Who is Sir Oliver Letwin, what was his Brexit amendment and is he a remainer?March 26, 2019
IN a tumultuous night in parliament on Monday, a number of amendments were tabled, including that of MP Sir Oliver Letwin?
But who is the Tory rebel and what does his amendment mean?
Who is Oliver Letwin?
Sir Oliver Letwin is a Conservative MP for West Dorset.
He was previously the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster from 2014 to 2016.
Letwin was given overall responsibility of the cabinet office in 2015 and is a full member of the Cabinet in the Conservative government.
He is also the chairman of the Conservative Research Department and chaired the Conservative Party's Policy Review from 2005-2010.
He recently tabled an amendment for parliament to take control of the Brexit process.
What is his amendment?
Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin's amendment looks to clear the way for a series of "indicative votes" in the Commons this coming Wednesday.
Indicative votes are where sitting MPs vote on a variety of different options to see if the will of Parliament supports any single option with a majority on a single given issue.
Letwin's amendment has cross-party support from Labour's Hilary Benn and Dominic Grieve.
It would essentially mean taking control of the Brexit process away from the government.
The amendment will let them decide on what kind of EU exit they want by putting down their own options.
It will mean that wounded Mrs May is forced to hand over control of the order paper to them on Wednesday to try and work out a way forward.
Brexiteer Suella Braverman told BBC Newsnight: "Tonight we've seen a Parliamentary massacre."
Priti Patel said it was another example of the political class "promising one thing and delivering another".
"Trust in politics is broken," she said.
A spokesman for the Brexit department said this evening it was "disappointing" to see the amendment pass, and pleaded with MPs to come to a realistic outcome when the Commons debates the way forward in just two days time.
They added: "This amendment instead upends the balance between our democratic institutions and sets a dangerous, unpredictable precedent for the future.
"While it is now up to Parliament to set out next steps in respect of this amendment, the Government will continue to call for realism – any options considered must be deliverable in negotiations with the EU.
"Parliament should take account of how long these negotiations would take, and if they’d require a longer extension which would mean holding European Parliamentary elections."
Jeremy Corbyn congratulated the House of Commons for taking control off the PM and throwing Parliament into more chaos, and said: "Where this government has failed this House has and must, succeed."
And EU boss Guy Verhofstadt praised tonight's news, tweeting: "An opportunity to build a cross-party cooperation leading to an enhanced political declaration and a closer future relationship!"
Is Letwin a remainer?
Yes he is.
It is now being said that Letwin is in charge of the Remainer 'coup' following the passing of his amendment.
What happened in the House of Commons on Monday night
- 30 Tories opted to defy the PM's wishes and oppose the Government – in a sign her authority is completely shot
- Business minister Richard Harrington resigned in order to vote for MPs to have their say along with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt and Health Minister Steve Brine
- MPs voted narrowly to reject an amendment which would have stopped the PM leaving the EU with No Deal without an explicit vote in the House of Commons – but it was lost by three votes
- Tory MPs were in uproar after Speaker Bercow said Greg Hands was "not a very good whip" – and he later was forced to apologise
- Dozens of MPs joined the call for Mrs May to step down as PM and quit – as The Sun revealed she would consider resigning in exchange for MPs passing her Brexit deal
Today the PM refused to back Sir Oliver's plan for a series of so-called 'indicative votes', saying she was "sceptical" that such a plan would ever work.
"When we have tried this kind of thing in the past, it has produced contradictory outcomes or no outcome at all," she told MPs earlier.
"There is a further risk when it comes to Brexit, as the UK is only one half of the equation and the votes could lead to an outcome that is unnegotiable with the EU."
MPs could end up forcing through a second referendum or even try to reverse Brexit altogether.
The PM promised never to give a "blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is".
However, she tried to see off the rebellion by promising to "engage constructively with this process".
David Lidington said this evening that the Government would bring forward similar votes "this week" but refused to go into more detail, which wasn't then enough to win MPs over.
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