Tuesday 15 September 2020


The government's Internal Market Bill passed its first hurdle in the Commons last night by 340-263.  Despite Keir Starmer having indicated Labour could potentially support the bill - just 24 hours earlier - predictably his party not only voted against the bill, they tabled a motion to try and throw it out altogether.  That motion was defeated 349-213.

Starmer himself was nowhere to be seen on the day, having conveniently gone into self-isolation after a family member fell ill with Covid-like symptoms.  The news clearly reached him late in the day as he was present at LBC Radio on Monday morning for his 'Call Keir' slot.  A positive Covid test for his unnamed relative will likely mean Starmer will miss all the remaining key votes in the passage of the Internal Market Bill.

Sir Squeaky was represented in the debate not by his deputy Angela Rayner, but Ed Miliband.  The Shadow Business Secretary enthusiastically embraced his return to the despatch box and went on the attack against Boris Johnson.  The PM sat there like he'd rather be somewhere else - quite possible anywhere.

When it came to voting on the bill, not one Labour MP backed it.  Despite Miliband's insistence that 'this is not about Leave and Remain', all the Remain parties opposed the bill - Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid and, of course, Caroline Lucas of the Greens.  It was like a continuation of the Brexit impasse, except the Remainers are now up against a big majority and even with two Tory rebels on side and thirty Tory abstentions, they couldn't derail the bill at this stage.

Roger Gale and Andrew Percy were the two Conservatives who voted against the bill.  The thirty MPs who abstained included Geoffrey Cox, Tobias Ellwood, Sajid Javid and Theresa May.

The DUP backed the government.