Yesterday – following the agreement of the ‘Letwin amendment’ on Monday – my colleagues and I were finally able to express our views on a variety of Brexit options in a ballot of indicative votes.
We were asked to approve or reject eight amendments which had been selected by the Speaker from a total of 16. This is the list we voted on:
Amendment (B) – Leave with no deal on April 12th (tabled by Tory John Baron)
Amendment (D) – Common Market 2.0 (tabled by Tory Nick Boles)
Amendment (H) – Stay in EEA, join EFTA but renegotiate backstop (tabled by Tory George Eustice)
Amendment (J) – Minimum requirement to negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU (tabled by Tory Ken Clarke)
Amendment (K) – Labour’s alternative plan for Brexit (Labour frontbench)
Amendment (L) – Commons should arrive a ‘no-deal lock’ to revoke Article 50 if a deal has not been passed within a day of exit date (tabled by SNP’s Joanna Cherry)
Amendment (M) – Confirmatory public vote (tabled by Labour’s Margaret Beckett)
Amendment (O) – Contingent Preferential Arrangements in event of no deal (tabled by Tory Marcus Fysh)
Much of the attention was focused on Margaret Beckett’s amendment (M), which was the same as the previously discussed Kyle-Wilson amendment. Well over 200 constituents emailed yesterday asking me to vote in favour; that was the line we agreed as a party and I was very pleased to support it. The amendment received more votes than any other option on the ballot, but sadly it did not receive a majority. In the end 268 members voted in favour of the Beckett amendment, versus 295 who voted against.
Labour also supported amendment (J) and, of course, our own amendment (K). In addition to this, I also voted in favour of amendment (L). We continue to reject a no deal outcome at every opportunity, so did not support amendments (B) and (O).
Here are the full results…
Amendment (B) – 160 For. 400 Against. (I voted against this one)
Amendment (D) – 188 For. 283 Against. (I voted for this one)
Amendment (H) – 65 for. 377 Against. (I did not vote on this one)
Amendment (J) – 264 For. 272 Against. (I voted for this one)
Amendment (K) – 237 For. 307 Against. (I voted for this one)
Amendment (L) – 184 For. 293 Against. (I voted for this one)
Amendment (M) – 268 For. 295 Against. (I voted for this one)
Amendment (O) – 139 For. 422 Against. (I voted against this one)
We plan to spend the next couple of days debating the results, before narrowing our choices on Monday until we can find a solution which is supported by a majority of MPs. There has been talk of the Government bringing a third meaningful vote to the House before the end of this week, but the Speaker has reiterated that the PM cannot present her deal again without any substantial changes.
As you may have seen in the news, the PM has told Tory MPs that she will resign once she manages to get her deal through the House. She is no doubt hoping that this will help her win support from the pro-Brexit ERG and others who have so far rejected her deal.
I will continue to do everything I can to secure the best possible outcome my Lewisham Deptford constituents and, I believe, the country as a whole. Watch this space!