As March 29th rapidly approaches, the Brexit debate continues to be a fast-changing and ever evolving situation. As promised, I will continue to update my website with the latest news, outlining my views on new developments as they emerge.
You will be aware the Prime Minister was asked to return to Brussels following the passing of the Brady Amendment on the 29th of January. The amendment required the Prime Minister to return to Brussels to try and renegotiate changes to the Withdrawal Agreement, specifically around the "back stop." Because of the potentially illegal nature of this amendment, in that it sought to challenge the International Good Friday Agreement and because of this, it had been robustly resisted by the Prime Minister until the very last minute - I did not support it. (You can read more details as to why, here: https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/28th-january-2019-brexit-update-heidi-allen-mp .
In a statement to The House on the 12th of February, the Prime Minister confirmed that, as expected, President Juncker was maintaining the EU’s position and refusing to reopen negotiations on the terms of the withdrawal agreement.
The Prime Minister indicated no further changes to her plan, but instead pushed back the date for Parliament's meaningful vote to enable further talks to take place. If a revised deal cannot be brought back to The House by the 27th of February, the Prime Minister confirmed that a further amendable motion would at that stage be tabled.Therefore, the meaningful vote that was originally expected to take place back in December 2018 has been pushed back again, getting desperately close to the 29th March.
On 14th February, MPs will debate and vote on a new motion put forward by Government that essentially asks MPs to acknowledge and support continued negotiations.It reads as follows: "That this House welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement of 12 February 2019; reiterates its support for the approach to leaving the EU expressed by this House on 29 January 2019 and notes that discussions between the UK and the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop are ongoing."
Several amendments have been tabled setting out alternative plans, all of which you can see in detail here https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmagenda/fb190213.htm
I have added my name to three amendments:
Amendment (C) allows MPs the opportunity to articulate what kind of deal they favour by ranking their preference on a ballot paper. This would indicate to the Government which options have significant parliamentary support. I believe some method by which the House can express its will is absolutely vital. This is the ONLY way we can all coalesce around a way forward.
Amendment (F) is similar to C, but offers an alternative mechanism through which indicative votes could be held.
Amendment (E) calls on the Government to publish its most recent research about the effect of a no-deal Brexit on business and trade. If passed, the document would have to be published within seven days. This amendment has the most signatures out of all amendments tabled, so has a good chance of being selected by the Speaker.
I am particularly concerned that the Prime Minister continues to try to negotiate with the ERG to gain their support when it is clear they do not want compromise. Instead they are actively seeking a no-deal exit, regardless of the catastrophic implications this would have for our country’s economy. Indeed there are strong rumours that the ERG are set to vote against the Prime Minister's "Brady compliant" motion today - to remind you, this motion is based on her capitulating to their requirement to remove the back stop on the 29th January. They are objecting because they believe it also endorses the other amendment passed on 29th January (tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman and backed by me) which urged the Prime Minister to avoid no-deal.
It is therefore as clear as day that there is a significant group within the Conservative Party who are actively pursuing no deal. I will never support this.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure we come through these difficult times with our economy and country protected.
Promoted by Heidi Allen, Suite 1 & 2, Broadway House, 149-151 St Neots Road, Hardwick, Cambridgeshire CB23 7QJ