Boris Johnson's bid for early election fails

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4:46 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

Get ready for Parliament's closing ceremony

Black Rod (center, right) carrying his black rod.
Black Rod (center, right) carrying his black rod. ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP/Getty Images

Fast forward a few hours. It's approaching midnight (or maybe even later), everyone is tired of talking about Brexit, and Parliament is about to be closed for business for five weeks.

But, since this is the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland we're talking about, they're not just going to lock up shop and head to bed.

Oh no. Instead, we get the time-honored Prorogation Ceremony. Yes, there is a ceremony.

What does it involve, you definitely didn't ask? Well, the ceremony begins with an announcement read on behalf of the Queen.

Her statement, read by the Leader of the House of Lords in that chamber, says: "My Lords, it not being convenient for Her Majesty personally to be present here this day, she has been pleased to cause a Commission under the Great Seal to be prepared for proroguing this present Parliament."

Then Black Rod gets involved. Black Rod is not actually a black rod, but a person referred to as Black Rod who carries a black rod. Black Rod has been around since the 14th century, and the current Black Rod -- whose real-life name is Sarah Clarke -- has been in the post since 2018.

The current Black Rod, Sarah Clarke.
The current Black Rod, Sarah Clarke.

Anyway, as I was saying, Black Rod carries a black rod at the opening and closing of Parliament, to help fulfil her or his duty to maintain the House of Lords.

At tonight's ceremony, Black Rod will summon the House of Commons to the House of Lords. When the Commons arrive, representatives from each house greet each other -- the Lords by doffing their hat, which is British for "hello," and the Commons by bowing.

Then the government gets to read out their achievements from the past year, and then there is some speaking in Norman French.

Once that's completed, Parliament is officially prorogued. But it's not over. Lawmakers must then file out of the chamber, shaking hands with the Speaker as they go.

At this point, in accordance with tradition, the Spice Girls perform a medley of their hits.

Wait, no, that was the Olympics closing ceremony. Ah yes -- at this point everyone goes to party conference for a month to argue some more about Brexit.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

4:05 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

The no-deal debate is over

The debate over the rule of law has wrapped up with a vote. The ayes had it, so there was no need for MPs to go through the voting lobbies -- saving us all 15 minutes of our lives.

To clarify, the vote doesn't really mean anything -- the motion was mainly tabled to give opposition lawmakers the chance to go on the record with their displeasure about the prospect of Johnson ignoring the law blocking no-deal.

MPs are now moving onto a debate about Northern Ireland, after which Johnson will make his second push for an election.

3:59 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

Johnson will not go to Brussels to negotiate a delay, Raab says

Representing the government, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Boris Johnson is still attempting to achieve a deal with the European Union.

"This prime minister, this government, wants a deal," Raab said. "And I believe it would be much better than no-deal."

But he added that "respecting the referendum must also mean that this House allows us to leave without a deal."

"Three years in experience to date demonstrates that taking that option off the table severely weakened our negotiating position in Brussels."

"Much much worse than no-deal would be to destroy the confidence in the most basic democratic principle we have," Raab added "The country wants this mess sorted out by the 31st of October."

"He will not go to negotiate a delay ... he will go to negotiate our departure" on October 31, Raab said, referring to Johnson.

3:49 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

Boris Johnson "must resign" if he defies parliament, SNP leader tells Prime Minister

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said Boris Johnson must resign if he is serious about defying a law blocking a no-deal Brexit next month.

"The Prime Minister says he would rather die in a ditch than write to seek an extension to protect our economy from falling off the cliff edge," Blackford said during the Commons debate. Johnson used the phrase during a speech last week.

"If that is the course that he chooses, then the Prime Minister must resign. Undermining democracy at every turn, the Prime Minister simply cannot be trusted.

"The rule book has been well and truly ripped up. And with it, democracy and decency. Shredded by a cult of Brexit fanboys in Number 10. Unfit to govern, unwilling to govern. What a despicable state of affairs," Blackford said, adding: "I say to the Prime Minister be very careful. Be very careful. Do not obstruct the rule of law."

2:39 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

HAPPENING NOW: Lawmakers debate whether Boris Johnson will uphold no-deal law

After forcing the government to publish its documents on no-deal, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is now starting a debate on the rule of law, and whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will abide by the bill blocking a no-deal Brexit that achieved royal assent earlier on Monday.

The debate will last 90 minutes.

"Parliament has passed a law to ensure that the will of parliament is upheld," Corbyn said, opening the debate.

He added "the fact that Parliament is compelled" to do so "shows what extraordinary times we live in."

And the Labour leader noted that Johnson is not present in the House of Commons to respond to points raised in the debate. "I do not keep the Prime Minister's diary, he may keep his own, but here's certainly not here to reply to this debate," Corbyn said.

2:32 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

BREAKING: MPs approve publication of government documents

Lawmakers have approved the motion that called on Downing Street to publish its communications about proroguing government, and its documents about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

The vote passed by 311 votes to 302.

2:15 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

HAPPENING NOW: Lawmakers voting on publishing documents

Lawmakers are voting on whether to force the government to publish documents relating to its no-deal Brexit planning and its decision to prorogue Parliament.

If the motion passes, a whole swathe of communications between Downing Street advisers could be released.

The vote will take about 15 minutes and a result will be announced immediately afterwards.

1:49 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

Trust between Parliament and Downing Street is "eroding day by day," says Starmer

Keir Starmer, Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary, has said the government should have the "decency and courage" to publish its communications about proroguing Parliament and a no-deal Brexit.

"The basic lack of trust that exists between the House and the executive is eroding day by day and it is extraordinary to shut down Parliament at this time," he said during the debate.

"It is blindingly obvious why we are being shut down, to prevent scrutiny, as there can be no scrutiny if we are not sitting," Starmer added.

He was pressed over Labour's refusal to grant Boris Johnson an election, despite the party repeatedly stating for two years that they want a vote.

"I'm sure we'll have a general election soon, but not at the cost of a no-deal Brexit," Starmer said.

1:26 p.m. ET, September 9, 2019

Deputy Speaker says he'll run to replace Bercow

Boris Johnson doesn't look like he'll get his election... but those with their eye on John Bercow's position will.

Lindsay Hoyle, the current deputy Speaker, has confirmed he'll throw his hat into the ring to replace Bercow when he steps aside.

The election will be closely watched, with those in the government eager to avoid another holder willing to intervene in the Brexit saga as readily as Bercow.