Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

MPs set to spurn Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Finally, a Big Week for Brexit PM Theresa May faces challenge despite securing key Brexit changes
Andrew Cummings | 15 March, 2019, 02:57

If the backstop comes into force and talks on the future relationship break down, May said the unilateral declaration would make clear there was nothing to stop London from moving to leave the backstop.

There could be three Brexit votes happening this week, depending on the results.

Late last night, May and her Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay secured a new agreement with European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker, which included ensuring that there will be "no indefinite backstop" - the key sticking point for many hard-line Brexiteers who May must win over.

With the approaching deadline intensifying fears that economic and personal turmoil might follow a "no-deal" withdrawal by Britain, Parliament voted 321-278 Wednesday to rule out the possibility. However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remained unchanged.

British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said on Tuesday that the newly secured legally binding changes to the Brexit deal will "reduce the risk" of his country being indefinitely and involuntarily held in the Irish backstop.

Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, is expected to change... Afterward, hard-core Brexit supporters in May's Conservative Party and the prime minister's allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party both said they could not support the deal. "However in our view sufficient progress has not been achieved at this time".

But as parliament prepares to reassess the deal, the prime minister has little to show for her efforts, prompting warnings of another humiliating loss.

The backstop, an emergency fix aimed at avoiding controls on the sensitive border between the British province of Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland, was the most contentious part of the deal Mrs May agreed to in November.

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So she also needed to look to the opposition benches. The EU Commission said it would "expect a credible justification" for the postponement.

How Brexit could pan out in the lead up to exit day on March 29th.

"Today is our Hotel California moment. In short, we are back to square one and sterling volatility will continue until the market gets some hint of what May's next move will be - and the margin of tonight's likely defeat will be key".

The two sides have also published a "joint statement" which commits to replacing the backstop with "alternative arrangements" by the end of December 2020.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn urged MPs to vote against the deal when it returns to the Commons, saying May had "recklessly run down the clock" on negotiations.

Pro-Brexit politicians in May's Tory party insist that the plan - known as the backstop - threatens to trap the United Kingdom inside the EU's trade regime forever, because it would be impossible for Britain to leave.

"I am actually considering never voting again, quite honestly, because I am beginning to feel that there is no point in it", she said.

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