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Things getting off to a weird start today. Tory Brexiter Richard Drax makes a personal statement to the Commons: "I should not have voted with the govt on Friday afternoon".
This is bizarre. Just change your vote then man. "I have let down good friends here in the House. I say sorry to the DUP for voting for a deal that could risk the integrity of our country. The withdrawal agreement as it stands must never see the light of day again."
"If the Pm cannot commit to taking us out the EU on April 12th she must resign immediately." Blokes off the fucking reservation.
Well anyway. Looks like the PM now has to find even more converts to her deal.
Alright we're off. Another day of spirit-sapping emotional disintegration awaits.
Oliver Letwin about to kick off.
SNP Pete Wishart says to the Tory: "This is a British parliamentary coup, one that is conducted with points of order and copies of Erskine May rather than military means." Not sure Letwin will thank him for that.
Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom now up, with her deadening moral and intellectual vacuity.
Extremely dangerous precedent for our democracy etc. Leadsom confirms the govt will be opposing the business motion.
Hilary Benn intervenes. Says the attorney general said on Friday the govt would not "interfere" in the indicative votes process. So why try to kill it today?
Leadsom says Benn "quotes selectively". Sigh. They are shameless really.
Ken Clarke up. He says PM promised that if her deal was rejected she would find time for indicative votes. If the govt had done that "this procedural point she's raising would never have arisen".
She now claims the only reason the govt did not put forward its own indicative votes was because Letwin got his plan in there first. Incredible.
Then insists last week showed nothing would win a majority. She is saying this just before trying to kill off MPs' ability to vote again today.
Leadsom: "Any alternative solution the House votes for would need to be deliverable, it would need to be negotiable with the EU."
This is the govt that whipped its MPs for alternatives to a back proposition the EU made clear it would not renegotiate.
Leadsom refuses to give way because "it is a day for parliament". Again: The govt is about to whip MPs to kill off indicative votes.
If you asked her if she wanted a hot beverage she'd lie about it.
Angela Eagle gets up. "Our debate today has come about because parliament has tried to do something the prime minister should have done three years ago: Make sense of what was a completely undefined way of trying to leave the EU."
OK so this is what is going on now. MPs are debating and then voting on the business motion. Business motions basically define the way something is debated and voted on. So yes, they are debating and then voting on how they debate and vote.
I know how that sounds, but it does make sense and provides a way to potentially control the govt in normal circumstances.
This is not normal circumstances. This business motion lays out the way the indicative votes process would work in days to come, allowing parliament to potentially fully wrestle control from the government.
Here's the full text
So basically, today works pretty much same as last week. Time is blocked out for MPs to debate and vote on their motions on potential Brexit alternatives. The Speaker will select which ones are included.
But then it adds another day, Wednesday, when MPs will again take control of business. That's potentially hugely important.
If MPs find something with a majority today, they can then use Wednesday to turn it into legislation and start forcing the government to accept it.
Some fucking high stakes shit right there.
So in a moment MPs will vote. The govt will whip against the business motion. If they win, they can kill today's debate and the debate set for Wednesday. The whole indicative process would die. If not, we're set for today - and for Wednesday.
Bill Cash, who spent his entire career campaigning for parliamentary sovereignty, is now telling the Commons that parliament taking control is against democracy.
Bernard Jenkin goes in hard. Points just down the bench to Letwin. "This govt sitting to my left here is not accountable. You can't table a question to this govt. You can't ask this got to come and make a business statement...
"Because of course it's not a govt, it's just pretending to take over the role of govt." Labour's Gareth Snell, who tabled an amendment to the business motion trying to kill off the debate on Wednesday, nods his head.
Labour's Helen Goodman gives him a constitutional lesson. "I don't understand why he wants to import this American doctrine into our constitution, with this very sharp division between the role of parliament and the role of the executive...
... That just not the way the British parliament is run or has been run."
Jenkins: "The problem with this process of indicative votes, is that MPs are free to pick and choose policies they like."
Chamber bursts into laughter. Ken Clarke laughing his head off. Yes Bernard, that's sort of the point.
Sometimes you get used to the hypocrisy, you get kinda cold to it. Other times it just washes over you.
Jenkins argument completely self-serving. He is defending rights of govt just as he once defended rights of parliament during referendum.
But in reality, he knows the govt is completely absent. It simply suits his crazed mission for no-deal to keep it dead and parliament powerless.
Mogg gets up and says it is shameful that parliament is trying to overule 17.4 million yadda yadda
Wes Streeting gets up: "On the subject of shame and public apologies, I wonder if he seize this opportunity to apologise for quoting apparently approvingly the leader of a far-right part in Germany this weekend."
Mogg refuses to do so. "Just referring people to what has been said is not necessarily an endorsement." He says Streeting has jumped to "weird conclusions". He really is a disingenuous old pencil stick.
Mogg talks about MPs having the "courage of their convictions". Anna Soubry gets up. "Would he like to tell the House why it is that a few weeks ago he voted against the govt's withdrawal agreement but on Friday he voted for it?"
Mogg is terrible. But the very worst thing about this speech is that you can hear Daniel Kawczynski's muttered banalities from the same mic.
He is an abject fucking moron. Makes Mogg look good by comparison.
Now Kate Hoey is up. Shitting hell. What did we ever do to deserve this.
"I really do not think that we can continue to have a business motion that puts another day." Then vote against it.
I would not leave her alone in a house without adult supervision. Fuck knows what she's babbling about.
"The dictionary definition to me of what Leave means is very simple. All these motions today are all designed in some way or other to actually not allow us to leave."
Dictionary definition of leaving the EU apparently does not include plans which would leave the EU.
Division. MPs now voting on the business motion. Should have the result in about 15-20 mins.
Business motion passes 322 votes to 277
Every time govt opposes this process, it gets a harder kicking.
Right, we're off. Bercow selects motions C (Clarke), D (Boles), E (Kyle) and G (Cherry).
He got rid of all the hard Brexiter ones.
Brexiters will now lose their shit. But in reality, it is because their motions did so badly last time. Another motion on EEA-Efta membership also not selected.
Greg Hand asks why Clarke can move his motion twice, but govt can't with the meaningful vote. Bercow replies that it's because the House has supported the indicative votes process, which requires exploration of options in bid to find majority.
Embarrassing moment as John Baron asks Speaker to accept either of his motions, like a boy begging a girl to go on a date with him.
Prompts an interesting response from Bercow.
One motion from Baron was on alternative arrangements to the backstop. Bercow says he didn't take it because it was clear the EU would not consider doing that.
So the Speaker is saying that is considering the likelihood of progress in Brexit talks as a condition of what he selects, not just how they performed with MPs last time.
Ok what have we got.
Motion C by Ken Clarke: Get in the customs union, enshrine it in law so it cannot be undone by some later Brexit PM
Motion D by Nick Boles: Join Efta, through that join the EEA, stay in the single market, add on a bit on customs. Soft Brexit, basically.
Motion E by Peter Kyle: Whatever Brexit deal, it must be ratified in a second referendum.
Motion G by Joanna Cherry: Takes no-deal off the table. If UK about to fall out without a deal, govt must request extension. If that's rejected by EU, MPs must vote on no-deal. If they reject it, we revoke Article 50 and set up an inquiry on how or whether Brexit can be done.
That's the lot. Good little bundle. I'd be pretty fucking happy to see any of them get a majority.
I'll take a C, a D, an E and a G please Carol.
Quite like to attach E to D with a chaser of G in case it all goes tits up.
Ken Clarke is outlining his motion for a customs union. Says it doesn't interfere with the withdrawal agreement, only the future relationship document.
He says that Labour do not object to withdrawal, but only to the fact it is blind and there's no way to know which way May would take us. This addresses that.
Clarke states that the motion on Norway Plus would subsume his own, because it includes a customs arrangement. He will also vote for that motion. Says it is also compatible with calls for a second referendum.
"Advocates for a People's Vote are not serving any particular interest if they vote for a People's Vote and somehow vote against this. Both can be accommodated."
These sweets I am eating are the only thing giving me joy, but they are starting to make me feel sick.
Sick and hopeful, or fine and despairing. What terrible choices.
Clarke: "To have an open border, unless we invent these magic X-ray cameras which some of my friends think are imminently about to be discovered, you need to be in a customs union and have some degree of regulatory alignment."
The only substantial argument raised against a customs union is that it stops us having our own customs arrangements with third countries. "It's not actually accurate."
Clarke says the only limit is on lowering your tariffs - you can do agreements on services. This is true, but he is being a bit disingenuous here. Britain is going to struggle to open up markets to its services if it cannot offer a quid-pro-quo on tariff reduction.
Clarke giving a trade deal 101 class to MPs. New Zealand would do a deal "if we can think of anything we want to sell to New Zealand that we do not sell at the moment" - but it won't make up for losing access to our largest market.
Kyle is up to argue for his People's Vote motion.
"We need to recognise that this House is in peril. In peril of falling so far in popular esteem that we may well never recover public trust."
Tory benches practically empty. Tory govt tries to kill indicative votes. Then ERG lot tried to filibuster debate. Then most govt party backbenchers just walk out and stop listening.
Some kind of protest in the public gallery.
I can't see what it was. I write this stuff, absurdly enough, from our office in parliament, a few feet from the Commons chamber, but not in it. You can't use laptops in the Chamber and I can't type fast enough on my phone to report this stuff.
Soubry intervenes. "What a great sight she is focusing in front of me," Kyle replies, "much more so than the peripheral vision that was tempting my eyes elsewhere. "
But then he says: "The bottom line is..." and it all falls apart. Lots of laughter.
Steve Brine, Tory minister until he quit last week, says a public vote should be kept on the table, but warns it could be divisive. Kyle rightly says that is up to MPs and how they conduct themselves. "We are not slaves of the past, let's be masters of the future."
Nigel Evans tries the manifesto argument. Kyle replies: "The deal we are now debating was released a year and a half after the general election." Brilliantly done.
Nick Boles gets up to argue for his motion. Be interesting to see if he will say whether he'll back Kyle's (unlikely).
"I find myself whether it's a coincidence that the people who normally sit around me on these benches are not here, given that we all know that among them are counted noted naturists."
Nigel Evans asked a question on the single market which suggests he has no idea that the Efta court exists.
Boles now goes wrong I think. Hypes Article 112 and 113 emergency brake on free movement, and says it can account for regional variation. This is largely bullshit really. There's nowhere near as much wriggle room on free movement as he makes out.
Tory MP Andrew Murrison says he is "almost convinced - aLmost but not quite."
He does sound impressed though,. Says Boles would essentially replace the backstop which Britain could not unilaterally leave, with one where you could.
Boles praises second referendum campaign. He encourages them to vote for his plan because that way the Brexit option would be softer. That is absolutely right, but shame he isn't backing their motion himself.
"There will be opportunities" to add the confirmatory referendum to the bill on leaving the EU, Boles says. Yeah, that's bullshit. He well knows it won't work. Boles continues to tell People's Vote types they should vote for him, even though he fobs them off with bullshit.
Joanna Cherry up to ague for her motion.
She outlines her plan, which btw, is really fucking good and well reasoned. Not surprising hardly anyone supports it.
Cherry makes it clear she added the sequenced complexity to her motion in order to get Labour support. "It's easy for me, coming from city of Edinburgh, to cross this bridge, but it's more difficult for members in English and Welsh constituencies with different mandates."
Nice little name-check for @JolyonMaugham in the Commons Chamber there.
@JolyonMaugham Brilliant response from Cherry to Tory MP Anne Main, who worries about holding European elections in a long extension. "I know that's going to be difficult for some people to deal with but if that's the consequences of preventing no-deal then so be it."
@JolyonMaugham Dominic Grieve suggests he will abstain on Clarke and Boles motions. Boles suggests he will abstain on Kyle amendment. God this is irritating.
@JolyonMaugham And now Lib Dems say they won't back Boles either. Fucking hell lads.
@JolyonMaugham Stephen Kinnock, Norway Plus man, says People's Vote should support his plan. "I am happy to agree with him about that but I hope it cuts both ways," Margaret Beckett replies. Quite bloody fucking right.
@JolyonMaugham Hugh Merriman, Tory, says he will back Kyle motion. "I have voted for the deal three times, I have voted for no-deal as a fallback twice, I have voted not to allow an extension of Article 50." Quite a fucking journey.
@JolyonMaugham Says a second referendum is the only way to get the PM's deal through. "I have given up on parliament."
@JolyonMaugham "We are stuck. Every member of this House needs to face up to eh uncertainty. We need to find another option."
Quite an extraordinary speech actually, given how predictable all the others have been.
Tory Brexiter Marcus Fysh, a man who somehow exists without possessing a working brain or central nervous system, suggests Merriman is "representing the chancellor".
Merriman: "I resent that point. I'm not representing the chancellor or I'd be sat right there behind him. I'm representing my constituents and what I feel is right."
"I, with great reluctance, will absolutely support the confirmatory vote because it is the only way we're going to deliver certainty."
Norman Lamb, quite good Lib Dem you forgot existed, says he will support Norway Plus and customs union, alongside the People's Vote proposal.
That suggests Lib Dems offering a free vote? Not sure.
Fysh repeatedly tries to get Caroline Spelman to give way, so that he can offer more categorical proofs of his various emotional and intellectual deficiencies. She sensibly refuses.
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, speaking for the govt. The intellectual equivalent to being beaten around the head with a plank of wood.
Brexit always finds new torments. In this case it is making me aware of Barclay and then forcing me to listen to his inane drivel.
Fucking twatting shitchasm.
It's like every shit argument, one after another. The manifestos. The inclusion of withdrawal agreement. If he accidentally said something pertinent I'd probably faint.
Just terrible.
Keir Starmer up. Says rightly, that although no majority found last week parliament is trying to complete "at speed" something which should have been started ages ago.
Brilliant from the shadow Brexit secretary. "I recognise many members have a single preferred option and understandably want to push that option. No one wants to stand int he way of that...
... But I do urge colleagues to enter into the spirit of the exercise we're now engaged in and that means supporting options other than their own preferred option."
Really strong pragmatism from Starmer, says what he doesn't agree with, what he does, but clearly pushing for Labour to be quite broad in what it will whip in favour of.
That stops with Cherry motion. He says it is a "fallback" if all else fails but "we do accept" this is an issue that will have to be addressed in due course.
Interesting. Sounds like he is pushing for Labour to support it further down the line.
Says he wants to find decent outcome. "I accept if that fails there will have to be an insurance exercise".
It's frustrating that Labour is not backing Cherry motion, but honestly on a day when Labour is backing single market and a second referendum I'm not much in the mood for complaining about them.
Strange day. Corbyn's Labour party being much more pragmatic and sensible than Grieve, Boles, Lib Dems & Tiggers.
Ed Vaizey is doing a brilliant speech. I am constantly baffled by how he finds himself backing May's deal.
"I have to say I am confused as to how we have got to this place, where no-deal turns out to be allegedly what people voted for."
"I look aghast at some colleagues who I have long admired"
"Too many of our colleagues have decided they are the self-appointed interpreters of Brexit and that anything that gets in their way has to be stopped."
"But when all of us in the House want to make reasonable progress and deliver Brexit in a reasonable way, the constitutional experts of the hard Brexit wing emerge t tell us that this is the bigger constitutional outrage."
"Oblivious to the fact that one of their colleagues has called for the prorogation of parliament it get through a hard Brexit and has also called for a no-confidence vote in the government to which he still takes the whip."
Yeah that's a shit-hot speech right there.
Currently having to listen to a speech by Greg Hands in which he points out the problems with the customs union. He then says: "I continue to argue for the PM's agreement." Someone should tell him what's in it.
"If you don;t have a seat at the table, you're likely to be on the menu." Greg Hands accidentally making the argument for Remain there.
George Eustice, whose motion for EEA/Efta membership was not chosen (and did badly last time) is up. Says he will now support the Norway Plus option.
You'd expect so, they're pretty similar.
Ben Bradshaw rightly criticises the headlines last week on it being a shambles, but says it would be "helpful" if they can make progress.
He takes exactly the right approach. "That is going to involve all of us not just sticking to our first preference but voting for our second preference and indeed any preference we can lie with."
He wants to back customs union and single market, but wary of May jumping on them and then banking support and leaving in May.
Letwin gets up. Says only way govt can carry it forward is to put it in legislation and then his party can amend it "to prevent the eventualities he's talking about". Bradshaw seems satisfied.
Quite an important exchange. The timing here is crucial. Think same applies to Boles assuring Tory party that they can still leave EU in May under his plan. That timetable doesn't give enough time for referendum, so he loses People's Vote types.
I am baffled by why today was not done according to some kind of transferable vote system
Clarke admits, in response to DUP's Sammy Wilson, you'd need regulatory alignment of some sort to keep border open.
"But regulatory alignment would be the same for the whole of the UK. I thought the DUP's objection to the backstop was it put in place different arrangements for NI and the rest of the UK."
Wilson seems a bit unstuck by that. Falls back on old faithful: that it does not reflect the wishes of people who wanted to Leave the EU.
Vicky Ford, who backed May deal three times, says she'll support customs union tonight.
Aaaaand we're done. MPs are going to vote now.
Yes fuck the world and everyone in it, I'm going to go get food.
Commons goes into stand-by mode for half an hour, then MPs debate a couple of statutory instruments and then I expect we'll get a result about 10ish - maybe a bit earlier, if they're getting more used to the process. I'm gonna guzzle some shit.
I just don't see how you can criticise Brexiters for being ideological zealots when you refuse to vote for damage limitation outcomes yourself.
How does that work? It;s not like you only get one vote. You can pick as many options as you like.
Seriously going to fucking tell me that Norway Plus is somehow worse than May's 'deal'? That's simply insane.
And I don't just mean economically. Norway Plus has free movement. No settled status apps, with the inevitable Windrush-type horror show that'll come a few years down the line when marginalised groups find themselves suddenly undocumented.
That's million of people - Europeans in UK and Brits in Europe - who can rest easy. And protection for arguably the single greatest liberal policy achievement of the post-war period.
You put that shit in front of me and I will vote for it, any day of the week.
Everything loses once again.
Clarke loses 273 to 276. Boles loses 261 to 282. Kyle loses 280 to 292. Cherry loses 191 to 292.
Pitiful self-inflicted disaster.
Barclay now acting like he's victorious or something.
He says only option is to find a way to leave with a deal. "Best course of action is to do so as soon as possible." Says if House votes for deal this week "It may still be possible to avoid holding European parliamentary elections".
Corbyn up.
Says it is disappointing nothing won a majority, but PM has been defeated three times. One of the options tonight was very narrowly defeated - hers was defeated on several occasions by large majorities. He says House shld be able to consider again on Wednesday with same options.
Don;t say this often, but that was good from Corbyn.
Christ almighty the People's Vote came close.
Immense moment just now.
Nick Boles says "I've given everything in an attempt to find a compromise. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore to announce I can no longer sit for this party."
And with that he literally gets up from the Tory benches and crosses the floor
"Oh Nick, Nick don't go, come on" comes a voice to the side.
We're entering peak Commons drama territory here.
Dodds for DUP: "Only proposition that has ever had a majority in this House was the Brady amendment." Yes Nigel, because it was a made-up fairy story.
Ken Clarke: "I've got a damn sight nearer a majority in this House than anyone else has so far."
"Three is quite near. We cannot go on with everybody voting against every proposition.The difficulty is there were people who want a People's Vote who wouldn't vote for my motion."
"That's politics. I sometimes think this particular parliament I find myself standing in is not very political."
Soubry gets up and says they should have composite motions. "There is undoubtedly a way of getting this together."
Says problem with customs union motion was that it did not have regulatory alignment . I don;t get that. Why not vote for Boles motion then?
Quick note: MPs, like journalists, are very, very tired and quite emotional. They may not all be making the right decisions at the moment.
This is the danger of this moment. Everyone is knackered and upset and they are making decisions about how to run the engine room of the country for decades to come.
Hilary Benn: "In 11 days time the UK will leave the EU without an agreement, unless the PM - who just left the Chamber - acts."
Kyle gets up. Says he would have expected more humility from the Brexit secretary.
Snelll who tried to kill Wednesday debate earlier, asks about a "new way of looking at this". Bercow: "It is reasonable on the basis of what was passed earlier today that [Letwin] will be carefully contemplating the specific procedure for Wednesday."
OK that's it for events in the Commons Chamber. Piece up in a bit.
This has been a disastrous evening. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Circular firing squad: Puritanism sees Remainers and Soft Brexiters destroy each other…
Right, fuck this. What an absolute shitting disaster of a day. I'm gutted by the irresponsibility of both Soft Brexiters and People's Vote - behaving just as bad as those they criticise.
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