Will they EVER stop? Remainers prepare ANOTHER round of indicative Brexit votes

Posted on Mar 30 2019 - 11:16am by admin

With pro-Brexit campaigners Leave Means Leave staging a demonstration in Parliament Square today, the day Britain was originally due to quit the bloc, the pressure is on lawmakers amid claims of a “Brexit betrayal”. Mrs May’s plan will be voted on again today, although MPs will only be voting on the withdrawal agreement aspect, and not the political declaration, a method adopted in order to comply with speaker John Bercow’s insistence that MPs cannot be asked to vote on the same thing three times in a single Parliamentary session. The previous series of eight indicative votes, held on Wednesday, saw MPs fail to agree any of the options put before them, including a second referendum, a permanent customs union, a so-called “Common Market 2.0”, and leaving the EU without a deal in place on April 12.

The Customs Union idea, which was narrowly voted down by 272 votes to 264, is being talked up as a possible solution which if so would surely infuriate hardline Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage.

Politico’s Playbook bulletin suggested “top of the list” was a plan to “propose a customs union with a second referendum tacked on, which some backbenchers believe could secure a majority if the two voting blocs can be held together”.

One source said: “If all those who backed either proposal agreed to support both, there are a cushy 344 votes to be had,” suggesting the figure came from “adding the SNP and Lib Dems to the Custom Union’s 264 votes, and takes account of three absentees from last night who would normally be supportive.”

Another idea is for a motion calling for a second referendum which some MPs believe might win a majority.

Advocates suggest such an idea could be used to fashion a “coalition of extremes” in which Remainers and Brexiteers join forces to back a second public vote, with both sides believing they would emerge victoriously.

A third strategy would be to combine the Customs Union idea with the Common Market 2.0 idea proposed by Tory Remainer Nick Boles.

The idea would involve Britain being a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not having political representation on the EU’s various bodies.

One Labour backbencher told the Guardian: “There are lots of discussions about how to maintain momentum for a soft Brexit.

“We should try to find a way of splicing together Labour’s alternative plan, Ken Clarke’s customs union and Common Market 2.0. 

“But if you go too hard on the customs union aspect then you lose a lot of Tory MPs. 

“If we can find a form of words that keeps enough Tories on board, that folds in Labour’s plan, we can get one motion for a sensible, pragmatic, bridge-building Brexit.” 

Explaining the point of the votes, The Open University’s Dr Richard Heffernan told Express.co.uk: “The House as a whole can reject the preferred option if one emerges from Monday’s indicative vote and force a general election.

“The govt can refuse to take forward that preferred option. So No Confidence vote and a general election. SNP and Lab want a general election, so the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA) will be circumvented.

“An election is grounds for an extension, however long, even if participating in Euro elections. Have the general election the same day as the Euros. Postpone the locals until then. Clean house!!”

Even if a way forward is identified, Parliament would then need to draft an emergency bill on Wednesday which would force the Government to act.

Mrs May was defeated by 344 votes to 286 in Parliament, delivering her administration another devastating blow.

European Union leaders will meet on April 10 to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc, European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed shortly afterwards.

He said: ”In view of the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I have decided to call a European Council on 10 April. Brexit.”

EU leaders last week gave May until Friday to secure backing for the deal she struck with them last year, or Britain would leave as early as April 12 if London offers no other strategy.

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