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EXPLAINED: Every single amendment tabled to the Brexit deal by MPs so far

EXPLAINED: Every single amendment tabled to the Brexit deal by MPs so far
3 min read

MPs will on Saturday vote on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal. But before that, they will also consider a series of amendments to the Government's plans. Here are the ones tabled so far, and how likely they are to pass:

The Benn Act loophole amendment

Laid down by former Tory Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin, amendment A seeks to close a potential loophole in the Benn Act, which designed to prevent a no-deal.

That legislation says the Prime Minister does not have to ask for an extension to Article 50 if he has “concluded an agreement with the European Union” which is then approved by both the House of Commons and the Lords.

But there are fears this could still lead to a no-deal Brexit as Saturday’s vote does not guarantee the UK leaves the EU with a deal on October 31.

Parliament would still have to pass the official legislation enshrining it in law; the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which the Government is expected to table on Monday if it wins Saturday's vote.

If that fails to get through all stages and both Houses by 31 October, then UK would potentially exit on Hallowe’en without a deal in place.

Sir Oliver’s amendment changes the wording of the motion to say “this House has considered the matter but withholds approval unless and until implementing legislation is passed”.

This would force Boris Johnson to still request a delay to Brexit from Brussels, and mean he had only fulfilled the requirements of the Benn Act once the Withdrawal Agreement Bill becomes law.

Ex-Tory MP Stephen Hammond explained it to reporters, saying: “What it says is that Brexit doesn't happen until all stages of the implementation bill are passed.

"What it is born out of is the concern that someone might choose to vote for tomorrow's deal, thereby satisfying the Benn Act, and then choose to do something either by accident or by design which frustrates the implementation bill and then there is a possibility of us leaving the European Union without a deal."

It is the most likely amendment to be called by the Speaker, and has a strong possibility of passing, given there is a majority of MPs who want to do all they can to prevent no-deal.

The revoke Article 50 amendment

Not so much an alteration to the motion but completely upending it, amendment B from the SNP’s Angus MacNeil strips out almost all of the motion and replaces it with a call to stay in the EU.

The wording says the Commons “calls on the Government to bring forward urgently the legislation necessary to require the Prime Minister to revoke before the end of the Article 50 period the UK’s notice of intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union”.

This is the least likely to get called, as John Bercow knows there is not a majority for this view in the House, and there are no other MPs who have seconded the amendment so far.

The General Election amendment

Another attempt to reverse the meaning of the motion, amendment C tabled by the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford seeks to park Brexit for now, extend Article 50 and hold an election.

It strips out the whole of the Government’s text to say “this House declines to approve the withdrawal agreement and future framework” and calls for the PM “to secure an extension under Article 50 of Treaty on European Union until at least 31 January 2020 for the purpose of holding an early general election before the end of the extension period”.

This could be called if there are signals MPs from other parties would back it as for now it is only signed by SNP members.

But even if it is called it is unlikely to get a majority and pass.