Tonight, MPs will vote on their third Brexit motion in three days, which asks whether the UK should seek an extension of Article 50. The Speaker has selected four amendments to be voted on beforehand, and, given how important the Spelman amendment was in last night’s vote, it might be worth taking a look at them.
The first amendment to be voted on, signed by a cross party group of about 30 MPs, seeks a delay for a second referendum, with remain as an option on the ballot paper.
The second amendment, also with cross party support and known as the Benn amendment, seeks to give the House of Commons control over the Parliamentary timetable, a right usually reserved for the government. This would reduce Theresa May to a sort of intermediary between the Commons and the EU, and is without constitutional precedent.
The third amendment, tabled by Corbyn and Labour, asks the government to provide parliamentary time for the Commons to find a majority for a different approach, other than May’s deal.
The final amendment, known as the Bryant amendment, tries to stop May from bringing her deal back a third time, by asking the House to observe that Erskine May (an authoritative guide to Parliamentary procedure) prohibits multiple votes on a motion that is of the same substance as a previous motion that has already been voted on.
It’s worth noting that while the Speaker has selected these four amendments, it’s very possible they won’t all be voted on. While the Bryant amendment will be voted on regardless, If the first amendment, about a second referendum, passes, then neither the Benn nor Labour amendments will be voted on. Equally, if the Benn amendment passes, giving the Commons control over the Parliamentary timetable, the Labour amendment (which asks the government to allocate Parliamentary time to allow the Commons to find a majority) won’t be voted on.