SNP hand Brexit back to May with Commons votes

SNP MPs have been widely criticised after they failed to vote for options such as a customs union in the Commons.

As part of a bid to test what MPs wanted Brexit to look like, members took part in a series of indicative votes on a variety of amendments.

Despite official Scottish Government policy indicating the SNP government would back a "soft Brexit" compromise, SNP MPs abstained on all amendments except those which called for a second vote of revocation of Article 50.

The Commons failed to find a majority for any one option, including support for a second referendum or a "soft Brexit".

A proposal for continued membership of a customs union was defeated narrowly by 264 votes to 272, and would have secured a majority had the SNP not abstained.

Responding to the votes, the UK Government took advantage of the Commons failure to find a majority to push their twice rejected withdrawal agreement and argue against MPs taking control of Brexit.

Ian Blackford said the SNP rejected any proposal that would drive Scotland out of the EU. 

"Parliament has resoundingly rejected leaving the EU with Theresa May's bad deal, with no-deal, and under other hard Brexit options.

"It is clear that Remaining in the EU is an option that is firmly on the table - with a second EU referendum being the most popular option of all, and a substantial number of MPs recognising that revoking Article 50 is the right way to prevent a Brexit disaster.   

"Parliament has taken initial steps towards building consensus. In the coming days, we will continue cross-party discussions to find a way forward - including whether proposals on the single market and customs union, which currently fall short, can be strengthened, " he said. 

The Commons is expected to take control of the order paper again on Monday and possibly have another series of votes, however Theresa May looks likely to bring her deal back for a third "meaningful vote" by Friday.

Image: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

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