The opposition Labour Party will not support today’s amendment calling for a second referendum, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said.
“Today is about extension and about the process … the Labour Party is supporting the public vote on any deal that gets through by the Prime Minister, but today is about a different issue,” Starmer said.
The Labour Party threw its support behind a second Brexit referendum last month “to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country” after its proposed amendments to Theresa May’s deal were rejected.
After Speaker of the House John Bercow’s selection of an amendment calling for a second EU referendum caused an outcry from Brexiteers, the House of Commons released this video explaining the process. According to Bercow, this is what he considers in choosing an amendment for debate and, ultimately, vote: is it orderly, does it relate to the motion’s purpose, does it have a range of support, will it help the House reach a conclusion that might be helpful in considering the motion?
The People’s Vote campaign, a group pushing for a second referendum, has said that it is not asking its supporters to vote for an amendment calling for exactly that.
In a statement echoing a tweet from Alastair Campbell, a leading member of the People’s Vote, the group argues that now is not the time for MPs to vote for a second referendum.
Here’s the full statement:
The People’s Vote campaign does not instruct its supporters in Parliament on how to vote. We recognise there is a range of opinions on when to press the case for the public being given the final say, which means some of these MPs will vote for the Wollaston amendment, some may vote against, and some will abstain.
But we do not think today is the right time to test the will of the House on the case for a new public vote. Instead, this is the time for Parliament to declare it wants an extension of Article 50 so that, after two-and-a-half years of vexed negotiations, our political leaders can finally decide on what Brexit means.
That is because a People’s Vote is not just another option in this Brexit crisis – it is a solution to this crisis. When the real costs of Brexit are measured up against the broken promises made for it in 2016, we believe Parliament will have better opportunities to decide it is only fair and reasonable to give the public a real say on this crucial decision for our country.
Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, May’s de facto deputy, has reiterated the government’s opposition to a second EU referendum, which would require a longer Brexit delay.
Lidington said that holding another referendum “would reopen the divisions” seen in the 2016 vote and “damage the already fragile trust between the public and members of this House.”
He also warned that a delay beyond European elections, which take place at the end of May, would mean the UK would have to talk part.
Yes, an amendment has been selected that could tell the government that lawmakers favor Brexit being put to the public a second time.
Yes, that amendment also says that remaining in the European Union must be on that ballot.
But as with so many things Brexit, it would be helpful if lawmakers brushed up on a little thing we call “the law.”
For a second referendum to be called, it would have to pass an act of parliament. In short, that means a bill being put before lawmakers, the bill being read numerous times in both legislative chambers and a committee process. The question would also have to be tested by the Electoral Commission.
Tonight’s vote is only indicative. It is currently considered unlikely to pass, and even if it does, it would do so with oven gloves on. An actual vote on a bill would be a different matter altogether.
It would also mean a lengthy extension of the Brexit process, as holding a big public vote requires *a little bit of organizing*. For MPs worried of being accused of betraying the democratic will of the people, that will be a huge concern.
Finally, that extension would have to be approved by European Union. There is a strange assumption in London that Europe wants a second referendum. What the EU wants is stability. A referendum does not provide that; voting for a Brexit deal does.
Brexiteer MPs have hit out at Speaker of the House John Bercow’s decision to select an amendment calling for a second Brexit referendum.
Eurosceptic MP Mark Francois complained in parliament that Bercow failed to call another amendment ruling out another vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union, which was signed by more than 100 MPs.
Bercow responded that “members do have to take the rough with the smooth,” without going into detail on his selection process.
Another Conservative MP, Sir Bernard Jenkin, said there might be “some concern” over allowing MPs a vote on a second referendum.
UK Parliament has begun debating the government motion on whether to extend Article 50, the mechanism whereby member states can quit the EU, as well as amendments tabled by MPs.
Speaker of the House John Bercow has selected the following amendments, which MPs will begin debating shortly.
Amendment (h) Seeks an extension to Article 50 to give enough time to legislate for and hold a second referendum on whether to leave the EU, with remain and parliament’s preferred Brexit option on the ballot paper.
Amendment (i) Seeks to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process.
Amendment (e) Notes that parliament has “decisively” rejected both Theresa May’s deal and no deal and calls for a delay to Brexit “to provide parliamentary time for this House to find a majority for a different approach.”
Amendment (j) Aims to stop a third meaningful vote on May’s deal.
British lawmakers have been given a vote on a second referendum, one of four amendments selected by Speaker of the House John Bercow.