Brexit voting underway: The Statutory Instrument to amend Brexit Day in UK law Yes 441 / No 105


  • Last night MP's seized control of parliament to explore alternatives to May’s withdrawal agreement in a bid to secure a consensus via indicative votes.  

The first result of today's Indicative votes, the eight options, has come through as follows:

The Statutory Instrument to amend Brexit Day in UK law

Yes 441  /  No 105

So, Lawmakers in the House of Commons have backed the statutory instrument that formally changes the date of Brexit in UK law.

  • Even though the UK's departure from the EU had already changed in international law, British MPs needed to approve it as well in order to change UK law;
  • This extension now means that Britain will not crash out of the EU on Friday.
  • The UK now has until either April 12 or May 22, depending on whether parliament passes Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement.

The following first 8 options were selected for a vote by the Speaker, John Bercow:

B. No deal

  • Backed by the Conservative MPs John Baron, David Amess, Martin Vickers and Stephen Metcalfe, the motion proposes leaving the EU without a deal on 12 April.

D. ‘Common market 2.0’

  • Tabled by the Conservative MPs Nick Boles, Robert Halfon and Andrew Percy and Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, Lucy Powell and Diana Johnson.
  • The motion proposes UK membership of the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and European Economic Area (EEA). It allows continued participation in the single market and a “comprehensive customs arrangement” with the EU after Brexit, which would remain in place until the agreement of a wider trade deal that guarantees frictionless movement of goods and an open border on the island of Ireland.

H. EEA/Efta without customs union

  • A motion tabled by the Conservative MP George Eustice – who quit as agriculture minister this month to fight for Brexit – proposes remaining within the EEA and rejoining Efta, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU.
  • The motion was signed by other Conservative MPs including the former minister Nicky Morgan and the head of the Brexit Delivery Group, Simon Hart.

J. Customs union

  • This plan requires a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” in any Brexit deal.
  • It is tabled by the veteran Conservative Europhile Ken Clarke, and backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, Helen Goodman and the chair of the Commons exiting the EU committee, Hilary Benn, and the former Tory ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Sarah Newton.

K. Labour plan

  • Labour has tabled a motion proposing its plan for a close economic relationship with the EU. The plan includes a comprehensive customs union with the UK having a say on future trade deals; close alignment with the single market; matching new EU rights and protections; participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and agreement on future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant.

L. Revoke article 50

  • Under this plan, if the government failed to pass its withdrawal agreement it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure.
  • If MPs refused to support no deal, the prime minister would be required to halt Brexit by revoking article 50. The motion, tabled by the Scottish National party’s Joanna Cherry, has been signed by 33 MPs including the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, Labour’s Ben Bradshaw and all 11 members of the Independent Group.

M. Confirmatory public vote

  • Drawn up by the Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson and tabled by the former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett with the backing of scores of MPs across the house, this motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by parliament before its ratification.

O. Contingent preferential arrangements

  • A group of Conservative MPs, including Marcus Fysh, Steve Baker and Priti Patel, have signed a motion that calls for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement with the bloc.
  • The following will not be voted on:

N. Malthouse compromise plan A

  • A cross-party proposal calls for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement to be implemented with the controversial “backstop” for the Irish border replaced by alternative arrangements.
  • Backed by Conservatives from both the leave and remain wings of the party, including Nicky Morgan, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Damian Green, Steve Baker and Sir Graham Brady, as well as the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and Labour Brexiter Kate Hoey.

G. Revocation instead of no deal

  • Under this plan, the government is called on to “urgently” bring forward any legislation needed to revoke article 50 “in the event that the house fails to approve any withdrawal agreement four days before the end of the article 50 period”.
  • It has been signed by 28 MPs, including the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil and the Tory MP Ken Clarke.

F. New customs union

  • Tabled by Labour’s MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, Gareth Snell, this motion simply states that it should be the government’s objective to implement a trade agreement including a customs union with the EU. It mirrors an amendment to the trade bill secured by Labour peers in the House of Lords.

C. Unilateral right of exit from backstop

  • Tory MPs including Baron and Amess, as well as Andrew Percy and Neil Parish, have also backed a motion to leave the EU on 22 May with Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement amended to allow the UK to unilaterally exit the Northern Ireland backstop.

I. Consent of devolved institutions

  • Backed by SNP MPs including Ian Blackford, Kirsty Blackman and Stephen Gethins, this motion requires an agreement that the UK will not leave without a deal, and that no action for leaving the EU will be taken without a consent motion passed in both the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly.

P. Contingent reciprocal arrangements

  • A similar group of Tory MPs have backed a proposal calling for the government to “at least reciprocate the arrangements put in place by the EU and or its member states to manage the period following the UK’s departure from the EU”, in case the UK is unable to implement a withdrawal agreement.

E. Respect the referendum results

  • A cross-party proposal, signed by 94 MPs including the Conservatives’ Will Quince, Labour’s Frank Field and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, urges the house to “reaffirm its commitment to honour the result of the referendum that the UK should leave the European Union”.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking considering that last week, the EU gave Mrs May until just April 12th to bring back an alternative plan if she cannot finally get her twice-rejected Brexit deal through the Commons in a "meaningful vote" this week.

The Prime Minister is reportedly preparing to bring her Brexit deal for a third vote by the end of the week, if she was able to gain the support of Northern Ireland's DUP. However, the DUP had said only a day earlier that it favoured a long delay over May's withdrawal agreement.

No way' enough ERG Tories will switch for May's deal to pass, says ERG source - Guardian

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