Brexit meltdown: May's deal back from the dead

14 March, 2019, 07:37 | Author: Sally Reid
  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May

Four pro-EU Cabinet ministers - David Gauke, Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Mundell - all defied the premier's orders and abstained instead of voting against a rebel motion created to rule out a no-deal Brexit more firmly than her own proposal.

The House of Commons rejected the EU Withdrawal Agreement by an overwhelming majority - 391 voted against the deal compared to 242 in favour. "Negotiations on Article 50 are finished", he said. But the rest of the EU is reluctant to postpone Brexit beyond the late May elections for the EU's legislature, the European Parliament. "It is UK's responsibility to tell us what they want for our future relations".

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted on Tuesday night: "The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line".

After a year and a half of wrangling, British lawmakers will vote again Tuesday on Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to leave the European Union after she secured last-minute changes.

In his Spring statement, he told MPs: "The uncertainty that I hoped would be lifted last night still hangs over it [economy] and we can not allow that to continue".

"We can keep on the current batch of MEPs to stay in Parliament without having an election in Britain. Now is the time to come together, to back this improved Brexit deal, and to deliver on the instruction of the British people".

Theresa May warned MPs they had to choose a path on Brexit tonight after Parliament descended into total chaos by ruling out No Deal forever.

After lawmakers crushed her deal for a second time on Tuesday, May said it was still the best option for leaving in an orderly fashion.

A deal or another alternative needs Parliament's approval, but no-deal has been the default position since Article 50 of the European Union treaty - setting the rules for leaving the block - was triggered.

A packed House of Commons as members wait for the result
Camera IconA packed House of Commons as members wait for the

BuzzFeed News sources say the chancellor is of the view that a second referendum would create new uncertainty: nobody knows how it would end, Leave could win again, while a close Remain victory would leave Brexit voters feeling robbed, and could even see "yellow vest" type unrest in the UK. May said the government would not instruct her Conservative Party's lawmakers how to vote.

An extension that would require a separate approval from the EU.

"If the United Kingdom still wants to leave the EU in an orderly manner, this treaty is - and will remain - the only treaty possible", Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In a painfully worded motion, Theresa May did her best to placate all sides of the Brexit divide both in her own party, the House of Commons and in Europe.

So I really don't see how Geoffrey Cox could drop his formal legal advice of last November that "the protocol [which contains the backstop] would endure indefinitely until a superseding agreement took its place" and the "Withdrawal Agreement cannot provide a legal means of compelling the European Union to conclude such an agreement".

But Mrs May stressed that would not resolve the divisions in the Commons and could instead hand Brussels the power to set conditions on the kind of Brexit on offer "or even moving to a second referendum".

"We must take what now seems to be the more hard route but in the end the one that preserves our self-respect", said former foreign minister Boris Johnson, a favorite to succeed May if she steps down.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said a compromise solution should be found on options for a softer Brexit.

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