May Fights for Brexit Deal, Warns of Second Referendum Risk

09 January, 2019, 01:24 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Theresa May

The Prime Minister pulled the vote on her plan last month in the face of widespread opposition to a backstop proposal which would see the United Kingdom follow the EU's customs union rules until a trade deal can be implemented.

Conservative MPs Nicky Morgan and Labour's Yvette Cooper have devised a plan to stop Mrs May's Brexit agreement by amending the government's Finance Bill in a bid to limit government spending.

Members of parliament are expected to vote on the deal on January 15, but if May fails to secure support at that time, she said Brexit with no deal could be an option, as well as a second referendum.

Barry Gardiner said his personal view was that it would "make sense" for a fresh public vote if a government led by Jeremy Corbyn secured a "better" agreement with Brussels.

He said: "I want to make it abundantly clear to my honourable friends who are voting against the Prime Minister's deal, which I shall be supporting, that the majority in this house will sustain itself, and we will not allow a no-deal exit to occur on the 29th of March".

MPs have inflicted another Brexit defeat on the government in Parliament by backing measures created to thwart preparations for a no-deal exit.

Mrs May will then close the five-day debate ahead of the vote on the afternoon of January 15.

It is the latest example of Westminster wresting control of Brexit as the Article 50 deadline looms and underlines the strength of opposition to no-deal.

Government sources warned over the weekend of "paralysis" and an effective "shutdown" if the Treasury was stripped of the power to pass regulations relating to "no-deal financial provisions" without parliamentary approval.

He told Today that he had not had any talks with the European Union "in terms of an extension", the day after Digital Minister Margot James suggested that Brexit could be delayed in order to avoid a no-deal scenario.


Some Brexit supporters say a no-deal exit is the only way to truly leave the bloc and that warnings of the economic consequences have been overblown to drum up support for May's plan.

"Peeling off five of 10 Conservative Party MPs is neither here nor there, but if you get the DUP in line, May will give lots of parliamentarians an excuse to say, 'Well, OK, if they're happy with it I can't really justify going around moaning about the Irish backstop'".

"There was no suggestion that we would pay £39 billion for nothing, without even a sniff of a trade deal with Brussels".

She repeatedly refused to be drawn on what will happen if, as widely predicted, Tory rebels join forces with opposition parties to vote it down.

The technical changes to a crucial piece of government legislation were meant to demonstrate to ministers the strength of opposition to a no-deal Brexit in the Commons.

The number indicates an all-time low in support for the deal.

May, the party's deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said the publication of the Irish government's "no deal' preparations before Christmas showed that the Irish government were not planning for a hard border".

Any help for May to convince parliament, Loiseau said, would amount to "political assurances, but there is nothing more that we can do".

However, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry accused the People's Vote campaign of seeking to "slap the Labour Party around" and urged it to focus on reasons to remain in the European Union.

Extending the divorce beyond March 29 would require the unanimous agreement of EU heads of state and government in the European Council.

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