Yesterday, the House of Commons provided a clear majority against leaving without a deal. And as the law is in place, the legal default in UK and EU law remains that the UK will leave the EU without a deal unless something else is agreed.
The options before MPs are the same as they have always been:
o We could leave with the deal which this Government has negotiated over the past two years.
o We could leave with the deal we have negotiated but subject to a second referendum. But that would risk no Brexit at all, damaging the fragile trust between the British public and the members of this House.
o We could seek to negotiate a different deal. However, the EU have been clear that the deal on the table is indeed the only deal available.
As the House has declined to approve leaving without a deal on 29 March 2019, the Government will bring forward a motion on whether the House supports seeking to agree an extension to Article 50 with the EU, which is the logical consequence of the votes over the past two days.
If the House finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it would allow the Government to seek a short limited technical extension to Article 50 to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and ratify the agreement we have reached with the EU. But a short technical extension is only likely to be on offer if we have a deal in place.
If the House is not willing to support a deal in the coming days, and as it is not willing to support leaving without a deal on 29 March, then it is suggesting that there will need to be a much longer extension to Article 50. Such an extension would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.
I have supported an amendment in the name of Lee Rowley and many colleagues ruling out a second referendum which I currently believe would be the wrong answer to this complex question.
I will continue to support withdrawing through a managed process with a deal and transition period that will provide the certainty we are all seeking no matter which view you take of this issue.
Again we do not know as I post this what amendments will be chosen by the Speaker, what amendments will be adopted by the Government or not moved so please consult the Hansard record of the House for the way I cast my vote.
Many thanks again to all those who have expressed an opinion and especially those who appreciate that I am working with other senior members to achieve a workable outcome for our constituency and our country despite the complexity of the process.