Well, last week was a pretty seismic one! On Monday morning 7 Labour MPs shocked the political world by announcing they were resigning from their party to sit as Independents under a new independent grouping. Later in the week they were joined by another Labour MP and 3 Tory MPs. Even in our momentous times, this felt highly significant.
However, controversially I am going to suggest this week is going to be equally dramatic. Yes, of course, Brexit! This week the Prime Minister has pledged to lay another amendable motion for debate on the basis that a meaningful vote has not been agreed or passed. Amongst many amendments, 2 in particular are gaining a great deal of attention.
Firstly, an amendment drawn up by Labour MP Yvette Cooper with support from senior Tories. The amendment seeks to force the PM to avoid a no-deal Brexit by setting aside time for a Parliamentary bill. Secondly an amendment drawn up by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson. Under the terms of the amendment, MPs would support the prime minister’s deal in exchange for it being put to a public vote.
Let’s begin with the Cooper amendment. Yesterday, 3 senior Cabinet figures suggested that if a deal was not agreed this week then they would support the amendment. Other Ministers privately are rumoured to believe the same. This would give the amendment the majority it needs and would take power out of the PM’s hands. However any move by the Prime Minister to rule out No Deal or extend Brexit will be met with anger by the Brexiteers.
Now let’s move to the Kyle-Wilson amendment. It is believed Labour are moving closer to a position where they could accept this amendment. However, we know Corbyn is far from convinced about any move which could bring about a second referendum. Yet it appears the case if Corbyn does not accept this amendment it could become the catalyst for more Labour MPs joining the new Independent Grouping.
Both leaders have run out of ground. This is the week where they have to choose. No longer can they obfuscate. For Theresa May it is a choice of ruling out no deal or the situation being taken out of her hands. For Jeremy Corbyn it is back a path to a second referendum or face losing more MPs. Which way will they move? Let’s see.