Explained: the amendments voted on by MPs


Theresa May has published her third Commons motion, which allows MPs to add their own amendments on the next stage of the Brexit process.

The latest government motion is written in neutral terms and states: “This house notes the prime minister’s statement on leaving the European Union of 26 February 2019; and further notes that discussions between the UK and the EU are ongoing.”

MPs’ amendments are not legally binding but if any of them get majority support there will be considerable pressure on the government to act on them.

However, some pressure has been taken off Wednesday’s amendments after the prime minister promised on Tuesday to hold another meaningful vote on her Brexit deal on 12 March. If that fails to pass, MPs will be given a vote on leaving with no deal and, if that also fails, on extending article 50 beyond the 29 March departure deadline.

Here are the amendments selected by the Speaker:

A Labour Brexit deal – DEFEATED

The Labour frontbench put down an amendment that would give parliament a say on a Brexit deal the party could support, including a full customs union, stronger single market alignment and more robust protection for the environment and workers’ rights.

The amendment was voted down by 323 to 240 votes.

The five demands on the amendment mirrored those sent by Jeremy Corbyn in a letter to Theresa May, spelling out changes the prime minister would need to seek in order to gain Labour support.

Guaranteeing May’s promise to hold a vote on extending article 50 – PASSED

Labour’s Yvette Cooper and the Conservatives’ Sir Oliver Letwin had rattled Downing Street with an amendment that would pave the way for a bill to extend article 50, over which ministers had threatened to resign to support it. Letwin and the amendment’s other Tory backer, Nick Boles, have now said they are happy with the prime minister’s pledge to hold the votes on 13 and 14 March. However, to hold the prime minister to her promise, Cooper tabled an amendment to reiterate May’s statement, in effect forcing the government to vote for her amendment. The amendment was voted through by 502 to 20 votes, a majority of 482.

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Protect EU citizens’ rights – GOES THROUGH ON THE NOD

The amendment of the Conservative backbencher Alberto Costa has drawn the most cross-party support. It calls on the government to implement the part of the withdrawal agreement that includes citizens’ rights at “the earliest opportunity” regardless of the outcome of negotiations. The government has accepted this amendment after Costa resigned and it was passed without a general division – or “on the nod”.

Supporters of the amendment included Corbyn, the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, the chair of the European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, who is a high-profile supporter of a second referendum, and the Brexiter and the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

Costa resigned as a PPS in the Scotland office in order to table the amendment.

Rule out no deal at any possible date – DEFEATED

The SNP and Plaid Cymru tabled an amendment suggesting the UK should not leave without a deal at any time, even if article 50 is extended. It was defeated by 324 to 288.



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