Brexit: What are the key amendments tabled by MPs?

Various factions of MPs are jostling to stamp their mark on the EU withdrawal agenda in what is shaping up to be Brexit’s “Super Tuesday” showdown in the Commons.

It will be down to Speaker John Bercow which proposals are selected for a vote later on Tuesday.

Any successful amendments will not have the force of law, but will carry heavy political weight as a signal to Downing Street and Brussels of what kind of Brexit MPs are likely to approve.

Here are some of the most prominent amendments tabled:

Brake on the backstop


Theresa May threw Government support on Monday behind an amendment that seeks to replace the controversial backstop with “alternative arrangements” to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

Tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, if it passed the Commons its supporters believe it gives Mrs May more firepower to go back to Brussels and ask for more concessions and get a Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament.

Fellow Tories Andrew Murrison and John Baron scrapped very similar amendments to clear a path, but the hardline ERG is refusing to back it.

Grieve amendment

In a bid to prevent a no-deal Brexit, the cross-party backed proposal from Dominic Grieve would effectively wrest control of Commons business from the Government for six individual days in the run-up to the UK’s scheduled withdrawal date of March 29 with the intention of getting MPs to reach a consensus on how to handle it.

Taking control

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper

In a similar vein, a move by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper, supported by Tories such as Nick Boles, calls for a vote on a Bill that would give Parliament control over the Brexit process if Theresa May fails to secure a deal by February 26.

MPs would get a vote on extending Article 50 to the end of the year and preventing a no-deal exit under the terms of the Bill. The Labour frontbench has been publicly flirting with throwing its weight behind the amendment.

When will the PM understand that the ideological leaders of the ERG do not want a deal? They just want to string things out until it is too late. Pragmatic Conservatives should support the Cooper amendment tomorrow and shoot the no-deal fox.

— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) January 28, 2019

No to no deal

A cross-party effort headed by Tory Dame Caroline Spelman has widespread support and rejects the UK quitting the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement. This would probably be more palatable to the Government than either the Grieve or Cooper bids for MPs to take back control.

Labour’s twin track approach

Jeremy Corbyn visit to Wolverton
Jeremy Corbyn visit to Wolverton

This calls for MPs to be able to vote on options to stop a no-deal exit, such as a customs union with the EU, as well as the possibility of a new Brexit referendum. Jeremy Corbyn has been careful not to commit Labour to officially back such a poll, though.

Amendments have been tacked on to the Labour push, with the Liberal Democrats calling for Remain to be on the ballot paper in any referendum, and Labour backbenchers urging Parliament to legislate for a public vote.

Indicative votes

Commons Exiting the European Union Committee chairman Hilary Benn wants a series of votes on various Brexit options to see where the most support lies.