With half a dozen amendments flying around the House of Commons at the moment, we thought it would be useful to produce a concise guide to what they all mean.
Benn’s amendment: Calls for ‘indicative votes’ to give the Commons’s view on four possible next steps: another vote on May’s deal; a No Deal Brexit; renegotiate the deal; or hold a second referendum.
Cooper and Boles’s amendment: The amendment essentially provides for the possibility of extending Article 50 to avoid No Deal. The technicalities of doing so mean it involves creating time for a Private Members’ Bill that would make such a provision, in the circumstance that the Prime Minister’s revised or renegotiated deal is voted down – and the timings would require that Bill to proceed before those negotiations end or the vote on the deal takes place. If the Bill goes through, and May’s deal is defeated, only at that stage would MPs get the chance to vote on whether the UK should request an extension.
Creasy’s amendment: The Walthamstow MP proposes an extension to Article 50 and the creation of a ‘citizens’ assembly’ to consider the issues and advise Parliament.
Grieve’s amendment: This would change the rules of the House to allow MPs to seize control of the Commons business agenda from the Government, circumventing the issue that at present various tactics the Opposition and some Tory rebels would like to pursue would require the consent of the executive. It could be used to force Commons votes on a variety of different approaches to Brexit. Previously it made provision for a minority of MPs to take control, but Grieve has removed this very controversial element.
Labour’s amendment: The Opposition’s proposal requires that MPs get votes expressing their opinion on possible approaches “to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a ratified withdrawal agreement and political declaration”, ie to avoid No Deal. It specifies that the options would include “permanent customs union” (Labour’s current policy) and a “public vote”, ie a second referendum.
Reeves’s amendment: This would call on the Government to request an extension to Article 50 if a deal has not secured Parliament’s support by 26th February.