House of Fools: What the papers say about Brexit

Newspapers across UK and Ireland lead with Saturday’s House of Commons debacle

Newspapers across the UK and Ireland lead with Saturday’s Brexit debacle, after MPs voted to withhold approval of the UK Prime Minister’s EU exit deal.

After Saturday’s UK newspapers offered advice on how the MPs should vote on the EU Withdrawal Act, many of the Sunday papers in the UK are not impressed the advice was not followed.

With a headline dubbing Parliament “The House of Fools”, the UK Mail on Sunday wrote: “Today Britain could have begun to heal after the end of our Brexit purgatory. Instead, posturing MPs subjected us to yet more agonising delay.”

Carrying pictures of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Oliver Letwin, John Bercow and Philip Hammond, the paper reports the "nation let out a collective howl of frustration" after the Letwin amendment was passed.


The Sunday Express features a front page picture of a glum looking Boris Johnson and a headline asking "Why won't they let us leave?"

It reports that there is “outrage” as parliament “votes to obstruct Boris’s breakthrough deal”, adding that the “defiant” prime minister has asked the EU to “send MPs a message” and refuse further delays.

The Observer, however, applauded the MPs who caused another delay in the Brexit process: “Boris Johnson is a prime minister without a mandate. He has never faced an election and has lost every vote he has put to the House of Commons,” the paper said in its editorial.

It said MPs were given very little time to study the terms of the most important decision the country has faced in decades.

“But (Mr Johnson) miscalculated badly. Parliament reasserted its sovereignty, voting to withhold approval of his EU deal until MPs have a chance to scrutinise the relevant legislation, effectively forcing him by law to request an extension from the EU,” it said.

‘Forced to beg’

The UK Sunday Mirror’s front page headline is just one word above a picture of the prime minister - “Humiliated”. It goes on to say that Mr Johnson has been “forced to beg” the EU for another Brexit delay.

“Blustering Boris Johnson was beaten again yesterday as MPs voted to delay Brexit,” it said.

However, the Sunday Telegraph’s editorial begs to differ, with its headline saying “All is not lost if Tories get behind the PM”.

The tone quickly becomes harsher, adding: “This dithering and disgraced parliament made a complete fool of itself yesterday. Instead of voting in sensible order on the new Brexit deal - for which the Government seemed so tantalisingly close to a majority - it passed Sir Oliver Letwin’s preposterous amendment, kicking Brexit into the long grass yet again.”

The paper ended its editorial with what it calls a “recipe to restore trust in British politics”.

“We must leave the EU as soon as possible and we need a new generation of MPs who remember exactly who put them there.”

The Sunday Times used combative words to describe Mr Johnson’s battle with “Brexit wreckers”.

In its lead story, it says the British prime minister sent three different letters to EU leaders on Saturday night “in a bid to circumvent a plot by ‘Brexit wreckers’ to extend the Halloween deadline”. The paper reports that the prime minister branded the latest development as “deeply corrosive”.

The paper’s editorial adds that despite Saturday’s “disappointment”, Mr Johnson is “in a good place”.

Ireland's Sunday Independent reports that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) "twist [THE]knife" in revenge of the "betrayal" by Mr Johnson's deal, as the prime minister was forced to request a Brexit extension from the EU on Saturday night.

The paper states that the party landed the “fatal blow” that resulted in the request for an extension, adding that the party believes the deal “undermines the integrity of the Union”.

The Guardian website reports that the EU will wait until MPs debate the Brexit deal before they make a decision on the extension.

The site states: “EU ambassadors agreed on Sunday morning that the withdrawal agreement would be sent to the European parliament on Monday. MEPs could vote on it on Thursday if the Commons has given its approval by then.”

- Additional reporting PA

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times