MIL-OSI UK: Corbyn tables confidence motion as May’s deal suffers historic defeat

Source: Labour List UK

Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the government after Theresa May’s deal was defeated by a huge 230 vote majority tonight.

Labour’s confidence motion will be debated and voted on tomorrow, but the government will likely survive as Tory and DUP MPs have pledged to support it despite having decisively voted down its Brexit deal.

248 Labour MPs, 118 Tories and all the DUP representatives voted against May’s deal. ‪Only three Labour MPs voted for May’s deal – Ian Austin, Kevin Barron, John Mann – plus Frank Field, who now sits as an Independent.

Both Jim Fitzpatrick, who said he was minded to vote for May’s deal last week, and Caroline Flint, who hadn’t confirmed either way, helped to defeat the deal. Lisa Nandy, Gareth Snell, Kate Hoey and other possible Labour rebels had already promised to follow the Labour whip tonight.

Speaking in the Commons after the vote, Jeremy Corbyn described the defeat as “catastrophic”. He said: “After two years of failed negotiations, the House of Commons has delivered its verdict on her Brexit deal and that verdict is absolutely decisive.”

The Labour leader added: “In the last two years, she has only had one priority: the Conservative Party. Her governing principle of delay and denial has reached the end of the line. She cannot seriously believe that after two years of failure, she is capable of negotiating a good deal for the people of this country.”

Although Corbyn has already called on the Prime Minister to renegotiate her deal and expressed his preference for one that includes customs union membership, May’s spokesperson did not indicate that such compromises would be made.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister would consult “senior parliamentarians”, not the opposition leader, on a deal based on the same principles of taking control of “money, borders, laws” with “an independent trade policy”.

Following the likely outcome of the confidence vote tomorrow, Corbyn will face pressure from Labour MPs and activists to back a fresh EU referendum. However, his spokesperson made clear that there are “other options on the table”.

Asked what were the other options, the spokesperson replied: ‪“The first is the alternative plan that we have laid out and that we believe can command a majority across the commons, even without a general election.”‬

He added: ‪“All options on the table means there is no hierarchy of options but this is our policy.”‬ On the possibility of tabling multiple motions of no confidence in the government, the spokesperson said: “‪Motions of no confidence can happen more than once.”‬

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MIL-OSI UK: People’s Vote a must following Government Brexit deal defeat

Source: The Green Party in Northern Ireland

Tuesday 15 September 2019
Clare Bailey MLA, leader of the Green Party has said that the government defeat on the EU Brexit deal means a People’s Vote is a must.
Clare Bailey MLA said: “Westminster and Theresa May’s government are in chaos, a People’s Vote is a must.
“The option to remain must be on the table as part of a People’s Vote.
“The conditions under which the UK will leave the European Union have been set out and the final say must sit with the people.
“We know that the Leave campaign broke electoral law, we know that reaping an additional £350m for the NHS was a fiction and we know that the deal on the table is opposed by MPs.
“The majority of people across Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and the polls tell us that most people would swing to remain if a vote happened tomorrow.”
Clare Bailey MLA concluded:
“The Tories and Labour Party are hopelessly divided and there is no consensus on a way forward – a People’s Vote can push through the parliamentary impasse.”
Media contact
Sinead McIvor – 07701 302 498

Tags: Brexit, Clare Bailey MLA, Green Party, Green Party NI, People’s Vote
by Clare Bailey MLA


MIL-OSI UK: MPs vote on May’s Brexit deal – liveblog

Source: Labour List UK

The House of Commons will finally vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal tonight in what is known as the ‘meaningful vote’, which was originally set to take place in December before the Prime Minister delayed it at short notice.

Following five days of Brexit debate, in addition to the three days of last month, at 7pm today MPs will start voting on the four amendments that the Speaker selected this afternoon, then the divorce deal itself.

The government is widely expected to be heavily defeated on that final vote, but estimates range from as low as 50 to over 200. If the loss exceeds 89 votes, it will be the largest post-war defeat since 1979; if it exceeds 166 votes, it will be the largest “genuine” government defeat since 1918.

Despite being about to suffer a huge and historic defeat, it is anticipated that May will bring her deal back to the Commons “in much the same form with much the same content”, to use Geoffrey Cox’s words.

It is thought highly unlikely that the Prime Minister will step down, however damning the defeat, therefore Jeremy Corbyn may decide to table a motion of no confidence in the government after the meaningful vote. Labour has not confirmed its timing yet.

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MIL-OSI UK: Brexit amendment tabled by Labour waverers not selected by Bercow

Source: Labour List UK

Speaker Bercow today decided not to select the Brexit amendment tabled by the ‘inbetweener’ Labour MPs who have gone back and forth on whether to vote for Theresa May’s deal. The change, which aimed to guarantee workers’ rights and environmental protections in a future relationship with the EU, was thought to have the support of government.

Although they laid down an amendment that would only take effect if the meaningful vote passed, not all the signatories intended to vote for May’s deal tonight. The amendment related to the political declaration section of May’s divorce deal, i.e. the non-legally binding part. It was therefore considered to be a starting point for negotiations between MPs and the executive on future trade arrangements, rather than a way of helping May win support for her deal now.

However, the amendment did represent significant efforts to build bridges between Downing Street and Labour MPs on Brexit. Despite being shot down by the Labour leadership, as Corbyn’s office noted that the proposals were non-binding and other critics such as IPPR’s Tom Kibasi pointed out that the Withdrawal Agreement already includes non-regression clauses on rights, the amendment could have marked the beginning of further talks between the government and opposition members.

Amendment ‘P’ was laid down by the following MPs:

  • John Mann (will vote for May’s deal)
  • Gareth Snell (will vote against May’s deal)
  • Caroline Flint (unconfirmed)
  • Lisa Nandy (will vote against May’s deal)
  • Frank Field (will vote for May’s deal; now sits as an Independent)
  • Jim Fitzpatrick (will vote for May’s deal)

The full text of the amendment:

At end, add “agrees with paragraph 79 of the Political Declaration that the future relationship must ensure open and fair competition and that provisions to ensure this should cover state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters, building on the level playing field arrangements provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement and commensurate with the overall economic relationship; and determines not to allow the UK leaving the EU to result in any lowering after exit day of common EU UK standards provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement in relation to employment, environmental protection and health and safety which will continue to protect the wellbeing of every person in this country; and determines that the government should invite the House to consider any measure approved by EU institutions after exit day which strengthens any of these protections.”

The amendments on the meaningful vote today were subject to the Speaker selecting them. This afternoon, John Bercow decided not to select any of the amendments thought to have gained approval within government, in a move that will only make his poor relations with the executive even worse, if that is possible.

The Commons speaker opted to select the following four amendments:

  • Jeremy Corbyn, Labour (A): rejects May’s deal in favour of Labour’s alternative plan including customs union membership;
  • Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative (B): asks the government to withdraw from the Withdrawal Agreement if the EU will not remove the backstop;
  • John Baron, Conservative (F): approves the deal only if the UK can exit the backstop unilaterally;
  • Ian Blackford, SNP (K): rejects May’s deal and calls for extension of Article 50.

Read the full text of all the amendments on the order paper here.

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MIL-OSI UK: Equality and Human Rights Commission’s policies examined

Source: British Parliament News

15 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee continues its inquiry examining the enforcement of the Equality Act. The Committee has heard, over several inquiries, that individuals have difficulties in enforcing their rights under the Act.

Purpose of the session
This session will examine the role and effectiveness of the EHRC in the use of its enforcement powers. In particular:
The legal and policy framework for EHRC enforcement action
The EHRC’s policies on enforcement
The EHRC’s use of its powers in practice.
Wednesday 16 January 2018, Grimond room, Portcullis House. At 9.50am:
Niall Crowley, Independent equality and human rights expert
Barbara Cohen, Independent discrimination law consultant
Mike Smith, CEO of REAL
Nick Webster, Solicitor at Leigh Day
Further information
Image: PC


MIL-OSI UK: The big day: May’s huge defeat and Corbyn’s motion of no confidence

Source: Labour List UK

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The big day has arrived: MPs will finally vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal after 7pm tonight, and they are sure to defeat it. Heavily, in all likelihood. Every opposition party is set to whip against, and only a handful of Labour MPs are expected to rebel: John Mann, Jim Fitzpatrick, Sir Kevin Barron, plus now-Independent Frank Field, while Caroline Flint has yet to confirm either way. There could be a couple more surprise names, but Kate Hoey, Gareth Snell and Lisa Nandy are definitely voting against, and left-wing Brexiteers won’t defy Jeremy Corbyn.

If we know May’s deal will be voted down, why not switch off from Brexit news for the rest of the day? Because we are going to learn two things that will determine our fate: numbers and amendments. The Prime Minister won’t resign however huge the scale of her defeat, but the number of MPs against her deal – and where they come from – will shape what changes to make for her return to parliament with ‘Plan B’.

Amendments play this role too. Hilary Benn has now pulled his own, which would have rejected this deal and attempted to rule out no-deal, because government whips caught on to the idea that it could have saved May from total humiliation. The backbencher’s decision will help maximise opposition to the deal. But other Tory amendments aim to soften backstop objections: Murrison, or ‘Q’, adds a December 2021 expiry date; Swire, or ‘O’, adds a parliamentary veto. We don’t yet know which will be selected by the Speaker, or in what order, but support for these could be important. Though not able to save the deal today, May is likely to show the amendment voting figures – if favourable – to Brussels and say, ‘look, give us a substantial backstop change and we can pass this thing’.

You should also follow our liveblog from the Commons tonight because high-level drama is guaranteed. May will respond to the result at the despatch box, and Corbyn is now expected to table a vote of no confidence in the government immediately afterwards. We know the PM probably plans to bring back her deal with a few (cosmetic) changes; we can assume the Labour leader will lose the confidence vote on Wednesday and won’t be announcing his support for a fresh referendum as a result. But the exchanges in the Commons – between the Speaker and Tory MPs, if nothing else – promise to be full of wit, passion and fury.

Sienna @siennamarla

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MIL-OSI UK: “Today’s letter means nothing”: Corbyn slams May attempt to save Brexit deal

Source: Labour List UK

Jeremy Corbyn slammed Theresa May’s last-minute attempts to save her Brexit deal today after the Prime Minister urged MPs to give it “a second look”.

The Labour leader said the joint letter to May from the EU’s Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, which aimed to offer assurances on the controversial Irish backstop, “means nothing”.

In his response to the latest Brexit statement from the Prime Minister, Corbyn argued that May had “completely and utterly failed” to gain assurances from the EU that were legally binding, as she had pledged to do when delaying the meaningful vote in December.

He concluded that MPs would “not be fooled” by the European council and commission presidents’ letter, and said he hoped the deal would be voted down tomorrow.

Corbyn again made the case for a Brexit deal including customs union membership, a strong single market relationship and guarantees on EU rights and standards, and for holding a general election.

Below is the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Prime Minister’s statement on the Brexit deal in the House today.

Mr Speaker, I would link to thank the Prime Minister for advance copy of her statement. In December, the government shamefully pulled the meaningful vote on her deal with the promise that the Prime Minister would secure legal assurances from the EU that the backstop would be temporary. The Leader of the House confirmed this saying: “The Prime Minister is determined to get the legal reassurances that Members want to see”. While the Foreign Secretary told us the Prime Minister would ‘find a way’ to win tomorrow’s Commons vote by getting assurances with ‘legal force’ that the Irish border backstop is only temporary.

On receiving this letter today to the Prime Minister from the President of the EU Commission and Council, it must now be clear to all Members across this House yet again the Prime Minister has completely and utterly failed! Today’s letter is nothing more than a repetition of exactly the same position that was pulled more than a month ago. It categorically does not give the legal assurances this House was promised and contains nothing but warm words and aspirations.

Mr Speaker, isn’t it the case that absolutely nothing has changed from the Attorney General’s letter of advice to the Cabinet? His advice which the government tried to hide explained with great clarity the reasons why the UK could find itself locked in to the Northern Ireland “backstop” Protocol with no legal escape route.

Today’s letter means nothing. The truth remains that by the end of 2020 the UK will face a choice of either extending the transition period, which comes at a unknown financial cost or we will fall into the backstop which the Attorney General has said, “endures indefinitely” until such time as an agreement supersedes it.

He has himself updated his legal advice today and he clearly says, and I quote, “they do not alter the fundamental meanings”, as he advised them in November. If there were legally binding assurances on the temporary nature of the backstop, then surely they would be written into the withdrawal agreement itself?

The letter published this morning is clear this is not possible, saying: “We are not in a position to agree to anything that changes or is inconsistent with the Withdrawal Agreement”. Mr Speaker, this morning’s joint letter does say “negotiations can start as soon as possible after the withdrawal of the UK”. But my question to the Prime Minister is how is that possible when the Cabinet cannot agree among themselves?

That is why the Political Declaration is so vague. Actually, Mr Speaker, I believe the right word is “nebulous”. Given the Prime Minister has failed to secure the promised changes, there can be no question of once again ducking accountability and avoiding tomorrow’s vote. No more playing for time; no more running down the clock to scare people into backing this damaging shambles of a deal.

I am sure Honourable members across the House will not be fooled by what has been produced today. It is clear what we are voting on this week is exactly the same deal we should have voted on in December. I am sure the Prime Minister knows this – that is why today she is trying to blame others for this chaos.

Given the lack of support for the Prime Minister’s deal, you might have thought she would try to reach out to MPs. Instead the Prime Minister is claiming that by failing to support her botched deal, Honourable members are threatening to undermine the faith of the British people in our democracy.

Mr Speaker, the only people who are undermining faith in our democracy is the government itself! Mr Speaker, I can think of no greater example of democracy in action than for this House to reject a deal that is clearly a bad for Britain. During the past two years of these shambolic negotiations, the Prime Minister has failed to listen. She hasn’t once tried to work with Parliament to construct a Brexit deal this House and the country can support. And now she is left facing a humiliating defeat. She is blaming everybody else but herself.

Mr Speaker, if this deal is rejected tomorrow, and I hope it is, the blame will lie firmly with this government and firmly at the feet of the Prime Minister. There is a deal that could command the support of this House: a deal which includes a new and comprehensive customs union; a strong single market relationship; and a guarantee to keep pace with EU rights and standards. Instead the Prime Minister still chooses to take the most reckless path.

Mr Speaker, as we enter the week of the ‘meaningful vote’, let us remember the incompetence we have been forced to endure. We have seen two years of shambolic negotiations. Red lines announced and then cast aside. We are now on the third Brexit Secretary, all of whom have been largely excluded from vital stages of the negotiations. We were promised the easiest trade deal in history, yet have seen a divided government deliver a botched withdrawal deal with nothing more than a vague outline for what our future relationship with the EU will be.

Meanwhile, conditions in this country for millions of people continue to get worse. The government is in disarray. It is clear if the Prime Minister’s deal is rejected tomorrow – it is time for a general election – it is time for a new government.

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MIL-OSI UK: EU assurances on Brexit: Prime Minister makes statement

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
Speaking to the House of Commons ahead of day four of the ‘meaningful vote’ debate, the Prime Minister gave a statement about letters from the European Union offering assurances relating to the proposed Northern Irish backstop.

In the opening to her statement, the Prime Minister laid out the assurances she has received from the European Union. She stated that she has secured a UK-wide temporary customs arrangement, avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, and a customs border down the Irish sea.
Additionally, the Government has negotiated substantial commitments in the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration to do everything possible to ensure the backstop will never be needed. In the event that the backstop was ever triggered, the Prime Minister assured the House it would only apply temporarily. 
The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, responded to the statement, referring to the Prime Minister’s deferral of the vote on her deal in December 2018 as “shameful”. He went on to say that the Prime Minister was representing “exactly the same position” as the one that was deferred a month ago.
Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.
Image: PC
Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.
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MIL-OSI UK: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill: Lords third reading

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has its third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Tuesday 15 January.

Members are expected to discuss the definition of a terminally ill person and the government designation of areas outside the UK by way of regulations to be laid before parliament.
Lords report stage day two: Monday 17 December
Members discussed a range of topics including a review of proscribed organisations, the case for national identity numbers and the responsibility of the government to produce reports on individuals detained under new port and border controls.
There was one division (vote) on a proposed amendment (change) to the bill.
The vote concerned the insertion of  new provision which would require the Secretary of State to make arrangements, within six month’s of the Act’s passing, for an independent review on the government’s strategy to prevent vulnerable people being drawn into terrorism.
The provision would require any such report to:
be laid before both Houses of Parliament within 18 months of the Act’s passing
include a statement from the Secretary of State in response to all recommendations made within the review
214 members of Lords voted in favour of the amendment and 196 voted against, and so the change was made.
Third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.
Lords report stage day one: Monday 3 December
Members discussed a range of subjects including expression of support for proscribed organisations, reasons for entering or remaining in designated areas and publication of images.
There were two divisions (votes) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.
Members considered a change which would make it an offence for a person to express an opinion or belief that ‘supports’ a proscribed organisation, rather than using the broader meaning of  ‘is supportive of’, which could be applied to people beyond those who actually intend any wrong or harm.
93 Members were in favour of this amendment, with 198 against, and so the change was not made.
The next vote was on the addition of a number of situations in which an individual, who goes into or remains in a designated area, would not be committing an offence by that act. Such situations would include providing humanitarian aid, carrying out the work for the United Nations and working as a journalist.
220 members voted in favour of this addition and 191 voted against, and so the change was made.
Lords committee stage day four: Wednesday 14 November
Members discussed retention and protection of journalistic and legally privileged material, declaration of dual passports and access to a solicitor.
Lords committee stage day three: Monday 12 November
Members discussed a range of subjects, including the introduction of national identity numbers, continued participation in the European Arrest Warrant and biometric data.
Lords committee stage day two: Wednesday 31 October
Members discussed subjects including the act of treason in aiding a hostile state or organisation, extended sentences for terrorism offences and notification requirements.
Lords committee stage day one: Monday 29 October
Members discussed subjects including expressions of support for proscribed organisations, publication of images and seizure of articles and the movement of UK citizens in areas designated as having a risk of terrorism.
Lords second reading: Tuesday 9 October
Members discussed the pattern of radicalisation, new offences regarding expressing support for terrorist organisations and overseas travel.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative), minister of state in the Home Office, responded on behalf of the government.
Counter-Terrorism  and Border Security Bill summary
This bill aims to:
Amend certain terrorism offences for the digital age and to reflect contemporary patterns of radicalisation
Increase the maximum penalty for certain offences, ensuring the punishment better reflects the crime and better prevents re-offending
Manage offenders following their release from custody
Strengthen powers of the police to prevent and investigate terrorist offences
Harden the UK’s defences at the border against hostile state activity
Further information
Image: PA


MIL-OSI UK: Tenant Fees Bill: Lords third reading

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Tenant Fees Bill has its third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Tuesday 15 January.

Members are expected to discuss two amendments relating to interest payments owed by landlords or letting agents to enforcement authorities.
Lords report stage: Tuesday 11 December
Members discussed the acceptance of multiple holding deposits for the same property, the approval and designation of client money protection schemes and the requirement to belong to such a scheme.
Lords committee stage day two: Tuesday 20 November
Members discussed the early termination of tenancies and payments in respect of identity and immigration status checks.
Report stage, a further chance to examine the bill and make changes, is scheduled for 5 December.
Lords committee stage day one: Monday 5 November
The first day of committee stage of this bill took place in Grand Committee, a room outside the Lords chamber. In Grand Committee, any member can take part and decisions on amendments can be made, but no votes can take place.
Members discussed a range of subjects, including:
the government’s duty to provide tenants with guidance on the effects of this bill
the reimbursement of costs incurred by enforcement agencies in the exercise of their duties
the requirement of tenants to make payments to cover a landlord or agent’s loss due to a breach of the tenancy contract
Lords second reading: Wednesday 10 October
Members discussed unfair letting fees, compensation payments to tenants and home share schemes.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, responded on behalf of the government.
Tenant Fees Bill summary
This bill will aim to:
make renting fairer and more affordable for tenants by reducing the costs at the outset of a tenancy
improve transparency and competition in the private rental market
ban letting fees paid by tenants in England
improve fairness, competition and affordability in the lettings sector
Further information
Image: iStockphoto