Mr Bercow will rule on whether the government can bring a so-called “meaningful vote” on its plans. If the Speaker blocks it, focus will switch to the government bringing its Withdrawal Agreement Bill before MPs, with a vote on its second reading expected on Tuesday.
It comes as judges at Scotland’s highest court are set to decide whether the unsigned letter sent by Mr Johnson asking the EU for a Brexit extension complied with the Benn Act. The PM was accused of staging a “childish trick” by sending three different letters to Brussels.
Letwin hasn’t killed off no-deal Brexit completely
Our columnist Matthew Norman has offered a reminder just why the Letwin amendment was so important. But he thinks the extension the PM has now technically asked the EU for hasn’t killed off the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
Senior ministers have reportedly given members of the European Research Group (ERG) nods and winks that a failure to secure a free-trade deal by the end of the transition period in December 2020 would still give them the no-deal exit they appear to crave.
Indeed, Tory MP John Baron “let the cag out of the bag” by telling the BBC on Friday that the end of next year was a deadline they were eager to exploit.
Read Matthew Norman’s column here:
Lord Pannick rejects claims he told Oliver Letwin what to do
Lord Pannick also accused Downing Street of giving out “complete and absolute nonsense” information that he instructed Oliver Letwin during talks with the prime minister.
But the influential peer – who led the case against the government in the Supreme Court prorogation case – did admit to helping Letwin drafted his amendment at the end of last week.
Asked if he gave advice to Letwin while the Tory MPs was in talks at No 10, Lord Pannick told Today: “The answer is no. My role was to assist him with the drafting of his amendment earlier last week.
“The Number 10 briefings are completely untrue. What they briefed in order to demean Oliver was that, while he was at Number 10 talking to the prime minister on Friday, he was on the phone to me, I was giving him instructions. This is all nonsense. Complete and absolute nonsense.
“I didn’t have any contact with him on Friday. And the idea that he’s taking instructions from me, that I’m some sort of political mastermind, is complete and absolute nonsense.”
One government source told The Sunday Times: “Pannick is the organ grinder. Letwin’s just the useful idiot.”
Hilary Benn says Brexit deal must ‘go back to the people’
Labour MP Hilary Benn said will likely be an amendment “seeking to put this whole deal back to the British people”, and another saying “we should remain in the customs union”.
Benn told BBC Breakfast he would not vote for Boris Johnson’s deal unless he “goes back to the people for them to decide”.
Asked if he thinks Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election, Benn said: “Let’s take the leadership that Jeremy has shown over the last few months; we are now the only party promising, the only major party promising, to take the question of the final deal back to the British people in a referendum.”
He said the “vast majority” of Labour MPs would be campaigning for Remain in that referendum.
Tory rebel Justine Greening backs second referendum
Exiled former Tory minister Justine Greening said it is “vital” that an amendment is brought to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal to get a second referendum.
She said she “wouldn’t be surprised” if Speaker John Bercow did not allow the PM’s deal to come back before parliament.
“This sense that somehow we will rubber-stamp it through Parliament when we only actually had the shape of the deal on Thursday last week I think is, frankly, not only unrealistic, it’s highly risky because rushed law is bad law and if ever there was a need to get law right it’s the next Brexit Bill.”
Asked if she would seek an amendment for a second referendum, she replied: “I think, in the end, that’s vital. It feels like we are a very long way from the lofty ideals that were debated by Vote Leave in 2016.”
She told Sky News: “I would like people themselves to have the final say on whether they actually want that constitutional change.”
Scotland’s highest court to decide on ‘childish’ three letters sent to EU
Boris Johnson will have his hands full in the Commons, but a legal challenge will examine his handiwork on three different letters sent to the EU.
First, there was an unsigned photocopy of the request for a three-month delay the PM was obliged to send under the Benn Act, followed by a letter explaining why the British government did not actually want an extension – that he did sign. There was also an explanatory letter from Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s ambassador to the EU.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh will resume its hearing about the Benn Act, and examine whether the missives – one signed, one unsigned, one signed by someone else – constitute contempt of court.
The SNP MP and campaigner Joanna Cherry said it was “arguable” that the PM’s letters “seeks to frustrate what the Benn Act sets out to do.” She accused Johnson of playing a “childish trick” with the different letters.
But Lord Pannick – he of the Supreme Court case against the government’s unlawful prorogation – writes in The Times today that Johnson is “just about” on “the right side of the law”.
Pannick QC repeated the view on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. “I think the Prime Minister is on the right side of the law on this occasion,” he said.
“The Benn Act required him to send a letter to the president of the European Council seeking an extension and that’s what he’s done. The Act doesn’t require that he’s signed the letter. My view is that he’s on the right side of the law – just about – on this occasion.”
SNP MP wants Brexit delayed until end of 2020
An influential SNP MP has said she supports extending Brexit negotiations until the end of next year if needed for a second referendum.
Joanna Cherry QC – who is leading the legal action to get Boris Johnson to comply with the Benn Act – said she would back a lengthy delay in order to stop the damage posed by the current Brexit deal.
Appearing on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, she was asked if she would back an extension until the end of next year to allow time for a second referendum if approved by Parliament.
“Yes, I would,” she replied. “Because the current deal that’s been negotiated by Boris Johnson is immensely damaging to the British economy and particularly for Scotland.”
She pointed out that her party backed a second Brexit referendum at its autumn conference last year.
Cherry added: “We need to get a government in place to deliver the referendum and I don’t see Boris Johnson’s government doing that. The SNP has been very clear that Boris Johnson should be removed from office once an extension is obtained.”
ERG could pull support for deal if ‘wrecked’ by Labour amendments
The impact of Labour’s planned amendment to the withdrawal bill on a customs union with the EU – if backed by a majority in the Commons – could be huge.
The European Research Group chairman Steve Baker urged colleagues to reconsider backing the Withdrawal Agreement if it is “wrecked by opponents”.
The Tory MP and self-styled “Brexit hardman” did not explicitly rule out backing the deal if it is amended to include a customs union arrangement but said he would reconsider his support.
“The advice I gave to my Eurosceptic colleagues is we should, number one, back the deal,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Number two, vote for the legislation all the way through unless, it has to be said, it was wrecked by opponents, in which case we would have to take a view.”
Pressed on whether including a customs union would wreck the Bill, he said: “Well, we’ve only committed to taking a view if it was wrecked.
“And, thirdly, what we said to colleagues was that at this point we should just vote with the government because the political situation is so bad because the effect on business is continued uncertainty.”
Bercow could block attempt to bring back ‘meaningful vote’
Boris Johnson is set for a showdown with Speaker John Bercow as the PM pushes for a knife-edge Commons vote on his Brexit deal.
Bercow, who Tory Brexiteers have accused of being pro-Remain, will rule on whether the Government can bring a so-called “meaningful vote” on its plans.
If the Speaker blocks the move, focus will switch to the government bringing its Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) before MPs on Monday, with a vote on its second reading on Tuesday.
Ministers insist they “have the numbers” to push the agreement through, but the parliamentary situation appears to be on a tightrope.
Labour has made clear it will try to hijack the legislation by putting down amendments for a second Brexit referendum – and for a customs union with the EU.
The DUP have expressed interested in a customs union, but not yet support for a Final Say public vote.
Shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds said that Labour MPs will call for a confirmatory referendum, adding that he thought parliament may vote in favour of Britain staying in a customs union with the bloc.
“A customs union is going to be one of the amendments that comes through and that is something that is going to have a very good chance of getting a majority,” Thomas-Symonds told BBC Radio 4.
Labour will whip MPs to back second referendum amendment
Labour is ready to whip its MPs to back a second Brexit referendum in crucial votes over the coming days, in what backers said was a “significant” step forward in the push for a Final Say public vote.
As well as attaching a referendum amendment to Boris Johnson’s deal this week, the party is expected to focus on amendments to boost ties with the EU’s customs union and to prevent a no-deal cliff-edge at the end of the proposed transition period in December 2020.
Our political editor has all the details.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent‘s live coverage of events at Westminster.
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