Three quarters of MPs to appear via videolink for Brexit deal debate

Three quarters of MPs will appear via videolink when Parliament is recalled from Christmas break to debate the Brexit deal

  • The Commons and Lords recalled from Christmas break for first time since 1998 
  • Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle urged MPs to work remotely if possible
  • Government have allocated a single day for discussions of the Brexit trade deal 

MPs are expected to participate in a remote debate to discuss the government’s Brexit deal on Wednesday. 

Around three quarters of MPs will take part in videolink talks after Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle encouraged them to stay at home unless ‘absolutely necessary’.

The Commons and Lords have been recalled from the Christmas break for the first time since 1998 to pass through the Future Relationship Bill which outlines the UK’s free trade deal with the EU. 

Around three quarters of MPs are expected to participate remotely for discussions of the government’s Brexit trade deal on Wednesday. Pictured: Prime Minister Boris Johnson waiting to hear about possible Brexit deal agreement on December 23

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured) urged MPs to work remotely where possible unless ‘absolutely necessary’

But, despite months of negotiations to hammer out the deal, the government has only designated one day of debate on December 30, The Times reports. 

The decision has been met with fury from some senior Conservatives who are unhappy only one day has been allotted for discussions. 

More than three quarters of MPS have given proxy votes, including the 269 votes held by Tory whip Stuart Andrew. 

Andrew’s votes include those of Boris Johnson and other cabinet ministers. 

For the opposition, Labour whip Chris Elmore holds 160 votes which equate to around 70 per cent of Labour MPs. 

In addition, SNP whip Patrick O’Grady holds 44 proxy votes and London Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy has votes for 16 for his party’s MPs. 

The decision to dedicate only a single day to discussions has been met with fury from some senior Conservatives. Pictured: Boris Johnson holding up a document believed to be the pages of the Brexit deal during his Christmas message

While the exact number of proxy votes are not yet clear they are expected to rise following Sir Lindsay’s warning.

The Commons speaker sent letters to MPs on Christmas Eve saying: ‘My priority is to protect the whole of the parliamentary community whilst ensuring the government can legislate and opposition parties and backbenchers can scrutinise.

‘The best way we can keep the business of the House going and everyone as safe as possible is for the vast majority of people to participate and work from home. We have the technology to enable virtual participation in the Chamber.’

The government has allocated one day of discussions about the Brexit deal for the House of Commons and Lords. Pictured: Boris Johnson in his office in Number 10 briefing members of the Cabinet on the news of a possible Brexit deal on December 23

Several Labour MPs are expected to defy Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the vote, after he called for them to support the Brexit deal. 

Around 20 MPs, including several frontbenchers, are said to be poised to embarrass their leader by ignoring his order either by abstaining or actually voting against the agreement.

It comes despite warnings that any Shadow Minister who defies a three-line whip to support the deal will be sacked from the frontbench. 

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