United Kingdom parliament inflicts fresh defeat on PM May over Brexit

Cristina Cross
January 10, 2019

Theresa May has been forced to present MPs with a new Brexit plan within three days if her current one is voted down next week, in a move meant to lessen the chance of Britain exiting the European Union without a deal.

Brexit-backing Tories accused Mr Bercow of flouting Commons procedures by allowing a vote on the proposal, tabled by former attorney general Dominic Grieve.

Britain's battle over Brexit turned into political trench warfare between Parliament and the government Wednesday, as Prime Minister Theresa May brought her little-loved European Union divorce agreement back to lawmakers who appear determined to thwart her plans.

"I disagree with that, and so I think do the vast majority of Members of Parliament".

The amendment to legislation implementing last year's budget states that powers to amend tax laws to make them work after Brexit could only be used if a deal was agreed, Brexit was cancelled, or, if the government had parliamentary approval to proceed with a no-deal exit. But the bloc refuses to reopen the agreement, and opposition to the negotiated deal remains strong among British lawmakers.

May called off a vote on her deal in December after admitting that it "would be rejected by a significant margin" if MPs voted on it.

A vote, initially slated for mid-December, is now scheduled for January 15 - and the government still looks likely to lose.

"I realise there are a few of my colleagues who believe that if the Government's deal is rejected we should simply do nothing and leave the European Union on March 29 with no deal at all and with all, to my mind, the calamitous consequences that would follow on from it", he told the BBC.

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Barry Gardiner, the opposition Labour Party's shadow global trade secretary, said earlier his party will table a no confidence motion in the government if - as expected - Parliament votes down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Opposition to May's deal is spread across the political spectrum, including sections of her own ruling Conservative Party and the 10 Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs her government relies on to command a majority in parliament.

She claimed that having listened to concerns from MPs, she would seek the necessary changes in order to get her Brexit plan through Parliament.

Under the EU's backstop proposal, Northern Ireland would have stayed in the single market and customs union while the rest of the United Kingdom withdraws, while Mrs May wanted Northern Ireland treated the same as the rest of the UK.

He said: "I can be very clear that the government's policy is to leave on 29th March".

Wednesday´s amendment, which passed by 308 votes to 297, has more weight.

"It seems clear that May will lose the vote, the only real question is how much does she lose by", Usherwood added.

Tory MPs to speak in favour of the motion included ex-ministers Nick Boles and Sir Oliver Letwin. "That is why we are taking every opportunity possible in parliament to prevent no deal", Corbyn said, cited by the Guardian. "I think what's important is that if we are to secure assurances, MPs are aware of what they are before the vote takes place", a Downing Street spokesman said.

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