Just before they break for their hols, a group of MPs has tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill that would they hope, if voted through, prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
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An amendment to the Finance Bill currently going through the House of Commons has been tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, which has also been signed by two of her fellow Labour MPs, Hilary Benn and Harriet Harman, as well as by Tory MPs Oliver Letwin, Rachel Reeves and Nick Boles.
This amendment would prevent Clause 89 of that bill coming into force unless either: a Brexit deal with the EU was fully agreed, or there had been a decision to extend the Article 50 process or if the House of Commons specifically voted to accept a no-deal Brexit.
Now Clause 89 of the bill is about giving the Treasury certain powers to make regulations over amending tax matters such as removing reference to EU legislation where needed, in the immediate aftermath of our exit from the EU, however that was achieved.
ITV's Robert Peston says that the vote for this is due on the 8th January, which is just the second day of business after the Christmas recess.
Now, if this amendment gets through to the final version and it is enacted, then it will have the effect of:
a. Ruling out a WTO exit unless parliament specifically allows it – which, given the make-up of the house, may well be an unlikely event.
b. It would make spending on a WTO exit a pointless exercise unless parliament had voted for a no deal exit.
c. it also tells the EU that they can relax and play as hardball as they like because the UK can no longer respond in kind after having its own no-deal Brexit teeth drawn, and we would have to take whatever other rubbish the EU offers us.
d. It also gives MPs the incentive to vote down Theresa May's deal in the knowledge that they then have the power, by voting against a WTO (World Trade organisation) exit, to force the government to either quickly renegotiate a deal – which is almost impossible – or negotiate with the EU to extend the Article 50 process, or even to Revoke it entirely if the EU refuses to play ball.
So January 8th could well see a very important vote taking place, and it could be touch and go for the government.
So these MPs are not hanging about, they obviously intend to carry their battle right through to the bitter end!
So Parliament adjourns today leaving much Brexit business unfinished.
But one thing that has been done, is the removal of the word 'unlikely' from some of the government's no-deal Brexit technical notices.
Now for those with long memories, the government issued no-deal Brexit technical notices to cover the main areas of the economy back in August.
And according to Faisal Islam of Sky News, who compared the current notices with the printouts that had been taken when they were first issued, where appropriate the wording has been changed from "in the unlikely event of no deal" to "in the event of no deal".
And to confirm this a government spokesperson said that the language on the gov.uk site has been changed to reflect the cabinet decision to massively increase no-deal planning, but that the government fully expects to get a deal and considers getting a deal the most likely outcome.
Well, parliament might have other ideas about that, mightn't they, given the amendment to the Finance Bill mentioned earlier?
But does this mean no deal is more likely in the eyes of the government? Or is it just more of the 'force May's deal through to the finishing line' psychological warfare?
And this next one will have the Remainer conspiracy theorists up in arms. During a press conference, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the UK government to 'fulfil the will of the people'.
With Russia considered by some to be a beneficiary of the UK leaving the EU on top of all the claims that it was the Russians wot won it for the Leave campaign, the Remain side will be pointing fingers and claiming this is all part of a plot.
And Putin himself recognised this angle and said he was hesitant to give the UK advice on the matter of Brexit 'lest they accuse us once again of something', he said.
And I expect to see claims that the Russians are behind the illegal drone activity around Gatwick over the last 24 hours or so.
Ah, but I do have to admit that I do actually own a drone myself. And, given the claimed connection between the Leave campaign and Russian money, that will have certain Remain campaigners adding two and two together to make ….. whatever they need to join their dots!
But I can assure everyone that neither I nor my drone has been outside of Dorset for many a day, so the Gatwick drones are nothing to do with me!
No Deal no longer “unlikely” – Government
Government has in past 24 hours quietly edited every No Deal technical notice to take out word “unlikely” from the sentence “in the unlikely event of no deal…”
Now says “in the event of no deal”.
See before and after on medicines👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/KrWHCMGng9
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) December 20, 2018