The government has conceded it is likely to hold the third meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week, following intense pressure from MPs for more clarity on the next steps after the extension of the departure date.
In an often difficult appearance in the House of Commons, the Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng initially rebuffed questions on when the vote might take place, saying the timetable would be outlined soon.
But following repeated questioning from Labour and Conservative MPs, he eventually said it would be expected next week.
Almost half an hour into Kwarteng’s response to an urgent question following the EU’s imposition of an extended Brexit timetable at a summit in Brussels, the Labour MP David Hanson told the minister there was “a world outside this chamber who would like to know what day we are voting on any meaningful vote”.
Kwarteng responded: “The government fully intends to have a meaningful vote next week.”
The secondary legislation needed to change the departure date would also be tabled next week, he said, but declined to give any further details on timings, adding: “On this Friday I’m not going to say the exact hour and time of when the meaningful vote will take place.”
Separately, No 10 said the EU’s agreement to extend article 50 was contingent on holding the vote next week. The exact date has not been set, but it is likely to be on Tuesday or Wednesday, to give MPs and peers time to pass legislation to change the exit date before 29 March.
“The consideration is to hold it when we believe we have a realistic prospect of success,” May’s spokesman said. “My understanding of last night is that the extension to 22 May was contingent on winning the vote next week.”
May will meet…