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first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.It’s Indicative Votes Day, and the House of Commons has a packed agenda. After PMQs at noon, MPs will debate and vote on how to hold the indicative votes, then the Speaker will announce which of the 16 Brexit options he has selected. The proper debate will begin at around 3.30pm and votes will start at 7pm. Rather than filing into the ‘Aye’ or ‘No’ voting lobbies as usual, MPs will all enter the ‘No’ lobby and indicate preferences by choosing ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ next to each proposal. Using pen and paper. It doesn’t stop there: while votes are being counted, MPs will debate whether to extend Article 50 to April 12th and vote on that at 9pm (the result doesn’t matter, though – new deadlines have been set whether we like it or not). Finally, after 9pm, Speaker Bercow will announce the results.The big questions for Labour today are whether to whip MPs to favour particular options in the indicative votes, and then which options to favour. Barry Gardiner, ever the maverick, has sparked an almighty row with an appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme. “The Labour Party is not a Remain party now. We’ve accepted the result of the referendum,” he declared, infuriating pro-EU colleagues. The frontbencher then revealed that Labour would rule out the ‘extreme’ indicative vote options, no deal and Article 50 revocation, though there’d be a free vote on most of the options. But at the time of writing, the official party line is that no decision has been taken on whipping arrangements.Tom Watson soon tweeted that he’d received many calls about Gardiner’s interview. That’s probably because, over the weekend, the deputy leader announced his support for the ‘purest’ form of Kyle/Wilson, saying he’d vote for Theresa May’s deal – not just abstain – on the condition that it was put to a public vote. He reportedly got told off at shadow cabinet for ‘misrepresenting’ party policy. Then, this morning, Gardiner described Margaret Beckett’s proposal (a.k.a. Kyle/Wilson) as “not where our policy has been”. And yet Keir Starmer, speaking at the despatch box two weeks ago, confirmed that Labour was backing the idea. Amid widespread confusion and exasperation, some Labour MPs are now just laughing at the whole situation.Whatever happens, the breakdown of these latest Brexit votes is going to be fascinating.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Tom Watson /Margaret Beckett /Barry Gardiner /Brexit /Indicative votes /Kyle Wilson /last_img

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