Labour's Brexit plan is rejected - now it must support a People's Vote

PUBLISHED: 19:14 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 07:25 28 February 2019

Labour members march for a People's Vote outside the party's conference in Liverpool. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA.

Labour members march for a People's Vote outside the party's conference in Liverpool. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour must now throw its support behind a People's Vote after the House of Commons rejected its Brexit plans in the House of Commons.

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Labour’s amendment would have forced the government to make its alternative plan the government’s negotiating objectives.

Jeremy Corbyn’s five demands included:

• A permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU

• Close alignment with the Single Market underpinned by shared institutions and obligations;

Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire.Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/PA Wire.

• Dynamic alignment on rights and protections

• Commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation

• And unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European Arrest Warrant and vital shared databases.

MPs voted against the Labour amendment by 240 votes to 323 votes.

Now in line with Labour’s policy - agreed at last year’s conference - it is now expected to back a People’s Vote.

Jeremy Corbyn told the Parliamentary Labour Party earlier in the week: “We are committed to also putting forward or supporting an amendment in favour of a public vote to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country.”

MORE: Sir Keir Starmer - We want a second referendum with Remain on the ballot

It is not yet clear if Labour will table its own motion in support of a People’s Vote on March 12th or will whip its party to vote for an alternative motion proposed in the House of Commons.

A motion from The Indepedent Group which would have voted on a second referendum immediately after Labour lost their vote on an alternative Brexit plan was rejected earlier in the day by the speaker after only a small number of MPs sponsored it.

David Lammy MP said: “It’s become clear today that there is no majority in the House for May’s deal, but also that Labour’s alternative plan cannot command a majority either.

“In the key votes ahead of us we must extend article 50 to take a catastrophic no deal off the table and use that time to put this decision back to the people to decide if they back the government’s botched Brexit deal or staying in our current EU deal.”

Alison McGovern MP, a leading supporter of People’s Vote, said: “Once again, the government has had to scramble to avoid defeat on Brexit and today has shown that, when it comes to Brexit, parliament is able to agree what it is against - but in our system, it is hard for those other than the Government to say what it supports.

“There wasn’t a majority for the prime minister’s deal and the Conservatives won’t support Labour’s alternative Brexit. And there is no majority for a no-deal crash-out from the EU either.

“An extension of the Brexit deadline is welcome if it avoids us falling off an economic cliff on 29 March but postponing disaster by a few weeks solves nothing and still means parliament will have to find a way out of this mess.

“Labour policy was adopted unanimously at the party conference to campaign to give the people the choice of staying in the EU on the same terms as now or opting for a negotiated form of Brexit. The crisis is now so great the public must be heard.“

Tory MP Ken Clarke rebelled to support Labour’s amendment - he was joined by 235 Labour MPs, Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson and three Independent MPs - Ivan Lewis, Jared O’Mara, and John Woodcock.

Labour MP Stephen Hepburn rebelled to vote against his party’s amendment.

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