Letwin amendment could mean honeymoon over for PM

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A new front has opened up which could, in true Brexit fashion, turn everything on its head.

An amendment, cooked up by procedural Brexit big brain Sir Oliver Letwin and supported by MPs across parties, could force the government into a delay, even if the deal is approved.

The plan would essentially transform Saturday’s vote from a decisive final one into something altogether weaker.

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It’s come into play because a cross-party group is worried about MPs approving the plan on Saturday but then failing to pass the associated Brexit legislation before the 31 October deadline.

The concern is that Brexiteers could purposefully withdraw support later in the month to trigger a no-deal.

They smell a rat because a vote in favour on Saturday would take out the Brexit delay “Benn” Act – making a no-deal once again possible.

If the Letwin amendment is passed, full Commons consent would be withheld from the deal until the whole package of EU exit laws are pushed through.

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It would also force Boris Johnson to ask the EU for a delay, after the Benn Act kicks in on Saturday evening.

Those behind the plan insist that if the government can pass all the legislation in time, Brexit could still happen at the end of the month.

But it has the potential to open a Pandora’s Box of Brexit jiggery-pokery.

Those in favour of another referendum could try to amend incoming Brexit laws and push for the delay to be used for another vote.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels.

Image: Boris Johnson speaking at the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels

MPs concerned about a hard Brexit could make a play to legislate for membership of a customs union.

In short, it could get very messy for Boris Johnson.

As it stands, it looks like the amendment may have the numbers.

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What’s new about Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal?

All 21 former Tory rebels are behind it, and Labour is expected to support as well.

The honeymoon may be over for the prime minister, before it even really started.

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