MPs today are preparing to vote on amendments to Theresa May’s Brexit Bill that could reshape negotiations, and our future relationship, with the EU.
But whose behind these amendments, what do they really mean, and will any of this actually matter?
To find out – read our handy guide.
1 – Labour Frontbench Amendment: instructs the government to rule out a “disastrous No Deal” scenario.
Opting instead for a “cataclysmic No Deal” scenario (or “omnishambolic No Deal” )
2 – Lib Dem Frontbench Amendment: instructs the government to rule out “No Deal” and prepare a People’s Vote with the option to remain in the European Union.
The Lib Dem amendment is the most likely to push through a final Brexit deal, because everyone is now thinking ‘Well, at least the Tory’s don’t keep going on about it…’
3 – Stella Creasy (Labour): Requires the government to ask the EU to postpone Brexit day for an unspecified period and give the public more say in the Brexit process through a 250-member “Citizens’ Assembly”.
In two years, when the ‘Citizens Assembly’ has failed to make any progress, a 25 member ‘Resident’s Committee’ will be formed to make recommendations to the Assembly on how to make recommendations to the Government.
4 – Rachel Reeves (Labour): Requires the government to ask the EU to postpone Brexit day (without specifying for how long).
Rachel enjoys writing satirical articles in her spare time and wants to postpone Brexit indefinitely simply because it generates so much material.
5 – Yvette Cooper (Labour): Rule out UK leaving EU without a deal by postponing Brexit to 31st December, if MPs do not approve a deal by 26th February.
It’s hoped this motion can gain the support of Hard Brexiteers by telling them it would definitively prove Hard Remainers wrong that Christmas 2018 was the last one we could afford to celebrate before a hard Brexit holocaust. Jeremy Corbyn has not submitted this amendment because he’s refusing to play Brexit Amendments and wants everyone to play General Election instead.
6 – Dominic Grieve (Conservative): Forces the government to make time for MPs to discuss a range of alternatives to the prime minister’s Brexit plan on six full days in the Commons before 26 March.
According to the bible God created far more in six days – so that really should be plenty of time.
7 – Caroline Spelman (Conservative) and Jack Dromey (Labour): Attempts to prevent a “No-Deal” Brexit by adding to the PM’s motion that Parliament “rejects the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship”. Food retailers, including M&S, Sainsburys, Lidl and the Co-Op, have warned of empty shelves and higher food prices if we leave the EU without a deal and a former head of MI5 tells us we’ll be less safe with the loss of access to European Arrest Warrants and Europol data.
On the other hand, there are a number of organisations who say they would greatly benefit from a No Deal Brexit. Such as The New IRA and ISIS.
8 – Graham Brady (Conservative): Calls for Parliament to make the backstop “explicitly temporary and in legally binding terms” in order to avoid undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
So I think what Lord Bew is suggesting here is a kind of ‘happy hour’ solution where we have a hard border in place six days a week but it’s open for free trade on ‘Good Fridays.’
9 – Tom Brake (Lib Dems): to create a cross-party committee to take charge of the Brexit process that decides when parliamentary time should be made for Brexit debates and legislation.
This cross-party committee would avoid making hasty Brexit decisions having the power to ponder potential legislative suggestions, scratch chins, pass sheets of paper between members and meet in corridors to comment, “I don’t know really, what do you think?”
None of these amendments, if successful, would be binding on the government.
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(Additional Material: David Hughes, Dan Sweryt and Chris Ballard)