Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2019

Parliament UK News, 16 January 2019

BREXIT - Government loses 'meaningful vote' in the Commons

After five days of debate, beginning on 9 January 2019, the House of Commons, on the 15 January, voted against the Government's withdrawal agreement with the European Union in the 'meaningful vote'. The Government was defeated by a majority of 230, with MPs voting 432 to 202 against their deal.

On the final day of the 'meaningful vote' debate MPs continued to make speeches in the Commons Chamber.

Concluding for the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn asked that;

"The House to do the right thing tonight: reject this deal because of the harm it would do, and show that we as MPs are speaking up for the people we represent, who recognise that the deal is dangerous for this country, bad for them, their living standards and our collective future.​"

Closing the debate, the Prime Minister urged MPs to back the Government's deal. She said that her deal,

"It strikes a fair balance between the hopes and desires of all our fellow citizens—those who voted to leave and those who voted to stay in—and if we leave with the deal that I am proposing, I believe that we can lay the foundations on which to build a better Britain."

The Speaker selected four amendments for debate.

Amendment a – Official Labour Opposition:

The amendment would have rejected the Prime Minister's deal on the basis of Labour’s six tests, rejected the prospect of ‘no deal’, and said that the House will “pursue every option” preventing the UK from leaving the EU under either of those circumstances. The amendment was not moved at the end of debate.

Amendment k: SNP/Plaid

This amendment rejected the Government's deal in line with the votes against it in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and called for the Government to request an extension of the Article 50 negotiating period. This amendment was not moved.

Amendment b: Sir Edward Leigh

Called for an assurance from the Government that it will terminate the Withdrawal Agreement if the EU refuses to remove the backstop from the treaty at the end of 2021. Following assurances from the Government, this amendment was not moved.

Amendment f: John Baron

This amendment would have given consent to the Government's deal provided the Withdrawal Agreement is amended so that the UK can terminate the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally. The amendment was defeated 600 to 24.

The unamended motion was put to the House, and MPs voted against it, 432 to 202.

Directly afterwards, in Points of Order, the Prime Minister indicated that the Government would be willing to schedule time on Wednesday 16 January to debate a no-confidence motion if the Opposition wished to table one. The Leader of the Opposition responded in a further Point of Order, tabling the motion of no-confidence in Her Majesty's Government.

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