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September 6, 2019
Brexit: Theresa May to hold a series of MPs' votes on options

Brexit: Theresa May to hold a series of MPs’ votes on options

Theresa MayImage copyright

Theresa May is planning to hold a series of votes in Parliament to find out what kind of Brexit MPs will support, sources have told the BBC.

The prime minister was previously thought to be against this idea.

But sources say she wants the vote planned for the third week of January on her Brexit deal to be a “moment of reckoning”.

It comes as the cabinet announced it was stepping up preparations in case there is a no-deal Brexit on 29 March.

Several cabinet ministers have publicly suggested alternative next steps if, as widely expected, MPs vote against Mrs May’s Brexit deal in January.

Some, including Amber Rudd, favour a Norway-style relationship, retaining close links to the EU.

Others, notably Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom, support what they describe as a “managed no deal”, with time to transition to World Trade Organization rules.

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds was among those at the two and a half hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday calling for a “flushing out” of opinion in a series of exploratory votes in the Commons.

The prime minister was thought to be opposed to the idea.

But the BBC’s deputy political editor John Pienaar said he understood that Mrs May now wishes to accelerate and compress the process, so that various options are presented in amendments to her motion – seeking to approve her deal – and voted upon at the same time.

“Last time, for one reason or another, people only set out what they opposed. Next time could be an opportunity for people to set down what they support – and vote on it,” a senior source close to Mrs May said.

Many MPs and ministers have been playing their cards closely, waiting for Mrs May’s deal to fail before offering their own proposals as the last, best, remaining outcome, said John Pienaar.

In what seems like an effort to pre-empt this manoeuvre the prime minister wants the various different options to be put to the vote as amendments to the motion backing her plan – if each alternative is defeated, the final option would be her deal.

Downing Street is also hoping to get more reassurances from Brussels that any outcome that keeps the UK tied to EU rules – as part of measures to ensure there is no return to a physical Northern Ireland border, will be temporary.

Source BBC News

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