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MPs will today partake in a second round of ‘indicative votes’ on various Brexit options. Open Europe’s Dominic Walsh explains the motions tabled by MPs and assesses their negotiability with the EU.
1 April 2019
The second round of “indicative votes” on various Brexit options will take place today. In the previous set of voting on Wednesday, the Speaker selected 8 of the 16 options tabled by MPs. All 8 were voted down, though there were a large number of abstentions and the margin of defeat varied considerably. The 8 options from last week and their negotiability with the EU have been considered in a previous blog.
This time, only 8 options were tabled, and the Speaker selected 4 – a customs union, “Common Market 2.0,” a confirmatory referendum, and a plan to revoke Article 50 to avoid No Deal. 4 were not selected – the EEA/EFTA model, leaving with No Deal, an additional referendum motion, and a unilateral exit mechanism from the backstop.
The range of choices MPs face is therefore narrowing, though it is not clear that this will enable them to coalesce behind any one option. In addition, it is possible that an option might ‘win’ in indicative votes but still be short of a stable parliamentary majority (320), due to abstentions. This possibility reinforces the argument that indicative votes do not alter the fundamental choice facing MPs, and are not guaranteed to give the UK any certainty.
Today’s Business motion also sets aside Wednesday 3 April for a further day of indicative voting. It is unclear what process this third round would follow; there has been speculation that the most popular option from today could be pitted against the Prime Minister’s deal.
The options MPs have put forward are difficult to compare directly. They can be considered in three distinct categories, as outlined by Professor of EU law Phil Syrpis:
Motion C: Customs Union (Ken Clarke, Conservative)
Who supports it?
What does it say?
Did MPs vote on this last week?
Is it negotiable with the EU?
Motion D: Common Market 2.0 (Nick Boles, Conservative)
Motion E: Confirmatory Public Vote (Peter Kyle, Labour)
Motion G: Parliamentary Supremacy (Joanna Cherry, SNP)
Dominic Walsh: How negotiable are the pathways outlined by the options for indicative votes?
Stephen Booth and Aarti Shankar: Indicative votes won’t give the UK much certainty over Brexit
Aarti Shankar: ‘Suspending’ Article 50: what options does the UK have?