Indicative votes result: MPs vote against all 8 Brexit options, including a no-deal

None of the votes are binding, however.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 27th 2019, 9:45 PM

House of Commons 2

MPS HAVE VOTED against eight motions in the House of Commons in an attempt to indicate a majority for what type of Brexit they want, if they want one at all. 

Among the suggestions that were rejected were leaving the EU without a deal, and revoking Article 50 to avoid a no deal.

At a glance, here’s how they voted (you can find more details about them further down):

  • 1. Leave without a deal: Ayes 160, Noes 400 
  • 2. Common Market 2.0: Ayes 188, Noes 283
  • 3. EFTA and EEA: Ayes 65, Noes 377
  • 4. Customs Union: Ayes 264, Noes 272
  • 5. Labour’s alternative plan: Ayes 237, Noes 307
  • 6. Revoking Article 50: Ayes 184, Noes 293
  • 7. Confirmatory public vote: Ayes 268, Noes 295
  • 8. Contingent preferential arrangements: Ayes 139, Noes 422

The results are not binding – hence the indicative in ‘indicative votes’. 

Speaker John Bercow picked a wide range of motions to be voted and announced them this afternoon as the debate continued in Westminster.

MPs used ballot papers today, rather than the usual walking through the ‘aye’ or ‘no’ lobbies. It’s the first time Westminster has taken back control of proceedings from the British government in 140 years.

Speaking after the vote, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the House of Commons that there was “no easy way forward” and it was “necessary to back the Withdrawal Agreement”.

1. No Deal

Option (B) was proposed by John Baron, a Conservative MP.

It reads:

That this House agrees that the UK shall leave the EU on 12 April 2019 without a deal.

Explaining the motion, Baron said: 

“Exiting the EU, with or without a deal, is the default outcome of the Article 50 process. The Commons voted by a majority of 384 to trigger Article 50 in February 2017, so this is the one Brexit option Parliament has definitely chosen.” 

2. Common Market 2.0

Option (D) was proposed by Nick Boles, also a Conservative MP. 

It proposes joining the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and European Economic Area (EEA) and creating a ‘comprehensive customs arrangement’ which would continue until alternative arrangements could be made to ensure there would be no hard border on the island of Ireland. 

3. Efta and EEA

Option (H) was proposed by George Eustice, again a Conservative MP.

It differs from Option (D) because it does not include a customs union. Part (d) of the motion reads: 

… decline to enter a customs union with the EU but seek agreement on new protocols relating to the Northern Ireland border and agri-food trade.

Eustice, a Brexiteer, was the agriculture minister until earlier this month. 

4. Customs Union

Option (J) was proposed by Ken Clarke, a Conservative but also an EU supporter. 

It reads: 

That this House instructs the Government to: (1) ensure that any Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the EU must include, as a minimum, a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU; (2) enshrine this objective in primary legislation.

It has cross-party support having been backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, among others. 

5. Labour’s alternative plan

Option (K) has been proposed by Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader. 

The motion, if passed, would require the government to negotiate changes to the Withdrawal Agreement. It wants ministers to secure a permanent customs union, as well as close alignment with the single market. It also looks for “commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, including in areas such as the environment, education, and industrial regulation”. 

The EU has said that the Withdrawal Agreement is not going to be re-drafted. 

6. Revoking Article 50 to avoid a no-deal

Option (L) was proposed by Joanna Cherry of the Scottish National Party. 

It reads:

“If, on the day before the end of the penultimate House of Commons sitting day before exit day, no Act of Parliament has been passed for the purposes of section 13(1)(d) of the Withdrawal Act, Her Majesty’s Government must immediately put a motion to the House asking it to approve ‘No Deal’ and, if the House does not give its approval, Her Majesty’s Government must ensure that the notice given to the European Council under Article 50, of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union, is revoked in accordance with United Kingdom and European Union law.”

This motion also has cross-party support with signatures from prominent Conservative Dominic Grieve, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and all 11 members of the Independent Group.

7. Confirmatory public vote

Option (M) was proposed by Margaret Beckett, former foreign secretary and Labour MP. 

It reads: 

That this House will not allow in this Parliament the implementation and ratification of any withdrawal agreement and any framework for the future relationship unless and until they have been approved by the people of the United Kingdom in a confirmatory public vote.

It calls for a referendum on any deal that is passed in the House of Commons. 

8. Contingent Preferential Arrangements

Option (O) was proposed by Marcus Fyst, a Conservative Party Brexiteer.

Its first part reads: 

That this House directs that in case the UK is unable to implement a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, Her Majesty’s Government shall seek to agree immediately and preferentially with the EU: (a) a trade agreement and/or joint notification of trade preference covering 100 per cent of goods traded between the UK and EU under which no tariffs or quantitative restrictions will be applied between the parties and full cumulation of rules of origin which shall apply for a period of up to two years after the UK leaves the EU notwithstanding that these arrangements may be superseded or extended by further mutual agreement…

It also recommends a two-year “standstill” from the leave date for any possible changes to standards to ensure compliance by the UK to EU legislation it had agreed to while a member.

What next then?

If there is an obvious answer to what parliament wants to do about Brexit come 10pm, it is important to remember that parliament remains in control of its agenda on Monday. 

On that day – 1 April – MPs could force the government to adopt its proposal. 

If May’s Withdrawal Agreement has not been voted on and passed by that day, there is then 11 days until the UK leaves the European Union. 

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