No deal rejected twice by MPs
Last night, MPs voted to reject a no-deal scenario in any circumstances by a margin of four votes: 312 for and 308 against. This vote was based on an amendment first tabled by Caroline Spelman and was supported by senior figures from across the House and all 11 members of the Independent Group.
This was immediately followed by another vote which stated that although the UK would not leave with no deal on 29 of March, no-deal would remain an option in the future.
While this was originally the government’s motion, they imposed a three line whip to vote against it. Despite this, however, the vote passed and many Conservative MPs defied the whip, including thirteen government ministers.
Amber Rudd (Work and Pensions), Greg Clark (Business Secretary), David Gauke (Justice Secretary), and David Mundell (Scottish Secretary) all defied the government by abstaining. Sarah Newton, work and pensions minister, voted against the motion and has since resigned.
Although these votes are non-binding, they clearly show the will of the House.
MPs also voted on the “Malthouse Compromise”, named after Kit Malthouse, and resoundingly rejected it by 374 votes to 164.
The amendment called for a delay to Brexit until 22 May to give time for preparations for a no-deal. Following this, there would then be a “standstill” agreement with the EU, lasting up to the end of 2021, during which they UK and the EU would negotiate a permanent relationship.
Following the vote, May stated: “The options before us are the same as they always have been. The long default in EU and UK law is that the UK will leave without a deal unless something is agreed. The onus is now on every one of us in this House to find out what it is.”
Looking ahead, MPs will vote on delaying Brexit until 30 June to allow preparations to take place.
This will only happen, however, if May’s deal is accepted by 20 March. If the deal is not backed, this delay could be far longer. Commenting on this possibility, May said “I do not think that would be the right outcome. But the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken."
Responding to these votes, a spokesperson for the European Commission said “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal.
"The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal - you have to agree to a deal.
"We have agreed a deal with the prime minister and the EU is ready to sign it."