MPs spent yesterday debating the following Government motion:
“That this House declines to approve leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship on 29 March 2019; and notes that leaving without a deal remains the default in UK and EU law unless this House and the EU ratify an agreement.”
You can watch our video highlights of the debate here, at the end of which there were votes on two amendments then a vote on the main motion, as amended.
The first amendment put to the voted had been tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman, Jack Dromey, Sir Oliver Letwin, Hilary Benn, Yvette Cooper, Nick Boles and others in order to oppose the idea of a no-deal Brexit full stop and remove the reference in the motion to leaving without a deal remaining the default option.
In the event, Dame Caroline did not want to move the amendment herself, so Yvette Cooper did so to ensure that it was put to a vote and it was passed by 312 votes to 308 – a majority of just 4.
312 MPs voted for the amendment (314 including two tellers), including 9 Conservative rebels, 234 Labour MPs, all 35 SNP MPs, all 11 TIG MPs, all 11 Lib Dem MPs, along with the 4 MPs from Plaid Cymru, the 1 Green Party MP and 8 Independents. The 9 Conservative rebels were Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Phillip Lee, Antoinette Sandbach, Caroline Spelman and Ed Vaizey.
308 MPs voted against the amendment (310 if you include the two tellers), including 293 Conservatives, all 10 DUP MPs, 6 rebel Labour MPs and 2 Independents. The 6 Labour rebels were: Ronnie Campbell, Stephen Hepburn, Kate Hoey, John Mann, Dennis Skinner and Graham Stringer.
Excluding the Speaker and his three deputies (who do not vote) and the absentee Sinn Fein MPs, there were 11 Conservative MPs who did not cast a vote – Richard Benyon, Nick Boles, Jonathan Djanogly, George Freeman, Mike Freer, Oliver Heald, Jo Johnson, Oliver Letwin, Mark Pawsey, Keith Simpson and Nicholas Soames – and 3 Labour MPs who did not vote – Kevin Barron, Andrew Gwynne and Mohammad Yasin – although we cannot know if they were deliberate abstentions or whether they were on parliamentary business elsewhere or ill etc.
There then followed a vote on a second amendment jointly proposed by ERG figures Steve Baker, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith; Tory Remainers Damian Green and Nicky Morgan; Simon Hart of the middle-of-the-road Brexit Delivery Group; and DUP Westminster Leader Nigel Dodds which seeks to put the Malthouse Compromise Plan B into effect. This asked the Government to follow a course of action which would involve:
- Publishing the UK’s Day One Tariff Schedules immediately [which actually happened yesterday morning]
- Seeking an extension of Article 50 to 10.59pm on 22nd May 2019, at which point the UK would leave the EU, to allow businesses to prepare for the operation of the aforementioned tariffs
- Offering a further set of mutual standstill agreements with the EU and Member States for an agreed period ending no later than 30th December 2021, during which period the UK would pay an agreed sum equivalent to its net EU contributions and satisfy its other public international law obligations, in a spirit of co-operation and in order to begin discussions on the future relationship
- Unilaterally guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK
Crucially, this was a free vote for Conservative MPs, nearly 100 of whom abstained, so it saw senior ministers voting in both division lobbies, but in the event it was defeated by 374 votes to 164 – a majority of 210.
A total of 164 MPs backed the amendment (166 including two tellers), including 151 Conservatives, all 10 DUP MPs, 4 Labour MPs (Ronnie Campbell, Kate Hoey, Dennis Skinner and Graham Stringer) and 1 Independent.
The 151 Tory MPs backing it were:
Nigel Adams, Adam Afriyie, Peter Aldous, Lucy Allan, David Amess, Stuart Andrew, Kemi Badenoch, Steve Baker, Henry Bellingham, Jake Berry, Bob Blackman, Crispin Blunt, Graham Brady, Suella Braverman, Andrew Bridgen, Fiona Bruce, Robert Buckland, Alex Burghart, Conor Burns, Alun Cairns, Colin Clark, Simon Clarke, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Therese Coffey, Damian Collins, Robert Courts, Chris Davies, David T. C. Davies, Glyn Davies, Philip Davies, David Davis, Michelle Donelan, Nadine Dorries, James Duddridge, Iain Duncan Smith, Philip Dunne, Michael Ellis, Charlie Elphicke, George Eustice, Nigel Evans, David Evennett, Michael Fabricant, Michael Fallon, Mark Francois, Lucy Frazer, Marcus Fysh, Mark Garnier, Cheryl Gillan, Zac Goldsmith, Helen Grant, James Gray, Chris Green, Damian Green, Kirstene Hair, Greg Hands, Rebecca Harris, Trudy Harrison, Simon Hart, John Hayes, James Heappey, Chris Heaton-Harris, Gordon Henderson, Adam Holloway, Eddie Hughes, Jeremy Hunt, Alister Jack, Sajid Javid, Ranil Jayawardena, Bernard Jenkin, Andrea Jenkyns, Robert Jenrick, Boris Johnson, Caroline Johnson, Gareth Johnson, Andrew Jones, David Jones, Daniel Kawczynski, Julian Knight, Greg Knight, Kwasi Kwarteng, John Lamont, Mark Lancaster, Pauline Latham, Andrea Leadsom, Andrew Lewer, Ian Liddell-Grainger, Julia Lopez, Jack Lopresti, Jonathan Lord, Tim Loughton, Craig Mackinlay, Rachel Maclean, Kit Malthouse, Scott Mann, Paul Maynard, Patrick McLoughlin, Esther McVey, Mark Menzies, Stephen Metcalfe, Maria Miller, Nigel Mills, Andrew Mitchell, Penny Mordaunt, Nicky Morgan, Sheryll Murray, Andrew Murrison, Neil Parish, Priti Patel, Owen Paterson, Mike Penning, John Penrose, Chris Philp, Dan Poulter, Mark Prisk, Tom Pursglove, Will Quince, Dominic Raab, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Laurence Robertson, Mary Robinson, Andrew Rosindell, Lee Rowley, Paul Scully, Bob Seely, Andrew Selous, Grant Shapps, Alec Shelbrooke, Henry Smith, Royston Smith, Bob Stewart, Iain Stewart, Julian Sturdy, Rishi Sunak, Desmond Swayne, Hugo Swire, Derek Thomas, Ross Thomson, Justin Tomlinson, Michael Tomlinson, Craig Tracey, Theresa Villiers, Charles Walker, Ben Wallace, David Warburton, Helen Whately, Heather Wheeler, John Whittingdale, Bill Wiggin, Gavin Williamson, William Wragg and Nadhim Zahawi.
But a total of 374 MPs opposed it (376 including two tellers), including 68 Conservatives, 238 Labour MPs, all 35 SNP MPs, all 11 TIG MPs, all 11 Lib Dem MPs, along with the 4 MPs from Plaid Cymru, the 1 Green Party MP and 8 Independents.
The 68 Tory MPs opposing it were:
Richard Bacon, Guto Bebb, Nick Boles, Peter Bone, Jack Brereton, Steve Brine, Alistair Burt, James Cartlidge, Alex Chalk, Jo Churchill, Greg Clark, Kenneth Clarke, Stephen Crabb, Tracey Crouch, Jonathan Djanogly, Steve Double, Jackie Doyle-Price, Mark Field, Vicky Ford, Kevin Foster, Roger Gale, David Gauke, Nick Gibb, Bill Grant, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Andrew Griffiths, Sam Gyimah, Luke Hall, Richard Harrington, Oliver Heald, Peter Heaton-Jones, Simon Hoare, Philip Hollobone, John Howell, Nigel Huddleston, Margot James, Marcus Jones, Phillip Lee, Oliver Letwin, David Lidington, Alan Mak, Paul Masterton, Johnny Mercer, Huw Merriman, Anne Milton, Damien Moore, Anne Marie Morris, David Morris, James Morris, Robert Neill, Andrew Percy, Claire Perry, Victoria Prentis, Mark Pritchard, Douglas Ross, Amber Rudd, Antoinette Sandbach, Chloe Smith, Nicholas Soames, Caroline Spelman, Rory Stewart, Gary Streeter, Kelly Tolhurst, Edward Vaizey, Matt Warman, Giles Watling and Mike Wood.
There then followed a vote on the main motion as amended – which was effectively a re-run of the vote on the first amendment opposing the idea of a no-deal Brexit full stop since the text of it replaced the original motion.
For the Conservatives, this has swiftly become highly controversial because it was subject to a three line whip, yet more than a dozen ministers and whips abstained and do not appear to have been disciplined. One minister, DWP minister Sarah Newton, did resign in order to vote in favour of the motion as amended, which passed by 321 votes to 278 – a majority of 43.
321 MPs backed the motion (323 including two tellers), including 17 Conservative rebels, 237 Labour MPs, all 35 SNP MPs, all 11 TIG MPs, all 11 Lib Dem MPs, along with the 4 MPs from Plaid Cymru, the 1 Green Party MP and 7 Independents.
Those 17 Conservative rebels were: Guto Bebb, Richard Benyon, Nick Boles, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, George Freeman, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Sam Gyimah, Phillip Lee, Oliver Letwin, Paul Masterton, Sarah Newton, Mark Pawsey, Antoinette Sandbach, Nicholas Soames and Ed Vaizey.
Only 278 MPs opposed the motion (280 including two tellers), including 267 Conservative MPs, all 10 DUP MPs, 2 Labour MPs (Stephen Hepburn and Kate Hoey) and 1 Independent.
So it was the abstentions that were most eye-catching here. Excluding the Speaker and his three deputies and the absentee Sinn Fein MPs, there were no fewer than 29 Conservative MPs who did not cast a vote, along with 4 Labour MPs – Kevin Barron, Andrew Gwynne, John Mann and Graham Stringer – and Independents Frank Field and Kelvin Hopkins (again with the proviso that we cannot know if they were deliberate abstentions or whether they were on parliamentary business elsewhere or ill etc.)
Those 29 Tory absentees included numerous ministers, whips and parliamentary aides, including Cabinet ministers Greg Clark, David Gauke, David Mundell and Amber Rudd.
The full list of Conservatives abstaining was as follows: Bim Afolami (PPS), Robert Buckland (minister), Alistair Burt (minister), Greg Clark (minister), Alberto Costa, Stephen Crabb, Tobias Ellwood (minister), Vicky Ford (PPS), Mike Freer (whip), David Gauke (minister), Richard Graham, Damian Green, Stephen Hammond (minister), Richard Harrington (minister), Oliver Heald, Peter Heaton-Jones (PPS), Simon Hoare (PPS), Nigel Huddleston (party vice chair), Margot James (minister), Jo Johnson, Jeremy Lefroy, Anne Milton (minister), David Mundell (minister), Claire Perry (minister), Victoria Prentis (PPS), Amber Rudd (minister), Keith Simpson, Caroline Spelman and Gary Streeter.
Photocredit: ©UK Parliament/JessicaTaylor
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