News | Published December 24 2019

2019 Review: Indicative votes

As we approach the end of the year, we have collected a selection of the most influential political events of 2019. In this article, we focus on the two rounds of indicative Brexit votes.

Following the government’s defeat in the second meaningful vote on March 12, parliament passed an amendment from Oliver Letwin which allowed parliament to vote on a series of alternative Brexit paths to gauge consensus.

Instead of the traditional method of passing through the voting lobbies, MPs voted on all proposals simultaneously with ballot papers.

The first round of meaningful votes was held on 27 March. 

MPs were able to choose from eight different proposals, including no-deal, Labour’s alternative Brexit plan, revocation and a second referendum.

All eight were defeated, with Kenneth Clarke’s amendment, that Britain remained in the Customs Union, coming closest and losing by a margin of eight.

The second round of indicative votes were held after the third meaningful vote and took place on April 1.

In this round, only four choices were selected by the Speaker: Ken Clarke’s Customs Union proposal, Nick Boles’ Common Market 2.0, Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson’s proposal for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal and Joanna Cherry’s revocation of Article 50.

Again, all four were defeated.

Clarke’s amendment, centring around remaining in the Customs Union again came closest, losing by a margin of just three. Kyle and Wilson’s plan for a confirmatory public vote also came close and was rejected by a margin of 12.

The failure of these two rounds of votes prevented any form of consensus being reached in parliament. 

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
December 24 2019

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