Boris Johnson’s attempts to honour the October 31 Brexit deadline has been all but quashed by Remainer MPs. Now the Prime Minister eagerly awaits the verdict from EU leaders on whether they will grant a Brexit delay until January 31. With the country in Brexit limbo, Laura Kuenssberg has revealed the Government is not planning to debate the legislation needed to implement the Brexit deal in Parliament next week – a move that is sure to infuriate some Brexiteers.
Ms Kuenssberg said on Twitter: “Hear Government business for next week does not at the moment contain either an attempt to bring back the Brexit legislation, or a motion to try to force an election.
“Feels like Government unlikely to make move on either until EU gives firm decision on the extension.”
Jacob Rees Mogg confirmed the Government had not tabled the Brexit Bill for debate.
In a statement the House of Commons leader set out parliamentary business for next week, which did not include the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Such a move risks enraging Brexiteers as the Bill needs to be passed before the exit deal can be ratified.
Mr Rees-Mogg also did not mention any attempt to ask Parliament to agree to an early election, while the statement added the Commons will not sit on Friday November 1 – the day after the UK is due to leave the EU.
Mr Johnson’s cabinet is said to be split on whether a general election is a good idea, as a nationwide vote would delay the passage of the Brexit deal.
Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith has suggested the Government’s top priority should not be to secure an early election, but to pass the Withdrawal Agreement.
There are fears among some Conservatives that if there is an election before the UK has left the EU, it will play into the hands of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings is reportedly leading calls to abandon attempts to get the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal through Parliament and go for an election.
But Downing Street has denied the Government is split over how to move forward with the Brexit process.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill has currently been “paused” until Mr Johnson has heard the decision from EU leaders.
He has vowed to hold an early election, in an attempt to gain a parliamentary majority to ensure his Brexit deal passes the Commons.
But even he does press for a snap vote, there is no guarantee he will succeed as under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act he would need a two-thirds majority in the Commons.
This means the Prime Minister needs Labour’s support, who appear split on whether to back an early poll.