Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons.
MP’s backed the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill by 329 votes to 299 – setting up a clash on the amount of time MPs have to scrutinise it.
It is a significant threshold for Mr Johnson’s deal – indicating that enough MPs are willing to support it in certain cirumstances.
A significant number of backbench Labour MPs are among those who gave Mr Johnson his 30 vote majority.
None of Theresa May’s deals reached this stage in the Commons.
However MPs will later this evening vote on the proposed accelerated timetable to get the Bill through the Commons.
But the PM told the Commons that he would “in no way allow months more of this” as he called on MPs to work “night and day” to scrutinise his plans and avoid a no-deal departure.
“If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen, and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the Government continue with this,” he said.
“And with great regret I must say that the Bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”
The threat was dismissed as “childish blackmail” by Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake.
“MPs shouldn’t be bullied into voting in favour of this ridiculously short timetable,” he added.
The government offered a last-minute compromise to MPs in a bid to get them on side.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said he could bring forward an amendment to help close a “trapdoor” to no-deal Brexit.
As it stands, MPs wouldn’t be able to demand an extension to the transition period which ends in December 2020. Critics feared that would lead the UK to crash out on 1 January 2021.
But Mr Buckland said: “We accept that Parliament has a legitimate role to play.
“And I can bring forward an amendment to that effect that would allow Parliament to have its say on the merits of an extension of the implementation period.
“And the government will abide by that.”
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