Restarting the MPs debate on Withdrawal Agreement

by Politicker

MPs returned to the House of Commons, during the week commencing 07 January 2019, after their Christmas break.

Debate for the third reading of the Finance (No.3) Bill was held on 08 January 2019. Although this should have been relatively straightforward, an Opposition amendment tabled by Yvette Cooper was included. The amendment is related to Brexit and restricts the ability of the Government to levy taxes without prior Parliamentary approval in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

The amendment would only allow powers to amend the tax code to deal with the ramifications of the leaving the EU to come into effect in certain circumstances:

  • The Commons has approved a negotiated withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship.
  • The Government has sought an extension of the Article 50 period
  • MPs had approved a no-deal Brexit

The amendment received cross-party support, with a number of anti-Brexit Conservatives such as Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan and Sir Oliver Letwin, amongst others, adding their names to the amendment. The Government asked their MPs not to support the amendment.

The amendment was voted on and passed by 303 to 296 votes in favour.

20 anti-Brexit Conservative rebels who voted against their own Government are:

Heidi Allen,
Guto Bebb,
Richard Benyon,
Nick Boles,
Kenneth Clarke,

Jonathan Djanogly,
Michael Fallon,
George Freeman,
Justine Greening,
Dominic Grieve,

Sam Gyimah,
Phillip Lee,
Oliver Letwin,
Nicky Morgan,
Robert Neill,

Antoinette Sandbach,
Nicholas Soames,
Anna Soubry,
Edward Vaizey,
Sarah Wollaston

Following votes on other amendments, the Fiance Bill successfully passed the “Third Reading” stage.


The debate on the “Meaningful vote” resumed on Wednesday 09 January 2019. This refers to Section 13 of the United Kingdom’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, entitled “Parliamentary approval of the outcome of negotiations with the EU” which requires that the Government of the United Kingdom bring forward an amendable parliamentary motion at the end of the Article 50 negotiations between the UK and the EU

Initial debate started in December when the original schedule was changed following the Government’s decision not to proceed with a vote on the motion until January.

Prior to restarting the debate, a decision was taken by the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow to include an amendment by Dominic Grieve (Despite the motion being unamendable in this way!). Which causes a great deal of controversy and further debate about the Speaker exceeding his powers and not being impartial.

In the event of the motion under Section 13(1)(b) being negatived or amended so as to be negatived, a Minister of the Crown shall table within three sitting days a motion under Section 13, considering the process of exiting the European Union under Article 50.—(Mr Dominic Grieve.)

MPs subsequently voted in favour of the amendment, with 308 votes for and 297 against. The amendment means that the Government will be required to return to Parliament within three sitting days if the (current) deal is voted down on Tuesday 15 January 2019.

17 anti-Brexit Conservative MPs who voted for the amendment are:

Heidi Allen,
Nick Boles,
Kenneth Clarke,
Jonathan Djanogly,
Justine Greening,

Dominic Grieve,
Sam Gyimah,
Johnson, Joseph
Phillip Lee,
Oliver Letwin,

Andrew Mitchell,
Nicky Morgan,
Robert Neill,
Antoinette Sandbach,
Anna Soubry,

Edward Vaizey,
Sarah Wollaston

Debate continues on Monday 14 January 2019