Meaningful Votes

The vote in Parliament yesterday was less about Brexit and more about the strength of the Government. The matter being debated was whether Parliament should have ‘a meaningful’ and binding vote on the Withdrawal Agreement to be proposed later this year and to direct any subsequent negotiating position in the event that it is rejected. By a majority of 324 to 298, the outcome of the vote was ‘no’, leaving the ministerial team in the driving seat, and raising a more significant prospect of a ‘no deal’ exit. However, with significant opposition to this position within the Tory party, the question is, what did Theresa May have to give away to win the support that she needed? Although we can only speculate as to what assurances were given, we know that there was a last-minute scramble between the PM and pro-EU Dominic Grieve. The latter is thought to have wanted a Parliamentary vote, but not necessarily the right to direct next steps. May is now dancing an increasingly thin tightrope between Boris’s Brexiteers, and the party’s Europhiles, and she’s running out of rope. Bookies have shortened odds on her to step down in the next 6 months (42%).