Brexit votes in UK parliament: How MPs switched sides

Brexit votes in UK parliament: How MPs switched sides

UK parliament
Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds speaks in the House of Commons in London, after members of parliament approved in principal the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill but rejected the proposed timetable. (JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT/AFP)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won initial backing for his EU divorce deal in parliament on Tuesday (Oct 22) - but then lost a vote approving a rapid timetable that would deliver Brexit on Oct 31.

The crucial switchers who backed the first vote then sunk the second were largely ousted members of Johnson's Conservative Party and rebels from the Labour main opposition.

Johnson won the first vote 329-299 and lost the second 308-322.

Here is a breakdown of the "Ayes" who supported the votes and the "Noes" who did not.

VOTE TO PROGRESS BILL

AYES - 329

Johnson's centre-right Conservatives turned out their maximum vote of 285 MPs.

They were joined by 25 independents, largely formed of former Conservatives expelled by Johnson for voting in September to try to block a no-deal Brexit.

They included heavyweight former finance ministers Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, ex-interior minister Amber Rudd and former leadership contender Rory Stewart.

But the vote was really swung by 19 Labour rebels, largely from constituencies that strongly supported leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. Some of the MPs said during the earlier debate that they wanted to allow deeper scrutiny of the bill.

Veteran leftist Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, himself a former serial party rebel, said he would not mete out punishment to rebels but instead try to persuade them -- which would have made their decision easier.

NOES - 299

Some 217 Labour MPs voted in line with Corbyn's wishes against giving the bill a so-called second reading.

The anti-Brexit Scottish Nationalists (SNP, 35) and Liberal Democrats (19), the ruling Conservatives' Northern Irish allies the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP, 10) Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru (4) and the Independent Group for Change (5) and the Greens (1) turned out their maximum vote.

Eight independents also voted no.

ABSTAINED - 7

Five Labour MPs and two independents abstained.

VOTE ON TIMETABLE

AYES - 308

The Conservatives again turned out their maximum 285 vote but were joined by fewer independents (18) - again mostly ex-rebel Conservatives - while the Labour rebel vote shrunk to just five.

Their switch of vote nixed Johnson's hopes, with Conservative allies the DUP again having taken their 10 votes elsewhere.

NOES - 322

The Labour ranks swelled to 233.

The independents voting no this time increased to 15, with more ex-Conservatives coming on board.

Clarke, Hammond and Stewart switched to join the likes of former attorney general Dominic Grieve, an ardent Remainer, and ex-education secretary Justine Greening in opposing the government.

The SNP (35), the Lib Dems, (19), the DUP (10), Plaid Cymru (4) and the Independent Group for Change (5) and Green MP Caroline Lucas again turned out their maximum vote.

ABSTAINED - 5

Three Labour and two independents abstained.

Source: AFP/de

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