Brexit: Seven options MPs could vote on, and what they mean | Politics News

The House of Commons will be given the choice of various Brexit outcomes through a series of so-called indicative votes.

It comes after the government was defeated in the Commons and failed to stop a proposal spearheaded by former Tory minister Sir Oliver Letwin from being approved by MPs.

His plan has seized control of the parliamentary timetable from the government for Wednesday.

It is up to Speaker John Bercow as to what options will be voted on, but Sir Oliver has said that all “serious” proposals should have a chance to be considered.

So, what are the likely Brexit options MPs will be voting on and how will the votes work?

Theresa May speaks in Parliament following the vote on Brexit
Image:
Article 50 is the clause which triggered the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Revoke Article 50

Article 50 is the clause which triggered the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and gave the country two years to negotiate an exit deal.

A petition to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit passed five million signatures on Sunday.

The prime minister is set against cancelling the UK’s departure from the EU, claiming it would cause distrust of politicians for failing to deliver on the result of the EU referendum.

Second referendum

A second referendum would see decision-making on Brexit taken back to the public – likely including the option of remaining in the EU.

The People’s Vote campaign claimed one million people joined its march in favour of a second EU referendum in London on Saturday.

A Sky Data poll in January found that most Britons do not want a second EU referendum, with 56% saying they were opposed to another vote.

PM’s deal

MPs have twice rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with the prime minister admitting she is still yet to garner enough support to bring it back for a third vote in the Commons.

EU leaders recently granted the prime minister’s request to delay Brexit, on the condition that her deal is passed by the end of this week.

PM’s deal with customs union

Another option is a softer version of the prime minister’s deal, which would see the UK remain within the EU’s customs union.

This means goods can pass between the UK and the EU without checks or duties, but there will still be tariffs for non-EU goods.

However, it would severely limit the UK’s ability to sign independent trade deals with non-EU countries.

MAY LOSES BREXIT VOTE
Image:
Mrs May has lost two votes on her Brexit deal

PM’s deal with customs union and single market membership

This option would also include membership of the EU’s single market – which guarantees the free movement of goods, capital, services and labour across the bloc.

The prime minister has repeatedly stated ending free movement of people is among her top priorities in order to honour the 2016 Brexit vote.

Standard free trade agreement

Brexiteers have long argued the UK should sign a free trade deal with the EU along the lines of Canada’s agreement with the bloc.

This would see the vast majority of goods be traded tariff-free between the UK and EU, but leave the UK outside the bloc’s customs union and single market.

The prime minister argues this would not prevent the establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

No-deal Brexit

This final option would leave the UK with no agreements in place for its departure or what its future relationship with the EU will look like.

It has been argued this could cause chaos at the UK’s borders and see a hit to the economy, while also not providing protections for EU citizens living in the UK and British expats living on the continent.

It could also see a hard border established on the island of Ireland, and the ending of UK-EU security co-operation.

Sky News recently revealed the armed forces have activated a team in a nuclear-proof bunker under the Ministry of Defence as the government prepares for a potential no-deal Brexit.

However, Brexiteers argue a no-deal Brexit would mean the UK wouldn’t have to pay a £39bn divorce fee and could immediately reduce tariffs on goods coming into the country.

How will it work?

At 2pm on Wednesday, the normal business in the Commons will stop.

MPs will then consider a backbench motion setting out the future business in the chamber, including the arrangements for holding the indicative votes.

If more than one business motion is tabled, Speaker John Bercow will decide which one is selected.

Sir Oliver said he hoped to be able to work with the government and Labour to come to an agreement about how the process will work.

After a debate of up to an hour, the Commons will then begin considering the options that have been put forward.

Pro-Brexit protestors carry placards during a protest near the Houses of Parliament in London on March 13, 2019. - British MPs will vote Wednesday on whether the country should leave the EU without a deal in just over two weeks, after overwhelmingly rejecting a draft divorce agreement. The House of Commons is expected to vote against a 'no deal' Brexit, although this could still happen on March 29 unless it can agree on what should happen instead.
Image:
Pro-Brexit protesters carry placards during a protest near the Houses of Parliament in London

How long will it take?

This is not clear, but Sir Oliver has suggested it could be a long process which takes several days.

He has proposed that MPs begin on a “plain vanilla basis”, with the Commons voting on the various options on paper slips all at once at the end of the first debate.

This would be different to the normal practice, which sees MPs go through lobbies in a series of divisions of around 15 minutes each.

Sir Oliver has said he thinks this would stop MPs voting tactically based on the sequence in which the votes are called.

He added that once it has been established which proposals have “significant” support, a way would have to be found for MPs to “zero in” on the most popular option, perhaps through a form of preferential voting system.

Will the government be bound by what MPs decide?

Not necessarily.

Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs on Tuesday that she was “sceptical” about the process, which “could lead to an outcome that is un-negotiable with the EU”.

“No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is,” she said.

“So I cannot commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House, but I do commit to engaging constructively with this process.”

This was reiterated by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who said MPs may come up with something that is “entirely undeliverable.”

Such talk prompted Tory former minister Nick Boles to warn that MPs could bring forward legislation forcing the government to act if ministers try to ignore Parliament.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.