September 26, 2019
Opposition parties have inflicted yet another Commons defeat on Boris Johnson by denying him a parliamentary break to allow the Conservative party conference to go ahead normally.
MPs Deny Boris Johnson A Commons Break For Tory Party Conference
The prime minister’s attempt to call a three-day Commons recess from Monday to Wednesday was defeated by 306 votes to 289, majority 17.
One MP shouted “7-0” as the result was read out, as Johnson has now lost all seven Commons votes since he became PM.
He now faces the prospect of having to rearrange his keynote speech on Wednesday, as it will clash with prime minister’s questions in the Commons.
Tory MPs will also face the prospect of having to rush back from the Manchester conference for parliamentary votes, or stay away entirely.
Parties conventionally allow each other space to hold their conferences without MPs needing to be in parliament for votes.
But Labour and the Liberal Democrats had already held their conferences when the Supreme Court ruled that Johnson’s suspension of parliament earlier this month was unlawful and MPs returned to Westminster on Wednesday.
A vitriolic debate on the first day back on Wednesday, when Johnson infuriated MPs by dismissing concerns over inflammatory language, has added to the ill feeling on opposition benches.
One option open to the PM is to suspend – or prorogue – parliament again.
But HuffPost UK understands it is highly unlikely that the Queen’s Speech could happen before October 14, when the monarch was expected to attend the state opening of parliament, before the Supreme Court ruling threw the process into chaos.
On Wednesday night, Tories warned that Manchester’s economy would take a hit if the party conference was “scuppered”.
A senior Tory source insisted the conference would go ahead anyway but acknowledged that it may have to be “scaled back” in places if MPs have to remain at Westminster.
With the four-day event which starts on Sunday estimated to be worth more than £30 million to Manchester, the source said that it would be local businesses which would suffer if it was curtailed.
A Number 10 source said: “If they do not allow the Conservative party conference to go ahead with a recess at the same time, it will be incredibly damaging for the economy of Manchester.”
A senior Tory source added: “It is clear that there is a long-standing convention that the Commons does not meet during the party conferences of the main political parties.
“I would assume we would have to scale it back in certain places. We will try to manage it as best we can.
“The Labour Party, if they are doing this, it would be a nakedly political act. That is their choice, but they should be held to account for the consequences of that nakedly political act.”
Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central said “livelihoods depend on” the Conservatives’ annual conference going ahead in the city.Related... Now Boris Johnson's Sister Puts The Boot In And Accuses Him Of Using Commons As A ‘Bully Pulpit’ Tory Chairman James Cleverly Refuses To Back Down Over Prime Minister's 'Humbug' Comments Jo Cox's Widower 'Felt Sick' After Boris Johnson Said Best Way To Honour Murdered MP Was To Get Brexit Done Why Johnson May Come To Regret His 'Surrender Act' Rhetoric
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