On March 29th, 2019, the United Kingdom was scheduled to leave the European Union. However, due to disagreements within Parliament, the process has been delayed multiple times. One of the main issues has been the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May with the EU. This agreement outlines the terms of the UK`s departure, including financial obligations and a transition period. However, it has been a divisive issue among MPs, with multiple votes taken on the matter. This article will detail how MPs voted on the Withdrawal Agreement and what it means for the Brexit process.
The first vote on the agreement was held on January 15th, 2019. The agreement was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, with 432 voting against and only 202 in favor. This defeat was the largest in the history of the British Parliament and highlighted the deep divisions within both the Conservative and Labour parties.
Following the defeat, Prime Minister May attempted to renegotiate certain aspects of the agreement, particularly the “backstop” provision, which would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent solution for the Northern Ireland border was reached. However, these efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.
A second vote on the agreement was held on March 12th, 2019. Despite some minor changes, the agreement was once again rejected by MPs, although the margin was smaller this time. 391 MPs voted against the agreement, with 242 in favor.
Following this defeat, a series of indicative votes were held to determine if there was an alternative plan that could win the support of MPs. However, none of the options received a clear majority, leaving the Withdrawal Agreement as the only negotiated deal on the table.
A third vote on the agreement was scheduled for March 29th, 2019, which was the original date for Brexit. However, due to the ongoing uncertainty, this vote was not held. Instead, Prime Minister May announced her intention to resign and a leadership contest within the Conservative Party ensued.
The new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, renegotiated the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, removing the controversial backstop provision. However, this new agreement faced significant opposition in Parliament.
On October 19th, 2019, a special Saturday sitting of Parliament was held to vote on the new Withdrawal Agreement. However, this vote was once again postponed as MPs passed the Letwin amendment, which required the agreement to be passed into law before a final vote could take place.
Finally, on January 9th, 2020, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill was passed by the House of Commons, with a comfortable majority of 330 MPs in favor and 231 against. This paved the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31st, 2020.
In conclusion, the Withdrawal Agreement has been a contentious issue throughout the Brexit process, with multiple votes taken on the matter. Despite initial overwhelming defeats, a renegotiated agreement was eventually passed into law, allowing the UK to leave the EU. However, the final shape of the UK`s relationship with the EU remains to be seen as negotiations for a future trade deal continue.