Countdown to Brexit: 18 days – ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ comes in the middle of the key week in Parliament

The House of Commons is scheduled to hold at least two – and possibly four - debates and votes on Brexit.

Key is ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ is scheduled for tomorrow - Tuesday 12 March.  The outcome of this vote will determine subsequent debates and votes - on leaving without a deal on Wednesday; and on seeking an extension to the Brexit timetable on Thursday.  Each of the next steps depends on the outcome of the vote on the previous day.

Monday 11 March

3:30pm – provision has been made in the schedule for a ‘Written Statement on Exiting the European Union in the name of the Prime Minister’.

4:00pm - the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Stephen Baker MP, will be questioned by the Exiting the EU Committee – in a re-scheduled appearance due to his hastily arranged trip to Brussels last week.

4:30pm - Debate on an ‘e-petition’ that has quickly gained the necessary number of signatures - “Revoke Art.50 if there is no Brexit plan by the 25 of February.”  Details and link to Brexit Partners insight posting, below. This has been scheduled ahead of tomorrow’s meaningful vote - and will take place in Westminster Hall.

The House of Lords continues it scrutiny of the Brexit process and outcomes with a debate - ahead of tomorrow’s ‘meaningful vote in the House of commons.  Many of the Committees overseeing the detail of the statutory and practical preparations for Brexit are Lords Committees - and this discussion will consolidate their views and inform MPs.  A detailed briefing pack has been prepared for the Lords – see link in the references, below.  

Before 10:00pm - the motion for tomorrow’s ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ debate will be tabled.

Tuesday 12 March

In the chamber, the motion for the ‘Meaningful Vote 2’ debate is expected to invite the House to approve the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement.  The Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom MP, confirmed that it will be an “approval motion as required by section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and that it will be amendable”.

The text of the motion and any proposed amendments should be published in the Order Paper for 12 March.  In addition, there is expected to be a Business Motion setting out arrangements for debate.

If House of Commons does not vote to approve the motion – and it was defeated by 230 votes on 15 January – it will debate “leaving without a deal” on Wednesday. The motion for this debate will be tabled before the rise of the House on the Tuesday.

If the House votes to approve the deal – Wednesday’s debate will not happen - the Government will move on to the next stage for ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement.

10:15am - the Scottish Affairs Committee will be take evidence from the Cabinet Secretary for ‘Government, Business and Constitutional Relations in the Scottish Government’, Michael Russell MSP - on the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments.

Wednesday 13 March

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will deliver his Spring Statement.

If the Government has lost ‘meaningful vote 2’ – it has said that it will table an ‘amendable motion’ asking the House of Commons if it “supports leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for a future relationship on 29 March” – effectively ‘leaving with a no-deal Brexit’.  The text of the motion and any proposed amendments should be available on the Order Paper for Wednesday 13 March – and we will report on it.

 If the House does not vote to approve the no-deal motion – the process moves on to Thursday - and a debate on “whether the UK should seek an extension to the Article 50 timetable”.  The wording of the motion for the Thursday debate will be tabled before the rise of the House on Wednesday.

If the House votes for the UK to leave the EU without a deal, then the Thursday debate will not happen.

10:00am - the International Trade Committee will be taking evidence on their inquiry into Trade in Services

Thursday 14 March

If the House rejects leaving the EU without a deal then – there will be a debate on an ‘amendable motion’ - this time on whether Parliament wants to “seek a short limited extension to Article 50".  The text of the amendable motion - and any proposed amendments - should be available on the Order Paper for Thursday 14 March.

Friday 15 March

The House is sitting on Friday for consideration of Private Members Bills.

In case you missed it – some Brexit highlights from last week

  • UK Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, failed in his attempt to win concessions on the ‘Irish backstop’ in the Withdrawal Agreement.  According to the BBC correspondents in Brussels he end up alienating many Europeans with his approach.  His ‘joke’ in Parliament about “Cox’s Codpiece” also seems to have fallen flat.  Not only is “what is in there” not-working – there appears to have been precious little in there to begin with.

  • An ‘e-petition’ - “Revoke Art.50 if there is no Brexit plan by the 25 of February” – quickly gained the necessary number of signatures.  Parliament will not only consider it – as they are duty bound to do – but have scheduled time to debate it today, a day ahead of the meaningful vote.


  • The Sunday Times reported Conservative Eurosceptic MPs as saying that they might support the Prime Minister’s deal if she promised to step down and clear the way for a Brexiter to lead the talks on the future trading relationship with the EU.

  • Theresa May said the UK “may never leave” the EU if her Brexit deal is rejected.

  • Less than half of the trade deals with non-EU countries applying to the UK as a member of the EU will roll-over to the UK as an independent trading entity at the moment of Brexit.

  • The OECD said a no-deal Brexit would likely send the UK into recession and pose a serious risk to global growth.

  • UK chancellor Philip Hammond hopes to announce a ‘multibillion-pound windfall’ for the public finances in his Spring Statement on Wednesday, the FT reports.  Balance this against the forecast that as Banks move assets out of the UK, there could be 1% reduction in total tax due to HMRC nationally.

  • Flights between the UK and Europe should continue until the end of March 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit - after the UK matched the EU’s offer to protect airlines’ flying rights.

  • The Bank of England repeated its earlier warning that the UK should expect “significant market volatility” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

  • The Bank of England and the European Central Bank have established a ‘euro swap’ facility to ensure financial markets can function in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


John ShuttleworthComment