Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Prime Minister May Strikes New Brexit Deal - But Will Parliament Approve?

Finally, a Big Week for Brexit PM Theresa May faces challenge despite securing key Brexit changes
Patty Aguilar | 14 March, 2019, 22:27

Theresa May has secured "legally binding" changes to her Brexit deal that mean the EU can not trap the United Kingdom in the Irish backstop and a permanent customs union, her deputy, David Lidington, has said.

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The legal advice deals a significant blow to the prime minister's hopes of overturning MPs' 230-vote rejection of her Withdrawal Agreement in the second "meaningful vote" on the deal in the House of Commons. "MPs must vote down this wretched deal, extend Article 50 and back the only credible route out of this Brexit mess - a public vote". "Today we have secured legal changes", May said on Monday ahead of the Parliament's vote on her Brexit proposal.

More than two hours later - at 11:40 p.m. - the tired leaders sat down for a joint news conference to announce changes they both hope will now put an end to the tortuous negotiations that have defined the U.K.'s exit from the 28-country bloc.

He described the texts as a "legally binding instrument on the Withdrawal Agreement and protocol on Northern Ireland and a joint statement to supplement the political declaration".

"If MPs vote for Theresa May's Brexit deal, we edge closer to understanding exactly how and when Brexit will play out but whether that is positive or negative for the pound depends on the deal itself".

Many British MPs object to the backstop on the grounds that it could leave Britain subject to European Union rules indefinitely or cleave Northern Ireland away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

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The EU said there would be no more negotiations with London on the divorce terms, struck with May after two-and-a-half years of tortuous negotiations.

Last time May put her deal to the House of Commons, it was rejected by a ratio greater than 2:1.

The PM said: "What we have secured is very clearly that the backstop can not be indefinite". However, if MPs vote no to a longer extension then it could end with a no-deal Brexit or deadlock.

Some British lawmakers had warned their Brexit-backing colleagues that rejecting the deal could lead to Britain's departure being postponed indefinitely, because a delay would give momentum to opponents of withdrawal.

The government's defeat will embolden politicians calling for a second referendum on whether to leave the European Union or remain, though there is no clear majority in Parliament for that course.

Given the low likelihood of that happening, the EU might propose a much longer extension, presumably with the United Kingdom parties suddenly having to find candidates to field in the imminent European Parliament elections.

"It complicates the issue, it leaves us with the possibility still of a no-deal Brexit, and uncertainty over politics more generally". "It's time that we have a general election and the people can choose who their government should be".

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