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tv   BBC News Special  BBC News  March 14, 2019 4:45pm-6:31pm GMT

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we're nowjoining huw edwards down at westminster for a bbc special on today's brexit developments. welcome to westminster, for live coverage of today's events in the house of commons, as members of parliament vote on whether to request a delay in the troubled brexit process. a warm welcome to viewers on bbc two, the bbc news channel and around the globe on bbc world news. stay with us as we follow the latest developments in the brexit story, and the latest votes, which start in around 15 minutes‘ time. last night, mps rejected the prospect of leaving the european union without a deal, but theresa may has warned mps that unless they approve a deal, then a no—deal brexit is still in prospect.
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let's take a look at the scenes outside the palace of westminster. once again, there are hundreds of campaigners and protesters, expressing the passions on both sides of this debate, nearly three years since the referendum, when the uk voted to leave the european union. the set date for the uk's departure is nowjust 15 days away. let's take you inside parliament and the chamber of the house of commons, the scene of so many dramatic events already this week, where mps are preparing to vote on a motion to extend the brexit process. but there are several significant amendments to be voted on before then, including one which introduces the notion of a second referendum. we'll be following all the votes and trying to make sense of what's going on, on the third of three days of dramatic votes in the house of commons.
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so, let's recap on how we got to this point. this was the sequence of events from earlier this week. on tuesday, the prime minister brought her withdrawal agreement back to the house of commons for a second time for mps to vote on it. the second meaningful vote on the deal again went against the prime minister. 2a2 mps voted in favour, 391 voted against, a majority of 149. then last night in the house of commons, mps voted by 321 to 278 to reject any kind of no—deal brexit. four conservative cabinet ministers were among the 12 ministers who abstained, but no one has been sacked. and to this afternoon, another important moment, as mps are due to vote on whether to ask the eu for permission to delay the date for britain's departure, which is currently set at march
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29th, in just 15 days‘ time. let's prepare for what's ahead in the next 90 minutes or so. over to the central lobby and to our chief political correspondent, vicki young. vicki, there is this government motion, which is essentially about asking for permission to extend this process. and you said the current departure date set for the end of march, if this were to go through, it becomes very likely that would not be the date that the uk would leave the eu. it is very clear from the government and what theresa may has been saying that her plan is still to attempt next week to try again to get her deal through. what they are saying tonight is that if that were to happen, they would go to the eu council next week and asked for a very short extension, just a technical one, to get the needed legislation through. what
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becomes more tricky then is if that doesn't happen, she will then be asking for a longer extension, and clearly, the idea there is to make sure that brexiteers in her own party who have so far not supported her think about the choices open to them, and it could lead to brexit not happening and a lot of uncertainty. that is the government idea, but mps have different ideas, including the idea of another referendum, but all eyes will be on this cross—party change that is wa nted this cross—party change that is wanted by people like hilary benn. they want to make sure brexit is delayed, but more controversially, they also want to make sure that mps seize control of the brexit process and that they decide the way forward. that is the one that eve ryo ne forward. that is the one that everyone will be looking at, because it has support from the labour party, and it is quite likely there will be a number of conservatives who would also support it. and if they did, that could well go through tonight. and that really does mean
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that the government is not in control of this process any longer. if you accept that they have been in control of it up until now. on that point, vicki, you underlined some of the practical implications of that hilary benn amendment. is it your sense right now in the commons talking to people that that has a good chance of getting through?” think so, because i think many people fail to may ‘s dealjust won't get through. some don't like it at all, so i want to have this option of mps finding a way through. they feel that if she keeps persisting with something that has been defeated now twice, with historically large defeats, it is time to look elsewhere and look at a cross— party time to look elsewhere and look at a cross—party consensus. that sounds collegiate, and a very practical way forward , collegiate, and a very practical way forward, but i think that the way that parliament and government works, it is quite hard to do, to get a collection of backbench mps who are not ministers, not in government, not in control of what
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goes on here in parliament, to get them working together long time to come up with a completely new brexit policy is pretty difficult to achieve, so even if they were successful tonight, keeping that going over the next two or three weeks would be difficult. but if they do succeed, it means that in a couple of weeks, they will be here having a series of votes about the best way forward when it comes to brexit, and they will try to work their way through those proposals until they get to one that commands a majority in the house of commons, where the comments will finally have said what it is in favour of rather than what it is against. stay with us, vicki. i am than what it is against. stay with us, vicki. iamjust than what it is against. stay with us, vicki. i am just going to bring in images of 45 minutes ago, when the prime minister was leaving downing street for parliament. just as we look at these images, just to think about the prime minister's determination still to adhere to the plan that has already been rejected twice by mps. how do you measure that determination this evening, vicki? i think it is still there,
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partly because her view would be, look, unless there is an alternative, we proceed with the one she thinks is best. she feels she has come to this compromise because thatis has come to this compromise because that is the only way to do this, given the circumstances she is in, which of course includes the fact that she didn't win an outright majority in that election that she called, and it meant she didn't have a majority here, and that makes it very difficult to govern, especially when you have a very controversial thing, trying to get it through parliament when all sides are divided. she is still hoping she can get her own party behind it. that looks incredibly unlikely, given the huge defeats she has had, but it is not impossible. if you are a brexit supporting conservative mp, and you look at what is going on, you are 110w look at what is going on, you are now looking at the possibility that backbench mps could seize control of all of this. it becomes very uncertain. we are talking about a delay to brexit, it not happening as it was supposed to at the end of march, you might think the best
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option in order to make sure we get out completely is to vote for her deal. we are certainly not there yet, but the mood is starting to move a little that way. think back to earlier this week, david davis, who resigned from the cabinet over brexit, decided in the end he would get behind theresa may's deal, not because he likes it — he hates it — but he felt he could predict how this was going to go, to the point where he felt brexit could be in jeopardy, and that is why he got behind it. you can be pretty sure there will be others next week will feel the same. we will talk through some of the amendments with you as well. at this point, we should maybe talk about the motion as well. earlier today, the speaker john bercow selected four amendments to be voted on. they are all amendments to the main motion being presented by the government. let's look at that. the main motion is that the government will request from the eu, a one—off extension to article 50, ending
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30thjune 2019, with any extension beyond that date probably requiring the uk to hold eu parliamentary elections in may 2019. right now, we are not meant to be taking part in those. we are meant to be out of the eu by the end of this month. that is the motion. but if mps do vote for a delay, then, of course, that would have to be agreed by all the other 27 member states of the european union. that is a key part of this equation. joining me now from brussels is our europe editor, katya adler. the sharpest focus there on what is going on here. what is your reading of events today? definitely all of the eu is watching very closely all the eu is watching very closely all the goings on in parliament this week, and also looking ahead to next
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week, and also looking ahead to next week, when the prime minister says that mps will get another vote on the brexit deal that she spent two yea rs the brexit deal that she spent two years negotiating with eu leaders. irrespective of the outcome of the vote today on asking the eu for an extension, at the end of the day, it is up to eu leaders, as you said, as to whether there will be an extension, how long it will be, and the conditions surrounding that extension. can we say anything for sure? we absolutely can't, because it isa sure? we absolutely can't, because it is a very political decision for these leaders to take, and watching today, they will be watching the vote again in parliament next week, and then they all come here to brussels on thursday. they will also see theresa may, but behind closed doors, those 27 eu leaders will sit together, because they have to come together, because they have to come toa together, because they have to come to a unanimous decision about granting an extension to the brexit process , granting an extension to the brexit process, and it is not clear cut for them. we have heard lots of eu
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leaders this week, including from countries that the uk traditionally sees as friendly, like the netherlands, sweden and germany, talking quite tough about the extension, saying if it is for any more than a very limited period, the prime minister will have to come up with some very good and clear reasons why she wants it. at the end of the day, real politics will speak loudest in the eu circles. faced with a no—deal brexit, they probably will go through with that, but with gritted teeth at this stage. just to unpick that a bit, there have been lots of reports about possible talks between some parliamentarians and some of the countries in the eu about getting in the way, blocking a possible request for an extension. what is your reading of the kind of process that will happen to canvas opinion, if you like, among the other 27 member states if that
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request goes in? certainly, here on the bbc yesterday evening, we had nigel faraj, who sits in brussels as a member of the european parliament, and he said he would try and canvas eu nations to block any kind of extension. it does take just one country not to play ball. you could question how much influence nigel farage has on the governments of any eu country. if you look at italy, which has a coalition of populist parties, for want of a better word, the statements coming out of the italian government today didn't show any breaking of rank with the rest of the eu, for example. and true to eu form, no decision isjust black—and—white. when those leaders come together, if the big guns, germany and france, for example, say, look, we cannot afford to be seen as the ones pushing the uk towards a no—deal brexit. if it is
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no deal or an extension, we need to grant the extension. poland and italy have been cited as examples of countries that might say, we will not allow this. they would come under mighty pressure from other eu states. they could come up with things like, you know that subsidy you are looking for? it is consensus politics, and they willjostle and put pressure on each other to come to one conclusion. it has to be unanimous when it comes to the extension. there is no sign at the moment of a real breaking of ranks in the eu side, but they have not come to a single conclusion yet. katya, thank you. let's go straight to the house of commons. we are few minutes away from this first vote taking place. here is the brexit secretary, stephen barclay, just winding up. let's listen. 17.4 million people in this country, but he is turning his back on the
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referendum, going back on his word from his own manifesto, failing to listen even to his own front bench. the memberfor aston listen even to his own front bench. the member for aston underline was saying just last night that he thinks it would be disastrous as members of parliament to go back to the people. the very issue that other members of his party are campaigning for. mr speaker, other members of his party are campaigning for. mrspeaker, we other members of his party are campaigning for. mr speaker, we have a leader of the opposition that ducks the choice, ducks the time, ducks the choice, ducks the time, ducks the choice, ducks the time, ducks the clarity, ducks any sense of national responsibility. it is time for this house to act in the national interest, to put forward an extension that is realistic. i commend the motion put forward by the government to the house. order! under the order of the house of today, i must now put the question is necessary to dispose of
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proceedings on the motion. i begin by calling the honourable member for totnes, doctor sarah wollaston, to move amendment h. i remind the house that if amendment h is a greater, amendments i... follow. as memberas of the opinion, say aye. to the contrary, no. clear the of the opinion, say aye. to the contrary, no. clearthe lobby. division. said the first division has been called on the amendment tabled by dr sarah wollaston, the former conservative mp, now part of the independent group and this is the amendment that instructs the prime minister to request an extension to article 50 for the purposes of
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legislating for and conducting a public vote on whether to leave or remain in the eu. in other words, the second referendum request. that is what this first vote is all about. as we look at these images, let me bring in my two guests. with me now are two of the leading experts on this process, jill rutter of the institute for government, and anand menon from uk in a changing europe. thank you forjoining us. our top team, thank you very much. so this first amendment now to be voted on, and for viewersjoining first amendment now to be voted on, and for viewers joining us, first amendment now to be voted on, and for viewersjoining us, what is the significance of this in terms of we have said it is the second referendum, does it carry any hope of success or not? know, i don't think this one is going to pass, not
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least because labour have whipped to abstain. the interesting thing to see is how many labour mps vote for it, despite that. it has been interesting this afternoon because there's been a lot of complaints about the fact that sarah wollaston tabled the amendment from slightly bizarrely, the people who are supporting a second referendum, the people's vote campaign because this is too early in their view, their tactics were to wait until other options had been exhausted and then produced the people's vote as the way through. they are worried this is going off too early and will lose bya is going off too early and will lose by a substantial margin and therefore may bring some of the wind out of the sails of the people's vote campaign? is that a credible case are not? absolutely, sequencing is so important and people in the campaign thought the only way it passed was if basically, it was this verse passed was if basically, it was this verse is the cliff edge, that is their ideal scenario, so in a sense they were kind of united in —— with
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they were kind of united in —— with the erg and wanting everything to fail, and the thing is, if this goes down, as it looks like it well, the prime minister amongst others could turn round to parliament and say that the second referendum has been defeated and they don't want to talk about it anymore because they have had it and that is the fear of the people's vote campaign and a genuine fear. so why has she persisted with it? i think a degree of impatience has built up among supporters of a people's vote because this is the first time parliament would have voted on the idea, which is remarkable if you think how long we have been debated this for, how much ofa have been debated this for, how much of a head of steam the campaign has built up, this will be the first formal vote on this. . built up, this will be the first formalvote on this. . it is differentiation between the independent group and the labour party, it is a bit of an attempt to force labour to make its intentions clear because remember, there have been these very equivocal messages out of the labour front bench, nominally, they are for a people's vote but we have had people on the labour front bench give the impression that they will do almost anything to avoid that being the
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option they are. resort too. i think this is the independent group flexing its muscles a bit, if you like, and saying that they are the people going to push this, they are not labour, and they are forcing labour to come clean on whether it will support it or not and keir starmer had a rather uncomfortable time in the house when people were asking why on earth the labour party we re asking why on earth the labour party were whipping against voting in favour of a people's vote, is it their policy in light of the conference decision on september? there, you can see the labour benches in the house of commons are packed, mps coming back in, having been through the lobbies on either side of the chamber of the house of commons. the voting lobbies, if you are looking at the image, on the extreme right, behind the panel, and the extreme left, and as they pass through, they come back behind the speaker's chair and back into the chamber. the mps leaving the chamber towards the central lobby, that is the geography for you, if they are leaving towards us, the opposition benches on the right, the government
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benches on the right, the government benches on the left. so there is a view that by putting this to the vote, sarah wollaston has helped jeremy corbyn because he is not seen to be enthusiastic about the referendum? perhaps it depends on which part ofjeremy corbyn's base he is playing too because there is a split within the labour party which is why it is so difficult for them. interesting to see, all those people staying seated are presumably the people following the whip and abstaining. i will be interested, too, i mean, the conservative people's vote is people like dominic grieve, the ones that have not joined the independent group, do they go with their former conservative rebel colleagues or do they abstain as well and take their instruction from the people's vote campaign which is that this is too early? let's get some more thoughts from the central lobby. there's a lot of talk about how these things work when mps are told to vote in a certain way as you were explaining, jeremy corbyn has told his troops today to abstain on this idea of another referendum and of course, we saw last night the
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difficulties there were, when mps and ministers did not go along with what they are being told. let's speak to a former chief whip, a man who was in charge of what went on in the conservative party, patrick mclaughlin, who is with —— with me now. first, last night, it's a difficult situation when you've got cabinet ministers defying orders, what would you have done? cabinet ministers defying orders, what would you have done ?m cabinet ministers defying orders, what would you have done? it is a difficult situation. she has got a toughjob. difficult situation. she has got a tough job. one of difficult situation. she has got a toughjob. one of the difficult situation. she has got a tough job. one of the things difficult situation. she has got a toughjob. one of the things i have beenin toughjob. one of the things i have been in the habit of doing is not giving my successes, not telling them how to do the job. julian is doing an excellent job them how to do the job. julian is doing an excellentjob as chief whip and it is a very difficultjob. we have never had a situation like we have never had a situation like we have at the moment where, yes, parties are split but also the country was split in the actual result of the referendum. so the idea that government is putting forward to night is really saying that there will be a delay to brexit whatever happens, if theresa may's deal goes through next week or if it doesn't? i think the truth is, we have got a situation where even if the prime minister gets ideal
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through next week and i have always supported the deal is the best way to move forward, we need time to get some of the other legislation that is vitally necessary to support the deal through the house of commons. i think it is doing it in a managed way. i don't like the idea of yet again delaying brexit, you know, the 29th of march has been in everyone's mine fora 29th of march has been in everyone's mine for a very long time but i think it is needs must. what is your message to those in your party who so far, and there's a lot of them, have not felt able to support theresa may's deal? i think they've got to ask themselves, do they want us got to ask themselves, do they want us to leave the eu? i don't think the house of commons will let us go without a deal and the other deals are another, i think, that keep us in the customs union, which means we keep freedom of movement, which means we cannot do our own sort of negotiations with other countries, are all options which are not as good as the option which the prime minister has got. i hope that over the weekend, they take a cool look at it and actually see the reality.
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are you concerned about harmony in the conservative party? we have not seen much of it lately but some of the scenes last night, some other things your colleagues are saying about each other, it is not good for any party, particularly one trying to govern? know, ithink any party, particularly one trying to govern? know, i think we have got —— no, it isn't, and i think we have got to get the prime minister's deal approved and then think about the things that matter to people every single day. yesterday, you know, the chancellor of the exchequer, made a very important statement and we've hardly seen any coverage of it. i wa nt to hardly seen any coverage of it. i want to see more money going into schools, i want to see the extra money that we have allocated for hospitals reaching those front line services. but everything is getting subsumed by brexit. it certainly is. thank you very much indeed. as it will be for the next couple of hours or so will be for the next couple of hours orso and will be for the next couple of hours or so and the next few weeks or so. thank you. a quick look inside the
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chamber because the voting are still going on but i think we are several minutes away from the result of the first amendment tabled by doctor sarah wollaston. while we're waiting for that vote is talk to one of special guests. with me now is sirjonathan faull, a former director—general in the european commission. he joins us from brussels. thank you forjoining us. your perspective on what is going on this afternoon? welcome everybody is watching the house of commons. everybody is watching you and waiting to see what will happen. they will prepare over here responses to that when they have a result. your reading of what the response will be if there is a request for some kind of extension? we can't define it yet but some kind of extension. what would your guidance for viewers beyond that? of extension. what would your guidance for viewers beyond that7m depends on how long and it depends on for what purpose. i think as one of your guests said a few minutes
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ago, there is a lot going on in the world and people would like this to come to a resolution in britain and i think come to a resolution in britain and ithink in come to a resolution in britain and i think in the rest of europe as well. so more weeks of this agony, i don't think, is in anybody‘s interest. that is why you have seen some governments today saying if there is going to be an extension, perhaps it is going to be a rather long one. how useful would it be in terms of the european commission and the eu, if the house of commons were to be able to signal in a series of indicative votes where it might be able to reach some kind of consensus, even at this very late stage? would that be seem to be a useful thing? i think it would stage? would that be seem to be a usefulthing? i think it would be. their complaint one hears across europe and has had for quite some time now is that it is hard to discern exactly what the british parliament and the british government really want, or what the british government can get through
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the british parliament. so clarification even now, with only a few days to go, i think, will be welcomed. but if there is to be a delay, that would have to be discussed. you have, of course, the considerable problem to be solved of what happens in the european elections in may. yes, indeed, and what are your thoughts on that? well, as things stand, if the uk is a member state, it well, as things stand, if the uk is a memberstate, itand well, as things stand, if the uk is a member state, it and its citizens ta ke a member state, it and its citizens take part in european elections. you can change the rule if there is a real emergency, you can probably change it quite quickly, but it would require emergency measures by all 27 governments, parliaments, the european union institutions and the uk itself. everybody would have to agree very quickly what would be needed. and how much goodwill would there be for that? again, it depends
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on the purpose set out for the delay. everybody has been expecting brexit to happen on the 29th of march. if it is not going to happen on the 29th of march, when is it going to happen, if it happens, and in what circumstances? a british prime minister who goes to the european council, the summit of leaders, and says, backed by a resolution of the house of commons, "i would like an extension", the other 27 will say, "well, for how long and for what purpose? what will happen at the end of whatever period we agree to delay by?" there would have to be, i think, very clear a nswer to have to be, i think, very clear answer to those questions. but we are still looking at a position, aren't we, where the summit next week could be a summit where there isa week could be a summit where there is a lot of confusion and lots of these central issues are still unanswered. well, that is the
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situation as we speak. maybe some clarification will emerge tonight in the coming days. every day is crucial now. that summit needs to be one which can act and take decisions andi one which can act and take decisions and i think that is in everybody‘s interest. this has gone on for too long. very good of you to talk to us. thank you forjoining us. sir jonathan faull, in brussels, there. we are looking at a packed house of commons on this first vote on the amendment which was tabled by dr sarah wollaston, this is, if you like a bit of shorthand, the second referendum proposal, which is in this amendment. who knows what kind of support it has? i think we can show you an image taken by one of the lib dems mps of the lobby. this is the lobby where mps are meant to be voting, if they want to come on this amendment, which is the second referendum proposal, by dr sarah wollaston. as you can see, that is the lobby for the ayes. there are not many ayes in prospect as we look
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at it, so i think we can discern from that this will be a fairly hefty defeat for dr sarah wollaston's amendment in this insta nce wollaston's amendment in this instance but let's not pre—empt the vote. that is where we are. as we look at the chamber itself, i think there are a couple of tellers in place in front of the dispatch box, u nless place in front of the dispatch box, unless they are just loitering with intent. but that is where we will have the four tellers eventually who will line up to present the vote that the speaker. as we wait for this to happen, and i must say, it is taking rather longer than i thought it might, so let's join vicki young and see if she can shed any light. i don't know why it is taking longer given so many were abstaining. as you saw from the pictures, hundreds of labour mps did not go anywhere. it is a bit unusual it is taking so long but there have been some delays in the last couple of days, i think with people wanting to make sure everything is com pletely to make sure everything is completely accurate. this has been interesting in a sense if you look at the labour party because as we
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know, a lot of controversy about that policy of adopting another referendum. they have been moving slowly towards it butjeremy corbyn has seemed very reluctant to take it on and really go for it. he has not mentioned it very much. today, telling his mps that they are going to abstain and not vote for it or against it, trying to keep the peace. i think what we are looking for, here, is if there are a lot of labour rebels, mps who really want another referendum, saying they will d efy another referendum, saying they will defy the orders that they have been given from their leader. it was difficult to see from here how many of them there might have been. but there is no doubt this will go down toa there is no doubt this will go down to a defeat. let's have a listen. 0rder, order! the ayes to the right, 85, and the
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noes to the left, 334. the ayes to the right, 85, the noes to the left, 334. the noes have it, the noes have it. unlock. order. not now. we will deal with it later. we now come to amendment i. mr hilary benn to move the amendment. i now call lucy powell to move formally her amendment to amendment i. thank you. the question is that the amendment to amendmentl the question is that the amendment to amendment i be made. as many as the opinion, say aye. to the contrary, no. division. clearthe lobby! let me explain what's going
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on here, with the keepers might help, obviously. we have this amendment by hilary benn, and that is to do with giving cross party backbenchers control of parliamentary time next wednesday to arrange a series of indicative votes on alternative brexit options. but, and it is a big but, before we get the vote on that amendment, there is an amendment to the amendment. vicki, what is going on? things couldn't be clearer, could they? hilary benn's amendment talks about a delay to article 50, but it does not have a date in it, so lucy powell, his fellow labour mp, wants to put a date in, and that is the 30th ofjune, so she is saying, we extend article 50, delay brexit until the end ofjune, and that's what they are now voting on, so slightly more complicated, this, but the other side of this amendment, when we get to it, will be about mps seizing control of the agenda. this
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bit is about how long that extension will be. to be clear, vicki, we get this vote, and then depending what happens, we will have a vote on hilary benn's own amendment, yes? yes, it could be this one, or it could be this amendment without the date. again, this will take probably about 15 minutes or so. vicki, two things — what do you think will happen to this amendment to the amendment? and depending on that, do you see hilary benn's one getting through? i don't know how this will go. lots of people wondered whether this would even get to about. people will be looking and thinking, if we are going down the route of delaying brexit, we want it to be a long delay, an open—ended delay, or do we wa nt delay, an open—ended delay, or do we want it to be a shorter one, to the end ofjune? and i think that could be the way it goes. when you're
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talking about the hilary benn one, i think it will be very close, because it will have labour support, opposition supporting it, not the dup, but the big question is, how many conservative mps will be prepared to rebel against what they are being told and support the idea that mps should be in charge of the process , that mps should be in charge of the process, that they should have this series of votes where they decide what the best brexit option is? that is going to be a very closely contested vote, the next one, because it is controversial, the idea that accepting that the government is not going to get its vote through, so mps themselves, backbenchers from different parties, the idea that they will get together, come up with a mechanism, and oliver let win, the former cabinet minister, has been working on the way you could do it so you can have a series of votes. there is
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no consensus for anything at the moment. we know what they are against, not what they are full, so it will come up this week, if the hilary benn amendment goes through, they would come back next wednesday, discuss the best way of doing it, and then have a series of votes to try and decide and find a way forward because they feel that theresa may's deal has failed. vicki, thanks very much. gilland gill and anand gilland anand are gill and anand are still with me. we have an amendment to an amendment. what is likely to happen, and what is the significance of it? we are trying to puzzle over exactly what it means. it limits the length of the extension. rather than it being an unlimited extension, she is reinserting the date. the 30th of june, this was. yes. the last time yvette cooper tried this sort of
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procedural move, a lot of people worried that she envisaged a long extension. she is trying to shorten the extension, so the people who think this could be resolved quite quickly will probably vote for this extension, and the people who want a longer extension for the uk, maybe to get a people's vote, might not wa nt to get a people's vote, might not want that reinsertion into the hilary benn motion. that is the rub. a three—month extension gives you time to debate options, even time for a general election, but not time for a general election, but not time for a general election, but not time for a referendum. people for a general election, but not time fora referendum. people think for a general election, but not time for a referendum. people think it will take 6—8 months to organise a referendum properly, so one of the reasons for the powell amendment is to signal clearly to the electorate amongst others that this is not about reversing brexit, or about having a referendum, it is about figuring out a way forward to do brexit well. i think that is the importance of this amendment, to make it clear that this is not some people's vote in another guise initiative. the cheeky question from some viewers would be, is that
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because hilary benn omitted to put something in, or was because hilary benn omitted to put something in, orwas it because hilary benn omitted to put something in, or was it framed deliberately, and knowing him, carefully? i can't believe that hilary benn was that slipshod. you would have to ask him.” hilary benn was that slipshod. you would have to ask him. i think he was indicating a problem with lucy powell's amendment. it might have been done hastily last night because they didn't see the amendment until late last night, after the government was defeated, and so... do you think, on balance, and we will know in a few minutes, that those mps who are minded to think in this way will think that this lucy powell amendment is a sensible signal to the public at large as to what the intentions are?” signal to the public at large as to what the intentions are? i think this is a pretty good chance of passing. two things might stop it. one is the hardline brexiteers you don't want anything to do with this. the other are the referendum supporters who don't want us to move
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towards a soft brexit, because they see that in opposition to what they want. and the de facto prime minister, david liddington, tried to turn this into not a matter of substance but of control. he said that if the prime minister's vote fails after the european council, the prime minister will set aside days for discussion. it is not about indicative votes but about whether parliament takes control, and that will be a real defeat for theresa may if this goes through, because the mp5 take over the house of commons next wednesday. and that is why we have had this series of debates on government motions, because the prime minister, facing defeat from yvette cooper's amendment at the end of february, said, i will do this, but we will do it has the government because i don't want to concede the principle that parliament can control the business. david liddington is scheduling his indicative votes for early april, basically saying, if we are in that prolonged extension because parliament has rejected the
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withdrawal deal, and there is a motion for a short extension to tie that to finalise the approved withdrawal agreement, and if not, we are intoa withdrawal agreement, and if not, we are into a longer extension, that is when the government is offering their indicative vote. the hilary benn one would happen before the 29th of march but after the european council. the prime minister and government do not want to be seen not to be in charge of the legislative timetable. notjust for the prime minister. i suspectjeremy corbyn finds himself divided sitting across the aisle. you will be thinking, if i am prime minister of a minority government, do i want the parliament telling the prime minister what to do? and the answer is no. labour benches pretty packed already, conservatives coming back m, already, conservatives coming back in, too, on this vote, which is an amendment to hilary benn's
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amendment. this was brought forward by lucy powell. as the voting takes place, let'sjoin by lucy powell. as the voting takes place, let's join vicki by lucy powell. as the voting takes place, let'sjoin vicki once more in the central lobby. that is why mps are having to vote one after another may be up to six times now, but luckily one of them has escaped to come and speak to us, the conservative mp. how do you feel now looking at what is going on? we voted against having a referendum, which i think is important. the numberof which i think is important. the number of votes was more than half the mp5 number of votes was more than half the mps in the commons. we should not be talking about extending time periods. we have had two years, and if we have an extension, the problems will simply remain the same but we will have more time to argue and continue the way we are. we need to get on and deliver for the public. what is the best way to do that? not enough conservative mps feel that is the way forward to get
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behind theresa may's deal. i'm not sure if you had every conservative supporting theresa may you would get the deal through, because you need the deal through, because you need the support of the dup. and that is critical. of course, for me, there have been a number of issues, but i have been a number of issues, but i have managed to put up with a number of them, but the backstop is the critical issue, the fact that the uk, one of the strongest economies in the world, permanent member of the un security council, head of the commonwealth, a real global power, that we would be locked into this backstop from which we cannot unilaterally leave. it is no way for our country to go as we pursue our own destiny in the future. you think that unless that is changed, and the eu have said it is over and they will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, how do you think theresa may could get this deal through? negotiations are only completed on the last day. we know the eu will always ta ke the last day. we know the eu will always take things right to the last moment, so we still have 14 days, andl
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moment, so we still have 14 days, and i hope the eu, in the interests of both the eu and the uk, will see sense and come up of both the eu and the uk, will see sense and come up with something thatis sense and come up with something that is acceptable for both sides. if we have to go out on a no deal basis, then much has most of us don't want to do that, i think we need to recognise that there will be short term difficulty on a no deal basis, but that would be mitigated by the fact that we would not be handing over £39 billion to the eu. that money can be used to cushion the economy, individuals and businesses, but by doing so, we would then get a better deal in the long term, and the benefits in the long term, and the benefits in the long term, and the benefits in the long term will far outweigh any short—term difficulty. long term will far outweigh any short-term difficulty. as you know, many people dispute that, saying the idea of a little bump in the road, it actually means a big dip in the economy. the chancellor himself feels a no—deal brexit would be terribly devastating for our economy. all i terribly devastating for our economy. alll say terribly devastating for our economy. all i say to terribly devastating for our economy. alll say to people is terribly devastating for our economy. all i say to people is that project fear didn't work when they said that the day after the referendum result we would find
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ourselves in enormous difficulty. we we re ourselves in enormous difficulty. we were told there would need to be an emergency budget, unemployment will would rise, and interest rates, and none of it happened. we even have mark carney, the governor of the bank of england, admitting he got it wrong before. we know that the aeroplanes will continue to fly, medicine will be available, and i ask people to remember, all they are being told by the proponents of project fear is that there will be lorries piled up from dover onto the m25, but they need to remember that there will be lorries from calais into deep france full of fresh fruit and vegetables that would be rotting away. there will be vegetables and fruit coming from spain and portugal that won't be coming here. there will be car manufacturers' jobs threatened, washing machine makers in italy, and so on. it really is both ways, and we need to recognise it is in the interest of both
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parties to get a deal. thank you very much indeed. those votes are ongoing, and we will have a result very soon, i think. ongoing, and we will have a result very soon, ithink. ithink ongoing, and we will have a result very soon, i think. i think so, ongoing, and we will have a result very soon, ithink. ithink so, by the looks of it. let's look inside the looks of it. let's look inside the chamber, because we can see that most mps are back in the chamber now, with a few gathering there just by the dispatch box itself. the front row is pretty packed. as i say, this is on the amendment proposed by the senior labour mp, hilary benn, chair of the brexit select committee. and let's look at the amendment he has put forward. it is to give cross—party backbenchers control of parliamentary time next wednesday in order to arrange a series of indicative votes, in other words, votes which indicate what mps want, on alternative brexit options. in other words, it is parliament taking control of the time on that day, in order to express its own view. that is the amendment that has
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been discussed. but the vote at the moment is on, and just bear with me, an amendment to that amendment, because lucy powell, labour mp, wa nts to because lucy powell, labour mp, wants to put a time limit on that amendment, so the first vote would be on that time—limit she has put forward , be on that time—limit she has put forward, and then we will have the vote itself on the amendment by hilary benn. i don't think that is too far away. right now, i am just thinking that if this vote goes through, with the time limit on it, that, according to anand menon, just earlier, would provide the kind of signal some people want in terms of people'sintentions around this parliamentary takeover of time. yes, i think the idea for some people, you know, this is not good for theresa may in the sense she did not wa nt theresa may in the sense she did not want any of this. remember, if she had had her way, there would not have been many votes at all in the house of commons but they have been. thereby court cases and mps using parliamentary procedure, some very
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complicated parliamentary procedure, to make sure that at every step of the way, they have had a say which is we are here today. it is not good for her in that sense. on the other hand, if she is trying to persuade brexiteers in the party to come behind her dealfor the brexiteers in the party to come behind her deal for the final push next week, this could be the kind of thing where they are thinking, "we are looking at an extension, a delay", something they have campaigned —— to something they have campaigned —— to something they have campaigned for, many of them, the decades. the other interesting thing is their own leadership... let's get the result. order, order. the ayes, 311, the noes, 314. the ayes to the right, 311, the noes to the left, 314, so the noes have
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it, the noes habit. unlock, order. —— the noes have it. there question is that amendment i be made, as many of that opinion say i come of the country, no. division, clearthe lobby! soa so a very narrow defeat, there are, for the amendment brought forward by lucy powell —— may go there, for the amendment. now we move onto the main pa rt amendment. now we move onto the main part of hilary benn's amendment, so that vote takes place, and as we look at these images, mps once again making their way towards the lobbies on either side of the chamber of commons. os with me now is chris morris, our reality check correspondent. we are in a debate about who is in control of this process now? yes, and it has been a complicated series
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of amendments, but overall, what we are looking at, by the end of the day is, is there going to be some kind of instruction or ability to say, we want to seriously consider the idea of extending the article 50 negotiating period and thereby formally delaying brexit past the initially intended end date of the 29th of march? when we look at the process itself today, what for you are the prime questions that we are now facing, given the events of this week, which have turned up one or two surprises. what for you are the prime questions we are facing today? i think now, i suppose the big question is, if an extension of article 50 is on the agenda, and don't forget, this time next week, almost exactly this time next week, the other 27 eu leaders will be meeting to discuss any possible request from the uk for an extension. i suppose the question is, what length of extension could it be? it depends who you ask. we have heard from some eu leaders today suggesting we should be looking at a longer extension
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perhaps. we know the prime minister talks about a very specific, short, technical extension. i think we have a graphic we can show you which gives the kind of detail we could be talking about. —— detail on some of the things we could be talking about. if we wanted a short extension, to the middle of may, say the deal got through in the next couple of weeks, at the last minute, and you need to do have some kind of brief extension to make sure that the deal was turned into law, up until the middle of may, i don't think there would be much problem with the eu pushing that through. where it gets trickier is that towards the end of may, there are european elections. the european parliament, the new european parliament, the new european parliament, does not sit until the beginning ofjuly, so technically, most people think you could probably have an extension until the end of june without too much problem. a longer extension, well, what then happens with those elections? does the uk have to take part in them? is there a way for british meps to
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perhaps be extended, or even, one suggestion, could national mps, so members of this parliament, be sent to strasbourg and brussels on an interim basis, to ensure there was representation of the uk in that parliament but there was not an election being held ? parliament but there was not an election being held? legally, i think people think it can be done but in the end it is a political decision. several concerns have been raised in recent days, chatting to our guests about what a new set of european parliament elections could mean here in terms of, you know, the range of people who might want to ta ke range of people who might want to take part, what they might want to do with the election, the kind of state m e nts do with the election, the kind of statements some people might want to make with the election and all of the tensions around it. are those issues which the eu is very alive to? i think they are, for example, the electra commission has not been preparing to hold an election towards the end of may. things would have to happen extremely quickly. there's also the legal issue, if the uk did not take part, would the new
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european parliament be legally constituted? this european parliament be legally constituted ? this is european parliament be legally constituted? this is an issue on which the government and the european commission agree, they both argue that if there have not been elections in every member state and if the uk was still part of the eu at that stage, the new parliament would not be properly constituted. on the other hand, the european parliament's own on the other hand, the european pa rliament‘s own legal service disagrees. it says it would be properly constituted. this is uncharted legal territory. it could well be something that could be tested in court. i think there is a concern, particularly in the eu, if there was no election, would there then be legal challenges against the new parliament from people saying either, perhaps from a remain perspective, they demand their right to be represented, or perhaps a leave perspective, saying, hang on, we are still paying the eu money, where are meps? no taxation without representation. it is a minefield and i've spoken to a lot of lawyers today and some say they think it could be done, a legal mechanism
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could be done, a legal mechanism could be done, a legal mechanism could be found but it will be a political decision in the end. chris morris, thank you very much, we will talk again later. it is a bit noisy now and again, isn't it? the campaigners are out in force and eve ryo ne campaigners are out in force and everyone is aware of the importance of the sequence of votes that is taking place today within the palace of westminster. hundreds of people are gathered today again outside the houses of parliament, wanting to make their voices heard. inside, houses of parliament, wanting to make theirvoices heard. inside, in the calm of the central lobby, vicki young, what is going on? it is quite calm today compared to yesterday. this is the one everyone is looking at comedy hilary benn, working with other mps, including conservatives like oliver letwin, they have been working on how they manage to try to dictate, really, what happens next in the brexit process. it is cross— party in the brexit process. it is cross—party backbenchers, so that is anyone from any party can get together, and they will decide. it is quite difficult to do. it is
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probably not really been done before. some people, the critics say it really goes against their way parliament is supposed to work. it goes against the idea that government, the executive, is in control of things. it is undemocratic, according to some people. the way they would do this if it goes through is that next wednesday, on the 20th of march, they would have a whole day where they would have a whole day where they would have a whole day where they would discuss the way forward. so before they get to the actual votes themselves, they have a day to discuss how they do it, the mechanism, the process, the best way of doing it. then in the weeks after that, they would hold a series of indicative votes, meaning, how do they try to come up with alternative brexit options, to try to find a way forward , brexit options, to try to find a way forward, if theresa may's dealjust does not get the support she wants it to. there's a lot of different alternatives, as we know, there is the second referendum and the fact it has been defeated here does not matter, it could still be voted on again. others want the so—called norway plus, or staying in the
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european economic area. all sorts of ideas people have been talking about for months and years, actually. that would give them the chance to actually vote on them and help the government, as they say they are trying to do, help the government to show where there is a majority, i consensus, where mps across all parties can agree to approach and follow and put through a certain kind of brexit. but it is a very difficult thing to do. the whole point of having a government if they hold the levers of power, they can get things done, they have got ministers, they have got staff and the civil service. a group of backbenchers, even if they were all to agree, it is very hard to do. let's face it, there's not been an awful lot of agreement in this place lately. thank you very much, let's catch up quickly inside the chamber and see what is going on. they are coming back in. we have got several minutes to go before the chamber fills up and before we get the result of this vote on hilary benn's amendment. we are just keeping result of this vote on hilary benn's amendment. we arejust keeping an eye on that, clearly. people not
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just outside westminster demonstrating and campaigning, people all over the uk keeping a sharp eye on what is going on today at westminster because this vote could really affect the rest of this brexit process, with just 15 days to 90, brexit process, with just 15 days to go, to the set date of the uk's departure from the eu. some of the people keeping an eye are down in south wales and cardiff and sian lloyd, my colleague, is there with some people. hello, overall, the people of wales voted to leave the european union, but the position of the welsh government in cardiff bay is that brexit could make wales poorer. 61% of its exports go to eu countries and it's been a net beneficiary of eu spending but what do people here, some 200 miles away from westminster, think of what is going on there right now? what are you making of it all? more votes today. well, i voted against brexit, and i think it was a big mistake. as
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somebody said earlier, on the radio, we are in uncharted waters. i don't know what the legal situation is. we vote the politicians in, and they are there to do a particularjob, and it is their responsibility to come up with the best deal for us. what do you make of potentially brexit then being delayed? is that going to make a difference for you? it has become a nonsense, as far as i'm concerned. i don't know. i'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about it. but you have been following it closely because obviously you have a personal connection, your daughter... orange rego yes, my daughter... orange rego yes, my daughter is married to a german —— my daughter is married to a and german they have got two children. i don't know how it will affect our position. in fact, they have been happily married, as partners, been
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together for several years, and in september, they decided to get an official document which states that they are married because of brexit. ifi they are married because of brexit. if i can bring you in, what are your thoughts about the votes, particularly, potentially a delay, now? i think it is needed now because of the mess we seem to be in with no decisions being made. we don't seem to be any further forward than we were two years ago, after the vote. we are not very clear on the vote. we are not very clear on the actual plan itself. working on two european funded projects, i do wonder what westminster will give to wales when we are out of europe. it isa wales when we are out of europe. it is a huge concern to me personally and my family. and you are here in cardiff from north wales for the by cardiff from north wales for the rugby at the weekend, so thank you for joining rugby at the weekend, so thank you forjoining us. what are your views at this stage? things are moving quickly but as your wife was taken over two years, she feels not much has moved to. that's right, we don't
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really know what the deal is as the public, we've heard all about the northern ireland backstop, we may have a bit more information about that but what is in the deal? how is it going to benefit us here in wales ? it going to benefit us here in wales? it is a bit of a cliche, shambles is the word that everyone is using, and it is correct. the political system, in my view, has let us down. it has let the uk down and us in wales as well. thank you for joining and us in wales as well. thank you forjoining us. so, some of the views here, quite a long way away from westminster but of course affecting people right across the uk. sian lloyd, thank you, and thank you to your guests. a quick update from vicki young in the central lobby on some of the votes so far. what happens is after the votes have happened, we have the names of all of those and how they voted, which way they voted, and we were talking earlier about the vote on the referendum, the idea of another referendum, the idea of another referendum and jeremy corbyn had told his mps to abstain, not to vote either way but we now know that 25
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defied the orders in order to vote for another referendum and 18 defied the orders, to vote against another referendum, and on the conservative side, ten conservative mps abstained, and that was against the orders of theresa may, who was ordering them to vote against another referendum. rebels all around. thank you and we will be back with vicki young in a moment because i think we still have a few minutes to go before the vote is announced. but joining me minutes to go before the vote is announced. butjoining me now is a former director of legislative affairs at number ten, to the prime minister, good to have you with us again. ok. how do you see things right now, given we are some way enter the votes but clearly, looking at the slightly bigger picture around this process itself? ok, so i guess the threat is becoming more acute, boast a government, but also to brexit. —— both to government. in
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some ways, that threat is keeping both the government and the chances of the prime minister's brexit alive. right now, we are teetering, and by next week, we may have lost control of the process. before we get there, let's talk about your assessment of the prime minister's chances, whatever happens today, the prime minister's chances of getting her deal back for a third time before mps? i mean, there is a vote which may stop that but what are the chancesin which may stop that but what are the chances in your view? there is a convention that says you cannot ask the same question in the same session. if the will of the house is such, and you could prove it with signatures to amendments, and we have seen today that that is not full proof, or there is a lot of public outcry saying we want it to happen, the government could bring it back. there is an amendment trying to threaten that today, but it is not binding on the government
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could push the speaker for a resolution. do you think that is likely that the prime minister will try to make that case once again? and do you read in all of this political maelstrom we are in that the prime minister has the kind of energy to reduce the majority against the deal down to edging towards victory or not? it is touch and go. you have the erg you will not convert and you have to convert that to labour. i think a softer brexit might also be within reach. that is good, that is clear. i wonder if we can now look at what the impact of this hilary benn amendment would be next wednesday.” think it pushes people towards the deal, because in sequence, the prime minister will bring it back, then there will be the threat about taking control, leading to something
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that will no longer be in the control of the prime minister, it will be a runaway train. if you want brexit to be any softer, this is probably the last chance. given all of these changing factors, what on earth happens when that summit takes place next week? given your background in downing street, how does downing street begin to prepare for a does downing street begin to prepare fora summit does downing street begin to prepare for a summit that could be one where there are still massive questions unanswered ? the there are still massive questions unanswered? the prime minister might not be able to take the case to that summit that she would like. you like it wasn't my area, but you diligently prepare all the different arguments, test it out, do a lot of diplomacy around that. the ambassadors should be feeling in, and the civil servants, and you try and the civil servants, and you try and manage it. we have heard it could be another salzburg moment, with unpredictable reactions from eu leaders, and that is the thing it would be difficult to prepare for. you mean there might be less sympathetic and helpful than people
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expected? yes, and you would have to make decisions quickly will come back to the commons with an unpalatable offer. thoughts on an extension, which people are using the word inevitable about, is that now really down to a debate about how long that should be without getting the uk into what some people would consider the tangle of the european elections? yes, i think so. i worked on legislative stuff, so i don't have 100% certainty, but i think it really is about the length of extension now. do you think the prime minister is in the business of trying to keep that extension to the shortest time possible? you might absolutely, because a long extension is also a threat to her, because the question then becomes, what are you doing with that time was mike and should you be the one to do it? and that will be a threat. ideally, she wa nts to that will be a threat. ideally, she wants to get it all done with a short extension and bank that moment of success.
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if you are a number ten watching this, this is the vote that you are keeping an eye on, isn't it, of all the votes today? yes, because it enables a vote on wednesday that strips control for many days to come, and at that stage, what do you do? i think it was anand saying earlier thatjeremy corbyn will be watching this thinking if he were to become prime minister, this is not a precedent he would like. the whips office are more concerned than the labour leadership, because they know what the real consequences are. nikki, thanks forjoining us, the former director of legislative affairs at number ten. my thanks to her. we are getting close to this vote, aren't we, vicki? we are. it isa vote, aren't we, vicki? we are. it is a packed chamber. there is a lot of chat going on at the speaker's
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chat, possibly indicating it is pretty close. because it is so busy in there, they have had problems with the tellers, so the people who have to stand there and make sure they have all the right names, they got them voting the right way, they have to come and stand at that table and read out the result. i think people are feeling this could be very close because of the previous vote, narrowly lost by lucy powell. that could be an indication that this could be just as close as that, and this is the one that everyone will be looking at, because it does change the way that things will go in the next couple of weeks, and who can take charge really of the brexit process. could a group of backbench mps from all parties get together, come up with a procedure, a way of dealing with all of this? could they get together, say, we will do it this way, and then the week after, say, ok, we will go through these indicative votes and we will try and find a way through this, something
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that parliament can agree on? we have heard the eu say it, people here say it, theresa may saying it a lot, which is, look, there is no alternative to my deal, the only one on the table. it has been negotiated, sorry unless someone comes up negotiated, sorry unless someone comes up with a better plan, this is the only one to vote on. i am keeping an eye on the pictures, because those tellers are milling around the table before they walk up and announce the result. the winners tend to stand on the right. order, order! the ayes to the right, 212, the noes to the left, 314. the
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right, 312, the noes to the left, 314. so the noes have it, the noes have it. unlock. order! we now come to amendment e, in the name of the leader of the opposition. the right honourable gentleman to move the amendment formally. the question is that amendment cant ye be made. as many as are of that opinion, say aye. to the contrary, no. division. clear the lobby. lets just aye. to the contrary, no. division. clear the lobby. letsjust underline what happened in that vote a few minutes ago. we had hilary benn, the vetera n minutes ago. we had hilary benn, the veteran labour mp and chair of the brexit select committee, putting forward that important amendment. it was easily the most significant amendment of the afternoon, in the view of nicky de costa. in terms of what parliament were trying to do
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via that amendment. and a narrow win for the government. there will be a huge sigh of relief on the front bench. we saw some of the colleagues of the prime minister sat by the speaker's chair. of the prime minister sat by the spea ker‘s chair. they of the prime minister sat by the speaker's chair. they couldn't contain theirjoy when they heard that vote being announced. i think a majority of two, lost by a majority of two, by mr benn. a lot of disappointment for hilary benn and his colleagues, who wanted really to wrestle control of a big part of this process away from the executive and government, and to try to explore their own options. that is a very significant moment in this afternoon's events. vicki, what do you make of that? that was close, wasn't it? we were speculating about whether there had been a tie, actually. in a hung parliament, those things do happen. we were told categorically that the speaker can't create a majority where there is none, so it would have been the
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same. as it happens, a defeat for hilary benn. the first good news the prime minister has had probably for a long time. it means that mps now don't have that freedom to try and find a way through themselves. it is worth saying that david liddington, the cabinet minister who spoke earlier in the debate, did promise mps that after the eu council next week, they would put aside, the government, two weeks so that mps could hold a series of votes. the reason hilary benn wasn't persuaded by that promise is because there has been quite a breakdown of trust in parliament. they feel, many backbench mps, that the government has promised things and not delivered on them, gone back on them, so they wanted to be sure by trying to get their own measures through. it is worth saying that david liddington has promised that if theresa may's deal doesn't go through and they end up going to the eu council, after that, he has promised mps could hold a series of votes to try and do exactly what they were hoping to do to find a way
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forward and find consensus. vicki, many thanks. back in a moment. in the commons chamber, the mps filing out once again. this vote is on the amendment tabled by labour's front bench, tabled byjeremy corbyn and colleagues. let's have a look at it, because this is the one that instructs the prime minister to seek an extension to article 50, to provide parliamentary time for mps to find a majority for a different approach. instructing the prime minister to seek an extension to article 50 four mps to find a majority for a different approach. it will take ten or 15 minutes. i am joined by the deputy political editor at the spectator and the deputy political editor at the times. and from the guardian. that was a narrow squeak for theresa may, but the best new she has had for a while. they weren't optimistic about
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this vote. a big decision has been made, to leave the brexit process in theresa may's hands for now. lots of mps are extremely sceptical that she can get through her plan and will change sufficiently to their liking to get it through, and there was this planned to take back control of commons time next wednesday with votes the following tuesday, and that has been defeated by the narrowest of margins. some hard—core remain more likely mike, like richard harrington —— some hard—core remainers. if the government fails on tuesday, david livingstone announced there would be opportunities for the commons to express its will. that motion has just been passed and there will be a big sigh of relief in downing
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street. do you feel the pressure has released a little? you can see in the chamber, the chief whipjulian smith appeared to first bump. by far, this is the best thing that has happened to the government this week. it is not saying that much. the government have had an awful week. in order to get to this point, they had to promise indicative votes at some point, but as sam touches on, the important thing is that it is at on, the important thing is that it isata on, the important thing is that it is at a time of the government's choosing, meaning they can put all theirenergy into choosing, meaning they can put all their energy into trying to get to reason my's deal to pass the commons once more, or twice reason my's deal to pass the commons once more, ortwice more if reason my's deal to pass the commons once more, or twice more if it fails. there is still a huge amount of pressure on the government, so it has squeaked through. she hasn't fully ta ke n has squeaked through. she hasn't fully ta ken back has squeaked through. she hasn't fully taken back control and will be very nervous about what happens next, whether or not she can convince enough tory mps to get on board, and she still has to tackle the dup. theresa may's leadership is still all over the place, and the conservatives are still completely terrified about what this means for
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the long—term future of their party. still a few minutes to go, but let's look ahead to next week, possibly a dangerous thing to do. just thinking about that third attempt at theresa may's deal, are you detecting any shift that would take that over the victory line or not? i think the problem is, with every meaningful vote, and we are on the third now and then possibly the fourth, she gets a few more over the line. it is whether or not she has enough time to get enough of them there by the deadline, and i'm not convinced she ever will. i think some people will never be convinced. will she get there? she needs to convince 75 mps to change their mind. we have seen more brexit heres to turn. david davis surprisingly voted for this deal on tuesday. there is still going to be about 20 brexit heres in downing street's mind that will never change their downing street's mind that will neverchange their mind, downing street's mind that will never change their mind, so she needs labour votes. this hilary benn amendment not passing helps that's
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likely because it means these labour mps don't have an alternative in the sense that they might have had, had they had the chance to go through other options. it looks better for her but is still very tricky. can she do it? may be, but it remains very hard. that 20, 25 figure, and 25 labour mps to back the deal is difficult when they have lots of reasons not to. katie is right, the decision in the last few minutes will encourage some of them to peer over the cliff of no deal and tuck in behind her. even then, there is quite a long way to go. the big unknown is that david liddington promised today that the commons could have its own opportunities to vote on things. we don't know what it means or when, but there will be some people who will hold out for that and continue to vote down a deal they might not otherwise have done. we will find out more about the process in the coming days as we work out what will happen next week. we will talk in a while. thank you,
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all, for now. we will pause and join vicki, who has served vince cable with her. the lib dems have been campaigning for another referendum for a long time, and the vote that happened today went down to a very heavy defeat. let's discuss this now. the leader of the lib dems is with me. does this mean that that option is dead? not at all, we have seen theresa may's proposals coming back again and again and we will come back again and again, the key isjeremy corbyn come back again and again, the key is jeremy corbyn and the labour party. they let everybody down tonight. they promised they would move in the direction of a people's vote and they have not delivered, very disappointing. but there will be another chance. i've always felt, actually, that the people's vote will happen, mainly because the government realises they have no other option but to take the proposal to the country and offer them that against the option of remaining. also a defeat for the hilary benn amendment, trying to allow mps, really, to find their own
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way through this, and find their own solution. were you disappointed with that? i think we were, it was very narrow, only lost by two votes, we are going to have to find some mechanism for finding positive proposals rather than voting things down. the fact that it was lost by two votes was a step backwards, it was two votes was a step backwards, it was unfortunate. is your sense and feeling now that theresa may will try again with her own deal, try to bring it back next week, and then she will, as she has said, still have to ask for a delay? yes, i think they do things that are clear at the end of this evening, not that we have quite got to it yet, the first is that she will try again, and there's lots of tory backbenchers who are looking for a legal figleaf to cover a retreat if they get it. the other thing is, there will be a delay, brexit will be postponed, for three months, but of course, the european council may ta ke of course, the european council may take a different view, they may require a longer extension, all
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things are possible but it will certainly not happen by the due date. david liddington today promised mps could effectively have what hilary benn was trying for, or an alternative to it, where he will put aside time, a couple of weeks, where you can work through all of those different alternative brexit scenarios. is it good enough for you? yes, i think the government has accepted they have lost control of the brexit process, that parliament will have to be positively engaged. whether it happens through the way hilary benn proposes all the way the government wants is not ultimately material. it was disappointing, we did not vote for it but if the government has another mechanism, thatis government has another mechanism, that is fine. given jeremy corbyn is clearly wavering about a second referendum, it is their party policy, part of it but he is clearly relu cta nt to policy, part of it but he is clearly reluctant to go down that route, how can you persuade him? he does not seem to be willing to listen to what you are saying. his own party have got to persuade him, it is after all their policy, something they said
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they are committed to, if he continues to let people down in that way then i'm afraid people will draw their own conclusions. but as i've said before, ithink their own conclusions. but as i've said before, i think actually the people's vote will not come through the labour party, it will come because the prime minister will acce pt because the prime minister will accept that at the end of the day, the only way of getting the deal accepted is to go to the country and offer them that is a choice against remaining. so vince cable, thank you very much. that is the view of those pushing for another referendum, that although of course it has been defeated heavily today, there will be other opportunities to put their case. many thanks. just trying to get a sense of the timings in the house of commons itself, it is filling up again, so this is the vote on the amendment tabled by the labour leadership, and that is going to be coming up, probably in another five minutes, i think, to be coming up, probably in another five minutes, ithink, before to be coming up, probably in another five minutes, i think, before we step five minutes, i think, before we ste p o nto five minutes, i think, before we step onto the last vote of this sequence, if that vote is pressed by
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the labour mp chris bryant, and that is to do with trying to stop the prime minister in effect coming back with the same deal to the house of commons again, for a third time. but we will come to that shortly. let's cross now to brussels, where we can speak to our europe correspondent damian grammaticas. given that we have now had several votes a nd given that we have now had several votes and indeed the prime minister just, just fended off an attempt by hilary benn and others to get control of the parliamentary timetable, if you like, next week, what are your thoughts on how this is now developing?” what are your thoughts on how this is now developing? i think the view from here the eu, sitting watching this, will have seen no votes, again, from parliament. and i think this will confirm what the eu side is seeing, which is no real consensus for any clear way forward emerging in parliament. that is the
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eu's view, that is the real heart of the problem, here, and this is a problem that there has to be some kind of resolution in london for things to unblock and move forward. that first vote on the possibility ofa that first vote on the possibility of a referendum, that was a heavy defeat, so clearly, no appetite for that at the moment. so the eu side will look at this and think, "that idea about an extension, it is looking... it is sort of inevitable now but the question is how long and how much time is going to have to be needed to sort this out?" the difficulty i think many in the eu side looking at this have seen is the feeling has been, a short extension is ok for technical reasons, if the deal goes through the uk parliament and need to subsequent legislation and time to sort out the details. that would be a few weeks, up until may orjune, the very end ofjune, perhaps. but
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if the issue is different, if the issueis if the issue is different, if the issue is a political blockage in london, it is very hard, i think, the eu things, to see how it could be fixed in a few weeks. —— the eu thinks. then it tends to make the eu thinks. then it tends to make the eu think about a longer extension. it is very unclear at the moment. a lot will hang on the next few days. indeed, thank you very much, damian grammaticas for us in brussels. the house of commons is pretty full once again and we are now waiting for the outcome of the vote on the amendment brought forward byjeremy corbyn. before we get that, let's get an update from vicki young. we are hearing that chris bryant who has an amendment down following this, is not going to push it to a vote, we think, so after this, it may be that we go straight to the final vote on the government's motion itself but as you say, this is about labour's policy, and as you
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know, there has been a lot of criticism really of labour for keeping all options on the table but not making many choices, we know about the deep divisions in the conservative party ever brexit but the labour party has its issues as well. let's get the result. order, order. the ayes to the right, 302, the nose to the left, 318. the ayes to the right, 302, the noes to the left, 318. the noes habit, the noes habit, unlock, order. we now come to amendment] in the name of the honourable gentleman, the memberthe of the honourable gentleman, the member the rhondda.” of the honourable gentleman, the member the rhondda. i don't think there is any need to move this to a vote. amendment] forjemima, not
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moved. order. the question is their main motion in the name of the government. members of the government, as many are of the opinion, is a aye. on the contrary, no. division, clear the opinion, is a aye. on the contrary, no. division, clearthe lobby! so the final vote in this sequence, following a defeat for the amendment brought forward byjeremy corbyn, and now the decision, as vicki young tells us, by the labour mp for the rhondda, chris bryant, not to press his amendment which was all about trying to stop the prime minister bringing back a plan for a third time next week, on the basis that it is not right to bring back the same thing several times, well, he
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decided not to press the amendment and maybe he will explain a bit more later about that. but we have now moved on to the main vote on the motion itself. so all of the votes so far has been on amendments to this motion, which is now being voted on, the government's main motion. just to remind you what this is all about, let me refresh your memories from an hour and a half ago, the main motion is that the government will request from the eu a one—off extension to article 50, ending on the 30th ofjune, 2019, with any extension beyond that date probably requiring the uk to hold eu parliamentary elections in may of 2019. this is the main motion being voted on by the house of commons. this is the government's request, if you like, permission from mps to request from the eu a one—off extension to the brexit process, article 50, in other words, which
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ends on the 30th ofjune 2019, the ends on the 30th ofjune 2019, the end of the extension, and beyond that, that kind of warning sign, that, that kind of warning sign, that alarm bell for the government, which is to say, "look, if it is beyond that, we have to hold eu parliamentary elections in may", which, of course, for so many people around this process, would be the thing to avoid for lots of different reasons. so now we are having this vote, i'm pleased to say that katie bowles of the spectator, sam coates of the times are still with me, good to have you both with us. where are we? we have now got almost on the result, i would expect this last motion to be carried. we have seen two or three big statements from the house of commons, the first was that only 80—90 mps voted for a second referendum. the main second referendum. the main second referendum group did not want people to do it, they said it was the wrong time but nonetheless, that will be
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seized on by its opponents, saying there aren't anything like enough mps to support a second referendum, evenif mps to support a second referendum, even if you add lots of labour mps, it will not past which was a statistically interesting result. the next thing that you saw was by the most narrow mile —— and imagine, parliament decided to let theresa may have her way and not to take control, giving her one more shot at her plan, the vote for the third time next tuesday in all likelihood to see if she can get it through. because you cannot get all the legislation through to get that in place, to get us ready for brexit, there will be a short extension coming with it that i would expect to be approved with the motion. it's been about as good, it looks, if this vote goes the way we expect, it's been about as good an afternoon asi it's been about as good an afternoon as i think you could get for the government, although they are not in a good place, i should stress. they've still got an enormous amount to do to overturn 75 conservative votes, pa rt of to do to overturn 75 conservative votes, part of the 149 that voted against theresa may's deal on tuesday, but nevertheless, at least they have not lost control. the charge that theresa may is in office
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but not in power cannot be levelled quite so aggressively tonight. just to go through the timetable, sam has kind of taken us through it butjust to nail it down, tuesday, another go for the prime minister, yes, on her deal? and then she goes to the summitafew deal? and then she goes to the summit a few days later and then asks for this extension yes? yes, so theresa may hopes that by having meaningful vote three on tuesday, there's a chance you can go to the big eu summit and say she has passed ideal. obviously, that would change the mood music quite significantly. then you would look for the extension. if she fails to pass the deal on tuesday, one theory in government is that she goes to the summit, gets the terms of the extension, perhaps a very unfavourable extension, a long one, she comes back, presents it to parliament, and that could be the trigger to getting mps to vote for her deal a fourth time. if she were to try and get her deal voted on a fourth time in the commons, however,
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there would be some opposition that you could bring the same piece of legislation back, the same deal, john bercow, the speaker, might take issue with that. which was the point of the chris bryant amendment which was dropped today? within government, there is a view that the third vote would be fine but they don't know how they would get the fourth one passed the speaker. but it is still being talked about because the government is determined to try to get the deal threw in some form or other. when you stackable of the events, and then you remind us that it the events, and then you remind us thatitis the events, and then you remind us that it is 15 days to the set date for departure, you know, this is, again, we arejust for departure, you know, this is, again, we are just approaching... for departure, you know, this is, again, we arejust approaching... we are so close to the line, if you put all this together, it is kind of cover you know, really last minute stuff, last—second stuff. cover you know, really last minute stuff, last-second stuff. on the first day theresa may entered downing street, she was asked by the then cabinet secretary, said jeremy hayward, "do you want to have a big conversation with the country, explore lots of options about how we might do brexit, the vote that had
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taken place weeks before, in order to test which might work with the country, and parliament? " to test which might work with the country, and parliament?" she and her advisers said no. she has decided all the way through it is her way or the highway and anyone else's version of brexit, even if there is not brexit or too soft, she cannot find it conch does not take back control of free movement, or one of a whole host of objections. her unwillingness to explore other ideas i think is very much the reason why we have got to where we are today, 15 days out, with the potential, the deputy prime minister in all but name saying we may have to try other options if we fail one more time. that is not a great place to be but it is a consequence of her decisions right at the start of her premiership, unchanged from the moment she did disastrously badly in the election in 2017, and as a consequence, we are where we are today. is that how you see it, we are here, it is a direct consequence of the way the prime minister wanted to manage this herself?” of the way the prime minister wanted to manage this herself? i think the point where it got very difficult for theresa may to pass the deal was
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when she called the early election and lost the majority. at that point, the things she wanted to do that would please the conservative party or at least the bulk of the conservative party, became very hard to do without a majority. that is the point which means we don't know if this gamble is going to pay. there's a chance this all fails, evenif there's a chance this all fails, even if she gets a fourth vote, or the third vote. there is a chance that ina the third vote. there is a chance that in a few weeks' time, we start to hear about another early election. that is something lots of mps, not willingly but very relu cta ntly, mps, not willingly but very reluctantly, think we could be heading towards, unless you can pass a deal. really, this is going to end up a deal. really, this is going to end up being a constitutional crisis if she can't get something over the line. thank you forjoining us. let's go to brussels again and talk to katya, our europe editor. we will
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have this vote on tuesday in the commons on the vote that theresa may still thinks is the one that will deliver, and that will then be the backdrop to her visit to the summit. absolutely, and eu leaders are glued to this whole process. they find it confusing, bemusing and worrying. they really want to see in which direction the uk is heading. when it comes to the idea of an extension, which is being voted on today, despite the sound and fury in westminster at the moment, it is eu leaders who have the final say, and they will want to look to the vote next week on the prime minister's deal. is she close to getting that deal. is she close to getting that deal over the line? will she get it over the line because mike does she need an extension just to do that? in which case, she would be asking for a shorter extension. if not, if it is backed a plan a, tearing up the papers and looking for a new plan, the request would more likely be for a longer extension. would
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they grant it was my under what conditions? like so many things to do with brexit, we really don't know for sure at the moment, and the reason is not that i have not done my homework but that under eu law, all 27 eu leaders have to come to a unanimous conclusion, so we can't know what they will decide until they are all in one room together, which they will be next week, and thatis which they will be next week, and that is when it will become clearer, on the side, at least. how much pressure will the 27 b under from john pressure will the 27 b under from jothunker pressure will the 27 b under from john junker and donald tusk pressure will the 27 b under from jothunker and donald tusk and others to simply do what is being suggested to them? —— jean—claude junker. yellow might do you mean whether they are asking for an extension or whether they are asking to renegotiate part of the deal? to agree the extension on the table, whatever it is, a week today. there will be a lot of pressure to agree
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to an extension. we have had tough words from leaders in france and spain saying, we will not grant this extension unless the prime minister can come up with a very good reason. and eu leaders are irritated, frustrated and fatigued with the brexit process. but it is also true that they want to avoid a no—deal brexit for their own economic and political reasons, so it is likely when they all get in that room together, that tough talking aside, real politics will prevail, and even through gritted teeth, they will grantan through gritted teeth, they will grant an extension. we don't know what the conditions would be. one thing they have been clear about, even though the 27 leaders will come face—to—face with theresa may at the summit, they say there is no more talking about this particular deal on the table, no more fiddling, reopening or explaining. that, they say, is it. they feel they have thus negotiated deal with the prime minister and now it is up to the uk to decide what to do with it, or to
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unite around another plan. katya, thanks again. katya with the latest thoughts for us in brussels, looking ahead to that summit that will take place a week today. let's look inside the chamber of the house of commons, because this vote is taking place, the main vote on the government motion, the government's request to have an extension to the article 50 process. and it follows all the votes we have been covering since around 5pm here at westminster. the amendments which we re westminster. the amendments which were presented, none of which have been carried. it was a very narrow defeat for hilary benn, the labour mp, on his amendment, which was an attempt to take control, if you like, formps to attempt to take control, if you like, for mps to take control of parliamentary time next wednesday and take control of a big chunk of this process, and theresa may fought that off with the majority ofjust
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two. vicki young, our chief political correspondent, is keeping an eye on things for us. once we've had this vote, vicki, do we expect a statement from the prime minister or some kind of signal as to the way ahead? not the prime minister. the indications are that it won't be her. that is because of her voice. you will remember that this week she has virtually lost her voice com pletely has virtually lost her voice completely and did struggle quite a lot in the house of commons, having to do lot in the house of commons, having todoa lot in the house of commons, having to do a statement and prime minister's questions, and then didn't open any kind of debate today. it won't be her. it is more likely to be stephen barclay, the brexit secretary, if there is something to say, which i imagine there will be. the point is, there isa there will be. the point is, there is a lot of parliamentary detail and process here. the big picture is that this is the government, theresa may, forced against her will now to go and ask brussels for an extension to article 50. if this goes through.
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that is where we are after the referendum and two years of negotiations. she now, against her will, will have to go and do that. those people who were very keen to leave at the end of march, that big moment that so many people, notjust in here in the commons but across the country, it looks very unlikely that that is going to happen. the question that remains is what the reason for that delay is going to be. is it because she will have managed to get her deal through, against the odds, given the huge defeat that there have been? or will it be because she has yet again failed to do that and we are in confusion, really, after that? we do not know what the result will be. hilary benn's amendment has been defeated and pays won't be in control of the process. it has been prominent in the commons that if we get to the point next which were theresa may has been defeated and has had to ask for a delay to
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brexit, they will make time to have these folks to try somehow to work out a way through all of this. just imagine, vicki, what the activity will be like behind—the—scenes on those conservative benches, and indeed with the dup, leading up to that third attempt at the prime minister's deal on tuesday.” that third attempt at the prime minister's deal on tuesday. i do wonder, because they have done a business statement today where they have set up what will happen next week. in that, they have said there will be another vote on the deal. there is no point in doing it again u nless there is no point in doing it again unless the dup are onside, because eve ryo ne unless the dup are onside, because everyone knows that if the dup are happy with what is going on, it is much more likely that dozens of those conservatives would come across and back it also might. all along, cabinet ministers have said, the dup are crucial, and notjust on this. they are crucial because they pf°p up this. they are crucial because they prop up the conservative government. they are her partners in all of this, and of course they haven't been her partners as far as this deal has been concern, and that is
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why she has run into so much trouble. if they can be got back onside, it did means of course that after a ll onside, it did means of course that after all this, and it is hard to think of that, when it goes back to going back to trying to govern and get the deal through, she will need them in order to continue in government. for many reasons, it is important. we have another result. de ayes to the right, 412. the noes to the left, 202. —— the ayes. the ayes to the right, 212, the noes -- 412., the ayes to the right, 212, the noes -- 412. , the the ayes to the right, 212, the noes —— 412., the noes to the left, 202.
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after the last few days of government chaos and defeats, all of us have the opportunity and responsibility to work together to find a solution to the crisis facing this country, where the government has so dramatically failed to do so. we have begun to hold meetings with members across the house to find a consensus and a compromise that meets the needs of this country. but the last few days have also put a responsibility on the prime minister. first, to publicly accept that both her deal and no deal are simply no longer viable options. and secondly, to bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the exit date of the 29th of march. tonight, i reiterate our conviction that a deal can be agreed based on our alternative plan, that can command support across the house. and i also... and i also reiterate
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our support for a public vote, not asa our support for a public vote, not as a political... shouting mr speaker, not as political point scoring, but as a real option. it ought to be to protect people's futures and those of industry. our job is to try to meet the concerns of the people who sent us here in the first place. point of order, mr ian blackford. thank you, mr speaker. we are in a crisis, and at the end of another week, and we need to remind ourselves that the public of the uk are two weeks away from potentially crashing out of the
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european union. mr speaker, while we've been debating here, the trade bill has been going through the other place, and importantly, in the other place, and importantly, in the other place, an amendment has been passed that disallows the trade bill if no deal is not taken off the table. can i seek your advice as to how we can make sure that this house has the ability to debate the trade bill over the course of the coming days and presents the opportunity that we can use legislation to make sure that no deal can happen? that is the responsible position that we should be taking. if i may say so, utter hypocrisy from the labour party. they have bumped the opportunity to put the people's vote on the agenda tonight. the amendment will be considered at the point at which the bill returns. that is the factual situation. there is nothing ican add factual situation. there is nothing i can add at this point. point of order, mr hilary benn. further to the very important announcement that
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the very important announcement that the secretary of for exiting the european union, that the government intends to bring the mutual motion under section 13 of the european withdrawal act to the house by monday the 25th of march, i wonder whether the leader of the, who is in her place, might like to indicate to the house this evening, given the nature of the business that has already been announced for next week, whether the government might be inclined to bring it before monday the 25th, because we really need to get on with the process of trying to agree a way forward?” think the right honourable gentleman for his point of order. the honourable gentleman is getting excited. he is a young pup. if the honourable lady wants to come to the box, she can, but is under no obligation. what might i take into account the right honourable gentleman's concerns. ——”
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account the right honourable gentleman's concerns. -- i take into account the right honourable gentleman's concerns.” account the right honourable gentleman's concerns. i was rather puzzled by the leader of the opposition saying something about a people's vote. is there any way within the rules of order one can register the fact that as more than half the house of commons voted against a second referendum tonight, the fact that so many of them abstained has nothing to do with it, and the matter is completely dead. well, the right honourable gentleman has registered his view... the front bench and the conservative side celebrating the fact that they got their motion through, with some relief. let's remind ourselves, it isa relief. let's remind ourselves, it is a request that the prime minister did not want to make, and that is the request that the process of brexit be extended, that article 50
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be extended. that is the motion that has just been passed be extended. that is the motion that hasjust been passed by be extended. that is the motion that has just been passed by the house of commons, after a series of votes here this evening. vicki in the central lobby has more details. you might let's get some reaction from labour. we did hearfrom jeremy corbyn there, saying that theresa may's deal and no deal were no longer viable. and saying that she should now change the exit day and do that as soon as possible. let's speak to the shadow cabinet minister. i am speak to the shadow cabinet minister. iam intrigued speak to the shadow cabinet minister. i am intrigued thatjeremy corbyn has said that your plan is a way forward and talked about a public vote, both of which have just been defeated in the house of commons. we are in a strange position where the government can't get its proposal through, eitherfor no dealfor its get its proposal through, eitherfor no deal for its own deal, and therefore, there has to be a conversation across the house of commons to try to find a way forward. we believe that there is still a majority in the commons for a sensible brexit deal, and that is what we are going to try to achieve. if that fails, clearly, the next
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step will be considering whether we have a people's vote or a general election to resolve the matter. getting a general election, as you know, is tricky. you have tried and failed. why have you been so relu cta nt to failed. why have you been so reluctant to move to that policy of having another referendum because mike there are so many mps in your own party desperate for you to get behind it, and if you did, it might behind it, and if you did, it might be something that could go through the house of commons. we've laid out a staged approach to this, the first step was to stop no deal which was such a disaster for step was to stop no deal which was such a disasterfor our step was to stop no deal which was such a disaster for our country, step was to stop no deal which was such a disasterfor our country, the second thing was to defer article 50 and now we want to try to see whether there is a majority for any deal because if there were a referendum, you would have to have a deal to put to it. referendum, you would have to have a dealto put to it. but referendum, you would have to have a deal to put to it. but you are leaving it quite late, aren't you? you are saying you are working towards it but at what point do you actually move to it? actually, we already have moved it in the house of commons, as a matter of fact. but you've not voted for it, you had the chance to vote for it and you abstain. we did not vote for it
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tonight because the amendment

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