A week in Parliament that is worth noting


After another historic week in Parliament, M&F Health has broken down the key moments in the House of Commons, what they mean, and what the options are for Boris Johnson as he looks to fulfil his leadership pledge to take Britain out of the European Union by the 31st October.

Parliament returned from its summer recess on Tuesday with a flurry of activity following the announcement that Boris Johnson would prorogue parliament in preparation for a Queen’s Speech on the 14th October – closing out the longest Parliamentary session since the English Civil War in 1642.

With time appearing in short supply, MPs once again took control of the House of Commons Order Paper in an attempt to avert the immediate danger of a “no-deal” Brexit. On Wednesday, MPs introduced, and passed, the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill. The Bill, which passed into law late on Friday afternoon, forces the Prime Minister to ask the European Union for an extension to the Article 50 process should a deal not be reached by the 19th October.

However, on Thursday, following an appearance at a campaign event in West Yorkshire, Boris Johnson stated that he would rather “die in a ditch” than bow to the demands of the “no-deal” Bill.

Following a failed attempt earlier in the week to trigger an early general election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act it appears that the Prime Minister is running out of options to fulfil his desire to leave the European Union on the 31st October.

During the Business of the House Statement on Thursday, Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg stated that the Government would try once again to trigger an early general election on Monday. However, with the main opposition parties stating that they are unwilling to grant an early election until after the 31st October, it appears that the Prime Minister is likely to fail once again.

So where does that leave Boris Johnson, who it appears will not countenance asking Brussels for an extension?

In short, he has very few options:

  • He refuses to abide by the law requiring him to go to Brussels asking for an extension.
  • He attempts to circumnavigate the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
  • He calls a Vote of No Confidence in himself.
  • He resigns – leaving another Conservative MP or Jeremy Corbyn to try to secure the confidence of the House of Commons.
  • Jeremy Corbyn calls a Vote of No Confidence and attempts to show that he has the confidence of the House within the necessary 14 days before a general election must be called.

The potential options for the Prime Minister are likely to become clearer over the coming days, however with prorogation of the House set to take place on Monday it could mean that we won’t have a definitive answer until parliament returns for the Queen’s Speech on the 14th October.