UK Politics

Brexit: What does the no-deal bill say?

Hilary Benn Image copyright PA
Image caption Labour MP Hilary Benn has presented the no-deal legislation

MPs who want to stop no deal plan to pass a new law that will force Boris Johnson to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline.

The legislation has been presented by Labour MP Hilary Benn, and has been signed by opposition leaders and recently-sacked Conservatives, including Alistair Burt and Philip Hammond.

But what does it say?

Well, Mr Johnson will have until 19 October to either pass a deal in Parliament or get MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit.

Once this deadline has passed, he will have to request an extension to the UK's departure date, taking it from 31 October to 31 January 2020.

Unusually, the bill includes the wording of the letter that the prime minister would have to write to the president of the European Council in his request for that extension.

If the EU responds by proposing a different date, the PM will have two days to accept that proposal. But during this two-day period, MPs - not the government - will have the opportunity to reject the EU's date.

The bill also contains a list of provisions that write into law requirements for ministers to report to the House of Commons over the next few months.

Not only would this provide MPs with updates, but could potentially provide more opportunities to take control of the timetable.

Be aware though, this could all change over the next few days because MPs and Lords have the power to pass amendments to any law.

Procedure in the Lords means it could provide the biggest hurdle to the bill's sponsors because it could be possible for those against the legislation to filibuster - talk and talk until there is no time left to get it through.


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