- Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to hold a series of “indicative votes” on Brexit if members of Parliament reject her deal again next week, ministers confirmed on Friday.
- Among the options under consideration for a vote is revoking Article 50 and canceling Brexit, a Sky News report said.
- More than 3 million people have signed a petition this week to revoke Article 50.
- MPs have just weeks to solve Britain’s Brexit crisis or risk leaving the European Union without a deal.
LONDON – Prime Minister Theresa May is set to offer members of Parliament a vote on whether to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit.
Ministers confirmed on Friday that the government would allow a series of “indicative votes” next week on what to do if Parliament again rejects the prime minister’s Brexit deal.
The business secretary, Greg Clark, told the BBC that the “government would provide Parliament with the means to come to a view on the options available.”
Sources in May’s government told Sky News on Friday that these options would include holding a second referendum, adopting a softer Brexit, or simply revoking the Article 50 process through which Britain is set to leave the European Union.
An official petition set up this week calling for Article 50 to be revoked had been signed by more than 3 million people as of Friday.
Asked on Friday about the plan to hold indicative votes, Conservative Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng indicated that the votes would be “free,” with the government not instructing MPs how to vote.
“Obviously, if the House is being asked to decide a way forward, it would be surprising if those votes were not free votes,” Kwarteng told the House of Commons.
May’s deputy David Lidington signaled last week that MPs would have more chances to express their views on Brexit.
Lidington is also reportedly considering holding a series of “run-off” votes if none of the offered alternatives wins a majority in Parliament.
The European Council on Thursday allowed a flexible delay to Brexit until May 22 at the latest.
May’s government moved to allow indicative votes after backbenchers prepared to bring forward an amendment this coming Monday which would have forced ministers to do so.
The Brexit amendment proposed by Conservative MP Oliver Letwin would have likely been backed by a majority of MPs, after a similar amendment was defeated by just two votes earlier in the month.
Conservative Brexiteers reacted furiously to the plan for indicative votes.
“National humiliation is imminent through these ‘indicative votes,'” said Steve Baker, a European Research Group spokesman and former Brexit minister, adding, “The wrong Conservatives have the levers of power.”
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant tweeted: “If this is true, has Theresa May now decided to declare open war on ALL her back benchers following her ill advised statement last Wednesday night?”
His colleague Marcus Fysh described the proposal as “the most ludicrous, childish and unrealistic idea I have ever seen.”