MPs have voted in favour – by 287 votes to 275 – of being able to move multiple amendments when considering the Brexit motion in the House of Commons on Saturday.
This afternoon, Oliver Letwin successfully amended the government business motion moved by the Prime Minister, which allows ‘Super Saturday’ to take place.
The ex-Tory MP changed that motion so that amendments on Saturday could be debated for longer than 90 minutes and more than one amendment could be voted on.
This means that the Brexit debate will be considerably longer than first expected, and that there will be more opportunities for MPs to attempt to change the Brexit proposal.
Letwin confirmed that his own motivation for moving the amendment was to close a loophole in the Benn Act, which only forces the Prime Minister to request an Article 50 extension if the Brexit motion falls on Saturday.
Under the current legislation aiming to prevent no deal on October 31st, the Brexit motion could be approved on Saturday but the withdrawal agreement bill itself could then fail without the PM having to delay Brexit.
Letwin said his amendment would “not… put us in the position of allowing the government off the Benn Act hook on Saturday, but only at a time when the bill has been taken through both Houses of Parliament and legislated on”.
As well as firming up protections against an October no deal, it is anticipated that Labour will support amendments that advocate putting Johnson’s Brexit deal to a public vote.
The government has confirmed that a “straight deal or no deal” vote will be held in the Commons on Saturday, according to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
When moving his amendment today, Oliver Letwin confirmed that he would be voting in favour of the deal, which he described as “admirable”.
Below is the full text of the business motion followed by the amendment.
The Prime Minister
That this House shall sit at 9.30am on Saturday 19 October and at that sitting:
(1) the first business shall be any statements to be made by Ministers; and
(2) the provisions of Standing Order No. 11 (Friday sittings), with the exception of paragraph (4), shall apply as if that day were a Friday.
Sir Oliver Letwin
Dr Phillip Lee
At end add ‘(3) paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 16 (Proceedings under an Act or on European Union documents) shall not apply to any motion on that day; and
(4) if an amendment to any motion has been disposed of (including at or after the moment of interruption), any further amendments selected by the Speaker may be moved, and the questions shall be put forthwith.