Parliament Again Votes on Future of Brexit, No-Deal, and Compromise Arrangements

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OLIVER JJ LANE

The UK Parliament is again voting on the Brexit process Wednesday evening, part of a series of votes on whether the government will respect the democratically expressed will of the British people or not which follows a heavy defeat for the British government Tuesday night.

Two of the votes Tuesday night expected around 1900 are grabbing headlines in the ongoing process to determine the outcome of Brexit for the British people, and after a debate in the House of Commons Members of Parliament will be able to vote on whether to block a no deal Brexit or not, and on an amendment brought on a so-called compromise arrangement.

Parliament votes to prevent full Brexit — aka ‘no deal Brexit’ — at all, but not in a binding motion:

UPDATE — Brexiteers React

Brexiteers have reacted with anger after the House of Commons voted to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal, whilst the Tory Party is in disarray after Prime Minister Theresa May lost control of her own motion.

Veteran Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said immediately after the vote, “A total disgrace, Parliament no longer represents the people,” adding, “This is a Parliament of outright liars. We will have to fight them again. And mark my words — we will beat them once more.”

Read the rest of this article (700 words) at Breitbart London…

 

UPDATE 2010 — The Prime Minister Speaks

Theresa May responds:

The house has provided a clear majority for the UK not to leave without a deal, but I will repeat what I said before. These are about the choices this house faces. The legal default remains the UK leaves the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed. The onus is on us in this house to find out what that is.

The options before us are the same as they always have been: we could leave with the deal which this government has negotiated for the past two years; we could leave with a deal I’ve negotiated but subject to second referendum, but that would risk no Brexit at all damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this house; we could seek to negotiate a different deal, however the EU has been clear that the deal on the table is the only deal available.

Mr Speaker I also confirmed last night that if the house declined to leave without a deal on March 29th, 2019, the government would put forward a vote on whether the house agrees to seeking an extension of Article 50 with the EU, which is the logical consequence of the votes over the past few days in the house.

The leader of the house will put forward a short statement confirming the change to tomorrow’s business. If this house finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it will allow the government to seek a short limited extension to Article 50 to have time to pass legislation and ratify the agreement we have agreed with the EU, but let me be clear that such an extension would only be likely to be on offer if we have a deal in place. If it is not willing to accept the deal in the coming days or leaving without a deal is suggesting that we would need a much longer extension of ARticle 50. Such would require the UK to hold European Parliamentary elections in May 2019. I do not think that would be the right outcome but the house needs to face the consequences of the decision it has taken.

UPDATE 1950 — Has the government won or lost this vote?

The motion, which was a government motion an hour ago but doesn’t appear to be any more, after it was amended by the Spelman vote, has passed by 321-278 votes.

Adding to the impression that the government is collapsing before our eyes are political correspondents reporting live that a government minister may even have resigned her post while in the lobby, in the process of voting:

UPDATE 1945 — We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto

The BBC’s chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg summarises the chaos in the chamber now, as MPs vote on the government motion that the government no longer — presumably — supports:

This follows Breitbart London’s reporting earlier today of the topsy-turvy nature Brexit process has now taken:

The unusual situation where the best hope of the democratically expressed will of the British people to leave the European Union is now for foreign politicians to reject the request of the British Parliament and Prime Minister neatly illustrates the remarkable and convoluted mess Brexit negotiations have become after an epic two years of failed negotiations.

The United Kingdom could have left the European Union almost immediately after the June 2016 election, but instead opted to not even serve notice to the bloc until nearly a year later in March 2017 that it wished to do so, and at that stage requested a two year period of talks.

Even after the official conclusion date of those negotiations in March 2019 is over, the United Kingdom and the European Union had still agreed to potentially years of transition afterwards, meaning the United Kingdom would still in most meaningful senses be a part of the EU into the 2020s. And this is before the extension to the negotiation period, meant to finish this month and which Britain’s Parliament is expected to demand on Thursday, has been factored in.

Read more at Breitbart London

UPDATE 1940 — House of Commons vote 374 – 164 against the Green (Malthouse Compromise B) amendment

Parliament has voted against the Malthouse plan by a majority of 210 votes.

The second and final amendment to be voted on Wednesday evening, it was proposed by ERG figures Steve Baker, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Iain Duncan Smith and Tory Remainers Damian Green and Nicky Morgan.

It aimed to seek an extension of Article 50 to 10.59pm on 22nd May 2019 to allow businesses to prepare for tariffs as scheduled by the government. It would have sought to agree with the EU a further set of mutual standstill agreements ending no later than 30th December 2021, during which time the UK would pay an amount equivalent to its net EU contributions. It would also unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

This is what the Green amendment said in full:

At end, add “; notes the steps taken by the government, the EU and its member states to minimise any disruption that may occur should the UK leave the EU without an agreed withdrawal agreement and proposes that the government should build on this work as follows:

1. That the government should publish the UK’s day one tariff schedules immediately;

2. To allow businesses to prepare for the operation of those tariffs, that the government should seek an extension of the article 50 process to 10.59pm on 22 May 2019, at which point the UK would leave the EU;

3. Thereafter, in a spirit of co-operation and in order to begin discussions on the future relationship, the government should offer a further set of mutual standstill agreements with the EU and member states for an agreed period ending no later than 30 December 2021, during which period the UK would pay an agreed sum equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law obligations; and

4. The government should unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK.”

UPDATE 1930 — Jacob Rees-Mogg reminds that the vote isn’t binding

While Parliament has voted to inform the government of its desire regarding Brexit, this vote is not binding, cool head Jacob Rees-Mogg points out. As he explains in an article published earlier today in British newspaper The Sun, the March 29th departure date remains British law until a bill is brought before Parliament to replace it.

UPDATE 1925 — Parliament now voting on Malthouse compromise

The second and presumably final vote of tonight is now underway. As reported earlier, it is:

…an amendment brought by Conservatives supporting both leave and remain who hope the so-called Malthouse compromise will give the country a way of achieving Brexit in an orderly, but more complete way.

The plan is described as a managed no deal scenario, where the United Kingdom would set Brexit back to May while warning businesses that the country will definitely be leaving without a deal at that time, and that they should make arrangements to be ready to continue trading from that point. The country would still enter a transition period, but on a basis of voluntarily following EU rules until new treaties can be established, rather than being forced into following them.

As the deal still requires the country leaving the European Union, Parliament is extremely unlikely to support the idea. The Daily Telegraph reports senior EU figure Michel Barnier rejected the plan out of hand, as the EU absolute refuses to consider any form of transition period outside of Theresa May’s Brexit plan.

UPDATE 1920 — House of Commons votes 312 – 308 for the Spelman amendment

The first of two amendments tabled, the Spelman amendment from Dame Caroline Spelman, Jack Dromey, Sir Oliver Letwin, Hilary Benn, Yvette Cooper, Nick Boles and others opposed to a no-deal Brexit and is designed to remove the reference to leaving without a deal remaining the default option.

The Spelman amendment was not expected to pass, has drawn considerably less media attention during the course of today, and this result will cause a major disturbance in Westminster. It means the government vote tonight won’t go ahead, and is another defeat for Theresa May — the anti-Brexit House of Commons is taking control of the Brexit process away from the government.

This is what the Spelman amendment said: “Line 1, leave out from “house” to end and add “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship.”

Caroline Spelman earlier tried to withdraw her amendment — saying it was more important to have a big majority for the government motion than for her to carry on with an amendment already passed in January — but Speaker John Bercow said that was not allowed as it had been chosen and all she can do is not move it. But other signatories were able to move it.

UPDATE 1900 — MPs are now voting on the Spelman amendment

This is a repeat of another amendment that was put before Parliament earlier in the year.

The original story continues below

The vote to block no deal is one of two votes promised by the Prime Minister this week if the house rejected her two-years-in-the-making Brexit deal, which it did last night. The house, which is overwhelmingly pro-Europe and has until now only ever been a reluctant actor in taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union is expected to vote against a no-deal tonight.

Long held as one of the most crucial bargaining chips the government holds, by voting against a no-deal Parliament will be preventing government negotiators from being able to walk away from the bargaining table with Europe and unilaterally withdraw from the European Union. As reported by Breitbart London, key Brexiteers have heavily criticised the Prime Minister for giving a free vote on the issue, with Nigel Farage calling her decision a “total failure of leadership”.

MPs voting against no-deal tonight will lead to another vote on Thursday night, in which they are expected to vote again against Brexit, that time to cancel the legally mandated Brexit date of March 29th. Brexiteers have likewise warned that postponing Brexit day once will inevitably mean it being endlessly postponed in the future, as the taboo of interfering with the date was broken.

The second vote Tuesday evening has not been brought by the government but is an amendment brought by Conservatives supporting both leave and remain who hope the so-called Malthouse compromise will give the country a way of achieving Brexit in an orderly, but more complete way.

The plan is described as a managed no deal scenario, where the United Kingdom would set Brexit back to May while warning businesses that the country will definitely be leaving without a deal at that time, and that they should make arrangements to be ready to continue trading from that point. The country would still enter a transition period, but on a basis of voluntarily following EU rules until new treaties can be established, rather than being forced into following them.

As the deal still requires the country leaving the European Union, Parliament is extremely unlikely to support the idea. The Daily Telegraph reports senior EU figure Michel Barnier rejected theplan out of hand, as the EU absolute refuses to consider any form of transition period outside of Theresa May’s Brexit plan.

The story is developing 

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