I have written to the House of Commons Procedure Committee, the speaker’s office and Sir Oliver Letwin as follows:

I understand that yesterday’s (Wed 27th March) indicative votes were all yes/no votes though cast on paper rather than through the lobbies. All of them failed to attain a majority. I am not surprised. I suggest it is time for MPs to compromise further and to indicate their favourite or rather least worse option. In effect to vote under First Past the Post. All reasonable options that the EU could countenance should be considered (maybe about 8?). In the first round of voting it is very unlikely that any option would secure anything close to 50% of the vote. Instead it should be used to identify and exclude the no hopers. Hopefully the House would agree which one or two options could be excluded – or the speaker could rule?

Having excluded the no hoper(s), MPs would be asked to vote again for their least worst of those left. In that way the options could be whittled down to two and the final vote be conducted through the lobbies.

So far, with good reason, the speaker has ruled that the Prime Minister’s deal cannot be voted for again. However I feel that now it is a question of choosing the least worst, her option should considered alongside all others.

Of course another possible procedure is to use the Alternative Vote, (a.k.a. Instant Run Off Voting)  whereby MPs rank the options in order of preference. However in view of the result of the 2011 referendum this might not be wise.

David Smith

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