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BANGKOK 20 April 2019 13:33

Brexit multiple choice: How will UK parliament's indicative votes work?

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Brexit multiple choice: How will UK parliament's indicative votes work?

By Kylie MacLellan



Anti-Brexit protesters stand outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis


LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers will wrest control of the Brexit process from the government on Wednesday in order to try to find a majority for an alternative way forward that could break the parliamentary deadlock.


They will hold so-called indicative votes on a variety of possible Brexit outcomes.


Below is how the process will work:




The debate is due to start by 1500 GMT. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow will select which of the proposals will be put to a vote. He will choose from a range of options put forward by lawmakers which include the following:


1) An international trade agreement which enables Britain to participate in a post-Brexit customs union with the EU


2) A Brexit deal which must include, as a minimum, a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs Union with the EU.


3) Revoking Article 50 if parliament does not consent to leaving without a deal


4) Confirmatory public vote to approve Brexit deal before it is ratified by parliament


5) Remain a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and reapply to join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


6) Common Market 2.0, an enhanced Norway-style deal which would include membership of the EU's single market as well as a customs arrangement with the EU.


7) Opposition Labour Party plan for a close economic relationship with the EU including a comprehensive customs union and close alignment with the Single Market


8 ) Malthouse Compromise Plan A - Closely modelled on May's deal but replacing the Irish backstop with an arrangement based around a zero-tariff free trade agreement which relies on technical solutions to move checks on goods away from the border


9) Leaving without a deal


10) Require UK government to secure the consent of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly before Brexit can happen




The options selected by the Speaker will be included on a ballot paper and lawmakers will be asked to vote "aye" or "noe" to each of them. They will be able to vote for as many of the proposals as they wish.


Conservative lawmaker Oliver Letwin, who led the process to seize control from the government, told parliament on Monday that lawmakers would have to be willing to support more than one option in order to find a majority.


"We will all have to seek compromise. We almost know that if we all vote for our first preference, we will never get to a majority solution," he said. "I do not believe there is a majority in favour of the first preferences of any person in this House."




Lawmakers are due to take control of parliamentary business at 1400 GMT. The debate is due to end at 1900 GMT and lawmakers will then be given 30 minutes to record their votes.


The Speaker can then announce the results at any time before the close of parliamentary business. It is expected after 2100 GMT.


The result could show no majority for any option, a majority for several options or even a majority for all options.




Lawmakers have set out that they plan to take control of parliamentary business again on Monday, April 1 for another debate on Britain's exit from the European Union.


Earlier, opposition Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn, chair of parliament's Brexit committee, told BBC Radio this could be used to carry out a similar process again in order to further narrow down the options.




The votes would not be binding on the government.


May said on Monday she could not commit the government to delivering the outcome of any votes held as parliament might vote for something which was unnegotiable with the EU, or which contradicted her party's 2017 election promises.


Conservative lawmaker Nick Boles told BBC TV on Monday night that if the government refused to reflect the wishes of parliament, lawmakers would bring forward legislation seeking to force it to do so.




Yes. In 2003, lawmakers were given seven different options for proposed reform of parliament's unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords, but no options garnered a majority.


(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-03-27

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Nearly three years and the UK still doesn't know what it wants. Probably there will be indicative votes that they want unicorns (but cannot decide yet on the color).

Just leave and take time to make up your mind. The EU should no longer waste its time on an indecisive UK. 

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Eeny meeny miny mo..pick your partner and lets go..it's monty python time

May already told them in the commons on Monday. They are only indicative. She wouldn’t commit to acting on anything.

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I have never seen such a complete and utter ballsup. If May or Cameron are elevated to the HoL or honoured in some other way in years to come the protests from their own side will dwarf the mickey-mouse petition seen a few days ago from the other side.

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6 hours ago, Topdoc said:

Can somebody please tell these crooks that we have already voted.
406 constituencies voted to leave. 242 voted to remain.
What is the point of a "People's Vote Referendum" if parliament tries to twist the result afterwards?


Can you give a reference source for your figures please?


The House of Commons Library says:

"Why don’t we already know the results by constituency?

The results of the EU referendum were published across the UK by ‘counting area’, which in most cases were local authorities with electoral registration responsibilities (single tier authorities and lower tier authorities in two tier areas). Local authorities weren’t ever required to publish the results by Parliamentary constituency or by ward (whether this is even feasible for any given local authority depends on the particular arrangements on the day). In most cases local authorities sub-divided their count process into a ‘mini-counting model’, effectively jumbling the results up and removing the possibility to get ward or constituency breakdowns.

However, not all local authorities did the count this way. Some, like Birmingham City Council, counted the vote and published the results by ward and Parliamentary constituency. Northern Ireland was one counting area, but also published the results of the referendum for each of its 18 constituencies.

But I’ve already seen voting figures for my constituency

Because of the lack of local results for the EU referendum, many commentators have used estimates published by Dr Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia when talking about constituencies. Dr Hanretty used a model to estimate the results of the EU referendum for Parliamentary constituencies in England, Wales and Scotland. The model was built by first examining the relationship between the demographic characteristics of local authorities and their referendum results, and then estimating what the results may have been within each constituency given its demographic characteristics.

The estimates produced by Dr Hanretty are therefore an indirect way of estimating what the results by constituency may have been. The actual results at constituency level may have been different from what Dr Hanretty’s model predicts, in that the relationship observed between demographics and voting patterns at the local authority level may not hold for individual constituencies.

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6 hours ago, Laughing Gravy said:

We tried and tried and so have other countries. they are incapable of reforming and want further federalisation.


It is not far off the situation in the country this forum is about. making sure that the people can never have their own choice or way in the name of so called democracy.



The concept of Brexit is a a perfectly simple idea.  Stay in the EU or leave. It has been worth it just to see the way politicians behave. Brexit will not go away in my opinion and I don't believe that we will all wake up next month and say lets forget it.


More information on how the EU operate has shown more and more people. People are now actually questioning what the EU does and scrutinising. this will only grow IMHO. so Brexit has been valuable for that reason.


I for one can't wait for the next GE and see some of these politicians, getting what they deserve. The boot.


You think there will be some bona fide alternative party suddenly springing up with excellent candidates to challenge the Tory and Labor muppets currently mucking the country up?


I doubt it. And I doubt you'll see many sacked by their local consituencies.

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