From the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush.
This is not the first time MPs have voted on a second referendum. There was a division during the committee stage of the EU withdrawal bill in December 2017. Labour abstained on that occasion, as they are doing now, and only 23 MPs voted in favour (including nine Labour MPs who defied the whip).
The Lib Dems are voting for the Wollaston amendment. The Lib Dem MP Layla Moran has just posted this picture of the empty aye lobby on Twitter.
This is the first time in recent months that MPs have voted on a second referendum.
But, with Labour following the People’s Vote advice and not backing the amendment, on the grounds that it is the wrong time for a vote on this issue, it is going to fail badly.
If the Wollaston amendment were to pass, then the Benn amendment and the Labour amendment would both fail, and that partly explains why Labour are abstaining.
According to Sky’s Faisal Islam, even Labour MPs who are keen on a second referendum are mostly abiding by the orders to abstain.
Text of Sarah Wollaston’s amendment
Sarah Wollaston moves her amendment.
MPs are voting now.
This is what the amendment says:
Line 1, leave out from “house” to end and add “instructs the prime minister to request an extension to the article 50 period at the European council in March 2019 sufficient for the purposes of legislating for and conducting a public vote in which the people of the United Kingdom may give their consent for either leaving the European Union on terms to be determined by parliament or retaining the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.”
Barclay claims that Labour is trying to stop Brexit.
He says this is a time for responsibility. But Corbyn’s motion ducks responsibility, he says.
Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, is winding up the debate now.
He is focusing mostly on Labour, claiming that Labour’s Brexit policy includes proposals that are mutually incompatible.
And he says it is inconsistent for Jeremy Corbyn to call for a cross-party approach when he refuses to meet Theresa May. As Labour MPs protest, he corrects himself, and says Corbyn has met May just once.
(May has said that she has been trying to schedule a follow-up meeting with Corbyn, but that Corbyn has been unwilling to agree a date.)
Blomfield says MPs should not accept the government’s argument that the UK would have to hold European elections for an article 50 extension to go beyond June. He says Lord Keen of Elie, the advocate general for Scotland, said so in the Lords recently. Bomfield quotes Keen, who told peers:
In the Commons the Brexit debate is coming to an end.
Winding up for Labour, the shadow Brexit minister, Paul Blomfield, criticises the government for trying to get MPs to back a deal already rejected by the Commons twice. He says Theresa May should adopt the approach set out in Labour’s motion, and find a parliamentary majority for a new approach.
And he says there should be a public vote on credible Brexit option. Labour would support such a vote, he says.
If you are a remainer (well, actually, if you are at all interested in Brexit), you might enjoy a Brexit: What Next for Remainers? Guardian Live event taking place at the Barbican in London on Tuesday next week. There are more details here.
Simon Coveney, the Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has said the EU may offer the UK a 21-month article 50 extension. In an interview with RTE, he said a long extension was “likely to happen” if there was no agreement in the UK parliament on a deal.
If you have a long extension of say 21 months, to the end of 2020, or whatever the period would be, well then Britain has a legal entitlement to have representation in the European parliament.
Coveney said that Ireland would not object to an article 50 extension, but that other EU countries might need more convincing. He said:
Some of the European prime ministers will be quite demanding, I think. They are open to an extension of time but they want to know in what detail by providing that extension of time how they get certainty.