MIL-OSI UK: Government defeated again as MPs set three-day ‘Plan B’ Brexit deadline

Source: Labour List UK

The government has been defeated again today, following another historic defeat last night, as MPs passed an amendment tabled by Tory backbencher Dominic Grieve by 308 votes to 297.

Commenting on the amendment passing, Labour’s Brexit spokesperson Keir Starmer said: “The government’s decision to delay the meaningful vote has run down the clock and increased the risk of a no deal Brexit.

“If the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is defeated next week, she must return to parliament as soon as possible and give MPs a real say on what happens next.”

The Grieve amendment, which was approved by the Commons with a majority of 11, aims to force the Prime Minister to return to the House with an alternative plan by Monday 21st January after her deal is voted on Tuesday.

Without the amendment, the government would have had to make a statement on the next steps for Brexit within 21 days, then allow a Commons vote within seven sitting days.

Thanks to another Grieve amendment passed before the Christmas recess, the ‘Plan B’ motion will be amendable. This enables MPs, including the opposition, to propose their own alternative Brexit plans, such as the membership of a customs union favoured by Labour.

If Theresa May’s deal is voted down as anticipated on Tuesday, it has now been determined that she will have six calendar days to secure reassurances from the EU ahead of another vote.

Speaker Bercow’s decision to select the Grieve amendment today – despite it changing a business motion normally expected to be amendable by government only – was controversial.

For over an hour, following PMQs this afternoon, the Speaker took points of order on his ruling. A number of Tory MPs accused Bercow, who is thought to be a Remainer, of bias and of undermining the “integrity” of his position as Commons Speaker.

Conservative backbencher Crispin Blunt described Bercow as “no longer neutral”, but the Speaker defended his ruling, saying: “If we only went by precedent, manifestly nothing would ever change.”

Many members on the opposition benches spoke up to support Bercow, and it is widely understood that Labour’s backing of the Speaker protects him from being ousted by MPs.

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MIL-OSI UK: 175 Labour MPs signed motion of no confidence in May within two hours

Source: Labour List UK

175 Labour MPs signed Jeremy Corbyn’s motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister within two hours of its tabling yesterday.

Over two thirds of the parliamentary party, including MPs such as Chuka Umunna and Neil Coyle, quickly rallied behind the Labour leader’s efforts to apply pressure on Theresa May and stop her ‘running down the clock’ on Brexit.

Commenting on the signatories, Labour Party chair Ian Lavery MP said: “It’s great to see Labour MPs acting against this Prime Minister’s shameless attempt to run down the clock, rob MPs of a proper meaningful vote on her botched Brexit deal, and risk the chaos of a no deal Brexit.

“We stand together to say we’ve had enough of this Prime Minister’s contempt for parliament and the people. Last week, 117 of her own Tory MPs said they had no confidence in her – she’s lost the confidence of parliament and this country.

“After two years of failed negotiation, it’s clear the Conservatives cannot deliver the Brexit deal the country needs. They need to make way for a party that can.”

The Labour leader announced on Monday that he would be tabling a censure motion against Theresa May after she refused to give MPs a vote on her Brexit deal this week.

In her latest Brexit statement, May confirmed to the House of Commons that the meaningful vote is scheduled to take place on the week of the 14th January. That means MPs won’t get a say on the Tory Brexit deal until mid-January despite Labour’s calls for a vote to be held urgently before Christmas recess.

Labour’s motion of no confidence read: “That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU.”

The government would have to allow parliamentary time for Corbyn’s censure motion to be put to vote, which it has declined to do. Last night, a Labour spokesperson said it showed May “does not believe she retains the confidence of this House”.

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