Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

British PM wins key Brexit vote despite ‘big’ rebellion..

Documents in the hand of Dominic Raab the Brexit secretary at his meeting with Michel Barnier in Brussels Documents in the hand of Dominic Raab the Brexit secretary at his meeting with Michel Barnier in Brussels Credit francois lenoir reuters
Patty Aguilar | 20 July, 2018, 23:56

With Brexit negotiations in a deep rut, EU Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Thursday that "we need to be prepared for all eventualities".

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday she did not believe that Britain was getting close to a so-called "no deal" Brexit, where the country crashes out of the European Union without an exit agreement.

The government, he claimed, had simply not tried to make the case for a loose arrangement with the European Union based on a wide-ranging free trade deal.

Since the plan was unveiled earlier this month, Brexit supporters and pro-EU lawmakers in her party have been at war with each other, and in some cases with the prime minister herself.

Eurosceptics tabled amendments to the Government's Customs Bill aimed at imposing strict conditions on the Prime Minister after she produced a plan at Chequers that would keep the United Kingdom closely tied to Brussels' rules on goods and food.

Johnson said May had deviated from a Brexit stance she set out in a speech in January 2017 for a "strong independent, self-governing Britain" with a focus on having independent trade and regulation.

Two top pro-Brexit ministers, Boris Johnson and David Davis, quit in protest last week, while a string of junior walkouts have followed suit, including two more officials on Monday.

During her meeting with the Commons liaison committee, Mrs May said Brexit "continues to mean Brexit" and repeated her claim that no deal with Brussels was better than a bad deal. When a photo shoot was staged for Mr Johnson's signing of his resignation letter, murmurs of leadership ambitions swirled again.

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In the past 48 hours, the government has narrowly won a series of votes on trade and customs arrangements despite substantial rebellions by pro-European Tories.

If the amendment had passed it would have thrown May's Brexit strategy into disarray and increased pressure on the already beleaguered leader.

Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Davis resigned less than two weeks ago and his successor Dominic Raab will meet his European Union counterpart Michel Barnier for the first time late Thursday.

Johnson didn't attack May directly - he noted her "courage and resilience".

Labor MP, Chuka Umunna criticized four Brexit-supporting Labor MPs who voted in the final key vote. May meets with Conservative lawmakers in what is seen as a last chance to rally her forces before a six-week summer recess.

May faced open hostility from her own MPs, with one asking her in the House of Commons if she could explain "at what point it was decided that Brexit means remain?"

Asked by the head of a parliamentary committee whether she would warn the public about the consequences of a "no deal" Brexit, May answered: "You have based your question on an assumption that said we were getting closer to a no deal scenario".

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