Following a very busy week I wanted to share an update on all things Brexit.
Put it to the People March
I was delighted to march side-by-side with friends, family and local activists from our Lewisham East Labour family last Saturday.
There was a huge turnout and a very positive atmosphere as we made our desire for a public vote on the final terms of Brexit heard at an unprecedented scale.
I remain committed to supporting any method that ensures a Brexit deal is subject to a confirmatory public vote.
Following the passing of Amendment A on 25 March, also known as the Letwin amendment, MPs undertook a series of indicative votes designed to gauge support for different Brexit options.
Below you can see how I voted:
B: Leave without a deal – No
D: Common Market 2.0 – Abstain
H: Norway + – No
J: Customs Union – Yes
K: Labour’s alternative plan – Yes
L: Revoke Article 50 in the event of a no deal Brexit – Yes
M: Beckett – Any deal should be subject to a confirmatory public vote – Yes
O: Malthouse Plan B – No
I supported these options in an effort to find a sensible compromise that moves us forward, guaranteed by a public vote and giving us the safety net to revoke Article 50 in the event of a no deal.
As you will know no option got a majority, but several options had strong support. The Customs Union proposal came within 6 votes of a majority and the second referendum proposal had the most overall votes. Both attracted more support than the Prime Minister’s deal.
Meaningful Vote 3 (?)
After much uncertainty, the Government brought a further vote on our withdrawal from the European Union on Friday. This time it was just on the Withdrawal Agreement – the framework which allows us to leave the EU – without the accompanying political declaration. This was enough to convince the Speaker that the motion was sufficiently different to allow a third vote.
Whilst the political declaration was disappointingly low on substance, it did at least provide some direction regarding our future relationship with Europe. Without this MPs were being asked to back a ‘blind Brexit’ which myself and Labour colleagues did not support.
MPs rightfully chose to reject this by a margin of 58 votes.
What happens next?
We expect a further round of indicative votes on Monday. Motions may be combined this time, and there are plans to propose a customs union with a second referendum tacked on, which backbenchers believe could get a majority.
I will continue to back options that help us retain as many of the benefits associated with EU membership as possible and believe that any deal should be subject to a public vote. I will also continue to support the revocation of Article 50 in the event of a no deal Brexit.