Belfast Telegraph

MPs to take control from PM and vote on different Brexit options

Theresa May makes a statement on Brexit to the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)
Theresa May makes a statement on Brexit to the House of Commons (House of Commons/PA)

MPs are to have a series of indicative votes on the way forward for Brexit after passing an amendment to take control away from Prime Minister Theresa May.

It comes after they passed an amendment from Sir Oliver Letwin by a vote of 329 to 302.

The amendment allows backbench MPs to start the process of organising a series of indicative votes from Wednesday.

This aims to allow the Commons to establish whether there is a majority for any Brexit outcome, with Sir Oliver advising compromise would be necessary to reach agreement.

Among the options likely to be voted on will be a Norway-style deal or a second referendum.

Ministers Richard Harrington, Steve Brine and Alistair Burt quit the Government to allow them to vote in favour of the proposal.

Mr Harrington said he resigned as business minister because he believed the Government's approach to Brexit was "playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country".

A total of 30 Conservative MPs were listed as having voted in favour of the Letwin amendment.

MPs then approved the amended Government motion allowing Parliament to seize control of the Commons agenda to hold a series of indicative votes by 327 votes to 300.

Another backbench amendment to allow the Commons to have a vote if the UK is seven days away from leaving the EU without a deal was narrowly rejected by MPs by 314 votes to 311.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, welcomed the result on Twitter.

"Parliament takes control. An opportunity to build a cross-party cooperation leading to an enhanced political declaration & a closer future relationship! #Brexit," he wrote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the result, hailing the fact the House had now "taken control".

"This Government has been an abject failure and this House must now find a solution," he said.

"This House must also consider whether any deal should be put to the people for a confirmatory vote.

"Where this Government has failed, this House must, and I believe will, succeed."

Jeremy Corbyn (House of Commons/PA)
Jeremy Corbyn (House of Commons/PA)

The Department for Exiting the EU said the vote on Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment set a "dangerous, unpredictable precedent" for the future.

"It is disappointing to see this amendment pass, as the Government made a clear commitment to provide a process to find a majority in Parliament for a way forward this week," a spokesman said.

"This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.

"While it is now up to Parliament to set out next steps in respect of this amendment, the Government will continue to call for realism - any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU.

"Parliament should take account of how long these negotiations would take and if they'd require a longer extension which would mean holding European Parliamentary elections."

The latest developments comes after Prime Minister Theresa May admitted on Monday that there was still not enough support to get her Brexit withdrawal deal through the House of Commons.

She said that she would attempt to raise support for the deal in the coming days in the hope of holding a third meaningful vote on her deal.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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