/…
Right, now fuck all this, I'm going home. Night all.
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