AMENDMENTS EXPLAINED: MPs to vote on blocking no-deal Brexit and Malthouse plan

Posted On: 
13th March 2019

MPs will tonight vote on whether to block a no-deal Brexit. But backbenchers - as usual - want to make the life of the Prime Minister dificult. Here are the two John Bercow has called for a vote.

MPs will vote tonight on whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit
PA Images

Here is the Government motion they are seeking to change: 

"That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement."

Amendment A: Spelman and Dromey bid to rule out no-deal

UPDATE: Independent Group MP Anna Soubry has said Caroline Spelman will vote against the amendment, due to the Conservatives whipping their own MPs.

This fresh amendment is a straight bid to reject leaving the EU without a Brexit deal. It has been signed by senior figures from across the House in including former minister Sir Oliver Letwin, Brexit Select Committee chair Hilary Benn, Home Affairs Committee chair Yvette Cooper and former minister Nick Boles. It simply says the Commons would rule out “the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship", removing any reference to the default position.

Spelman and Dromey tabled another amendment ruling out no-deal back in January which was passed by the Commons - so we already know there is a majority in favour of it, especially if it wins Labour backing. Their amendment today - which has a good chance of passing - was tabled out of frustration that the Government motion appears unclear.

Amendment F: The Malthouse amendment

Tories Damian Green, Steve Baker, Nicky Morgan and Simon Hart last night pictured themselves heading to table an amendment based around the so-called Malthouse Compromise plan. It would effectively prepare the country for a no-deal Brexit after an extended transition period. The four-part amendment would, if passed, demand that the Government…

  1. Publish its tariff schedules for a no-deal Brexit immediately
  2. Seek an extension to the Article 50 process up to 22 May this year - just before the European Elections
  3. Agree transition arrangements with the EU that would last until the end of December 2021 (one year beyond the current transition plan). The UK would continue to pay its EU contributions in the process.
  4. Guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK

The amendment has won the support of numerous Tory MPs - including those who are more ardent Brexiteers (such as Andrea Jenkyns) and those who are more moderate (such as Hart and George Eustice, who voted for the PM’s deal), as well as DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds. MPs will get a free vote on it, but Theresa May has insisted the plan for a transition period without a withdrawal agreement has been rejected by Brussels.