Brexit’s domination of British politics shows no sign of abating.
For many, following the process has become too time consuming and complicated, but Later Life Ambitions are determined to help our members stay up-to-date during a significant juncture in the country’s history.
Notably, last week ended with the EU agreeing to extend the UK’s withdrawal deadline until at least 12 April. Should the Withdrawal Agreement however be passed before 29 March, the UK’s membership of the EU will be extended until 22 May – the day before the European election – to give Parliament time to pass the necessary Brexit legislation.
The request for the extension followed the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow’s intervention on Monday, when he ruled that that the government could not hold a third vote on its Brexit deal without “substantive” changes to the motion— which would need to include “in all likelihood” new terms agreed with the EU. However, the extension has been now been agreed, and consequently a third ‘Meaningful Vote’ is expected to take place next week.
Next week is expected to be a tumultuous week in Parliament, in which several different outcomes remain possible. Below is an outline of what will happen next:
Brexit Debate – Monday 25 March
MPs will debate a government motion saying that parliament has considered a statement made by Prime Minister, Theresa May on March 15 which set out the government’s next steps on Brexit.
They are likely to put forward proposed changes, known as amendments, to this motion setting out alternative ways forward on Brexit. These are expected to include a proposal to approve Theresa May’s deal only if it is put to a “People’s Vote”.
While amendments are not legally binding, instead putting political pressure on the government to change course, MPs could attempt to change to take control of the Brexit process from the government. They could even use an amendment to seek a vote on revoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty to cancel the entire Brexit process.
Which amendments are selected will be determined by the Speaker.
‘Meaningful Vote Three’ – Tuesday 26 March/ Wednesday 27 march
Theresa May has said it is her intention to bring her deal back to parliament for a third ‘Meaningful Vote’, but Tuesday or Wednesday is widely expected.
Theresa May will need to win over at least another 75 MPs to get her deal approved. Many political commentators have said that this looks unlikely, but with the prospect of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looming, more may support her.
Last week, Theresa May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, said that if the Withdrawal Agreement was not approved, the government would give parliament time to consider the way forward. This has been interpreted as ‘indicative votes’, which would see MPs take control of the Brexit process and vote on a series of possible outcomes to see if there is a majority for any option.
To force this, MPs could seek, through an amendment on Monday 25 March, to force the government to hold indicative votes next week if they were concerned it may not happen otherwise.
Emergency EU Summit – Thursday 28 March
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk has said that if needed he would not hesitate to call a summit of EU leaders in Brussels next week.
Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said that if Theresa May’s deal is not approved next week, the EU could hold an emergency summit next week to offer Britain a long delay to Brexit with potentially onerous conditions such as holding another referendum or General Election.
Later Life Ambitions will continue to monitor all these events closely and keep members updated on the outcomes.