Tuesday, 18 June, 2019

John Bercow blasted by Tory Brexiters as Theresa May suffers another defeat

French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau in conversation with compatriot Michel Barnier the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator More French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau in conversation with compatriot Michel Barnier the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator More
Sandra Phillips | 10 January, 2019, 04:19

The House of Commons voted to reduce the time the government has to outline a "plan B" from 21 days to three if, as expected, lawmakers reject the Brexit agreement in a vote on Tuesday.

"But it is also the intention if that were not to take place, that we would respond quickly and provide certainty on the way forward following that vote".

"I think it's those kind of assurances we are happy to give".

After a two week Christmas recess, United Kingdom parliamentarians resumed hostilities on Brexit, with 20 Conservative MPs joining forces with the opposition Labour party and supporting an amendment to the May government's Finance Bill demanding that a "no deal" Brexit be ruled out. But the bloc refuses to reopen the agreement, and opposition to the negotiated deal remains strong from both pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers in Britain.

The Northern Ireland Assembly could be given power to stop new Brexit laws coming into force under plans due to be published today, David Lidington, Prime Minister Theresa May's de facto deputy, said in broadcast interviews Wednesday.

But, combined with a vote late on Tuesday when the government lost on the finance bill, the defeats underline May's precarious position in parliament.

Lawmakers voted 308-297 on Wednesday in favour of demanding the government come up with an alternative plan within three working days after the January 15 vote, rather than a planned 21-day limit.

It has been suggested that Brexit could be delayed if the deal is defeated in the "meaningful vote" to allow time to renegotiate elements of the deal.

Twenty Conservative MPs rebelled against the government and their own party, including former cabinet ministers Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Ken Clarke and Oliver Letwin.

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Earlier on Tuesday, May called on lawmakers to vote for her deal, suggesting she was confident of getting further assurances from the European Union to ease their concerns and offering Northern Ireland more control over the "backstop" arrangement to prevent the return of a hard border with European Union member Ireland.

He said: "What is important now is to say that we should not take any stances which could damage or endanger any chance of putting the deal on and having it passed through the House of Commons and working in a way to put it back on track on what was supposed to be the timetable for the 29th of March".

And this motion would be amendable, as I understand it.

Earlier, in Prime Minister's Questions, Jeremy Corbyn urged Mrs May to accept the will of the House as expressed in Tuesday's vote and rule out a no-deal Brexit.

70% of Tory MPs believe that the UK would be able to quickly strike trade deals with the likes of the United States and China, and 58% of them are confident that such new trade deals would more than compensate for any lost European Union trade.

A senior Downing Street source said they were "surprised" Mr Bercow permitted the division as ministers had received advice the business motion was unamendable.

"We're all focused in the government on winning parliamentary support in the vote that's coming up next week", he told reporters as he arrived at the meeting in Brussels.

"I've been in contact with European leaders. about MPs' concerns".

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