Thursday, 17 October, 2019

May still hopes for changes to Brexit deal

An EU flag flutters during an anti Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London An EU flag flutters during an anti Brexit demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London Britain
Patty Aguilar | 12 March, 2019, 08:02

But a 10 Downing Street spokesman soon scotched this, saying the meaningful vote on May's Brexit deal will be held on Tuesday as planned.

Dublin's foreign minister Simon Coveney said he understood that the prime minister will travel to Strasbourg this evening in a final bid to secure changes that will allow MPs to back her Withdrawal Agreement the following day.

If her deal is defeated for a second time on Tuesday, she has promised to give MPs a vote on whether to accept a no-deal Brexit on March 29 or to extend Article 50 in order to delay the UK's departure beyond the current deadline.

But he said further negotiations are taking place as the PM is still meeting European Union officials in Strasbourg.

To guide the Eurosceptics, the deal was due to be examined by a committee of eight lawyers in the ERG, including Sir Bill Cash and the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab. It honours the UK's solemn commitments in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

If her deal is rejected again on Tuesday, the Labour leader said the PM should "shift her red lines and show not just that she is willing to meet with members of this House, but that she is willing to compromise with them too".

"Accountability for the complete mess we are in lies with her", he said.

The prime minister was warned that her position could be in jeopardy unless she stuck to commitments she made about this week's votes. "If she doesn't she will forfeit the confidence of the House of Commons".

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Brexit: deal, no deal or delay
The Environment Secretary declared that "everyone who believes in democracy" should get behind the Prime Minister's deal. The wording of the motion that parliament votes on will be subject to amendments.

"Tonight we will be laying two new documents in the House; a joint legally-biding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and protocol on Northern Ireland and a joint statement to supplement the political declaration", the Cabinet Office minister added.

The EU will have to agree to any extension to article 50 and the commission's secretary general, Martin Selmayr, told ambassadors on Monday that the safest delay to Brexit would only be up to 23 May, ensuring that elections to the European parliament would not create complications.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers have urged May to postpone Tuesday's vote rather than risk another crushing defeat.

Ex-cabinet minister Nicky Morgan said Mrs May's position would become untenable if parliament "dismantled" her Brexit policy in a series of votes during the course of the week.

Leading Conservatives have told May she should pull the meaningful vote unless she secures major concessions from the EU.

First, a new vote on whether to leave with no deal - which is hugely unpopular with MPs.

Such a disorderly no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for the British economy and would also hurt the EU, Tajani said, adding that he would be happy if Britain were to remain in the bloc.

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