Writing About Brexit: John Bercow Announces Resignation Date

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 10th September 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

I have to leave for work in approximately 10 minutes, and I stayed up til Black Rod arrived.

(Which was at twenty past one.)

John Bercow announced he’d be resigning either on the spot if Boris Johnson won his early-election vote, or on 31st October if he didn’t. This was followed by MPs of all parties, Remainers and Leavers, standing up to praise Bercow, justly, for his work as Speaker.

There was a debate in Westminster Hall on the petition against proroguing Parliament, signed by 1.7 million people since Boris Johnson announced his cunning plan 10 days ago. The debate ended without a vote.

The Withdrawal Act, which has been called the Rebel Bill, by Boris Johnson the Surrender Bill (“Surrender Bill!” said the Wicked PM of the West in a remake of Oz) and by me the No To No-Deal Brexit Bill, got Royal Assent and became law.

Jeremy Corbyn’s motion for Parliament to require the PM to obey the law passed without a vote.

Dominic Grieve’s motion to have all of the papers published – which, he made clear, includes the WhatsApp messages – relating to the government decision to prorogue Parliament, and the Yellowhammer report – was passed by majority vote.

Boris Johnson lost his second attempt to get an early election. He has had a record-breaking tour of duty as PM – six government votes in the Commons and he has lost each one.

Johnson then claimed he would never, ever ask for an extension on Brexit Day.

This means either:

1. He intends to break the law. For which, as many lawyers have publicly pointed out to him, he could go to prison.

2. He intends to resign on 19th October. (Or 20th October, if he asks for a judicical review of the law on the 19th.) This makes him the shortest-term PM in Parliamentary annals.

3. He’s lying.

Black Rod arrived, the door was shut in her face for ceremonial reasons, and then John Bercow welcomed her and said he’d play his part but he would understand if MPs didn’t wish to join him in the House of Lords for Parliament to be prorogued as this was not a usual prorogation.

All of the Opposition MPs stayed behind: all of the Government MPs followed the Speaker and Black Rod to the House of Lords: and though I didn’t track it after that, all of the Government MPs then failed to return to the Commons to – as customary – file out past the Speaker thanking him for his work over the Parliamentary session.

Bercow timing his resignation for 31st October means it is this Parliament, not subject to control by the PM, who’ll choose the next Speaker.

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