Parliament takes control: A guide for those not going out tonight

27 March 2019 - by Matthew Jackson

In a series of ‘indicative votes’ this evening in the House of Commons, MPs will vote for their preferred option on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Commons Speaker John Bercow MP will select what options (outlined below) will be debated today, with MPs due to vote around 7pm.

Indicative votes are votes by MPs on a series of options designed to test the will of parliament to see what, if anything, commands a majority. They are non-binding, meaning that the government is not compelled to adopt the outcomes in negotiations with the EU, although the political pressure to do so would be very high.

We last saw a round of indicative voting on the issue of Lords reform in 2003. A variety of options were put forward then; however, none gained a majority.

For those of you not planning on heading out this evening, here’s a guide to the running order:

1-2pm: MPs take control of the order paper and debate how tonight’s votes will work.

3:30pm: Announcement by the Speaker of what options have been selected for voting. Debate begins.

7pm: MPs vote on different options on paper ballots choosing either Yes or No.

7:30pm: MPs debate whether to extend Article 50 deadline to April 12, as agreed at last week’s EU Council meeting.

9pm: Vote on extension of Article 50.

9:15pm: Speaker announces results of Article 50 extension and results of indicative votes.

Options the Speaker will choose from

Option A (Bill Cash MP): Reaffirms opposition to Withdrawal Agreement and to today’s votes, and bans MPs from ever doing this again without a two-thirds majority.

Option B (John Baron MP): Leave the EU without a deal on April 12.

Option C (John Baron MP): Leave the EU on May 22.

Option D (Nick Boles MP): Common Market 2.0/Norway-plus.

Option E (Will Quince MP): Reaffirms the UK must leave the EU.

Option F (Gareth Snell MP): Leave the EU with a customs union.

Option G (Angus MacNeil MP): Revoke Article 50.

Option H (George Eustice MP): Norway option (but no customs union).

Option I (Ian Blackford MP): No Brexit without consent of Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

Option J (Ken Clarke MP): Leave the EU with a customs union.

Option K (Jeremy Corbyn MP): Labour’s Brexit plan — Customs union plus alignment on future EU rights and regulations

Option L (Joanna Cherry MP): Revoke Article 50 in the event of no deal.

Option M (Margaret Beckett MP): Any Withdrawal Agreement must be put to a second referendum.

Option N (Nicky Morgan MP): Malthouse Compromise Plan A — Replace backstop with alternative arrangements

Option O (Marcus Fysh MP): Malthouse Plan B — Seek ‘standstill’ agreement with the EU while negotiating trade deal.

Option P (Marcus Fysh MP): Attempt to manage no-deal Brexit.