National policy responses

Alex Sobel MP: Brexit Update

Date: 21.03.19 | in: European Union | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This week we were expected to vote for the third time on the Prime Minister’s deal, a week after Parliament voted down a No Deal Brexit and then in favour of extending Article 50. Before that could happen, it was ruled by John Bercow that her deal could not be brought back before the House unless it was substantively altered, the result of a convention dating back to 1604.

The Prime Minister could have altered the motion by incorporating the confirmatory referendum principle, essentially making the final deal subject to a public vote. This is my preferred option. But she ruled this out, instead writing to the EU to ask for an extension until 30th June; a request which was rejected due to the difficulties it would cause in relation to the European elections. Instead, they offered a shorter, technical extension until 23rd May (if the Withdrawal Agreement was passed) or a much longer extension (if it was not). A longer extension would mean the UK participating in the European elections.

On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister once again addressed the country from the lectern. She said:

“You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with.”

“It is now time for MPs to decide.”

I decided to support an extension of Article 50 because I believe a No Deal Brexit would be catastrophic for my constituents, and for the country as a whole. Any responsible Prime Minister would do the same. Today you, my constituents, wrote to me in your hundreds to tell me you have signed the Parliamentary petition to revoke Article 50, and at the time of writing thousands of you have signed (

So Prime Minister, I have decided. Next week I will support any amendments that would make the Withdrawal Agreement subject to a confirmatory referendum and will vote to revoke Article 50 if the Prime Minister will not support a substantial extension. The deal hasn’t changed, she has simply run down the clock. So if the deal is allowed to come back, I can assure you that I will vote against it for a third time. These are my decisions, made after careful consideration of both the views of my constituents and what I believe to be best for the United Kingdom at this time.

On Saturday I will be attending the People’s Vote March in London, leading Leeds North West Labour Party and speaking on the Left Stage alongside Clive Lewis MP, Rachael Maskell and Manuel Cortes. More info at



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