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MPs, Deal or no Deal?

Today, the government announced that the UK Parliament is set to have a ‘all or nothing’ vote on Brexit at the end of the negotiations with the European Union.

Theresa May has promised MPs a “take it or leave it” vote on the final draft of any EU exit deal, a deal hailed by the Anti-Brexit alliance as a “huge” concession.

The promise of a “meaningful” vote on the terms of Brexit was intended to head off a potential rebellion in the Commons by pro-EU Conservative MPs, who believe parliament should have the final say on the terms of Britain’s exit.

Speaking in the Commons during a debate on the Brexit trigger bill, Brexit Minister David Jones said Parliament would have its say on the terms of the "final draft" of the deal with the EU.

 

 

Under questioning, Mr Jones later clarified that Parliament would be allowed to vote either for the Government deal or for no deal at all.

The concession - a verbal assurance and not a clause that will be written into the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - was welcomed by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

But a number of MPs said that a "take-it-or-leave-it" vote was not "meaningful" and offered no real choice.

Mrs May is expected by the end of next month to trigger Article 50, when official negotiations can then begin with Brussels over leaving the EU, and the talks are due to last two years.

Chuka Umunna, a Labour MP, said the House should be able to send the government back to EU partners to negotiate a deal if one had not been reached, saying that falling back on WTO rules would be “deeply damaging and wholly unacceptable”.

As things stand, this concession would allow Remainers to block any final deal regardless of its content, forcing the UK to fall back on WTO rules. This would not be the end of the world by any stretch, but a deal is far preferable.

What Remainers may hope for is the least successful Brexit possible, allowing them to attempt to rejoin the EU either through holding a parliamentary majority or another referendum. There is a significant section of the Remain camp that really would rather see the country fail than to admit they were wrong on Brexit.

Further, Remainers are still saying May's offer is not good enough (we try to avoid the term Remoaners, but they don't always help themselves). In frank terms, they want an option whereby parliament can force the government to agree a deal that keeps Britain in the Single Market.

They don't say it in clear terms, but this is what they want: a means to effectively block Brexit.
Caroline Lucas' comments essentially amount to: "parliament must be able to secure a soft Brexit, ie the Single Market, through a vote".

We will oppose that every step of the way. The people have voted, and the result must be respected. This is a fundamental question of democracy.

We want the country to be united, pushing for the best possible deal with the EU - one that protects our markets, our rights, and our friendship with our European neighbours.

This concession is dangerous as it could incidentally lead to the government having to offer a vote on the revocability of Article 50. This would mean the UK would not longer have any legal mechanisms to leave the European Union.

The Irish government along with the Green Party are currently taking this proposition to court.

The ‘Dublin case’ seeks legal clarity on the revocability of Article 50. They want to know if Article 50, once triggered, can be unilaterally revoked by the UK government without requiring consent from all other 27 EU Member States.

If their case is successful, the Irish court will make a reference to the European Court, and that court will rule that the government could, on its own and if it chose to do so, revoke article 50.

This would spell the end of Brexit.

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Labour Leave will campaign to achieve a fair deal from Brexit negotiations. We recognise the will of the UK public and will hold the government and the Labour Party to account.

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