Passing of Kinnock amendment labelled ‘skulduggery’ amidst Commons confusion

The Kinnock amendment passes as a result of there being no tellers for the 'no' vote.

The Kinnock amendment passes as a result of there being no tellers for the 'no' vote. - Credit: Archant

A bill amendment requiring a vote on Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement bill has passed in very odd circumstances, with some MPs crying foul.

The Kinnock amendment was added to the anti-no-deal bill being brought by opposition MPs, and was not expected to pass. But it did, because there were no tellers available on behalf of the 'no' vote.

There was a flurry of confusion amongst commentators after the amendment passed.

Labour MP Alex Sobel said there was "skulduggery", tweeting: "The amendment in the name of Stephen Kinnock didn't have a vote as the government didn't provide tellers to count.

"This meant the amendment went through although the No lobby was full. This wasn't an accident you can be assured there's some skulduggery going on."

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The New Statesman's Stephen Bush has also concluded that it was a deliberate act of "chicanery" by the government, but there is still a lot of speculation.

Theresa May's bill, which was never voted on in anticipation of a loss, is the product of a new round of talks between the then-prime minister and opposition MPs. It includes several new or amended commitments, such as the maintaining of environmental commitments, maintaining workers' rights in par with the EU, and some attempt at keeping trade frictionless alongside the Single Market.

Who are the rebel opposition MPs calling for the return of Theresa May's deal?The MPs supporting the Kinnock amendment come from mostly Labour Leave constituencies, and argued that a vote on May's deal would prevent a further extension which would "leave most of the country banging their head against a brick wall".

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