In the light of last nights Parliamentary votes on which all but two of the indicative votes were dismissed with significant numbers, the reality is that there is now a good indication that the two that were nearly endorsed are the two to focus most attention on. However just as these votes managed to clearly distinguish the wheat from the chaff, it seems common sense to call for a similar set of votes to take place on the red lines that Theresa May set out many months ago. After all if one or two of those had strong support and the others were widely rejected, that would help her and the negotiators to go back to the EU with a different approach. Of course all of this begins to shape up as a way forward. A way of helping to very quickly resolve problems and identify strengths in Parliamentary decision making.
On last nights decision making the one indicative vote that was almost passed was Kenneth Clarkes proposal (J) that we remain in the customs union. Not only was this nearly passed but it is also a reversal of one of Theresas red lines so that indicates we need to go that way and it also explains why Parliament is so opposed to her agreement. The largest number of votes last night was 563 which is 27 more than the votes that were counted for Ken’s proposal and given that his proposal was only 8 votes short of passing this makes the proposal very credible, depending on how the rest of MPs would have voted.
The other vote that was also quite close was the vote referred to as Margaret Becketts motion which called on the public to confirm the final version of whatever we end up with and that was only 27 votes short of passing.
There were two other indicative votes that were within 20% of the pass mark and they were Joanna Cherrys’ call for a revocation of Article 50 and Nicholas Boles proposal of a Common Market 2.0 The closeness of Nick Boles vote and the number of abstentions meant that this could have come within 3 votes and in the case of revoking Article 50, it could have been within 23 votes but in both cases had all of the abstentions voted to oppose the proposals then of course they would have failed by a much more substantial margin.
The two proposals that nearly passed were:
Kenneth Clarkes motion (J)—Customs union—
That this House
instructs the Government to:
(1) ensure that any Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the EU must include, as a minimum, a commitment to negotiate a permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU;
(2) enshrine this objective in primary legislation.
And Margaret Becketts motion (M)—Confirmatory public vote—
That this House
will not allow in this Parliament the implementation and ratification of any withdrawal agreement and any framework for the future relationship unless and until they have been approved by the people of the United Kingdom in a confirmatory public vote.
For what it is worth, both came within 5% of passing which is way closer than Theresa Mays proposal and both are proposals that I would support, for what it is worth. Perhaps we need a petition that adopts those very words? Does anyone else agree?