AMENDMENTS EXPLAINED: Everything MPs will vote on in tonight's crunch Article 50 decision

Posted On: 
14th March 2019

MPs are due to debate whether the Government should try to push back the UK's exit date beyond 29 March after giving the PM another shot to get her deal through next week. Members are once again hoping to throw a spanner or two in the works. Here are the bids that John Bercow has chosen to be put to a vote.

MPs will decide on whether ministers should try to negotiate an extension to Article 50
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Here is a summary of the Government’s motion this evening

1: This House notes that MPs voted against the Prime Minister’s deal on Tuesday and voted to show they were opposed to leaving without a deal on Wednesday and therefore ministers will seek to agree an extension to Article 50.

2: Ministers will attempt to put forward Mrs May’s deal before the Commons again before 20 March, and if it passes, they will seek a one-off extension until 30 June to implement legislation.

3: But if MPs do not pass the deal it is “highly likely” that any extension will need a purpose to win the EU Council’s agreement, and that if agreed it could go on beyond 30 June, therefore requiring the UK to take part in EU elections in May.

Here are the bids MPs will be asked to vote on, which if backed would change the Government’s motion...


Labour’s frontbench would axe the second part of the amendment and replace it with an acknowledgement that MPs have already “decisively rejected” the PM’s deal, rather than to press for another vote on it. It would also change the third paragraph to extend Article 50 to the point that it would avoid leaving without a deal on 29 March and to give Parliament the time to find another approach that can win majority support.


The new Independent Group has teamed up with the Lib Dems to ask the PM to extend Article 50 for a period that allows for ministers to legislate for a referendum on accepting the PM’s deal or on staying in the EU.


This cross-party bid in the name of "at least 25" MPs, including Hilary Benn, Oliver Letwin, Yvette Cooper and Dominic Grieve hopes to tack on to the motion that Commons business on Wednesday 20 March should be taken out of the hands of ministers from 1.30pm until 7pm.

The group plan to use the rare move to hold a series of so-called “indicative votes” on ways forward from the current Brexit impasse, such as on a softer Brexit or on a second referendum.

The bid would likely become void however if the PM's third meaningful vote is held before that day and is backed by MPs.


Another cross-party attempt involving, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Plaid wants to tack on an acknowledgement that parliamentary rules say a motion or amendment which has already been backed or rejected in the current session should not be brought forward again; and that therefore there should be no further vote(s) on the PM’s deal.

And here are the bids that failed to make the cut...


Lodged by Plaid Cymru MPs Jonathan Edwards, Liz Saville Roberts, Hywel Williams and Ben Lake, this amendment would have changed the motion to acknowledge that Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly have all voted to reject the PM's deal; that the latter two institutions have called for a second EU referendum and therefore ministers should move to extend Article 50 until 2021, or until the future relationship has been negotiated, and then hold a referendum on accepting the PM’s deal or staying in the EU.


Supported by dozens of Tory, DUP and Labour Brexiteers, this bid wanted to tack on to the Government’s motion that the 2016 EU vote “should be respected” and that a second referendum would be “divisive and expensive, and therefore should not take place”.


A host of SNP, Plaid and Labour, wanted to change the motion to support withdrawing Article 50 entirely.


Five Lib Dem MPs wanted the Government to change the motion to extending Article 50 for as long as is possible to facilitate a referendum on whether to leave on the basis of Theresa May’s deal or to stay in the EU.


A handful of SNP MPs and Plaid’s Westminster leader, Liz Savile Roberts, wanted an extension that would allow time for a second referendum that would include the option to remain; that the option to revoke Article 50 remains an option; that the House recognises the Scottish and Welsh parliament resolutions opposing the Government’s deal and a no-deal exit at any time; and recognises that Scotland should not be taken out of the EU against its will and that it should be allowed to determine its consitutional future as an EU member state.


Tory backbencher Christopher Chope’s bid wanted to change the motion to extend Article 50 for a period that would allow the UK to change its negotiating team.


This bid by a cross-party handful of pro-Remain MPs, including Pat McFadden, Stephen Doughty, Justine Greening and Philip Lee called for parts two and three of the motion to be taken out.