Brexit: What’s happening in the House of Commons this week? | Politics News
After Theresa May secured a delay to Brexit, she now faces another week of critical votes in the House of Commons.
:: Sunday 24 March
The PM holds talks with government ministers and senior Conservative MPs at her Chequers country retreat.
It comes amid a flurry of reports she could be ousted from power by her cabinet.
:: Monday 25 March
Theresa May will hold a formal meeting of her cabinet in Downing Street, as well as a gathering of her political cabinet.
She will also lay a motion in the House of Commons setting out her next steps on Brexit, amid her continuing failure to secure the backing of MPs for a withdrawal agreement.
Like previous motions, this will see MPs try to attach a series of amendments to influence the Brexit process.
One spearheaded by former Tory ministers Sir OIiver Letwin and Dominic Grieve, together with Labour’s Hilary Benn, will attempt to seize control of parliamentary business away from the government on Wednesday.
This would then allow so-called indicative votes to be held in the House of Commons on different Brexit options, in the hope that a majority of MPs will be found for one such alternative.
Labour have tabled a similar amendment in favour of indicative votes, although theirs would not wrest control of the Commons timetable away from ministers.
Yvette Cooper, the former Labour minister, has tabled an amendment that would instruct the government to seek a further delay to Brexit if a withdrawal agreement isn’t approved by Thursday.
V worried PM still wants her deal or no deal & will run down clock again til we end up with No Deal chaos on 12 April. We’ve tabled further cross party amendment; if PMs Deal isn’t passed, Govt must set out plan to prevent No Deal on 12 April, taking account of indicative votes pic.twitter.com/8d1mMdcfGZ
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) March 22, 2019
:: Tuesday 26 March
The prime minister could bring her Brexit deal back to the Commons for another vote.
It has already been heavily defeated twice – but Mrs May might hope it is third time lucky with MPs facing the possible threat of a no-deal Brexit or a long delay to leaving the EU if they don’t vote for her withdrawal agreement.
However, the government have said they will only pursue a third vote if they look likely to win.
And that, so far, doesn’t seem plausible with Labour, the DUP and some Tory Brexiteers all still opposed.
Commons’ Speaker John Bercow has also provided another stumbling block to a third vote, after he ruled the prime minister’s proposal must be “substantially” different before it can be put before MPs again.
Mrs May believes EU approval for a short extension to the Article 50 negotiating period, as well as new proposals to ease DUP concerns about the Brexit backstop, will convince Mr Bercow to allow a third vote.
If there is a vote, there is likely to be an amendment tabled to the prime minister’s deal by two Labour backbenchers demanding a confirmatory referendum on her withdrawal agreement.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has signalled he will order his MPs to back this amendment, as part of his party’s promise to consider a fresh public vote.
:: Wednesday 27 March
If the Letwin-Grieve-Benn group are successful with their amendment on Monday – and the prime minister is still yet to pass her Brexit deal – this would be the day of indicative votes in the Commons on Brexit alternatives.
The options given to MPs would include a second EU referendum, a Norway-style relationship, permanent membership of the customs union, or even cancelling Brexit completely.
The government is also considering a plan to grant MPs indicative votes on seven different Brexit options, should Mrs May’s deal still not pass and, perhaps, to avoid the embarrassment of being forced into doing so by the Letwin-Grieve-Benn plot.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has promised that “one way or another” MPs will get such votes if they don’t approve the prime minister’s agreement.
:: Thursday 28 March
If the prime minister doesn’t put her Brexit deal back before the Commons on Tuesday, she could wait until Thursday.
She might hope a successful bid by MPs to hold indicative votes and subsequently push the government into a different “softer” Brexit – or even a majority call for a second referendum – will prompt Tory Brexiteers to reverse their opposition and back her agreement.
If Ms Cooper’s amendment has also passed on Monday – and Mrs May has still failed to pass her Brexit deal – then Thursday could also see the government forced into seeking another extension to the Article 50 negotiating period.
:: Friday 29 March
The day the UK was originally meant to leave the EU.
Last Thursday, the EU gave Mrs May a deadline of the end of this week by which to pass her Brexit deal.
If she does get her withdrawal agreement approved by MPs, Brexit will be delayed until 22 May in order to give the UK the time to put in place necessary legislation before its departure from the EU.
If the prime minister has still failed to get her Brexit deal passed, the EU has only delayed Brexit until 12 April, by which point the UK must “indicate a way forward”.
And beyond that…
:: 12 April
This could be the new date of a no-deal Brexit, if the prime minister fails to get her withdrawal agreement passed and the government doesn’t seek a further delay.
:: 2 May
The date of local elections across England and Northern Ireland.
It has been speculated, if a general election is called, it could also be held on this date to coincide with the council ballots.
:: 22 May
The new date of Brexit, if the prime minister does finally get her withdrawal agreement through the House of Commons.
:: 23 May
The beginning of elections to European Parliament elections across the EU.
If the UK chases a further, longer extension to the Article 50 negotiating period, then it must once again elect MEPs to the Brussels and Strasbourg legislature.
:: 31 December 2020
The end of the proposed Brexit transition period, at which point it is hoped the UK will move into a yet-to-be-negotiated new trading relationship with the EU.