British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement in the Parliament in London
LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers on Monday used a vote on the government’s next steps on Brexit to wrest control of the process so that they can then try to find a majority for an alternative that would break the parliamentary deadlock.
Lawmakers voted on amendments to a government motion saying that parliament has considered a statement made by May on March 15 which set out the government’s next steps on Brexit, including its plan to seek a delay.
That March 15 statement also noted the government believes the best way forward is for Britain to leave the EU “in an orderly manner” with a deal, and that parliament had rejected leaving without an agreement.
Below is how parliament voted on Monday:
AMENDMENT D – WITHDRAWN BEFORE VOTING
This has been put forward by opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and calls on the government to provide parliamentary time for lawmakers to find a majority for a different approach on Brexit, noting that the alternative proposals include holding a second Brexit referendum or seeking a customs union with the EU.
AMENDMENT A – PASSED 329 TO 302
This has been proposed by a cross-party group of lawmakers, led by Oliver Letwin, a member of May’s Conservative Party. It has been signed by more than 120 lawmakers.
It seeks to change the rules of parliament on March 27 in order to provide time for lawmakers to debate and vote on alternative ways forward on Brexit, a process often referred to as ‘indicative votes’.
The result of any such indicative votes would not be binding on the government but if it showed a majority for an alternative Brexit path which would break the parliamentary deadlock it could be politically difficult for May to ignore.
On Monday, May said parliament might vote for an outcome that was unnegotiable with the EU and she could not commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes but would be “engaging constructively with this process.”
May also said she would be telling her Conservative lawmakers to vote against this amendment as she believed it would set “an unwelcome precedent”. The Labour Party said it would be supporting the amendment.
A similar amendment voted on earlier this month lost by just two votes so this is expected to have a good chance of passing.
AMENDMENT F – REJECTED 314 to 311
Put forward by Labour lawmaker Margaret Beckett and supported by lawmakers from other parties, this amendment states that if Britain comes within seven calendar days of leaving the EU without a deal, the government must ask parliament whether it would approve a no deal exit or if it should seek a further delay to Brexit in order to prevent this outcome and give parliament time to determine a different way forward.
THE AMENDED MOTION – PASSED 327 to 300
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, Paul Sandle and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)