Another evening of significant debates awaits us, and in this article we’ll explain how, where, and when to watch the events unfold.
Firstly there’s the second reading of the Brexit withdrawal bill, which could see the House of Commons approve of ruling out a No Deal Brexit for three months; if that bill succeeds, then we are likely to see the government table a motion for an early general election.
Parliamentary Debate Times
The timings are as follows: the debate for the second reading of the Brexit withdrawal bill began at 3.30pm this afternoon, and must finish by 7pm. Parliament will then vote on the bill, and the result will be announced minutes afterwards.
If “THE AYES HAVE IT” — that is, the bill passes, as it is almost certain to — Boris Johnson’s government will open a debate for an early general election, which will commence at around 8:30pm. This debate will be voted on at approximately 9.20pm.
Parliamentary Debate TV channel
The full proceedings will be shown on BBC Parliament, which is available on the following channels, depending on your service provider:
- Freeview 232
- Freesat 201
- Sky 504
- Virgin 605
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How to stream the Parliamentary Debate
You can stream the debates on the aforementioned BBC Parliament channel via BBC iPlayer, provided that you have a TV licence.
Worried that you might not be able to access BBC iPlayer where you live? A common workaround is to use a VPN. There are many reasons why you’d want to buy a VPN, but one of the main ones is that they can let you stream TV shows from back home while you’re abroad. We’ve listed three of the best VPNs for streaming above.
With this method you can also rewind the debate back to the start if you miss out on the beginning of the proceedings. BBC iPlayer is also available as an app on iOS and Android devices:
An alternative is to stream the debate live on the parliamentlive.tv website, on the Commons channel.
What’s happening in Parliament?
Back when Theresa May was Prime Minister, the European Union and the UK agreed that Brexit will occur on October 31.
In his successful bid to lead the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson pledged to leave the EU by this date even if there was no withdrawal agreement in place between the EU and the UK; but there is widespread concern among MPs that such a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would cause significant damage to the British economy and major disruption on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson successfully requested that the Queen prorogue Parliament (that is, suspend all Parliamentary business) from September 9 to October 14, leaving Parliament very little time to put in place alternative arrangements blocking a No Deal Brexit.
Consequently, the House of Commons voted yesterday to take control of its own timetable (a responsibility usually held by the government), which passed by 328 votes to 301. This was a significant defeat for the Conservative government, as 21 of its MPs voted against it, and were punished by having the Conservative whip withdrawn from them (effectively kicking them out of the Parliamentary party).
As a result of yesterday’s vote, Parliament will today vote on whether to delay a No Deal Brexit by three months (to January 31, 2020) if Parliament has not approved a withdrawal agreement by October 17. The result is due just after 7pm tonight.
If this vote also passes — which is very likely — then the bill will go to the House of Lords, which must vote on it by 5pm on Friday. If the legislation is passed, then the government will be legally bound to request another extension to Article 50.
Under this sequence of events, the government would be legally bound to enact a policy to which it is fiercely opposed. Therefore Boris Johnson has pledged to call another Parliamentary vote this evening for an early general election to be held on October 15, so that a new government can be formed (the result of this vote is due around 9.20pm).
However, the opposition, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has vowed to vote against a new general election until a No Deal Brexit is ruled out (which will only happen once the House of Lords has passed it into legislation).
This means this evening’s vote for a general election is very unlikely to pass, especially as it requires a two-thirds majority under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.