Commons votes to delay Brexit after rejecting call for second referendum

Commons votes to delay Brexit after rejecting call for second referendum

Another vote on the twice-rejected Brexit deal next week

Labour MPs stay in the Commons and do not take part in the vote on a second referendum.

Labour MPs stay in the Commons and do not take part in the vote on a second referendum.

Last updated 7.25pm  

The House of Commons on Thursday backed a UK government motion to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline after rejecting a call for the holding of a second referendum. 

The motion says the March 29 deadline for Britain to leave the EU should be extended to at least June 30 if the Commons approves a withdrawal agreement by next Wednesday. If the deal is not approved, the government will negotiate the length of an extension with the EU.

The vote was 412 in favour and 202 against.

Earlier, the House voted and defeated an amendment moved by Sarah Wollaston, a former member of Theresa May's Conservative Party seeking a second referendum on Brexit. 334 MPs voted against and only 85 in favour. The Labour opposition abstained, but 25 rebel Labour MPs still voted in favour. 

The Labour Party and even the Campaign for a People's Vote showed no enthusiasm to the referendum call, saying this was not the right time for it.

Prime Minister Theresa May has consistently rejected calls for a second referendum and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has also bee tepid to the idea.

The Labour Party argued that Thursday's Commons focus was only about seeking an extension to the Brexit deadline. Despite the Labour Party decision, 25 rebel Labour MPs still took part in the vote and voted for a second referendum.

The Labour Party decision to abstain was in the afternoon criticised by the small SNP party, whose leader in the House, Ian Blackford called Labour 'a fraud'.

"MPs now have the chance to vote for a second referendum. Labour will be found out for what they are, a fraud”, he said.

Plaid Cyrmu MP Jonathan Edwards also hit out at Labour. "No amount of smoke grenades they use to justify this betrayal will survive the judgement of history. The vote is tonight - if Labour don't support it will be to their eternal shame," he said.

But the People’s Vote Campaign in a statement also said this was not the time for MPs to vote for a second referendum. 

"The People’s Vote campaign does not instruct its supporters in parliament on how to vote. We recognise there is a range of opinions on when to press the case for the public being given the final say, which means some of these MPs will vote for the Wollaston amendment, some may vote against, and some will abstain.

"But we do not think today is the right time to test the will of the House on the case for a new public vote. Instead, this is the time for parliament to declare it wants an extension of Article 50 so that, after two-and-a-half years of vexed negotiations, our political leaders can finally decide on what Brexit means.

"That is because a People’s Vote is not just another option in this Brexit crisis – it is a solution to this crisis. When the real costs of Brexit are measured up against the broken promises made for it in 2016, we believe Parliament will have better opportunities to decide it is only fair and reasonable to give the public a real say on this crucial decision for our country," the Campaign said.

Trump: second referendum would be unfair

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that holding a second referendum would be unfair.

"I don't think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to people who have won," Trump said at the White House.



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