House of Commons votes to seek Article 50 extension

14 March 2019

The House of Commons voted 412 to 202 to approve a motion to seek to extend the Article 50 period.

This extension will be until 30 June 2019 if the Brexit Deal is approved by 20 March 2019.

It notes that if a deal is not approved, the length of the extension will depend on its purpose.

This was the third consecutive day of Brexit debates and votes in the Commons. On Tuesday, MPs rejected the Government's Brexit deal for the second time in a 'meaningful vote' and Wednesday saw MPs vote to reject a 'no deal' Brexit.

Thursday's debate focused on pursuing an extension of the Article 50 period. Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty sets out how a member state leaves the European Union, with a two year period between the member state "triggering" the Article and the day that the state leaves the Union.

The UK Government triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017 so is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. If the Article 50 period is extended, the UK would remain a member of the European Union during this period.

MPs debated a motion in the name of the Prime Minister:

That this House:

(1) notes the resolutions of the House of 12 and 13 March, and accordingly agrees that the Government will seek to agree with the European Union an extension of the period specified in Article 50(3);

(2) agrees that, if the House has passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) for a period ending on 30 June 2019 for the purpose of passing the necessary EU exit legislation; and

(3) notes that, if the House has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 by 20 March 2019, then it is highly likely that the European Council at its meeting the following day would require a clear purpose for any extension, not least to determine its length, and that any extension beyond 30 June 2019 would require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.

MPs from across the House tabled amendments to this motion, four of which were selected but none were successful in winning the approval of the House of Commons.

The unamended motion as tabled was approved by the House of Commons, 412 to 202.

Find out how your MP voted: CommonsVotes tool

Image: iStock

Transcripts of today's proceedings will be available on Hansard three hours after they take place.

Follow the @HouseofCommons on Twitter for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.

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