AMENDMENTS TO MAY’S STATEMENT ON DEFEAT OF HER BREXIT BILL

 AMENDMENTS TO MAY’S STATEMENT ON DEFEAT OF HER BREXIT BILL

MPs will vote on Tuesday on a series of amendments to Theresa May’s statement on the defeat of her Brexit bill. The fact the statement can be amended means it is being used as a vehicle for all sorts of policy suggestions.

Below are the amendments tabled so far, many of which will not be voted upon. It is up to the Speaker, John Bercow, to choose what amendments are considered.

A. Official Labour amendment
Tabled by Jeremy Corbyn and backed by a series of frontbenchers, this pushes the party policy of avoiding no deal and instead seeking a form of customs union.

Amendments to the Labour amendment, and amendment C
These all call, in their various ways, for a second EU referendum. Three amendments-to-the-amendment are tabled by Labour backbenchers, and two by the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems have also tabled a separate amendment on the subject.

B. The Yvette Cooper/extend article 50 amendment
One of the most closely scrutinised amendments, and backed by more than 70 MPs, this would guarantee parliamentary time for a private members’ bill drafted by Cooper that would extend article 50 to the end of 2019 if Theresa May failed to secure a deal by late February. While it seems likely to win official Labour backing, and from some Tories, it could be scuppered by doubts among Labour MPs in leave-voting areas. The government will whip MPs against backing it.

D. Main Lib Dem amendment
This would create a committee of no more than 17 MPs based on representation in the Commons to lead on all Brexit matters in parliament.

F. Indicative votes amendment
This would call for a series of non-binding indicative votes in parliament to determine the way forward. It is tabled by Hilary Benn, the Labour MP who chairs the Brexit select committee.

G. Dominic Grieve amendment
This idea by the former attorney general would allow parliament to take control in creating a series of indicative votes by decreeing that a motion put forward by a minority of 300 MPs from at least five parties – including 10 Tory MPs – would be debated as the first item for MPs in the Commons the next day.

H. Citizens’ assembly amendment

Backed by a cross-party group of opposition MPs this would create a 250-strong “citizens’ assembly”, a representative but randomly selected group, to devise possible ways to move forward on Brexit.

I. Spelman no-deal amendment
Tabled by the longstanding Tory MP and former environment minister Caroline Spelman, with the backing of more than 115 MPs from various parties, this states that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal. It is only advisory and has no legislative force.

J. Extending article 50
Signed by a cross-party group of remain-minded MPs, led by Labour’s Rachel Reeves, this would seek a two-year extension of article 50 if there is not a deal in place by 26 February.

N. The Brady amendment
While tabled by Conservative backbencher Andrew Murrison, its main figurehead is Graham Brady, who as chair of the 1922 Committee is the voice of Tory backbenchers. Yet another attempt at making the backstop more palatable to Tory MPs, this says it should be “replaced with alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border”. Once again, this is something the EU has ruled out. The government has indicated that it will whip MPs to back the amendment, which if passed would allow May to go to Brussels with a clear sign from MPs of what they want, to get a deal through parliament.

E. Murrison backstop amendment
Tabled again by Murrison, and backed by more than 30 other Tories, this would have decreed that the Irish backstop, if it came into force, would expire at the end of 2021 – something the EU has said it will not agree to. Withdrawn to improve the chances of support for Brady’s amendment.

K, L, M. John Baron backstop amendments

Ayomide Oyewole

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