Last week (Wednesday 27th February) we voted on another series of amendments on Brexit.
Labour front bench amendment: this amendment would have instructed the Prime Minister to negotiate the key elements of Labour’s Brexit plan. We believe that it is a credible alternative to May’s deal and would provide the basis for a close economic relationship with the EU. Sadly this amendment was defeated by 323 votes to 240.
Cooper/Letwin amendment on extending Article 50: Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin tabled an amendment which stated that if MPs vote to delay Brexit, the Government should seek an extension from the EU and bring forward legislation to change, in law, the date of the UK’s departure. Labour supported this amendment and it passed by 502 votes to 20.
Costa amendment on the protection of EU citizens’ rights: Tory Alberto Costa drew cross-party support for his amendment calling on the Government to implement the part of the withdrawal agreement which includes citizens’ rights at “the earliest opportunity”, regardless of the outcome of negotiations. The Government had accepted this amendment earlier in the day so it went through “on the nod”, i.e. without the need for a vote.
SNP/Plaid Cymru amendment to rule out no deal: the SNP and Plaid Cymru tabled an amendment which proposed that the UK should not leave the EU without a deal, even if Article 50 is extended. Labour supported this amendment, but unfortunately it was defeated by 324 votes to 288.
As John McDonnell, our shadow chancellor, confirmed at the end of last week, when we finally have a meaningful vote on May’s deal (likely to happen on March 12th) the Labour leadership will either support or put forward an amendment calling for a public vote, with remain as an option on the ballot paper.