MPs reject all four alternative Brexit options

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MPs reject all four alternative Brexit options
MPs reject all four alternative Brexit options

British MPs have rejected all four alternative Brexit proposals in the latest round of indicative votes.

MPs took back control of the Brexit agenda this evening in a second round of “indicative” votes on a series of rival proposals tabled by backbenchers, to see if any could command a majority.

Commons Speaker John Bercow selected four of the nine Brexit alternative proposls to be considered on day two of the indicative vote process.

Speaker John Bercow announced the results as follows for the indicative votes procedure:

Motion C, which called on the government to seek to negotiate a permanent customs union with the EU, 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, defeated by 282 votes to 261, majority 21.

Motion E, which called for confirmatory referendum to approve the Brexit deal, rejected 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, rejected by 292 votes to 191, majority 101.

The votes came as Mrs May struggled to contain the rising tension within her cabinet as the clock counts down to the next EU deadline on 12 April.

Nick Boles, a former minister, was applauded by some MPs when he quit the Conservative Party after his Brexit alternative plan was defeated for a second time.

Raising a point of order, he told the Commons: “I have given everything to an attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion.

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“I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise.

“I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party.”

One MP could be heard saying: “Oh Nick, don’t go, come on.”

A DUP spokesperson confirmed that the party voted against all four options, including the Customs Union proposal of Conservative MP Ken Clarke that narrowly failed to get majority support.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “It is disappointing that no solution has won a majority this evening.
“But I remind the House the Prime Minister’s unacceptable deal has been overwhelmingly rejected three times.

“The margin of defeat for one of the options tonight was very narrow indeed and the Prime Minister’s deal has been rejected by very large margins on three occasions.

“If it is good enough for the Prime Minister to have three chances at her deal, then I suggest that possible the house should have a chance to consider again the options we had before us today in a debate on Wednesday so the house can succeed where the Prime Minister has failed in presenting a credible economic relationship with Europe for the future that prevents us crashing out with no deal.”

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, whose amendment to revoke Article 50 came bottom of the table, said she would now move away from trying to fix UK issues and focus on Scotland.

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Expressing fury with Labour for whipping against her option she said: “I don’t know why they whipped against because when I spoke to Keir Starmer he was unable to give any kind of coherent explanation.

“I know many people suspect it’s because because Labour couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a motion in the name of someone from the SNP.

“Labour has put a dreadful, incompetent, hopeless Tory government in a stronger position.

“From now on my principal focus will be on how best to protect Scotland from this chaos.”

And SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “It would indeed be an outrage if the government sought to bring back its deal.

“It really is about time that the Government accepted reality. That the deal the government put forward has been defeated three times with the largest defeat in parliamentary history.

“I acknowledge I am disappointed that tonight we have not won with revoke, with a people’s vote or a customs union.”

Mr Blackford added that a “vast majority” of Scottish MPs had voted to revoke Article 50, as well as for a people’s vote and to remain part of the single market and customs union.

He said: “It is crystal clear to us in Scotland that our votes in this house are disrespected. It is becoming increasingly clear to the people of Scotland that if we want to secure our future as a European nation, then we are going to have to take our own responsibilities.

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“The case is this; sovereignty rests with the people of Scotland, not with this house. The day is coming where we will determine our own future and it will be as an independent country,” he added.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay told MPs that the default outcome was now a no-deal Brexit on April 12, but said it was still possible to leave with a deal – and avoid holding European Parliament elections in May – if the Commons approves an agreement this week.

Cabinet will meet on Tuesday for five hours to thrash out a way forward.

Mr Barclay told MPs: “This House has continuously rejected leaving without a deal, just as it has rejected not leaving at all.

“Therefore the only option is to find a way through which allows the UK to leave with a deal. The Government continues to believe that the best course to take is to do so as soon as possible.”

Mrs May spent the weekend trying to build support among MPs who could be won over, with aides saying she was “100% focused” on getting the result she needed.

European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, tweeted: “The House of Commons again votes against all options. A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable. On Wednesday, the U.K. has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss.”

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