MPs could sit in the Commons 'until Christmas Eve' to pass Brexit Bill

10 December 2020, 05:52

MPs could have to come to parliament on Christmas Eve
MPs could have to come to parliament on Christmas Eve. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The House of Commons could sit as late as Christmas Eve should it be required to pass a Brexit bill, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.

Under current plans, the Commons will stop sitting on December 21, but the Speaker said it could be delayed if necessary.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed that a "firm decision" about the future of the negotiations should be made by Sunday following three hours of talks in Brussels.

The transition period finishes on December 31 and any deal would have to be ratified by the European Council, the European Parliament and Westminster.

Sir Linsday told Sky News: "I would like to believe that we will all be going up on the date that's expected of the House.

"But if needs be, the House is the servant and I am happy as being that servant to ensure we can run, as far as I'm concerned, even up to Christmas Eve.

"I would like to believe we can finish on the Monday before Christmas. I would like to put everything to bed and get everybody away from here."

It comes after Boris Johnson's last-ditch Brexit trade deal dinner talks in Brussels ended with an announcement that a "firm decision" will be reached by Sunday but that "very large gaps remain".

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The PM left the dinner, at which fish featured heavily on the menu, with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen after around three hours.

A No10 source said that "very large gaps remain between the two sides and it is still unclear whether these can be bridged".

"The PM and Ms von der Leyen agreed to further discussions over the next few days between their negotiating teams," they said.

"The PM does not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested. The PM and Ms von der Leyen agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks."

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After the dinner, Ms von der Leyen told reporters: "We had a lively & interesting discussion on the state of play on outstanding issues. We understand each other’s positions. They remain far apart.

"The teams should immediately reconvene to try to resolve these issues. We will come to a decision by the end of the weekend."