MPs fail again to reach agreement

Parliament rejects all four motions seeking Brexit deal

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn: wants new debate on Wednesday


None of the four proposed options seeking a clear decision on Britain’s Brexit future has won support in the Commons.

The motions included retaining a customs union with the EU – defeated by just three votes – and keeping the UK in the single market .

Following the failure of his own motion to stay in the single market – known as Common Market 2.0 -– Nick Boles resigned from the Conservative Party. As he left the Chamber, he said he could “no longer sit for this party”, adding: “I have done everything I can to find a compromise.”

Theresa May‘s plan that she negotiated with the EU has been rejected twice by historic majorities. She now has until 12 April to either seek a longer extension from the EU to take a different course or decide to leave the EU without a deal.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “On a point of order, it is disappointing that no solution has won a majority this evening but I remind the House that the Prime Minister’s unacceptable deal has been overwhelmingly rejected three times.

“The margin of defeat for one of the options tonight was very narrow indeed and the Prime Minister’s deal has been rejected by very large majorities on three occasions.

“If it is good enough for the Prime Minister to have three chances at her deal then I suggest that possibly the House should have a chance to consider again the options that we had before us today, in a debate on Wednesday, so that the House can succeed where the Prime Minister has failed, in presenting a credible economic relationship with Europe for the future that prevents us crashing out with no deal.”

SNP MP Peter Grant said: “121 Labour MPs voted for Joanna Cherry’s motion tonight. 18 voted against. 106 abstained. If Labour had whipped their MPs to support this motion it would probably have won.”

The Speaker John Bercow chose four of the eight suggested amendments for debate. They were:

  • Committing the government to negotiating “a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” as part of any Brexit deal – proposed by Tory former chancellor Ken Clarke
    AYES: 273 NOES: 276
  • Referred to as Common Market 2.0, this option would mean joining the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area – proposed by Tory MP Nick Boles
    AYES: 261 NOES: 282
  • This is for a confirmatory referendum, giving the public a vote to approve any Brexit deal passed by Parliament before it can be implemented – proposed by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson
    AYES: 280 NOES: 292
  • The motion aims to prevent the UK leaving without a deal, including a vote on whether to revoke Article 50 – stopping Brexit – if the EU does not agree to an extension – proposed by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry
    AYES: 191 NOES: 292

Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright said: “Tonight’s failure to reach a majority for one or more options in Parliament shatters hopes of progress.  Business confidence in the political leadership is in real danger of running out.

“With no apparent Parliamentary majority for any potential way forward, and a no-deal crisis on April 12 2019 looming, the only common sense approach left is for the UK to request a sufficient extension to article 50 to allow a complete re-think and a different kind of consensus to emerge.” 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Parliamentarians are playing a reckless game of chicken which will end in disaster unless enough MPs can be persuaded to back a clear outcome which avoids a chaotic no deal Brexit.

“Unless the majority of MPs rally behind a plan of action that avoids no deal, it will be ordinary families who suffer higher prices and less choice on the shelves.”


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