Members of Parliament have voted to pass a Bill that will force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek an extension of Article 50 and stop a no deal by one vote.
The Cooper/Letwin EU (Withdrawal) (No5) Bill was passed 313 to 312 at 11:30 Wednesday night, and could progress to the House of Lords as early as Thursday, potentially becoming law by next week.
If passed into law, it would force Prime Minister May to choose a date to which to extend Article 50 and then ask Commons MPs to agree to it, the measures meant to stop the UK leaving without a deal in a clean break, which is the legal default should a UK-EU withdrawal agreement not be agreed by April 12th.
Normally, the process of moving a bill through the House of Commons takes a number of weeks through a series of three readings and a reporting and committee stage, but the bill presented by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and backed by Tory Sir Oliver Letwin went through a marathon of debate and voting in one day.
Brexiteers were opposed to the expedited process, with Tory MP Peter Bone calling on Speaker John Bercow before the final vote to “make this farce stop.”
It was a day of close votes, with an earlier amendment to the Business of the House Motion seeking another round of indicative (non-binding) votes on soft-Brexit alternatives slated for Monday resulting in a 310-310 split, with Mr Speaker casting the tie-breaking vote of ‘No.’
Speaking after this evening’s Cooper/Letwin vote, vice chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Steve Baker MP called the way the bill was “rammed through” the House of Commons a “democratic outrage.”
“The people that voted for this are trying to disrupt the process of leaving the EU,” Mr Baker told Sky News. “If only they had stood firm and had the courage to say they would walk away, this country might have been able to negotiate a good deal instead of the appalling one we’ve had to reject three times.”
“What I hope happens now is the House of Lords, where there’s not a guillotine on time, will examine this Bill properly like they usually do… and will give it a level a scrutiny which this House hasn’t given. If they do that, it will probably be up there several days and will be no use whatsoever as the prime minister approaches this emergency council.”
This Breitbart London Livewire is now closed. Read below for news as it unfolded, and for this morning’s original reporting…
UPDATE 23:25 BST Wednesday — MPs Vote to Pass the Cooper/Letwin Bill by ONE vote on the Third Reading
The bill was passed 313 to 312.
This was the final reading of the Bill that requires Prime Minister Theresa May must bring a legally-binding and amendable vote on seeking an extension to Article 50 to stop a clean, no-deal Brexit. This extension would have to be agreed by the European Union.
The Bill has cleared the House of Commons and could go to the House of Lords as soon as Thursday, where it will be subject to a similar rapid-fire day of three readings and debate, before going to the Queen for Royal Assent.
UPDATE 22:35 BST Wednesday — And the Amendment Votes Continue…
While the final vote was scheduled for 10pm Wednesday, media are report that the final result of the vote on the Cooper/Letwin Bill will not be made until midnight.
MPs, meanwhile, continue to vote on a series of amendments to the Bill until then.
UPDATE 22:25 BST Wednesday — MPs Reject Government Amendment 22 of the Cooper/Letwin Bill, Ayes 220 Noes 400
Amendment 22 was a Government amendment that would have ensured the Bill did not limit the powers that a Minister of the Crown would otherwise have to seek, or agree to, an extension of the Article 50 period.
UPDATE 22:15 BST Wednesday — MPs Begin Voting on Amendments of the Cooper/Letwin Bill, Reject Eustice Amendment 21
The first amendment to be voted on was Amendment 21, the George Eustice Amendment, which takes out the requirement for Prime Minister Theresa May to put the EU’s chosen extension date to MPs, the amendment defeated 304 to 313.
UPDATE 19:25 BST Wednesday — MPs Vote in Favour of Yvette Cooper’s and Sir Oliver Letwin’s EU (Withdrawal) (No5) Bill in Second Reading. One More Vote to Go.
MPs votes 315 to 310 in favour of the Cooper Bill, which rules out a no deal Brexit and force the country to seek a Brexit delay beyond April 12.
If it passes a third reading, it could be passed to House of Lords as soon as tomorrow in the next stage of the Bill becoming law.
House of Commons votes 315 to 310 to approve the second reading of the #EUWithdrawal5Bill.
MPs continue to scrutinise the Bill with detailed examination in committee stage. On this occasion, it is being considered in a committee of the whole House – but what does this mean? pic.twitter.com/eSK958s9dB
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) April 3, 2019
UPDATE 19:00 BST Wednesday — MPs Now Voting on the Cooper Bill
MPs are voting now on second reading of Labour’s Yvette Cooper’s Bill to force an extension to Article 50.
If lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament agree to give the Cooper Bill a further reading, debate will continue with further a vote taking place at 10pm. However, if MPs reject the Bill in this vote, it will go no further.
Bills in the House of Commons normally are not pushed through in one day, normally taking a number of months.
New Bills take three readings in the Commons before being advanced to the House of Lords, where it goes through through three readings, before it gets Royal Assent and becomes law. If it is approved in the Commons it could be seen in the Lords as soon as Thursday.
UPDATE 18:00 BST Wednesday — Main Business Motion Squeaks Through with One Vote
Members of Parliament have voted to go ahead with the second reading of Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s bill 312 votes to 311 — a majority of one.
If passed, the Private Member’s Bill would stop a proper, no deal, Brexit. The second reading will be followed by a third reading, and a a final vote this evening.
House of Commons have approved the business of the House motion by 312 votes to 311.
Find out more about the Bill and watch the debate live: https://t.co/v1RGP19yLV
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) April 3, 2019
UPDATE: 17:40 BST Wednesday — Remainer Takeover of Parliament Hits Bump in the Road After Speaker Casts Decisive Vote Against More Indicative Votes on Monday
Remainer Tory Sir Oliver Letwin’s backbench takeover of business from the government to try to find a soft-Brexit alternative is proving a failure after Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow gave the decisive vote that there were not be a third round of indicative (non-binding) votes on Monday.
Coming as Amendment A, proposed by Labour’s Hilary Benn, to the Business of the House Motion, it was voted 310-310, with, as per precedent, the Speaker casting the tie-breaking vote of ‘Noe.’
Two rounds of votes and 12 Brexit ‘alternatives’ later, not one option was, in the end, supported in the Remain-dominated House of Commons.
The next vote is on a motion which enables MPs to consider the EU Withdrawal Bill. Under the motion, MPs will take part and debate all stages of the EU Withdrawal Bill today, with division results expected at just before 6pm.
The Original Reporting from This Morning’s Article Continues Below…
Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to subcontract Brexit decision making to far-left Jeremy Corbyn is finding favour with Remainer Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Sir Oliver said, “I think he [Corbyn] is somebody that we can do business with.”
“If we can find common ground in a way that fulfils the referendum mandate, preserves jobs and security and preserves the union, we will have a way forward that when we look back on it, we will all be proud to have participated in,” he added.
Sir Oliver went on to disparage the UK, saying he found it “very difficult to imagine the UK” — the world’s fifth largest economy — “on its own doing better in trade deals with big economies like China, India, and the U.S.”
Letwin is the architect of the backbench takeover of the House of Commons for Brexit business which has so far resulted in not a single soft-Brexit option being supported despite the lower house of Parliament being massively overrepresented by Europhiles.
The Tory MP is part of a cross-party group of Europhiles intent on stopping a proper, no deal, Brexit, who along with Labour’s Yvette Cooper and former Conservative MP Nick Boles threatened a government shutdown in January by attempting to stop the Treasury spending on no deal arrangements.
Sir Oliver is backing a new Cooper bill which would stop the UK leaving the EU in a clean, no deal — that which remains the legal default if the UK’s Parliament cannot agree to back the Brussels-approved Withdrawal Agreement.
The two-clause Private Member’s Bill is set to be debated today, with a Second Reading vote at 7pm, a Third Reading, and a final vote at 10pm.
Desperate Remainers Push ‘Last Ditch Attempt’ Bill to Stop No Deal Brexit https://t.co/pYEKzdr3Sz
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 2, 2019
It has the backing of Tory MP Dominic Grieve, who recently lost a confidence vote in his constituency of Beaconsfield, and Europhile Labour MP Hilary Benn.
However, even those backing soft Brexit or remaining in the EU have expressed their doubts that the proposed Bill would have the desired effect, with QC Jo Maugham saying, “This is hopeless when we are so very near to No Deal.”
Additionally, even after May’s decision to share Brexit decision making with the Opposition and to request a further Brexit delay, Brussels sources have suggested that a second extension may not be guaranteed, particularly as when the first extension was granted, EU leaders said a second would only be agreed if May’s Withdrawal Agreement was passed in the Commons by last week.
“[EU leaders] will not want to come up to Brussels for a Brexit summit every two to four weeks. So they will probably agree on a long extension, with European elections, with a guillotine and expiry upon ratification,” a European diplomat told The Times.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron has said that a clean, no deal, is still possible, saying, “If the UK isn’t capable, almost three years after the referendum, of putting forward a solution that gets a majority, it will have decided itself, de facto, to leave without a deal. And we can’t avoid failure for the UK.”
Eurocrats: No Deal ‘Inevitable’ After MPs Rule out Soft Brexit Options https://t.co/LwWhVP226x
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 2, 2019