Benn Bill passes Commons stages

Sienna Rodgers

The Benn Bill has passed its House of Commons stages, having been approved at its third reading by a majority of 28 votes, with 327 in favour and 299 against.

The legislation put forward by Labour backbencher Hilary Benn aims to ensure that the UK doesn’t leave without a deal on October 31st by extending Article 50 to January 31st.

The Prime Minister would be compelled by law to request this further delay to Brexit unless parliament had agreed to no deal or approved a deal by October 19th.

Labour MP and Brexiteer Kate Hoey voted against the bill, while Ronnie Campbell, Ann Clwyd, Stephen Hepburn, John Mann and Derek Twigg abstained.

Having completed its Commons readings, the bill will now proceed to the House of Lords, where Tory peers in favour of no deal are set to frustrate its passage.

Labour nonetheless believes the Benn Bill could have passed through parliament in its entirety by Friday, ready to receive Royal Assent at the end of the week or on Monday.

The Benn Bill was amended by Stephen Kinnock after the government – intentionally, it would seem – did not put up tellers for the ‘Noes’, which meant no division was called and the proposed change passed by default.

If approved, the bill would now force the Prime Minister to state in a letter to the EU that debating and passing Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill is the purpose of requesting a delay.

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