A group of rebel Labour MPs have called for amendments of the bill that seeks to prevent a no-deal Brexit – asking for Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement bill to get another vote.
Seventeen Labour MPs, including Stephen Kinnock, Caroline Flint, Sarah Champion and Dan Jarvis put their name to amendments to the bill yesterday saying “people are fed up of hearing about Brexit”.
Former Tories Rory Stewart and Nick Boles made supportive comments about the move this morning.
The bill currently aims to force Boris Johnson to seek a three-month extension of the Brexit deadline if he can’t get a deal that is acceptable to parliament from the EU.
But the amendments ask that the final version of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill be published. Although May’s deal was defeated three times, the bill on the latest version was never put to a vote in anticipation of a fourth failure.
It incorporated ten further points agreed through talks between May and MPs, including guarantees of MP approval on future treaties with the EU, protections for workers’ rights, continuation of environmental commitments and “will seek as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible” outside the Single Market.
It also committed May to a vote on whether the final deal should be put to the public in a referendum.
A statement from the Labour group said that “a further extension to the timetable to leave the EU will leave most of the country banging their head against a brick wall”.
“Most people are fed up of hearing about Brexit and just want the referendum result of 2016 to be honoured,” they added.
Opposition MPs took control of the order paper in a historic vote last night, which means that the bill will be considered for voting today.
If MPs agree to give Commons time to it, the group will seek to amend it to require the publication of the version of the draft Brexit deal produced after weeks of talks between the Tories and Labour under Theresa May.
“These amendments allow colleagues to rally around the opportunity to push forward with cross-party agreement,” the MPs said.
“We all recognise that British politics desperately needs to rediscover the importance of compromise.”
The MPs who co-signed the statement announcing their intention to introduce the amendment are: Stephen Kinnock, Caroline Flint, Sarah Champion, Dan Jarvis, John Mann, Gloria de Piero, Laura Smith, Jim Fitzpatrick, Melanie Onn, Gareth Snell, Ruth Smeeth, Stephanie Peacock, Jon Cruddas, Kevin Barron, Yvonne Fovargue, Emma Lewell-Buck, and Rosie Cooper.
Independent MP Nick Boles, who was just kicked out of the Conservatives in yesterday’s upset, confirmed on Twitter that he would back the plans.
He tweeted: “This is a very constructive set of amendments. I will be supporting them this afternoon and urge all MPs who want to see a sensible Brexit deal that protects jobs and livelihoods to vote for them too.”