Politics update: MPs vote on alternatives to May’s Brexit, Rees-Mogg changes his mind

Politics update 27.03.2019

Indicative votes take place as Commons takes over Brexit

Oliver Letwin

MPs will have the opportunity to vote on a choice of alternatives to Theresa May’s Brexit deal this evening, as the Commons takes further control of the Brexit process.

At least 16 alternative Brexit proposals have been put forward, including a UK-EU Customs Union, a second referendum, joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Common Market 2.0, and revoking article 50 to stop Brexit.

MPs will debate the alternatives which are put forward this afternoon, before they hold a series of indicative votes in favour or against them this evening.

It is not known whether or not the major parties will whip their MPs to vote for or against any particular motion which is put forward today.

Tory MPs call for May’s resignation in return for backing deal

Theresa May

Theresa May has faced more pressure from pro-Brexit Conservatives to set a deadline for her resignation in return for backing her Brexit deal.

The prime minister will address Conservative MPs at a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers on Wednesday as MPs in the Commons debate alternatives to her Brexit deal.

Whilst key figures on the right of the party indicated they were ready to support May’s deal, many say this will need a promise from May that she is ready to set out a timetable for her departure.

Jacob Rees-Mogg backs May’s Brexit deal

ERG leader Jacob Rees-Mogg came out in favour of May’s deal on Tuesday – subject to support from the DUP.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: “I apologise for changing my mind. By doing so I will be accused of infirmity of shameless purpose by some and treachery by others.

“I have come to this view because the numbers in parliament make it clear that all the other potential outcomes are worse and an awkward reality needs to be faced.”

Rees-Mogg had previously been a vocal supporter of Britain leaving the EU without a deal – a prospect which he said on Tuesday would be “very, very difficult” because of parliament’s opposition to that option.

Corbyn considers backing ‘common market 2.0’ soft Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn was considering putting Labour backing behind a ‘common market 2.0’ soft Brexit, supporting an amendment which will be debated by MPs on Wednesday.

The party tabled its own Brexit policy on Tuesday night as one of the options to be considered by MPs. This motion called for a customs union and single market alignment.

However the party is also considering backing a motion tabled by the Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Lucy Powell, which pushes for a Norway-style arrangement, involving membership of the European Free Trade Association.

On Tuesday Kinnock said: “Our cross-party group of MPs has had very constructive and positive discussions with Jeremy, Keir [Starmer] and John [McDonnell].”

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