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Speaker picks Spelman and Malthouser amendments
just checking what happens if Spelman is passed - surely incompatible with the Malthouser amendment. Not clear if Spelman will be pushed though. Speaker did not say anything which suggests both could be voted on and for...
In theory if spelman is pushed and passed - the Commons could rule out No Deal, then ruled it back in again with Malthouse. In reality Spelman might not be pushed, and Malthousers dont have the numbers and this is about internal Conservative leadership signalling...
Contacted to say that the Spelman amendment will definitely be pushed to a vote, if not be her, then another signatory... Government whipping against it.
Gove says that the Vote Leave campiagn said in the referendum that UK would leave with a deal

(it was there on the leaflet)
Its the second page here of Vote Leave's leaflet: "we will negotiate a new deal"... actually before starting Leave process let alone before ending leave process
Gove says that the PM's deal commanded more votes than it did last time... though recognises he's in an "uncomfortable position"...
Ooooh. Speaker says in response to Angela Eagle point of order that he will at an appropriate moment make a ruling about whether the government can simply keep returning with the same historically defeated Withdrawal Deal
Laughter in the Commons as Gove says that the MV defeated by 149 yesterday was “significantly different” from the one beaten by 230 in January
ERG’s Mark Francois has just bet in the Chamber Keir Starmer £50 for @HelpforHeroes that PM will bring back MV3 on Tuesday 26.3 after EU summit.

But is there a Commons precedent against being able to bring it back?
Here is the point the Speaker seems to say he will soon make a ruling on re Government simply repeating the meaningful vote being against Commons rules - page 397 of Erskine May:
Ken Clarke - a key vote FOR the PM’s Withdrawal Deal says “I voted twice for it but now it’s dead in the water”.
Bercow confirms what I was told - Spelman attempts to withdraw her amendment, is told others can move it, others were planning to - only reason not - to avoid pressure for Government ministers to resign. Some signatories care about that, others do not:
As of 5 minutes ago - “Yes. That’s the latest”.
George Eustice - recently resigned minister appears to say that the UK ambassador to Norway was “armed with a letter” that sought to retain our membership of the EEA. Says there are other interpretations of EEA treaty than it automatically lapsing on Brexit day.

Here’s the full story - the letter was the EEA notice period ether which was withdrawn / wasn’t a letter to stay in. Eustice backs No Deal but thinks the more is a legal route to maintain EEA rights, though is against customs union: telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/…
Informal Cabinet gathering going on right now in the Commons...

has been advice that PM should not proceed with votes on extension and just announce it.
Hints today from Cabinet ministers that some form of indicative vote process should come, or both will be in the hands of MPs
Government DEFEAT on Spellman motion

No Deal ruled out 312-308

Terrible loss of authority for Government.
so that is ruled out fullstop - a non binding vote, but the PM promised to follow it.

No proviso about following the default option
I’ve no idea how you can amend this now amended motion ruling out No Deal with one ruling it back in, in “managed” form...

MPs victorious in first voite want to deliver a decisive defeat to the ERG in this vote now.
Government plan to rule out No Deal only on March 29th has now been deleted, meaning they will have to whip against what remains of their own motion / fears now of ministerial resignations if they go through with that...
In the end the only actual “free vote” Number 10 offered to its party that actually happened was on the Malthouse plan - a version of backing No Deal.

As I said last night, Pandora’s Box has now opened....
From the Aye lobby: there are members of the cabinet taking advantage of free vote:
Malthouse comprehensively defeated 164:374

But that is a hell of a lot of Conservatives including ministers and Cabinet - maybe half the party who have voted for it
So the Government if it is whipping against this motion now - is effectively whipping FOR No Deal in a fortnight?? Even though it didn’t mean to?

This is why ministers are willing to resign here.

What a mess.
What’s the Chancellor supposed to do having told Commons he wanted No Deal rules out, now?
Chancellor spotted looking pensive:
Half of Tory MPs voted for Malthouse - including ministers Kwarteng, Leadsom, Mordaunt, Williamson, Javid,
Ruling out No Deal completely now backed by 321-278....
Another Government Defeat amid shambolic scenes in Commons
PM stands up and says options are the same - gives what seems like the same speech she would have given had she won the vote
PM literally just read out reference to the motion that was defeated including “March 2019” - this is incredible stuff...
PM made commitment that No Deal Brexit would only happen with the consent of Parliament - not clear where we are on this promise...
17 Tory MPs including a Minister voted FOR motion that Govt whipped against - several including Harrington abstained
NEW Bercow reveals that Government extension motion for tomorrow proposes extension until June 30th
Wow Ministers including 4 Cabinet - Rudd, Perry, Stephen Hammond, Buckland, Clark, Mundell, Ellwood, Gauke, Richard Harrington, Burt, James, Milton - all abstained on the main motion
Amazingly the PM read out a statement that implies she had won her own motion which had effectively just been defeated, twice - referring to No Deal having been ruled out ONLY for 29 March 2019:
Former Cabinet minister texts: “My message to the Chief this evening... To state the obvious, if ministers who felt unable to support HMG on a 3LW, are allowed to remain in place, you will have no way to persuade any colleagues to ever support future 3LWs”
NEW: Told Sarah Newton was advised she could abstain, chose to resign in order to vote against No Deal... so other ministers given pass to abstain - all now remain in their jobs
Extension now inevitable in one form or another. Brexit not going to happen on March 29th - was one of my new year predictions.

Only EU forcing it could change this; when push comes to shove they wont want to be blamed for ND so clearly as would occur in these calamitous circs
NEW: Tory MPs absolutely furious with the refusal to discipline the abstainers, whipping breaking down - have sent me all the three whipping text messages sent tonight by the Deputy Chief Whip Pincher “could not be clearer” 👇🏾
One of the abstainers texts me: “Still here but maybe sackings to come “ - PMs spokesperson said they wouldn’t be though...
Another minister: “There is utter fury and despair by MPs and Ministers at the breakdown of collective responsibility. Voting against a 3 line whip especially as a Cabinet Minister and no repercussions- it’s free fall...”
... govt whipping authority will be tested severely on extension votes

PM’s motion for extension contains reference to passing her deal by next Wednesday.

Labour amendment tabled tonight seeks to take that reference out...👇🏾

cross party indicative vote amendment expected too.
Manuscript amendment on indicative votes expected in the next couple of hours...
Benn manuscript amendment brings back Cooper-Boles-Letwin plan to take control of Commons standing orders - next Wednesday for indicative votes:
Neater version...
To be clear the amendment is to allow space for indicative vote process to be agreed - actual indicative vote would be later
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