British MPs to vote on new Brexit referendum

British MPs will tonight vote on whether or not a new referendum should be held on Brexit.

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If it happens, Britons in France who were registered in a UK constituency before leaving would be expected to be able to take part as last time - however those who have been living abroad more than 15 years are expected to be excluded again.

The wording of the amendment calling for the new referendum – which has been selected for debate by Speaker John Bercow – proposes a choice between a deal as agreed by the parliament, and staying in the EU.

The MPs said in votes yesterday they did not want to leave with no deal; however in an additional complication the Labour leadership has now stated they do not want a referendum where Theresa May’s deal is an option, as it has already been rejected by MPs twice and it is “no longer credible”.

This raises questions as to whether the amendment will be passed, if it lacks Labour support, and how likely it is such a referendum can be held if it is passed as it requires a deal to be signed off.

Nonetheless, this will be the first time that the MPs have seriously debated and voted on the second referendum idea.

The motion was tabled by Sarah Wollaston of the Independent Group, a new informal grouping of centrist, remainer MPs.

The amendment asks that Mrs May should seek to delay Brexit “for purposes of legislating for and conducting a public vote in which the people of the United Kingdom may give their consent" to leaving the EU on the terms of a deal agreed by Parliament or remaining in the EU.

It is backed by some MPs from Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and The Independent Group.

A spokesperson for the People's Vote campaign said it is not yet the right time to put this question to the MPs and the campaign would prefer an extension to article 50 to give MPs more time to “decide what Brexit means”.

The debate on the proposal is expected to take place before a debate on a government motion which says Mrs May will seek a short extension to article 50 if MPs vote through the withdrawal agreement by March 20 (next Wednesday, just before an EU summit). Otherwise a much longer one is likely to be needed, probably requiring the UK to vote for MEPs again, the motion says.

It is thought that the government is aiming to hold yet another (third) vote on the withdrawal agreement early next week, though it is said it is possible that under the rules of the House of Commons Mr Bercow could refuse a debate and vote on this if the agreement is still the same as the one that was rejected this week (this appears likely as the EU has said negotiations are now over).

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