The Speaker has selected seven amendments that could potentially be voted upon this evening.

  • Labour’s.
  • The SNP’s/Plaid Cymru’s.
  • Dominic Grieve’s.
  • Yvette Cooper’s.
  • Rachel Reeves’.
  • Caroline Spelman’s.
  • Graham Brady’s.


These divide into three categories:

1) Those that won’t pass, namely –

  • Labour’s.
  • The SNP’s.
  • Reeves’ (which calls for a two-year extension to Article 50 if no deal is agreed by February 26).

2) Those that could effect either Government policy or legislative proceedings, namely –

  • Spelman’s (which states that the UK will not leave the UK without a deal, but is essentially declaratory).
  • Grieve’s (which says that the Commons should take greater control of Brexit policy through a series of indicative votes).
  • Brady’s (which favours replacing the backstop with “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”).

3) Those that would effect Commons proceedings –

  • Cooper’s (which if passed guarantees parliamentary time for a private members’ bill drafted by Cooper that would extend article 50 to the end of 2019 if the Government fails to secure a deal by late February).

– – –

It follows in our view that –

  • If Cooper’s amendment passes, a signal will be sent to the EU that the Commons is likely to take control of Brexit policy from the Government if a deal is not secured by late February.  Her Bill would begin consideration on February 5, next week.
  • This will be so regardless of whether the Brady amendment passes.
  • If the Cooper amendment falls and the Brady amendment passes, a signal will be sent to the EU that the Commons wants substantial changes to the backstop, and that the Government has re-established a degree of control over Brexit policy, at least for the moment.