The 'super Saturday' Brexit amendments MPs are voting on

What are the Letwin and Kyle amendments to the PM’s deal being put before the Commons?

What MPs are voting on today

MPs have a packed timetable for “super Saturday” – the first time the Commons has met on a Saturday since 1982.

The Speaker, John Bercow, has selected two amendments from MPs trying to change, shape and amend Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which is being presented as a motion for approval.

The Letwin amendment – passed by 322 votes to 306

The rebel MP Sir Oliver Letwin, who lost the Conservative whip and now sits as an independent after blocking a no-deal Brexit, has consistently tried to use parliamentary procedure to shape how the UK leaves the EU.

His latest amendment would withhold approval of the prime minister’s deal until the legislation to enact it – the EU withdrawal bill – is passed. This might happen next week. Passing the Letwin amendment would trigger the Benn act, which compels Johnson to request an extension to article 50 if a deal cannot be agreed.

Letwin said he supported Johnson’s deal and it was “sensible”, but that he wanted to make sure there is an “insurance policy” that if the Brexit deal is approved but something goes wrong at a later stage the government has an extension already in place so there is no possible way the country can crash out without a deal. The deadline in the Benn act is 11pm on Saturday, so this is an attempt to close down a potential loophole.

The amendment has the backing of Labour: however, it has been heavily criticised for denying Johnson a conclusive vote on his deal.

Other people to put their name to the amendment were Labour’s Hilary Benn, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, and the former Tory chancellor Philip Hammond.

If the government loses on the Letwin amendment, it is expected to boycott the rest of the day’s proceedings, and press ahead with tabling the withdrawal agreement bill – the legislation needed to enact Brexit.

There could then be a vote on the second reading of the bill on Tuesday – which government sources suggested could effectively become the “meaningful vote” denied to Johnson on Saturday.

Boris Johnson’s deal

If the Letwin amendment has not passed, MPs will then move on to vote for or against the prime minister’s Brexit deal. On the order paper, the government has stated: “That, in light of the new deal agreed with the European Union, which enables the United Kingdom to respect the result of the referendum on its membership of the European Union and to leave the European Union on 31 October with a deal.”

But if the Letwin amendment has already been accepted, the motion would not signal approval – but would say the Commons “withholds approval unless and until implementing legislation is passed”. Downing Street says that would make it a meaningless vote.

The Kyle amendment

This is attached to a second motion put down by the government on Saturday, which asks MPs to vote for a no-deal Brexit. The Labour MP Peter Kyle has tabled an amendment that calls for a second referendum.

He tweeted: “It’s our hope that this will give greater focus and clarity to the debate and lessen the anxiety for colleagues grappling with the very real challenges … by separating them out.”

The text of his amendment says any final decision on the future relationship between the UK and EU “should be subject to a confirmatory referendum before exit day”.

However, the government is not expected to move the no-deal motion – because Johnson wants to leave the EU with a deal.

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