Indicative votes, part two: 9 Brexit options tabled by MPs

Sienna Rodgers

The House of Commons will again take control of parliamentary business and hold a second round of ‘indicative votes’ today to try to establish which Brexit plan has the most support.

Ahead of the debate, MPs have tabled eight (or nine) Brexit options – double the number tabled last week.

Labour is supporting the following motions:

  • (C), customs union membership
  • (D), Common Market 2.0
  • (E), confirmatory public vote
  • (F), public vote to prevent no deal
  • Labour’s alternative Brexit deal (not on the order paper as it was tabled late)

Speaker Bercow is very likely to choose motions (C) and (E), which received the most support on Wednesday. It is then a question of whether he will allow MPs to vote on (D) – Common Market 2.0, which now has Labour and SNP backing – and Labour’s alternative deal.

The Tories are being given a free vote, apart from cabinet members who are being told to abstain.

Update, 5pm: Bercow has selected motions (C), customs union; (D), Common Market 2.0; (E), confirmatory public vote; and (G), Article 50 extension/revocation.

Here’s a quick guide to all the tabled motions…

(A) Unilateral right of exit from backstop

John Baron, Andrew Percy

Agrees to leave with May’s deal on 22nd May – amended to allow the UK to unilateral exit from the backstop. This was motion (C) last week; it was not selected.

(B) No deal in the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement

John Baron, Sir David Amess

Would see the UK leave without a deal on 12th April. This was motion (B) last week – it was defeated by 240 votes and isn’t likely to be selected today.

(C) Customs Union

Kenneth Clarke, Hilary Benn

Wants to make customs union membership a negotiating objective and enshrine that in law. This was motion (J) last week and the slimmest defeat – only rejected by six votes. It is likely to get a majority today.

(D) Common Market 2.0

Nick Boles, Lucy Powell

Directs government to renegotiate the political declaration: the UK would join EFTA, stay in EEA and single market, enter a customs arrangement until Irish border solution is found. It’s the Norway Plus/CM2.0 plan.

This was motion (D) last week. It was defeated by 95 votes then, but today the SNP has pledged to support it. Tricky for Labour MPs who don’t want to back freedom of movement, but if selected could attract significantly more votes than last time.

(E) Confirmatory public vote

Peter Kyle, Phil Wilson

Says any deal should be put to the people in public vote. This was Margarett Beckett’s motion (M) last week, which surprised many when it got the most votes in favour. But it was defeated by 27 votes (more than Clarke’s customs union).

Three shadow cabinet members were not disciplined after abstaining despite being whipped to vote for it, and there aren’t many more votes to get for another referendum. Suggests it will do well but not much better today compared to last week.

(F) Public vote to prevent no deal

Graham P Jones, Dominic Grieve

Backs a public vote only if it were necessary to avoid no deal. Supported by Labour today.

(G) Parliamentary Supremacy

Joanna Cherry, Dominic Grieve

Instructs government to seek Article 50 extension if ‘no deal’ is two days away. If extension is refused by the EU, Commons must vote on no deal versus revoke Article 50. Lots of signatories but not supported by Labour.

(H) EFTA and EEA

George Eustice, Jack Dromey

The more Tory version of Common Market 2.0. EEA and EFTA but not the customs arrangement of motion (D). This was motion (H) last week, defeated by 312 votes. Unlikely to be selected.

Bonus: LabourList understands that Labour is tabling a motion setting out its own alternative Brexit plan. It is likely to be the same as last week’s motion, which consisted of Corbyn’s five-point Brexit plan (customs union membership, close alignment with single market, etc).

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