MPs will be offered chance to hold second referendum or revoke Article 50
PUBLISHED: 15:28 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:51 22 March 2019
The government has suggested it would allow MPs to vote on a package of Brexit alternatives if Theresa May’s deal falls next week.
Brexit Minister Kwasi Kwarteng was taking an urgent question on Article 50 extension in the Commons when he was asked what would happen if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is defeated for a third time.
Tory MP Vicky Ford said: “If (the deal) does not go through and then there are indicative votes, will they be free votes so everybody outside this Chamber can truly see we’re acting in a way to try and find the best way forward, though the circumstances are difficult?”
Kwarteng replied: “Obviously if the House is being asked to decide a way forward it would be surprising if those votes were not free votes.
“But again, she will understand that ultimate decision is a matter for the business managers and will be taken as and when the debate will take place.”
He later clarified: “I wasn’t referring to the meaningful vote - I was referring to the indicative votes suggested by in her question.”
According to Sky News, Number 10 is looking at allowing votes on multiple options including revoking Article 50, a second referendum, the prime minister’s deal, her deal plus a customs union, the deal plus a customs union and single market access, a standard free-trade agreement, or a no-deal Brexit.
David Lidington, May’s de facto deputy, said last week MPs would have further chances to express their views on Brexit in the coming weeks.
It follows the chairman of the Commons Brexit Committee, Labour MP Hilary Benn, warning that he will table an amendment enabling MPs to hold a series of “indicative votes” on alternatives to May’s plan.
“This won’t work if the prime minister is not prepared to move an inch,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“We need to open up this process because we have rejected her deal, we’ve rejected no-deal, the EU has decided to give us a little more time, and we’ve really got to get on with it.”