Brexit: 'Not sufficient' support for third vote, says British PM

PM accused of ‘trickery’ as MPs vote on split deal			
				 
   by Dominic Yeatman 
  Published
PM accused of ‘trickery’ as MPs vote on split deal by Dominic Yeatman Published
Author

27 March, 2019

To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs - dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some opposition Labour Party MPs and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

This story is developing...

But the Commons approved cross-party amendment (a), proposed by Oliver Letwin, which sets out a plan for holding "indicative votes" on Wednesday.

Three ministers – foreign affairs minister Alistair Burt, health minister Steve Brine, and business minister Richard Harrington – who went against the Cabinet's collective responsibility principle to vote for the amendment, resigned from government.

It means MPs can potentially dictate business of the Commons -normally controlled by the Government - for days to come, potentially paving the way for a "softer" deal that keeps Britain closer to the EU.

Asked if the government would then have to do what the Commons said, Downing Street said today "of course ministers are bound by the law; but let's wait and see what actually happens".

The government would oppose a popular amendment to its motion on the Brexit process in voting scheduled for later on Monday, she added. The amendment does not specify which options will be voted on.

The only real opportunities to vote on alternative Brexit options in the Commons have come in amendments to Mrs May's "meaningful votes" on her Withdrawal Agreement and motions following its defeat.

Hancock says lawmakers should support the prime minister's agreement because "the best way through this impasse is the one deal that's been negotiated with the European Union".

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This calls on the Government "to provide sufficient parliamentary time this week for this house to find a majority for a different approach" in a series of indicative votes.

There had been speculation that the party might change its stance but leader Arlene Foster told the prime minister the bad news in a phone call yesterday morning.

He also voted against Labour MP Dame Margaret Beckett's Commons amendment to allow MPs a vote on a no-deal Brexit or to request an extension, should the United Kingdom come within seven days of leaving the European Union without a deal.

The default legal option of Britain crashing out of the 28-member economic bloc without a deal in place has now effectively shifted from the initial March 29 deadline to April 12.

Now all eyes will be on the series of votes planned for Wednesday even though May has refused to commit to backing any one that receives a majority backing. If British MPs fail to pass the statutory instrument, it would create some "legal uncertainty" but it would not change the internationally-recognised Brexit date, which is now set as April 12 - with an offer of a further extension until May 22 if the withdrawal agreement clears the Commons hurdle in a third vote this week.

Almost three years after the 2016 European Union membership referendum, and three days before Britain was originally supposed to leave the bloc, it remains unclear how, when or even if Brexit will take place, with parliament and the nation deeply split.

He told the ConservativeHome podcast: "Whether we are there yet is another matter but I have always thought that no deal is better than Mrs May's deal but Mrs May's deal is better than not leaving at all".

May's deal still struggles: Prime Minister May wants to put her deal, which had already been defeated twice, before the parliament for the third vote this week. Some reports said ministers had "war-gamed" a national election.


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