Thank you to all of you who have got in touch about the current state of the Brexit negotiations.
As you may have seen in the news, the Speaker chose a number of amendments for debate yesterday in the Commons. The first of these – tabled by our frontbench – would have instructed the government to rule out a no-deal Brexit and give Parliament time to consider and vote on options to break the current impasse. Those options would have included the possibility of a public vote on a deal or proposal on the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. Despite our best efforts, the amendment fell by 321 votes to 298.
The amendments put forward by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and the Conservatives’ Dominic Grieve – which would have guaranteed parliamentary time for a private members’ bill to extend Article 50 and demanded votes for MPs on all Brexit options (probably including a second referendum) respectively – were also supported by Labour but again both amendments fell.
We did have success in our support of the amendment tabled by Labour’s Jack Dromey and the Conservatives’ Caroline Spelman, though, which passed by 318 votes to 310. Although it is not binding, the amendment rejected a no-deal Brexit in principle, allowing MPs to indicate that the majority are against this outcome.
However, the other amendment which passed was the so-called ‘Malthouse Compromise’ amendment tabled by Conservative Graham Brady. This requires the Northern Ireland backstop to be replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border and had the backing of the Prime Minister.
Within minutes of the Brady amendment passing, Donald Tusk (the President of the European Council) announced that the EU would not be prepared to reopen the deal. The Prime Minister has given into pressure from the Eurosceptics in her party and now, with less than two months to go until exit day, she is returning to Brussels with little to no hope of achieving anything new.
Her planned next step is to return to Parliament with a renegotiated deal for approval. If she is not able to do this by February 13th, the Government will table a statement detailing what will happen next.
In the meantime, now that the Commons has passed an amendment against a no-deal outcome Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss Labour’s ongoing concerns with her deal, namely the absence of a comprehensive customs union, strong single market deal and proposal to protect workers’ rights and environmental protections.
Thank you once again for taking the time to get in touch. It may not always be obvious, but there is a huge amount of hard work going on behind the scenes and I am doing all I can to try to ensure the best possible outcome for my Lewisham Deptford constituents and the country as a whole.