CLA Public Affairs Adviser Eleanor Wood looks at the events of Brexit this week and if the Government are any closer to passing the deal.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. There’s been a vote on Brexit and nothing has changed. That’s actually a bit flippant – there’s been a lot of progress this week but it requires a bit of an explainer (stay with me).
This week was intended to be the return of the meaningful vote, where MPs vote on the Prime Minister’s deal, returning after its historic defeat in January. But it was announced on Monday that this would be delayed until 12 March. Largely because it was expected to be another whitewash for the Prime Minister, and Number 10 wants more time to speak with the EU and to persuade the inner party factions that the PM’s deal is the best outcome.
MPs were largely furious that the vote was being delayed again and with so little time until March 29, progress is desperately needed. Several amendments were tabled in order to achieve some clarity on how Brexit legislation would be carried forward. The amendments were, that MPs should have a vote on no deal (this has the potential to take no deal off the table as the majority of MPs are against leaving without a deal), there should be a vote on whether to extend the negotiation window and that EU citizens’ rights must be secured in the event of a no deal.
The Prime Minister accepted the desire of MPs for action by announcing that if the Brexit deal is defeated again on 12 March, there will be a vote on 13 March asking MPs if they want a no deal and if this is ruled out, that on 14 March the House would vote on whether Article 50 should be extended and the leaving date pushed back to allow for more time. This made the vote on the amendments on Wednesday night largely symbolic, rather than damaging for the Government.
So, all eyes are now on the second week of March for the end of deadlock and some progress to be finally made on Brexit. It is not just MPs crying out for clarity but large swathes of the country, needing to know what life will look like in April. Agriculture in particular needs certainty on tariffs and movement of goods. So fingers crossed, we are nearing some resolution!