What exactly will MPs vote on? What changes if the government loses? And is there any guarantee that the vote will be “meaningful” at all? Your ultimate guide to a Very Important Moment in parliament, in 12 stepsby Tom Clark / October 21, 2018 / Leave a comment
For months on end, the whole of British politics has been gearing up for one almighty crunch: the moment when parliament gives a thumbs up—or a thumbs down—to the Brexit deal.
Every politician and journalist knows that this will be a Very Important Moment, which could seal the fate of the prime minister, her government and perhaps the country too. Almost nobody, however, seems to know what is really involved in the so-called “meaningful vote”—what, exactly, will MPs vote on? Who, if anyone, will be in charge of the process? What actually changes if the government loses? And is there any guarantee that the vote will be “meaningful” at all? As a sense of the prime minister losing her grip on Westminster takes hold, this weekend there have been reports of jittery Conservative MPs beginning to get into active discussions about what gets voted on if and when the government’s plan goes down.
Never before has quite so much turned on arcane points of parliamentary procedure. So Prospect has spoken to those rare constitutional whizzes that understand this stuff, including people who have been at the heart of fraught procedural decisions in parliament in the past, to give you a definitive guide to the meaning of “meaningful.”
- OK, so we never stop hearing about a “meaningful vote” on the Brexit deal. But what is it, and where did it come from?
For all the Brexit brinkmanship, thus far the government has only lost two votes in total and only one truly significant vote on the…