Jeremy Corbyn's amendment rejected — BREXIT VOTE

Saul Bowman
March 2, 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May won a two week reprieve on Wednesday from British lawmakers, who postponed a threatened rebellion aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit after she agreed to a possible delay to Britain's departure from the EU.

More than 500 MPs voted in favor of a motion by Labour Party MP Yvette Cooper on Wednesday that voiced support for the three-step plan, which foresees Parliament voting a second time on a revised version of May's Brexit deal by March 12.

The UK is on course to leave the European Union on 29 March under current legislation - with or without a deal.

The prime minister is still seeking changes to a withdrawal agreement struck with the European Union late past year, which she hopes will be enough to get it through parliament's lower House of Commons. She has now offered MPs the power to delay Brexit at least until the end of June.

In theory, the defeat means Labour will now move to back a second Brexit referendum after Mr Corbyn said on Monday he would move to do so if his Brexit plan was rejected.

Indeed, as already noted by a senior Tory MP, yesterday's statement by the Prime Minister enabled "MPs to forge cross-party consensus on a new way forward". The government backed the amendment.

Votes of no confidence carry no official force within the Labour Party, but local activists could hold a "trigger ballot", where sitting Labour MPs can be forced to compete for selection as a candidate against all-comers, ahead of the next general election. The amendment passed by a majority of 502 votes.

The Labour Party's motion for the United Kingdom to remain part of an EU customs union was defeated by 323 votes to 240 during the session on Wednesday, leading to party leader confirming previously announced plans to push for a public vote on the government's Brexit proposals.

Labour shadow secretary of state for Brexit Keir Starmer said that he was also "disappointed" that the government had rejected Labours Brexit deal.

Labour MP David Lammy, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for another referendum, said: "It's become clear today that there is no majority in the House for May's deal, but also that Labor's alternative plan can not command a majority either".

Lawmakers also rejected a proposal on Wednesday by the Scottish National Party calling for no-deal Brexit to be ruled out under any circumstances.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the European Union would agree to extend the Brexit deadline beyond March 29 only if Britain justified such a request with a clear objective.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to agree, but showed more flexibility. "In no way can we accept an extension without a clear objective".

A chorus of party voices, including a shadow Brexit minister, called for the party to now "wholeheartedly" support a second referendum.

"For the first time, although I think it is less than 50 percent, I think there is a serious chance that in the course of the next few weeks that the prime minister will get her deal through", Letwin said.

Remember though, there are dozens of Labour MPs who just don't believe another referendum is the right thing to do. This exodus is too small to cause either party concerns in itself, but many MPs in both parties are thought to be sympathetic to following suit unless the leaderships pay more attention to their views.

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