Last night in the House of Commons, MPs voted to approve by one vote the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Bill. The Bill, presented by Yvette Cooper MP on Tuesday, requests that if the Bill receives Royal Assent, the Prime Minister must move a motion in the House of Commons which should state (see, s1(2) of the Bill):
“That this House agrees for the purposes of section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to the Prime Minister seeking an extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union to a period ending on […]”.
This Bill could force the Prime Minister to consult with MPs on the length of an extension of the Article 50 process. The Prime Minister has already signaled that she would seek from the EU a short delay beyond the 12 April exit date, but only if Parliament approves her rejected Brexit deal. It should be noted that if this Bill is passed and MPs do indeed debate and vote on a specific Brexit extension, the EU is under no obligation to accept it.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn MP, held ‘constructive’ talks in an attempt to resolve the Brexit impasse in the House of Commons. More discussions are scheduled for Thursday.