Why indicative votes could be the way forward!

On Tuesday the Government will table an amendable neutral motion. The motion will indicate the Government’s preferred direction of travel in regards to Brexit. Presently, the focus has been on the amendments that seek to prevent No Deal. However, I want to look at another amendment; that which looks at an indicative vote.

The indicative vote would be free votes and would ask MPs to vote on a series of motions, each of which sets out a different option (the Institute for Government explains in more detail here). The indicative vote would set out a number of different options. The votes would take place one after each other, until a majority is reached for one outcome.

The Government would also make it clear prior to these votes that in the event no majority is found for any option then the indicative votes would continue on a weekly basis until a majority is reached for any of the proposed positions.

The votes would have to cover all options from the hardest Brexit to no Brexit at all. To begin with I think you have to consider as to what I would describe as the more extreme options. In my opinion, the first vote would be on a second referendum. Parliament initially must decide on whether it still wants to deliver Brexit. If the answer is a second referendum than the other votes are meaningless.

However, as we stand there is no majority for a second referendum. I would then move to the supposed ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Again there is no majority in Parliament for this view and it would be rejected. We would then move on to the deal that is on the table. Although, already heavily defeated, some Brexiteers might now see this as the best option left. This increases its chance of success.

But this vote could still fail. If so, then Labour’s preferred position; a permanent customs union. At this stage it would be hard to predict the mood of the House. But, it is feasible it could pass. Lastly, if this vote does not pass onto; Norway plus, a supposed softer Brexit. My sense is we would not reach this stage.

Of course there are issues and it is not perfect. Discussions may also need to be had about other options. That could be arranged. But this could be a possible solution? Maybe?

Article by Mike Hough

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