A guide to today's Brexit amendments


House of Commons

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MPs are set to vote on a series of amendments to a neutral government motion on Brexit.

Seven amendments have been tabled so far, but others can be submitted at the last minute.

Speaker John Bercow will select which ones can be debated and voted on.

MPs are expected to vote on the amendments from 22:00 GMT tonight.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment

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  • Notes the proposed alternatives to the prime minister’s Brexit deal
  • Calls on the government to “provide sufficient parliamentary time this week” for indicative votes

Indicative votes are where MPs vote on a series of options designed to test the will of Parliament to see what, if anything, commands a majority.

What are indicative votes?

The Liberal Democrats’ amendment

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  • Seeks a two-year extension to provide time for a referendum on accepting the withdrawal agreement or remaining in the EU

This amendment is also supported by Independent Group MPs.

Who are the Independent Group and what do they want?

Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin’s amendment

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  • Takes power to control business in the Commons away from the government on Wednesday, to allow MPs to put forward business motions relating to Brexit – most likely indicative votes
  • If more than one business motion is submitted, Bercow will decide which one has “precedence”
  • Whatever is happening in the Commons on Wednesday will be interrupted at 14:00 GMT. MPs will have one hour to debate the business motion before moving onto the main business

This amendment has cross-party support including from Conservative Dominic Grieve and Labour’s Hilary Benn, who is also chair of the Brexit Committee.

Conservative MP Will Quince’s amendment

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Uk Parliament

  • Recalls the result of the referendum and that 85% of votes were cast for parties to implement Brexit in 2017 which committed to abiding by that result in their manifestos
  • Reaffirms a commitment to honour the result of the referendum

Mr Quince’s amendment has support from DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds and members of the European Research Group including Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s amendment

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  • If a deal is not passed by Thursday, the government has to set out how it will ensure the UK does not leave without a deal on 12 April, “including by seeking an extension to Article 50 to take account of any conclusions reached by the House”
  • This could be seen as complimentary to the Letwin amendment, as it gives space to reflect on the results of indicative votes

Her amendment has support from Conservatives Oliver Letwin, Caroline Spelman and Nick Boles – as well as from Labour MPs and the Independent Group.

The Independent Group amendment

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  • “Make all necessary preparations” for a referendum between leaving the EU “on terms to be determined by Parliament” or remaining in the EU
  • This is different to the Lib Dem amendment which calls for a referendum between the prime minister’s deal and remain

Their amendment also has support from the Liberal Democrats.

Labour MP Dame Margaret Beckett’s amendment

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UK Parliament

  • If the UK is seven days away from leaving without a deal, government must allow MPs to vote on whether to leave without a deal or request an extension “to give time for Parliament to determine a different approach”

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