U.K. Parliament fails to agree alternative Brexit plans

 Members of Parliament in the UK failed for a second time to find a Brexit consensus. Credit: Bill Perry.
Members of Parliament in the UK failed for a second time to find a Brexit consensus. Credit: Bill Perry.

Members of Parliament (MPs) in the U.K. have voted down all four motions put forward as possible alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Conservative MP Nick Boles, who moved Motion D – the Common Market 2.0 option – told the House of Commons that one of the reasons that the House had failed to find a compromise was primarily because his own party had failed to support a compromise, and he added that he could, therefore, “no longer sit on the Conservative benches,” effectively resigning his position within the Conservative Party.

Motion D, the Common Market 2.0 option was defeated 282 to 261, while Ken Clarke’s customs union, offered as Motion C, was narrowly rejected 276 votes to 273.

The other two motions – E and G – were for a confirmatory referendum and a revocation of Article 50 respectively. Motion E was defeated 292 to 280 and Motion G fell 292 to 191.

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, told Parliament immediately after the announcement of the votes, “This is now the second time this House has considered a wide variety of options for a way forward. It has once again failed to find a clear majority for any of the options.”

Barclay went on to say that the MPs decision to reject the Government’s withdrawal deal for the third time on 29 March means that the default legal position is for the U.K. to leave the European Union on 12 April.

Any further extension to Article 50 would require a “credible” plan to find a resolution to the deadlock over the withdrawal.

“This House has continually rejected leaving without a deal, just as it has rejected not leaving at all. Therefore, the only option is to find a way through which allows the U.K. to leave with a deal. The Government continues to believe that the best course of action is to do so as soon as possible. If the House were to agree to a deal this week it may still be possible to avoid holding European Parliamentary elections,” said Barclay, raising the probability that the Government will try to force through its deal for a fourth time.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Theresa May will meet tomorrow morning (2 April) to consider tonight’s vote and how we should proceed.

On Wednesday 3 April, MPs will have control of the House of Commons again and will try for a third time to find a consensus.

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Nick Savvides, Staff Writer

Nick came to FreightWaves in December 2018 from Fairplay, a shipping market publication. He covers the shipping, freight and logistics industry in Europe. Since starting his career as a journalist in 1990, Nick has worked for a number of significant freight publications abroad, including International Freighting Weekly, the online news service for Containerisation International, ICIS, the chemical industry reporting service, as well as Seatrade in Greece. Nick also worked as a freelance journalist writing for Lloyd’s List, The Observer, The Express and The European newspapers among others before joining Seatrade Newsweek in Athens.

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