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Mon, 6 April 2020

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EXPLAINED: Here are the Brexit options MPs will be asked to vote on later

EXPLAINED: Here are the Brexit options MPs will be asked to vote on later
3 min read

MPs will today be asked to vote on eight Brexit options, in a bid to find a solution that has majority support in the Commons. While neither the Prime Minister or the EU need to pursue their wishes, anything backed by most members would heap pressure on both parties to change tack given the current stalemate around the current Brexit deal on offer. PoliticsHome explains the process.

How will it work?

At about 7pm this evening, MPs will gather in one of the usual voting lobbies next to the Commons chamber. Instead of filing through into 'aye' or 'no' however, members will receive a ballot slip listing the various options – such as leaving with no-deal, implementing a customs union, revoking Article 50 etc – and select as many or as few as they wish to support.

After around half an hour, the counting will begin and MPs will begin separately debating the Statutory Instrument - think technical legislative tweak - which postpones Brexit Day beyond Friday to at least 12 April. The Speaker, at around 8.30pm, will announce the results of the indicative votes, while a full list of which MPs voted for each option will become available.

What could they vote on?

Speaker John Bercow has selected the following options:


Option B

That the UK leaves the European Union on 12 April 2019 with no deal.


Option D

Common Market 2.0 is supported by a raft of MPs from the Conservatives and Labour and would see the UK remain in the single market by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and staying in the European Economic Area (EEA). A "comprehensive customs partnership" would replace the backstop plan. The proposal would thwart one of the PM’s red lines by accepting continued freedom of movement however, albeit by allowing the UK to apply an “emergency brake”.


Option H

This proposes remaining within the European Economic Area and rejoining Efta, but being outside a customs union with the EU.


Option J

Any withdrawal agreement must include “a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” and for this to be enshrined in primary legislation.

Option K

The Labour frontbench’s alternative plan, which would secure a permanent customs union with the EU, align closely with the European single market, align with the bloc on workers’ rights and protections, continue to participate in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation and to agree on the detail of future security arrangements.

Option L

This option calls on the House to be given the option to approve a ‘no deal’ exit if by the penultimate House of Commons sitting day before exit day, no agreement has been signed off. If that is not supported, then ministers must revoke Article 50.

Option M

This option calls for a "confirmatory" referendum to be held on any withdrawal agreement during this Parliament before it can be implemented or ratified.

Option O

If the Government is unable to reach a deal it should try to immediately agree a trade agreement of no tariffs or quantitative restrictions on any goods between the UK and EU for two years, a standstill period of mutual recognition of standards for the same length of time, a simplified customs arrangement, and agree payments to the EU that amount to the equivalent per year that is paid now, in exchange.


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