As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I will not be supporting the Prime Minister’s deal and we now know that we will be voting on the deal on Tuesday 15th January. However, the past two days have also been very important to our Brexit journey.
Yesterday (January 8th) the Government was defeated on an important amendment – tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper – which passed by 303 votes to 296. The amendment means that if the Government wants to use some of the powers of the Finance Bill to implement a no-deal Brexit, it will either have to give Parliament a vote first or apply to extend Article 50.
This was a particularly humiliating defeat for the Prime Minister as 20 of her own MPs voted with the Opposition. It was also the first time a government had lost a vote on a finance bill since 1978.
As you may have seen reported in the press, I also joined 200+ MP colleagues in signing a letter to Theresa May urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit. We met with her yesterday afternoon to voice further concerns about the devastating impact a no-deal would have on British jobs and manufacturing.
Today (January 9th) we scored another important victory in the Commons chamber. The Speaker allowed us to vote on an amendment tabled by Dominic Grieve, a Tory MP who is staunchly pro-remain.
The amendment ensures that if her deal is defeated next week, the Prime Minister has to come back to Parliament within three sitting days to present her new plan. The amendment passed by 308 votes to 297, with 17 Tories voting with the Opposition.
This means that the Opposition could table amendments opposing a no-deal Brexit and it is highly likely that they would pass. The amendments would not be binding on the Government, but would send a very clear message to the Prime Minister that Parliament expects her to ensure that the UK does not leave without a deal.