Theresa May's Brexit deal defeated again

Brexit Talks 'Deadlocked' Despite Appeal to EU for Last-Minute Concession
Charles Michel, Angela Merkel and Brexit

13 March, 2019

Brexiteers in May's party accuse her of surrendering to the European Union and it was not clear if the assurances she agreed would be enough to win over the 116 additional lawmakers she needs turn around the crushing defeat her deal suffered on Jan 15.

May was sent back to Brussels to renegotiate the deal and while she didn't come back with what she wanted, she did secure some key tweaks.

On Monday, May said she had secured "legally binding" changes to allay lawmakers' fears - but it wasn't enough.

The UK Parliament votes on the Brexit deal once again, with high chances of a second failure.

This is a breaking news update.

He said: "If all that's happening is to turn this letter into an interpretative tool for legal purposes, I remind the House what the Prime Minister said on January 14 about this letter".

May told Parliament she will offer a free vote, meaning the government will not whip Conservative lawmakers to take a particular side.

But prominent Brexit supporters were unconvinced.

"In light of our own legal analysis and others, we do not recommend accepting the government's motion today", group member Bill Cash said.

The main sticking point is the so-called Northern Irish backstop, an insurance policy to prevent a return of border controls in Ireland that eurosceptics believe is an attempt to trap the country in the EU's customs union indefinitely.

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The first vote was the largest defeat for any government in modern United Kingdom parliamentary history.

"If there is a solution to the current impasse, it can only be found in London", it said, adding that "today's vote has significantly increased the likelihood of a "no-deal" Brexit".

Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who backs a second referendum, said: "I have had the chance to look at the document produced last night and I'm quite clear in my mind it does not allow the United Kingdom to terminate the backstop in the event of as breakdown in negotiation; it does not allow the United Kingdom to terminate the backstop at a time of its own choosing".

Juncker said May and he have agreed a "legal instrument" to ease British concerns over the backstop. "The government's strategy is now in tatters". "Our "no-deal" preparations are now more important than ever before", Barnier said in a tweet.

A majority of 2017 Conservative voters also back a deal, with 54 per cent in favour and 26 per cent against.

German EU affairs minister Michael Roth, called it "a far-reaching compromise". "There is no alternative".

However, if they reject the deal, that kickstarts another set of possibilities. It is what you do with this second chance that counts.

They have said the deal needs "careful analysis", and added that they will scrutinise the text "line by line" before forming a judgment.

Cabinet ministers urged their Tory colleagues on Sunday to support May's deal, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying both the European Union and British parliamentarians need to be "realistic". They are likely to agree to an extension as long as there was a prospect of a deal being reached - or a referendum or general election which could change the political landscape at Westminster.

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.

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