Grieve comes up with killer ‘take back control’ amendment

by Hugo Dixon | 22.01.2019

Welcome to Super Tuesdays. Every Tuesday from now until the end of March, except for Parliament’s half-term holiday, MPs could take control of the parliamentary agenda to debate Brexit. Hopefully, they will roll their sleeves up and finally sort out this mess.

Next Tuesday, January 29 is already spoken for to debate a series of amendments to the government’s non-existent Plan B. Two of those amendments set out plans for the following Tuesdays to be set aside to debate Brexit.

Tuesday, February 5, is being lined up to ram through emergency legislation proposed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper (see amendment e) on item 112). This legislation would require the government to delay Brexit, currently set for March 29, if no deal had been approved by MPs by February 26.

The following Tuesdays – February 12 and 26, as well as March 5, 12, 19 and 26 – are being lined up for Brexit debates by Dominic Grieve, the Tory former attorney general. This amendment, which has been coordinated with Cooper, is even more important (see amendment f) on item 112).

The idea is that each Tuesday the government will lose the right to determine what is discussed. There will instead be up to six and a half hours of debate, during which MPs will be able to propose any amendments. At the end of the day, the Speaker will choose which amendments to vote on.

Demand a vote on the Brexit deal

Click here to find out more

One Tuesday MPs may choose to debate whether to quit the EU with “no deal”. Another week they may choose to debate the “Norway Plus” option, which involves staying close to the EU but following pretty much all its rules without a say on them. And so on and so forth.

Hopefully, long before all the six days are used up – and ideally by Cooper’s February 26 deadline – Jeremy Corbyn will have realised that the only sensible option is to ask the people whether they still want to quit the EU. There will then be a majority in the House of Commons to back a People’s Vote.

At that point, Cooper’s law can kick in – and the prime minister will be required to ask the EU to delay our exit until the end of the year or some other date that MPs determine. If Parliament has by that time decided it wants a People’s Vote, there is every likelihood that the other EU countries will agree.

This answers one of the objections to a new referendum raised by the prime minister in Parliament yesterday – that “the EU are very unlikely simply to agree to extend Article 50 without a plan for how we are going approve a deal”. What she said is true. But it would not apply if Grieve’s series of super Tuesdays had resulted in a viable plan – as a People’s Vote would be.

The Grieve/Cooper duo is an excellent example of MPs working together across party lines in the national interest. There’s only one quibble. Why haven’t they also proposed cancelling the half-term break and requiring MPs to sit on February 19? This is, after all, a national crisis. They need to get their skates on, and get off their skis.

That aside, all MPs who care for our country – and especially the Labour front bench, whose support will be needed to pass the amendments – must swing behind this plan.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

12 Responses to “Grieve comes up with killer ‘take back control’ amendment”

  • Brilliant work by Grieve and Cooper and associates. What an extraordinary spectacle the Ho C represents at this moment. Basically a ” Remain ” parliament obliged to apply the ” will of the people ” although they know it is nonsense. What a lot of weaknesses and problems it is revealing in our country; yet nobody is telling them that it is not fit for purpose but that is the reality. Whether its the abuse of freedom of the press by the press, the first past the post system, the lack of a written constitution, a lot of changes need to be made if the uk is to prosper in the future.

  • This ill advised referendum has brutally exposed the weakness of our two party system, allowing the PM to claim that the last general election with both parties vowing to ‘respect the referendum result’ showed that there was overwhelming support for exiting the EU. One possible answer to this problem (once we manage to get back to some sort of normality) would be to make voting mandatory and a proper PR system introduced. Otherwise we will all be ‘political orphans’ forever, doomed not to vote or forced to support a party that ignored our wish on this most vital issue.

  • All true. Sadly. the very structures, namely the Party system, which has created this mess, and has alienated the electorate from Government is the least inclined to change.

  • All this assumes Remain have a majority in the house and Leave will just let them.
    A lot of Remain MPs have a majority Leave constituency and a snap general election would be interesting. The people out in the shires are being ignored yet again. They won’t be impressed with Londoncentric control any more.

  • I think you have not got the basic points right behind the changes that Emmanuel Macron wanted to implement, nor the things that drove the “Yellow Vests”. Macron wants to bring French industry and social services into the at least the late 20th Century but possibly the 21st Century, knowing full well that French competitiveness hangs in the balance. Western Europe now has the cheaper production costs of Eastern Europe to deal with and quite a few people do not appear to see the fact that that could cost jobs here if costs are not controlled. The yellow vest people mainly reacted in the over the top way we have seen so often when fishermen blocked ferry ports and truckers blocked motorways, or farmers endangered the lives of people on the railways when they seriously damaged track.

  • Never mind that threatening with violence by a brexiteer immediately makes other query the state of mind of people who voted for brexit. And in your case with some apparent justification.

  • Parliament by definition is not an anti-democratic dictatorship, and it looks increasingly likely that those who block Brexit will be the people of this country, through a referendum – another step in the continuum of democracy.
    Interesting to see what the real Project Fear is. Nowt to do with the effects of a no deal Brexit, or indeed any Brexit – those are Project Reality. Project Fear is the aim of those die-hard Brexiters and alt-right extremists who want to frighten others by threatening violence and disorder to obtain what they want.
    John Bunyan had the right sort of words for that kind of thing in “To be a pilgrim”, even though it was written with a spiritual struggle in mind:
    “Whoso beset him round
    With dismal stories
    Do but themselves confound
    His strength the more is.
    No lion can him fright
    He’ll with a giant fight
    But he will have a right
    To be a pilgrim.”
    In this context: lay off it, it’s not going to work.

  • The threat of street violence from the far right from those who voted Leave,
    if there is another Referendum, is Project Fear writ large.

  • This is a reply for Phil Winwood re Yellow Vests in France:-

    Fyi, the reason the movement began was to protest against the increased tax on diesel which many people rely on in the countryside to get to work. They were also protesting about the ever increasing cost of living and as Macron tries to introduce policies that we already have in the UK, e.g. zero hour contracts, more competition with energy companies and all areas of the economy, tighter Welfare State, well of course, people have gone mad. In Britain, people tend to be more phlegmatic even about Govt policies they don’t agree with. All these problems increasingly linked to the ‘robotization’ of jobs, Amazon being the largest company in the world now, being a v good example. Zero hour contract jobs where people only last 3yrs max due to injuries from a variety of repetitive strain injuries. It goes without saying that there is no holiday pay or protection for the workers – Uber and food delivery meals also a good example. Ok for students perhaps but not for people with children to bring up or with loans/bills to pay, i.e. most people.
    The Yellow vest movement is totally unorganized and has been taken over by violent extremists. Hopefully, they’ll banish those violent infiltrators and organise themselves into one voice.
    And the most important point:- They are not necessarily anti European Union they are anti Neo-Liberal /wild capitalism policies and anti financial/banking algorithms that are taking over the well-being of citizens and their ability to survive.

  • If Grieve (another I’m superior, type lawyer) and Cooper et al get there way then I have absolutely no doubt that there will be political blood all over the floor, ceiling and walls come the next election. And about time too!

  • Mostly great points by contributors. It’s a shame that the odd Enoch Powell-type nutcase remark creeps in from time to time.
    I find it fascinating that well-articulated arguments for supporting Brexit just don’t seem to appear anywhere in the Brexit debate. It speaks volumes, doesn’t it.