Brexit: MPs to vote on delaying departure from European Union – Politics live | Politics | The Guardian14 Marzo 2019
Parliament will debate and vote on yet another government motion today, this time to seek an extension to article 50
- Full story: prime minister delivers Brexit ultimatum to MPs
- How May’s Brexit deal laid bare Tory divisions
- ‘Chaos reigns’: what the papers say
The problem with the prime minister’s approach is that she hasn’t come to parliament and sought a compromise. She came to parliament and basically said ‘my deal or no deal’ and she’s threaten parliament. And MPs on all political parties said ‘we’re not having that’. Yesterday Philip Hammond said he would oppose a no-deal and he was interested in compromise, then he disappeared, he never voted against no-deal. What we are saying to Philip Hammond is ‘you and other MPs in your party are looking for a compromise join us now in working through that compromise’.”
On the prospects for a second referendum, McDonnell said:
I think what will happen is exactly Labour party conference decided. First of all we have got to prevent a reckless deal that the Conservatives are bringing forward [and] make sure we prevent a no-deal. We want a general election if we can’t get that, we have said we will bring our own deal forward and then if necessary, once parliament has agreed deal, if some MPs we will only vote for this if it goes back to the people, that will have to be the case.
Asked about what kind of compromise Labour was seeking, McDonnell said:
“No deal on the 29 March is off the table. The problem with so called amendment A which Yvette Cooper moved last night, that the House of Commons collectively stamping its foot and saying ‘no no deal’ doesn’t actually answer the question how do we deliver this outcome because the default in our legislation is no deal. And the prime minister has always been abundantantly clear about this. The choices are, no deal, no Brexit or the deal. You can’t just say ‘we don’t want no deal’ without saying whether you are going to achieve that by having a deal or by having no Brexit.”
On cabinet members defying the three-line whip, he blamed “confusion”. Hammond said:
“A number of colleagues abstained on the final motion. We had a difficult situation. We were all expecting to have a free vote on the government’s motion where people could have expressed their view about leaving on 29 March. I would, of course, have voted for it, rejecting the idea of leaving on the 29 March with no deal. But because of the amendment that option was not presented to us. Some of us felt that we had to follow the logic of having already voting against amendment A, and carry that through and vote against it again. Others felt they couldn’t do that because they wanted to clearly show their support for the view that no deal is not a good outcome.”
“It was a very difficult and confused situation because people had been offered a free vote on the government’s motion and once the government’s motion became amended there was some confusion about what the position was.
I don’t expect there to be mass sackings as a result of last night.
I told the House of Commons that I would support the government’s motion, but I voted against amendment A because it is a unicorn, because it proposes something without delivering a means.
Asked about his calls suggesting a cross party approach for a softer Brexit, Hammond said:
That’s what some of my colleagues who voted against the prime minister’s deal need to think very carefully about. It is clear that the prime minister has to find a consensus around something and if isn’t the prime minister’s deal, I think it is likely to be something which is much less to the taste of those on the hard Brexit wing of my party.
On the prospect of the Speaker denying a third vote meaningful vote, Hammond said:
If there is clear evidence that there is a body of support growing for the prime minister’s deal, then the House of Commons will find a way to allow that support to be expressed. Quite a number of colleagues changed their minds on this issue between the January vote and the vote earlier this week. And talks continue and some of my colleagues will be thinking very hard about what the alternatives are now.
On the extension to article 50, Hammond said:
Andrew Bridgen, one of the members of the ERG who has twice oted against Theresa May’s deal, appears in no mood to change his mind in a third meaningful vote.
Speaking on the Today programme he accused May of adopting a “scorched earth policy” by trying to take out every option apart from her withdrawal agreement. He described the deal as a Hotel California Brexit from which the UK could never leave the EU.
And he accused the Commons of frustrating the will of the British people and added: “I can’t see this parliament staggering on”.
My colleagues Heather Stewart and Rajeev Syal have this devastating assessment of May’s cabinet in chaos yesterday, which, as the Guardian reports on its front page, “ruptured three ways… in an unprecedented night of Tory splits.” It begins:
Throughout yet another neuralgic day of Brexit debate at Westminster, the deep divisions in the Conservative party were again on excruciating display.
Collective responsibility has long been suspended, as shifting groups of ministers and backbenchers pursue their own favoured Brexit outcome. But the chaotic votes of Wednesday night smacked of a government falling apart.
First, six cabinet ministers most notable for their leadership ambitions – Gavin Williamson, Jeremy Hunt, Alun Cairns, Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt and Sajid Javid – supported the Malthouse compromise, a policy that would involve junking the deal their own government had spent two years negotiating.
And then a separate group of cabinet ministers, David Mundell, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke, abstained in the face of a three-line whip, rather than vote against the amended motion taking no deal off the table.
This is a turd of a deal, which has now been taken away and polished, and is now a polished turd. But it might be the best turd that we’ve got.
This is also pretty good from Tom Peck at the Indy, who says:
How would an extension work?
Extending Brexit is a job for EU leaders, say numerous diplomatic sources. The EU’s 27 heads of state and government would have to decide unanimously at an EU summit on Thursday 21 March. But first the UK has to ask. The EU cannot consider the question until the British government makes a formal request to extend article 50.
Would the EU say yes?
Probably. While any single country has the right to block a Brexit extension, most diplomats think the EU would agree, although this cannot be taken for granted.
The wildcard is that EU leaders have never discussed the issue and often take a stricter line than officials. In December, for example, EU leaders decided it would be pointless granting the UK further legal assurances on the Irish backstop, concluding that another legal paper was unlikely to sway MPs in favour of a Brexit treaty. It turned out they were right. But blocking an extension could be seen as tantamount to forcing the UK to leave the EU without a deal. The EU does not want to go down in history with the blame for Brexit.
And the British request matters: the UK must be able to show “a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration”, a spokesman for the European council president, Donald Tusk, has said.
What is a ‘credible justification’?
That’s not entirely clear. The European parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, has said he opposes “any extension of article 50, even just for 24 hours, if it is not based on a clear majority from the House of Commons in favour of something”. Some EU sources say “credible justification” means time to hold a general election or a referendum. Others have no fixed view, and member states don’t want to be boxed in with strict criteria.
A short “technical” extension of two to three months to allow parliament to pass Brexit legislation would have been easy to agree if MPs had voted for the Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Now the deal has gone down in flames, the EU faces a dilemma. A short extension is seen as heightening the chances of the UK tumbling out of the EU just before European elections. But a long extension means the EU could be bogged down in Brexit for months or years, while numerous foreign and economic policy problems are jostling for attention.
Various options have been mooted, from three to 21 months, but there is no fixed view.
Can you explain the likelihood of the EU agreeing an extension in the short (June) or longer term?
The former seems palatable to the EU the latter does not. Therefore if we are in a position where we have no deal agreed and the EU reject a longer extension. What then?
Great question. Last night Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he hopes the UK will eventually agree on a constructive proposal, but the EU needs an answer now.
He says the UK has to explain why an extension should be granted. He says the EU cannot grant an extension until it gets an answer.