Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Brexit
21 June 2018

For Labour’s Remainer MPs, yesterday’s vote sparks fears of a “no deal” Brexit

A sub-plot of the failed meaningful vote amendement was that it proved that Labour are only ever going to be veto players on Brexit votes.

By Stephen Bush

Everything’s coming up Theresa May? The Prime Minister won a decisive victory yesterday after pro-European Conservatives stepped back from the brink. (Again.) In the end, just six Tories went against the whip and the meaningful vote amendment failed. Even the amendment’s author, Dominic Grieve, ended up voting against the measure.

Self-described Tory rebels think they’ve won, though. The government has conceded that when the deal comes to parliament, any motion before the House will be amendable, meaning that May can’t bounce dissidents into line by putting a “my way or the cliff-edge” proposition before MPs.

Are they right? Not according to their pro-European Labour counterparts. They were in a despondent mood last night. The other sub-plot of yesterday’s vote was that after the Labour leadership strained every sinew to bring its pro-Leave MPs into line, they still lost four MPs the other way and a handful of others through deliberate abstention. It illustrates the problem I wrote about yesterday: Labour are only ever going to be veto players on Brexit votes, as the one thing that the parliamentary Labour party will be able to unite on is that May’s deal isn’t good enough.

That’s why several of Labour’s pro-Europeans are now deeply worried that leaving the European Union without a deal is very much back on the table.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy