Here’s a Guide to the No-Deal Brexit Votes in Parliament

Robert Hutton and Kitty Donaldson
Here’s a Guide to the No-Deal Brexit Votes in Parliament

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Britain’s Parliament votes on Wednesday on whether to leave the European Union without a deal. Here’s a guide to what the House of Commons is voting on, and how different politicians are trying to re-write the government motion. Voting will start around 7 p.m.

The Motion

The government motion is very specific. It says the U.K. shouldn’t leave the EU without a deal “on March 29, 2019,” and goes on to note that no-deal remains the default outcome unless an agreement is struck and ratified in Parliament. Some members of Parliament suspect that it’s written in order to keep May’s deal in play, after the Commons overwhelmingly rejected it for a second time on Tuesday.

A series of proposals had been made to rewrite May’s motion, known as “amendments.” But only two were selected by Speaker John Bercow. They are:

@HouseofCommons. Here's what's happening and how you can keep up to date

— UK Parliament (@UKParliament) March 13, 2019

The Spelman Amendment

Conservative Caroline Spelman put down an amendment deleting all of May’s text and replacing it with a much plainer rejection of leaving without a deal. Spelman herself later said she was planning to pull her own amendment, but Bercow made clear it could still be proposed by one of its other signatories. It will be referred to as “Amendment A.”

The ‘Malthouse B’ Amendment

This amendment is designed to endorse a so-called “managed no-deal” Brexit. It’s named after Housing Minister Kit Malthouse, even though his name doesn’t appear on it. The idea is supposed to unite different wings of the Conservative Party behind a plan of delaying Brexit until May 22 and using that time to negotiate a two-year standstill period, for which the U.K. would pay.

This is an idea that the EU has already ruled out as unworkable, but that won’t stop plenty of Conservatives from voting for it. It will be referred to as “Amendment F.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at;Kitty Donaldson in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Stuart Biggs, Emma Ross-Thomas

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