Parliamentary votes on Brexit

The decision to leave was effectively taken when Parliament approved the sending of the Article 50 letter.  The Commons approved the legislation by 461 to 89, with most Labour MPs joining the Conservatives and DUP to vote it through in accordance with their Manifesto.

When it came to vote on the important Clause 1 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, the clause which repeals the 1972 European Communities Act to confirm our exit in UK law, the Commons passed this clause by 318-68, with most Labour MPs abstaining.

Last night the Commons approved the EU Withdrawal Bill on Third reading by 324 votes to 295. Most Labour MPs joined the SNP and Lib Dems in opposing, which was interesting  given their Manifesto position of backing Brexit. 4 Labour MPs  voted for the Bill, and 8 abstained from the vote. Some or all of these were abstentions on principle as I saw the MPs there.  There were three Conservative abstentions I think  for reasons other than opposition to the Bill and no Conservative votes against the Bill.

The SNP and the Lib Dems have consistently opposed the main  measures to put through Brexit.

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  1. Grant
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Carry’re sewing the seeds for the complete breakup of the UK itself

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Come on, then, give us some evidence to support that claim, and I do not mean mere mendacious assertions by politicians who would like to see it happen.

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Another Brussels troll Denis. Every website is now infested with them.
        The idea that Britain can survive outside the undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted protection racket really annoys them.
        None of the dire predictions post Brexit vote have happened so now we have the mantra…….second referendum a) accept lousy terms. b) remain in EU. This is what all the remainiacs are trying to get. Rather than a vote on deal or no deal.
        The Labour politicians should be very careful how they vote.

        • Hope
          Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          I do think there is merit in asking JR what is the point of the votes if May has already agreed to keep the U.K. Under the control of the EU, citizens living here under control ECJ, freedom of movement offered to all EU families by Rudd or continuing vast payments of money to the EU even if technically the country has left?

          This is a sham. JR, I will ask, again, regulatory alignment whether there is a deal or not is staying in the single market and customs union by another means. Show and evidence that I am wrong. May as undermined the will of the people and the will of parliament by agreeing to this before the vote took place!

          There are also claims leavers and remaining traitors in your party have come to an agreement. Could you tell is this is correct and what the agreement is to ensure Party unity.

          The public was promised by Cameron that the public would decide and the govt would act on it. I know you cannot believe a word he said and he scampered before enacting on what he said. But is anyone in your party or govt going o act on the public vote to leave the EU in its entirety as we voted?

          Reply No, there are no private deals to stop Brexit!

          • Hope
            Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            Good, now answer the first point please.

    • David Price
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Those seeds were sown by devolution courtesy of Blair. The SNP certainly want EU membership expressly to dissolve the UK.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


      Oh lets hope so, an independent England would be brilliant

      • Grant
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink an Irish Republican I thoroughly agree..independance from everything and everyone should suit you all very well..for a couple hundred years at least and so give us all, Scottish Irish and European, a bit of rest from having to listen to the continious Farage whinge..

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Grant, Surely the Scottish independence referendum, as demanded by the SNP, actually was “the seeds for the complete breakup of the UK itself”, not the UK independence referendum? Being free of the EU will strengthen the UK, I think.

  2. Iain Moore
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Passing the Third Reading with the Bill going to the Lords was an important hurdle that passed , but not of sufficient importance for our media to report it.

    • stred
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      It only just passed. Labour and the Conservative plotters have realised the plan to vote against the final crap deal engineered by May and the civil service is going to kill any real Brexit. The DUP have a lot of pro EU subsidy farmers with business in Eire to keep happy and will not rock the reverse boat. Unless the genuine Conservative and Labour Brexiteers get together, we will be staying in the EU or ‘out’ on worse terms.

      There is a good proposal here, but it won’t happen, as they will not risk their political careers in almost all cases.

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I watched snatches of the debate, and to be honest I was getting bored to tears hearing the same old traitorous anti-democratic eurofederalist tripe being recycled.

    There were several amendments which presumed that the UK could choose to leave the EU but remain in the EU Single Market and/or the EU Customs Union.

    Well, as I’ve said before, where there is enough political will there is always a legal way – perhaps with very rare exceptions – and in theory it would be possible to rewrite the EU treaties so that could happen.

    It could not happen under the EU treaties as they stand, but then the EU treaties will have to be amended anyway when we cease to be a party to them, so in theory the amendments could allow the UK to remain part of the EU Customs Union and part of the EU Single Market even though it was no longer part of the EU.

    But why on earth should we even want to ask for that when the overall economic effects of the EU Customs Union are known to have been so marginal, of the order of less than 1% of GDP, and the overall economic effects of the EU Single Market are also known to be so marginal, of the order of maybe 1% of GDP, and quite possibly negative for the UK rather than positive, and either would come with all the legal and political restrictions which we want to shed by leaving the EU?

    Then at the end an MP from Wales raised started an entirely false point of order so she could start in with the same old repetitious lies about the UK government’s “power grab”, by which she and her deceitful kind mean that various powers which presently reside with the EU by virtue of the EU treaties to which the UK is a party – not Wales, not Scotland, not Northern Ireland and obviously not England, but the UK as a whole is the party listed in those international treaties – will first be returned to the UK and only later transferred on to the devolved authorities.

    The UK government has given repeated assurances that no power which is presently devolved will be transferred back to the UK authorities after we have left the EU, the flow will be exclusively one way from the EU to the UK and then on to the devolved authorities, but the latter simply refuse to accept that and say that the UK government is lying.

    I can’t see this Bill having a straightforward passage through the Lords, not least because Labour MPs have made it abundantly clear that Labour and others will join together to try to use that undemocratic chamber to defy the will not just of the elected Commons but of the electorate as directly expressed in the EU referendum.

    Back in August 2016 I suggested that the period of delay available to the Lords should be cut from thirteen months to just one month for all Bills, not just Money Bills:

    and if a Bill to do that had been started then it would now be law despite the inevitable opposition from those overweening unelected legislators-for-life, instead we are in the position of having to hope that the government can hold the line and keep its Commons majority for at least another year.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Democracy has many faces..

      • stred
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        800+ unelected faces in the House of Cronies and the Commission, some such as the the lovely Adonis and the High Representative of the EU Foreign Office and Armed Forces, never.

    • Hope
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, it was a sham debate because May has already agreed to regulatory alignment whether there is a deal or not. Secondly, the purpose of the Grieve amendment was to secure that the U.K. Could not leave the EU without a deal because the remain parliament would keep sending her back. It was a fall back position to make sure the U.K. Could not say no deal and walk. It is legally a ta hi cal leave and your point about treaties while correct is irrelevant is it not?

      Again, tell me I am wrong. Look at phase one agreement, clauses 46,49 and fifty in particular, and tell me that I am wrong to think that the U.K. Under regulatory alignment is not staying in the single market and customs union, she has agreed ECJ to rule over EU citizens in this country- no one knowing when the period starts for each individual, all family members now invited by Rudd so presumably any time during their life- vast amounts of payments without any legal liability or knowing what these alleged commitments are or over what period to quell public outrage, freedom of movement confusing for family members of EU citizens possibly up to 20 million as a conservative estimate and a sham registration scheme. This has been agreed.

      This is remaining in the EU by another name but having technically left. Agreed before these votes have taken place! Regulatory alignment will continue whether ther is a deal or not!

  4. Epikouros
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Many Americans consider their politics to be in a swamp. Seeing the total hypocrisy, machinations and incoherence of the Labour party on Brexit I think at least one political party n the UK is no less wading through marshy ground than that of the USA. We cannot decry the nationalist parties and Lib-dems for their stance on Brexit. It has at least been consistent even if that is consistently ill informed, eccentric and irrational.

  5. Mick
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    All these traitors to democracy of the British people who tried to stop the withdrawal bill going through last night by voting for the snp amendment decline to give the bill a third reading or to stop the bills passage through to the House of Lords amendment should be named and shamed right up to the next GE so the British people can see what sort of anti democratic people they are and only think of there own/party interests and not of the British voter

  6. agricola
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Slowly the wickets of remain are being skittled by the very means remainers wish to maintain them. Were the Lords to do more than suggest improvements, they, an unelected body, would be defying the people or writing their own suicide note. We need a revising chamber , but not the one that has evolved.

    Once we have a negotiated agreement with the EU it must not be allowed to be unpicked by remainers. Give them parliamentary time to voice their opinions and then vote it into being.

    • Hope
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Remainers do not need an agreement or for May not to find one. Parliament gets to vote on the deal, if it does not like it May will be sent back.

  7. Iain Gill
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    The people have sovereignty… thats where it belongs, not the crown or parliament, and the people have spoken, so everyone else should be getting on with it!

  8. Prigger
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I only listened to these last debates but briefly. Even I, a politico am bored of hearing the Remain arguments for Remaining. They do not respect any vote at all, Referendum, even votes by their fellow Party members over 12 months or so…even by themselves!!!!

    Most of the Remoaners are literally a waste of time. Their very own Labour District Parties have Standing Orders forestalling such behaviour. Their Chairpersons noting they are the MP would openly reprimand them as “You should know better than to behave like this. We have important matters to decide.We have not the time or inclination to discuss things which we have previously voted upon and decisions made, especially recently. If you continue holding this meeting in contempt, MP or not, I shall ban you from attending for a duration of time to be deiced but in will not be less than three months. Now SHUT UP”!!” Those exact words would be used and I have heard such words used at those meetings and in trades union branch meetings. It is quite normal and appropriate.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Prigger, I have never heard a remainer giving a cogent reason to remain. They only seem to spout incredulous predictions of what will happen to Britain after exit.
      They never attempt to portray the development of the EU into the USE.

      • Prigger
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg. I agree with you. They do not give a very good account of themselves….leaving loopholes as it were in their arguments. Perhaps they are not genuinely trying to win. The reason: well, …I could make better arguments for staying in the EU and if I can then I imagine they can too. They are certainly not without sufficient education and accomplishments. Anyway some of them are good actors it seems. But why?

  9. ferdinand
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The Lords can only hold up the Bill, they cannot stop it. Everything is now go. If the Lords try to delay the Bill then we leave with No Deal. They are in effect impotent but could be a bit of a nuisance.

  10. Bob
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    If there is a decision to be made on the post Brexit deal, it should be simply to either accept the deal or trade on WTO terms.

    If they vote for the deal it needs to be clearly demonstrated that the deal is better than WTO, and not just a stealth strategy to keep us under the EU yoke.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The UK and EU are moving further away so a deal is becoming less likely. You may well get what you want. Whether you will like the result depends on your interests. Any outcome of this circus will produce its own set of winners and losers.

    • Jane4brexit
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Among the many talks/speeches/discussions examples that told us a vote to Leave meant leaving the single market and that a trade deal would be a separate issue most likely taking longer, 15th June 2016 PMQ’s is another one, is this youtube video of an interview and speech on Sky given in front of a live audience by Cameron before the referendum.
      The title David Cameron !! 28 TIMES !! “Leave Single Market” (June 2016) points out that during this one event he said we will leave the single market 28 times, but even more relevant to your comment is that the 16th time (at 1.2 minutes in) he then goes on to say “…2 years to negotiate at the end of 2 years you are out and have to operate under WTO rules”.
      To agree to anything less beneficial than WTO is a betrayal and in effect, the last 19 months have just been delaying tactics to stop us getting what we voted for.
      Mr. Redwood can this ‘evidence’ help Brexiteer MPs get us what we voted for?:

      • Jane4brexit
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Should say 17th time…just watched again and relevant figure is at end not beginning.

  11. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, why should the opposition not be able to reject language that in their opinion does not reflect what they perceive as the “will of the people” (if I may use that phrase, which always brings back memories of a particularly unpleasant German orator)? There is never a single version of such a “will”. Only dictators claim to have a monopoly of the Truth..

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Read the Referendum question.

  12. nigel seymour
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday Bill Cash spoke about the courts having sway over Parliament on issues they regard as potentially unlawful!…sounds like a Gina Miller brexit power grab could again be upon us. IDS raised this exact concern when the SC ruled in her favour, although it somewhat back fired on her when A50 went through. I’m sure John you will be adding your voice to this REAL concern…?

  13. Bert Young
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    The proceedings were tedious at times but the outcome a triumph for democracy . The remoaners can now take a proper back seat .

    • nigel seymour
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      As a staunch leaver I can assure you they won’t!. If anything they will begin to ramp up their anti brexit rhetoric. It didn’t take long for Greening to join their bandwagon.

  14. gyges
    Posted January 20, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Hi John

    I wonder whether or not you pass the Tolpuddle test?

    When wages were reduced from ten shillings to seven shillings a group of people got together to withdraw their labour and strike. The strike was broken up by force and the ring leaders were deported. They were subsequently regarded as martyrs.

    If the reason for the wage erosion had been due to immigration of foreign workers, would you still regard the strikers as martyrs or instead ‘little Englanders’, ‘racist bigots’, ‘white-van man scum’ etc etc ? Or is it just the Labour party (with honourable exceptions) that harbours these views?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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