Monday 23 September 2019

MPs vote against all four Brexit alternatives

A hard Brexit is 'nearly inevitable' - European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Speaker John Bercow addresses the House of Commons during a Brexit debate ahead of a second round of votes on alternative proposals to the government's Brexit deal. House of Commons/PA Wire
Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Eurosceptic Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate ahead of a second round of votes on alternative proposals to the government's Brexit deal. House of Commons/PA Wire
Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Eurosceptic Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate ahead of a second round of votes on alternative proposals to the government's Brexit deal.House of Commons/PA Wire
A supporter of Brexit holds a sign saying 'Just hoot, we voted leave' while others continue with their daily activities outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 dressed in blue holds an EU flag and entertains the public while singing about Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 dressed in blue holds an EU flag and entertains the public while singing about Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
A supporter of Brexit holds a sign saying 'Just hoot, we voted leave' while others continue with their daily activities outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom speaks in the House of Commons during a Brexit debate ahead of a second round of votes on alternative proposals to the government's Brexit deal. House of Commons/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

MPs in the UK have voted against all four Brexit alternatives.

No alternative Brexit option received the support of a majority of MPs in indicative votes.

Britain's Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay said the House has once again failed to find a majority for any option.

Mr Barclay told the House of Commons that the default legal position is that the UK will leave the EU in 11 days' time and that to secure an extension Britain must provide a "credible" plan.

Cabinet will now meet in the morning to consider the vote.

Reacting to the latest developments, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said a hard Brexit is “nearly inevitable”.

Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

“On Wednesday, the UK has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow had selected four of the nine Brexit alternative proposals to be considered on day two of the indicative vote process. Mr Bercow announced the results as follows:

Motion C, which called on the government to seek to negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU, was defeated by 276 votes to 273, majority three.

Motion D, which called on the government to seek an enhanced ‘Norway-style’ exit deal known as Common Market 2.0, was rejected by 282 votes to 261, majority 21.

Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Leave and remain protesters outside the Houses of Parliament, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Motion E, which called for confirmatory referendum to approve the Brexit deal, was defeated by 292 votes to 280, majority 12.

Motion G, which called for the government to revoke Article 50 as a last resort to prevent a no-deal Brexit, was rejected by 292 votes to 191, majority 101.

In the wake of the vote, Conservative MP Nick Boles announced on the floor of the house that he was quitting the party. He said: "I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise."

His party colleague Huw Merriman said: "Nick don't go, come on."

Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire

The votes are not binding on the government, but Justice minister David Gauke said on Sunday that it would have to "consider very carefully the will of parliament."

Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit committee, says the UK will now leave the EU without a deal in 11 days’ time unless the PM acts. Yet MPs have voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

He says he wants to know if Theresa May intends to make a statement announcing that she will write to the EU asking for another article 50 extension.

The votes come hours after European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt described Brexit as a "tragic reality" and urged MPs to find a compromise in Monday evening's votes.

He tweeted: "#Brexit is not a bad April Fool's Joke, but a tragic reality for all our citizens and business.

A supporter of Brexit holds a sign saying 'Just hoot, we voted leave' while others continue with their daily activities outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
A supporter of Brexit holds a sign saying 'Just hoot, we voted leave' while others continue with their daily activities outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 dressed in blue holds an EU flag and entertains the public while singing about Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Madeleina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 dressed in blue holds an EU flag and entertains the public while singing about Brexit outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues. Rebecca Brown/PA Wire

"It is now five to midnight. Today MPs must find a compromise & stop this chaos.

"This evening, for once voting 'Yes', instead of every time voting 'No'."

The Democratic Unionist Party earlier insisted it would continue to vote against UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

The party's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson told the BBC: "The implications for Northern Ireland are far, far too serious.

"First of all, it would take us away from the country that we fought to stay part of.

"And secondly, it would break us away from the economy on which we are dependent.

Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.Rebecca Brown/PA Wire
Joesph Afrane shows his support for Brexit wearing a Union Jack hat and Union Jack shoes outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London, ahead of the latest round of debates in the House of Commons concerning Brexit issues.Rebecca Brown/PA Wire

"Because, of course, the GB economy is the most important economy given where we export our goods and bring our goods from."

In the wake of Tory chief whip Julian Smith saying the Government should have made it clear that a softer Brexit was inevitable after the 2017 general election, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's not clear to me that going softer is the way to command support."

She added: "If you look at the parliamentary arithmetic now, it's not clear that something like a customs union actually commands support."

Ms Truss said: "I think that we are well prepared for no deal.

"I don't have any fear of no deal."

Referring to the chief whip's comment that the Cabinet was the most ill-disciplined in history, Ms Truss said: "It's difficult to compare Cabinets through the ages.

"Of course, this is an incredibly testing time; it's a time when we have got a minority Government.

"And there are differences of opinion, I won't deny that."

Ms Truss said: "The will of Parliament so far has not been in favour of a customs union.

"I think the answer lies in modifications to the Prime Minister's deal to be able to get that to have support."

Meanwhile, Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg had said he is "very concerned" that Theresa May will add a customs union onto her Brexit deal.

He told LBC radio: "My concern is that the Prime Minister is more concerned to avoid a no-deal Brexit than anything else.

"And therefore I am very concerned that she could decide to go for a customs union tacked onto her deal."

Mr Rees-Mogg also said Friday's vote on the Brexit deal would "probably have gone through" if it has been Mrs May's deal versus a general election.

Conservative MP Steve Baker, who maintained his opposition to Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement in last week's vote, tweeted a thread showing how much Brexiteers had already "compromised" since the referendum.

"1. We are still in the EU nearly 3 years after the Referendum. We accepted the Art 50 route. We then accepted another 18 months of implementation period.

"2. We accepted ECJ jurisdiction over the agreement including over how much we pay and EU citizens rights.

"3. We accepted £39bn as a price to get to trade talks.

"4. We found we had to accept the Number 10 negotiating team negotiating in secrecy.

"5. UK fish were to be treated as outside of the single customs territory for trade purposes as a prelude to fishing rights for trade deal.

"6. This was always a bad deal. We compromised and compromised but we were not prepared to accept the threat to our constitution and democracy resulting from the Northern Irish backstop and the acceptance of EU laws over which we would have no say."

PA Media

Also in Business