Benn Bill to Halt No-Deal Becomes Law, Speaker Bercow to Resign October 31


Johnson allowed Royal Assent of the Benn Bill. It will be challenged on Oct 19. Common's Speaker Bercow will resign.

Johnson allowed Royal Assent of the Benn Bill. That means one of three things.

  1. Johnson believes he can mount a legal challenge later.
  2. No legal challenge is needed because the bill has flaws and can be legally circumvented.
  3. Johnson has gone mad.

The Benn bill proponents believe the bill is air tight.

Unless you believe Johnson has gone mad, take your pick of the other two. I do not know.

Bercow Resigns

Common's Speaker John Bercow has resigned effective October 31.

The Speaker does not vote but has a lot of powers. The Speaker is supposed to enforce parliamentary rules and supposed to be party neutral.

Bercow is neither. He allowed the Benn bill to proceed to the House of Lords over valid legal objections. Bercow did not even allow debate on his ruling. He is as partisan as they come.

Let's fill in some pieces of today's story from the Guardian Live Blog.

Benn's Bill Becomes Law

A new law designed to stop the government forcing through a no-deal has reached the statute book. The granting of royal assent for the legislation was announced by the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords, ahead of the suspension or prorogation of parliament.

The new act requires a delay to Brexit beyond 31 October unless a divorce deal is approved or parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by 19 October.

Boris Johnson has previously branded it the “surrender bill”, claiming it took away control of the UK’s negotiations with the EU by allowing parliament to block no deal.

Downing Street has said the government will obey the law, but repeated that the PM would not be seeking a further extension to the article 50 withdrawal process.

Boris Johnson to "Test Legal Limits", Javid Interview

Over the weekend, Chancellor Sajid Javid had an Impressive Interview on Policy.

Javid stated Johnson "absolutely" would obey the law but not seek an extension.

Benn's bill is thought by its proponents to be air tight, even stipulating the language of the extension request.

One side is logically wrong. It isn't the Government side.

When asked how that could possibly be, Javid replied several times along the lines of "You will find out on October 19".

Commons Speaker Odds

Bercow was amazingly biased, confrontational, and anti-Government. He was also staunchly pro-Remain. All of those affected his rulings.

But will the next Speaker be any better?

Emergency Legislation

The author of that Tweet praised the actions, likely a staunch Remainer.

Glowing Tributes and a Tory Response

Good Riddance

Emergency Debate on Operation Yellowhammer

Dominic Grieve is opening the debate on his standing order 24 motion that would force the publication of the government’s Operation Yellowhammer document and No 10’s private prorogation correspondence.

This debate is over the legality of the prorogation (parliament suspension) from the end of today until Oct 14 as granted by the Queen.

The Queen is not under attack. Johnson's "motives" for asking the Queen are the issue.

The bill demands the government turn over all communications by “WhatsApp, telegram(!), signal(?), facebook, private email...” It names specific advisors.

This bill is going nowhere.

But it does show the galling extent that Remainers are willing to hijack Parliament to get their way.

Still More Emergency Debates

Bercow will also allow debate on a emergency measures regarding the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act and Lords amendments to the parliamentary buildings (restoration and renewal) bill.

Meanwhile, More Good News

Another Tory Remainer resigns. That's good news. Here's another.

Here's a List of MPs Who Will Stand Down, but that count is stale. It's from September 3.

As of September 3, there were 11 Tories, 11 Labour, 3 Liberal Democrats, and 9 Independents. Most of the Independents are those who were outed from the Tory party by Johnson.

Private Poll

Alternate View

I suggest something in between but a Johnson landslide victory is certainly possible.

Scheduling Consequences

One consequence of the decision to prorogue parliament this evening is that Boris Johnson will not have to give evidence to the Commons liaison committee at a session that was scheduled for Wednesday.

Run Down the Clock

The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan asks if, in the event of a vote of no confidence, the PM could just run down the clock for 14 days without recommending an alternative PM to the Queen.

Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, said the prime minister is under a duty to resign only when he, or she, can make a recommendation to the Queen as to who is most likely to be able to command the confidence of the House of Commons.

Q: Does the PM need to test that, with a sitting House of Commons?

No, says Sedwill.

He says when Boris Johnson was appointed there was talk of having a vote of confidence in the house. But that did not go ahead.

Johnson Reverting to May's Deal?

That is of course "possible". More likely, it's staged theater by Johnson, Farage, or even both.

After all, Boris has to appear as if he is actively seeking a deal.

Porogue Starts Tonight

What Happened?

It seems like a lot happened today.

  1. The Benn bill received Royal Assent and became law.
  2. New emergency bills were tabled. However, they are not going anywhere. Parliament is not even in session.
  3. A couple more MPs stood down. That's good news but the biggest Tory Remain troublemakers were outed long ago.
  4. Bercow stood down. The next Speaker will not be worse, but may not be much better.
  5. Parliament still has the option of putting in a caretaker government via a motion of no confidence.

Appearances are deceiving. Little happened today.

Johnson could have advised against Benn but he didn't. That means Government has an ironclad way around it later.

As Javid stated over the weekend, wait until October 19 to find out.

Relying on France or Hungary to block an extension request is very risky business.

It's also risky business to simply disobey the law.

The key issue is number 5 and it did not change today.

Johnson's team may have an option to run down the clock, but I fail to see what it can possibly be. If I knew, the strategy, I would not mention it.

What We Learned

What do we know today that we didn't know yesterday?

Only that Johnson will fight Benn later, not today.

We may not know any significant part of Johnson's real strategy until perhaps as late as October 19.

Nor do we know if the opposition will fall back on the caretaker government idea or what if any options Johnson has to circumvent that move outside the 14-day window.

This is not at all revealing.

Final Comments

I repeat my final comment from yesterday: "Never underestimate the power of a prime minister, even a caretaker, to set the agenda".

That is the problem I still worry about because a caretaker government is still on the table as I see it.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (27)
No. 1-14

Laws don't matter. Elections don't matter.

It is obvious that those in power can ignore these pesky things, like the Brexit vote, and use and all means possible to circumvent the results.

"It's also risky business to simply disobey the law."

  • If they keep silence till Oct 19, then it will be too late for VoNC.
  • Speaker likely commited some sort of acrime, like overruling legal advice he received, it will be revealed in legal proceeding that is why he resigned.
Country Bob
Country Bob

If the EU grants yet another extension, what is plan B to get a deal that can actually be implemented by both the EU and the UK?

There is no deal possible. Someone is going to lose billions -- either the EU or the UK. That is why two "absolute" deadlines already went by. if the remainers get another extension with their letter, what then? They ask for another extension after that? And another extension after that?

If Remainers like Theresa May had a viable alternative to Brexit, they would have implemented it before she resigned in failure.

Maybe Johnson realizes that this law changes nothing, and he wants to save his political capital for something that matters.

The EU is bankrupt with or without the UK. Nothing Parliament does can change that.


Seems obvious. BJ will explore a deal, but failing this will go for a 3 month extension making those who have sold stories of him being untrustworthy look stupid. BJ knows that he has a lead in the opinion polls, including traditionally Labour voters, because of the Brexit issue. If an election before Oct 31 BJ will win and get Brexit done. If no deal happens on 31 'then' an election, some of those voters will move back to their traditional parties because they no longer need to support Johnson for Brexit. Therefore, why not leave Brexit in play with an extension. Labour will have the courage to vote for an election eventually (unless they want to look completely inept), and with the Brexit issue still in play BJ will win the election and Brexit. Slowly slowly catch the monkey...

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

Hoos on first?


The liar has yet to win a vote in the HoC. He looks like he is going to lose another one tonight.


French have said no extension unless a good reason like an election or 2nd referendum.

Bercow resigned because he knows he would lose his seat at the next election, a real humiliation as no speaker faces opposition in the constituency.

The other Tories have resigned as they know their constituency parties should deselect them so they go to make a point rather than be kicked out.

As for Bercows wife, words fail.

Frank Field would get my backing.


re, your 3 choices: Where's the "All of the Above" button?

I'm starting to believe Nigel Farrage's assertion that BoJo is secretly working to get Mrs. May's deal one more run through Parliament. IOW, he's a cheddar-cheese eating surrender monkey.


Requesting an extension from the EU is not such a bad thing for the Tories. They can legitimately tell voters they were forced to do, and they had tried everything in their power to avoid it. Further, Johnson can argue that this is why it is critical voters give his party a majority so they can finally make Brexit happen. In a way, parliament handed the Tories a gift by forcing them to get an extension.


It's now looking like that for Labour to no accept a snap poll, last week or today, was a strategic blunder. Thank you Tony Blair.


How about this -- Boris is a secret remainer, or he is so incompetent that he is essentially better than an in-the-open remainer. A bona fide genius playing a fool would be indistinguishable from a fool. We will never know.

This ought to demoralize and discourage Brexiters...


More wishful thinking. You have some sort of bizarre faith in Boris. Does he play 9 dimensional chess like Donald or is the truth that he is, like Trump, blundering about with grandiose schemes and no ideas on how to implement them. You state that Boris could have advised against the Benn bill and therefore has a way around it. Or perhaps you don't fully grasp the role of the Queen and English parliamentary tradition.

Johnson cannot prorogue parliament eternally. So while he can disobey the law or twist it somehow, his actions are not immune to parliamentary oversight. After the return, parliament will re-apply or enforce the law. Any action which Johnson has taken which is contrary to the law (such as simply announcing a "no deal" Brexit) will be overturned.

of course, as many here have pointed out, there is apparently no deal possible. Leavers want to have their cake and eat it too. Remainers don't want any deal; they want to stay and will vote against all but the most cosmetic exit deals (i.e. changing the EU letterhead to exclude the words "United Kingdom").

The fact is, Brits don't want a No Deal Brexit. But they will get one because of the abject stupidity of the voters and the shortsightedness of their representatives.


Sometimes simple is best...Boris knows there's a current Mexican standoff in Parliament, and just wants to get on with it. The only way to stop Brexit would be to revoke Article 50...and so far only the Lib Dems are insane enough to demand this - because it cancels the will of the people (some Democrats, huh???). Therefore Boris wants to implement Brexit. The EU won't budge until pushed (nearly) off the cliff, if at all (they aren't the brightest bulbs either, just powerful and stubborn and arrogant). The backstop will never fly, so TM's deal is dead. What that leaves is no deal/WTO. If the EU can be convinced that this is the way it is going to be, they MIGHT deal at the last moment...but if not, so be it. This is what Boris is saying, and though it is often difficult to believe anything a politician says, makes the most sense.

If the delay happens until 31 January, or even beyond, at some point Labour must agree to an election - otherwise Parliament will be simply frozen in time and power


At election time, "if you're explaining, you're losing." If BoJo has to explain why he asked for an extension during the runup to an election, the Tories are done.

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