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The constitutional strangeness of the Benn Act

In a healthy democracy this is not how parliament and the government should interact

By Thomas Poole  

Photo: Claire Doherty/SIPA USA/PA Images

The Benn Act has framed what might turn out to be the Brexit endgame (at least the end of its first phase). The Act requires the prime minister to ask the EU for an extension to the negotiating period on 31st October provided that MPs haven’t approved a deal in a meaningful vote, or approved leaving the EU without a deal by 19th October. It is a strange beast. Not because it requires the government to act in certain ways. Most legislation can be seen as doing something…

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