MPs trying to stop a no-deal Brexit in October have moved one step closer to turning their efforts into law.
The cross-party group won a second vote in as many days – passing the bill to its next stage as they try to speed it through parliament.
They will now have to steer the legislation through attempts by other MPs to amend it, and hope it finishes its journey in the Commons on Wednesday night.
Pro-Brexit peers are gearing up for an all-night sitting in a bid to stop the draft law being debated and voted on in the House of Lords on Thursday and Friday.
One source told Sky News the Liberal Democrats had organised a film screening to “keep people entertained”, and that the party’s chief whip had brought their pillow into work.
The move comes after 21 Tory MPs defied orders to take control of the parliamentary agenda by backing a bid to suspend the rule that says only the government can create new laws.
It saw the group – which includes former chancellors and party grandees – lose the Conservative whip, meaning they no longer represent the party in parliament and will not be able to stand for it at the next election.
The rebels’ plan is to delay Brexit until 31 January 2020, if no deal is secured with Brussels by 19 October, or MPs do not pass a motion endorsing leaving without a withdrawal agreement.
Mr Johnson has said an early election is now needed to break the deadlock, and will try to call for one later this evening.
He needs the backing of two-thirds of MPs, which is unlikely as Labour and the SNP won’t agree to a snap poll until the no-deal legislation passes all its parliamentary hurdles to stop the UK falling out of the EU on 31 October.
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Mr Johnson earlier branded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “chlorinated chicken” for refusing to support calling an election immediately, as the two clashed for the first time at Prime Minister’s Questions.
The prime minister also swore, when he repeated the words of shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, who previously described her own party’s “high-risk” economic strategy as “s***-or-bust”.
He told MPs: “I think they’re both.”
Mr Corbyn accused Mr Johnson of trying to “run down the clock” to the current Brexit deadline of 31 October, as he challenged the PM to provide details of the alternative proposals he is providing to the EU.
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, a Labour MP, also won applause in the Commons chamber for demanding Mr Johnson apologise for calling Muslim women “bank robbers and letterboxes”.
He later told Sky News: “I know what it’s like to be called a letterbox.”
Chancellor Sajid Javid was also chastised by Commons Speaker John Bercow for being out of order for “veering” into topics other than the economy in his spending review speech delivered on Tuesday.
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