Europe Politics

UK lawmakers to vote on four alternative options for Brexit

Key Points
  • On Friday, Theresa May lost again in her bid to get her "withdrawal deal" approved by U.K. lawmakers.
  • Now lawmakers will vote on a number of alternative options.
  • None of the options are legally binding and have not been agreed by Europe.
Sterling slips after UK Parliament rejects Brexit deal for third time

U.K. lawmakers will carry out a series of indicative votes in Parliament Monday as, for a second time, they try to agree an alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May's unpopular Brexit deal.

One option which could potentially command a majority has a customs union tagged on to May's deal — a much "softer" Brexit than the draft arrangement that Brussels has already signed off on. Another seen to be gaining momentum is "Motion D: Common market 2.0", which would retain the principle of free movement.

May has now attempted three times to get her deal over the line in Parliament, the last vote on Friday saw her defeated by 344 votes to 286.

Many of the alternatives below were voted on last week but none were able to command a majority. Prior to Monday night's vote, the speaker of the house, John Bercow, narrowed down the list of motions to just four. It should be noted that none of the options are legally binding and have not been agreed by Europe.

Results are expected to be announced at some point after 9:00 p.m. London time (4.00 p.m. ET).

Brexit indicative vote options

Motion C: Customs union

Almost certain to be selected for a vote and the favorite to do well. Conservative lawmaker and "father of the house" Ken Clarke has laid down a plan that requires any Brexit deal to include a commitment to a "permanent and comprehensive U.K.-wide customs union with the EU." This was defeated by just six votes last week.

A customs union is an agreement that allows partaking countries to set common external tariffs, allowing goods to travel freely between those countries. Critics don't like the idea of a customs union as it would impede Britain from striking its own future trade deals.

Motion D: Common market 2.0

Proposed by a mix of parties, this motion proposes U.K. membership of the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area. It allows continued participation in the EU's single market and a "comprehensive customs arrangement" with the bloc after Brexit. Support is uncertain with opposition Labour MPs (Members of Parliament) being encouraged, but not forced, to vote for it.

The single market is a deeper form of co-operation between member states that allows the free movement of goods, services, money and people within the bloc.

Motion E: Confirmatory public vote

Another likely to be selected by the speaker.

Labour is expected to back this in numbers. Drawn up by opposition MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, this motion wants a public vote to confirm any Brexit deal passed by politicians. Last week it achieved the highest number of positives votes but was still defeated by 295 to 268.

Motion G: Parliamentary supremacy

Scottish National Party lawmaker Joanna Cherry has put forward a reworked version of her previous amendment calling for Brexit to be revoked. After failing to gain much support last Wednesday she has now called for a long extension to Brexit and, if Europe won't allow that, then Parliament must choose between a no-deal exit or canceling Brexit for now.