Super Saturday, the first weekend session of a British Parliament in 37 years, which was supposed to end the Brexit saga or at least give a slight understanding of how events would unfold, ended with a humiliating defeat for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. Instead of voting on the agreement the PM reached with Brussels on 19 October, the House of Commons passed the Letwin Amendment, aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit, which Johnson has repeatedly spoken of, saying the United Kingdom would leave the European Union by the 31 October deadline, with or without a deal.
The amendment states that the Parliament withholds approval for the Brexit agreement “unless and until implementing legislation is passed”. Prime Minister Johnson is now legally obliged to ask the European Union for an extension to Brexit.
The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react. #Brexit— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 19, 2019
Following Super Saturday’s defeat, PM Johnson held a conversation with European Council President Donald Tusk and informed him that he would send a request for an extension. However, it later became known that Boris Johnson had sent an unsigned photocopy of the request. In addition, the PM sent two letters – a letter from the UK envoy to the European Union, saying the government was simply complying with the law and another letter from PM Johnson in which he said a delay to Brexit would be damaging to both sides.
🔔🔔 Here is the letter Boris Johnson has sent to Brussels tonight saying an extension would "damage" interests of the EU and UK pic.twitter.com/q6coihbMK3— Mehreen (@MehreenKhn) October 19, 2019
Despite the humiliating defeat in the Commons, PM Johnson said he remained committed to making the United Kingdom leave the bloc on 31 October based on the deal he secured with Brussels and vowed to introduce legislation that would help him do that. In a letter to MPs late on Saturday, he wrote that Brussels could reject "Parliament's request for further delay". President of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted that he would consult other EU leaders on how to react to Johnson's letters.
MPs could still vote and approve Johnson’s Brexit agreement on Monday, if Commons speaker John Bercow allows it. The PM managed to win support for his deal from MPs from his Conservative Party and the Labour Party. To get the deal across the line will, however, be an arduous task for Johnson as parliamentarians could introduce amendments to the bill that may include provisions on the customs union or even a confirmatory public referendum, something that the prime minister and his supporters vehemently oppose.