Boris Johnson will send MPs home before they can vote on his new Brexit deal if Parliament backs an amendment which would likely force the Prime Minister to ask for a further delay, it has emerged.
MPs are attending a special sitting of Parliament on Saturday to vote on the agreement secured by Mr Johnson with the EU earlier this week.
Sir Oliver Letwin, the former Tory Cabinet minister who now sits as an independent, has proposed an amendment which would withhold approval of the deal until implementing legislation has passed.
In practice it means Mr Johnson will be required by law to request a Brexit delay even if Parliament approves his deal.
Mr Letwin called his plan an “insurance policy” to ensure the UK could not “crash out” of the EU without a deal on October 31 if legislation to enshrine the deal into law is derailed for any reason.
The schedule announced by the Speaker will see the amendment voted on shortly before the main vote on the deal on Saturday.
But a number 10 source told The Sunday Times that “the Whips will send everyone home” if the amendment wins a majority.
Also hear if Letwin passes today Govt will try to bring meaningful vote on the whole withdrawal bill on Tuesday— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) October 19, 2019
“A vote for Letwin means MPs voting to render the entire day, that they demanded, meaningless. It would perfectly sum up this broken Parliament,” a Number 10 statement read.
“But the government will not negotiate delay - we will continue to argue that Britain and Europe should reject delay and force MPs to choose between this deal and no deal.
“And we will introduce the legislation on Monday so we can get Brexit done by 31 October.”
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Sir Oliver explained his move, stating: “In short, my aim is to ensure that Boris’s deal succeeds, 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.”
Responding to Sir Oliver’s amendment on Friday, a Downing St spokesperson said: “The public will be appalled if MPs just vote for delay again. MPs should vote for the new deal so we can get Brexit done on October 31 and the country can move on.”
Responding to a question about the Letwin amendment in the Commons prior to the votes on Saturday morning, the Prime Minister said: “It would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote were to be taken away from us.”