MPs vote to take control of business and hold indicative votes

25 March 2019

The House of Commons has voted to approve a motion in the name of the Prime Minister, setting out the next steps in the Brexit process. 

The Government lost a second ‘meaningful vote’ on 12 March, requiring it to make a statement setting out how it intended to proceed, and to put forward a motion in the Commons for debate. This motion was debated on Monday 25 March 2019.

MPs had the opportunity to table amendments to the Government motion, three of which were selected by the Speaker and debated. Amendment (a), in the name of Oliver Letwin, was approved by MPs ahead of the approval of the main motion.

Following the Prime Minister's statement to the Commons on the results of last week's European Council, and the agreement of an extension of Article 50, David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, moved the Government motion. He encouraged MPs to act in the interests of the public and to consider how their actions might reflect on democratic process and the future of the United Kingdom.

He said,

"The reality is that the House is going to have a say and influence as the negotiations proceed, and I would hope that the agreement that I believe the Government will eventually succeed in striking will command widespread public support."

After debating the selected amendments, MPs voted by 329 to 302, a majority of 27, to approve Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment (a). This amendment takes control of the Parliamentary schedule on Wednesday 26 March, to hold a series of indicative votes on a way forward which might secure a majority in the House.

The amended motion passed 327 votes to 300. This suspends Standing Order 14, which gives Government business priority on all sitting days except Fridays, to allow the House to hold indicative votes on Wednesday 27 March 2019. The results of these votes will not be legally binding but will have political weight as the House of Commons continues to debate withdrawing from the EU.

Image: PC - Mark Duffy

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