Labour set to endorse New Europeans' compromise proposal

When hundreds of grassroots activists from New Europeans put their names to a proposal to break the Brexit impasse, few would have thought their compromise plan would actually be taken up by MPs.

Labour is set to endorse a plan to put May's deal to a public vote

The New Europeans' compromise proposal was published in an open letter to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and the European Union on 4 February.

The compromise consisted of asking MPs to back the Withdrawal Agreement in return for a confirmatory referendum.

New Europeans argued that this should be done by means of a sunset clause in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill  itself.

If the UK voted to leave in a second referendum, it would do so on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreeement.

If the UK voted to remain, then the Withdrawal Agreement would not be needed.

If the government failed to organise a referendum, then the Withdrawal Agreement would be null and void, thanks to the sunset clause built into the legislation.

Commenting on the proposal, Roger Casale, former Labour MP and Founder of New Europeans, said:

"What has attracted so much attention to the New Europeans compromise proposal is the fact that it offers a way to de-risk Brexit. 

The proposal  should appeal to all those MPs who want to take "no deal" off the table because it makes the Withdrawal Agreement the new default.

If also offers supporters of a People's Vote a public vote on the final deal. 

The only group this will not appeal to is the European Research Group. 

By calling for the Withdrawal Agreement to be passed, the proposal shoots the ERG's fox.

That is because they have withheld consent from the Withdrawal Agreement so as to have a lever to bludgeon the government.

By voting for the Withdrawal Agreement, as amended by Kyle-Wilson. that lever will be taken out of the ERG's hand.

A referendum on the actual Withdrawal Agreement versus Remain will also put an end to the lies, deceit and false promises that characterised the first referendum.

People will know exactly what they are voting for however others may try to spin it."

Political commentator, Ian Dunt said of the New Europeans compromise proposal:

"This is a sensible attempt at a compromise: turns the withdrawal agreement into the default Brexit and offers a democratic say on the final deal as it is in reality."


Days later, and after meeting with the Clerks of the House of Commons, Peter Kyle MP and Phil Wilson MP announced they would bring forward exactly the amendment New Europeans had called for.

Back May's deal, then hold People's Vote: plan to break Brexit deadlock

One month on and it now seems that the MPs are ready to table their amendment when Theresa May's Withdrawal agreement comes to the House of Commons for a third time on Tuesday, 19 March.

The New Europeans compromise proposal also called for the second referendum to be held on the day of the European elections.

Opinions differ on how long would be needed to organise a referendum.

However, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP has confirmed:

"The referendum could be organised in a "relatively curtailed period of time."

McDonnell: MPs will move 'heaven and earth' to prevent a no deal Brexit


Source: UCL Constitution Unit

New Europeans has argued that the referendum could be organised in a matter of weeks if there was political will to do so.

Key factors which will affect the timing include the time it takes for legislation to be passed through parliament, the nature of the referendum question itself and whether or not the referendum was held on the same day as other elections.

All of these factors will be defined by the new referendum bill that would need to be laid before parliament, subject to the procedural constraint that there should be a minimum 10 week period for the campaign.

As the UCL Constitution Unit has stated:

"Political considerations rather than procedural constraints are likely to dictate the minimum time in which legislation could pass through parliament."

How long would it take to hold a second referendum?




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