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News | Published July 18 2019

MPs approve amendment to block parliament shutdown

MPs have approved an amendment that could block any attempt to suspend parliament in order to push through a no-deal Brexit.

The amendment, which was added to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, requires regular progress reports to be made in the House on the topic of restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland. 

The regularity of these reports essentially prevents parliament being shut down unless a Northern Ireland executive is formed.

The amendment was passed by a majority of 41, with 274 voting against and 315 voting for. There were also a number of abstentions, including by four cabinet ministers: Greg Clark, Philp Hammond, Rory Stewart and David Gauke.

This new amendment expands upon one tabled by Dominic Grieve, which was passed last week, and requires ministers to give fortnightly reports to parliament about the state of the devolved government throughout October.

Reaction among MPs was divided. Former education secretary Justine Greening, who supported the amendment, said: “"Firstly you don't win a debate by closing down the main chamber in which the country's people's views are aired and you don't unite a country by muzzling the representatives of people around those communities."

She added that it was “untenable” and “dangerous” to suspend parliament to force through legislation, especially at a time of “such uncertainty.”

Northern Ireland minister John Penrose disagreed, arguing that the amendments were "pretending to be democratic but trying to prevent the democratic referendum decision from ever happening at all."

Although Jeremy Hunt has ruled out proroguing parliament, Boris Johnson, the current front runner, has repeatedly refused to do so.  


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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
@theparlreview
July 18 2019

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