Three Bill Votes Outside Ebbing Misery
The week commencing Monday 11 March is set to be a momentous week in the Brexit process.
On Tuesday 12 March the House of Commons is set to have a further “meaningful vote” on the proposed withdrawal agreement. There appears to have been a lot of talking around “the Northern Ireland backstop”, which seems to be the key issue, but there does not appear to have been any real progress. Commentators suggest that the vote to approve the withdrawal agreement will be lost.
If that is the case, a vote is set to take place on Wednesday 13 March asking MPs if they support the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place – the so called “no-deal Brexit”. The sentiment in the Commons seems to be against a no-deal Brexit. But voting against it does not really take things forward – a deal still needs to be agreed with the EU.
If the “ayes have it” in that vote, there is to be a further vote on Thursday 14 March on a proposal that the UK should seek a “short extension” of the negotiating period under Article 50. Any such extension requires the consent of the EU. They may agree – it appears that the other member states are not keen on a hard Brexit either. But any extension is likely to be for no longer than until the end of June 2019. Elections to the European Parliament are imminent and if the UK is still to be a member of the EU when the new group of MEPs are due to sit in early July, the constitution requires there to be UK elected MEPs in that Parliament.
Already bored with all things Brexit? It’s nowhere near over yet, I’m afraid.
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