Cast your mind back a few weeks and you might recall Theresa May’s initial Brexit deal going down like a spell of nasty flatulence in a broken elevator.
Just 24 hours later, she survived a vote of no confidence by the skin of her teeth.
The PM has promised changes, and has confirmed talks have begun on securing a cross-party consensus; although Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t seem to be answering his calls right now. Maybe he can’t get a signal?
Either way, the Prime Minister has until January 29 to come up with a new an improved divorce deal to put before the Commons.
It’s likely that will focus on the contentious Irish backstop, which if you have only a fleeting interest in politics has probably been doing your head in for the past few months. This, designed to stop a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, has been the sticking point for many on both sides of the Leave and Remain divide.
Elsewhere, May’s fellow MPs have been busy. They have been devising a raft of amendments to her Brexit bill, and so with Plan A down the pan and Plan B to be voted on January 29, it may be yet that Plans C-Z need to be explored if the PM’s renegotiated deal also fails to hit the spot.
From whole party amendments to individual politicians offering their two cents, a raft of changes have been floated around and the Speaker will decide which – if any – are discussed in parliament.
Any of the eleven amendments could change the face of Brexit if widely supported, and as such might just play a role in shaping the United Kingdom’s future as we know it.
So here are those amendments as known at the time of writing.
Labour’s Deal or No Deal
No, Corbyn and co aren’t planning to install Noel Edmonds as Prime Minister; instead, they want Theresa May to rule out the possibility of a No Deal Brexit altogether.
Nobody quite knows what would happen in the event of a No Deal – that’s the scary part, although many experts are suggesting it would be disastrous for British businesses; particularly those which operate in EU markets.
Labour also want to open discussions about a permanent customs union with the European Union after March 29, although that is unlikely to get much support from the Conservatives or their key DUP allies.
They have also tabled an option where the general public could potentially vote on any Brexit deal that ultimately gets the backing of the House.
A similar amendment has been proposed individually by the party’s Yvette Cooper, who wants the PM to postpone Brexit until December 31 if no deal has been reached by the March deadline.
No Time to Grieve
There are a number of Conservatives with their knives out for May’s current deal, and the MP for Beaconsfield, Dominic Grieve, is one of the most vociferous.
He wants to force the government into giving politicians a six-day window in the Commons to discuss a range of alternatives to the present agreement in principle.
This group would hear opinions on leaving with No Deal, a second referendum an the so-called Norway agreement prior to voting on which they want to move forward with.
This would essentially relinquish all of the Prime Minister’s power; this is one of the more interesting amendments currently doing the rounds as a result.
A similar amendment has been tabled by Field & Vaizey, who might sound like a firm of solicitors or a folk band but who are actually a pair of politicians seeking a similar ‘options based’ process.
Frank Field, a former Labour independent, and Tory MP Ed Vaizey want to act as a ‘powerful guide’ to the government.
Labour’s Hilary Benn has also offered an amendment based upon a series of ‘indicative votes’ from MPs.
Power to the People
A prominent Labour MP has devised an amendment that would hand some of the decision-making power back to the British public.
Stella Creasy wants to form a 250-person ‘citizens assembly’, which would make recommendations on how the general public sees Brexit some two-and-a-bit years after the initial referendum.
Brexit would be postponed for the time being, with the government to act on the group’s proposals.
Again, this would not be well supported in the Commons….the public got us into this mess with their voting habits in the first place!
Thanks But No Thanks
Other senior political figures have thrown their weight behind a campaign to ensure we do not leave the EU without a deal in place.
Rachel Reeves MP wants the Brexit divorce date to be delayed inevitably, while the Conservatives’ Caroline Spelman and Labour’s Jack Dromey have filed a joint amendment that would outlaw a No Deal without a Withdrawal Agreement and a ‘Framework for the Future Relationship’ being agreed in the Commons first.
Irish Eyes Not Smiling
Two other amendments have been tabled regarding the Irish backstop.
Andrew Murrison MP wants an expiry date to be put in place for the backstop, which would allow arrangements to be made regarding customs checks at the Irish border going forward.
And John Baron MP wants the UK to completely turn their backs on EU law, and vote down any deal that ties the Irish border to European Union regulation until a formal trade deal has been agreed.