Gulf News

Grieve amend­ment: MPs in con­trol

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What hap­pened?

Dur­ing a pro­ce­dural dis­cus­sion on Tues­day evening, a num­ber of MPs from May’s Con­ser­va­tive party tabled an amend­ment seek­ing to in­flu­ence what hap­pens if that deal is re­jected in a vote on Tues­day next week. The amend­ment, backed by for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Do­minic Grieve, was passed in the House of Com­mons by 321 votes to 299.

What does it say?

If the Brexit deal is re­jected, the govern­ment must re­turn to the Com­mons within 21 days to make a state­ment on what hap­pens next. The Grieve amend­ment re­moves the re­quire­ment that any mo­tion aris­ing from this state­ment be con­sid­ered “in neu­tral terms” — es­sen­tially, it al­lows MPs to amend it.

What im­pact could this have?

For­mer min­is­ter Oliver Letwin, who backed the Grieve amend­ment, said the pri­or­ity was to avoid the po­ten­tially calami­tous sit­u­a­tion of Bri­tain leav­ing the EU with no deal. MPs could in the­ory ta­ble an amend­ment ask­ing the govern­ment to re­open ne­go­ti­a­tions with the EU or de­mand a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum or seek to de­lay Brexit or per­haps even try to stop it al­to­gether.

Can MPs stop Brexit?

MPs are sharply di­vided over the var­i­ous pos­si­ble ver­sions of Brexit, and both the Con­ser­va­tives and Labour have com­mit­ted to leav­ing the EU. How­ever, ev­ery­thing might change if May’s deal is taken off the ta­ble. Brexit sup­port­ers say any di­rec­tion the Com­mons gives the govern­ment would not be legally bind­ing.

A new govern­ment?

If the Brexit deal falls, May is also likely to face at­tempts on all sides to un­seat her. The Labour party says it would prob­a­bly ta­ble a vote of con­fi­dence in the House of Com­mons. Eu­roscep­tics in her own Con­ser­va­tive party could also launch a fresh chal­lenge against her lead­er­ship.

 ?? AFP ?? Pro-Brexit de­mon­stra­tors protest op­po­site the Houses of Par­lia­ment in Lon­don yes­ter­day.
AFP Pro-Brexit de­mon­stra­tors protest op­po­site the Houses of Par­lia­ment in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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