MPs to vote on second referendum for Theresa May’s Brexit deal

The 10-minute-rule bill is a symbol of resistance for Remain-supporting MPs

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 22 March 2017 11:57 GMT
Union flags fly near the Houses of Parliament
Union flags fly near the Houses of Parliament (Getty)

MPs are to vote on a plan that would require the Government to hold a referendum on Theresa May’s final Brexit deal.

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party leaderships are backing a 10 minute rule bill in the House of Commons that would require a second vote to be held.

Since the EU referendum result Theresa May has revealed that she will take Britain through a so-called “hard Brexit” – introducing border controls and leaving the single market. This has lead to calls for a second vote on the terms of leaving the EU.

Though the law is highly unlikely to pass some MPs say the bill is an important symbol that the Government has no mandate for a hard Brexit.

Mr Farron is expected to say: “We believe in giving the people the final say on the deal. We have not given up the fight. It is not about blocking Brexit, we simply want to hold Theresa May to account for the decisions she has made, including to take Britain out of the single market and the customs union.

“Nobody voted for a hard Brexit. And now people face us to the reality of what Theresa May is about to unleash on us, everyone from Tony Blair to Michael Heseltine has come on board to defend what we are saying.

“A liberal, pro-European movement is building in Britain, and it is building around the Liberal Democrats.

“The jeering and jingoism will no doubt be loud today in the Commons when I aim to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal. I would expect nothing less of Conservatives and, often, Labour MPs.

“But this is not about ‘blocking Brexit’, it’s about holding Theresa May to account – such as for wanting to take Britain out of the world’s largest market and Customs Union, even if there is no new trading arrangement in place.

“To question that is not disloyal: the disloyalty to the British people would be if I were bullied into silence, as Labour have been, and fail to warn how a hard Brexit will hit living standards and future generations.”

Labour’s leadership has said it is not backing the proposal.

Liberal Democrats party leader Tim Farron is proposing the 10-minute-rule bill
Liberal Democrats party leader Tim Farron is proposing the 10-minute-rule bill (Getty)

On Friday MPs will also vote on a private members bill by Labour MP Geraint Davies, the Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill 2016-17.

This bill would require the Prime Minister to hold a referendum on her specific Brexit proposals before triggering Article 50, which she is expected to do within days.

That bill is also incredibly unlikely so succeed, not least because it will almost certainly run out of Parliamentary time before it can be passed.

The PM has indicated that she will trigger Article 50 on 29 March.

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