UK Parliament Surprisingly Grabs Control of Brexit Process from May, Set to Vote on Brexit Options
The passage of a so called Letwin amendment gives the British MPs control over their agenda this Wednesday, dashing May’s hopes for a new vote on her Brexit deal with the EU
The House of Commons of the UK Parliament has defied Theresa May’s Cabinet by voting to in effect seize control of the Brexit process, setting the stage for votes on different Brexit options and alternatives.
A majority of the British MPs thus backed a so called Letwin amendment giving them control of the Parliament’s agenda this Wednesday, and seizing the initiative on Brexit from UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
May has been hoping to get a third vote on her Brexit deal with the EU which has already been rejected twice. UK was recently granted an extension on Brexit with precisely that outcome in mind.
May’s Cabinet was defeated 329 to 302 for the passage of the Letwin amendment in a late-night vote on Monday evening, the BBC reported.
The amendment tabled by Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin was intended to give the British Parliament a say on the full range of Brexit options – which many MPs thought the May Cabinet was not prepared to do – and to try to find Brexit alternative, if any, might command a majority.
The adoption motion now allows the British House of Commons to hold a number of indicative, non-binding votes on alternative Brexit options, CNN reported.
The British MPs might vote on up to seven different options for Brexit. Those include holding a second Brexit referendum, leaving the European Union without a deal (the so called hard Brexit of no-deal Brexit), or seeking a Norway-style arrangement with the EU, which would see Britain enjoy full access to the EU’s single market and the European Free Trade Area but without the say of a full-fledged EU member.
A total of 30 MPs from May’s ruling Conservative Party voted against the government. Three government ministers Alistair Burt, Steve Brine, and business minister Richard Harrington even resigned their posts to vote for the Letwin amendment.
British Prime Minister May attempted to preclude the passage of the Letwin amendment by proposing that the government should offer the MPs a series of votes on Brexit options.
She argued that if the MPs took over the agenda of the House of Commons that would set an “unwelcome precedent”.
After her Cabinet was defeated and the Letwin amendment was passed, May declared her skepticism about the process, and refused to commit the government to abiding by the potential decisions of the MPs in the upcoming indicative votes.
Subsequently, the May government managed to defeat by a very narrow margin, 314 to 311 votes, a motion by Dame Margaret Beckett to give the MPs a vote on whether to ask the EU for another Brexit extension if the Brexit deal has not been approved by April 5.
Last week, the EU 27 leaders agreed to delay Brexit in response to a request by British Prime Minister Theresa May.
According to the conclusions of the European Council Summit, the European Union granted the UK an extension on Brexit from the originally set date of March 29, 2019.
The Brexit extension will be until May 22, the day before the 2019 EU Elections, if the British Parliament approves next week UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s amended Brexit deal with the Union, or until April 12, if the legislature in London fails to do so.
(Banner image: TV grab from CNN)