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Brexit / Indicative votes the start of a process – Carmichael

Third meaningful vote likely to be held on Friday

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael questioned UK prime minister Theresa May about the future of fishing.Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

IT LOOKS as though MPs will be required to spend at least part of the weekend in London after the government has said it aims to hold a new vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Friday.

The exact motion of what will be discussed in parliament on Friday is expected to be tabled at some stage on Thursday afternoon.

The move follows Wednesday’s eight indicative votes on alternatives to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, which has already been defeated twice over recent months. Speaker John Bercow had ruled that the same motion couldn’t be presented to parliament again.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said she would resign if parliament voted in favour of her deal.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said he was not surprised that none of the eight Brexit options had gained a majority, as Wednesday night’s indicative votes were the start of a process which would continue on Monday next week.

“The approach I and most of my Liberal Democrats colleagues took was to ask ourselves: ‘what is the most important thing to build support for?’

“To our mind that is the People’s Vote, and after a million people having been on the march in London on Saturday, the fact that this option had more support (268 vote for and 295 votes against) than any of the others, was a significant achievement,” he said.

“That process now continues because you move on from the indicative votes to a more refined choice where you have to expect that eventually some alternative to Theresa May’s deal will emerge.

“The different political parties and groups in parliament have got to get their heads together and decide how we move this on to the second phase of the process on Monday, where there will be more indicative votes but probably with fewer options.”

Carmichael said with a significant proportion of the usual party discipline now gone, every individual MP, including the eleven Lib Dem members, had an opportunity “to shape things”.

He said: “I would argue we already have done. If it wasn’t for Liberal Democrats making the case for the People’s Vote from day one, I don’t think we would have got it to where it was last night.”

“If they bring back the Prime Minister’s deal tomorrow [Friday] and she loses it, then, I think, she probably has to resign at that point,” he added.

A breakdown of the results of all eight votes and how all MPs voted can be found here.