LIVE: House of Commons begins debate as it ‘takes control’ of Brexit process

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1 min ago

Before the debate, we had Prime Minister’s Questions with May from midday.

On the important issue of the indicative votes later today, she said… a whole load of nothing.

Trading barbs with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Scottish National Party’s Ian Blackford, May repeated the mantra that her deal would deliver on the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

One notable point, however, was put to her by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen.

He said most of his constituents voted for Brexit, and would “never trust the Prime Minister again” after she reneged on her promise for the UK to leave the EU on the original set date of 29 March. 

5 mins ago

Earlier today, European Council President Donald Tusk told the European Parliament that its members “should be open if the UK wishes to rethink its British strategy”.

“Then there were voices saying it would be inconvenient or harmful to some of you [if UK takes part in European elections]. Let me be clear – such thinking is unacceptable,” Tusk said.

You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, the 1 million who marched for a people’s vote or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.

They may feel they are not sufficiently represented by the UK parliament. But they must feel they are represented by you in this chamber because they are Europeans. 

6 mins ago

Time is of the essence though, with the UK running out of time to decide on what kind of Brexit it wants, whether it wants to delay it or ditch it altogether.

At last week’s European summit, EU leaders agreed to delay the day of Britain’s departure from the bloc by three weeks until 12 April, while Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to ratify her withdrawal agreement.

May still believes she has a chance of getting her withdrawal agreement through – at the third time of asking – with a softening in stance from hardened Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg a positive for the Prime Minister.

Despite that, the DUP has so far remained steadfast in its opposition to May’s deal. 

The outcome of today’s votes could potentially have a huge say in what happens over the coming weeks. 

10 mins ago

MPs will today have the chance to vote on various options such as revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit, holding another referendum, a deal including a customs union and single market membership or leaving the European Union without a deal.

Of course, there remains the possibility that there won’t be a majority for any one option.

May herself has said she is “sceptical” about the process and that similar efforts in the past “produced contradictory outcomes or no outcomes at all”.

11 mins ago

So, just to set the scene.

On Monday, MPs voted to give themselves greater control of the Brexit process, as it enters its potential endgame.

Indicative votes differ from Theresa May’s previous meaningful votes on Brexit. 

In those cases, there were two options on the table – to accept or reject the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement.

This time there’ll be plenty of options for MPs to decide upon.

While Prime Minister May is not obliged to follow the will of parliament today, the pressure on her to do so if MPs finally agree on something will be intense.

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