MPs Vote Against Every Brexit Option… Again. Clean, No Deal Exit Still Default

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: A bus travels along Westminster Bridge past the Houses of Parliament on March 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Oli Scarff/Getty

MPs have voted down all four of their preferred Brexit alternative options, including a soft Brexit, a second referendum, and cancelling Brexit, after Parliamentarians had voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial Withdrawal Agreement for a third time last week.

The House of Commons has voted for a second time in much less than a week on their own preferred options for a way forward with Brexit. Using the so-called indicative votes, which are not binding but show the will of Parliament, this route has been a favourite of those wishing to frustrate the Brexit vote as they believe it would have forced the prime minister’s hand on putting the country on course to stop Brexit happening altogether.

Yet for a second time, all Parliament has managed to do is vote against every single option put in front of it — in fact, pretty much the only things Parliament has voted for in the realms of Brexit so far was in favour of holding the 2016 referendum, in favour of triggering the Article 50 process, and setting the March 29th, 2019, date back in 2017, and then extending that date to April last week.

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay told the House after the votes were announced that the legal default remains leaving on no deal on April 12th if the Commons fails to back Withdrawal Agreement, but maintained that May’s controversial ‘deal’ is the best option and the only way to break the impasse in Parliament.

The Cabinet is set to meet Tuesday morning to discuss this results of Monday’s votes.

Breitbart London’s LIVEWIRE continues below. 

UPDATE — 18:15 BST Tuesday: May Announces She Will Seek ANOTHER Extension of Article 50

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will go back to the EU to ask for a further delay of Brexit “as short as possible” in order “to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.”

She also said that she would “take action to break the logjam” and will be meeting with Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to come up with a plan to leave the EU with a deal, insisting that any deal must include her Withdrawal Agreement which has already been negotiated with the EU27.

Mrs May went on to say that if she and Corbyn cannot come to an agreement, a number of options for the future relationship between the UK and the EU would be put to vote in the House of Commons.

“Crucially, the Government stands ready to stand by the decision of the House. But to make this process work, the opposition would need to agree to this, too,” Prime Minister May said.

“the Government would then bring forth the Withdrawal Agreement bill, to ensure it is passed before the 27th of May, so that the UK does not need to take part in European Parliament elections.

Read Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in full below:

I have just come from chairing seven hours of cabinet meetings focussed on finding a route out of the current impasse. One that will deliver the Brexit the British people voted for, and allow us to move on and begin bringing our divided country back together.

I know there are some who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments that they would like to leave with no deal next week. I’ve always been clear that we could make a success of no deal in the long term, but leaving with a deal is the best solution.

So we will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible, and one that will end when we pass a deal.

And we need to be clear about what such an extension is for, to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way. This debate, this division cannot drag on much longer. It is putting Members of Parliament and everyone else under enormous pressure, and it is doing damage to our politics.

Despite the best efforts of MPs, the process that the House of Commons has tried to lead has not come up with an answer. So today I am taking action to break the logjam. I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan that we would both stick to, to ensure we leave the European Union and we do so with a deal.

Any plan would have to agree the current withdrawal agreement. It has already been negotiated with the 27 other members, and the EU has repeatedly said that it cannot and will not be reopened.

What we need to focus on is out future relationship with the EU. The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a future relationship which delivers on the result of the referendum, that both the leader of the opposition and I could put to the House for approval, and that I could then take to next week’s European Council.

However, if we cannot agree on a single unified approach, then we would instead agree to a number of options for the future relationship which we could pout to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue.

Crucially, the government stands ready to stand by the decision of the House. But to make this process work, the opposition would need to agree to this, too.

The government would then bring forth the Withdrawal Agreement bill. We would want to agree a timetable for this bill to ensure it is passed before the 27th of May, so that the United Kingdom need not take part in European Parliamentary elections.

This is a difficult time for everyone, passions are running high on all sides of the argument. But we can and must find the compromises that will deliver what the British people voted for.

This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands. And it requires national unity to deliver the national interest.

Read the full story at Breitbart London:

UPDATE — 9:30 BST Tuesday: May’s Cabinet meet for marathon meeting

Minister have arrived at 10 Downing Street for this morning’s meeting, the first of which will be solely political with no civil servants present.

Notable arrivals include Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who swapped sides and now backs a no deal, meaning a clean Brexit is now the preferred option of 14 out of 27 members of the Cabinet.

The Telegraph reports that 170 Tory MPs signed a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May backing no deal, that number including 30 ministers and 12 whips.

UPDATE — 9:20 BST Tuesday: European Bureaucrats Say No-Deal Now ‘Inevitable’

In response to Monday night’s vote, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has said that “A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable.”

While the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the EU27 is ready for a no-deal exit, which he said “becomes, day after day, more likely.”

UPDATE — 22:20 BST Monday: The Brexit Secretary responds: leaving without a deal remains the legal default 

The Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay took to his feet after speaker John Bercow gave the results this evening and reminded the House that despite everything, at present the legal default position is that the country was on course to leave the European Union without a deal on April 12th, whether they liked it or not.

He also plugged Theresa May’s deal again, claiming it was the best way out of the stalemate — something that Brexiteers and Remainers alike are pretty united in opposing. Remainers because May’s hated compromise is too much like leaving the European Union, and Brexiteers because it is too much like staying in.

Barclay told the chamber:

This is now the second time the House has considered a wide variety of options for a way forward. It has once again failed to find a clear majority for any of the options. And yet the result of the House’s decision on Friday, not to endorse the withdrawal agreement, means that the default legal position is that the UK will leave the EU in just 11 days’ time.

To secure any further extension, the government will have to put forward a credible proposition to the EU as to what we will do with that extra time. This House has continuously rejected leaving without a deal, just as it has rejected not leaving at all. Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. The government continues to believe that the best course of action is to do so as soon as possible.

If the House were to agree to a deal this week, it might still be possible to avoid holding European Parliament elections.

Mr Speaker, Cabinet will meet in the morning to consider the results of tonight’s vote and how we should proceed.

More fun beckons tomorrow, then.

UPDATE — 22:15 BST Monday: Remainer MP Nick Boles Resigns from Conservative Party 

Former minister Nick Boles, who proposed Motion D —  Common Market 2.0  — resigned from the party Monday evening following the loss of his vote, saying he could “no longer sit for this party” while raising a point of order.

UPDATE — 22:10 BST Monday: House of Commons MPs Vote Against All Brexit Alternatives. Again.

Option C – Customs Union (Clarke)
Any deal or political declaration must include at least a customs union with the EU
AYE: 273
NOE: 276
Majority: 3

Option D — Common Market 2.0 (Boles)
A ‘Common Market 2.0’ Norway-style relationship with the EU, including membership of EFTA, the Single Market, and the free movement of people
AYE: 261
NOE: 282
Majority: 21

Option E — Second Referendum on Deal (Kyle)
This option which require a second, ‘confirmatory,’ referendum on the deal.
AYE: 280
NOE: 292
Majority: 12

Option G — Parliamentary Supremacy (Cherry)
If a deal has not been agreed and MPs have rejected leaving without a deal, Article 50 must be revoked and Brexit cancelled altogether.
AYE: 191
NOE: 292
Majority: 101

This is the second time that MPs have voted against all options, MPs voting against all eight options last week.

UPDATE — 20:00 BST Monday: House of Commons MPs Vote on Brexit Alternatives

The lower house has broken to vote by ballot on four options as an alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, after Remain-backing MPs voted for the Commons to take control of government business.

All four options back some form of soft Brexit or stopping Brexit: two of the four options aim to keep the UK in a close economic alignment with the EU, the third proposal calls for any Brexit agreement the UK’s Parliament agrees to be put to a public ‘confirmatory’ vote, or second referendum, and the could lead to revoking Article 50.

These votes are ‘indicative’, and are not binding — rather a performance in gauging what options the House prefers, which, in a Remainer-dominated Commons, leaves little in terms of surprise.

So how is the vote going to work in the Commons tonight? Unlike in the meaningful votes on the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, these votes will be made on ballots, with MPs whose last names begin with A to K delivering their ballots in the Aye lobby, L to Z in the Noe lobby.

MPs will have 30 minutes to vote. When the ballots are counted, the results will be announced by the Speaker some time around 10pm.

UPDATE — 17:00 BST Monday: Speaker of the House of Commons Rejects Brexiteer Options for Tonight’s Vote

Speaker Bercow has selected four options for debate and vote which either tie the UK in close union with the EU or threaten to cancel Brexit altogether, rejecting other pro-Brexit options that include leaving the EU in a clean break without a deal on April 12th.

The motions selected are:

  • Option C where any deal or political declaration must include at least a customs union with the EU;
  • Option D, a ‘Common Market 2.0’ Norway-style relationship with the EU, including membership of EFTA, the Single Market, and the free movement of people;
  • Option E which would require a second, ‘confirmatory,’ referendum on the deal;
  • and Option G, that if a deal has not been agreed and MPs have rejected leaving without a deal, Article 50 must be revoked and Brexit cancelled altogether.  (Further details of the motions can be read in the original reporting below.)

John Baron MP, who proposed motions A and B, brought a point of order to ask the Speaker to clarify his rationale, as motion A (coming out of the Irish backstop unilaterally) is new and has previously received a majority and B, leaving the EU without a deal, as it is “Actually the legal default position for us triggering Article 50.”

Mr Speaker replied that as “we are acting in a negotiation with the European Union,” it has been made clear by the EU that that reexamination of the backstop is not being offered by Brussels, saying, “It may or may not feature in the future, but in terms of trying to broker progress, now I did not think it would be the most sensible motion to choose at this time.”

“In relation to the ‘no deal notion’… the honourable gentleman is exactly right. It is precisely because it is the default position in law that having on the paper, in my view, is a rhetorical assertion [and] is a statement of fact, but it does not, in my judgement, require debate,” Mr Speaker said.

Debating on the motions are set to continue until 8pm where votes will be made on ballot papers, with results to be revealed at around 10pm tonight.

The Original Reporting from Monday morning Continues Below…
MPs will again take over the business of the Commons from the government to vote on a series of Brexit ‘alternatives’ after parliamentarians voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial Withdrawal Agreement for a third time on Friday.

Europhile Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin tabled the motion last week on a series of indicative (non-binding) votes, in what Remainers and soft-Brexiters believe will break the Parliamentary deadlock over the Withdrawal Agreement, which remains fundamentally objectionable to Brexiteers and the Northern Irish conservative-unionist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

MPs voted in favour of MPs taking over Brexit business, a motion tabled by Sir Oliver, on March 25th which the government said would set a dangerous and disruptive constitutional precedent.

However, of the overwhelming Remainer and soft Brexit options presented to the 650 lawmakers in the first set of indicative votes on Wednesday, parliament voted against everything.

Given Remainers were unable to coalesce around one way of stopping Brexit, Sir Oliver & co is pushing for further votes today. MPs are set to approve the business motion at 3:30pm with Wednesday blocked off for similar debates.

After the vote on the business motion, MPs will debate the options until 8pm where they will make their choices on ballots papers, all results to be revealed by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow in one statement.

Speaker Bercow is yet to announce which options will be voted on. The eight motions tabled are:

  • Motion A — Unilateral Right to Leave the Irish Backstop (Baron)
    Proposed by Tory John Baron and backed by Conservative backbenchers. It would see the House agree that the UK shall leave the EU on May 22nd with the Withdrawal Agreement amended to allow the UK to unilaterally exit the Northern Ireland backstop — an impossibility under May’s ‘deal’ as the UK must seek agreement from Brussels to leave the backstop.
  • Motion B — Leave with No Deal on April 12th (Baron)
    Also proposed by Mr Baron, the UK would leave the EU in a clean break if a withdrawal agreement is not made.
  • Motion C — Customs Union (Clarke)
    Proposed by Remainer Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke and backed by Labour and Tory MPs. This option would see that any Brexit deal should include a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU.”
  • Motion D —  Common Market 2.0 (Boles)
    This proposal is backed by Tory Remainer Nick Boles, Labour’s Stephen Kinnock, and the left-wing Scottish National Party (SNP), It would mean the UK joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and European Economic Area (EEA), meaning the UK would remain part of the EU’s Single Market (where countries trade with each other each other without restrictions or tariffs), retaining freedom of movement of EU citizens without immigration checks or limits.
  • Motion E — Second Referendum on Deal (Kyle)
    This would mean a ‘confirmatory’ public vote of any Withdrawal Agreement ratified by Parliament on the future relationship between the EU and UK, proposed by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson. It also has the support of Labour backbenchers, Tory Remainers, the SNP, the left-wing Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru, and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats.
  • Motion F — Second Referendum on No Deal (Grieve)
    Put forward by Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve, who recently lost a confidence vote in his constituency of Beaconsfield, would mean holding a public vote “to prevent the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a deal.”
  • Motion G — Parliamentary Supremacy (Cherry)
    Proposed by Joanna Cherry from the leftist SNP, it would prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal by first requiring the government seen an extension if a deal is not agreed. If Brussels does not agree a Brexit delay, the Remain-dominated House of Commons would be asked to chose between no deal or revoking Article 50, stopping Brexit altogether.
  • Motion H — EFTA and EEA Membership (Eustice)
    Proposed by Conservative George Eustice, it would see the UK “rejoin the European Free Trade Association at the earliest opportunity to make its rights and obligations as an EEA member operable” and “agree with the EU a further short extension to the UK’s membership of the EU during which accession to the EFTA pillar can be concluded” while negotiating with Brussels protocols on the Northern Irish border.

Prime Minister May has to present a plan in two weeks’ time, likely before the emergency European Union summit on April 10th, as part of the conditions set out by the European Council — the EU27 heads of government — with the date of the extension set to end on April 12th.


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