A series of votes on Brexit options – known as “indicative” votes, designed to see what MPs would and would not support amid the Brexit deadlock – were held on Wednesday evening in the House of Commons, the main decision-making body of the UK Parliament, following hours of debate.
Unusually, MPs indicated their preferences using printed voting forms rather than trooping through the voting lobbies of the chamber.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced the results, revealing that MPs had rejected:
- Leaving the EU with no deal on 12 April
- Unilaterally dropping the plan to leave the EU if no deal is reached by 12 April
- A new referendum on any deal/s to leave the EU
- Leaving the EU but staying in a customs union with the 27 EU states
- Two variations on leaving the EU but staying in the European Economic Area (EEA) and rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
- Negotiating changes to the Withdrawal Agreement more in line with the Labour Party’s position
- Agreeing with the EU a period of two years in which UK goods have full access to EU markets
MPs from Mrs May’s Conservative Party were allowed by the leadership to vote as they saw fit, with the exception of her most senior ministers, who were expected to abstain.
The UK could still leave with no deal on 12 April if a way forward is not found. Although this is now regarded as unlikely, given the opposition of most MPs, by what method this can be avoided – and even who will be in charge of the process – is not entirely clear.