Saturday, 4 Apr 2020

Speaker John Bercow at fault for latest Brexit delay, Business Minister claims

Boris Johnson could have delivered on his pledge to see Brexit through on October 31 had John Bercow not giver Parliament “unprecedented” control over the parliamentary agenda, according to Kwasi Kwarteng. The Business Minister insisted the Government “sincerely” tried to take Britain out of the European Union without further delays but was prevented from doing so by the Benn Act. Speaking to the Today programme on Saturday, Mr Kwarteng said: “The reason we are not doing that is because of the Benn Act and the Speaker allowing unprecedented moves.

“They took control of the order paper and passed this act in record time.”

MPs agreed to fast-track the legislation before the start of the prorogation the Prime Minister secured in August to prepare for the Queen’s Speech. The Supreme Court later found the decision to shut down Parliament to have been illegal and allowed Mr Bercow to reconvene MPs after two weeks of break.

The Benn Act instructed Mr Johnson to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline unless a deal was struck with EU leaders at their last summit in Brussels – an obligation the Prime Minister met despite his opposition to a new delay.

Mr Kwarteng continued: “I think it will be very difficult to leave on October 31 precisely because of the Benn Act, the surrender act, which essentially gave authority to the EU about whether we will leave on October 31 or not.

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“It looks like they may well give us an extension.”

Asked whether the Conservative leader had acted “foolishly” when pledging to meet the October 31 deadline, the Business Minister hit back: “I don’t think it looks foolish.

“I think it was a very sincere aim of the British Government to leave on October 31. I think it is sad if we don’t leave on that date.”

The European Union was first expected to set out a new deadline on Friday but while the bloc confirmed their agreement a postponement should be granted, Brussels said they will name the new date next week. 

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The decision is believed to have been made in response to Boris Johnson announcing on Thursday he will table a motion to trigger a general election.

The Prime Minister said he is ready to give MPs the extra time they clamoured for to discuss his proposed bill if they agree to have the country head back to the polls on December 12.

A DeltaPoll survey of 2,017 British voters from across the nation between October 18 and 21 showed the Conservative Party leagues ahead of other parties with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Labour on just 24 percent.

When the same poll asked: “If there were a second referendum on British membership of the European Union, how would you vote?”

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The results showed 55 percent to remain, with 45 percent voting to leave.

Another poll, conducted between October 20 and 21 by YouGov, polled 1,689 British adults and found the Tories once again on top with a massive 37 percent, trailed by Labour in 22 percent.

The Lib Dems were in a close third on 18 percent, followed by the Brexit Party on 11 percent.

The same YouGov poll asked, “Which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?” with Boris Johnson scoring 43 percent of the vote over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s 20 percent.

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