Extend Article 50 and hold indicative votes to find way forward

13 March 2019

In an urgent Report following yesterday’s decision to reject the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Deal for the second time, the Committee says that Parliament will need to request an extension to Article 50 to allow sufficient time for the House of Commons to identify a way forward which can provide clarity about the UK’s future relationship with the EU and win a majority.

Provision must be made without delay for a series of indicative votes so as to begin the process by which a clear plan can be identified.

The Government also needs to clarify what its understanding is of the need for the UK to participate in the European Parliament elections depending on the length of extension agreed with the EU, unless a protocol can quickly be agreed with the EU which removes the obligation on the UK to take part.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee, Hilary Benn MP, said:

“After another historic defeat for the Prime Minister, the UK will now have to apply for an extension to Article 50. The extension will need to be of sufficient length to allow Parliament to reach agreement on a proposal that it is prepared to support.

“The clock has now been run down to the point where there is no alternative left given that leaving with no deal cannot be the policy of any responsible Government.
“Parliament must now be given the chance to hold a series of indicative votes as quickly as possible or else we will not find out what there might be support for as an alternative to the Prime Minister’s deal which has now been rejected twice by large majorities.”

Further information

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