What next? MPs reject all Brexit options in night of votes
PUBLISHED: 22:52 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:07 02 April 2019
MPs have again failed to find a way forward on Brexit as all four options put to the Commons were rejected on Monday night.
Following a debate - which was disrupted by semi-naked climate change protesters in the public gallery - a highly unusual ‘indicative votes’ procedure was being used in an attempt to establish what outcome might have majority support among MPs.
Proposals for a ‘Norway-plus’ plan for close UK engagement with the EU after Brexit were boosted by support from both Labour and the Scottish National Party.
MPs also voted on:
• A plan from Europhile Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke for a customs union with the EU after Brexit.
• A demand from Labour backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson for a referendum on any Brexit deal passed by Parliament.
• SNP MP Joanna Cherry’s call for powers for MPs to vote to block a no-deal departure.
Mr Clarke’s customs union option lost by 273 to 276, just three, while the common market 2.0 option lost by 261 to 282.
There were just 12 votes in the option to give the public a confirmatory referendum, with the votes going 280 to 292.
And a motion aiming to prevent the UK leaving without a deal, including a vote of whether to revoke article 50, lost by 191 to 292 votes.
Conservative MP Nick Boles resigned the Conservative whip after the votes, claiming the party “refused to compromise”.
Keith Simpson, Conservative MP for Broadland, said the country was no further along than a month ago.
Mr Simpson said he voted against every option.
Of Nick Boles, he said: “He was making a statement, people have got themselves so worked up.”
But he said he would await the prime minister returning and would support her again.
Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, said: “I reckon Kyle/Wilson [for a confirmatory referendum] - up 12 votes on last ballot - now has the largest single affirmative tally.”
Liz Truss, Conservative MP for South West Norfolk, who has been tipped to take over from Theresa May, said it was now time to back the prime minister’s deal.
North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb had voted for a common market, and a customs union. And earlier said there needed to be a plan for him to vote for a confirmatory referendum.
He was the only Liberal Democrat to vote for the customs union motion.
Today, the prime minister will hold five hours of cabinet meetings, three of those without civil servants, to decide the next steps on Brexit.
Mrs May now has until April 12 to seek a longer extension from the EU or leave without a deal.