Theresa May’s Brexit revisions appear headed for defeat in British House vote

14 March, 2019, 13:59 | Author: Myra Gill
  • By Sue Wilson – Chair of Bremain in Spain a member of the British in Europe coalition

Pro-Brexit UK lawmakers said they would read the fine print and wait for the judgment of Britain's attorney general before deciding how to vote on Tuesday.

Juncker on Monday said a delay beyond European Parliament elections at the end of May would mean Britain would have to take part in the polls. However, the text of the 585-page withdrawal agreement remains unchanged.

The PM jetted to Strasbourg last night for last-minute talks with the European Union in which she says she secured "legally binding" changes.

The Prime Minister claims to have addressed concerns over the Irish backstop, less than 24 hours before a meaningful vote.

Hard-core Brexit backers in Parliament came to the same conclusion, saying they wouldn't support the deal in the House of Commons. Varadkar said the legal instrument agreed in Strasbourg "does not call into question that the backstop will apply unless and until better arrangements are agreed".

His advice previously has been that the backstop could leave the United Kingdom trapped in the Customs Union, something that Eurosceptics find unacceptable.

May might even try a third time to get parliamentary support in the hope that hardline eurosceptic MPs in her Conservative Party, the most vocal critics of her withdrawal treaty, might change their minds if it becomes more likely that Britain might stay in the European Union after all.

"To win today's vote, May needs to persuade 116 of the 230 MPs who voted against her last time to change their minds - a very tall order". This is now extremely unlikely.

Indeed, sources are now indicating that the DUP will - as it their wont - say "No".

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.

British lawmakers, who on January 15 voted 432-202 against May's deal, were studying the assurances and Cox's legal advice before the vote later on Tuesday. They will go to the European Council on the 20th/21st, they will plead for some additional concession - however small - they will come back to the United Kingdom, re-run Maastricht, declare game, set and match, and then try to persuade the House to vote for it. The outcome of tonight's vote could have a significant impact on what happens to the pound both in the short and long term future.

Parliament will vote on May's deal and the political declaration, as well as the three new documents revealed Monday night. This chart shows how the week may develop.

DUP leader Arlene Foster told the BBC she was sympathetic to demands for a day's delay to give time to study the assurances.

The vote puts the world's fifth largest economy in uncharted territory with no obvious way forward; exiting the European Union without a deal, delaying the March 29 divorce date, a snap election or even another referendum are all now possible.

If they vote for that, the Prime Minister will go to Brussels to ask for an extension, something that all 27 member countries will need to agree to.

Meanwhile, the Commons Brexit Committee called on Wednesday for Article 50 to be extended, with "indicative votes" for MPs to signal their preferred way forward.

The currency swung about in an nearly 100-pip range soon after the House of Commons handed May her second defeat in two months on the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union.



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