Brexit briefing: MPs to vote on alternative Brexit options

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

MPs will be voting on alternatives to Theresa May's Brexit deal today, after Parliament seized control of the Commons agenda to force a series of "indicative votes".

The amendment to give MPs control of Commons business passed by a 27-vote majority on Monday night.

It is understood that MPs will be asked to vote either 'Yes' or 'No' to each of the options, which will be selected by Speaker John Bercow today.

There are 16 options he could choose, which are:

Labour plan

The plan includes a comprehensive customs union with a UK say on future trade deals; close alignment with the single market; matching new EU rights and protections; participation in EU agencies and funding programmes; and agreement on future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant.

Common market 2.0

The motion proposes UK membership of the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area. It allows continued participation in the single market and a "comprehensive customs arrangement" with the EU after Brexit, which would remain in place until the agreement of a wider trade deal which guarantees frictionless movement of goods and an open border in Ireland.

Confirmatory public vote

This motion would require a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by Parliament before its ratification.

Customs union

Requires a commitment to negotiate a "permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU" in any Brexit deal.

Malthouse compromise Plan A

A cross-party proposal calls for Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement to be implemented with the controversial "backstop" for the Irish border replaced by alternative arrangements.

Revoke Article 50

Under this plan, if the government has not passed its Withdrawal Agreement, it would have to stage a vote on a no-deal Brexit two sitting days before the scheduled date of departure. If MPs refuse to authorise no-deal, the Prime Minister would be required to halt Brexit by revoking Article 50.

Revocation instead of no deal

Under this plan, the government is called on to "urgently" bring forward any legislation needed to revoke Article 50 "in the event that the House fails to approve any withdrawal agreement four days before the end of the Article 50 period".

New customs union

This motion simply states that it should be the government's objective to implement a trade agreement including a customs union with the EU. It mirrors an amendment to the Trade Bill secured by Labour peers in the House of Lords.

EEA/EFTA without customs union

Proposes remaining within the EEA and rejoining EFTA, but remaining outside a customs union with the EU.

No deal

The motion proposes leaving the European Union without a deal on April 12.

Unilateral right of exit from backstop

A motion to leave the EU on May 22 with Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement amended to allow the UK to unilaterally exit the Northern Ireland backstop.

Consent of devolved institutions

This motion requires an agreement that the UK will not leave without a deal, and that no action for leaving the EU will be taken without a consent motion passed in both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

Contingent preferential arrangements

A motion that calls for the government to seek to agree preferential trade arrangements with the EU, in case the UK is unable to implement a Withdrawal Agreement with the bloc.

Contingent reciprocal arrangements

A proposal calling for the government to "at least reciprocate the arrangements put in place by the EU and or its Member states to manage the period following the UK's departure from the EU", in case the UK is unable to implement a Withdrawal Agreement.

Constitutional and accountable government

This motion objects to backbenchers controlling the agenda as they have done today. It proposes that in future two thirds of MPs are required would need to back this in order for it to happen again. It was proposed by Sir Bill Cash.

Respect the referendum results

A cross-party proposal, signed by 94 MPs including the Conservatives' Will Quince, Labour's Frank Field and the DUP's Nigel Dodds, urges the House to "reaffirm its commitment to honour the result of the referendum that the UK should leave the European Union".